Wednesday, September 30, 2015

When Little Boys Die...and Little Girls aren't Born

She groaned:

"I don't want this girl"

I listened with every organ inside me
wrestling with my heart
yanking at my core
dragging me inward to
the whirlpool of noise that sounds a lot like horror and overwhelming heartache
amplifying the whimper
now decomposing into a scream

I inquire:
"Why not?"

It doesn't matter.
Not a word she vomits.
No reason is good enough to not want a child because of who she is.

She.
She from Sheba - questioning the Solomons of the world
She.
She from Shiva. Shakti - resonating strength of mind and body
She.
She from shepherding, sheltering - her self, her body, her family, her community, her rights, her hopes

I resign:
"So you want a boy..."

A boy. 
Two more sets of misplaced hands to toil
to take control
to not learn how to hold
to never feel a plea
to not know how to join in agony and humility
to not wrinkle and embroider fingers in the embrace of another hand in a way that sings, "I'm making myself vulnerable to you right now"

A boy.
A machine with a scrotum and no heart
in charge of others
his wife, sisters, mother, children, community, home, job, employees, car, house, world
But he never learned how to take charge of himself
He never tasted the humility in an apology
or the grace in ownership of his choices

A boy. 
Shrouding his family in values
guiding them with his testicular flashlight
supporting them
to never learn how to stand on their own disempowered shaky legs
How could he?
He never learned to stand on his own

He stands on the expectations of thousands before him telling him to be a man
He turns on the radio to listen to Nicki Minaj reminding him that she's got the cooking and cleaning down - he's the boss, she be respecting
He peers between the shoulders of other giants who don't know how to cry because it's unmanly
He kicks the lap of those who comfort him because he's never learned to ask for help (forget directions)
He stares at a man in the mirror not knowing how to see a woman for more than a commodity to be consumed

There. 
It just happened. 
Another little boy just died.

So, my dear female acquaintance...
It's not like you don't want a girl -
You don't know how to raise one to not be you.

So, my dear female acquaintance...
It's not like you want a boy -
You want to raise someone who further invalidates your value as a woman.

So, my dear female acquaintance...
What you want is neither boy nor not-girl - 
It is the very same hellish concoction that keeps the world turning on the same oppressive axis that convinced you that you are Nicki Minaj's Mama and that you need a warped mannequin of a man to beat you into shape
It is the same hemlock that will kill boys who don't comply with your grueling matchbox of manliness and suffocate girls who bend femininity

So, my dear female acquaintance...
You don't deserve this girl. 

This girl deserves open waters in which to exercise every molecule of choice she has
She deserves to pick what and who she wants to be in the constellation that is gender
She deserves to wear what she wants 
She reserves the right to sleep with whom she wants or not when she doesn't want
She deserves to be treated as a human with her wholly and fully functional organs and body system
She is not an extension of Adam's ribs
She does not deserve you

And neither does your son.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A wish for now

Today I wished upon a borrowed penny
For not me, but others, many
For a world that I dream of now
But shall some day be here, ours

Monday, September 28, 2015

Micro-aggressively

"I don't understand this hedgehog,"
"I don't understand this diagram"
Usually that implies a skill deficit in the understander not the understandee
(Hedgehog or diagram)

"I can't understand what you're saying!"
He shouted at her
Her perfectly understandable English
seemed confused at his tone

The entitled roll of his eyes,
his leant in angry posturing,
his slow and deliberate articulation
at a higher volume
all
suggested his assumption
that the skill deficit lay with her
not him

him:
supposed native, accurate English speaker
merely wanting a cup of tea
but not being able to clearly state what he wanted
("Sir, would you like a small tea with 2 tea bag or a large with 2 teabags?"

"Yes.")

Yes?
Yes, you do not know how to answer that question clearly
Yes, you are subjecting the articulate Asian woman to your own bias and lack of skills
Yes, you are being micro-aggressive

No, that is not ok.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Mooning

A handful of moon
beaming lightly down at us
I am still so small

Saturday, September 26, 2015

In my hands

I'm caught up in my head
filled with foolish fantasies
knowing that my hands
are full
of whimsical necessities
and tiresome nobodies
that's where I find solace-
kindness
confusion
hydration
color
and
wholeness...
in my hands-
lie secrets of
secret hand holdings
anxious squeezes
scratchy surfaces
cruelty
the blanket of another hand
and a quiet world-
All in my hands.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Matching.

