Pantsuit Nation

fire

And a fire was lit,

Under the earthen kiln,

By a core of molten heart.

Strangers woven together,

Melding parallel times,

Into a one-string chime:

Of a nation with one heart and mind.

One soul unfolded,

Connected and molded,

Beyond the reach of death.

Beyond pain and sorrow,

And a happiness borrowed,

To a blissful State of kind:

In a Nation with one heart and mind.

Beyond time,

Beyond gray lines,

And hate crimes,

My Nation of one heart and mind.

 

Merry Together

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Understanding fulcrums the scales of knowledge and ignorance.

Without it neither knowing nor oblivion holds any meaning.

It builds the foundations of instinctive responsibility.

That goes beyond the ambit of oneself

To connect with the unitary Soul.

That pulses in unison.

Like rhythms of drumbeats,

And raindrops on glass menageries,

Like the crimson dawning sun

Glistening the waning harvest moon,

And reflecting onto a reflective universe

Within ourselves, behind our brains,

By hammers on drums,

And light on cones,

All to become one.

 

Kites over Barbed Wires

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Our legacy is one of the constant refugee.

Constantly running away from oppression.

Out of fear for our lives and survival of our family.

Our lives become menageries of tragedies.

Latent ones that remain through generations,

Chronic ones that hum themselves in stories,

And acute ones we feel within ourselves,

Where do we really belong?

And while thinking this we sense an unfamiliarity with the ground beneath us,

But it is also strangely familiar at the same time, as it is just as we are – there.

We are strangers in our motherland,

And lesser anywhere else,

Nobles of faraway lands,

We cook and clean, and work with our hands,

And dream with our wings spread wide,

Across demilitarized zones and mines.

We find power in our strife,

To make the best of life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Change Paradox

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When I started college fifteen years ago I wished the world would change; I wish I had been more careful.  On the eve of the 15th anniversary of 9/11, those wishes have manifested in the form of plights this planet has never before experienced.  Droplets of water now struggle in our ocean of blood, oil and waste.  Life would be simpler had I been less curious, less wishful and less hopeful of a better future.  I would feel less responsible for the grim one at our shores.

Climate change (melting polar icecaps; rising sea levels; coastline erosion; irregular weather patterns; higher frequency of storms, droughts, forest fires, flashfloods, etc.), mass extinction (massive-scale extinction of mega-fauna and ecosystems  –  coral-reefs, elephants, lions, tigers, sharks, whales, stingrays, clownfish, bonobos, etc. – in countless habitats like the Great Barrier Reef, African savannahs, tropical rainforests, etc.), and geopolitical instability (European economic crisis; Brexit and all its attendant complications; the rise of the ‘Islamic State’ and a myriad revolutions in the Middle East; the resulting refugee crisis that shows no signs of slowing down and has already been called the greatest humanitarian crisis since World War II; racial polarization and the resurgence of the radical far-right; corruption with impunity, suppression of human rights, abuse of power, etc.) only start the list of horrors in the making.

Whether humanity accepts its part in creating this apocalyptic existence notwithstanding, it must do everything possible to restore a semblance of balance; if for nothing else, then its own survival.  Ironically, the perils that plague us sprang from novel ideas to enable our survival.  In this journey to survive, we have manipulated every material resource available on our planet.  And such would only be natural.  But we have seldom left the ambit of ourselves.  We have placed ourselves at the top of the proverbial food chain as a species, and in society have categorized and forced humanity to mimic arbitrary hierarchies that only exist in the realm of human ego.  Nature does not work that way.

We exist within a conundrum of elemental stagnancy and movement.  On one hand, though we constantly change, we do not fathom this incremental change because we cannot (or don’t have the patience to) consciously observe it.  On the other hand, while the universe has never remained the same, its foundational building blocks remain unchanged.  For example, oxygen will be oxygen till the end of time and iron will be iron whether inducing a star to explode or floating in our blood.  The universe uses this change-paradox of absoluteness and relativity to evolve.

