You have my word.

Words have power: that must count for something.

Unnoticed and stepped on | A poem for an undoing

I am Autumn.

The crack of leaves without bitterness that often comes after breaking.

The shedding of what was and the waiting for what might.

I know it might not.

But I wait nevertheless.

I am fluttering gold and red but unnoticed and stepped on.

Fleeting.

Gone.

I bring warning of cold, but offer no warmth.

I promise change; I bait with nostalgia and follow with neglect.

An almost-cold forgotten encounter –

someone you once knew, someone you once kissed.

This is an undoing –

this

is

The Fall

of parts that once bore life.

Shedding.

New season like new skin.

Temporary.

I will not be here long. I will be here before you want.

A longing for eternal summer.

I bring relief – hellish reprieve from a heat you could never endure.

I smell of dust and root – forgotten underneath and ignored above.

You cannot keep me out.

I am here now, at your door, in your bed.

A shudder of urgency –

find safety, find strength.

I will come again but fear not.

I am the gentlest of these – a slow turn of leaf and green to brown.

Ground.

Root yourself.

Winds will come and you must stand firm.

I am no shelter.

I too shake before the winter.

a white blank page and a swelling rage

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Mumford and Sons were onto something. A white blank page and a swelling rage. So was Edward Bulwer-Lytton who first coined “The pen is mightier than the sword” in his historical play Cardinal Richelieu. The rage is why I write – I have experienced my fair share of rage, and I have filled my fair share of pages. Now I entreat you – I beseech you – write.

Write.

For the baby used as a battering ram – write. For the mother that accepted cash in exchange for not laying charges against her daughter’s gang-rapists – write. For the communities whose lives have been ravaged by fire – write. For the dictator pillaging lands that families call home – write. For the black man killed by white trigger – write.

For the store owner held at gun point for some spare change – write. For the riots that cloud the sound of what could have been a peaceful cause – write. For the baby boy wrapped and stuffed in a draw till death – write. For the drugs racing through stale veins – write. For the 2-year-old raped by brother, uncle, father, priest – write. For the hidden explosive no one has found yet – write. For the human heart eaten by human mouth – write. For the child taken and returned after seventeen years – write. For the country waiting with bated breath for justice that never comes – write.

For the knife that left his body as a hungry gaping hole – write. For the girl being bullied in the bathroom for her too-short hair – write. For the boy being bullied in the bathroom for loving another boy – write. For the next execution – write. For the next attack – write. For the next threat – write. For the next traumatised survivor that walks out dead inside – write. For the woman whose bruises match the handprints of several men – write. For the girl being forcefully corrected with a hosepipe – write. For the coma that keeps her in that clinical bed – write. For the teenager standing on the edge of a skyscraper with no fear left – write. For the fiancé paralysed for life and left to fend for himself – write.

For the flood that killed their kitten – write. For the queen who will never feel beautiful – write. For the policeman that smashed in her front teeth on the pavement – write. For the grandmother beaten in her sleep – write. For the baby found in a dumpster – write. For the homeless found in a dumpster – write. For the runaway found in a dumpster – write. For the 10-year-old pawned off in an arranged marriage – write. For the trigger-happy gunman in a school gym – write. For the next boy – next girl – sold for sex and slavery and shame – write. For the fear of being tied up and left for dead – write. For the school children who rape and film the rape of other school children – write. For the misguided drug smuggler – write.

For the 12-year-old found lifeless in his cupboard – write. For the parents who will never see their soldier-son again – write. For the badly made decisions of leaders – write. For the earthquake that kills the victor and the victims – write. For the house that fronts as orphanage and functions as sweat shop – write. For the woman with AIDS desperate to have a child – write. For the child with AIDS desperate for a mother – write. For the hosepipe filling a car – write. For the teacher who preys on pre-schoolers – write. For the pregnant mother bulldozed over in a quiet intersection – write.

For the nameless, faceless men and women who are never spoken about at all – write.

Write. If all you can do is lay words to a page, then do your part. Write. Feel the rage, and write.

—–

“And if you’re lost enough to find yourself”

