you’ll understand when you’re older.

mommy, what does happy feel like?

“it’s like when you smile and everything is nice.”

mommy, what does sad feel like?

“it’s like when your grandma died. it makes you frown, and sometimes you cry.”

mommy, what does being mad feel like?

“it’s like when you want to hit something really hard to stop the fire in your middle.”

mommy, what is being scared like?

“it’s when you don’t want something to happen, but instead of fire in your middle everything is ice.”

mommy, what does hope feel like?

“it’s when you really want something to happen, and you’re almost scared about it but you smile instead of frown.”

mommy, what does love feel like?

“you’ll understand when you’re older.”

mommy, what does happy feel like?

[it’s the glow in her eyes but not her face as she looks at you oddly, tired – bent but not broken but even her smile is strained now]

mommy, what does sad feel like?

[it’s the way she sobs when she doesn’t think you’re near enough to hear with no abandon, unlike the everything that abandoned her, and it’s the gaunt look to her face, the haunted eyes that seem never to escape the mysterious burdens they drag with them]

mommy, what does being mad feel like?

[it’s the screaming at the sky, the blood-chilling sounds wrenched from her, demanding at no one why they would do this to her, why her, anyone but her, and it’s the dented wall no one talks about]

mommy, what is being scared like?

[it’s the ‘i-love-you’s that stick because of the desperation buried beneath the simple words, and it’s the fact that she’s convinced she’ll never be able to convey the entirety of her meaning, but she’ll try her hardest, anyway, because what could invoke more fear than regret?]

mommy, what does hope feel like?

“mommy doesn’t know sweetie, go ask someone else.”

mommy, what does love feel like? (i’m older now, you know)

“shouldn’t you know the answer by now?”


rambles from school, pt 1

Love is not an easy concept to grasp, because it’s not just a concept – everyone defines it a little different. It’s an emotion, or an action, or physical pleasure. Something I didn’t even consider until recently is that love is not capable of being confined to just one definition. To some people, it is one thing, while to others, it is totally different.

As a child, all I knew was familial love; there was also “parents’ love” – subtly romantic, longsuffering, and steady – but that was for adults. I did not dwell on the qualities love, much less on how I would define them. Growing older, however, as I start to revise and realize my own outlooks on various subjects, love is much more elusive than I originally thought. It is not straightforward anymore; rather, it’s like the color black. Some people say it qualifies as a color, some claim it does not. Some think that it’s all one color and anything else is grey that borders on black, but does not count as “real” black; some see different shades to bright colors combined. There is no one, universally-agreed-upon definition, because too many people see too many things.

Growing up, I have witnessed too many things to maintain one definition. Divorce, when two people who used to claim to love each other separate permanently. Immaturity, when one or more parties involved do not understand that loving each other, in any way, supposedly means that the people involved should care enough to work out their differences despite the disagreement. Martyrdom, even the sort that does not refer to death – one person lets another, or more than one, stomp over them because if that’s what the second party wants, the first should oblige, right?

Love cannot be contained by one human. It is too nuanced, too variable, to stand by just one definition. It is not just familial or just romantic. The least we can do is understand that.

who taught us to love?

no one ever taught us to care. it’s instinct, right? carved into intangible humanity, sitting like rain water in a barrel; leaking through even against our all-important wishes.
we care so much that our so-called hearts bleed until they wither into dust. we care until veins burst but arteries clench closed; till we spit venom and cures at random, with no care for the path we subconsciously tread. peripheral vision – that’s all we retain, staring anywhere but right in front of us, eyes boring holes into everything but the truth. the truth: we care until paradoxes overwhelm our lives, throwing us back into reality with nothing but a vague notion of recent events.
hazy, disjointed life. automatic, uncontrollable life. that’s all we retain.
we care, but we don’t focus on it; that would hurt too much.
we care, not because we would die of agony if we fully felt the effects–
but because we would live in perpetual fear of the what-ifs.
we care without a care in the world, simply because it’s instinct.

you’re a barnacle-covered hunk of metal (surprise!)

there is a poetry in the risk of bending reality to fit your overall mood; there is a reckless rhyme to the fact that you do not and shall not gift a second thought to your own abandon.

there is a certain meter, specific rules, and you feel no other desire toward them except a craving to break every single one.

longing sickens you, because there is nothing – nothing – you would rather do than break free

from yourself.

