Wednesday, May 31, 2017


There's a clot
Beneath my skin
Made of what
I'm not too sure
But there is pain
Dull but constant
Near my chest
It hurts
And this clot
Blocks the air
My lungs need
Not filling them fully
It hurts
I try to breathe in
1... 2... 3... 4...
Breathe out
1... 2... 3... 4... 5... 6... 7... 8...
But I can't
There's nothing filling my lungs
And this makes my heart
Slow down
And my skin tingles
I feel faint
I can't breathe
I can't function
And everything is so loud
Echoing in my head
Chipping away at my skull
Maybe my head will explode

I want to use something sharp
A blade, a knife, anything
To cut open my skin
So I can reach in
Pull out the clot
Just so I can breathe once again
But whenever I place cold steel against my cold skin
A voice inside my head whispers that
Not even this
Will make it alright

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


It doesn't take long for things to change
And so I'm not surprised by how much has changed
Since I was a child
How things were just five or ten years ago

We were taught that white was the color
To wear to a temple
Because it is the color of purity
Because it doesn't hurt the eyes
Disturb the peace

We were taught to cover our bodies
Cover our arms
Our legs
Show as less skin as possible
Out of respect to a place of worship

We were taught to wear clothes that didn't
Hug our bodies
Like we cling to things in life
But hung loosely
Like a flower that so easily can be plucked
From a tree

We were taught to be quiet
And calm
You don't run in temples
You don't shout
Time slows down
And you don't fight it

These were never rules
But guidelines
Things we followed
Because they made sense

And now
When I go to the temple
Not even every full moon
But once in a blue moon
I wonder where these lessons about
What to wear
How to behave
Have gone
As an ache intensifies in my head
As I sit away from everyone
In the shadows
In white clothes
Two sizes too big
Straining to hear the sound of the bo leaves
Rustling in the wind

Out of speakers
Installed around the temple
A monk's voice
Booms and echoes
Exorcising the calm and peace
The temple is possessed by

The sound of sand crunching
Beneath feet
Running here and there
In a hurry to
Offer flowers
Light joss sticks
A race to finish first
This act of faith

Children scream
And giggle
Playing games
Around the white stupa
That is bright and white
Against the dark sky
And a few steps away
The bo tree sighs
Yearning for some quiet
In this place for worship

And as I sit there I see
People dressed for parties
And summer days
Blouses with sequins
Shining like the stars above us
Men wearing shorts
Unconcerned about any dress code
Men can wear whatever they want to

People pull at the back of their tshirts
As they sit down
As comfortably as they can
In those skin-tight clothes
That seem to have shrunk a size or two
Since they bought them
And are of so many different colors
The only white that can be found
Is among the flowers they offer
Or the pahan thira that burns slowly

And I sit there wondering
When this place that made my mind calm
Made it easier to breathe
To think
To understand
Became a place that is so loud
It makes my head ache
And I wonder how
In a country that boasts of its
Rich Buddhist culture
The only things at peace in a temple
Are the lifeless statues of the Buddha