they say tomorrow might be the waves i cannot see
the sheer anticipation of what might have been
we’ve grown so old from heartbreaks so young a dream
we’re so vast a universe but no words to swarm in
this existence hurts my skin it hurts more everytime it doesn’t bleed
here in this dark place everything is shameful and unforgiven but
there’s a rabbit hole down here and there’s you and i and the world disappears we need to be somewhere else
but here we are, bloated up
and shrunk down into an instagram post
she was nine, he was on tv,
she’s fifteen, he was already on his own, then twenty
twenty one, he was old before
his time, “where did you guys meet?”
I don’t know I don’t know
walmart, maybe, at midnight, he ran out
of pop tarts, but he said
at a party in London, too much gaps in
what we’re saying. yes but I have
no sense of time
and space. I meant we. we’re just good that way. of forgetting.
of forgiving again. it’s toxic, I know, this infatuation
don’t look. don’t look where we are. we are too old now. we are stale
from same old stories. “fame tore them apart,” …not true, not true!
he wakes up then decades
sprawling across and in and out of
his bedroom walls
she grows fonder of distance, she took a step
one day and has been running
eversince. “what an unstoppable force
she is!” was. was.
he wants her to wait but never quite saying
it right. she keeps running and she lets him
watch how far how fast her steps could go
how her jaw her fist clenched. she’s got no time
to spare, “but she has no sense of time,”
he was so young, “but he was old before his time.”
chunks of life. episodic memories. lovers lost then found. claustrophobic-narrow-hallway affairs. the curious couple and strange mirrors. emotions shut off, relived, reserved. stories shared and forgotten. pain unseen. pain no one cares about. this book, secrets and for keeps.
There was the story of a central California widow who had fought to have her recently dead husband exhumed, pleading her case that before he had died he had swallowed her diamond ring in some sort of spite and that she wanted this jewel returned. But in the end she confessed that she had not slept for many many weeks and that she had been spending her nights lying on his grave, trying to speak to him, and that all she really wanted was just to be able to see his face one more time.
Life After God, Douglas Coupland
I dream you still. And there I will be.
You don’t know my name. This is the past. And us is just a butterfly effect that didn’t happen. We are apart and at peace, just as before your eyes met mine, before our hands brushed and our words hushed. Before our secrets born into judging eyes. This is before everything.
And I am telling you this so you will search for me no more.
“I Want These Dreams Inside of Me”, When I My Own Daughter
The inward life tells us that we are multiple not single, and that our one existence is really countless existences holding hands like those cut-out paper dolls, but unlike the dolls never coming to an end. When we say, ‘I have been here before,’ perhaps we mean, ‘I am here now,’ but in another life, another time, doing something else. Our lives could be stacked together like plates on a waiter’s hand. Only the top one is showing, but the rest are there and by mistake we discover them.
Sexing the Cherry, Jeanette Winterson
And then I felt sad because I realized that once people are broken in certain ways, they can’t ever be fixed, and this is something nobody ever tells you when you are young and it never fails to surprise you as you grow older as you see the people in your life break one by one. You wonder when your turn is going to be, or if it’s already happened.
Life After God, Douglas Coupland
you trample here
and there and in between
for absence is what
you do best, to make
the heart grows fonder
isn’t your strength
you’d stay in bed for days
for tiny heartbreaks
when you speak
of love you never
even in silence
loving to the end
longing to be
you’re my star, my big big shining star, I met you
one night, I met you under the limelight
your oversized shirt and my boots a number too small, they hurt my feet I’ve been limping dancing my years away
if only I knew how to tell you how I long
to hold your hand, but your fingers show me you want nothing but to slip them into mine and be vulnerable
so I held my guard down for that one. minute.
you didn’t turn the lights on and sat in the dark with me and I turned sluggish swimming an ocean of pride,
where’s my life-jacket?
still I let you
I let you love
you’re something big and I am
nothing more than forgotten dew in
a windy morning, but you,
you are sunlight
you are a new day
you have that smile, that
held back smile and a twinkle
in the eye
that says that I am
more than what I show
and I feel that I am more
than I want to be
hello hello, you said hello
I said goodbye, I love you, goodbye
-hello, goodbye, I love you
from Letters to Lovers Lost, re-published just now.
Far beneath mother’s womb rests a story of a knight who one day, in a faraway future, will speak of the truth.
The dragons in knowing this had prepared him prior to my birth for a future quest to find mother. Ali would settle me in a little basket near the river, for I was unwanted as Moses. And when the bell church rang three times, the knight would kiss me and present me to mother.