Purple and pink were always what I went for
in a pack of Cadbury Gems

Yellows and blues highlighted most of my teenage years

Blacks and whites color the lens of my life

Greens and brown still dominate my wardrobe

Every shade of blue is on the wired earring holder in our room

Oranges and purples fill me with sunshine

Yann serenades me in monochromatic light

But on the spectrum of all that's visible

Little did I know that some white and brown would go a long way

In being the match I could only dream of in technicolor

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Time

Time is a funny funny game
Play it to win some
Sometimes you can unexpectedly find some
When you think you're out of it
Other times time is taken away from you
Knowing or unknowingly
And tonight it will be returned to me from
The last time I lost it

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fiery

Free from feisty flames
Lie indelible memories made
Over marshmallows sans hooves
Stories and retellings
Compel
Compelling of friends
Growing like fire
On a brazen autumnal night

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Focusing

So much to take in:
confusing -
What to leave out?
As I focus in
on now
letting tomorrow fade away
yesterday I have forgotten.
Mountains of dread
fade into gloom
with nothing but
ephemeral petals left braving the wind,
dancing for a photo,
and
letting me focus

Monday, September 21, 2015

Trustworthy

How could she trust herself? No one trusted her. Her friends and parents all asked with cruel doubt if it was for real this time. She had said this was the last time so many times that she couldn't even be bothered to tell anyone about it this time. She was afraid, apathetic, and annoyed at the prospect of telling her friends and parents about this time. Mostly, though, she didn't trust herself to know if this time it was for real.

She had told herself it was. She knew, in principle, that she was the boss of her choices and that she, and only she, could tell if it was final or not. She knew this so well - in principle, that is. How was she to trust herself to walk away from the only man she knew for 16 years? How could she know if this was what she wanted - to be done with him? Where would she store all her memories? If only she could get rid of them. Scrub them off of her like the stench of a hangover on day-old breath. Peel each remnant away like the last dead dredges of a sunburn. Gnaw away at each last scab of memory he left her with.

This time, she told herself, this was it. This time, she would not let him back in. This time, she would remember all the hurt he branded her with. This time, she would let her scars be her guard. She knew he didn't love her. Love couldn't make a person hurt anyone the way he did. People who love each other don't demean, belittle, and control each other. He had stopped loving her a long time ago. She couldn't remember which fight it was and which time it was that he stopped taking her phone calls and disappeared for months on end. But it was years ago. It had been years since she felt loved by him, cared for by him. Sex was out of the question. He found her so loathsome that he couldn't see her naked anymore. It took days - even weeks - of cajoling to get him to meet her for a meal. Secret meetings suffocating in excuses, made non-persuasively to her parents, and reeking of his singular disinterest in seeing her. Why? Why doesn't he seem interested - she flustered herself sick. She agonized each time about behaviors she could try on as though for size in a Macy's fitting room. Anything to make him like her. Her hair changed color. Her wardrobe changed style. Her boundaries to experiment sexually bent. Her language morphed to try to make him hear her. She wasn't entirely sure she knew herself as anyone other than who she thought he wanted her to be. Nothing was enough though. Not for him. She was fat. Her parents weren't rich enough. Her skin was too dark. Her face too pock-marked. If she only talked to him more. Listened more patiently. Argued less. Nodded quietly. Something must give. Yet, after giving everything a try in the fitting room that was his opinion, she emerged defeated and unfitting. He just didn't love her. And she couldn't make him.

So, this time, was really it. She wasn't sure she had any sense of self or dignity left. She had no pressure to get married and settle down, as was common among her peers. She wasn't guided by fear to be with him. She was guided by - . Well, she didn't know what she was guided by. She knew it was complicated, difficult, and every other synonym that buried her deeper in the I-can't-do-this hole. The thing was she didn't know if she wanted this to be over. She was so used to 16 years of uncertainty that she wasn't so sure about a life of knowing anymore. Then only polar unchangeables were the grays of her fragmented relationship. She didn't know if she could do this. She wasn't so sure if this time was really it.
She reached for her phone and dialed his number quickly - before she doubted her own uncertainty.

