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Posts Tagged ‘life’

Since March of 2006, I started writing and chronicling my thoughts on almost any topic I can think of.  Mostly dealing with my perceptions on everyday living, commentaries about society, circumstances, current state of my well-being and personal journeys through days of constant struggles seeking endless quest for meaning and purpose. I‘d rather not talk about it. For I know, there are thoughts that are better written than being said.

We are speck in this universe and everyone is bringing within them their vast universe of searching and trying to find their place in this world. Perhaps, I put those thoughts delicately in every word, in every phrase and in every line of a poem,  of an anecdote, of an essay or of a prose. Painstakingly encapsulated each meaning, each nuance, each silhouette of happiness or sorrow. The bitter reality and its aftertaste, the sweetness of longing and the rising and falling of life and love like water, without redemption nor mercy.

Continuing from the 200 days of my solitude and beginning August of 2010 till date, I have penned a hundred poems of the roller coaster ride of layered complexity of these literary perceptions. Hames: Solitude Amidst the Maddening Crowd is officially a poetry blog. My reason is simple: I express better in poetry. I can better paint the picture with words. I can say something without being confrontational, tempered and deep. I can highlight and drive the point in the economy of words like a Spartan, who understands utility.

For me, poetry is sanity. Poetry is breathing and living the oxygen and constant elixir to appreciate life. When all the world’s a stage, actors that we are, indeed, has to play each part very well. And the part that God has allowed me to do, is to pen poetry.

 

In my poem Opening. Waiting. Closing. Life, the cycle of life and death and rebirth are compressed in a nutshell,

only to find that beginnings

anticipate endings…”

 

An incomprehensible heartbreak in Running Away, a sense of wandering without direction,

“ there are outlines

of the life you wish

you had with me…” and 

 

“ a distance

far too wide to belong…”

 

And the epic and colossal poem Young Blood chronicles the ten episodes of war,

“ these patriot’s sons fading like the last puffs

of smokes from an old man’s cigarette growing

into mushroom clouds eclipsing the day…” and

 

“ the world becomes so small

as the wandering clouds casts

its lingering shadows over

the returning and lucky…” and

 

“ jungle has become our greatest enemy…” and

 

“ the rain became empty bullet shells

mourning at this God-forsaken place…” and

 

“ Don’t look back, soldier.

Don’t retrieve the man behind you.

Keep your stance or get killed…” and

 

“ it’s raining ashes today.

Clearing away the embers

among the crevices of silence.

God’s pencil is being sharpened

and graphite is being pressed down

into the annals of men’s history…”

 

Not all my poems are gloomy, there are some splashes of light, positive air and happy inspirations such as Piece of Sky,

“let the wind carry your spirit-

a dot in the sand completing

this tapestry of life. You belong

to a grand plan, ever since

when the universe is born…”

 

A poem tribute to a mother who had unborn child in The Mother and Her Child,

“when all the lights have faded.

When all the sounds have died.

A choice have been made between a mother

and the life that struggles in her womb.

Tonight will be the darkest hour…”

 

A personal favorite in Decoupage, where it hits me personally and the poem had made a life on its own,

“ there is something.

In the stale morning air that reminds me

of one strange midnight…” and

 

“ there is something-

which I failed to grasp

and took hold of…” and

 

“ there is a memory of a voice fading

like the sheen from this worn-out table.

Among the bread crumbs for the pigeons to share.

And this bronzed cup leaving off a tinge-

a certain warmth I could not forget…”

 

Holiday season sadness was encapsulated in Fresh Fall of Snow, both soft and charming,

“ no one is sitting on that bench anymore,

to watch the seagulls and the moonrise…” and

 

“no one wants to be sitting there

among the leafless trees, alone

abandoned by autumn…’’

 

And a peek to a life of the rich and famous in a prose poem Bright Lights, and understanding that they are humans too,

“there is a luggage she’s tugging down the concourse

hurriedly outpacing the brisk walking of time,

meeting down in the alleys of strangers and guests,

with a  mask of smiles and warmth of handshakes…” and

 

“ as fickle as the world spins around,

she begins another round of playing masquerades again…”

 

A portrait poem of an Arab salt merchant in The Trader,

“ his face is a map of caravan years,

weathering the desert sun…” and

 

“ as the sand windblown and collected

in the seams of his linen turban,

anxiety constantly snake through

the mazes of his troubled mind…”

 

A surprise haiku inspired by an art piece, a sculpture in Hepworth’s Echo,

“ Outside looking in.