your tongue aches to twist words into braided structure / your head pounds with the puzzle of peaceful chaos / your heart beats exponentially faster because you are alive but removed from yourself

sails are necessary to a ship; this is widely-known fact. reckless apathy is your sail, so that when the time comes, there will be no mourning. there will be no weakness in sensitivity, because apathetic calm is optimal, is it not?

release yourself. remove yourself. wreck yourself.

these steps have never tempted you more than

it is only the affirmation that others think about you, sometimes, that pulls you back. the alleged care is too much to process, but maybe you let yourself think in your rare weak moments that someone you care about, reciprocates.

so you attempt to forget. you suppress and repress until you can remember things, but nothing you used to consider inconsequential.

you quickly realize that forgetting the details was the worst choice for you, in this cursed state. in forgetting them, you sever any remainder of any anchor you’ve ever known–

because what is your anchor, if not them?

in forgetting them, you’ve freed yourself

in freedom, you’ve lost yourself

(who knew that anchors were the most important component to a ship?)


have you ever gone through an hour, or maybe a day, or a week, where it felt like you were living out a video? everything is a hollow allegory for something held dear. time is fluid, you are fluid. you survive, but you do not live.
echoes of ‘real’ life? well, this is real life. this is the reality you face every day. it’s like you’re living in a dream except that you can read the license plate of the car in front of you as you drive to work, or school, or just back home. you feel each meaningless breath rack your body, but you don’t breathe. ‘going through the motions’ is a way of life now. ‘fine’ is a perpetual state of being.
and what’s better, this, or emotion that sucks away the things you see but don’t focus on, the things you hear but don’t register? always ringing in your ears, or maybe a buzzing – it distracts you, until you’re not paying attention and someone else pays the cost.

have you ever experienced this?
i ask, because i can no longer breathe.

on fireworks and how they’re viewed

There is something beautifully metaphorical about fireworks.
I was fortunate enough to be able to watch the local Fourth of July fireworks with some friends, but most of my family couldn’t, so I decided to take a video of them for my sibling. There was one thing I noticed specifically in the process – the light show always, always looked better when watched with the naked eye, versus through the camera I filmed it with. It was more colorful, louder, and besides, you can’t very well feel fireworks shaking your very soul through a phone, can you? [at least, not yet?]
And that fact, that small fact, got me thinking. Of course.
Different versions of the same thought ran through my head Saturday night – /You can’t live solely behind the camera. Life isn’t lived to the fullest if you stay behind the scenes./
/You will never make a difference if you’re afraid of change./
Is that a newsflash, even a little bit? That we can’t change the world if we’re afraid to change ourselves: this is something that should be obvious by now. Small amounts of doubt is healthy.
Fear cripples and rots you, until there’s nothing left of you but an eroded shell. It leaves you hollowed out and choking on your own breath.
A firework may last only a moment, but the way it imprints the sky with its aftersmoke and leaves you gasping for more is something to remember.
Live a little. Make an imprint on someone’s day, without the crippling fear that they won’t like you or accept you. Be the genuine firework, not a recorded replica.

[yes, I did just vaguely tie all of that into each other. somehow. that was fun.]

thoughts on this poetry.

I think that it is so sad, so sad that a lot of people don’t see the depth of death. It’s sad, it means work. They see the effects, not the cause. Sad is happy for deep people, to quote one of the saddest of all. Sad has so many subsections of its own, and is the main emotion one thinks of when one thinks death. But it is not the only emotion. So many implications and connotations dance in the very back of my eyelids. Death is beautiful, even in its sadness, and if you do not believe that sadness can be beautiful, stop reading right now and go do something else.
There is nothing about death that is one dimensional, nothing at all. There is probably nothing about it that is two-dimensional, either. It is black and white the way roses are black and white: with so many different hues in between. Death could be happy, sad, confusing – all three at once. Being more specific it could be melancholy, or nostalgic, or still confusing. You think birth is more beautiful, more poetic? You think that it is better? You think death is black and inevitable and depressing? Have you ever known someone who willingly embraced death? I think not.
There is a poetry in death that is unspeakable. The eternity, the solidity of it. Who knows, maybe humans have it all wrong. Maybe birth is supposed to be black and death supposed to be white. Maybe death was never supposed to be depressing at all, because though the end draws near, its the remaining pieces of a puzzle falling into place. It’s finally the bigger picture, except no one will ever see the entire picture.
It’s poetry.