A Note

To my beautiful baby brother:

you have to grow up in an age of social media

and all of its toxins

and it is not your fault.

You have no control over it,

nor do I.

All I want do to is live it for you—

the suicides,

the mass shooting threats,

every day life in boring ass high school —

keep it boring!

School was meant to be that way,

safe enough to be boring.

Not even the white people are safe,

not even the rich people.

My beautiful Puerto Rican brother:

do you fit in? do you like it? do you not?

Tell me more than “ugh.”

I know your innocent face,

your soul-searching eyes

I have seen your heart

and its pure essence

a thousand times.

I just hope I told you enough stories…

about how much you are loved,

and how smart and kind and handsome

you are, my brother — you can do it,

because it cannot last for much longer.

I will take every bullet of some child

calling out for help;

I will relive 9th, 10th — fuck, every grade

if that is what it takes to protect you,

to take up that space of wondering.

The world has changed

in just 10 short years between me and you.

Look at what Facebook has done,

kids sending Snaps 1,000 times a day.

My brother I do not know shit about “SnapChat”

but I know you are more than it,

I promise you.

Everyone is wandering,

looking for more than a screen—

and yet video games have saved you.

Play SmashBros all freaking day

if that is what it takes to save you, my boy,

from giving a damn what people think.

How do I protect you from this world…

this pit of society

that is eating minds and bodies alive?

How do I get you to talk truth?

Who cares “how.”

Know that it is enough to try,

enough to be with yourself,

fully.

Whenever your body yells,

“Trauma!”

“Pain!”

“Greif!”

Cradle every part

and say, “I am here for you, always.”

And remember:

your sister is here for you.

Always.

 

March 29, 2019

Three Parts

I.

Our hearts wide open

on the sofa, in the den,

we glide

past memories and landscapes

of lost wishes and dreams untouched–

but oh, my dear, did you touch them!

How far you ran!

How far we traveled

when home was right next door?

I can only tell you so many times

how much I love you,

mom and dad,

how much I owe to you,

my gods on Earth, my saviors

of moon and light —

of all the in-betweens and all-togethers.

Success? Winning? Acting out?

Do you remember me,

do you know me better than I do?

I am your baby bird…

and I am here, beautiful, flying…

you make money not to chase

your own dreams, but for us…

talk about pressure!

But I suppose each generation

has its shortcomings of identity

and mind that the world threw at them,

so you throw it back up,

say I’m better than you.

 

You made me.

Without your light,

I cannot shine.

 

II.

And you tell me: “What doesn’t kill you

makes you stronger.”

What if I fear I have lost part of me?

But dear…look around,

you are here,

and this is now,

and now is the Earth and time kissing

on two planes, four dimensions

that we know of, hurtling off in space

and yet perfectly safe.

This world may think its won–

they may have knocked me down–

but maybe that was not me to begin with.

You ask why I’m so quiet?

Because I’m readying up to get mad

and spread some joy around to make it better.

You told me you have some secret cure?

Cure for what? A story unfolded?

Afraid of one’s own shadow?

Or the light bouncing off your face?

Is that how trauma works?

Healing is all Earth is,

is all that’s in your blood, your muscles

and tendons and heartbeats and breaths.

I am here to guide you,

parents, elders, child.

You may see me as Father Time,

but I’ve been your mother, all along…

riding sunbeams, glorifying everything

and nothing. I am Earth.

 

III.

It’s cold in my childhood, only-home

for-a-while bedroom

and I wonder what life “should” have been…

Life sees no life without death.

I was there. I played. I fell. I rose.

I survived, god damn it.

My body and mind are still god damn

here, my spirit unbroken.

 

Sleeping, eating, breathing…honey,

you are an animal as we all are.

There are moments you must do nothing

but rest, let the Earth care for you.

You cannot take over for her.

We all know what it’s like to interrupt

the most powerful women in our lives.

This is the mother of all mothers,

life giving grace from the God

that is a woman, that is everyone in between.

You have a scary fucking story in your head,

taking over God’s role?

Hell no!

