I look back at 2018 as being a very strange time, but whatever my disappointments were, I ball it all into a scrap piece of paper and throw it in the garbage. It’s time to start anew, but in a different way this time. I go into 2019 knowing full well what I want, even if it means I won’t get it. I think that the journey, as I settle in my makeshift boat and watch the waters below me, has been enough so far. As a writer one always hopes to be read, but that doesn’t happen very often, at least as one would like. I’m here figuring out what this urgency to write means and now just now enjoying it as some would say as a hobby, a past time, something you say dismissively to someone at a party, a strange affair with the self I suppose, wanting and loving it so much, and sometimes in secret, scolding yourself later for giving out more information then needed. Ah, yes me, the pen, and paper- the only relationship that has lasted so long.
My main goal is to keep posting, keep reading others works and being inspired as I tip toe this very new land I find myself seriously venturing into for the first time. But I have specific reading goals, and books I’ve been meaning to read but never really do. I plan on reading James Joyce’s Ulysses for the month of January. It was a banned book, seems difficult to grasp-which intrigues me and I’m curious to see if I would get it on the first round of reading.
I would also like to achieve Crow Pose for my yoga practice, to be able to balance my weight on my two arms would be a beautiful moment. A nice little chapter to say: I can truly hold myself up even as I face the ground, to be able to hold one’s weight in the world, to know I can, to know I can succeed even as it feels as though I can no longer balance myself against the strong winds of the changing times and moods of the world.
I have made this little book into an oracle of sorts. If I feel lost or a sadness has come to visit me a while and I no longer have the patience to host this visitor, I take the little book, close my eyes and flip to a page, and there will be my antidote, the elixir to help me on my way.
Rumi will always move me, even if some days I feel like a statue. Reading even a couple of lines softens me and reminds me of my humanity. He always feel like a hand on my shoulder letting me know to always look for the Divine. And the Divine is the confirmation that our soul is light and will lead us in the right direction, to love.
Love is an attribute of God wanting nothing repentance is an attribute of man, it is a worm to Love’s dragon, absurd in God’s presence. Love for anything but Him is unreal for that which is not Him is a gilded object shining outside yet empty inside, light and golden on the outside yet dark within. The moment divine light disappears darkness is revealed and unreal love is extinguished like a candle, the body is discarded and beauty returns to its source. The moonlight goes back to the moon and its reflection disappears from the black wall. Divine love is the sun of perfection the Divine Word is its Light and the creatures are its shadow.
Two is my favorite word. Two, to, too, too. Two divided in each hand as one. The tongue halfway on the roof of the mouth on the too, the tah, the two, the to somewhere, the too too and two fingers symbolizing peace, pointer and middle scissors cutting in two halves and halves together is a whole and whole can be severed in two broken hearts: two souls shattered to pieces, to glass that injures and bleeds two by two, by two drops falling into the mouth that sings too, trilling the vocal chords two by two, by two, plucking the soul strings so that two came to, too.
What is it about two? Two things, two hearts, two souls, two bodies, one to each and to each one too, and matters to, that the two can come together as one whole but can be severed in two again, broken too by two by two by two.
I love the word two, the woo silent, the tee resilient cutting the tongue, the middle caressing the half, halfway meeting the lines inside the opening of a sentence that can drain into the throat two by two, swallowed and nourished for the purpose, just to. Two, too, to we go, hand in hand, one by one, two together or apart but always two.
“two is my favorite word too” you say. I smile, two lips, two eyes, two ears that eager at every syllable that makes their way out of your lips, and I admire those two eyes, two ears, those lips that pucker to say, “two”.
Adrienne Rich’s Twenty-One Love Poems are something to behold. Poem XX is the one that moved me, the one that shed a light on something within me I needed to understand, about what the soul is, what the soul is made of.
“That conversation we were always on the edge of having, runs on in my head”, what is this conversation? The internal monologue we have, that inner voice that gathers our intuition and hands it to us. I then read it over and over sharpening my understanding of the soul. Is it a mirror, reflecting the vulnerabilities of ourselves we hide? Not necessarily. We are so prone to continue this life ignoring ourselves for the sake of having a life people think is worth living. There comes a time though, a small moment, where we see ourselves, and the neglect that has caused our grief, “…drowning in secrets, fear wound round her throat”. This grief we try to set aside, throw whatever we can at it, but it’s still determined to creep up when we believe to have defeated it. Our soul is not a mirror, but it will show us what we have been neglecting, how we have been hurting. And then, the sudden realization that we can indeed have a hand at shaping our soul, to have a hand at expanding and growing by nourishing it, to realize it is ours, it is mine, “and soon I shall know I was talking to my own soul”.
This was my interpretation of it and sometimes I wonder if I’m right or wrong. But then again, even though the writer had a certain intention with it, how it is received is something entirely different. I like to think of poetry and other art forms like a road sign, something that highlights what you’ve been mulling over and over again in the palm of your hands, and at times medicine, an elixir that brings the understanding you need in order to continue on.
And now I ask, what has moved you on this Monday, or lately?
What if you could get a snapshot of the last thing your loved one saw before they died? Or a sound recording of what they were thinking before the heart hits the brakes? Would the death be less hurtful? Will we begin to love them or hate them fully then? What if they told us how they feel, how they really felt when they were able to?
How vulnerable do we feel when we let it all in though? To be
viewed as a public park, everyone pissing everywhere, throwing their garbage
where they stand and moving on not noticing the trash cans here and there. The snapshot
of a fleeting memory, a blurry sight, as if through tears, of someone throwing
their shit around you not caring how it will be received. A photographic memory
hurts, to see and remember everything with such clarity as everyone else
fumbles around you trying to remember what they ate for lunch yesterday.