Thoughts pierce something unspoken-

silence taking shape…”

 

My second portrait poem in four series, capturing the agony of waiting tables in The Waitress,

“ year after year, she stayed while clearing tables

and washing dishes. Cleaning them spotless

and white again, counting them like days

she will have to wait. Leaving this place

crossing oceans to dream with her man…”

 

The tension of freeing and loosening up from fears and start living in Shoe String,

“ I need to loosen up. Shaking off

from the strappy refuge I am

wearing each day…”

 

My third portrait poem, grapples about the future of the one who sits behind a crystal ball in The Fortune Teller,

“she keep on caressing the old crystal ball,

ignoring the signs of her grey and thinning hair.

She believed she has power to prevail death.

But  time slowly creeps like a thief in the night

when she can no longer be speaking about

the future…”

 

The humble existential poem By The Trail talks about human fragility and his migration to a magnanimous realization that indeed he is just a speck in the scheme of things under God’s all encompassing gaze,

“it made me cry.

Something within me springs

divine and humbly I begin

to wonder-

My smallness

in the scheme of things

pre-occupied with thoughts

of needing only to survive…”and

 

“travelling through journeys

winding as these trails

like the herd of caribou

silently passing by the route

with one life to live…”

 

And the last of my four-part series of portrait poems, shares the inside story of a book lover in The Bibliophile,

“his muffled voice breaks

the long stretches of silence

while his hand guided

young and untrained hands

practicing calligraphy…” and

 

“he believed, it was

here  in his hands lies the fiber, sinew

and muscle of generations of man-

the society is ought to remember…”

 

In You Left Me With Things, the poem is trying to dig a box of sentimental journey of hurt and loss,
“the blue light to my cigarette starts another

round of stinging away this loneliness

floating in loops through the night’s surreal air…” and

 

“ the beads begin forming in my mugs of beer

unknowingly- which of those are my sweat or tears-

blurred in the sad memory that you left me…”

 

It is said that things don’t change- we do, in a sad homecoming poem At The Crossroads,

“like a bird lost in migration

without a nest to lay its wings.

Through the labyrinth of dreams

I am not yet found…”

 

And a confrontational poem Re-surfacing, a plethora of anger burst into the open like a volcano,

“anger is foaming in our mouths like lava

simmering in a cauldron ready to explode…”

 

In Montage of a Stow-away, two lives of wanderers intermingled in a poem and you’ll get clueless of whose life is whom,

“I can feel it now across this table

in the old diner of this no man’s land,

The sound of shuffling deck of cards.

Or is it the leaves in autumn falling

in September- that he will remember?…” and

 

“I sense the mad rhythms and cadences

of cursives and scribbles in melancholy.

The dead poet speaks uneasy like this…”

 

A deeply sad and tragic portrait poem of a postman embroiled in a love triad in Paper Cuts,

“an empty love bleeding sentences

that can never be written…” and

 

“The postman didn’t come today

and the letters were undelivered.

No one has foreseen death’s coming-

such as his knocking on doors

and opening of mailboxes, each morning.

They found a fountain pen in his hand,

motionless and still- in cold blood…”

 

Music and love in all its splendor and grace shines in the poem Counterpoints and Movements,

“imagine yourself playing the part.

The melody in a slow tempo

touching the white bones in mine…” and

 

“the sounds in the pavement,

and the trickling of the rain

drops of minims, crochets,

semibreves and quavers

into unfamiliar serenade…” and

 

“when all love was just a dream

and tonight I hear applause

thundering under my own skin…”

 

There’s a gutsy side of self-defense on the poem Draw The Line, sprawled in a life of a refined and cultured front,

“I won’t show you the bookmarks.

