She had sores all over her face.

They didn’t fill her whole face but gathered themselves into groups.

Each group had their territory.

One group was right above the left eyebrow.

The next one aligned itself along the right side of her face, between her cheek and the graceful curve of her nose.

The last group occupied the tip of her chin.

My first reaction when I saw her was repulsion, then pity, followed by something more profound.

Something warm, kind, in a kindred spirit kind of a way.

I couldn’t look into her eyes, lest I saw what I knew was there.

The pain and shame.

Pain caused by these uninvited inhabitants who took up space on her face.

The pain of the itch they caused her.

An itch she couldn’t relieve by scratching because the doctor forbade her to.

The pain of her parents and siblings bewildered, helpless looks.

They didn’t know what to do to ease her suffering.

The pain of rejection.

She saw people instinctively recoil and move away from her, giving her a suspicious and wary look.

They wondered if even the slightest contact with her would infect them.

Even children didn’t want to play with her.

Harsh looks and reprimands from their parents smothered their natural warmth and kindness.

She felt shame; she didn’t even know why she felt ashamed anymore.

Many things made her feel shame.

She felt ashamed of not being normal.

She felt ashamed of making everyone around her uneasy and guilty.

The guilt they felt for despising her because they found her repulsive.

The guilt that came from the relief they felt because it wasn’t them but her with a blemished face.

She felt ashamed of making them angry and hateful.

She reminded them of the frailty of their existence.

If this can happen to a nine-year-old girl, who apart from her face seemed to be in good health, then it can happen to them.

I finally dared to look into her eyes.

Our eyes locked.

She gracefully cocked her head and smiled at me.

The beauty of her smile was a sight to behold.



I came back beloved home, but you were gone.

I looked for you everywhere, but I could not find you.

Did I go away for too long?

Did I go too far away?

Is that why you decided to leave me?

Is that why you decided to leave no trace of your presence behind?

I have become a stranger, beloved home.

I am a stranger in my backyard, no longer at ease, with nowhere to rest my weary self.



She holds on, convincing herself that all will be well.

She looks on the bright side. Convincing herself that she will rise again stronger than before.

She faces head-on, the rising tide of a malady in her beloved’s life.


Oh, broken expectations that choke her, as the reality hoped for fades away like mist in the noonday sun.

Oh, hope gone leaving no recollection of its brief sojourn on her now dry, parched heart.

Her heart is now discouraged, disillusioned, distressed, disturbed, distraught, disbelieving, distanced.

She deems her dreams dislocated, disbanded for her loved one is deceased.



Today, I laughed as I haven’t laughed in a long time.

Today, I cried like I haven’t cried in a long time.

Today, I have received consolation like I haven’t in a long time.

Today I have lived.



I have not spoken to you for a while.

I have not heard your smiley voice for a while.

I have enjoyed reading the text messages you sent me.

I have enjoyed those lovely photos you sent me.


I know that neither the phone calls nor the text messages tell it all.

I know that the cute pictures you send don’t tell it all.

I know that there are things too weighty to send by text message.

I know that there are tears I cannot wipe because you are far away.


Oh, but do know this my dear friend, my little sister.


You are always on my mind.

You are always in my prayers.

You are always my precious friend.

You are always my precious little sister.


It’s too harsh at times that I know.

It’s too heavy to bear at times that I know.

It’s lonely and depressing at times I understand.

It’s scary and frightening at times I understand.


Oh, but do know my dear little sister, my friend.


You are loved.

You are precious.

You are stronger than you think.

You are wiser, gentler than you think.


Don’t give up.

Don’t give in.

Don’t break down.

Don’t burn out.


You are not alone. Loving, tender arms are around you daily.

You are not alone. Lovely lady flowers, little boy’s tiny fingers, and chubby cheeks are encouraging you.

You are not alone. Your love is by your side daily.

You are not alone. Look around and see these friendly faces that cheer you on daily.


Oh, my dear Ronnie, text me, call me. For the silence between speaks volumes.




You came with those hesitant tiny steps and a big dream.

You struggled to find your thread in this tapestry called life.

You accepted that this strand that is your life spanned from a faraway nation. To this new country, you now call home.

