it’s okay soldier

it’s okay soldier from some foreign land,

plunder our homes, obey his command.

it’s okay fellow man, to step on the greens my father grew…

the plot is ours-this is the land we grew.

so he wouldn’t mind, he’ll smile and tell you that the garden looks fine…

so burn the field, burn the fruit,

it’s okay still, tomorrow we’ll make peace, who knows?

come to my home, when the war is over, let’s have a meal by that fire

you ignited with no desire

but with the sole intention of obeying your commander.

tell us what thoughts governed your mind

when, for once, the land you stood on wasn’t a mine.

-Su De Zoysa

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confession.

there has always been something that I yearn for in them; this fictional couple Austen brought to life.

it so happens that people who know me confess that I’m nothing like Elinor Dashwood and that I’m everything like her sister, Marrianne. I’m afraid they are right. my emotions: they take flight within a matter of seconds and I can’t seem to get them to land on solid ground without a devastating impact on my heart and self as a whole. I have a heart that feels ever so deeply than necessary by the standards deemed acceptable by people in general. I confess that there have been times i caught myself wishing I weren’t so easily affected by the world and what it has to offer.

Elinor, whose capacity to silently endure pain, makes me want to strive to govern my emotions, but I fail so miserably at it.

I remember that I cried when she did, at the very end of the story when Edward professes his love.

patience is a rare gift and I practice it as best I could, but I can’t seem to get rid of the pain that makes my heart’s sinews tighten in a way that makes it so difficult for me to breathe.

Surely, I’m going to have to live like this, and what I know is that I couldn’t be anything unlike myself even if I tried.

try to say what you know.

when all else subsides,
when the city sleeps for the night,
when everyone’s tucked in after dining on each other’s disposable lives,
when some contemplate that one end we dread (or not),
when the wind drags the unwilling, brown leaves along the deserted pavement,
the ghosts of our yesterdays haunt the places we secretly love so much,
and i’ll tell you how it goes,
if you would let go what you own for a moment, swing open your door, if only you could find the time, i’ll tell you all you need to know:
why my knees are bruised, why my arm is purple, why my lips are dry, and why my eyes are sore..
and why they’ll never go back to the way they were before, why time is such a great master, and how i’m such a good learner?
I really don’t know.
                   `-to Josh Radnor

Christmas in Two Thousand

i'm an old Christmas card: red, green, and a bit of silver sparkling dust,
lying in a pile of old photographs
in your storage room in a box. 

sitting in the dark, my glimmer outshone by a thin layer of dust 
that settled on me night after night silently, hiding me from view -
each time your wine glasses clinked above,
each time a new voice was heard in your doorway,
and was never heard again, 
and all the times you've come down here but never saw me,
what kept me company were your termite-smitten photographs, 
also behind a layer of dust, also forgotten -
a group of unfamiliar faces sharing their fading smiles, 
clad in torn jeans and shirts untidily tucked - forlorn like me. 

if you find me, i might not be as whole as i once was somewhere in two 
thousand.
and it's unlikely that i'd survive amid a termite colony.
but if you do find me, think of me fondly,
i was your friend and i couldn't confess it then;
that i thought of you often, and i always wondered if you thought of me too
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the sound of reason

I can’t always try to be good. I know I have thought about this before and I would never dream of seeing other people hurt. Today, however, I cannot take it any longer. I just need it to go crazy. I need the skies to turn violent, roar in anger, and unleash its rage, and rain heavily.
I live in a place where heavy rain wouldn’t affect or harm me badly, at least, I think so. I am also convinced that what I seek will be the ruin of others. I know there are people who would suffer terribly from it: their houses would crack and topple off cliffs upon which they sit and their lands would fall apart leaving them in utter misery I will never be able to stomach. I am sorry.
I cannot moderate my prayers like before. For I used to pray: First, seeking absolute protection and warmth for the people I would be putting in great peril to get what I want. Second, I would shut my eyes tight and see my heart’s unequivocal desire to see, smell, feel and taste the cold, terrible rain – fulfilled. And sometimes, as an afterthought, I would simply agree to settle for nothing.
I just don’t have the strength or desire anymore to think about the catastrophic effects of rain. I just have to ask for it this time, without having to mop a trace of guilt soiling my conscience, later on. And when I know that that’s the only thing I need right now to feel alive, I can’t always try to be good.