The synopsis of chapters.

The highlighted paragraphs

almost torn to the leaf

where the watermarks

from my tears had faded.

I won’t let you read it…”

 

And an intriguing poem on a bohemian’s severe mental state of depression in Vacuum,

“it feels strange. Someone

speaks in a muffled voice

and you float being chased

around in dreams…”

 

The suitcase and all emotions that is packed within it, ready to go to drift beyond seasonal changes is bitterly written down  in Autumn’s Leaving,

“ there’s a suitcase in the hall.

And emptiness will soon occupy it…” and

 

“ I will try picking up the pieces again and slowly

survive another night without the moon nor the stars…”

 

A closer look on friendship and brotherhood in the poem Brotherhood of Man,

“ you said you got the numbers, the monopoly of muscles

careening into the free struggle, a high tide.

Your fate hangs by a thread slicing your morrow,

all by winning the plum, a brotherhood of man…”

 

An introspection of marriage in the poem Tourists at the Beach, explores its inevitable circumstances leading to separation,

“ we walk like solitary man and woman

glancing sideways, avoiding leisure

as if children were lost running both ways

chasing happiness out of sight. Dreaming

of lost balloons. Of lost kites. Of empty boats

bobbing, floating and drifting away…”

 

A poem about architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright and the portrait of an architect and his feelings of being marginalized in the profession which was bravely chronicled in I’m No Frank,

“But I’m no Frank

and dreams might be

my little fingers clasping

hard and pushing pencils

for somebody else’s utopia…” and

 

“The genius envisions an edifice

in his intellectual acrobatics,

justifying to the world the modern-

reality that build themselves on paper…” and

 

“but I ‘m no Frank.

The hours stretched for miles and miles.

The drafting table becoming wet with fog

until  the first  hours of the morning.

I can hear the mad conversations

of the vellum and the graphite saying,

“deadline nears, it’s almost here”…

 

And here’s a poem Man on The Wheel, an analogy of man’s life with driving and error of his lording ways,

“to these burning palms laid down from commanding-

life directions in the intersection of good and bad.

The right from wrong.  I twist and turn in indecision…” and

 

“ I try to make a path through the grass

and keep the weeds from growing…” and

 

“I surrender for the first time. Watching

someone else’s lording over the brakes

and keep moving the distances away.

Away from  myself.  Trusting…”

 

Then, I wrote a poem about a person struggling with Alzheimer’s syndrome in Sinking Deeper,

“ I misplaced the sign- “don’t disturb”

among the shards of broken plates,

of broken glasses in the kitchen.

Where did I put our picture frame?…”

 

I did have my share of the contemporary and the modern in News of the World, putting in the elements of the ordinary into its larger than life focus,

“ and you will hear the sound of footsteps

becoming heavy. And the noise picks up

like the tractor breaking the clods of soil.

Like the knife speeding the rate of chopping.

But it is not about the tractor. Nor the knife…”

 

And a powerful poem tribute for the 9/11 World Trade Center tragedy reads like a prayer in The Reading,

“ I hear the mad stampede roar.

I hear the panic bars unlatch.

Then the cacophony of sirens,

the tolling of alarm bells,

the symphony of shock,

the avalanche of horror,

the carnage of the missing,

and the agony of the trapped…” and

 

“ I hear them all within the sound of the water

trickling down over the polished slabs of stones.

I hear them while I listen in the reading,

of engraved names whose innocent fates

were like the powdery dusts in mid-air

frozen, suspended, undiminished in time…”

 

I took a peek on the blank state of human condition, it’s fragility to be broken and adaptability of starting over in Whiteness of Being,

“ It’s like a white space.

When the horizon of doubt blurs

the line that separate you from immortality.

And all you see is your own lightness

that no shadow would keep you

stalled towards your destiny.