Billions of years of this process has produced the human being, an organism capable of realizing and understanding this duality.  Whether predestined or by chance, it puts us at a pivotal place in the fabric of existence, instinctively compelling us to understand the universe  through questions, answers and choices we make that cumulatively build societies, its status quos, and over time its institutionalized codicils of popular faith and governance.  Over time that norm becomes second nature and popularity trends overshadow the fringes that do not fit the fold.  This breeds fear, ignorance, and neglect, suffocating society under the weight of old habits.  We cling to ‘normal’ from fear of the ununderstood.

At such times when normativity becomes stagnancy, new ideas usher in revolutions by detaching society from the bindings of its habits. They remind us that society would not exist without humanity; that we have constructed the very idols that mislead us.  That we choose to accept the definitions of others, the ideals of others and the morals of others because we find comfort in the complacency of normativity rather than our instinctive actionable curiosity.  In doing so we diminish our capacity to understand; to not just seek knowledge, but also wisdom that comes from labor and learning.   Revolutions tear us away from the abyss of habit and hurl us into the unknown, under the guiding torch of past generations, to reach closer to the realization of the cosmic fundamental duality within us and within which we exist.  To what end remains a mystery, but realizing this and striving to understand it has always been the trademark of revolutions and its revolutionaries.

We now live in such a time; at some point we will have to choose between complacency and the responsibility of survival; either death by old habits or change as naturally predisposed.  The past fifteen years have changed humanity at a far more drastic pace than the first eighteen years of my life.  I know now that the peace I felt at the Top of the World two weeks before 9/11 was the calm before the tempest.  It haunts me; it taunts me, questioning my understanding.  Though, I am beginning to understand the nature of duality; so I remain resolute in my dream of a better tomorrow.

 

 

The Year of Orlando

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When I was just a little gay boy, my mother taught me to mend my speech impediment, my lisp.  I knew I was different from then on, but my understanding of what I knew I was hadn’t yet come full circle.  She told me many years later that she taught me that to save me from a world of pain and suffering.  The world when she grew up, where being a sexual minority wasn’t a thing; of course it was shameful, shunned, and unacceptable – something she couldn’t imagine as her son.  And it was definitely not something about which one could be proud.  But things have changed over the last thirty years.  Today we live in a world of extremes; where unconditional love can finally have a say while under hateful attack.

When I was just a little gay boy, I did what my mother said.  But over time, I decided to love myself exactly the way nature intended.  I stopped changing for others, placating the status quo and a heteronormative society – I became myself.  In my years as a gay man I have done very little for the benefit of my community.  Though, I have never hid myself.  I have been afraid to come out; but I have come out.  And with each step toward the open vista that is now my life, being me and being proud has gotten easier.  But I’m well aware that this march to reclaim an egalitarian cosmic right to exist is far from over.  June 12th, 2016 will remind me of that every year for the rest of my life – and that’s all it will do.

It will not scare me into hiding.

Be Proud!

The Koel and the Rain

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As the koel bird sang, I wandered through the garden of my memories;

The places I danced.

Under dancing lights, to beats pulsing from the floors.

The people I loved.

Around round tables, through frosted glass doors.

The songs and laughter,

Some louder, some softer,

Some bittersweet.

Then came the rain, as if nature mourned as it had been for days.

Covering the sun with forty-nine clouds and a billion droplets of pain.

And I remembered.

Though I am scared, I will dance again.

Though I now refrain, I will laugh again.

And sing and kiss and love and live,

Fear has no strong enough chain.

Form

Clovers

At the center of the sun a ball of iron spins in one place, unseen;

The black anchor of our heavens living under the firestorm of life.

Millions of miles away, patches of dirt, soaked in morning dew, blossom;

Touched by the light of flares flung in the course of entropic combustion.

Clovers and wild violets amid wild grass; a foreign seed a plant once fashioned;

It has grown into a bitter gourd vine; floating over the city line.

Dawn

Hand of God

When you close your eyes, believe you can fly.

You can fly.

But only with closed eyes.

If then you shed a tear, believe you are clear.

You are clear.

But only if you tear.

Into the fire of your pier, where the blazing sun appears.

If you’re trembling inside, but speak as if alight.

You are alight.

In and out of sight.

And when you reach that height, you are bright.

You are bright.

But only without fright.

From the ashes of your fears, your own blazing sun appears.