The day came and after a long challenging journey, the knight found mother. Mother and the knight finally met and shared a long kiss. Secrets were dripping out of their mouths, pearls born into the longing sea.
The knight, then, upon seeing an abundance of affection in mother’s eyes, bargained for her love. Mother stepped back, wailing.
The dragons, having the ability to hear her from far-off distance, alert and awake, realised the knight had betrayed them. They ran amok, flying in a speed of light and took me away from mother.
So much wind I feel in my heart and I cannot in the slightest remember flying back the time father was long asleep. But I vividly remember that he was. He was there but he wasn’t, it’s the only thing I am familiar with. But I remember flying across the sky with no end in sight.
In Ali’s stories, the dragons brought me back to father’s side. He was fast asleep so they put me on Ali’s lap instead.
They told Ali to never speak of mother, ever again.
everybody wants a piece of that fame
you bring to the table
so they put you on a silver plate at first
but then they feel it’s too fancy for
a hollywood roadkill like you so
they move you to
a worn out wooden cutting board
slice you up real nice into tiny bits of pieces
each to their own but
you’re there for everyone, suit yourself!
chew you up real slow
saving every flavor splattered on
the walls of their mouths their gums they lick
their teeth and lips everytime they got
that fancy exposure
they swallow you and finger the rest
of your blood
on their knives
and I sit there watching
thinking if I should get
of that fame
but I am not
made for the public eye
I spill your tea on
this fame of yours
my brain, should you
know what I want, it’s
your crimson blood
I want that lush
I want that rush
when i you and you,
“Mirrors”, Letters to Sylvia, 2019
These were the nights when gaps spotted in our time loop and father came back to us.
He’d travelled to stay for few days, playing house. Mother’s smiles reappeared and she’d dance under the moonlight.
At night I would see from a slit on the door slightly ajar, his eyes turning tender and kind, her complexion radiant.
I’d see them holding each other, her breasts upon his chest. He’d tell her places he’s afraid of, she’d tell him her dreams.
She’d say, “Wherever you are in life you’ll always have tonight.”
They’d look each other in the eyes and after a while she’d lead him but she’d be the only one who was dancing. She’d twirl to the ticking clock, she’d circle through time while he was drinking –one gulp after another, gazing intently at her –a much younger her, at their younger selves.
He’d hum her old letters he knew by heart with a voice barely heard.
Time would stop and in that second I’d know, wherever I am in life I’ll have them forever in my heart.
there was a time when
everything was everything and
we didn’t try to be anything
what do you carry around all day
besides a bucket of flowers
and heart full of promises of a new day?
here’s a tiny sting of guilt to share
there there, i’ve been there
nobody likes anybody in this town
forgive me i didn’t know better
These words have been kept, hidden, for almost eighteen years. She was born just to be, but never meant to be shared. But almost two years ago, her presence became urgent. She was cut in pieces and put together in a hurry but did made it in time to be read by people who needed them.
If there’s one thing I love about love, is that it expands as you grow. My love for her imperfection has never been this courageous, and I’d like to extend it to you.
Now celebrating her two years arriving into the world, she will be available to you lovely people in Asia. If you speak Bahasa and is interested in providing her a home, message me.
Right before our parting, mother sat me down in a meadow. She apologetically held my hands then placed a flower crown on my hair.
She said, “Remember this, love, for time is a loop. You will come back for me.”
Little did she know, time was in denial.
So suddenly as I realised this, she turned into a montage of old photographs between flashing lights.
I saw her,
the staggering girl between
I saw her vague fingers inside
his feathered glory,
such indifferent beak cloud,
white rush oh there there
brute brute blood!
here’s burning roof and tower
the centre cannot hold,
things fall apart…
Phrases in W. B. Yeats’ poems “Leda and the Swan” and “The Second Coming”, in this part of my book, are rearranged in an attempt of deconstruction. WB Yeats poems are an integral and essential part of my book, When I, My Own Daughter, available here.
Photo Credit: Alessio Albi
She never counted me in.
In her stories it was always her that was lost (and found), but never me. I was always here and there, existed in static equilibrium, already defined, captured.
She was the one who decides where to go with her words. She was, to me, knowledge and ignorance, forgiveness and revenge, all in one.
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i’ve been carving memories on dry walls
four seasons of loneliness and you came bearing your own
stories of a little girl named Lara
her face her smile her every breath you inhale her
a picture perfect deep into your soul
she exists to you in ways that I could not
she has a smile that’s similar to mine, you said
her hair is golden like the sun,
this little ballerina and her pink tutu
and when she cries you cup her tears in your palms letting
them soak into the lines of your hands that once
a fortune teller told you, you wouldn’t make it to forty,
that you would be entangled in a story like none other
she said I would write them for you so daddy’s little girl
could forever lives in rhymes…
in bedtime stories and lullabies…
It was when I looked into your eyes, I realised I came from a long journey across time, before yours nor mine. I knew this from recurring dreams. They were so vivid that when I woke up, my arms my feet my body were sore and tired. These dreams were more than just a realm in my subconscious, they were real.
