Don’t Look Down

A poem weiten in 2014 about self harm and suicide


When you spent the night crying,

when you’ve spent your life trying,


to know where you are


to figure out where you’re going,


don’t look down…



when your heart is stricken


And you ache all over again,


When it’s confusing to figure out

What your life is all about,

Don’t look down…


When you feel like you are about to drown,

When you’ve lost everything but your crown

When the pages of your stories bleed

And your monsters are freed,

don’t look down…



When the world you built


come crashing down


and you begin to laugh

Like a crazy clown,


don’t look down…



When the music had lost its magic


and the emptiness echoes

in silent surrender


when your heart continues to beat


Like a foolish pretender


don’t look down..


Many had fallen

‘cause their wings were broken.

Let’s Remember Who We Are

An essay about self harming

People cut because they can’t deal with the pain the world inflicts on them.. They inflict pain they can handle, the kind of pain they are able to understand,  so they can comfort themselves.

Sometimes, life is a raging ocean that drowns everything that we are, everything that we can ever be. And so we create ponds we can swim in. Big enough to contain us, but not big enough we get lost in.

We fill up with emotions we can’t understand. We are imploding. And so we cut for release. Not deep enough to kill, but deep enough to bleed, and to scar. We need to create something we can remember, while we try so hard to forget.

We cut to punish ourselves, for being who we are, for who we can’t ever be; for the many broken pieces that once were our dreams; for all the wrong turns and miscalculations; for the haywire life we can’t seem to control.

We cut so we can feel; For the assurance that we are still alive and not yet ghosts. Because sometimes, we can no longer feel anything, not even our own heartbeats.

We cut to make ourselves smaller, because we ran out of space, and we ran out of places to hide. We cut so that we can fit the pieces into a nook when the world blows up again. We cut to tell our stories, when we can’t master the courage to say it out loud.We cut for release, when the pressure builds up inside and we are in the verge of imploding. We cut because, ironically, we are exhausted and everything have grown bigger than who we are. We struggle to survive, as we are consumed alive by our very own fire.

Let’s remember who we are. Let’s say our names out loud and know how precious it sounds. We are worthy no matter how scarred we’ve been. Let’s give healing a chance, not because we  have to, but because we can.

Sikeji

 The best fighters of this world had known defeat a hundred folds. And the bravest ones have all once been afraid of their own dreams


Every person has that dark, cold, lonely place in them…

Sikeji is a christian boarding school located in the Kalene Hill, in the remote Ikelenge district of northwest Zambia. It was built to cater the affluent Zambian children and those of the many expats’.It was where I was from preschool to 2nd grade.

It was the late 1980s when,  after 7 years of being a municipal health officer, my Dad, without the security of a specialty training, and with five very young children approaching school age, decided to join the UN Peace Corps  as a doctor. It was 18 long hours of plane travel and 2 lay overs before we finally arrived in Lusaca airport where my Dad was waiting for us. It was the middle of June and it was cold and wet in Zambia, which is a landlocked republic in Southern Africa.  We stayed in a hotel for 2 weeks before we took the long and straight drive to Mwinilunga where my Dad was stationed along with 5 Indian doctors and 3 British delegates. This was the time when AIDS was wiping out an entire village of Zambians, and the country was struggling in deep mire in terms of economics and healthcare after years of being besieged by civil war.

In a child’s eyes, being in a place where there were more forests than houses, where there were more people than food, where the nights were long and dark, where snakes get inside the pipes and get lost inside the house, where families grow their own garden because the market only comes to town once a week, is like being in a twilight zone. My parents decided to put my brother and I in the safest niche this place can offer, and so we were enrolled in Sikeji school came August, where the unfamiliar surroundings did not only continue to alienate us, but actually gave birth to the nightmares we still have until today.

Parents make the wrong decisions with the best intentions. It was an expensive school, and it’s the best there is even in British standards. Most of my classmates were white, coming from as far as Johannesburg and Pretoria. Children of the affluent British families who have established companies in South Africa. Most of them have been in Sikeji for years. For them to still be alive and lucid is beyond my comprehension at that time. To be in that place for longer than a few years is surreal. The short time I was there, I have already lost most of my light. A bit more time longer and I would have drowned myself in the nearby Zambian River.

I was towelled dry and soothed to sleep the first two nights I tried to run away from school. I did not get far. I tried to follow the car tracts on the muddy road presuming all the tracts were made by our car. But then a truck load of africans passed by ( farm workers from the school), they were chanting with drums and I got scared. I barged in the dining hall dirty and screaming, and late for dinner. My next attempts were punished with spanking (with a ping pong paddle). I was also denied my candy ration came Sunday.

The nights in Sikeji were particularly difficult. There were no one to comfort us when we have nightmares, and we have a lot. Bed wetting was severely punished with a ping pong paddle on the glutt. Mornings where chaotic. We were young, and most were barely weaned from diapers. I’d often get into inappropriate clothes for the weather and my socks were often mismatched. My brother who was younger would forget his socks altogether, or his shoes for that matter.