There,  you would know that peace

is the only way to move on…”

 

In Renegade Days, I try to recall my radical moments of youth, idealism and student activism, cherishing the days that I was able to be part of  the  great voice for change,

“ we were among those hundred innocent feet

wheeling through the clouds of dusts.  So close

that someone shouted to stop the angry phalanx

from advancing the gates. We were young bloods then…” and

 

“ we stand like a hundred innocent moths

circling fearlessly around the flame. Ready

to extinguish our fates  for one day of glory…”

 

And most of the best poems I’ve got are the short ones such as Midnight Train, whose description of the night is captured in its brevity,

“ night dresses flowing

pink, plumes of smoke

by the passing train…” and

 

“ no reflection hides your true charm

lonely as a fog, silent as a dove

your ghost would wander…”

 

I love impressionism, and I wrote an impressionistic poem in Clouds and Poppies, where I had a liberty to describe a scene in my memory,

“ I’m wide awake

 

asleep

daydream embracing

splashes of red

soft velvety blossom…”

 

Another confrontation in Having Said Enough, is a frank- tell it to my face poem that deals with arguments and disagreements made clear,

“ you’re definitely upset when I can’t catch you. And you

can’t catch me as we are both lost in translation…” and

 

“ you know, sometimes you do not have to fight

every battles you are invited in. Just choose-

the best one. And argue with me. Fine…”

 

And memories of solo road trips in Skid Marks, analyzing love and life through road detours and road markings,

“ I see the tyre burning marks

like tattoos criss-crossing,

shifts of directions of going

and coming into your life…”

 

An Afternoon with Monet, is where I try to engage the painter into a poetic discussion of his many splendid impressionistic paintings and my love for his art is evident in this poem,

“ I walk dreamily

drank with loveliness,

the wavy enthusiasm

of the blue sea.” and

 

“ I see reflections

of wooden boats

bobbing in a dance

with quiet clouds

rippling soft creating

small shivers

in its feathery face…”

 

Depression hits like an umbrella to a raincloud in the poem  Weather’s to Blame, dissecting the many elements of the rainy day,

“ my eye bags were  like cumulus cloud

hanging low, grey and heavy

moving slow hovering thoughts

you won’t know what I am trying

to get over underneath…” and

 

“ I forgot how to regulate the flow

of the emotional flash flood I contain.

And here I am with my lonely forecasts.

The weather disturbance I blame…”

 

Another favorite  poem of mine, Abandonment deals with feeling of barrenness and loss where elements convey the strongest message,

“ I had a future

of keeping yesterday.

Think of your broken machines

worn-out hands-me-down

wrecked and rusted

and shattered and cracked…” and

 

“ your broken bottles

peeled plaster left

pockmarks on walls

bruised on my skin…” and

 

“ the bible’s missing pages

incomplete like my faith

transfixed on a television

watching silent movies.

Wondering what is it

that Chaplin mouthed?

Isn’t it ‘God, why thou

has forsaken me?’

And the world laughed…”

 

The Story is an experimental poem, two personalities conversing like a soliloquy about the travails of a scriptwriter,

“ unless I end up whoring

at the art house

with rusted springs

at cushioned seat poking

scooped up gossips.

Eavesdropping

some private lives…” and

 

“ I let his copulation of idea

with tried and tested formula

stink like the stench of urine

of those who had chewed

and vomited yesterday’s

mulch of cinematic nostalgia…”

 

Another gritty poem His Past Smells is a retrospection of a man who recalls his share of poverty,

“ as if dreams can be scavenged

out of the hilly mounds

of garbage, dumping its gifts

of someone else’s trash turning

into someone else’s fortune…” and

 

“ he won’t cover the past

with today’s perfume

nor sanitize its images

in suds of detergent…”

 

A portrait poem of a gondolier and his lost love  is well chronicled in Gondolier of Venice,

“ his voice knows the direction

where to bring new lovers

bowled over by the moon

and the stars, sailing

their feelings away…”

 

Specimen, is a poem that deals with the deep social questions of racism and discrimination being experienced as an expatriate,

“ is it about what you’ve been taught?

