RETURNING

 

I have been away for a while now.

I am back.

I am trying not to fall apart.

Life happened.

Living broke me.

The existence I knew shattered before my very eyes.

 

I lay wounded, bleeding.

I have nursed my wounds.

I wobble, bending my knees in a bid to regain balance.

I am back on my feet again, barely standing.

I am slowly healing.

Life, as I knew it, has evaporated into nothingness.

 

I struggle to find normalcy.

No matter how hard I try, I cannot attain it.

It is like grasping after smoke and walking on sinking sand.

The more I try, the deeper I sink.

A friend threw me a rope of wisdom.

It is a lifeline that has helped me inch out of this quicksand of terror, suffocating pain, and despair.

 

He told me to hold on.

To keep moving forward.

A step, an inch, or a millimeter at a time is enough.

That is what I am doing now.

It is not perfect.

But at least I am starting to breathe again.

DEVOURED

 

My tears fall inwards.

I have swallowed my pain.

I am numb to all feelings, good or bad.

It sneaked on me.

I didn’t realize what was happening, until the sleepless nights pounced on me. 

Insomnia shrouded me with its heavy, stifling mantle.

Ulcers ambushed me, clobbered me senseless and lacerated my hapless stomach.

Then it finally dawned on me.

I hadn’t swallowed my pain. 

It had eaten me alive.

Pain stared back at me, waiting avariciously for my foot to slip, licking its greedy lips, wanting more.

 

PLANTED

 

This thought keeps embracing me whenever I think of you.

You were not buried in the dirt; you were planted in the ground.

It is true.

For you see, since the day of your funeral, the recollection of you has filled our hearts and conversations.

I perceive the majestic tree of memories that stands tall at the place you once occupied.

The generous, confident branches of encouragement, empathy, and wisdom spread far and wide. The birds of hope come and make their nesting abode in your welcoming, hospitable bough.

 

SHADOWBOXING

 

I swallow my tears.

I smile with dead eyes.

I am broken and hurt.

I don’t know what to do or how to do it.

My heart is so heavy and excruciatingly painful.

I want to cry, but my eyes are dry clogged wells.

Yet, I mourn and wail in my heart.

The smile on my face is but a pathetic camouflage.

Oh, what do I do now?

I fear sinking into the quagmire of depression.

The strong pull of the treacherous cliff is hard for me to resist. 

The deceitful numbness and light-headedness of sleep and meal deprivation, push me into the jagged rocks of despair.

I need to keep my head grounded and latch onto hope, or else, all is lost.

 

LONGING

 

I hear your voice, but I can’t reach you.

I see your smile, but I can’t touch you.

I am frustrated, angry, and hurt.

I want you back.

I want you here.

I want you near.

But alas, you are now locked in the land of my memories.

You seem close, yet you are so far away.

I feel you beside me.

My empty arms wail pitifully, for they can no longer hold you.

Oh! How I miss you, dear brother.

 

GRIEVING

 

I have been away, hidden in my cave.

I have been gathering the pieces of my broken life and wounded soul.

It is still a work in progress; my heart bleeds, my mind reels from the shock.

I lost my brother; he is one year older than me.

It seems so surreal.

I feel like I will wake up and find out that it was all a nightmare.

I am wide awake right now, yet nothing has changed; the void remains.

I called mum to find out how she was doing, and out of sheer habit, I asked her to call my brother; I wanted to talk to him.

A heavy, pregnant silence stood between us.

She sighed painfully and jolted me back to the reality I so wanted to escape.

“I understand; it will take time for the wound to heal. Allow yourself to grieve your brother. It is okay to fall apart when you mourn,” she said, her voice shaking with the tears I couldn’t see.

After small talk, she bade me goodbye and hung the phone.

I crumpled down on the floor and allowed the pent-up pain to break free.

It has been an hour now. 

I am tired and sleepy.

My eyes are dry, red, and puffy.

I have a terrible headache.

I lay myself to sleep now, to numb this throbbing ache in my heart.

Tomorrow I will see how it goes.

All I can manage is the present moment.

So, I go back into my cave and hide from the world as I nurse my shattered soul.

 

REGARD

 

You did what you had resolved to do.

