Leaven

Considering freedom
Shoelaces caked with mud
Vigilant for passing specters
Receding wilderness

Sharing entrails
Viscose sun
Failing line of vision
Kindled and contrite

Veins swollen to bleeding
Dainty wafers of absolution
Spare the name
Plead or pierce

Claws of clause
Painted vermillion
Against the current
Thrive

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Iridescent Forests

Drifting through the canopy
Barefoot from the tireless journ
Place your palms to the soil
Wait for the sound

Of fallen empires all wiped away
Blooms and creatures imagined
Stories that nudge the fabric of time
Overflowing the pages

Appreciate this feeling
The serenity of being
Differentiate the tremors
Pulsing through layers

Dust off the shadows that cling
Towers that ceased crumbling
Lofty ideals belittling
Seek only truth

Cast

If I were kinder to myself
Maybe I could look in the mirror
And not see the flaws
Others have pointed out
Or made reference to
Without stopping to ponder
How carefully my soles touch the ground

If I were over confident
Maybe the mirror wouldn’t exist
I’d be caught up in the persona I exude
Unaware of compliments and curses
Heedless to any failure
And unable to bear any kind of weakness
Only focused on my own pleasure

If I were honest at what I saw
The opaque surface reflecting not distorting
Revealing every beautiful dent of individuality
Every scar and wrinkle earned
If all my glories rested in my service
All my achievements brought joy to others
I’d have seen further than mere appearance
Touched the divine connecting us

“Vimal, 33, Black Belt. Tell me a joke. Quick”

People say the initial stages of a relationship are the best, ’cause that’s when you learn things about your partner and become familiar with their quirks and habits. I would rather skip the whole “getting to know” section and get to the “you’re quiet, let me not disturb you” part. I feel preliminary introductions are really tiresome and in some cases a waste of time (when the relationship goes nowhere).

I was thinking the other day that people should start wearing stickers on their foreheads to describe things about themselves. You know, just so people don’t get into unnecessary awkward situations in public. So, we could have forehead stickers that state our sexual orientation since that is something many of us are curious about. We could have stickers to show if we’re married or looking. Even stickers to show our moods, like “unintentionally stressed out because of abrupt ending on favorite serial,” or “might be interested in hearing knock knock jokes,” or the random “looking for signs of life.” We could get so creative.

The intent would be to make communicating with people easier. Like those mood rings which change color according to body heat. Instead, here the message would be clear to anyone who can read. If you’re somewhere where people can’t read you’re on your own. I think my sticker would state “not present” most of the time. I’m like that, see, just floating on through life on my invisible cloud of self-satisfaction, oblivious of the world falling apart around me. It’s not a crime, so leave me alone.

So many of our problems could be avoided if we did this.

Coming back to modern relationships. If such a thing even exists, ’cause most of us can very well be on our own even when we’re “with” someone. By the way, I’m using double quotes with the hopes that you make the air quotes gesture when reading those words. Just for effect. Also, pause for an instant before reading the word within quotes, you’ll be amazed. How does one retain a positive attitude toward finding “Mr. Right” or “Mrs. Wrong,” which ever floats your boat, when the definitions of right and wrong have been turned on their head? We have men who want to be in “open” relationships, so they don’t feel trapped or emasculated. haha. We have women who are looking for men who dress well, work out, constantly strive to improve themselves, have dreams they wanna achieve, are kind, love kids, are funny, are good-looking, are chivalrous, are sensitive, etc. See, both sides have high expectations, which neither party can live up to. And that’s just the start.

So almost any eligible partner would have something that doesn’t rub you the right way and unlike a half century ago when couples just stuck it out for the sake of the kids and other “parampara” reasons, these days we just sign a piece of paper and find someone else to torture. Okay, I don’t mean torture literally in the physical sense. I mean, psychologically and emotionally. Now, I am not going to try and pontificate on the state of today’s generation or dish out advice on how we might “be the change we wanna see.” That’s a fool’s errand. What I’d like you to take from this is to realize the playing field has changed. Relationships are no longer the focus of human interaction, self-improvement and social development are. We don’t just want true love. No, we want the penthouse, the company car, the separate work cell phone, the managerial post, the club membership, the frequent flier privilege card… the list goes on and on, and on. Our focus has shifted from the sensual to the superficial. We know in our hearts that we would be more satisfied without the endless pursuits society has attuned us to, but the alternative seems too “crazy” to comprehend. We would rather play the cards we have been dealt than take the risk of being different.

It’s not easy, there is a lot we’d have to give up, and we might not get anything in return. Except maybe ourselves. Presently, my sticker would read “soul-searching,” what about yours?

EvƎ

It’s not your eyes
You don’t have to look
It’s not your hair
All though long is good
It’s not the ear-ring, the nose-ring
the necklace, the bangles
It’s none of those

It’s not your voice
It’s not the size of your hips
It’s not the clothes
You spent an hour to pick out
It’s not your heels, or your flats,
or your pumps, or ballerinas

It’s not the job you retain
Not the house you own
Not the car, not the bike
Not the injustice you fight
It’s not your diet
The number of drinks you can down
It’s not the color of your skin

It’s your wisdom
Your courage
It’s the way you overcome your fears
And smile at fooflishness
It’s your mind that computes
That sees behind the surface
Senses what is seldom stated

It is concern for creation
That adorns a woman