Sometimes

Sorry I haven’t been posting much! But here’s a new poem – my form of procrastination ūüôā

***

Sometimes you carry this confidence in your eyes

and you don’t even notice the way

it unravels shadows and opens up the clouds.

 

Sometimes you let slip your clumsy smile

and you don’t even notice the way

it drowns their lungs and brings their hearts to shore.

 

Yet often

you think it’s overconfidence to wear yourself as glasses,

to walk around in skin that feels like yours

because this skin is thin and breakable

 

Often,

you hide yourself in stutters and apologies

that spring from your tongue so often

one mistook it for your breath.

 

Often,

you tell others you know nothing,

and believe it.

 

But never do you whisper

you’re not worth it.

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It feels like nothing, but it’s everything

In time, you may come to realise
that there’s a certain languidness to every step I take,
to every breath I swallow, to every glance I cast.
I see nothing of the future, nor am I in a hurry to reach one.
I see everything of the past, because reliving is just as beautiful
and wonderful as living.
I see something of the present – but I’m not sure what it is yet.

I wonder, if you knew all this, knew of the way I take my time with things
like a car that’s pulling to a stop,
would you portray me in the way they do?
Would you spell me in a sentence,
write down the hypothesis to my destination –
which is none at all, they say,
because apparently, ambition does not fuel me and I’m illogical in the way I think,
an anomaly in graphs wandering straight.

Or will you be the first to read between the lines?
Will you see that I dream but do not plan, that I’m driven by a different goal?
Will you see that I search for something else,
something that proves the truth of miracles, the taste of purpose, the life of meaning?
Will you know that my destination is a person?

That I’m lost in an internal maze
and I’m looking for a pair of arms to hold me up
and take me to the sky
into the mess of coherence,
of knowing without knowing, of smiling just because.

I’m languid in the way I savour
the complexity of everything
but one day, one day I want to understand
the simplicity of the complex.

I’m an anomaly but so is she and so is he and so are they
and so is the mind that’s forgotten who it is.
If you drew a straight line from the centre, no one would touch upon it,
those who try to are sliced apart because they lost themselves
in the trend of wearing an outfit of convention.

So I say again, that in time, you may realise I’m not quite right
in the head
but I’m not quite wrong either:
I’m not interested in this constructed reality
which is harsh and cold and muddled with cynicism.
I want to construct my own version of something real:
beyond the lies we tell ourselves in the confines of conversation
I imagine something as real as simply this.

Wallflower

They saw you
but no one ever saw you
in the way I did.
To them you were a silhouette
cast against the walls;
a flower wilted in the dark;
a parch upon the throat
to fade away with time;
a passing, disappearing reference
in the stories to be written.
To me you were more,
you were you:
a seed to flourish and tread,
leaving gentle footsteps
on the hearts of deserving many’s.
You are the laughter in my throat,
the twinkle in my eyes;
and a novel could not contain
the brilliance of your mind.

(I will always be a wallflower, but maybe
I’m alright with that)

Then and Now.

(I am just a shadow of who I used to be.)

I try to remember a time when the world was still innocent. When I was still innocent. The earth tremored in delight, not in fear… did it not? And blue… blue was the colour of fine skies, not of sadness. The flicker of every heartbeat signalled to life,¬†not to this creaking pain. I was once unhinged, free to roam and dream and smile at the thought of having those dreams because fantasies defined my¬†realities. But¬†now, fantasies have become just that – fantasies and nothing more; a testament to what could have been but will never be. I am just a rusted piece of metal, too frail to swing open, drowning in my own papery breathes. The doors that once beckoned at me with the vitality of a billion lights have now closed upon me. I am alone. And it is dark. And it is cold.

Innocence is not ignorance. If life’s greatest purpose is to be happy and I was happiest in my innocence, then surely I was at my wisest point in those childhood years? The older I grew it seems, the more unsatisfied I became – it was as though age impaled upon me the inability to see the good through the bad; so much did I acknowledge the bad that I forgot to consider anything beyond that.

But maybe… maybe I think… there’s no point comparing who you were to who you are? Maybe to lose your innocence is to gain a deeper¬†understanding¬†of suffering? And¬†maybe understanding suffering equates to understanding happiness… because how could one¬†ever know how it feels to be happy if one did not know pain and sadness first?