My advice and the amicable exchange we had was just for the show.

I felt betrayed, but now that my anger has dissipated, I see things differently.

I now realize that I had no reason to be mad.

For, who am I to dictate to you how to run your life?

I am still struggling with my existence.

I am dealing with my grey areas while trying to rid myself of my white lies. 

The task at hand is daunting, and I have a yellow belly.

 

RELENTLESS

 

She sighed and stared at her rough gnarled hands.

Her lips twitched as her nervous tongue tried to moisten their cracked surface.

Her empty, pain-glazed eyes darted around, not focusing on anything in particular.

She rubbed the back of her neck as she shifted her weight from one foot to the other.

Her soul bunched itself into a fetal position in a bid to ward off the sulphurous words that lacerated it.

Her mind still reeled from the heavy demands and accusations that rained upon her.

They were like blocks of lead breaking her already bent back and shoving her to the ground.

She tried with all her willpower to get back on her feet again.

Sweat ran down her furrowed brow.

Her breath became choppy as it tried to climb out of her constricted chest.

She frantically grabbed her chest.

She had to reign in her emotions.

She inhaled laboriously. 

A hissing sound emanated from her clenched jaws as she exhaled.

After a couple of excruciating minutes, her heartbeat became regular. 

She breathed steadily.

The fog of anguish that filled her mind started dissipating.

“I will be fine, and I will overcome this,” she vowed to herself.

A steely determination lighted up her eyes.

 

INDISCRETION

 

Why did I let my mouth run off with its crazy ideas?

The meeting was going well.

I slightly lowered my guard thinking that I was entirely in control.

That was my greatest folly.

For my nemesis, this tiny member called my tongue took over the helm of my ship.

My foe steered the conversation towards dangerous troubled waters.

Being nosy, judgemental, and an opinionated know-it-all ignited the fire of distrust.

I frantically tried to take back my words to no avail.

 

UNVEILED

 

She laughed to herself. 

It was a dry, barren sound.

It echoed and thrust itself from the dark recess of her troubled soul.

Her life was a mess.

She frantically searched for a scapegoat, to no avail.   

Her eyes were open.

She had secretly nurtured a beast in her bosom.

The veil that blinded her lay at her feet, torn to pieces.

The dazzling light of truth unearthed the hideous monster of deceit.

 

THRIVE!

 

Enjoy the moment.

Relish the journey.

Inhabit the process.

It takes time to smell the roses.

Be gentle with yourself.

Be kind to yourself.

 

I have heard the above words over and over again.

Yet, they always seem to miss the mark.

 

The restlessness.

The anxiety.

The “what do they think about me”?

The self-bashing.

The self-loathing.

The self-sabotaging.

 

These dark thoughts and forebodings have wrung me dry.

Oh! Please simplify it for me.

Do tell me how to get out of this oppressive, suffocating labyrinth.

I am exhausted from fighting with myself.

Help!

I so want to change.

 

I close my eyes.

I take a deep breath.

I slowly exhale.

I let my body unwind.

I look outside at the winter morning that is awakening.

Fragile tender shoots stand despite their frailty, defying the cold.

 

I finally understand.

Moment by moment, minute by minute, second by second.

Every single breath I take is a victory.

I will stand where I am, with the little strength I have.

I will acknowledge and celebrate every tiny victory.

I will keep on crawling, staggering, and inching forward.

 

I am still here despite the winter blizzards that almost froze me to death.

My soul stands worn out and cold but holding on.

It is a precious victory for me.

I am here in this moment.

I am alive.

I will thrive!

 

A BIRD’S CONFIDENCES

 

I shed off the artificial feathers of my Carnival costume.

The mask drops as the curtain falls.

The crowd withers away.

I drown in the loud silence of solitude.

Loneliness threatens to smother my soul with its lead mantle.

I take a deep breath.

Rays of hope shine forth, dispelling the darkness in my soul.

I look up, spread my frail wings, and jump.

I fly vulnerable and afraid.

It finally dawns on me as I let myself go.

I am a migratory bird.

I am flying back to myself.

I soar to the secret place, where my heart is finally at rest.

My soul drinks deep from the brook of peace and self-acceptance.

