Category: prose

girl smiling on a haystack

forgiveness

I said I’d be up early today. I got up late and dozed in and out and got up even later. I said I wouldn’t eat late… but I definitely had a cookie close to midnight. I said I’d develop a writing practice – everyday, write for 30 minutes. I have yet to start. I said I’d spend more time in devotion, in ceremony with my Beloved. I have yet to craft the time. I said I’d workout, move my body, lighten its density. I have yet to start… re-start? I have said many things, many, many things: do more of this, less of that, create more this, spend more time with that. So many intentions. But here I am at 7:30 am knowing the only thing I have time for is a quick morning page, another quick meditation, a quick card pull… I’d like to slow down. Create my own vacuum, allow myself the grace to be in presence, where all the doing feeds my being. Where can I start?

f o r g i v e n e s s

Perhaps now it is time to view all my lovely intentions as less of correcting errors and flaws, and more of perfecting a masterpiece.

palm tree

la doña, a poem

she laughed in contra-alto melancholy
even and measured in wild rhythms
her allure was the spice and honey of which dreams are made
every woman’s most primal desire, every man’s most hushed secret
she lived her life in sweeping whites and blood-stained reds
gap-toothed and dewy-skinned, she bathed her curls daily in jasmine water
her thighs were home to the most straight-backed of generals
she was the reason why wives slept uncomfortably at night
her ears the refuge of said wives by mid-morning
she taught them to tuck lavender oils behind their ears
to sip lemon-water upon waking
she was madam to no one, the community’s untouchable treasure
little children followed her in the marketplace
she danced among them with pineapple caught between her teeth
sharing what she owned with all who asked
she was never in want and never in need and never lacking and never for anyone
so when her hair grew from raven black to a foggy quiet grey
when the tight smoothness of her cheeks relaxed
when her skin started to emanate jasmine on its own accord
her male callers and female companions prepared her home
they gathered orchids and water lilies and roses
they prepared stories and taught their unborn Cofán songs
they lined the perimeter of her mossy home with gerberas and ginger
they rubbed her fingers, the ones that comforted them with coconut oil
as she laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed until their eyes filled and lifted and danced
melancholy hushing into celebration of la doña

cry, baby | prose

Big girls don’t cry.
She cried at work today. Big, saltine tears that heated her cheeks and embarrassed her. She grasped at her dignity, and even it turned from her. The overwhelm of it made her stoop and here she was – bubbling, feeling, silly. Tongue treading lightly in her mouth – dry and moist and numb. The rising heat in her cheeks surprised her, the warm water unable to be dammed up any longer by lower eyelids. She became a wreck no sooner than she began the acknowledgement. But oh the embarrassment of aiming to be great and realising you are not the perfection of Mt Olympus! Her body did not shake, her fingers did not fail to clutch her Kleenex tight. She was defeated and only her brown eyes told the story; mascara failing to proof them. Her emotions betrayed her with uncompassion. What the fuck! Her apologies were prolific, her shame even greater and her tears the truest icing. So she breathed at work today. She took a breath amidst eyes the rawest red and she remembered her humanity. This was her only flipping comfort.

The Identity of Excellence | a thought

I care little for the man you want me to believe you are

The brilliant, clever man whose charms curry favours out of the most stingy
Whose smiles allows access to seats for the exclusive
I care little for the man who presents himself to me at dinner
The palate of a man who snacks on the streets of Singapore
Who dines under Eiffel lights in cities that colour my romantic dreams
You are Ivy League appropriate, a master of many kinds
You are honour roll superior, the innovative creator among peers
I don’t care enough for him
Rarely do I give thought to the flashing shine of your exterior
It’s gorgeous in its own right
I imagine many lie naked until the impression of the man you posture
But not enough, not to scratch surfaces that pique my interest
Give me the young one underneath
The one who wakes confused in cold sweats
Grappling with reconciling the sum of his parts, the parts that make his sum
Introduce me to the man who is afraid to cry, the man who cannot afford to
The real man who has believed the lies of the real man persona
Tell me those stories, the ones hardest to tell
The ones you shudder at, the ones you have to dredge up from nearing empty wells
The ones you never even tell yourself
Beneath the paper-white certificates, there are scars
I want those stories
These are the jigsaw pieces that draw me most
Allow me to share in the pieces