After months, we learned to push back. I particularly learned to grow as fast as I could because it’s what the circumstances called for. My brother regressed, and I grew overnight. Bullies were everywhere. Kids steal from one another and the small number of faculties and orderlies managing all the pupils were often overwhelmed. And so when I am pushed, I shoved. When someone kick my brother on the playground, I drew blood. Fear is often the most viable motivator for violence and I embraced both. I was easy to mutate. While I was a child outside, I had grown beyond my years in the inside. I never blamed my parents for putting us in a boarding school. I blamed circumstances. I blamed the inherent madness of the world and life itself. Loneliness fuel deep seated anger that often grows beyond the bearer if not extinguished. My experience however made me clingy and independent at the same time. It made me both broken and strong. The best fighters of this world had known defeat a hundred folds. And the bravest ones have all once been afraid of their own dreams.

I bear a calloused heart, and my soul had been stitched together many times over. I am made up of memories that consume and overwhelm. But I have never once known surrender. I fought until my battles were over, and I braved the unknown with the marks of yesterday written on my skin, on my heart, and on my soul. But I’ve moved on, a step forward at a time. And every distance I made from my brokenness is a conquest all on its own.

Interrupted

A poem about people who look death in the eye daily

Follow the flies they say

When you are stalking death

Find where they lay

Follow the stench of her breath

Probe her deeper,

know her story

When the juice of death effuses

Let the ghost free

Her eyes are glazed

Like windows to an empty room

An abandoned old house

That had witnessed enough doom.

Follow the shadows

To touch darkness

Surrender your horror

To feel death’s caress.

Your Name

You walked this path before I did, unfrazzled and innocent to the dangers that we seem to attract. You built your home before I did, and weaved your dreams like an unsinkable ship. That was your mistake. You trusted the world too much. You had no idea, not until you were snatched out from the comfort of your bed and hanged upside down from a tree. Not until you were burned at stake, by the very people you tried to protect. I still don’t know your name.

I woke up drenched in sweat from a nightmare that should no longer frighten me because they were mere repeats of every night’s interrupted slumber. Nightmares that are no match for what reality has in store.  Yes, reality is more threatening, because it’s logical. Because the evilness isn’t just weaved from distorted imagery and besieged memory. 

Are you buried somewhere in this lonely earth undiscovered and forgotten?  Will your bones suddenly turn up in one excavation too many, like a story reaching out beyond centuries, and beyond a hundred lifetime? Maybe then, you can tell me your name.

All I know is that I’m not alone. Not in the face of betrayals and not in the face of broken dreams. You’ve faced them before I did. Made the mistakes I should have made. And each night as I awaken from another disturbing dream, I’d sigh because again, I’ve forgotten to ask your name

Haunted

It would have been my folly, a consequence of not thinking straight, that there were too much upturned earth in our midst. The signs of indecisions, the epitome of a collapsing life. That warning sign that says, “You have no idea what you’re up against”.
Time had not weathered most of the scars. The dead birch tree still stands on our backyard, like someone refusing to move on. Of course the roses have all died a long time ago, perhaps the same time we both started dying. Before the very essence of our union started its short journey towards decay.
The child’s swing still hangs. A sad reminder of a dream that’s never meant to come true. A thing so misplaced, it distorts the very essence of its existence. It’s all been a gamble, and we lost big time. Like planting a rose in our backyard in the middle of winter, foolishly hoping it would survive to see spring. 
The house resonates a sad whimper each time the wind blows. Old houses and sad memories, of dreams and defeat. We once had a life, and it perished within these walls. And the evidence of the catastrophe marks every corner. 
And so I walk in it, day and night, haunting, remembering, retracing the steps of a life that had once been mine. Touching the walls that only knows the past and never the future. The floors creak, and the old beds sag. The photos on the walls look on like windows to a twilight zone. The old grandfather clock strikes midnight, and I continue my walk around and within the house, that once hid my body and now imprisoned my soul.

Touched By A Monster

When you’ve been touched by a monster, you’ll never forget. The scent will forever haunt your waking hours, and uncertainties will always be nudged  in to your dreams. 
No one wants to be a victim. No one wants to be labelled weak. Justice sometimes come many years too late, and the damage had taken root, obliterating everything you once  believed to be true about yourself.
This world is full of victims, and monsters alike…, of predators and prey. And no one is like what they seem to be. A world overtaken by disguises and masquerades. A world swallowed up by the sheer need to dominate or survive. 
There are those who fight back. Those who simply refuse to be taken down by circumstances. Those who hold the memories like torches against the black nightmares that permeates the night. 
When we’ve been touched by monsters, we never forget. We learn to acknowledge the fact that life is a series of breaking and rebuilding. That absolute justice only happens when we brave to stand once more and make something out of life, with the monster’s reek and all, we struggle to live a significant existance nevertheless.
I’ve been touched by monsters. And I carry their marks on my soul. And because of that, I have become immune to their seductive lure.