The Mask

we all wear it

the mask

a smile or a dance

laughter or music

 

scars hidden

we don’t talk about it

 

for a conversation

it’s not always the best topic

 

loved ones in the past

whom we sealed in a bottle

because they hurt us

and we haven’t let go

or we let them fall

and they left for another land

or they hurt themselves

and we could have done something about it

 

we don’t talk about it

the things that pained us

the sadness we thought we buried

that comes out when we don’t notice

the mistakes we have made

the loneliness we feel in bed

 

the nights we toss and turn

because the mask has fallen

the wounds are not transparent

not disguising its existence

 

we don’t talk about it

but we all wear it

the mask

it seems like a taboo

to talk about you

or me

or him

or her

or being lost again

 

we have been taught

what’s positive or negative

what’s strong and what’s weak

to snap out of it

so we wear a mask

so the things we are afraid of

won’t be brought up

so we won’t be blamed again

 

we wear a colorful mask

when we are hollow all day

suffering in our own way

but we don’t talk about it

afraid to be judged

afraid to cause harm

afraid to be exposed

afraid

just afraid

the mask covers so we don’t have to face

 

we all wear the mask

pretending to be okay

at a dinner party

friends’ gathering

important jobs

or maybe in a pub

characters we play

on this stage we call life

 

we should start talking about it

we should stop the judging and start understanding

start loving

start forgiving, you and me

we should leave people better than we found them

not let them fade

behind the mask

 

we should start talking about it

we should be okay with not being okay

with every hey are you okay

it should be a question full of love and respect

not a social gesture that’s a bit awkward

 

we should make others comfortable

feel safe

feel less alone

because in the end we are all the same

we are together in this place called life

and we should stop wearing the mask

by being the one that starts loving

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1246

1246 days

of sobriety

 

3 years

4 months

4 weeks

alcohol-free

 

The drunk version of me

Erased by memory

The crazy days

The erotic encounters

All seem so blurred

Lost in history

 

Buried deep in the dirt

Along with my lonely tears

The hearts I’ve broken

Friends who fled away

The relationships that faded

The sins I committed

People I lost faith in

All buried deep in the dirt

 

Bottles after bottles of alcohol

Demeanor of self-deception

Trusting that alcohol was alleviation

And yet left alone

with empty bottles

Empty as I was

Piled up like my troubles

Taking up all the spaces

Mocking my last sanity

 

Whiskey tasted like self-love

The next morning it reeked agony from my inside

the smell lingered

for 3 years

4 months

4 weeks

the mistakes I’ve made

all buried deep in the dirt

yet always there as a reminder

 

1246 days

alcohol-free

sobriety enables me to see

all the misery

clear and fair

what I suffer

How I suffer

the pain is greater when I am sober

I live through the sadness I try so hard to ignore

 

the past never truly disappeared

always there as a mockery

reminding me of all the failures

the worst version of me I have ever been

 

choosing recovery

but trapped in memory lane

the illusion of how whiskey can cure

seems so tempting

my mental disease

all relied on it

 

1246 days

alcohol-free

every today

is followed by a struggling yesterday

every hopeful tomorrow

is constructed by a skeptical today

 

3 years

4 months

4 weeks

of recovery

 

recovery glows flowers

adorning the grave I dug for myself

white and yellow flowers

on the dirt I buried my history

white as I my heart is now pure

yellow as the sun spreads hope

 

A Happy Family

For once I am grateful

Things are not perfect, I know

And things never will be

They can’t be

 

I will always be looking

into other people’s windows

What’s in their homes

I will always want a complete family

One that is happy

 

I realized years ago

I made it my personal quest

To find the perfect family

joyous and flawless

 

As if finding one

could bring me answers

I think years ago

what I wanted was hope

A possibility that one day

I could be happy too

I just didn’t know

 

But it was an unpractical dream

I did find happy families

But the happiness

was never permanent

Happiness wasn’t supposed to be present

at all moments

 

Even the one family I found

That came closest to what I supposed

a happy family should be

There are still hard times, disappointments

 

But during those moments

They surrounded each other

with love and acceptance

No blaming, no anger, no quarrels

Just support and acceptance

Not even a moment of hatred

 

I guess at that point

I kind of found ‘the’ family

And I wanted to make it mine too

They let me in

Included me like one of them

 

I thought I was finally happy

But there was still some void inside me

I noticed them

when I was trying to look away

 