You learned a language that wasn’t yours.

You adopted your new life, new country, new family.

You cried, laughed, rebelled, yelled, fell and stood up again.

Your heart overflowed with love. Each new arrival at home mesmerized and amazed you.

You cuddle, hug, and even reprimand them at times. Yes, you do!

You are a big sister who tends to mother them!

You were in doubt at the crossroad of your high school final years.

You wondered which road to take.

You chose one direction, then turned to another in confusion.

You wept in frustration, doubting yourself, your world seemingly chaotic.

You then stood up, leaning and holding onto the loving arms outstretched to guide you.

You accepted the help, but not without a gusty fight, trying to have your way.

You have a mind of your own and a strong will. It is a good thing.

You chose this road you are now on.

You followed the deep desire you had within you.

You pressed on even though the dream was vague and seemed impossible.

You failed at your first attempt to achieve your goal.

You almost threw in the towel.

You wailed and wept.It was a good thing for you grew.

You stood up again and moved forward one hesitant yet resolute step after the other.

You’ve made it.

You’ve achieved your goal at last.

You tell me that the journey has just begun.

You are right, but the foundation you laid down, in the beginning, is priceless.

Soar, fly dear.

Fix your eyes ahead of you.

Focus on the price that is your dream.

You will fall again.

You will fail again.

You will hurt again.

In all this, one thing remains true.

You will stand again.

You will grow yet again.

You will be wiser.

You will refine and hold tighter to your dream.

You have fantastic potential, capabilities, gifts, and talents in you.

You are never alone.

You know that don’t you, my dear Tash.




You cry, silent tears, fatigued, burned out.

How do you capture them in words?

These elusive emotions.

You can smile, laugh, live, work.

You can do many things, while they lurk beneath the surface.

The sadness, the regret, the disappointments, the betrayals.

The endless list of things left unachieved, suspended, regretted.



Life takes its toll on the likes of you and me.

When you think you’re in control, things get out of hand.

Despite your toiling and struggling, its all gone with the wind.

Leaving you completely helpless and winded.


Yes, you have wound up in the same place.

Yes, you have found out in due time.

Yes, you have ground hard on your teeth.

Yes, you have drowned in all this fury.



Shaken, shocked, sunken heart.

Horrified, head hardly held high.

Confused, concerned, cornered now.

Half truths, hypocrisy, twisted mirrors.

How life can value loose, dependent on the prism one chooses to look through.

Mirror image once limpid, now a deformed hazy sight.

Sighing, for cannot allow oneself to weep.

Innocent conceptions shaken, shattered.

Beautiful, peaceful haven no more.

Tensions, frictions, now so rife.

Ripping, tearing, crushing this bond.

Fragile, fragmented, diminishing bond.

Grasping, grappling, clutching, desperate.

For without brother who’s keeper, I am.

My being no longer in peace can dwell.



As I walked along the road, I saw him from afar.

The sight of him troubled me.

He sat there alone on the cold, wet pavement.

He had nothing to shelter him from the chill and rain.

He had some bags around him.

Old paper bags, a shabby briefcase, and a broken pram.

I found myself slightly deviating in my course.

I didn’t want to walk too close to where he sat.

I didn’t want to disturb him, so I told myself.

But in reality, it was because he troubled me.

Yes, the sight of him deeply disturbed me.

I tried to pretend that I had not seen his fragile, broken, forgotten person.

To no avail.



I cried today.

I wept today.

I moaned today.

I yelled today.

I gave in to the anger that had built up in me, today.

I was so full of rage today.

I despaired today.

I caved in today.

I threw in the towel, today.




Appeased, rested, relaxed.

Assuaged, renewed, revived.

These feelings wash over me.

I am exhausted, spent emotionally.

I am drained nicely so.

I am much lighter, for the load is no more.




I reached out my hand to touch you, but it was all wishful thinking.

A dream, or a twist of my imagination.

Your smile and warm, soulful eyes beaconed me.

I yearned to hold you, never letting go.

When you were within my grasp, you slipped away.

All I had left in my empty hands were mere wisps of smoke.

Elusive, fleeting, billowing away.

We met, and my heart was so full of my love for you.

