Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Remnants of Joy

I awake with a scream
From a beautiful dream
To a nightmare reality
Watching in horror
As remnants of joy slip
Like sands of time
Through wrinkled hands
Into which I weep
Then I fall back asleep

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Shine

Even rocks sparkle in the sunlight
But it is only the stars that shine
In the darkness of night.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Sunrise

I rode off into the sunrise
Towards the hope a new day promises
Turning the page as the Earth turns
Not knowing what might be around the corner
Running away from who I had been
To find out who I could be

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Cheshire cat

Where did you go, Cheshire cat
Leaving behind the ghost of a smile?
Don't just disappear, Cheshire cat
Leaving a conundrum in place of my mind .

Such a mystery you are to me
How I wish I could understand you!
But, perhaps, it is my destiny
To know you and not know you.


Note: Alice in Wonderland!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Paradise burning

I've always dreamed of going to Paris one day. Paradise, to me, would be sitting at a bistro on the banks of the river Seine, overlooking the Eiffel tower, writing my next best-seller (hey, if you're going to dream, dream big). Sadly, Paris was attacked, some say, for its very love of that freedom and tolerance and joie the vivre that make it paradise. And yes, evils exist elsewhere in the world too. But Paris, the idea of Paris, was peace and joy and culture. It was the something good in this world that was worth living for, worth fighting for.

But this is about the discussions that went on after, about who is to blame. And by that I mean the larger question of whether ideology can be blamed for the actions of its followers. One might choose to make a comparison against the gun control debate. Can you blame a gun for murder? Or do people kill people? But I think this analogy is flawed because guns are mere tools, they cannot be the cause for violence, only an easy means of venting existing violent emotions. Ideology on the other hand, can be the reason for why that gun was picked up. And when it isn't personal, it is always ideology, whether it is murdering doctors by anti-abortionists, or the mass shooting at a church by a white-supremacist, or whether it is the holocaust. It always comes down to ideology and the zealous belief in its truth over everything else that is sacred, even human life. 

The common thread among all these is the sense of supremacy. And most religion, at least when taken too seriously, is about just that. It is about being superior to those who do not believe, to the point even of destroying those who disagree, because of course, violence must be resorted to when words cannot win your argument.

In fact, if you think about it, this goes for patriotism too. When it isn't about what you can do for your country, or about paying taxes or voting or protesting against unjust laws, when it is about hating the "outsiders", hating your very neighbors, patriotism becomes a similar form of supremacy, and one that is encouraged in a populace that must be ready to go to war.

It is easy to understand why ideology must encourage this if it is to survive. It is much harder to understand the Why of the people: why would you choose the potential of reward in the afterlife over real life and real happiness? How can you burn paradise in the unlikely hope of finding another?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Blame

When one is struck suddenly
By the painful malady of misery
And there's nothing to make it better
But to chew its pill bitter

There comes a time in such ruminating
After replaying and reliving everything
When one looks back, as a detective
Coldly and calmly for reasons effective

To find some single cause, something to blame
So as to balm the wound and lessen the pain
Somewhere to direct all that hate
After a while, this too shall abate

But when such recriminations
Result in slightly different conclusions
And it is found that all blame lies
Not outward but within, you apologize

For inadvertently making those scars
Never to be forgiven, for it is who you are
At fault. Misery returns, this time two-fold
The pain never leaves, self-hate takes hold

To Have and To Lose

'Tis rightly said that true, lasting joy
Is a blessing few are familiar with
Like a secret shared only within the inner circles
Unguarded but unknown, seen but unheard

Not that the rest of us are so unfortunate
In our own pursuits of happiness
But, if that treasure is found, it is mere change
In comparison to the wealth of the ecstatically affluent

And envy though this may spark in the world
Its wonder and delight light a fire of their own
Whose warmth too spreads a few riches
Spilled as if from coffers that can hold no more

Ecstasy is the domain of a few
And perhaps it is rightly so
For it can be as violent and volatile
As it is beautiful and brilliant

And to lose it, once it is yours
No curse as great can there be
For it is worse to have had and lost
Than to never have known it at all

Just as poverty can break
A prince sooner than a pauper
So too does one who feels greater joy
Cry sooner than one indifferent

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Earth

As a child, he was a sickly little thing
Burning with a forever fever
Sneezing lava all over the place
He trembled and shook, in a morbid dance

