Heaven

simple logic does not apply here

colorful flowers grow in river

In our hands they disappear

leaves fall down from trees

but flow in air

 

They flicker

In all the ways we perceive

 

There is no time here

I lay under the sun and see

clouds forming into shapes of faces

faces I had known but not here with me

the clouds are moving paintings

telling stories

forever changing

 

I grab the leaves which flow in air

gaze deep into their golden surface

In the reflections I see

those who I love and hold dear

still in different layers in space

they are not here beside me

but one day they will be

 

In the jades that hang on trees

I see all the creatures I had been

my cycle of life that never stopped spinning

until now

for once I am finally free

free of birth and death

free of love and hate

completely liberated

 

in this land

existence is not important

I exist in the breeze

in flowers

in the river

in oceans

I am whatever I want to be

 

in this freedom I see clearly

there is a reason for everything

not necessarily a meaning

in this land there is no sadness

no need to search for meaning in things

for I have come to the end of the beginning

for the kingdom of heaven is within

 

Twelve

One

 

How much more does this life ask of me

As if every single breath isn’t already an agony

How much more do I have to do

To live right

When rules are written plain in sight

 

Two

 

My body is drowning

My lungs are filled with swallowed words

This body is burning

I feel anguish

When all I want to do is love

 

Three

 

I smile at you

I make jokes with you

 

I wear makeup

So the dark circles around my eyes

won’t be noticed

So the evidence of pain on my face

Won’t be brought up

So the sleepless nights

Or nightmares

Or panic attacks

Can all be concealed by a mask

 

I laugh

So you think I’m normal

Or perfect

Or perhaps proper

 

Four

 

I dress well

Like my parents taught me

Presentable

I hide behind my attire

So you can’t see me

 

Five

 

I hide in my bed

Counting from one to ten

And from ten to one

Waiting for today to go by

I just want today to go by

 

I hide

I am used to hiding and waiting

After all, that’s what I do best

 

Six

 

I say the right things at the right time

I eat the right things at the right time

I do the right things at the right time

Trying to control my life

As if doing so would make things right

 

Or perhaps just trying not to fail or bail again

Since society has a problem with failures and losers

 

Or perhaps it was my dad’s voice in my head

Warning me not to disappoint him again

 

Seven

 

When you do something over and over again

It loses its meaning

I wake up and go to bed and wake up and go to bed

 

I feel like a zombie

No meaning in repeating

I try and I fail and I try again and fail again

What’s the point in trying

If I am doomed to lose the race

 

Eight

 

You say I am lucky

And I know I have been

But right now I’m dying in slow motion

and there’s no room for appreciation

when I am murdering myself instinctively

 

Nine

 

you ask about my past

you ask what’s on my mind

penny for a thought

I’m scared of telling you the truth

Because then you would dread me too

 

Ten

 

I say I’m tired

I tell you I am drained

But you don’t listen

You nod like you understand

But can you even stand straight

If you were in my shoes

 

Eleven

 

How much more do I have to do

To survive

What meaning does there lie

If death is not the solution

 

Twelve

 

How many times do I have to repeat

Just how much I am drowning

How many secrets do I have to keep

Before I start to feel better

If I will ever feel better

And what’s the meaning in getting better

If death is still waiting for me

 

I Remember Those Days

I remember what happiness was

It was before everything got so real

I remember my mother

Young and beautiful

Smart and confident

Always laughing

So loving and sweet

 

I remember the summer swimming pools

Tennis courts

Yellow sundresses

I remember the smile that hung on my face

I can still hear the laughter that lingers

After all these years

Transforming into painful echoes as time goes by

Reminding me of what I’ve lost

 

The smell of summer breeze in Detroit

The autumn sunlight in Chicago

Chinese New Year in NYC

The white heavy snow in Tokyo

The sunrise in Johannesburg

 

Those were the days before things got real

Before all the fights my parents had

Before my brother grew distant

Before mom was sick

Before I had to protect myself from the world

And from the closest people I knew

Before I got sick too

 

I remember those days

I used to know what happiness was

What a genuine smile felt like

How simple a laughter can be

I remember those days

 

I remember what happiness was

It used to live under my skin

But now I’m soaked in the tears of yesterday

 

 

 

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

 

Letter to Self: I Know

Hey, there

Don’t dwell on your sadness

I know it’s not easy

The sadness is always there

It is your personal bully

I know it’s confusing

about the nature of it

or the cause of this endless torture

 

I know you are sad

even when you are not

I know you are smiling

when you are bleeding inside

quietly

 

I know you believe

you don’t deserve to be happy

so much

that you reject all the possibilities

 

I know you are scared

of all the uncertainties

That’s why you try so hard

to find meaning in all things

That’s why you want answers

To your bewilderedness

about everything in this society

Or maybe just an answer to

that little monster that lives inside you

 

I know you don’t want to be

a zombie again

I know there’s no more time to waste

in your life

 

I know you are still searching

for a place you can call home

a home that’s yours to own

and yours only

 

I know you are trying so hard

to survive

I know you are forcing yourself

to be strong

Because you are convinced

that’s the only choice left

I know you don’t want to be vulnerable

I know you don’t want to feel the hurt again

 

I know that I love you

Even when I don’t

Depression Is

You talk about it

Like it’s something casual

There’s nothing casual about it

 

Depression is not casual

It is not just being troubled

It is not a cold

Which you can recover from in days

 

Depression is an assassin

Depression is the shadow that follows behind

Depression is the dark hole that consumes

Depression is me

 

Depression is the twisted state of mind

It is knowing that there’s something not right

But don’t know what it is

Don’t know how to fix it

Utterly clueless

 

It is being completely blind

Searching in darkness

Everything I touch makes me bleed

 

It is drowning in my own tears

Until I lose the ability to cry

To feel sadness

Or anything at all

Until numbness

is the only thing remains

 

Depression is the defense mechanism

A bubble that claims to keep me safe

As long as I stay in it

And believe in the projections it shows

 

Depression is something I keep in my pocket

Always with me

Wherever I am

Whomever I’m with

It tells me how to act

And not to take it out

So others won’t acknowledge

 

It is a tenant that checks in

Out of the blue

And my body is the landlord

It brings its friends over

Anxiety

Panic attacks

They party all night

Playing horror movies

I toss and turn

Can’t fall asleep for nights

 

Depression stays in my body

It is trying to take over

It gives me a mask

Ask me to wear it

So no one can see

While every cell in me

Is turning into depression

 

It is the bad neighbor

Drilling the walls

Filling my room with lousy noises

And yet filing complaints against me

 

Depression is not casual

Depression is the paralyzing negativity

It is transparent yet so powerful

It keeps me in bed

Everyone away

 

Depression makes sure that I am alone

So it can fulfil its duty

The task of an assassin

 

Depression is choosing recovery

over and over again

failing and succeeding and failing again

it is a loophole in time

repeating everything every time

 

it is hiding the beauty in life

says the blue sky is grey

or the loving friends don’t care

or universe has abandoned me

or I belong to the wrong galaxy

 

Depression

Is the devil with a thousand tricks

It is the opposite of life

It is not having a voice

Or a choice

 

Depression is many things

It is definitely not

Not casual

Like how you talk about it

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