A dark greyish picture of a mirror reflecting a tree.
thoughts

Beware the Mirror: the Not-Hidden Message Written on its Surface

When I see you, I believe it’s a mirror. You become a reflection of what I want to appear. Or should I say, not myself, as of now. This moment, like every moment before, I want to forget.

If only, I could see a memory. Then, I can make it real. Watch it become reality so I can change it. Or, give it a new name as if to say, ‘I own this thing too.’

There is no smoke & mirrors. Everything about this image is real. What isn’t, however, is my perception. Like, how I can look into a mirror and see myself reflected back. This is really me, except it isn’t. What I see is light refracted through the glass and my eyes making sense of it.

Science says, this is how a mirror works. And I think that’s right until I look into one. Then, I remember what Nietzsche said about staring into an abyss. A demon always glares back with my own eyes. See? No one has to teach a body how to despise itself.

It’s like the mirror reveals the worst in people. Brings out what’s hidden in darkness into light so it cannot be avoided. You ever try running away from the sun? Even a shadow can’t hide behind something when light discovers it. The same goes for the mirror. It says, I cannot hide from myself forever.

A mirror taught me about self-hate and its consequences. How you can love yourself a little less, the longer you stare into it. Find flaws you never cared about before. Secrets exposed for only you to see. It seems that light is just as blinding as the dark.

It’s like a mirror is a vacuum into another world. Maybe what I see isn’t a reflection, but my soul being pushed out into someone else. It works like love but more sinister.

Self-hate had me searching for reasons to hate myself. A mirror was my way to seek answers. Saw myself instead, as if this was the confirmation I wanted. And soon, the question of who am I became why aren’t I.

Or maybe, I’m the mirror. Broken, I can fix. Yet, will always see cracks on its surface. Funny how something as tough as glass can shatter so easy. You’re likely to cut your fingers putting its shards back together. It’s like the mirror says, ‘healing can hurt the skin as much as the wound inflicted upon it.’

A fixed mirror never works the way it did. It’s known that light refracts differently on cracked surfaces. Images become distorted as if trying to maintain its shape despite the fractures. Eventually, we look a little less human.

Then, we start acting like it. Become the monsters the mirror reveals us as. That’s why, we look for ourselves in other people. How do we call this love when no good comes from it? The heart beats and is beaten into submission. Why I’d rather see myself in a shattered mirror.

I hated my reflection so much, I punched the glass to break it. When only my knuckles bled, I realized how hate can turn into pain. And how human evolution is best seen in ways we destroy ourselves. Just look how quickly arrows and stones turned into guns and bombs. And how quickly I went from being outraged to enraged. 

And how I blamed you.

I mean, you should’ve told me about mirrors. About the bad luck of breaking one. That it curses you longer than a measly seven years. That the walls become mirrors themselves when you scream at them. That an echo is nothing more than a reflection of sound. That my own voice would get tired of speaking when it’s not being listened to.

You should’ve told me about myself. About where I fit into this world. That I do fit in this world. That I’m not a puzzle piece & that it’s okay if I don’t fit correctly into the ‘right spot’. That there aren’t any right spots. That there isn’t a puzzle or a shattered mirror. That glass, no matter how small, reflects an image as its seen. That I’m tougher than glass. That a reflection doesn’t reflect a lack of soul searching. You should’ve told me something.

Or maybe, I should apologize. Say sorry for not listening when you tried to speak.

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thoughts

No More Gardens of Eden: A Warning to Anyone Telling us this Food is Forbidden

There’s a war happening. Starvation is the motive and food has become weapons of mass destruction. And this is all your doing. You’ve created world hunger. In fact, you’re the one who designed the blueprint. You feel nothing from those who died. Instead, you build slaughterhouses on their graves.

We know all this, and yet somehow, we feel sorry for you.

When we were children, we truly believed you knew everything. I mean, how could we think otherwise? Who you were: the adults, the politicians, the parents, the teachers, the authority figures. So when we asked questions about the world, why did this evoke fear and anger?

The world is a big kitchen. You built its fridge, the cabinets, stove, and microwave. And even though they’re faulty and outdated, I should tell you we’re grateful. Truly, we are. That’s why, all we ask to know is how these appliances function. Through understanding, we can learn how to fix them. So they’ll be as good for us as they once were for you. Yet for some reason, you don’t tell us.

As if the bolts and screws are these delicate things we can’t handle. That our hands are too small to pick up the tool box where you’ve “conveniently” put on the highest shelf to be out of reach. You tell us, the world works the way it does because that’s how it is. What you really mean to say: the world can only work the way we say it does. And how is this fair?

Our childlike eyes must give you the impression of blissful ignorance. That we look at this stove and fridge as a toy. Like the way children look at pots and pans as drumsticks on rough surfaces. But as we’re taught—we can learn from suffering. When hungry, we learned the usage of pots and pans is to give us food.

You don’t think we can comprehend the reason of things? Even with little knowledge of a kitchen, we know it’s purpose is to prepare food. And the world works the same way. It’s here to give us a place to live. We’re alive simply because the world exists. So why won’t you tell us how this works?