Then one day, he happened upon
The love of his life, his other half
Sparks flew when they met and it was beautiful
But alas, as great love stories go, his love left him

And so he cried and he cried
Until he had finally had enough
And grew up, and toughened up
With a hard shell and a brave face

But each night, to this day
He dreams of his torn, sweet love
Its brilliant memory reflected in the pools
Of tears that rise and fall in memory of their song

Wiser now, he still dances, tilting into winter
Somersaulting through the day
Serenely like a lonely beach ball
Floating in the unending sea of space

Telling everyone his tale, as old people are wont to do
And ignored by the young, as is tradition
He is sick now, but they think he's just grumpy
Until he shall be no more, and neither shall they


Note: For those who've forgotten their science lessons, here's a cool video on formation of the Earth

Friday, October 23, 2015

Not good enough

Do you know what it's like
To never be enough?
Never really good,
Just "good enough"?


And do you know what it's like
When you try so hard
And you feel like you're doing better
Only to be given a D minus on your card?


When it doesn't even matter
That the bar is set lower
For you because they don't expect
You to be good enough, ever?


And you believe them.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Hope


Reality comes a-calling
You leave the phone ringing
You're too busy dreaming
Too busy not screaming
You keep going back to it
To that which promised
To heal, and for a while does
And which forever after hurts
It carries you up, you're so high
Then goes missing, says good bye
And drops you down from ever greater heights
Hurts more every single time
Each time you swear was the last time
You lie, just like it does when it shows you
What each knows can never be true
You feed off of the hallucinations
Hopelessly addicted to hopeful visions
But, you see, it's quite all right
For without it you wouldn't make it another night

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Nothing

Here's a short poem I wrote for a contest on the freedom of speech, self-censorship and the fear of speaking one's mind.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Blame

Victim blaming

noun

A confession to possessing an inclination to commit the crime in question under identical circumstances.

It is thought that practitioners should be arrested on the grounds of criminal intent, as a precautionary measure a la Minority Report.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Dancing

Like fountains of light, cascading
With the rise and fall
Of a symphony

Like merry fires, responding
To the silken touch
Of a playful breeze

Like falling rain drops, swaying
To the wild music
Of a thunderstorm

Young men and women, dancing
To cheery tunes
In life's musical

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Waiting

She stands in anticipation
In the long queue of Greatness.
Tired, she sleeps, dreaming
Of the Someday she's sure will come.

She'll be waiting for a while
For the queue is a circle.
The secret no one told her
Was simply to stop waiting.

Try

I had lost all belief
I knew I wouldn't make it
I knew I ought to just give up
It was smarter, safer

Until one day
My body didn't listen
To the warning signs
Of my screaming brain

"Don't bother, just stop", she said
I said I'd try, just to see
She called me a fool and told me
How everyone would soon know

I said I didn't care, tuned her out
And went ahead anyway
Just to see what would happen
If I broke that barrier, crossed that line

And it was hard, fighting
Both her and the mighty wall
But at the end I made it through
The wall behind me had disappeared

I turned to the future and saw
A new wall rose before me
I smiled and realized
The war would never end

Well, I could be stubborn too.

Smile

Smile little girl
Oh, don't be sad
Smile little girl
You owe us that

Smile little girl
Put on your mask a while
Smile little girl
What an unpleasant child

There, little girl
Get rid of that frown
There, little girl
Isn't it all better now?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Bound

If you could be anywhere
You'd still rather be here
Are you not caged?

Could you leave, if you liked
This land, this sphere?
Did you ever choose?

Well if I gave you a country
A city, a town, a home, a room
When would you suffocate?

You shrunk yourself
Fit your entire world
In a tiny box, labelled freedom

But your mind is infinite
There are no shackles here
Only the lost unbound

Want

Nothing so sweet
As that which once was
Nothing so craved
As that which almost is


Friday, September 04, 2015

Thirst

Water drops in silence
The goatskin now empty
All is quiet anticipation -
Tragedy, too, has her admirers

Fear plays its cardiac drum
The intro to an awful song
Enter Thirst - screaming her song
Whose panicked notes fill desert air

Gnawing, rasping, scraping
At the throat of the walking dead man
As if trying to clamber out
And find what isn't there

The water out of sight
The Adventurer nearly out of his mind
For hours and days and weeks it seems
The nightmare never ends for him

He walks, runs, crawls on his knees
Upright Pride, too, bends to need
His back droops, his legs give in
 Hope alone carries him still

Optimism, irrational, then takes over
Showing him again those impossible dreams
Of gold and jewels and fame at last
Dreams that had brought him here

To the golden lands - to his death, to his end,
He lays down, hoping to die until
To the East he sees his final hope
Towards oasis, towards life he runs

Only to find a deceitful mirage!
Hope has betrayed him, as has his breath
As he sinks, dead, onto the bed of sand
His knees unearthing riches glorious- worthless.