The quest was a failure

I found ‘the’ family

But it still couldn’t fill up

the emptiness in me

 

When they eventually told me

about my family

For once I found contentment

Felt relieved

 

Because they thought we always looked so happy

And that they always saw so much love

When my father looked at me

The way he looked at me

 

They thought ‘we’ were the perfect family

The one I thought had been broken

They thought we were perfect

Somehow I had no memories

of what they were saying

 

But that gave me relief

I finally found answers to the questions

which I didn’t know I had

My father did love me once

 

They saw what they wanted to see

And thought we were perfect

I saw what I wanted to see

And thought they were perfect

 

But besides all that

Every family has their difficulties

No matter how fortunate they seem

There are still stories untold

Kept as secrets

Hoping others won’t notice

Keeping the appearances of perfection

 

Years later now

I’d say we are finally happy

Separated and apart

But happy

 

Most people would say

we are a broken family now

 

But individually

we are happy and content

Together we support each other

With love and acceptance

like I once witnessed myself

 

We are not perfect

But we are happy

We don’t have much

But we are happy

 

Like how mom and dad once were

They didn’t have much

But they were happy

Hope kept them together

Their imagination created the future

They were young and fulfilling dreams

Not perfect but very happy

 

And maybe now I can be too

 

Tired

Tired of being tired

Tired of pretending

Tired of trying

 

Trying to find an identity

Trying to find a way home

Trying to find a home

Trying to be alone

 

There is never enough space

And I’m always looking for an escape

Always lost in this time or this thing

Tired of faking smiles

Tired of heartbreaks

 

Tired of society

Tired of conforming

Tired of rebelling

Tired of tracing the footsteps back to nothing

 

Tired of loving

Tired of emotions

Or the lack of them

 

Tired of not knowing

Questions after questions

Always in the quest of solutions

Tracing the footsteps back to the beginning

Tired of being scared

Uncertainties cause commotions

 

Tired of squeezing meaning

Into this empty existence

Everything happens for a reason

not necessarily for a meaning

Tired of making efforts to see

Across the ocean

There’s nothing over the rainbow

 

Tired of spinning

on what I thought was merry-go-round

Spinning so fast

Barely recognize the world

I can never be sure

If I am joyous or

Just mimicking others

 

Merry is a story

The going only gets tough

Rounds are a misbelief

Tired of explaining

Why I don’t want to play

 

Tired of living

Tired of being

Dismembered concept

Shattered moments

Of an ironic C’est la vie

 

Painting colors on air

Efforts in vain

Tired of being tired

Tired of trying

 

Tired of being wrong

Tired of being right

Tired of wondering

If there is an answer for anything

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this Ocean

In this Ocean

I am a carved wooden boat

with the ever-changing wind I float

I guess we are all lost in some degree

Eyes blinded and cannot see

 

In this Ocean

I am a carved wooden boat

I turn my head around

Struggle to float against the force

my body stiffen

eyes wide open

 

with all the strength

the unassailable flow of nature I defy

Just to gaze again

at the breathtaking scenery

which I once sang and danced to

 

In this Ocean

I am a carved wooden boat

always almost immersed by water

but would never let myself be smothered

because of the moon upon me

that I have made a promise to

 

I will always be empty

The carpenter who made me

have not seen me in the ocean

The sailor who once paddled me

Left after the fourth sunset we watched

 

And I will always be searching

for a shore that I can call home

but will always end up with the cold embrace of the waves

 

I let the storm fill me with the rain

convincing myself that rain

can do what glue does

Rain will piece me back like a puzzle

Rain will appease the tempest in me

 

When the stars come out and the rain stop

I realize that the rain drops

were the reason why

there was a tempest in me at the first place

 

but I still miss how the rain showered me

and how comforting it was to not be empty

I blame the clouds for taking my heart away

It would be the twentieth sunset

that I realize

rain belongs to somewhere else

a garden or a river, perhaps

 

I will always be saying goodbye

to the carpenter who made me

to the sailor who once

taught me everything about the ocean

to the waves that pushed me forward

to the sunrise and sunset

to the cruises that sometimes pass by

and with every goodbye I say

there is a crack somewhere on my body.

