poem: Genie in a Bottle

For Moms

Grant me non-bleeding nipples
Grant me a well fed babe
Grant me Freedom
from the breast pump
Before I go insane.

We fear the imperfect
We mistake the Ideal
as Natural
We worry we fret we believe
In battle.

Baby formula!
You’re a genie in a bottle.
For if I can’t survive the now
There’s not going to be a tomorrow.

 

The Day I took my Past to the Park

One day I took my tainted past to a secluded park. I’d stopped working on it, pushed it to the back of my mind, where it became the ghost of my shadow, a secret too painful to keep. Now I laid it on the grass, a coward’s confession to a non-verbal audience.

All the while, however, the sky stayed sunny. The breeze did not avoid me. Squirrels did not start throwing stones at me. Trees rustle, birds chirp, as they always do. Their unanimous non-response startled the voices in my head, a quiet coup to their self-righteousness.

My recklessness, my mistakes, my so-called ruined-ness, now looks no bigger than a fly on the buddha’s shoulder. It hopped on the wind and rode away.

Quiet pooled around me like water, dissolving the cracked, dried stains of my life and carry away with it my fossilized tears.

an invocation: Your Highness, Come!

(when you sit still/meditate, and look for your yearning, and let that grow into a vision…)

Your Highness, Wings of Magnificence, Dancing Priestess of Artistic Expression, Come! Fly over my ship so that I can follow you! Let me ride on the moving island that is your stretched out wings and soar to our hearts’ desire!

I’ve felt you doing jumping jacks inside my heart, knocking atoms into a mexican wave all the way to my shoulders. I’m ready, I’m ready! Break my skin and grow me some wings!

Let me grab you by your claws and swing into a long-awaited life-saving airlift from the dirt of life to which I had banished myself, when I used to devalue my life based on society’s lies. Let me bury my face into the hairs on the back of your neck for comfort. Let me lose my hold, tumble and roll across your back as you play, I’ll be okay.

Because I’d rather be wild and scared with you than see you caged, or watch you die. Because even when you turn midnight blue and cry tears of pain and exhaustion, I’m no longer crying alone. And we know that wings open and close, just as flowers do, just as seasons change. Because when our heart beat as one, finally we know, finally we are. It is a feeling of forever. A forever power. A feeling of profound peace like your life is complete, while at the same time finally ready to live.

Your Highness, Feathered Creature of Freedom! I beg you to wake now and burst into the sky and make a storm of rainbows with your plumage! Come be my guide and let me make you a priority! I’m not really sure where you’ll take me but I want to go. Because you are the essence of me I wish to fully become. Unapologetically.

you were born a star

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Image: Total Eclipse Australia | NASA

(This came out when I was in need of some mental pampering…writing therapy for self.)

You were born a star, like the sun. Growing up and learning to be good and normal was a path to the total eclipse you’re in now.

But you see, no celestial body could block out all of your light. Your light is spilling out from behind the edges, unmistakably, defiantly, undeniably.

Your brightness is undeniable.

Your true being is unconcealable.

You were always on a natural course to be fully seen again.

Lavishly,
Love x

a sonnet: Through an Eternal Overcast

During a writing course I took recently, I wrote a sonnet. Dedicated to my friend, C.C, an artist’s soul embittered by an unrewarding working life. Yet, if we have a passion, hobby, an obsession, we have an exit towards joy and connection.

 

Through an Eternal Overcast

England is an eternal overcast.
Traditions too, on a sensitive mind.
If family is no home for an outcast
Will you make sure my friend’s not left behind?
She rages against eternal Mondays,
A sign of life, as vivid as her veins,
Throbbing with art to explode into rays
That puncture the grey skies of all her pains.
Friend, you burn holes with your pen. If you dare
To write yourself across your face, and link
Each pore into constellations so rare,
To write “star struck” would be a waste of ink.
Who knows what’s in Destiny’s crystal ball.
Life is pain, but your art will free us all.

an introvert who won’t stop talking

Talking, if you ask me, may look like a function of being human, but it is like trying to cross four lanes of two way traffic in China where there isn’t a crosswalk for another mile. I’ve spent most of my life standing on the edge assessing the traffic of conversation, only to keep missing my chances. Sometimes I puff up and take a step, only to be a millisecond too slow for the appropriate lapse between comments, and I’m ran over by someone coming faster and louder.

It had costed me everything from face-burning shame and haunting regrets, to stomach-knotting anguish and heart-stabbing pain, that many a night I swore into my tear-soaked pillow that I shall never, ever, utter another word except “Yes”, “OK” and “Thank you”. Even “Hi” must be taken off the table.

Social media has provided a crosswalk where there was none. I will no longer miss my turn, I will no longer be talked over. I can even start my own conversation and go at my own pace! I was crippled, and now I walk. A beating heart being brave and talking to the world.

Until nobody likes.
And all you hear back is crickets.

I sat in the dark clutching my phone and swear that I will never, ever, spend another second writing another stupid post about my stupid thoughts and feelings that nobody cares to know.

I sink into the dark ocean of loneliness.
No more pain.
No more noise.
The world does not need me.

Even though the world does not need me, when morning comes and I see people and evidence of love and solidarity, I yearn. I yearn for connection, I yearn to be seen. I yearn to be seen like I never was. If the world does not care, then the world does not care what I say and how much I post.