Note: How I would have ended The Alchemist.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The sea conquerer

She was mesmerized by the sea, it was sparkling
With jewels borrowed from the sun
She was drawn to it, it was calling
Whispering its pretty secrets to her

Fear hesitated, curiosity won out
She stood near the sea shells, smelling the summer
No, she resolved, she wouldn't go too far out
And watched as parched sand welcomed the water

She listened to the music of the waves
And didn't notice the tide rising
Until her feet the salt water laved
Waking her from her peaceful musing

Childish fright rose again in alarm
She ignored it with a careless brush
Mere water could do her no harm
"It isn't so bad", said she, "grow up!"

She walked forth to meet the sea
With head aloft, and hands that shivered
She walked slowly, uncertainly
Then laughed with the joy of a fear conquered

Bolder now, she was floating free
Under the vastness of the blushing sky
For time had lulled even the sun to sleep
And she too slumbered in the cradle of life

Monday, August 10, 2015

Who

She was new everyday
Trying to be someone else
It wasn't that she was looking for herself
But that she didn't like what she'd found
She was creating herself

Monday, July 06, 2015

Fog

A veil of clouds obscures my future
As I walk through ignorance corporeal
Wisps of mist become tentacles of fear
That climb up my spine, even as shivers run down it
Is this the bliss they spoke of?

Uncertain where the path bends
I wander tentatively forward
Afraid I'll know better too late
I follow the light - my only guide
Show me the way...

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Change

Do you always do as you're told?
Twist yourself to fit the mold
Of the conventionally rebellious and the appropriately bold?

Have you heard them tell you
To do as the Romans do?
That being Other, being different, is taboo?

Wouldn't you rather be a mutation?
A freak, an aberration?
A ripple in this eerily calm ocean

Of conformity and uniformity
Whose waves of monotony
Will lull you to a slumber of comfortable apathy?

Wake up!  Rise!
Don't be so easily satisfied!
Distracted by the self-serving lies

Of those too afraid, too comfortable
To permit change that might make unstable
The very foundations of their power, their labels

And change the world as they know it.
Say there's a different way, and show it!
You have one chance, one life: don't blow it.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Stories (Part 2) - Tenderfoot

It was as if she'd fallen into one of her books,
Like Bilbo, she was off on her very first adventure
With a heart full of joy at the rush of escape
And a head full of excitement at the thought of novelty

She'd never seen Nature up close before
She was a tourist here, a stranger, a curious curiosity
With fledgling eyes she looked around
Verifying if reality lived up to her imagination

Life crawled out to welcome her
Benevolent trees showed her the way
Paving her path with their crimson leaves
Like a red carpet, her own yellow brick road

She walked on clouds, for real this once
She walked uncertainly, as if for the first time
She walked hopefully, wishing it were true
She walked on and on, not daring to believe

Surely she'd wake to find it was all a dream?
Her Wonderland but a happy mirage?
No alarm buzzed, but she had been awakened
This time she fell asleep reading her own story


Note: Obvious Hobbit, Oz and Alice references.

Note 2: Here's Part 1  

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Storm

An ode to the Storm: Creator of life and destroyer

The mist obeyed the Storm's call
Its vaporous army gathered forces
At her command, they floated up to the mountain
Marching a haunting dance about its zenith

Before descending into the valley
With a thunderous war-song
Unleashing their power, unrestrained
There was no resisting their forces

How beautiful was she, and how terrible
How we owed her, and how we envied her
We bowed our heads in grudging respect
To Her, the formidable, the uncontrollable

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Mediocrity

One walked forever the vast plains of mediocrity,
No ups nor downs along the way.
He was satisfied, he was happy,
He didn't really care either way.
'Why bother trying', thought he,
'We'll all just die someday.'