 

Someone somewhere

Once told me a story about how there is a lighthouse

in the end of this ocean

I do not believe it

I have been floating alone

for too long

and the idea of a lighthouse

sounds only like a story

 

I have counted the sunset too many times

That I stop waiting for it

I start to enjoy the darkness

that follows the sunset

I rejoice in how lost I am

I wonder if I am also like the lighthouse

Just a story someone carelessly mentions

I ask yet again the moon

for some sort of wisdom

 

the ocean water has never been warmer or brighter

I don’t remember ever reaching out for this softness

It seems like the ocean water has been holding me up

from the very beginning

I just never really looked at them this way

 

Then I remember the story someone once told me

About how there is a lighthouse

In the end of this ocean

It became my only dream

 

I imagine

This sublime white tower

this building that looks as jaded as I will have become

emitting light into the impalpable

 

somehow

It would let me close my eyes

And drown

I would hear the sound of nothingness

in the bottom of this ocean

 

When I open my eyes

I will feel the touch of the lighthouse

As loving and gentle

like the first time I sailed

I would find myself

a part of the tower now

Emitting lights into the depths of the darkness

Introverted

There’s too many people

In the living room 

Making small talks

Covering the basics

What they do 

Where they’re from 

The weather’s looking rather good

Jokes about whatever it is 

 

I wonder if we can skip

These small talks

Meaningless small talks 

Killing time

Disguising awkwardness 

 

I wonder why we do this 

Meaningless small talks 

Covering the basics

Repeating it

To everyone newly met 

Disguising awkwardness 

Killing time until the party ends

 

We go home with nothing but jokes and names

of someone we still barely know

Acquaintances 

Is what small talks make people into 

 

Not friends 

Just someone you met at the party 

 

I wonder why we do it

Gather together 

Using small talks to fill in the gaps 

Meaningless and dull

Just because we have to

 

It makes me uncomfortable 

Is this what we’re doing with our time 

It stresses me out

We could have been doing something else

Anything but this 

 

Is it just me 

Or does small talks really cheer people up

Bring them together 

Like their laughters are genuine 

Because I know mine’s not

 

Sitting there wondering 

Is this why we’re all here for

Talking about food 

 

Nodding but not listening

There’s too many people here

People I’ve never met

And maybe never will again 

 

I’ll forget about their names

Their Interests 

Or what they look like 

After a few days

So why are we doing this 

 

Hanging out

Talking about everything but nothing 

Trying to be part of something 

 

More people are coming in

And it makes me feel queasy

The room is not big enough 

And the noises are too loud

People trying not to miss out

 

I guess anyone could do without this party

After all it’s just for fitting in

With a bunch of new strangers we will soon call friends

 

But really, we still don’t know much about them

Or will forget about them soon enough 

So why are we doing this

Something that will lose its meaning tomorrow 

 

Talking about everything but nothing 

Laughing to jokes awkwardly 

But don’t really understand why it’s funny 

Is this what we really are

Consists of small talks

Everything but nothing 

Untitled

When people mention him

I tell them, he

Is out of town, working

 

So I don’t have to explain

How he

Just left me

Praying to the stars

Crying myself to sleep

 

Picking up my cold trembling body

Out of the shower

Searching

For something to hold on

 

Staring

All day at that door

That he

May never enter again

At least

Not as him

 

I tell people, he

Is out of town, working

So there is no need to explain

How he is now

Less of a father

But more of a stranger

 

It is you

And I against the world together

Is what he used to tell me

It is now nothing

But an empty echo

A broken promise

The disappearing of a memory

 

I imagine

What he must have felt like

On the day he left

 

How he swore

Not to shed a tear

Not to regret

Not to look back

At his daughter

Who he could no longer hold

In his arms, anymore

 

I imagine

On the fast moving bus

With his body rested

And his perfectly hidden

Despondent look

There was something missing

Inside of him

 

10 miles, 20 miles, 200 miles

He became an empty vessel

 

As he whispered to himself

She will be fine

She will be fine

She will be fine

 

As if these words

Could refill the empty vessel

With his tentative dreams

Of ever having a daughter

 

The sweetness of yesterday

Vanished at the tip of his tongue

He tasted nothing

but air now

Nothing

But the bitterness of dying memories

 

He looked down

At the one-way ticket

He held in his hands

 

The person he used to call

His daughter

He could not touch, cannot feel

Could not recognize

The dimming lights behind her eyes

 

She is not

Not his daughter he used to hold

In his arms, anymore

 

It is you and I

Against the world together

Is just another empty echo

A broken promise

In her already shattered universe