Glass of Milk

“Why’d you quit?” “You shouldn’t have quit. Should have held on for some time and see,” the experts/ the-know-it-all-geniuses would tell me. Yes, I quit. Not for one, but for many reasons, I quit within two weeks from my first job.

Do my parents seem worried? Of course they are! Do others who seemingly or otherwise care about me look at me as if I’m not okay in the head? Sure they do!

The day after I handed in my letter of resignation, I was asked to join the Leavers’ Service in the Chapel. I remember this much from that day. I don’t know if it was God speaking to me through the words of the Chaplain, because it sure sounded as if it was all meant for me.

He spoke of a parable where ( if I remember this right) every villager, after having collectively dug a huge pond, was asked by their Master to fill it with one glass of milk before dawn. One villager opted to fill it with a glass of water since no one would notice it in the dark.

Surprisingly, however, at dawn, the Master saw that the pond was only filled with water. Evidently, every villager had assumed that someone else might fill it with milk.

“So,” the chaplain continued, “this is what happens when all of us assume that someone else might do what we ought to do ourselves”.

My eyes widened. Am I running away? Of course I am, I snapped at myself. But, am I running away unequivocally because I know that someone else might take my place and do my job? I couldn’t answer that question. I remained there for what seemed like hours, thinking my action through. I faintly recall the chaplain asking the congregation, “how are you serving your community? What is your glass of milk?”

That night, and in the nights that followed, the insides of my stomach kept twisting and churning every time I remembered “what is MY glass of milk? How do I repay what I’ve gained from seventeen years’ education?

Was my decision wrong? Even if it was, how could I have woken up every morning and go to work as if I were being dragged into my own execution? I felt sick, I realized I couldn’t eat properly, and I felt so alone.

I wasn’t happy.

So I upped and left.

And I faintly recall promising myself that I wouldn’t hold this act against me, nor would I hold it against people who leave because they are unhappy.

 

a mind. my mind

life is unmistakably simple. Yet somehow extraordinary.
what makes life extraordinary, one might ask. it’s the big
things some might say, it’s the small things, others might guess.
but what is big and small? how big is the universe? how little
is our littlest toe? has the universe got boundaries?
is what we see, what we know?
what is love, i ask. it is the small things. it is the big
things. it is the small and big things together. we ought not
to fear it. we ought not to fear life.
what makes us fear life? what makes us fear love?
is it the possibility of an ending?
is it the possibility of losing?
what ends? what do we lose?
what is there to hold on? what is pain? what is sorrow?
was life yesterday? is it today? or will it be tomorrow? what is
time? is it magic? is magic real? is time only a repeating song?
love. how does it begin? how does it grow? how does it mend?
it feels beautiful. it is overwhelming. it gets heavier as we go.
is it distasteful? is it distant? is it near?
are you here? am i real though?
i was asked, very recently of course, what is the world as we know it
made of?
i was told, after a very long pause, thoughts are what this world is
made of.
i awoke. tell me, is there anything else in this world other than
a ceaseless flow of thoughts? where do they come from? where do they go?
i’m walking on a stretch of salt-brimmed sand. it is pale yellow,
like straw. the slightly warm waves, they splash on my feet, a bit
around my ankles, and the foam breaks. it is white, light blue and grey.
it feels really good and the sky is unbelievably beautiful. i look
at my feet as my toes disappear under sand and water. i look at them
as they reappear, moments later.
Sand. Feet. Pink, clean toes. Water.
One at a time.
when my eyes meet my feet, sand, pink, clean toes, and water
are swallowed whole into oblivion. when i think of pink, clean toes,
everything else is sucked up into oblivion. one at a time, my mother explained.
i look up. my eyes wander close to my mother, father, sister and others.
i look at my family, my blood. we are together. we are one. who is God?
is He here? is He just another thought?
one by one, i let them go. one by one, i let myself know,
i’m not theirs, nor they, mine. it hurts. it is hard to think so.
but it is so, apparently.
it makes sense though, when they are gone. life becomes easier,
it becomes plainer, lighter even, to think when ties are gone,
i’m freer, (apparently).
but i’d rather have them. know them.
and carry them in my thoughts.
i don’t mind the weight. no matter how long it takes.
i don’t care how time operates.
i don’t care how deep i’ll fall. i don’t want a wall.
where do i stand? do i stand tall?
am i pale? (i haven’t eaten at all).
i have questions. i have answers too.
One too many, deep, shallow, and You.