"Hello?"

"It's me. I’m sorry. I don't want to fight. I don't want to end this. I want to be with you. Please don't leave me." She heard the words come out of her mouth before she could catch them, stifle them, and stow them away. She couldn't even trust herself to do that.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Paint by Numbers

Today the hills were not alive
with the sound of music
but with the colors of light's magnificent family
even Fraunhofer's dark lines couldn't compete
with the spectrum signaling seasons -
dying, seasons in labor

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Scaffolding

As a teacher,
Scaffolding means providing high support
with high standards
a support to eventually be taken away
leaving a learner empowered to self-direct

As a novice saw-holder
Scaffolding means making sure you know how to use it
and being allowed to make mistakes
with the guidance of a brilliant teacher
and a loving dad

Somehow I got lucky
To find in you a dad
caring, loving, giving
You always have our back
Smiling, you may pick a silly fight
in the garb of a trog(lodyte)
Always smiling
Ever knowing
About this world we live in
You know only too well
You can get the world
But don't lose your soul
Thanks for giving me the chance to try something
Hard core today
Love you, Daddio!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Forgivingly

You need to forgive him

I didn't move
I couldn't
So I nodded
Not in agreement
But defeat

I don't want to forgive
I don't even know how

I don't think I have the
Bigness
Needed to forgive someone
Who never apologized

Thursday, September 17, 2015

What the mirror didn't reflect

Even now
There are moments
When I hate the person
Looking back at me.

How is it possible
To hate my own reflection so much
To feel so dirty
So ugly
So not-good-enough
At the mere glimpse of me?

I hate things I see
That I cannot change
Glimmers of the past
Fears from yesteryears
I thought I had left behind

I see patterns
I thought I had unlearned

This irks me
Gets under my skin
Like his old hands
Where they shouldn't be

I stare at that child in the mirror
Craving for one day of normalcy
In a past drowning in its own dysfunction
I tell her to snap out of it
But she won't

The little girl in me...
Cries out
At the unfairness of it all

The teenager in me...
Bites her tongue
To not scream
Every last breath in her lungs

The young adult in me...
Recoils and then aches to fight back
She wants to tell him to shut up
To grow up
To uphold the same unattainable standards
He bullied me into living by
To stop sulking
She wants to grab every single enabler around him
Shake them,
Plead -
Stop babying him!
She wants to call him out on his
Passive aggressive threatening abusive control-gaining tactics

And me...
I look at myself
That woman in the mirror
I see all of that which is him in me
And
I see all that my mirror won't reflect

I see my own two feet
That have carried me
Away from a monster
I see my own shoulders
Holding my own choice-making head up high
I see my smile
Heavy with pride
Of knowing when to shut up
And when to speak up
I see the strength of women in my life
Who teach me each day to look into the mirror
And look past
Into a future with a mirror
That I can look into
See all of me
And
Not shudder at
What can be seen
And all it won't reflect



Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tick Tock

What time is it?

She wanted to know.

Hopeless still

the clock responded

We inhabit a time

cruel

unkind

racist

time that steals life

hope

genius

dreams

Can we travel past time?

She wanted to escape

bend the confines of time

like space

invent a world

timeless

hopeful

one that does not confuse

clocks

with

bombs

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

14,115'

The world from 14,115 feet
is a world for neither you nor me
Yet we inhabit, drink tea, and see
this world from 14,115 feet

The world from 14,115 feet
is higher than most to breathe
Home to yellow-bellied marmots is
this world from 14,115 feet

The world from 14,115 feet
left me slightly light headed and dizzy
There's hardly any oxygen to take in
this world from 14,115 feet

The world from 14,115 feet
is high as high can be
Rendering perspective and a mind empty
this world from 14,115 feet