The other clambered up the mountain of uncertainty,
The very earth strove against his cause.
He'd seen some fall, seen many give in,
He didn't really care it was against all odds.
'Why bother trying', said he,
'If I don't give it all I got?'

'And why bother living', thought he,
'If you won't even try and change what was?'

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Decisions

Are you afraid to make a decision? To take responsibility for it? It's easier to have someone to blame, isn't it? When it all goes wrong, to say "I knew it would be so"? But, of course, you didn't. How could you? Nobody knows.

Are you afraid to walk the lonely path, like they told you to be? Scared you'll be thought a fool, terrified that they will be right? Are you afraid of ending up with different, lonelier regrets? 

It's so hard to take a risk (we wouldn't call it a risk if it weren't scary), to make a choice and stick to it - to have conviction when you have too little knowledge and too many people who claim they know when they don't. To grow up.

But how can you have conviction in the face of uncertainty? And what do you do when even certainty scares you because you need choice, even if you cannot choose? Because you're afraid of a cage. Afraid to do as you're told even if that would make your life easier.

So you rebel against the people who "know best", who wish to give advice so you do as they had done and everyone before them so that your choice validates theirs. 

But even as you fight, you wonder if their way is safer. No one will look like a fool then - fail and we fail together, we'll laugh and cry together. Wouldn't you rather take the easy path? Go where the current takes you. Learn to not care. Learn to be happy there, in your little corner of green-enough grass, that looks just like everyone else's. Except you can't. And your life starts to feel less like real life and more and more like an increasingly chaotic joke played in a loop so many times, it isn't even funny anymore.

Friday, May 08, 2015

The Tunnel

In the tunnel
A shadow of light
An echo of quiet
A memory of the future
I run fast, and hard
Trying not to get back
To where I started.
I fail each time.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Sweet dreams

I woke up with a smile today
My cheeks bursting with sweet remnants
Of a dazzling dream whose shimmering shadow
My mind-eyes refused to part with

I woke up with a jolt today
To a realization sweeter still
That this once, and if once is all,
It wasn't all just a dream

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Morals

Thought for the day...

It is only in anarchy that you truly know a man's morals.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Her

I traveled far to see her
Envy her, covet her life
Steal her laughter
All I found were its echoes

I traveled time to see her
She has it all
If only she knew
She doesn't deserve it

With closed eyes I see her
Over and over, I could watch forever
Wishing things would change
Wishing that they wouldn't

You traveled far to see her
You knew her once, you say
She who doesn't exist anymore
Except as a shadow in my mind

You're too late, sir
She doesn't live here anymore
You're mistaken, sir
There's only me now

Thursday, April 09, 2015

On the golden rule

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" they say.

I disagree.


For instance, you may like being a recluse, but forcing that on others is simply imprisonment. And you may enjoy sky-diving, but forcing it on someone who's afraid of heights is simply torture. As is forcing a vegetarian to eat steak, your kid to play a sport he hates, someone to worship your deity, or to be your friend (this one would in fact get you a restraining order, so, just, don't).

And see, that's because, we're not in fact all the same. What you want is not what I want. 

Hence, here's my proposed amendment to the "golden rule":


Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Stuck

I'm not growing
I'm not going
Anywhere
Stuck like Jack in my box

I want to pop out
Make a splash
A scene
An impact

Like a shooting star
Crash landing on earth
Trying to make
My crater on this planet

Friday, March 13, 2015

Crisis

It was just a routine day
The same as any other day
I woke up with a gasp
From my worst nightmare
The bad dream that was my life

Where was I? Why was I?
This isn't what I'd planned
My dreams were so small
My worries - my self! -
So puny, so insignificant

I spent all day swimming in my thoughts
And such nasty, hateful thoughts at that
The waves of venom crashed over me
Drowning me, carrying me away
To the shores of despair and self-pity

And was I a pitiful creature!
The rear-view showed naught but regret
And the path ahead, the same but worse
But worst of all was my present
So selfish was I, so ungrateful, so unseeing

The mirror, too, disapprovingly reflected my image
Almost as if showing me what I had become
I could see the ugliness there
Colored by envy, cowardice and inaction
I watched this rainbow, counting the colors

Then stepped out and counted the stars
The birds, the trees, the blades of grass
For a moment detached, not *me*
For a moment just there, just then
And I laughed at myself, and hit reset.