What if you could get a piece, some kind of fabric that will
let you feel what they felt the moment they breathed their last breath? As you
wrap it around your person, does the guilt stab a part of you, the part of you
that knew what to say and when to say it but never said it, does the guilt fill
the broken parts of you, the pieces stinging in defense, feeling too broken to
fully love in return, even if the dying person caused you to be a broken thing
in the first place?
Last night, I dreamed someone gave me a snapshot of the last
thing my great aunt saw before she died- a constellation of stars in the dark, navy
sky. I felt relieved. I felt absolved of the pain I felt for not holding the
woman who gave some meaning to my life before she died. Ah, to see the
possibility of the beyond in the glittery skies, to see the infinite, the hope,
the sincere hope that there is no end, just a leap into something else that marks
a chapter finished, that marks the trail end, that marks the path done and done.
I have not done any damage, I have not caused so much pain, there was a hope I
did not kill with my carelessness.
They took the picture back and I continued walking on a dirt path, someone handed me a mug of water and I drank deeply sighing into myself. I held the mug close to my chest and I awoke holding my hands, the mug no longer there. The banging of the heater brought me back, the reality insisting as the spiritual plane draws back as a veil, the gossamer curtains swaying slowly back into place.
don’t die young and empty fists and fists and they insist don’t lie down with the image of risks taken on a promise that the feeling will be coming and becoming lightning in the stillness of noon don’t go just yet fisted fists angrily clenched they will insist on filling up to the brim open your hand and take take and take the inheritance of greed straddled around your neck and the ache it aches to keep wanting long after the disappearance of taste
What does it mean to be moved? Moved to tears? to anger? to sadness? to happiness? Something within us stirs and is alive waiting for anything that has the capacity to brighten or dim, to enhance or mute, to grow or to shrink. As a creative person, as a writer, and as a human being I want to talk about what moves me, and what stays with me. So, I want to share pieces of work that has moved something within me, that has stirred my essence, and has eventually stained a bit of my existence.
In “Gabriel’s Wing”, Allama Iqbal’s constant questioning of “mine or Yours?” has stayed with me ever since I came across the poem five years ago. My own spiritual journey is holy at this moment, to the point that it feels a little difficult to fully share. I started this journey around the time I read this poem. “Mine or Yours?” the responsibility of life, of being, touching upon the idea of perfection and the faults. When some of us finally arrive to the threshold of our God, we have our arms wide open and in need of the embrace of the Divine. Our own notions of a pure love is sort of tainted a bit by the idea of mother and father, so we arrive here- ‘my maker’ and assign them the role of mother and father. I couldn’t help but to think of when a child has done something wrong, the father looks over to the mother to say, ‘that’s your child not mine’ when reading this poem. We somehow take it upon ourselves that this must be a collaborative work, me and God, God as the parent but also us creating our God and confusingly God creating us. We’re here wondering if everything we see is ours or God’s. When everything is not perfect as we think it should be, whose fault is that? We either think too much or too little of ourselves, so it’s natural that we think too much or too little of God.
No matter where one is on their spiritual journey, there’s always this sincere questioning of God. The God we are taught about, the God we don’t see, the God we do see, and the God we wish could be if only people try to believe enough. But here Iqbal questions everything we are aware of so far; if heaven is corrupted, is it God’s heaven or my heaven? If I’m ignorant of the world’s woes, is it God’s fault or mine? If all of life is truly meaningless, am I to blame or can I blame God for that? Should I know of Your faults God, how an angel dared to rebel at the moment of You showing Your magnificent powers of creation, will that make You weaker in my eyes, should it affect my devotion to you? Everything that is holy is Yours God but didn’t I, as a human being, had a hand in writing those words? And me, a human you made, am I still Yours God, will you still claim me God if I’m no longer perfect in your eyes or will I stand alone?
If we want to be skeptical, we could say all of this is ours. The reality here is ours and we should accept blame where blame is due. When a human being decides to harm others, God didn’t reach within them and move them to destroy another’s world the same way Satan did not move them to do the same. So, this God we question is the likeness we seek. We wish to put a mirror to our faults and yet we shy away at the last minute: ‘there must be something grand that can take all the blame, both good and bad, I don’t want the responsibility of all of that’.
For me, God is not a man in the sky, and we are not made in that man’s likeness. I’m confident I know for sure what God isn’t, but I still don’t fully know what God truly is. My own journey is still roving. I’m still trying to figure out what God is. I came across Simone Weil’s words today, “Love needs reality. What is more terrible than the discovery that through a bodily appearance we have been loving an imaginary being” (from “Love”, Simone Weil: An Anthology) and it stirs up that feeling again when I question my devotion to a God I chose to believe in; how could I love someone I don’t see? To be asked to take things on faith and faith alone is an exercise of the heart’s will, its capacity to love, and a test to our humanity. What makes us real,what makes us human? Hoping for an all-powerful being we can’t see to love us as we are is a ridiculous endeavor. It makes people angry and upset to say that, hell it makes me upset to even say it. So, when I read “Gabriel’s Wing”, it brought to my attention my creator and the responsibility of things whether they are perfect or not, and are these things perfect in the first place if they could change with perspective and blame?
I know what God is not through these questions. For now, I am content in the unraveling of this spiritual world as a new one blooms before me, with me before it, understanding everything from questioning everything I’ve been told about it.
“Gabriel’s Wing” is a piece of work that has stained me, not a day goes by where I don’t think about it. The line, “and man, that thing of dust, that star whose shining lights your world-” is a line that makes me smile. There’s always that residue left within us, like a child looking up at their parent, whether joyful or sad, how powerful are we to have that capacity to light up someone’s world, aren’t we something?