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Perfect

My heart woke me crying last night.
How can I help? I begged.
My heart said,
write the book.

Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey

I remember the first story I ever wrote. It was on a square ruled A4 size notebook that I had bought for a class whose lecturer never showed up. I hated that story. It was a cheesy romantic tale full of sacrifice and pain and courage and all those awesome things a 20 year old dreams about when he thinks about love.

My friends loved that story.

For the life of me I couldn’t tell why.

I had sat down on a rainy Saturday afternoon and laboured into the night writing it, not knowing where I was going with those characters, and yet still trusting them to lead.

When I had finally laid down my pen at around 11 pm, I couldn’t bring myself to read it. An existensional dread engulfed me and I was naked in the market place.

There was relief that it was complete, but hard as I tried to love it, I just could not.

It was not perfect.

I still remember the look of incredulity on this guy’s face after he’d read it.

“You wrote this?!”

I dragged a smile to my face and nodded (I think it was more like a grimace).

“It is awesome!”

Before I could halt the decay, the tale had been passed around and the tag ‘writer’ duly attached to my person.

Something in me gloried. For a moment I had an identity all of my own, and a place to belong. The question of identity had wracked my soul for days on end and here now was a person I could claim. A writer.

Then I remembered how crap that story was and I knew I was a fraud.

I had read brilliant works before, and at that time I had just discovered Tolstoy. His stories were the standard I aspired to and here I was masquerading as a writer and with one story I couldn’t hold up to the sun.

It was terrible.

I walked around in a daze.

A part of me urging me to write another and a louder voice hysterically laughing at my cheek.

I finally made another attempt at the craft with a tale no one read, which I submitted to an online writing contest and duly forgot about it.

I got no feedback.

I wasn’t expecting any anyway.

When my laptop crashed and I lost it amongst other things, it finally suffered the natural death that had been coming.

So I got busy with work and life and an occasional poem and a post on the blog… My heart cried for more but I was able to calm the storms within.

I never got back to writing the long form, God knows how many times i started something and soon gave it up as crap; until sometime this year when I woke up with this insane idea that just seemed to take flight. My blood raced and in the humdrum of daily life I sat down and wrote a brief outline of the story and its introduction.

Then my demon came back.

I started seeing all the possible ways in which it couldn’t work, a chorus of laughter ringed in my ears and for a moment I stopped.

On a bright Sunday morning, when I should have been ushering folks in to the morning service, I lay in bed thinking. Light that shone through my windows pierced to my soul. For that moment I was able to see clearly.

It was there in my relationship with writing.

It was there in my romantic relationships.

It was the reason why I worked so hard and drove my self so hard to please others, and be at peace with them, even if the cost was my joy and well being.

It was the reason why I always pushed myself back into the shadows when an opportunity arose and would be content seeing others struggle with things I might have done effortlessly. If they couldn’t see it, then I definitely wasn’t perfect for the role.

It was the reason for much.

Perfection has always been my Achilles heel.

So I am learning to stare deep into the abyss, and let myself fall.

I am writing.

I am speaking.

And I am living out loud.

It is scary, but I am doing it anyway.

I am learning to enjoy creating for the joy of creating.

I am learning to enjoy my sentences, and to recognize they’re not jail cells.

It doesn’t have to always rhyme to be right, it doesn’t have to glow to flow.

If there’s heart and blood and grace in the labour, then that’s okay. And as we keep at it, one day, without us knowing it gets as close to perfect as is possible on earth. When it gets to that point, and becomes the means through which a life may find grace and healing; then we will not have lived and laboured in vain.

For now….

I keep writing.

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Posted by on June 18, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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We’re going to live

If there’s sun today, darling ; wear a dress.
If there’s rain today, let’s play some chess.

If tears sting your eyes darling, let them flow;
If there’s laughter in your bones, glow!

If your heart is soaring, go;

If there’s a sorrow burrowing… No.

Demons dancing at your door?

Angels armed ready for war;

Don’t you see?

The babe brother, the babe grows;
That child screaming, don’t you know?

Love, love that ebbs and flows,
Love that’s stuttering with longing,
Someday if there’s hope,
Someday it is strong;

Hunger that gnaws soon is gone,
Anger that growls and growls, be warned;

Lack lasts for little while…
Soon we’ll have a blast.

