“When he shall die,–William Shakespeare
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.”
It has been a while, hasn’t it? For months now I’ve battled with writing, battled with dreaming. I feel stuck in slow motion, and in many ways stagnated. Given all that is going on in the world, I’m sure I’m not alone in this feeling. It’s almost like running in a dream or screaming under water; fighting so hard and getting nowhere.
So many nights I lay down and hope to sleep, to dream, only to fall into a fitful darkness that feels like sleep, yet still leaves me exhausted in the morning. Dark flashes of scenes, some good, some bad, dance before my eyes, but it’s nothing like the dreams I’m used to. After my surgery in December, my dreams had gone nearly completely, and I worried that they were gone for good.
But here and there I see breakthroughs. Here and there I see the light on the other side. And that’s enough to keep me pushing forward. And even though this dream wasn’t the happiest? It felt good to truly dream again.
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“If someone does not want me it is not the end of the world. But if I do not want me, the world is nothing but endings.”— Nayyirah Waheed
And so the year has turned to its close, and as I heal from wounds of my own choosing, I find myself turning introspective again. Not only of the year, but of the decade. I admit that I started this writing before Christmas, but found the words sticky and unwilling to lend themselves to exactly what I have been feeling. I hope that tonight, I may do them justice.
I suppose it’s a tad cliche to write an introspection. Everyone is doing it, right? I’ve heard grumbles here and there, but for me, it’s an important process. I have to sit and think on things past, so that I may move forward in peace, and with purpose. And to the oak tree, what are the caws of crows but mere distraction in its reaching for the sun?
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“Take me to the land of lovers where flowers bloom with love, birds sing with love, and hearts long for hearts. ” –Debasish Mridha
I must admit, I have neglected the blog as of late. Part of it has been due to writer’s block, which I struggle with often. But the other part has been life in general, and juggling hobbies. I somehow try to fit music, writing, drawing, and poetry all into a life that is already full of mom and work duties. I make it work, I suppose, but the piano has been winning out a lot lately, much to the chagrin of my guitars.
Then there’s the dreams themselves. I’ve gone into another period of deeply dreaming that is much too personal to share now, if ever.
And now, in the midst of finals week, worn out, and with a tuckered out kiddo passed out in bed, I finally felt I had something easy to share. Something to at least break the silence, anyway. I was actually sitting at the piano, languidly pecking out the notes to a very lazy, half-hearted rendition of “Jingle Bells” when I finally decided to hit the computer keys instead.
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I am signaling you through the flames.
The North Pole is not where it used to be.
Manifest destiny is no longer manifest.
Nemesis is knocking at the door.
What are poets for, in such an age?
What is the use of poetry?
The state of the world calls out for poetry to save it.–Lawrence Ferlinghetti, “Poetry as Insurgent Art”
I am unabashedly in love with poetry of all forms. From the staples of Shakespeare, to the metaphysical meanderings of John Donne, to Poe, Ferlinghetti, Rosetti, Aiken, Plath, Frost… the list could go on. Even the new, viral “short form” poems have a special place in my heart, especially those of Nayyirah Waheed. After all, music has always moved me deeply, and what is poetry but music with prose?
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“When the snow falls and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.” –George R. R. Martin
Full moons have always held significance to me, throughout my lifetime. From the awestruck gazes of childhood to the more spiritual tones of my adulthood, I have always made sure to take a few minutes each full moon to acknowledge the beauty of it. There is something pure and good to be seen in that alabaster light. Despite the consensus that the full moon brings out the wild and crazy in people, it has always been a calming, grounding force for me. Then again, I might just be crazy.
Meditation has become a ritual for me at each new and full moon cycle, and this one was no different. Truth be told, I meditate nearly every night before sleep, but without much intent. I allow thoughts to flit here and there through my mind until I nod off to sleep. With these moon meditations, however, I try to put some purpose or intent into it. Usually some sort of letting go, or goal. And since I haven’t written about a dream in some time, I thought I would share one from this most recent full moon.
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I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.–Nelson Mandela
This is a post I started over a month ago. In truth, it is nearly 11 years over due in many ways. This story, this journey, is one that I have never told in its entirety. Before, I have only given it in bits and pieces to a select few people. Now, it is time for the telling, so that I can truly let go of some internalizations that I have held onto for over a decade.
This will not be a beautiful piece like I normally strive for. It’s ugly at turns, and raw. But a very real part of me that has been 11 years suppressed. This is my cancer journey.
When I was 21 years old, I was told that I had pancreatic cancer. I had to come to terms quickly with my mortality; far quicker than I think I was emotionally prepared for at the time. But I didn’t have a choice, really. I had to be brave. For my family, my friends. Above all, for my mother, who was not handling the situation well at all.
As strange as it was, I was not entirely surprised that I was sick. For months, I had been having dreams…
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“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him, the stars.”–Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
“Mommy, why do flowers have to die?”
I was a bit taken aback by such a big question coming from such a little person. But then again, he’s been surprising me since he was born.
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Bonaventure is called a graveyard, a town of the dead, but the few graves are powerless in such a depth of life. The rippling of living waters, the song of birds, the joyous confidence of flowers, the calm, undisturbable grandeur of the oaks, mark this place of graves as one of the Lord’s most favored abodes of life and light. –John Muir, Camping Among the Tombs
As of late, I find myself deep within the trappings of my own mind again. Considerations of times past, and the way forward, flash in scenes various as I mull over the meaning and the beat of my life. And most times? I find myself in my mental eye in Bonaventure, wandering its near-endless avenues. In dreams, too, she calls to me with her many residents paying me a visit here and there. It seems I can never quite escape her, as even in sleep, Bonaventure finds me in dreams.
I first came to Bonaventure at the end of March last year, though I had been drawn to her for some time. In fact, an entire trip had been planned months prior just for the pilgrimage of reaching Savannah and Bonaventure’s gates. When planning then, I knew in a vague way that it would be a life-changing experience. As with most of life’s lessons, just how life-changing this visit would be could only be revealed later.
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There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandchild.–Victor Hugo
After grieving for Sammy throughout most of my childhood, death, at some point, became merely a distant threat again. I thought of him most days, admittedly do even now, but tears had subsided into smiles as painful thoughts became fond memories once more. Plus, going through puberty and then my high school years? I had more than plenty to keep me occupied.
I took death, in, yet again, an abstract sort of way, wrapping myself up in the communities that were Goth and Geek culture in the early aughts. This was not an embrace of death, not fully. More of keeping an enemy at arm’s length. Using the fear as a shield, and then escaping into a digital wonderland when things got too “real.”
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I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.–Edna St. Vincent Millay, Dirge Without Music
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.
Winter has always been a season of loss for me. The three most impactful deaths in my life all occurred in winter, after all. On a historical and spiritual level, the season is inherently tied to death to begin with, given that for our ancestors, a harsh winter could spell doom. So I suppose it’s only natural. Lately, as I think back to those three I’ve lost, something has struck me in how I’ve processed each one, and how the digital age has changed how I’ve mourned them.
My first exposure to death, true death, was the loss of my cousin Sammy at the age of nine. I know that prior to his death, there were a couple of pets here and there that had crossed the bridge, but my grandmother and mother kept me insulated from what death truly was. It was an abstract concept to my child’s mind. People and animals lived, and then they went away. Less a feeling of loss, and more an absence, and I was already used to people being absent in my life. In that hopeful, childlike way, I thought little about the difference, and overlooked that while absent people may return, the dead do not. At least not in any conventional way… Read More »