Is it about how you’ve been raised?

Have I been misplaced by fate?

My skin’s darker, hands dirtied,

swollen by hard labor. A gap

so wide I couldn’t leap forward

a privilege’s bloody to break…”

 

And a wonderful cleansing poem written with a positive outlook, I Am Writing My Pain Away, is a retrospection of a stepson who became introverted and isolated from the world,

“ but she didn’t know that I am writing my pain away.

I came to a point of thinking about those fatherless

children who lost theirs in wars, in car crashes…” and

 

“ I could belong like my ink being absorbed by the paper,

without condition. Just pure distill of my thoughts.

I could somehow say that I found a home to myself

after all…”

 

A short but an allegorical poem about war, Haystacks is a resemblance to those war heroes whom we have lost in World War 2,

“ little mounds

becoming little hill

becoming mountain

becoming volcano

billowing smoke,

the war was won

over.

Black ash

as its aftermath…”

 

And missed chances to find love in She Could’ve Been That Woman, chronicles a shy man’s regrets and fear of commitment,

“ but fear is a great thief.

It plunders you out of years

slipping you by of chances.

Could’ve been. Love.

Should’ve been like that…”

 

In the poem Double-Faced, it examines the narcissistic hypocrisy of self to conform and boost the ego by the will of majority,

“ let’s burn the hours

under the opium of disguise,

it’s good to wax poetic with egos…”

 

I seldom write haiku, but here in Six Days A Week, the poem clearly describes the travails of a working life,

“ it takes a lifetime to sit down

roosting a nest with your eggs

of fortune to hatch golden…”

 

Walking Along, is a poem that  recounts multiple lives stitched by an image of people crowding and walking in the streets burdened with their own circumstances,

“ turning left and right,

brushing past signals

and pedestrian crossings

colliding like busy ants…”

 

More on the second half as I celebrate the goodness of writing poems and blogging  these past eight years. I do hope you enjoy the poetic journey so far. 

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I would like to remember

for the sake of remembrance

without fear of talking on corners

where echoes reverberate

within these four white walls.

 

I would like to visit a place

that is only half-remembered

where the streets are fading

against the foggy morning light.

 

Have they forgotten

or just being forgetful?

Frozen fingers of tree branches

on a bleak Friday morning.

Wisps of emotion numbed

by the chilly winds,

the pores of my skin

have forgotten to breathe.

 

The chances of longing

for somebody or someone

whom you have felt the time

when the blood on your veins

boil and burst with life. Inside

of you. That the world is

still a beautiful place, after all.

 

Just for this moment of expectation.

This soft prison cell will balm my soul

who wants to break out as a man

free like a butterfly

in its resplendent colors.

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If you came here

to read my poems to rhyme,

you’ll be disappointed.

 

I do not offer a life

nor its manicured rhyme

but a disjointed rhythms

of words. Of thoughts

messed around misaligned

tensions of surviving

to live and exist.

 

I am not ashamed- to speak

the painful answers to questions

yet some are eager to clarify

the vagueness of the person-

and his art of illusion.  I do not

 

offer a solution to a malady

but I am willing to bare

the broken bones.

There is no guilt

 

for a man who stand

for what he is

and would offer no

facelift to his present

circumstance.

 

If you came here

to read my poems to rhyme,

you’ll be disappointed.

I will not offer a story

fit for a fairytale.

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No amount of words can bridge

the distance of years in silence-

because the sun hides its face

like the way a tyke, fatherless

and left out into the world

to fend for himself. Alone.

 

Someone has to refuse

to become the victim anymore.

You knock some doors

and it is locked. You are not

welcome there. And a hand

is restrained to touch his own

 

shadow or an image reflected

a life mirrored in water.

Disowned molting who just

learned its first flight

and give ambled wings

to shattered dreams.

 

Of the smell of gunpowder.

The handprints on paperbills

and the bitter taste of wine.

