#poetry

Love Poem to the Stars

rain is the sky is the empath.
it is the cry for help & uncalm rain.

night is the sky is our skin,
its also human—     
the rediscovery & the reminder
that we’re the sky too.

in the dark, anything as small
as a flashlight can mimic a star
or that is what we tell ourselves
to escape from it—    
the black hole blooming into being
as bones born into body that will soon become us

similar to the mind, how it alters into
the night, ever growing.
forever it seems, we search for light
to lead us somewhere & found nothing.

when I say, the sky haunts me
don’t think mental illness
as you’ve never looked up,
felt the moonlight beat into
your back—
claws tapping your shoulder
eager to snatch you.

how the moon seems so small
despite its bigness.
a monster tip-toeing through the clouds
  does anyone know its there.

as I peek through the windows
like critters through a thick bush,
the only thing I see is you
on a street corner glaring at
a flickering light pole.

a mantra:

love the stars & purge us
of all that is dark
of all that is except this skin
for this is the only thing
worth loving

love their song & calm us
of the demons in our heads
as if we were children again
still believing the power of lullabies      
how they pacify monsters underneath our bed

what we see as stars are dying light
born from supernovas.

when the star in its final act
of self-destruction
explodes into a sudden flash,
only to become that of the black hole.

isn’t it funny, the illusion of it all?       
how what we see isn’t what is real?
how what is alive to us
is disguise of something dead?

when nature becomes the metaphor,       
we become the very thing we despise.
how no matter the brightness of star
eventually it’ll be as dark as night.

isn’t it sad how human it all is?        
how the moon only pretends to shine
& how okay we are even knowing this?

the promise:

if this is darkness
we can discover strength
this heart we call shadow
will bloom into animal
or a love we’ll name galaxy

so strong my senses, I felt the storm
clouds of dark curls & saw the luminance
of sunlit eyes & smelled the fresh aroma
of colorful fields after rainfall,

I found myself outside with you,
arms around you as moonlight
over the river.

its okay if you’re not okay,
my voice blends into the wind
empowers it.

the epiphany:

love yourself & love
with all that is in you,
with all that is, including the skin
for it too is a place worth loving.

when the sun finally peeks
& discovers us in this moment, I pray
you see me
love you in all the ways you should love yourself

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#poetry

What the Mirror Echoes When We Scream Into it

thoughts are twisted, searching for a god
in the starkest mirror. since scars tell a story,
a novel was scripted of the author’s intentions.

flaws & addictions hidden behind walls to shield
a frost-bitten heart from years of wallowing
in sorrow—
an infliction that I caused.

the reflected image causes this memory lost.
It’s like I picture myself calm, then grab a camera,
damage the lenses, darken the pigment & blot
every pixel with pencils until it looks cryptic,
scarring your vision.

this is the terrorist battle fought between soul
& mind where I rebel against
a devil,
who sent legion of demons into my head.

& still I wait for this hell to unravel,
as madness rages against my soul
every smile buries my face.

psychotic laughter turns chaotic
as if my own voice is tortured
even the world turns different,
distorted, distant—

coiled & contorted into a shape
I morph earth into with my own fingers.

dreamers like us are always considered
insane—left imprisoned in a system.
belittled & condensed

feeling tense facing intense ridicule waiting
for pretenses to change.
rumor has it that looking towards the future
is tragic. this can ruin the fabric of time itself.
& I’m aware

this heart on your sleeve is only there to disguise
any loss of pride you felt. no one cares
about emotions untouched.

all we know of the ocean is the blue
of its surface. only those who don’t fear drowning
look deeper. so how can we learn?
what’s the benefit of experience being a good teacher
when we choose ignorance?

war on a battlefield only worsens
when anger kills every thought that is anchored,
reveals a broken person—or a weapon built
of ego—a dagger is how we hold this burden—
why we turn our bodies into garden of Eden
to scold the serpent? An act of rebellion,
shows the purpose of why we exist. 

& the ocean becomes an abyss  
we hope submerges into us. we name things
to make them smaller, to see ourselves taller,
but gold is worthless when its compared
to the sun—
becomes foolish not to fear the bullet
when you carry the gun—
this is how I know a god is what I’m scared to become.

#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.

#poetry

Affirmation

I know nothing of cave diving
but I’m an expert at escaping.
& this is all I know. not poetry

so I tell myself, I’ll learn how to write
this poem, but until then I’ll teach
myself how to breathe.

say my body is mine as I am to it.
remember we work in one accord.
we are one & not a collection of parts.

though I forget how a machine works,
how the loosening of a screw can make it
malfunction. I’ve become a builder of things.

my hands stay dirty & my fingers coated
in scorched earth. I learn that everything
has a place, including what has been abandoned.

even a building was a home to someone.
once, I was a house. this thing to be taken care of.
love was carved into the walls & cabinets & carpets

but never the backdoor. I tell myself
there’s nothing out there in the yard
but an exit. sometimes, an escape is

only used by cowards. I wanted to stay
but told myself that leaving isn’t my fault.
how a broken window can make a house

less a home? why am I concerned
of people thinking my house is beautiful
when they don’t live here?

I want to find god. this is why I stopped
writing poetry. I teach myself how to pray
as easy as breathing. oh lord, can I be an offering?

can I be someone worthy of prayer?
the only congregation I have
are the grass & rock under my feet.

do you see how they dance in the wind?
is this breathing? did my lungs hear me say:
this body is mine as I am to it?

had it always been this easy?
be in control by simply being.
this is how I’ll start my poem

by finding home in words unspoken.
tell my tongue: this body is mine
as I am to it. force my teeth to listen.

I’ve always been a cave.
inviting despite the darkness
one enters & can never leave

sometimes, to escape we must go back.
understand fear & how we become afraid.
of it & of everything else.

why is the night the only darkness
to hold stars? is my skin not worthy
of being night? I long forget its beauty.

so I want to find love again. to tare down
all these walls & experience land.
it’s not fair how a home is a place

that can be entered & not a feeling
everywhere at once. sometimes,
to escape is realizing we aren’t caged.

this is how I learn to write this poem
as easy as prayer as easy as breathing
by saying: this body is mine as I am to it

& believing myself.

#poetry, Uncategorized

Sun Fire

There’s an illusion within fire: dangerous up close yet beautiful from afar.

It’s like the sun. Or at least, how I saw you,
engulfed in its flames. This back-and-forth game we played–
you kept away from me knowing I depended on you.

I warned you of this entire world on fire.
Somehow, I saw the smoke before you felt the flames.
Or maybe, you’d been around fire for so long you couldn’t feel
its warmth anymore. You just felt its coldness, as if your skin
was numbed to it. Tears had long dried up.
They turned into charcoal dust settling around blistering wounds.

How was optimism a way of healing? You cannot mend amputated limbs with bandages, but that didn’t stop you from trying. And it didn’t stop me from wanting to help you.
I remember wanting to touch you. To be felt.

Fire is self-destructive, it burns everything it touches.

is this why you don’t love anything? You realized how easy
things broke when you were a child. Did you feel your hands were cursed?
The jagged lines in your palms being proof some demon had put a hex on you?
So when I said you couldn’t hurt me, you were unconvinced.

Even glass, with its tough exterior, is still fragile enough to shatter.
Is that what happened to you?
Does that explain the sharp edges in places that were once whole?

Since human beings aren’t the sun, we cannot make fire unless we already were.
So you won’t convince me that candle light became wildfire on its own.
Tell me then, who were you before you were set ablaze?
When heartbreak revealed you: the arsonist.
You set the world on fire simply to watch it burn
and I cannot save you from yourself.