Strength in Fragility
(A response to this poem I saw on Instagram:
You put up such a strong front
Proud as a peacock,
strutting your stuff for all to see.
Inside, you see yourself as fragile
Using a stranger’s love
to fulfill some validation or need.
I understand the yearning for someone
But look at the truths that surround you
They speak of your true strength,
not the facsimile of pride,
but the beauty you have within.
You may be fragile, but you haven’t broken
In movement, you build up a warrior’s strength
Like a star, you shine brightly in the dark
and you don’t shine alone.
You are never as alone as you think you are.
It’s so easily to lose yourself
trying to gain a strangers approval,
to make an easy lie
with the click of a cameraphone.
Let go of all of that.
Jump over the fences blocking your way.
Keep dancing to the music
and go play in the street.
You’re just beginning to learn
how to follow your own beat.
Cirque d’Etoiles (Circus of the Stars, revised)
So many people have been passing away.
I wish it could stop.
Death has been constantly on my mind
ever since I first lost somebody I loved.
It was their time, I know,
but it hurt me because that person mattered to me.
I have people in my life who are growing old
I wonder when their time will come.
It’s never easy to understand.
It’s always sudden.
And it’s always painful.
What hurts more is when people lack empathy
when I try to make sense out of the senselessness of death.
Their empty hearts hurt
It doesn’t matter to me that I never knew these people
and that they never knew me.
These are people whose light shined into others’ lives.
Somebody out there
has just lost
a husband, a father, a son, a mother, a daughter, a wife.
They may have been as distant to me as the stars in the sky,
But their light still shined into my life.
And now their stars have gone out.
All things tend towards chaos
Life is the tightrope we walk to avoid it
Death arrives like the ricochet from a cannon’s blast
Throwing everything off-kilter
Down into the black without a safety net
Death doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints
Every life shines and fades as quickly as a meteorite in the sky
Millions of meteorites fall everyday,
yet supernovas are the ones that shake us up
We can understand the death of an old, worn out star
Yet when other stars die out, especially in quick succession,
it throws the universe off-balance
more than the deaths of little comets and meteorites
Is it just the succession?
The confusing juxtaposition between the end of one life
and the continuation of another?
The stars are supposed to be constant
yet they fall and they fade and they die
and nobody understands,
nobody explains why.
Maybe it’s not the fault in our stars
that throws us off our tightropes
Maybe each supernova
reminds us that we’re each a little infinity
and some infinities are bigger than other infinities
Stars fall and fade and die
but each supernova gives birth to something new
With each piece from the fallen stars,
we create an order out of the chaos
embracing the infinite
No safety net is needed
because our hearts are our wings
Love, the fuel that propels us to fly
You can take the stars out of the sky
but you can never take the sky itself
With love, we send a kiss out to the stars
Creating tiny pieces of light that shine in the dark
Prompt: Things unsaid
What brought you here to my backyard?
Choosing the grapevines as your nesting ground?
How can you stay so calm
even as the rain pours all around?
When the lighting flashes and the thunder crashes,
don’t you get scared?
When will your little ones hatch?
Will I get to see them?
This wasn’t the first time a bird chose my house
as a makeshift nesting ground
Three years ago, there was one who gave life in the rain gutter
I always wondered what brought her here.
I wonder if you’re the same bird.
I understand why you didn’t choose the birdhouses
The neighborhood cats are sneaky.
But I’m still astonished that you chose my home
amongst all the other real trees out there.
Then again, the leaves on the vine look very tree-like
and the bamboo beams are as strong as any branch.
Enjoy your stay for as long as you need to be here, little bird.
The backyard is a good place, all things considered
Seeds are falling from the pomegranate tree
There’s a feeder full of rice, but you’ll have to fight the crows over it.
Most important of all, you are safe
I never really had a pet.
All the goldfish I had eventually died.
I’m allergic to anything with fur
and I can’t take care of plants, let alone reptiles.
I’m glad that you can take care of yourself
that you’re allowing my backyard to be part of your life
It’ll be sad to see you go,
but thankfully, I have photographs to help me remember.
(Prompt: A Food Establishment)
Do you remember the cafeteria?
There was a patio right outside,
a small field where kids played soccer.
This was where we first met.