None of which represents

your true bone stripped of flesh.

An animal with no redemption-

heartless and chained.

 

You will refuse to let the past

define you of who you will become.

 

And you begin the journey

to a place of faceless and nameless

strangers. You will exist

as though you just have lived

and strip down the shadow

as an old clothing. Naked and free

shimmering like a newborn child.

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We have to spend our whole life getting up

each morning and see the many suns

rising courageous from the horizon.

A simple life- who knows when to retire

at night time and hug long-time companions

called pillows and dreaming dreams.

 

There are episodes here, which send ripples

into our seemingly monotonous existence

everyday. And we have to wage battles

with boredom and her sisters- called mediocrity

and irrelevance. But not all were lost.

Somebody needs to learn how to befriend them.

 

Some may think that something was lacking,

but perhaps in the company of silence we find

orbs of thoughts in the usual grind of days

like the fowls of the air having simple cares.

Season after season. Day after day. Aged

but content to the simple things that matter.

 

The small country talks over the weather

and life in the farm begins with asking folks

how the young are doing these days at school.

The familiar warmth of seeing old friends at a gathering.

The joy of witnessing someone else’s milestones.

 

The farewells and well wishes when someone

is leaving our own little places to discover

the bigness of things. There goes a little prayer

and a hope that nothing is wrong when one decides

to stay and carry on doing their tasks each day.

 

We might spend our whole life thinking it’s good after all, 

though it has never been easy and there are rough times.

 

But it will never stop us believing that peace within

is the only dwelling place, our enduring shelter

when the day comes that we will never be able

to witness the sun and it has forgotten to rise.

 

In the darkness, we hope our soul in its own little spaces

can see the moon and stars light up the evening sky.

While the wind whispers- all is well, we’ll be calm as the sea.

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Some say love is never about speed but a slow

unfurling of beauty- gentle and unhurried.

That makes the difference between the passing

of time and the crafting of masterpiece-

not everyone is interested reading about angst.

 

And you fail to notice that everyone’s engaged

to their own brand of narcissism- they maintain

to survive and keep up one’s reputation.

 

And if you think that poets spend their lives

holed up in their four cornered walls and a window

looking in from the world changing night and day.

Self-absorbed about  feelings or digging of the past

and wanting for love that they never have.

 

Or won’t have.

 

Some say about exiles to another country

or to another time or another space would

make people stalk on your mysticism.

Or the lyricism of recording things-

one have chosen to leave behind.

 

You can be exiled even without a room.

That is easy- while you walk around nonchalant

and pretend you didn’t carry anything.

You must know how heavy it is to bring

one line of a poem and to bravely express it.

 

Who says poetry is a dying art? I say otherwise.

For centuries, poets mined gold, toiling the minds

of men and keep them going on despite travails.

Ranting about their lost loves, lost paradise

or lost keys of their hearts.

Or lost childhood. Or lost future.

 

Art that was losing chances and losing hope.

That made poems became songs sung out loud.

It became pieces of conversation. In the streets.

And in the way people speak. To sell. To buy

affection and things people would want

and impress people whom they would want

to belong with. But this will never be.

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Empty handed you go into spaces

searching for  souls like collisions

of grey shapes stumbling down

into staircases heading for exit.

 

Pass this way. They are the reflections

of glassy things you see staring back

at you- images of the sun battling

against the rogue winds. Then peace

 

will come knocking at your door

peddling its sepia stained photographs

and pushing nostalgic emotions

tethered to your distant past.

 

You will not allow it. You will pretend

as if you’ve come a long way from there

and someone has to understand

that they need to break down

 

the concept of the old life you are not

now. Though they won’t applaud changes

and alone you have to float like a river

where myriad of dreams are waiting

 

to become realities and rarities.

You have to be lighter than feather.

You should embrace memories

like the colors of the rainbow.

 

Unmindful and undeterred by fear

gripping like empty boxes and chains

to the blank spaces waiting to be filled

with courage to break through walls.

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