A Memorial Day poem

When I think of you and I cannot call,

a mournfulness envelopes me,

but I don’t feel small.

It’s because of you that I do not hide.

Safe in this space; in shining armor,

you’re our knight.

when life pushed, you pushed back harder.

We remember you: the light & the darker

You deserve all love & honor.

———————–

Happy Memorial Day!

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Gratefulness

Beholden to my Mother.

I’d say that’s true.

For loving me so much she’d rinse my crying eyes of shampoo.

Beholden to my Father.

For there’s no doubt 

that he opened the door for all the laughter the world would allow.

Beholden to my sisters.

There’s no room to question

that they’d cross the universe with me at the slightest suggestion.

Beholden to my brother.

For that is certain.

His smile fills the room like the sun when you draw back the curtains.

Beholden to my Grandmother,

I’ll always believe

her spirits larger than anything I could conceive.

Beholden to my heart 

with no hesitation 

Their love fills it with a joy beyond explanation.

I spoke on stage for the first time & I didn’t die 


I spoke at an open mic for the first time in a long time at Busboys. It was a poem that I’d written for my Dad’s birthday in March but been too nervous to share. 

I was given a voice & I can’t let fear be the thing to halt me & keep me from moving forward. 

Fear has been a driving force in my life and has informed too many of my behavioral choices to the point that it’s ingrained in me. Fearful thoughts are the first thing I hear. With that fact echoing in my head, I still have to step forward. I won’t grow if I don’t. 

And my biggest fear is being stuck. Never growing. I have to hush these voices if I want to step into the light, out of my comfort zone towards true authenticity. 
There is no other option. My parents cannot speak, so I speak for them. I won’t let fear blind the path of potential any longer. Sure, I’ll always be afraid, but I won’t let that be a reason for me not to speak. I will feel that fear & go. Feel the fear & go. Go.

Happy 50th Mommy 😊


Happy Birthday to the strongest, funniest, and wildest woman I ever knew. Happy Birthday to the woman who taught me how to walk, laugh & listen with my heart. Happy Birthday to my best friend, my reason for living, & my source of strength. I love you with every single part of me – from my toes to my lungs. Happy 50th Birthday Mommy, Tovoia, Tinka! 💕💕💕 We’ll see eachother again one day. 

|Chasing Recollection|

Chasing Recollection
I had a mother. Sometimes I can’t remember her looks

To spark my brain, I look thru her bins of Polaroids and unfinished photo-books

Her smile presents flashes of times, distorted, but shared

Slender hands, big laugh and coiled dark hair

Time passes, my eyes close, and her face leaves again

In darkness, I see her nose, more distinct now than it was then.

Large, to the point of cartoonish, I know it’s only in my mind’s eye.

It’s shiny, sharp, and Latin and death-defyingly high.

My brain forgets a face, but remembers a nose that stands tall.

 I’d rather have this piece of her than nothing at all.

Now, hope clings tight for memories to come.

What’s next to find? An eyebrow? A thumb?

Any reminder of her presence will satisfy me now.

Until the ache of loss is overcome by all the joy the universe will allow.

I have a mother and she has me too.

Time steals memories, but Angels can make them new.

Re-building from rubble.

A lot has changed for me since I last wrote. In March last year, my father died.

I’ve lost a parent before, but this was different. This was final.  No longer was there a foundation of the kind of love, support, and hope that was the relationship I had with my Mom and Dad. Suddenly, I was 24 with no where to stand. I say sudden because that’s what it was (another reason it was different from my mom’s death). His death was painful for him, I know that. I had it described to me. It was sudden, swift and , in my opinion, violent. No one wants that.

I am thankful and saddened that I wasn’t there when he passed. I was on the 0ther side of the world, planning my next project as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Indonesia. I was nearing my second year, and I was only shy of 2 months when everything happened.

When my sister told me quietly over Skype that our Dad had just died, I immediately began grabbing things and throwing them into bags. It didn’t matter what is was that I grabbed, as long as my hands were busy and my mind was occupied. I used packing as a excuse to avoid my host family through that entire day. I knew the moment my sister told me about Daddy that I wouldn’t be returning to Indonesia.

The good-bye to my host-mom was painful and short…I made sure to time it that way. I didn’t want to see her cry or hear her ask when I was coming back. She did both in that small window of time. She hugged me tighter than I knew she was capable and cried for her own loss and for mine. I think she knew I wasn’t coming back either, but she asked any way. I answered in a small voice over and over again “Saya tidak tahu” (I don’t know) and then I was gone.

Now, a little over a year later, I can say the pain of losing my Dad and the experience surrounding it runs deeper than I’ve ever experienced. When my mother died when I was 20, I still had my father. I still had him and he was there. He promised to be here when I came back. His hugs meant the world to me…they always have. His smell. His laugh. His smile. 

My mother’s death left a void that never healed and losing my father widened the gap. The pain of her death echoes inside me, but my Dad’s absence screams. It wracks my body at night and leaves me exhausted through the day. Not only did I lose my best friend and strongest source of affirmation, but I was ripped away from a family I’d built in Indonesia. I could go back (& I will) but the pain of that night will always be with me in some form or another.

I am 25 with no parents. Though my parents are no longer here, I can still find joy in the family I left behind. My 2 sisters, brother, and I lean on each other for support. We hold each other up. We are each other’s foundation.  We’ll take road trips with my father’s urn in the back seat, blasting his favorite music with the window’s down. We’ll scream the lyrics till the sun sets. We’ll find joy with each other and the people who love us.

I decided that life is decidedly short & I will fill this void with as much happiness that I can find. This past year, I’ve been scrambling for a sense of self and I’ve found it by embracing every single part of me. I am a living memory of Quentin and Tovoia. Those are the parts of me and they are beautiful. I leaned on my father’s foundation of affirmation to help me navigate a world that told me I wasn’t enough. I still lean on that foundation and I embrace it. This life I’m living is mine and I choose to live it the way I see it.

“Forty-Six”

“Forty-Six”

Up there the sun is warmer

the air more soothing

whispering, no, shouting joyous songs

I’ve never heard.

Up there it is brighter.

The clouds, not floors

more like birds, lighter.

You soar higher still.

On earth, you soared higher still.

The wonderous mass of flesh

could no longer contain the

wonderous spirit that could no longer be restrained.

Down here, the sand scorched your soles.

The pavement too rough;

The grass too harsh.

Naturally, you jumped high,

Leapt, and reached for home.

Now, I find comfort in the

haven you found.

Now I find joy in the heart you

squeeze to beat

by living.

You live and I live.

Because you gave me

all you are and still

give me more than I deserve,

I honor you.

Not only for what you give,

but for who you are.

Now, you do the impossible for you live in many homes

at once.

You live in our hearts.

There is a piece of you

in all of our souls.

On this day, I honor you

and thank you for your time.

Now be on your way, Mommy,

spread your wings and fly.

Up there, it’s warmer, for

your smile fills the sky.

Up there, joy abounds,

and we all know why.

Your new and old friends sing

that the day is new!

“It’s a beautiful morning, Tovoia.

Happy Birthday to you!”

 

5.18.2013