a tear at the seams

a shade of something unexpected: a tear at the seams

  who knew that thursday afternoon, in the crisp of change between autumn and winter there was a cave waiting to swallow her up finally? the cold unforgiving concrete would remind her of a vulnerability she had been refusing to acknowledge over the past few months. everything in life needed her. her mother refused to refrain from calling to remind her how she should have remained in law school, in between sobs of new wounds inflicted by the second husband to walk out. her boyfriend had decided to move out; this time for good, yet resorted to 4am half-crazed texts of how they were always meant for each other. even her goldfish, Fran, couldn’t stop making kissing faces when she returned from her daily half-hour jogs, as begging for food and mocking her at the same time. she thought many times of flushing it. yet, like the recent leeches in her life, she couldn’t bring herself to yell into the fishbowl and demand some respite.  her semi-recent firing had taken her back to the streets and scentless job offices, putting up fake smiles to mask the glaring incompetency of potential employers. her girlfriends were all either getting engaged, calling off engagements, canceling coffee dates, barely altogether present at said coffee dates or … something else … she was never sure. she would often catch an exchanged glance, but she had become too tired to question it. hers was to keep trucking along, reply mother gracefully and firmly, avoid eye contact with potential suitors who licked their lips in suggestion, and convince herself that unrequited text messages were quite alright. everyone’s just busy this time of year anyway. hers was to keep her fridge stocked with fruits and veggies and a kitchen cabinet decorated with Special K and various wines. for herself. for friends. for her mother. hers was to make sure 6am never saw her in bed. that she smiled into baby carriages as she huffed by in sweats. that sunday mornings were spent in downward dog. hers was to make sure 7am was complete with mac foundation and her favourite lipstick. job interview number six this week and this one seemed more promising. she made made sure to look especially cute, especially professional, especially confident. heels clamoured out of her apartment, with an apple in tow. early, but moving as if tardy, she weaved through human traffic at rush hour, dodging untrained dogs and businessmen clearly fresh out of college on cell phones. one even ventured a suggestive smile, Starbucks in one hand, Blackberry in the other. and just as she prepared to reciprocate, she was unduly shoved from somewhere, tripped over something else and landed ungracefully – suddenly – and unceremoniously upon her ass. nothing could have broken the dam more unexpectedly. heat boiled over cauldron fire scalded her face and mother’s complaints, mixed with last week’s 3 bottles of Merlot with friends, seasoned with the recent breakup overran her soul. only cold asphalt reminded her of where on earth she was. she stayed put, cleansing a system clogged with everyone else’s sins and guilty pleasures. she rummaged for Kleenex. spent and still sobbing, she sat for what felt like hours. she didn’t see or hear the hands that picked her up and placed her folders filled with resumes back into her hands.  she didn’t smell the warmth of coffee enveloping her.  she didn’t smell the creamer and brown sugar.  she didn’t hears the whispers of what could have been several throats. all she remembered when she finally pulled together the nerve to re-touch up her foundation and  lipstick was the anonymous sticky note on the most crumbled resume that said “it’s ok. we all go through it. now do damage and get that job!” and as Fran kissed her arrival at the door later that day and again when she emerged from her bedroom in pajama bottoms with Merlot in tow, she smoothed out the crumpled manuscript and hung it on her fridge to remember. yes, sometimes we just need to stop and remember.

Emptying Ashtray

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Chain Smoker” by Muju
She lights her own fire. Like running through wind that breathes through untamed curls, she was once upon a time everything and enough. Akin to heated sands under soles, she carried perfected satisfaction in her aura. Warm moonlight over candlelit dinner, she was the excitement of red red lipstick and raven black hair. Everything she was we wanted to be. Her life was all highlight reel. 
But people forget that reels need to be changed. 
And in the quiet of changing, she existed in unlit tight spaces. A now shadowy creature, her smile became sluggish movement to clean up after a midnight house party. No one helped pick up empty wine bottles, but everyone wanted an invitation in the mail. Guests forgot scrubbing finger smudges on the walls takes more hands than just one pair. In the quiet of changing, she quicksand sunk and hibernated, discarded like the ashen dust from now abandoned ashtrays. 
Just the night before diamond-studded fingers kept the trays warm and burning. Not now. She stood on her balcony at the crack of dawn, watching the moon yawn into a bed of colourless clouds, emptying ashtrays and wondering why no one stayed round to help clean up.

Day One. Based on Violet

I ran into this old blog post today. For the life of me, I cannot remember whether I wrote this while inspired by Violet, or whether this passage came from the book itself, the way I tagged the original post tell me otherwise… 
——
8.8.2012
I’m currently reading Jazz by Toni Morrison (just started it) and thought about the character Violet, who I find delightfully complex.

If I could paint I would have painted her. In maybe and white-washed earth tones. She was too tired for this side of existence. And she let her aching mind dictate her body what it will. Thin arms held too many babies. Withered fingers wove into the day crisscross patterns meant to support everyone. Everyone. It became her daily agenda. So on this day she awoke before sunlight could yawn over her home. She placed one foot in front of the next, barely trusting herself to keep this organization. Until her left foot took a step backward and she sat down. Her body slumped into the exhaustion her veins kept pumping. She misjudged the place her body chose as safe. It was too late anyway. She rested her body in the middle of Parkson Avenue and decided, her mind decided, no more. With open eyes to greet the world that worked her, she rested. Her skin finally embracing a rose colour in her cheeks.