Back out of all this now too much for us,
Back in a time made simple by the loss
Of detail, burned, dissolved, and broken off
Like graveyard marble sculpture in the weather,
There is a house that is no more a house
Upon a farm that is no more a farm
And in a town that is no more a town.
The road there, if you’ll let a guide direct you
Who only has at heart your getting lost,
May seem as if it should have been a quarry—
Great monolithic knees the former town
Long since gave up pretense of keeping covered.
And there’s a story in a book about it:
Besides the wear of iron wagon wheels
The ledges show lines ruled southeast-northwest,
The chisel work of an enormous Glacier
That braced his feet against the Arctic Pole.
You must not mind a certain coolness from him
Still said to haunt this side of Panther Mountain.
Nor need you mind the serial ordeal
Of being watched from forty cellar holes
As if by eye pairs out of forty firkins.
As for the woods’ excitement over you
That sends light rustle rushes to their leaves,
Charge that to upstart inexperience.
Where were they all not twenty years ago?
They think too much of having shaded out
A few old pecker-fretted apple trees.
Make yourself up a cheering song of how
Someone’s road home from work this once was,
Who may be just ahead of you on foot
Or creaking with a buggy load of grain.
The height of the adventure is the height
Of country where two village cultures faded
Into each other. Both of them are lost.
And if you’re lost enough to find yourself
By now, pull in your ladder road behind you
And put a sign up CLOSED to all but me.
Then make yourself at home. The only field
Now left’s no bigger than a harness gall.
First there’s the children’s house of
make-believe, Some shattered dishes underneath a pine,
The playthings in the playhouse of the children.

Weep for what little things could make them glad.
Then for the house that is no more a house,
But only a belilaced cellar hole,
Now slowly closing like a dent in dough.
This was no playhouse but a house in earnest.
Your destination and your destiny’s
A brook that was the water of the house,
Cold as a spring as yet so near its source,
Too lofty and original to rage.
(We know the valley streams that when aroused
Will leave their tatters hung on barb and thorn.)
I have kept hidden in the instep arch
Of an old cedar at the waterside
A broken drinking goblet like the Grail
Under a spell so the wrong ones can’t find it,
So can’t get saved, as Saint Mark says they mustn’t.
(I stole the goblet from the children’s playhouse.)
Here are your waters and your watering place.
Drink and be whole again beyond confusion.

- “Directive” by Robert Frost

Hey you, it’s ok | 60 things you never knew were ok

darkroom

It’s ok to get a little bit weary. It’s ok to lay the world and your shoulders to rest. It’s ok not to have all the answers – or even all the questions. It’s ok not to know exactly where you’re going. It’s ok to drag your feet a while you’re on your way to where you’re going. It’s ok not to want to move your feet at all. It’s ok to feel like you’re failing – like you’re choosing the easy way out. It’s ok to choose the easy way out, sometimes.

It’s ok to question what you’re worth. It’s ok not to feel worth anything at all – be open to others finding worth in you. It’s ok to be alone. It’s ok to be lonely, which is totally different kind of despair. It’s ok to need people. It’s ok not to need anyone at all, but don’t make a habit of pushing people away. It’s ok if you question actions – give intentions the benefit of the doubt.

It’s ok to spend a day in bed. It’s ok to spend two days in bed. It’s ok to want to stay in bed forever – but don’t. It’s ok to wear sunglasses inside sometimes – let your eyes adjust slowly to the light. It’s ok that your heart takes a little longer to adjust after being in darkness for so long. It’s ok to cry in the shower. It’s ok to cry anywhere – invest in cucumbers, potatoes, strawberries and aloe vera.

It’s ok if your jeans don’t fit perfectly. It’s ok to wear last season’s jeans. It’s ok to wear pyjamas… in the middle of the day. It’s ok to feel like sleeping to escape it all… sometimes – there is so much you’ll miss if you’re never awake. It’s ok to dream and be terrified. It’s ok to just be terrified – try dreaming.

It’s ok if you’re late for work because you overslept – just once though, you’re better than that. It’s ok to not wash dishes for a week because you only have enough motivation to clean yourself – it’s one or the other, you or the dishes. It’s ok to take medication – the right kind, the right amount – help is not weakness. It’s ok not to be strong all the time – you’ll find your roar again.

It’s ok to be happy around people who aren’t. It’s ok not to be happy too. It’s ok to disturb your neighbours at 2am… because you’re laughing so loudly. It’s ok to shout just as loudly – not at 2am. It’s ok to hate 2am because you like yourself least at that time. It’s ok not to like yourself from 2am till 2pm, but use the other 12 hours to love yourself. It’s ok to love others boldly. It’s ok if you find it hard to love yourself the same way – try.

It’s ok that you’re still sitting reading this when you know you could be doing a hundred other things. It’s ok to admit you can only do one things at a time. It’s ok to put off that one thing… for a short period of time. It’s ok to mess up – forgive yourself. It’s ok to feel hurt. It’s ok to want to hurt others for hurting you – don’t. It’s ok to help others even if they don’t want you to, but need you to. It’s ok to let others need you.

It’s ok to admit defeat. It’s ok to eat chocolate and drink wine to make yourself feel better. It’s ok if you need a psychologist to get better. It’s ok when nothing makes you feel better – your time will come. It’s ok to take your time getting better – everyone heals in their own way. It’s ok to get a little bit weary. It’s ok to lay the world and shoulders to rest. It’s ok not to have all the answers. It’s ok to only know it’s ok.

It is ok. You are ok. Everything is ok.

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