I think maybe I shouldn’t try to remember, because to remember is to¬†accentuate the differences between the past and present – differences that cast a dark cloud of longing and unfufilled dreams over your head ’til you’re reaching for a version of your childhood that never even existed. The doors are closed now, but maybe I still have a little energy left in me to open them up again. Maybe this is a choice. Nothing’s easy and simple anymore, but that doesn’t mean nothing’s achievable. And I have a choice now: either to stay in the dark or take a step forward towards the light.

(You know what I’ve always liked about shadows? They are indications that even in darkness, light exists close by. And you are the reflection of that light.)

a music to a heartbeat

The beauty of music, I always thought, was the way you could immerse yourself into it simply by putting on your headphones and the way it deciphered for you those feelings you otherwise had so much trouble deciphering. It was the way it gave you the tears you needed, the heartbeat you yearned for, the flash of life you searched for.

Sometimes when I play the piano, I find myself wondering: how could something black-and-white simultaneously be so rich with memories and emotion? How could something that is in essence just a series of sound patterns, become so meaningful to the ear? Maybe it all rests upon our interpretations of these sounds, our innate abilities to find points of resonance within the music and to connect.

Music was never about isolating yourself from the world, it was always becoming more in tune with it. You turn on the music, block out the white noise and listen to the world as though you are listening to it for the very first time.

A bit of licorice wisdom

I’m thinking of a smile concealing pain, the pillow hiding hours of tears, this chocolate coating containing a roll¬†of licorice¬†horror (sorry to all people/animals/creatures who actually like licorice). You expect homogeneity but everything is far more complex than that. You see that¬†smile and associate it¬†with happiness, forgetting that it might also be¬†a silent expression of sadness. You slump against the pillow and associate its soft surface with comfort, forgetting why you had so yearned for¬†that comfort in the first place. You bite into the sweet chocolate layer, forgetting the undesired taste that lies within.

But then I’m thinking of how that smile is not just hiding pain, it is showing that you can stand up from that pain; how those tears are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength, a moment of catharsis; how eating that chocolate-covered licorice¬†might not have been very pleasant but¬†it¬†is a symbol of my ability to choose what I try and what I don’t try.

The good may disguise the bad, but we forget that the bad also disguises the good. A tough life does not equate to an unworthy one.

darkness alight

in darkness,
there is a silence
that steals away the
crowded noise
and leaves behind the
trickling of a shadow
a flicker of light
a rustling of leaves.
a subtle sign of life
breathing lullabies.

the wind evaporates,
the air so still and quiet
you could miss the
movement in its silence.
lingering pauses
cast upon the pavement
as I tread
between the noise
and step into the darkness.

a moment’s touch

Happiness. Such a perplexing¬†concept. Buddhism tells us that it’s a permanent state of enlightenment beyond temporary earthly attachments, and that like a lotus flower, you must first push through the muddy waters before you can blossom into something¬†so beautiful and breathtaking. Only when you undergo suffering can you achieve happiness.

Perhaps, in some respects, that is true. But I think that what makes happiness so special and so precious is that it’s fleeting, that it’s not permanent; like a moment’s touch, it warms you but does not stay with you forever. Only its impression lingers in your heart, a memory, a nostalgia for the present,¬†iridescent flashes¬†blurred into one chaotic emotion.

Be happy. A simple statement, a simple concept, but so eternally tangled in complexity and paradox. Some suggest that you are at your happiest when you forget about being happy, much like finding a key that only appears within your line of vision after you’ve stopped looking for it. Happiness is hearing a childhood tune. Eating a slice of chocolate cake. Laughing so hard your stomach aches. Wrapping yourself in warm blankets on a cold winter’s night. It is the rush of something so light yet so profound that clutches onto your heart momentarily before it lets go.

Like an autumn leaf descending, it flies with the wind and refuses to grow lifeless even as it becomes detached from its primary source of life.

Don’t find it, it’s not there

So you say that the world is meaningless and life is purposeless. That if you stripped everything down to its essence, there would be nothing. What is the point? There is none. People are searching for something that does not even exist.

Some pretty grim assertions you’re making here, but I gesture for you to continue.

You continue. And say how meaning doesn’t exist but we create meaning, that life is purposeless but we create purpose, that we are the ones who make nothing into something, who transform wind-blown trees and cloudless skies into metaphors, who paint the colour in this world.

And you say: don’t find it, it’s not there.

Create it.