I’m conservative in looks, but I’m a rebel in my bone marrow. I croaked my first “Hi” at the boys standing in the lunch line. Even flashed them a smile and took them by surprise. I shouted one of their names across the gym like I was a cheerleader. It worked for him, though I’d never felt so much shame for a success. I have the strength and determination to make myself speak against my nature, I can make myself say things that are waiting to burst forth like fireworks.

I won’t let it go unsaid that sometimes I do get likes and comments that lift me up into the clouds where all the angels live. They’ve shown me the way home. But all the likes and comments and love shown are not a solid enough ground to stand on. The antidote to this dangerous sport is, perhaps, to learn from the local Chinese gliding through the four lanes of two way traffic, undaunted by provoking an occasional held-down honk: Knowing that you are entitled to the road as much as the cars and other people.

 

a poem: Bubbles to her ponytail

A poem that’s not risen from an abyss but dropped from heaven. Based on a true day at the park (lol)

~Bubbles to her ponytail~

The sun arrived with us at the wooded park.
I took the bottle of soapy water
Sold four for a dollar, and blew
Transparent pearls to her ponytail.

Her cheeks are full and golden like a freshly baked cream puff.
I blow a kiss through the hoop.
Up and down, up and down
Bubbles flow like musical notes
Of a song about birds and rivers.

She’s fixated on other things.
The tactility of mulch, or the possibility
Of hidden treasure.
My floating kisses skim over
The top of her ponytail.

And from the far side boys come running,
Arms flailing and legs tripping,
Crashing their boyish might on every bubble.
They laugh as they run, coming too close.
She stays unmoved in her peril,
Still pondering her handfuls.
The wind carries my next breath of bubbles
Whistling for the boys to follow.

I hope she doesn’t mind, my darling daughter,
That I’m having rather a lot fun
Watching the boys chase fairies.

a poem: Couple

(Hi All, this is a piece of creative writing)

“Couple”

A couple posts their engagement photo,
A picture dripping in honey
Swarmed by blessings and envy.

He wraps his arms around
Her shoulders like a rubber band.
Both are dressed in tank tops,
Entangled by their gaze
and naked arms.

Their love is in full bloom.
A magnificent beginning
Of love’s unfolding.

Petals fall out like hair.
But we stay put, for we know
There’s a tiny, pale and sour fruit
Ripening with the seasons.

Flowers and fruit
Are many and sweet.
And they wither like youth.
What’s left of love
Are dry and tough
As branches.

Will you keep believing,
Keep watering and sheltering,
Until the time comes
For another blossom?

I wonder when was the last time
I had as much skin to skin
With my husband.

relationship status: it’s complicated

Some people write Facebook posts about how lucky they are to have their great and loving mother-in-law. I have, in case you haven’t noticed, been secretly doing the opposite here. When I used to hide it all behind a weak smile, thinking I wasn’t supposed or allowed to feel such a thing, a dark venomous slick sprawled all over the walls of my heart.

We can all be amazing people with the best intentions and golden hearts. But circumstances, context, fatigue and life challenges can make bitches out of us.

Last night I went to the window and saw her bent over the flower bed. We had just finished eating dinner that she made. I was just throwing invisible arrows at her back. But now, thirty meters away, with a wall and window between us, she seems more like an ordinary, humble, wounded animal.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered towards her. “I know what it looks like. I’m the Blastoise, the tortoise Pokemon with machine guns popping out of its shell. I may be quiet and slow moving, but I’m not a friendly creature when I’m around you. You don’t deserve this, for all the things you do that make my life easier. It’s just that there’s a part of me who is still a sensitive, scared and insecure budding mom. I need to protect and give her room to grow.”

I waited, but that was all. No love, hugs, or promises that the Blastoise will go away. But perhaps, beginning on this day, whenever I feel any gentleness towards my mother-in-law, any tender respect, reluctant gratitude, or retrospective understanding, I will not stump it to preserve my victimhood. Instead, I’ll let it flow. To trickle through the vast space between us, an inch at a time. To swirl and begin to wash away the venom built up in my heart.

the least grateful mantra

One night as my blood boiled at 12am from experiencing all the unfairness, weaknesses, mess-ups and stuck-ness of life and myself, I searched in the dark for that miracle creature that’s supposed to make even the most miserable people happy: Gratitude.

I have not done my gratitude practice for months because: 1) The day is obviously 30 seconds too short for anyone to have time for deciding and writing down the happiest moment of their day. 2) There are a couple things that I wish to/should/must be grateful for, but I can’t feel it. And that’s where my mind likes to get hung up on. It gets too busy feeling a lack of gratefulness to notice the little things like friendship, husband, health, stability, etc.

In my dark hell of a mind I would not have found anything to be grateful for. But I breathed out and felt “Hmmm it feels so good to finally lie down on the bed.”

Finally, the tail of Gratitude brushes past my fingertips. I held on. Actually it might just be its toe nails. But I saw it as a miracle nonetheless. I recited silently “I’m grateful I get to lie down now. I’m grateful I get to lie down now in a very comfortable bed. (body sinking a little deeper into the mattress). A very comfortable bed indeed with pillows and covers…”

It’s like drinking milk after you’ve eaten some hot jalapenos. Then I drift off to sleep as if I have not had a bad day at all.