In my dreams, I have your eyes, your smile, and everything’s new under the sun. In my dreams I was lost looking for something, anything felt like a mother. In my dreams, I too was abandoned, unwanted. In my dreams, I was you.
You were to me my long lost son. I see you, and I see him too, in you. I wanted him to be: something you. One and the same, exactly like you, just as if he came out of copying machine. I named him after you. Now you never again have to look for something, anything like a mother.
I am here for you.
When I, My Own Daughter coming soon.
…because first and foremost, before anything else, I am me.
It was a bad day and I could not spend any more hours sitting in my car in the parking lot before classes. I took two girls out to a late lunch that day and told them: in a distant past, I did a very bad thing and I haven’t been able to move on from it.
They didn’t ask questions, they just sat there with me, eating.
That day I decided, I was going to quit my job.
Resigning from an established institution was a torture. Convincing your superiors that they could easily let me go, that there will be someone else, and they might be a lot better doing what I was doing, is. a. torture. Of course they wouldn’t let me go. They offered me positions, new spaces, new title. New office in the city. They were tempting. I could hear my younger ambitious self screaming loud inside my ears.
Who wouldn’t want to be part of an Ivy League team, sitting in that ivory tower, judging everyone while at the same time being inspiration to a lot of people? Never have I ever in my life been treated better than when I had that title. It followed me everywhere and gave me the privilege my parents wanted me to have. I finally lived up to their expectation, being the trophy kid all my life, ignoring all stabbing knives on my back while smiling in front of hundreds of audience, hoping they would gain some kind of wisdom at the end of the day. What a time to be alive.
But I needed a good cry. I needed to hear music again. Someone just wrote a song for me, about how wonderful I was when I was none other than who I truly am. I needed to cry. Not in-the-shower cry. Not the kind I had before I went to sleep. Nor crying screaming into a pillow. Not that kind of cry.
I needed to go somewhere far, and shed that single tear, and meet me again.
It’s been, well, different ever since. Different. Living your true self is a struggle when obviously it’s a lot easier to portray what everyone thinks of you. So I cut everyone lose and let them go. Appointments, canceled. Contacts, blocked. Social media, deleted. Said goodbye without them knowing, or aware if it. I just wanted to be me.
Why is it so hard to be alone these days? Why wouldn’t you? I want to. I want to be alone, just me, by myself – to be able to finally breathe. Life is so precious, you wouldn’t want living hating it. It’s why I did what I did.
Let me tell you about time: it doesn’t heal, it goes on. It changes you into different people and when you are in a different place, you see different things -and if you’re lucky enough, you see things differently (you might write about it too).
And that is it. There’s nothing about healing has anything to do with how time stretches between you and your wounds. They will always be there to remind you where you’re coming from.
My book went live few hours ago and everytime it always came down to this feeling of helplessness in letting go. And that is the only healing I could ever get from writing it.
Life always, always, gets you caught off guard and I am spent.
If words were breath and phrases life… I am rarely moved by other peoples’ poetry. It takes a truly unique writer to penetrate below my natural cynicism. I tell you all: this is the one book of poetry, the first in a long time, to feel authentic, brave and sincere. I LOVE THIS BOOK!
(Martha Humphreys, Amazon.com)
Within these pieces, you will find so much raw emotion and talent. The ink on these pages will soak into your skin and claw into your skull. You will never forget reading such a powerful book. Maia is destined for greatness.
How do you describe a book as an experience? Letters to Sylvia is not just flattery words knitted together in a string of poems. It is a journey you want and need to embark. It is a sigh at the end not wanting to get off that plane of emotions. This is not just a book. It’s an experience. Read, woman!
This book was just like one of those Sunday afternoons when you just don’t want to do nothing but sit down and take a walk down the memory lane. This book reeks of nostalgia and heartbreak. My personal favourites were Period ( this one left me gutted and awestruck), Adieu ( made me sigh) and Feminine Mystique ( this one BROKE MY HEART). And I loved the fact that the poet somehow wrote it as an ode/ dedication to Sylvia, my all time favourite. The only thing that I would like to change would be the fact that it was just 85 pages long. I absolutely loved the tone and the flow so I guess I would’ve loved it a tad bit more if it included a few more poems!
Get this baby here.