I found a book that belonged to your friend
You waited with me at the bus stop nearby.
I always knew from that day on,
that I could always sit with you.
Everyday, you were there,
with a smile
and a tuna fish sandwich,
ready with a tall tale to tell.
For four years, you were one of my constants.
Between overpriced lunches and bad dates
I could always go to the cafeteria
and talk to you.
Then one day, you had to leave.
Several months later, you left for good.
You left this world
and left me behind.
I haven’t gone back to that cafeteria since.
Although it comes to mind every now and then.
I wonder if there’s a cafeteria where you are now.
And if there is, can you save me a seat?
It’s almost like a ritual.
when I have cramps,
or before I sleep,
I have a cup of tea.
In the morning,
I drink English Breakfast
with brown sugar or maple syrup.
Recently, I added lemon juice
and it tastes like Heaven,
I don’t sweeten my chamomile,
but sometimes I do add grapefruit juice.
It smells like daisies and tastes subtle
Soothes my uneasy stomach
and helps me to sleep.
When I need something that smells nice,
I go for green
Either jasmine or mint
depending on my mood
No sweetening necessary.
Making tea is an exercise in patience
Boiling the water, adding sweetener
waiting for the mixture to cool.
Whenever I make tea of any kind,
time slows down to a crawl.
Prompt: Serious or Silly
The idea starts like a light
Like the green light in The Great Gatsby
Beckoning me towards it
with its siren song of “Follow me.”
All of a sudden, I’m down the rabbit hole
What starts as a small idea
Overwhelms me like a tidal wave
It becomes an uphill climb
trying to fight my way out,
to fight for control.
Then the winds change
I find myself in the eye of the hurricane
I realize, in the stillness,
that I need to be still.
To stop fighting and slow down.
I take a deep breath
and follow the wind.
I cannot chart the entire ocean
But I can navigate the waters
And ride out every storm.
Instead of letting myself sink,
I learn to swim and hoist the sails.
I’m not going down with this ship.
Happiness is waking up on Sunday,
the sunlight streaming into your bedroom.
You wake up, dreams of last night gone astray,
but the dream was good or so you assume.
Happiness is making a cup of tea:
kettle-boiled water, lemon, and syrup.
You drink it up, feel the serenity,
then say a thankful prayer to gear up.
Happiness is being with those you love,
the ones who know what’s in your heart.
The need for small talk is disposed of
When you feel like you’re never far apart.
Happiness is the song that sings “Good night,”
filled with gratitude, hope, love, and delight.
Ode to The Library
Thank you for being my favorite hiding place
All throughout the days that I called myself a student.
No matter what happened or where I was,
I knew I could find safety in your silent shelves.
In high school,
I could sit amongst the likes of Austen and Shakespeare
While reading romance novels or comic books
or whatever new book caught my eye that day.
In college, I would grab a small pile
(and by small I mean as much as my arms can carry)
and sit in the lounge that looked out at the campus
It was also a nice place to take a nap.
Nowadays, I have to make a drive for the library
And they weren’t the hideaways they once were,
but I can still go there whenever I need an adventure,
because I can always get lost in a good book.
Prompt: Doodle poem
I liked to draw
little five pointed stars
Pentacles, enclosed in circles
want to be here
I love to read and write
But adventure is out there and
the sixth circle of hell
A white-walled box called “school.”
Nobody understands me here
All of my friends
have grown up or moved out
I’m stuck waiting for my freedom
I make stories
Each story is like a star.
Scribbling in my notebook, I
want to be here
A white-walled box called “school”
I’m stuck waiting for my freedom
In my perfect life,
I don’t have to drive anywhere.
I’d be living in the city.
Everywhere I need to be
Is either a walk, a bus, or a train ride away.
I would start my day looking out at the city
Eating breakfast out on a terrace or a fire escape
The cacophany of the traffic is music to my ears.
The city becomes my muse
as the morning light reflects off of every skyscraper,
bathing the streets with hope.
I would go to places for writing
like a bookstore with a reading nook
or a village cafe,
taking inspiration from all the things I see.
Each sight and sound
becoming part of my poetry.
In reality, cities can be scary, cynical places.
The city of my dreams is just that, a utopia.
An urban paradise that can never truly be
And yet even the dream of that city
Inspires the likes of writers like me.