If there’s sun today…
If there’s rain today;
If tears sting and will not stop,
If laughter grows and overflows;
If there’s a shelter, if its all out of kilter;
Whatever life’s flavour;
Darling I promise you,
We’re going to live.

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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I do not know

Was it that her smile was an emblem?
Was it that her mouth burned like a flame?
Was it that our sighs and highs rhymed,
Or that our hearts with longing cried?
Was the arch that my arm curved,
Despite the ache,
And the haze…
The perfect shade say?

When our hearts sang,
To a silent song;
Was that the sign?

The light in the shadows, piercing;
While we lay there fearing,
Cheering.
The light! The light!
Oh that was the tipping,
While the puppies were singing.
Or was I still dreaming?

Oh sun up there staring,
While the clouds for shame hiding;
Sunshine and moonshine,
Laughter in the slurring,
Hazy strides arm in arm,
It was the mark or I am blind.
There was love and there was joy,
There for a day or two I was your boy.
There was.
There was.
There was.
Is love dead?
I do not know.

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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Pauses and moments

It’s evening and finally after a day of ups and downs, I finally drop my frame on the couch and sigh… I am tired and every muscle and sinew is begging for relief.

I close my eyes for a moment and remember all that is to be done this evening…

Dirty dishes to clean. Check

Ironing a shirt to be won tommorrow. Check.

Food, I don’t know where from… Check

On and on and on the list flows.

I am doubly tired just thinking it all up.

If you’ve watched Shawshank Redemption, you probably remember Brooks.

He is the old guy who, about to be released holds a sharpened blade to one of his mates neck because he is terrified of the prospect of life outside the prison walls.

I have been thinking about Brooks a lot today. The few moments before he bows out have nagged at my psyche a lot. Specifically when he says “the world went and got itself in a big damn hurry”…

That gave me pause.

So I try retrieve the moments in hindsight.., maybe this evening I may live more because of it.

I see how my day has unfolded from the moment I woke up to this minute here. It has been one mad rush to its conclusion. As I reminisce, a thousand moments and miracles unfold before my eyes.

I see me stirring, sitting up in bed and silently sliding off. The floor is frozen beneath my toes and jerks me back to the world of the living. And standing there a moment errupts before my eyes, I am alive to a new day.

The world is silent all about me, except for the gentle tap tap tap on the roof. A thirsty land drenched to excess, filled by His hand.

The sweet savor of coffee fills every crevice of this house. Why didn’t I inhale it all in and let it fill the gnawing void within?

I see us laughing, while we’re selling, sighing with the ebbing; longing, trusting… There is money in the bag, have I been thankful enough for all that I have recieved today?

The child on my lap grips my finger with all his might as though his life depended on his hanging on. He does not know that his safety is not in the strength of his feeble fingers but my sturdy thighs and steady arm. Oh God, how foolish that I thought it was me who kept me! Blinded, I only clutched at straws while You upheld me with Your mighty hand.

Supper was a revelation. Such sweet fare gulped down quickly because there was work to be done. Was I thankful enough for it?

The joy of conversation with a friend who always asked the right questions… And the realization that a million ideas lie in the mind until they are stirred up.

The day is almost done. Soon we go to sleep.

Have you been present today?

Take a moment. Pause.

Live.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Mr Lonely

“You don’t understand….”

And it was true, I did not understand this loneliness as he described it. I know loneliness too well. Time and again he’d wrapped his arms around my soul squizzing out all joy and merriment.

That loneliness I knew.

I knew the loneliness of sitting in a crowd full of gaily cheer, wondering when it would all end so I could crawl into my bed and forget it all.

I know the loneliness of rejection, when you’ve built your life around a significant other and they had walked away from it all without a backward glance. I know that gnawing restless need that would not be sated because after a whole day of labor; you get home to a silent house, not a text or the faintest reminder that someone somewhere is aware of your existence, and affirms it.

I know the pain of lying alone on my bed wide awake at 3 am contemplating ending it all…

Here though sat a man telling me about his lonely life.

And for the life of me it was all strange.