Play

"Would you like to play a game?
One that nobody has ever won
Will you accept the challenge?
The ball's in your court now"

A coward I am not
I pick up the gauntlet
"When do we start?", I ask
"Oh, the game's already begun"

"Well, what are its rules?"
"There are no rules", you say
"But all games must have rules"
"Not this one." "Okay"

Dodge, evade
Bob and weave
I'm cornered now
I can't get out

Who can hope to win
A game that is rigged?
Yet who can resist trying
When playing is such fun?

Risk

Would you take a risk
For a magnificent unknown that could be?
Or would you play it safe
And take the route home you've always known?

Would you risk getting lost
That you might find wonderland?
Would you risk falling
That you might learn to fly?

I'll take the exit, I'll jump off the cliff
Because even if the chute fails
At least I'll know that I flew for those few minutes
That felt like an eternity and still not long enough.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Terrors

It creeps up on me
Like a silent thief
Come to steal my joy

It creeps up on me
Like the bitter winter air
I'm too numb to move

It creeps up on me
Like a spider in the shadows
I'm infected by its venom

It creeps up on me
Like the ticking second hand
I watch, for I cannot outrun

It creeps up on me
Nowhere to go, or hide
Nothing to do, but fight

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Delusional

Do you remember being so young as to actually believe the world was a wonderful place? Being so oblivious that you were happy? Don't you miss that?

To be happy now, it takes hard work. We must focus on the good so that the bad becomes a blurry haze. Perhaps our brains evolved to do that. For to live any other way would be much too painful. To think of all the crime, all the wars, all the horrible things happening to people everywhere! The knowledge should stupefy us. But it doesn't. We are entirely able to move on from anything. In fact, people actually begin their days reading about all the bad that happened in the world yesterday. And then have the nerve to say "Good morning"! Surely, they're being ironic!

I'm fairly certain we (voluntarily) suffer from selective amnesia. Think about it. Remember the good old days? Of course you do. The past is a world where roses bloom, and nothing bad ever happens. The present too, so long as it is far away from us, becomes not-quite-so-real. They are "other people's problems". And we are immune from them. Or at least, we believe we are. We have to.

Perhaps that is what separates the cynics from the rest. Maybe they see too clearly. Maybe they don't forget as easily. And then they wonder at the rest of us, content in spite of it all, and imagine that perhaps we are just ignorant. But we aren't. We just try our damnedest to be detached from the knowledge that would otherwise crush us with its ugly weight. Because, you see, ignore-ance is bliss!

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Ghosts

    I am no longer in touch with the people from my past. We'd be friends forever, we said; but forever doesn't last very long. Everyone is replaceable. Well, maybe not quite. But everyone can be done without. No matter how impossible it may have seemed before. We're stronger than we think.

    I'd rather live with the ghosts of memories past than try and resurrect the zombies of old bonds - bonds worn out and severed with time, that can never be reforged for there would always be fault lines, always the unassailable distance.


They are different people,
I am different too.
They are gone now,
So is the me they knew.

And that's okay.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Evil

We are all created equal
In the cold eyes of hate
Moral or immoral
Evil don't discriminate

Karma won't save thee
Believe what you like
War consumes the bloodthirsty
And the peace-lovers alike

It is not a wonderful world
It isn't even close
Fine weather shall turn cold
And friends will become foes

Don't expect the world to be
Kind because you are
Kind nevertheless, be
Because at the very least you were

Friday, January 16, 2015

Joy ride

I have known heaven
My heaven is in the heavens.

As I float like a cloud
Alone in the big blue sky.

Like a dandelion seed, I let go,
Carried away by the breeze.

Like a balloon, like a kite
A child's toy, spinning up high.

Like the meditative bird I envied
For a day, I stole its life.

And the world below so small
That for a while it doesn't matter.

I have known heaven
But it is time now to come back.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Stories - Escapist

For a moment there
She had almost believed
That she could live out the story
Instead of merely reading it

She smiled, shook her head,
Told herself to stop being silly
And picked up her book, her loyal friend
Losing herself in its stories once again

But if you saw the book later
You'd have found its pages stained
With wistful drops that silently betray
The hopelessly hopeful who still believe in Someday