Monday, September 14, 2015

Music full-circled

Music that bridges
generations
cultures
languages
worlds
lifetimes
hearts

That's music worth making
worth listening

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Child's Eyes

A child's eye sees things
I cannot see
Even with keen eyes
and bent knees
I cannot see

So I listen with care
see with patience,
because there are wonders
in our world
I don't know
because we cannot see

So see like a child
and through a child's eyes
worlds out there
hidden from us -
grown ups -
non-believers in the impossible
the wild
the unfathomable
only a child can see

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Sitting Duck

It's been years since I've been in trouble
I s'pose that's not a travesty
Life does become slightly boring
When it's filled with routine morbidity
Trouble can't always be terrible
Even when it's being fickle
But lots of trouble can really suck
Not unlike the predicament of a sitting duck

Friday, September 11, 2015

Fourteen

though fourteen have passed
passing may not have healed
hearts flown into
blown into
our world after
still hurts
burns
crashes

yet somewhere
hope takes flight
love soars
time passes

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Goodness

Good hearts are tough to come by
They float, snorkel, paraglide, and serenade
And in every form
They share their kindness

Two such good hearts celebrate today
I celebrate too
Though from far away
Celebrate years gone by
And those yet to come
Celebrate moments and memories
And all that's begun
Years have passed
And goodness has grown
For which I'm grateful
For life is more whole

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Remembering Rambunctious Responses

A quizzical break in the week
With friendly friends, thrill we seek
Round after round, we team up, cooperate
With a random joker assisting our fate
Geeky, we're ready for a drink or two
Answers and guesses, we shout and spew
Often, we rely on memory and remembering
But mostly on discussing and knowing
Slowly and steadily we rise top the top
Sometimes, though, we crash and belly flop
It's still such a whole lot of fun-ch
To spend an evening with a happy bunch!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A loud and clear beat

When you see someone you love
Love doing something that
Makes him happy and
Create something with people he cares about
That lights up my world

Monday, September 7, 2015

Small Moments

Small moments
Meld into large ones
Leaving me restless
Confused
About their whereabouts
In a large world

Small petals
Collage into a large flower
Leaving me hopeful
Calm
About their merger
Into a large world

Just Like Water

I let words flow through me
Just like water
Feelings float around me
Just like water
Worries ebb under me
Just like water
Bridges bridge over me
Just like water
I swim through momentary bubbles,
disappear and find myself in different states,
Caress my smooth fluidity,
Find wisdom in waves
Just like water

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Canine Comfort

I miss the smell of a dog's lick
smug on my nose
gentle and non-judgmental
a lick that says
I love you
and
I tolerate you
in the most earnest way I have ever been told
those two things simultaneously
a lick that caresses
I forgive you
and
I want to get to know your nose
all at once
I miss those doggy licks
embracing
loving
assuring
me that my heart still remembers how to soar

Friday, September 4, 2015

Strange Sightings

today was deer with
strange sightings and beginnings
captured in haiku

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A first time for everything

I consider myself pretty
risk-aversive,
Adventurous, and spontaneous too
some things I won't ever try again
And some I just had to
Today was filled with risk,
Adventure, and spontaneity
Though I never left home
I did many a things for the first time
And I didn't completely suck at them
And for that I'm proud to declare
I aired my clean laundry
In public without fear

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Cloudy Calmities

Today was a day filed with
keep-your-eyes-on-the-ground
moments

They coughed me out of breath
robbed me of time, racing with my feet
moments

One eye on my watch, one on my to-do list
my head streamed with more items and not
moments

Run, run, run
I heard, run to meet an imaginary deadline
moments

Faster, let's squeeze in one more moment
devoid of momentary qualities in a real
moment

On this keep-your-eyes-on-the-ground
day, I escaped from me to look up for just a
moment




Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Happiness Snug in a Hug

Hey hello happy smiles
None compare to the hug of a child
Unencumbered
Unaffected
Positively spilling with love
Is that special
Sweet child-guided hug

Today I got many a nostalgic hugs
From hearts I so fondly remember
And that meant all the world
To the heart that lives in me
The love and hope in those hugs
I will carry with me for today and ever