Yes, we met, well almost met to be precise.

You were within my reach.

Within the warm embrace of my yearning arms and full breast.

Our meeting was not to be.

With barely a suckle, scarcely an embrace, it was time to part.

We said goodbye before we declared our love for each other.

I saw your love for me, and you felt my love for you.

In that moment in time.

Suspended between the beginning that never was and the end that was.

In that fragile, yet precious instant in time, I knew you and loved you, my dear baby.



Stare at this lifeless, homeless, nameless, faceless persona?

Care not, who calls, or dares come close.

Near enough to behold this anonymous, nondescript countenance.

Wanderer, vagabond, with no dwelling place, address, history?

Was born, once loved, then left to roam.

Worn out, broken, shattered, wounded.

Violated, harassed, rejected.

Shunned, discarded, dismissed.

Pulsating, thud, thud, thud.

Still alive, dead, killed? Or took a trip into total oblivion?

Still alive or stopped living?

Finishing what had already ended.

Human waste, a wasted human, or seems so?

Faceless human, nameless human, heartless human?

Heart wrenched, wrecked human.

Lost humanity left lying on the pavement.

Broken doll, wrecked puppet, shattered human.

Spurned humanity.

Has a story or had a story that went untold, into oblivion.





The fire burns high and hot for all to see.

The fire heats melts, for the lover now seen.

The fire brightens, lightens for hearts are keen.

The fire broadens, consumes for heady romance foreseen.

The fire dwindles, ebbs and cools off.

It leaves in its wake, cold ashes of bitter memories, angry demeanor, and a wounded heart.

When did the fire start diminishing?

When did the passion turn to poison?

When did the heart’s dreaming turn to dreading?

When did the warm embrace so longed for turn into strangling?

Fleeting moments.

Fleeing comments.

Teeming torments.

Screaming moments.

Fire fire.

Cool embers.

Ignite the fire.

Fan the embers.

Please kindle the fire again, for these cold ashes are killing me!




She goes down to the watering hole every time her purse is full.

She guzzles down the amber liquid that takes her to sweet oblivion.

She throws herself at any grasping, grappling, groping hands.

She opens up herself to the battering waves of deceit disguised as love.

In the quest for gentle tenderness.

She wakes up alone, an empty, barren soul.

Wrung dry of every drop of self-esteem.

She looks at her broken body, dreams, and heart.

She wonders if it will ever rain in her garden.

She longs for the soothing, steady, showers of refreshing, restoring, relieving rainfall.

She yearns for tender, gentle, warmth, acceptance and healing love.

If it still exists for the likes of her.



It made him laugh; it weighed me down.

He enjoyed the effort made to bring humour into the tragic reality of malady in life.

I let the weight of despair and a vicious cycle of the havoc caused by a lingering illness overwhelm me.

When the film came to an end, a hush fell over us.

Heavy silence on my part, light reflective quietude on his part.

We were both on the two platters of the scale, opposite ends of the measuring rod.

It is a good thing, come to think of it, because together we strike a balance.

The difference is beautiful, for our uniqueness brought together offset each other.



I have what it takes.

Do I?

They have what it takes.

Do they?

We have what it takes.

Do we?

For real?

For sure?

For a fact?

When it is all weighed;

In the balance of time and life lived.

In words kept, truth not told.

In the balance of things done, and those unaccomplished.

Where do we stand then?

Where do they stand then?

Where do I stand then?

It is easy.

It is tempting.

To ask them to justify their actions.

To live up to their standards.

To show their words in deeds.

To live up to their promises.

And me?

How do I measure up?

Without reserve.

Without  restraint.

Without a doubt.

I too must strike a balance.



You hoped for a better day but saw the dark, bleak night of clandestinity.

You hoped for the warmth of a refuge but felt the cruel, icy cold, deadly grip of the deep dark sea.

You hoped for a better future, a better life, but you sank into oblivion.

Your last breath snuffed out, without a sound, without remorse.

Your hopes dashed with violence against the Gibraltar, against our indifference.



You are noteworthy.

I am not worthy.

‘Tis and might always be so.

Sorry, it is to say, the perception thou hast,

Of my contemptible frame!