I am finally home.

I am face to face with the true essence of who I am.

 

BURN-OUT

 

Rest, you say!

I hear you, but I refuse to comply.

I am working on significant projects.

I keep pushing against this wall of exertion.

This invisible iceberg called fatigue is sinking my ship.

I am out of balance and loath to admit it.

I am falling apart.

The wrecking ball of exhaustion has brought my house of cards crumbling down.

 

SPURNED

 

I am trembling, seething, and tearing up.

I am tearing cherished memories apart.

Was it all but a sham?

Was it just a mirage?

Was it all but mist evaporating in the harsh noonday heat of life’s hardships?

Was I always in the back of your mind a potential Judas?

It is a pity.

For, in my heart, I welcomed you.

I was real and bared my soul to you.

Yet, you have discarded me without a backward glance.

 

REMAIN

 

I am scared.

I have been here before.

I should be confident that I can go through it.

Yet, my heart falters.

I am exhausted and distraught.

I feel like I am caving in.

Oh my dear heart, hold on, hang on!

Don’t give up.

For, this too shall pass!

 

OUTSET!

 

It’s daybreak.

As the sun rays coyly caress the sky, I arise from my restless slumber. 

I rummage through the jumble of thoughts in my foggy mind.

 

I don’t know how to feel about this new dawn.

My heart is bubbly, optimistic, hopeful, anxious, wary, and fearful.

The dark cloud of foreboding about the future is trying to stifle my soul.

 

A warm beam of sunlight permeates my mind dissipating the fog.

My mind negotiates with my soul, reminding her that I can still enjoy my today.

I cautiously peer outside at the golden rays of sunshine.

 

“You are alive,” whispers the sun as it kisses my upturned face.

 

My countenance lights up, hopeful.

Maybe this is reason enough to be optimistic.

The mellow sunlight is a foretaste of a better day.

 

WITHSTAND!

 

Be strong, my dear heart.

Don’t lose hope.

I know it hasn’t been easy for you.

You’ve lost more than you anticipated.

You’ve hurt more profoundly than you dared imagine.

The things you strove for took longer than you expected.

Despite all these, keep the light burning.

Don’t snuff out the candle of hope, though the flame is frail, for it is the essence and bloodline of life.

Keep hold of your confidence. 

You have come this far. 

You are a winner because you have braved the storm.

Though battered, broken, and wounded, you are here, and that in itself is a song of victory.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS

 

Christmas tree, jingles, and tinsel merrily humming.

Welcoming fireside generously beckoning. 

Bright blinding flashing lights dancing in the chilly night. 

The tantalizing aroma of hot chocolate and roasting chestnuts gently hugging.

Christmas decorations smile brightly, announcing holiday cheer.

 

It seems so warm and cosy.

It’s such a lovely invitation to cuddle around an inviting fireplace.

Yet, it all feels like make-believe now, for nothing is as it seems.

Some people are shipwrecked, and the light of hope is almost non-existent.

The virus has ravaged the body, soul, and the life essence of many.

 

So how do we celebrate this festive season?

Is there anything to commemorate?

Is there any good cheer left in the wake of this desolate year?

Oh! I dare believe that there is reason to make merry and spread around good cheer.

For you see, we are still here.

 

Therefore I propose a toast to you and me.

May the light of hope keep shinning in our lives.

Though broken, diminished, hurt, and grieving, we are still here.

Let us share good cheer, however small it is.

May we rise above the pain and despair of this year.

 

CORNERED!

 

She braced herself for what was coming.

Her heart hunched over and locked itself into a fetal position.

She held her breath and tried to shrink into the doll-house.

If only she could hide, escape, disappear into another dimension.

Her fear glazed eyes darted to and fro, seeking a way out. 

She trembled in terror, for there was no hospitable place to conceal her petrified frame.

 

BANEFUL

 

She didn’t even try to disguise her disinterest any more.

Her face was a closed sepulture.

The tombstone was heavy and ominous.

An eerie grey mist rose from it.

Few dared come close.

She spat toxic vapours of resentment and unforgiveness on those who ventured.

Many unsuspecting souls stand petrified in her abandoned garden of relationship.