Bondage

History went to bed
With the sky to paint
Shades of the revolution
That consummated the rage
Of those who fought
And dreamt of a state
Liberated

Sharp Knocks

Looking out the bedroom door, no, window
Or both, but I see nothing- and everything at once.
No reason, no clue, no knowledge, nothing
But remorse, and questions spilling, spilling, spilling out onto the glass coffee
Table stained with fingerprints and dried alcohol-
                              I once sipped and drank and gulped and downed and,
               Nothing.
Then light.

               As I wake up with my insides turning inside out
Turning insides and around and around inside,
I see silence. Or was it water? Transparent it flows inside
Out. Out the bedroom…
Door, no, window. Seeing nothing but feeling,
Nothing. The sharp knives on the small of your spine,
As I feel it on mine,
Or the pin-prick whispers of the pines
Outside the window,
Seeing nothing.
Then light.

A sharp knock, knock, knockknockknock as they clamor to
See what you’re seeing outside the window, seeing
Nothing, but they say there in shadows
Of your imagination, a dark
Nothing only they can describe to you, not seeing.
But feeling.
Then light.

Breaking Chains

I remember coming across a short story when I was about 15. It was called “Autopilot”. I don’t remember how I came across it, or where, or who wrote it, or if I ever actually had the mind to read it again. Perhaps I just skimmed over it. Perhaps I just talked about it with a friend. It honestly isn’t that clear to me now, 6 years later.

6 years. Sounds like quite a long time when you read or listen to it like that. But looking back, it seems neither close nor far. It seems unreal, actually. Like it never happened. Like the events of a few years past, or even a few months, weeks, days, did not ever come to be. As if the fight you had with your brother last month, or the regrettable fuck you had with your best friend over a year ago, happened to someone else. Someone not you.

And then you start asking, who was that? And why? But you’ve got no answers. Because the honest-to-God truth is, you just don’t know.

Sitting here now in broad daylight, my boyfriend asleep a few feet away from me, my dog asleep, as well, at my feet, I run these questions over myself again and again. Then I remind myself of the answer, again and again.

Over our lifetime, so many things happen. Things we see as trivial, but change the course of our lives. And only after a few years, decades too, perhaps, do we realize so. I guess I’m luckier than most, to be seeing this now at such a young age. And I know most people would say I’m entitled, or that I don’t know half the things I’m saying. But without a hint of self-doubt, I’d say, “At 20, I’ve seen things most people won’t ever see in their entire lifetime. And that says something.”

And it’s true. I’ve seen war at 20. I’ve seen death, and suffering, and tragedy. I’ve had to comfort a 11-year old kid I treated as a younger brother, because his older brother got shot in the head while giving out free vitamins to a community of poor farmers. I’ve stood beside a tribal leader as he got shot at the face twice because of refusing to surrender his peoples’ right to their land. I’ve seen students, like me, get beat up and chased with wooden and metal rods for asking for a peaceful dialogue with university authorities. I’ve seen death, and suffering, and tragedy.

At 19, I decided to be a part of a volunteer crew for a charitable organization that gives free medical help to far-flung areas. A charitable organization that gets neither support nor appreciation from the government. Instead, we received death threats, and the military, and guns to our head. And at first I was so confused, I didn’t understand. We were giving up our personal dreams for those who don’t even have the luxury to dream. We were doing the job the government should have been doing. And yet, there we were, thinking that each day might be our last.

Until it dawned on me. Dawned on me with full force, like that of the country’s military. This is the society we were born into. This is the kind of world we have come to love and embrace. This is the injustice that we smile at and romanticize everyday. This is us. This is the only autopilot that matters.

We were born into a society that puts the rich on a pedestal. No matter how abusive they are. No matter how exploitative their means are. Just because they’re rich and it makes a good success story. We love and embrace a world that turns its back on the poor and marginalized. No matter how vital they are to the economy. No matter how nice and hardworking they are. Just because they’re poor and they failed to climb a ladder that was never given to them. We smile at and romanticize the stories of suffering of the minority. No matter how difficult it is for them. No matter how much it hurts them. Just because they make our lives look detached and comfortable. This is us. This is the only autopilot that matters.

So today, being at home for 3 months and 10 days, after 16 months and 3 days of sacrifice and true service, I see. If there’s one thing I can do to give justice to what I’ve seen and experienced, that’s to break the autopilot in me. To break the chains I so desperately clung on to all this time. And I’m going to start today.

I’m going to start small, but I’m going to start.

Rapture of the Peasants

You are a coward
You who hide behind the castle curtains
You who cower beneath the master’s bed
You who tremble inside the queen’s closet
You who clean up after the princes’ mess

You are ignorant
You who disown the riches of this realm
You who deny the wishes of the king
You who reject the gold of the noble
You who refuse the promise of the land

You will conquer all
You who see through the royals’ transgressions
You who demand the birthright of the poor
You who ask for none less than what’s deserved
You who lead all the brave and all the wise

You are a coward and you are ignorant

Power

I hope you know ―

The stars crash with the mantle of the skies
With every blink that you send rushing
Through the space between us and the moon
Shining a little more brightly every time
You speak with tongues in flames
With passion and pain combined between sheets
Your tears have woven something divine
Amidst your disbelief and confusion
When in the darkest places; yet,

What I see ―

Your desire burning through
The marble façade, so delicate and distant
From your doubts resonating through
Every click your heels make on the pavement
Of that lonely Thursday afternoon alone
Among people who appreciate your laughter
Against the deafness where your cries fall
Somber and longing but standing there
Every time you do not realize;

When I see ―

The power rushing through the glades
Dancing leaves menacing the garden of distrust
Planted in the backyard of your dreams
Hoping that your nightmares won’t find the place
Your waking hour lies when you sow seeds
With love and happiness through the wind
Carrying your strength and frailty
In a single whoosh, then you will see;
A single rose bloomed from the bare tiles
Wondering where such beauty formed
From the skies above and glades beneath
A single whisper above the tyranny of your fears;

You.

I hope you know what I see when I see you.