I envied his existence. Everything I was he was an opposite. I was reserved, he was the life of the party; I was single he was “happily” married.

While I took it all slow, he was a wound up spring set loose.

And here he was telling me about his loneliness.

He lay in bed wide awake at 3 am with a snoring wife beside him.

He sat at his desk and wept for the pain that pills would not assuage.

He took a lass for comfort and she milked him and left him high and dry.

These tears he was shedding tagged at my heart for they expressed so acutely the pain that I thought was mine alone.

Before my eyes unravelled a soul, a kindred spirit fighting demons in the night.

The question still lingers, it hasn’t found an answer yet. How is it possible that loneliness would pierce all our hearts,alone and sorrounded by love?

Whence did this gnawing hurt come from?

He hangs by a chord who had been held by a strand.

He hangs alone in an office full of stuff

And those he loved have no clue how long he suffered this wound.

He and I alone together

Day by day

Mr Lonely.

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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Bloom

Flowers lie where they fall,
Battered and bruised, petals unglued;
Soiled and scarred, dirtied, disdained;
Flowers lie where they fall,
Though for a day they reigned in some hall;
Their scent sweet and savory,
Flowers plucked and pruned are bright,
While their blood blue is still light;
Flowers, while their lifeblood is warm,
For a day or two,
In death and life too;

Flowers blue or black, peach or purple;
While their veins remain unchocked,
Flowers whatever their hue,
If only you knew;
Will shine on bright without a clue.
For a day or two they’ll give you joy,
For a day or two, while they live;
Flowers will make you smile.

Bright things when they bloom,
Bright things can take your gloom;
Oh the joy in holding the parted petals,
Drinking deep from juicy boughs,
The sacred sensation stirs the soul;
Though flowers it’s true,
Live only for a day or two;

Transient is the human soul,
A flower glowing upon earth’s rocky shore;
For a day or two, day by day;
A hundred days, a thousand ways;
By this and that, through that and this;
The sum of days is flowers in bloom;
For the days we live be they one or two;
Find their truth when we bloom,
And for a hundred years if we can,
We shall be a sweet perfume in all we do.
Flowers lie where they fall,
A joyful life if they had been in bloom.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Fear

There’s this girl I like. Well it’s much more than that. Nothing gives me joy than spending time with her, nothing sends waves coursing through my frame like the sight of her. Her smile warms me through and through. Her sadness is as bitter as wormwood for me (don’t know how it tastes ;-)) and when the mirth is gone from her eyes, I see no good in the world. I like this girl a lot…
But wait.
She knows nothing of this. Maybe she suspects it, but really really know? Nope she doesn’t.

 

Let me tell you about yesterday.

We sat there chatting, laughing;

Almost crying.

The hours went by flying.

It was all so exciting!
I looked into her eyes and thought… This is it!

Then I froze.

My tongue swelled, filling my mouth so that it was all I could do to keep a straight face. I won’t bore you with the details about the flood of sweat in my briefs and sticky mess in my shoes. I won’t even bother you with the details of a night spent staring at the most boring ceiling.
I am still kicking myself thinking about it. How is it that you would be willing to give your very soul for her sake and not tell her how you feel?
Got an aha! Moment this morning.
Fear.
We shroud it with excuses, clothe it with elaborate justifiers; yet the truth is that we are afraid.
She may not feel what I feel. She is too good for me…
She most certainly belongs to another and it is not fair…
I don’t stand a chance…
Fear.
I am still praying about it…
Fear.
My family may not approve.
Fear.
I don’t want to hurt her with my shortcomings.
Fear.
I am still healing from past hurts.
Fear.
A million excuses and all it is, is fear.
There is a job opportunity I might like, but I know no one there and I have no man to help.

Fear.
Thinking of setting up this biz, but I don’t have cash or know how.
Fear.
So bit by bit we hurdle in the dark corner away from the light. Bit by bit we hold our peace for longer instead of Speaking our piece. Like millions more, we end up living lives of quiet desperation.
All because we are afraid.
So today don’t waste your breath. Say the truth that is tucked away in your heart.
Breathe.
Go ahead and live. And love. And thrive.

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2018 in Uncategorized