I think you’re afraid to tell us. Because then, we’d know that you have no idea. The world is what it is because you’ve made it that way. The truth is, you need the world to act this way because you know no other way to live.

This is how it was when you were young and it must remain. Your fear is irrational and change turns into a phobia. For you, handing us the tools is like putting the crown on our heads. It’s giving us the keys to everything that cages you. What you’re afraid of is us.

Yet, can we blame you? Sacrificing power must be hard. You’ve found this kitchen and are expected to hand it over to someone fortunate enough to already have cooked food. If we told you what we wanted to do, would it help calm you? What we want to do is save the world. We believe nobody should be hungry. There’s enough for everybody and even leftovers in the fridge.

So why is there starving people? Those that live outside this house do matter. In fact, they’ve helped gathered the wood and brick to build this kitchen. And even if they didn’t, who are you to own this? This kitchen was preparing food before you became the chef. So you must hand over what belongs to us too.

Instead, you’ve placed menus on voting ballots. Read directions of a cookbook as a rousing speech. Had brunches and picnics as a celebration of a rebellion that can never be revolutionary. Eradicating world hunger was never your agenda. You understood: only hungry people brought food. It’s always been about making money.

Age doesn’t breed wisdom, but arrogance. You care for no ceasefire to a war fought by others that only you’ve benefitted from. This kitchen is only sanctuary as this house is the border walls to the war outside. And we see right through your façade.

So you’re not invited to the cookout—we’ve crossed your name from the guest list. If we have to do this without you, we will. We have. We’ve turned this kitchen into an open café with no price of admission.

And in case you see the “we’re open” sign on the front doorway, just know you won’t be welcomed here.

#poetry

Tsunami Waves

I’m not sure if it’s my jealously of the sky
that has me afraid to touch it
or my fear of drowning that makes me hate
swimming.

how does my body crave water?

grabbing the edge of a swimming pool
in a vice grip, I kick at the bottom,
desperate to find footing somewhere.
careful to avoid the deep end.

& I think this is fear.

struggling to lift a glass to my lips
without my fingers shaking.
my head hurts thinking about
hot showers &
don’t even tell me there’s a storm approaching.

I hide in my room under covers
when it rains. my heart beats as loud
as thunder. the darkest clouds always
look like claws to me.

is this what anxiety feels like?
being thirsty & everyone telling me
to drink water as if it isn’t poison?

if only I could breathe underwater
grow gills like a fish
but there’s a flood & I’m trying to make myself
into a boat & I’m sorry—

sinking is the one thing I’m great at doing.
my happiest is when I reach a shallow end.
when the tides take pity on me & stop attacking.
when I can put my toes into the water
& not have someone push me into it.

when they tell me this is how I’ll learn
to swim
even as I tire myself out flapping my arms
against the current.
when they tell me I need water to live
& I’m not sure If I want to
not if living means never being on land.

if only I saw this water a mirror.
its blue reflected of open sky
but the water, unlike a mirror, cannot break.
its surface only temporarily displaces when touched upon.
the ocean symbolic of me. I can lose myself
for a while, but will always keep coming back.
into this place
even if I don’t want to.

say my fear is generational.
passed down from ancestors I never knew,
or got the chance of knowing. when they were
stripped of their human
like their skin was old cloth. tattered
at the seams. stitched with bamboo
that was bonding them to their homeland.
now the threads have been cut.
replaced with chains.
anchored onto boats, taken into
a place I’ll soon call home
simply because I’ve only lived here
& I’m sorry

isn’t it sad how they were forced out
into water? had nowhere to escape but
under? I think I understand why now.

why they jumped overboard into the ocean,
birth blue their bodies. allowed the waves
to devour them whole.
escaping what they were to become
to avoid the memories of who they were before.

I discover no footprints within oceans
so when I say I want to go back
it’s only metaphorically.
I see the ocean as tears symbolic
of grief for what is lost. I can never find
what I’m losing—

ain’t no such thing as still water.
the tides are always moving
as if running away from themselves.
but ocean can only go where it’s allowed.
the strength of water means nothing
when something is blocking its way
so maybe the ocean is body symbolic
of what I want to sacrifice. I hope
to never find all that I want to lose.

as I hear the gnarling teeth of rushing tide,
this water at a distance at its most calm,
I think I was twelve when I discovered fear.
the news telling a story of a black boy–
still young but older than me– had leaped
into a creek & didn’t come back up.
a witness said he had disappeared somehow,
vanished, as if the water devoured him
& refused to spit him back out.

I didn’t follow the story long enough to know
if his body was found. on good days, I’d like
to imagine so. that the water found use for him.
that he was symbolic of Jesus
or Emmitt Till or some other dead black boy
we’ll never know because no one knows
is missing & I’m sorry—

I see the ocean as home symbolic
of being lost & I can never find
what I’m searching to find.

I want to ask the ocean
to swallow my body whole & spit me out
as something
other than tsunami waves
as I want to be part of the sky,

touch the blue that hasn’t threatened to kill me,
without destroying everything I touch
when I fail to reach it.