I have my dad’s wings

and my mom’s heart,

so I can keep gliding,

gliding…

 

January 4, 2019

Rain

It’s awfully scary

to be locked up in some dark skin,

feel the twirling of your insides —

in and out

this nervous energy

is moving me —

finding a way out

is so easy

so easy

to do

I’ve heard it before

but I still feel it trickling,

tinkling,

tinkering with my mind

and reminding it of its limits.

 

Be here.

 

You know where the tension is.

 

Sit with it,

recognize it,

allow life to be as it is,

investigate with kindness,

and non-identification.

http://www.tarabrach.com/wp-content/uploads/pdf/RAIN-of-Self-Compassion2.pdf

October 9, 2017

Riverside Park

Some days,

my eyes drift down like leaves

falling to the ground

they do not fight the wind

they say, “Thank you,” and move on.

 

Others,

they cry–

and don’t even know why–

it doesn’t feel like rain

it just feels like a mess I have made.

 

Listen as I run.

 

Footsteps left behind

they will fade with time

the sunset is the only direction I am headed in,

no matter the feeling

I keep moving

for life is about flowing with the storm,

even when it’s in your mind.

 

May 1, 2016

The Human Condition

Alone

in my head

how did this happen again?

Afraid of myself

more than anyone else

afraid of my mind’s tricks

like the devil

part of me runs,

part of me nourishes.

 

External realities

versus internal dimensionality

my vulnerability

got me everything good

and everything bad

trust my mind–

it is strong,

then flies out the window.

 

All I can do now

is observe the mess I am in:

feel the anxiety,

the past pain,

the current waves of doubt

and listen to the monster truck

of thoughts roll through my head

as if it was the last track in the world.

 

Perhaps this is the most natural thing:

to let up, to let it win and lose

and nothing and everything

to let the stories be

to let the suicide be

to let my knowledge free

to let my wisdom bring

me the greatest joy I’ve ever known:

the expanse of life

growing in and out

nothing the same at any moment

love blossoming in my bones

while fear eats my mind–

it’s just one iteration

of the human condition,

is it not?

 

So eat away,

my friend fear…

I’m not sure what role the pills will play

but life can’t get away

simply because experience and temperament

created a shift in my thinking

understand that this is still

my gift of a body

and I respect its reaction–

mind, body, and soul connected–

to the darkest corners of life…

sweet loneliness turned sour

and still with age, abandonment

of reason with one phone call,

one bad dream…

and still the pure light of tomorrow…

the pureness of now.

 

April 1, 2016

 

More than anything, this is a release of thoughts and feelings surrounding mental health and my own struggles/my family’s struggles and experiences (the mention of suicide, a phone call and pills allude to a tragic family event) with the topic.  

You are never alone, no matter what unfolds in your life.  It can be difficult to find meaning out of suffering and loss, but it is, indefinitely, part of the human condition…and through the cracks, love and art can find their way out. 

Anxiety

When you open up about it

I’m not promising it will be easy.

.

When the air becomes thick

like white cream cheese

and you can’t simply scrape off the edges

with a knife you wonder

who else is feeling this way?

.

I thought my mother did;

but she said, “What I’m feeling is physical,”

I thought the government did;

but they said, “She’s a terrorist

and he has a mental health problem,”

I thought a suicide every thirteen minutes

would be enough to prove

our grasp on this epidemic is not tight enough.

.

I want to say,

“This is physical,”

when it crashes over me

like a war-torn tide,

daily sabotage not unlike your migraine

I wish I could go swallow an Aspirin

but one pill in the middle of an ocean

will not magically make the water calmer.

.

It is when we realize that we are

the water,

the tide,

each speck of sand we trickle onto

they are sprinkled in our bones–

not unlike the stars

the heavens will always be there,

waiting.

.

For even at your worst,

peace is always flowing;

anxiety

is not you,

it is just a word

you may not feel it now

but feel your breath–

it has not left you yet

the beauty found in nature

is found in your own skin,

still waters under roaring currents

just as Love sits

under pain,

patiently.

.

When you open up about it

I’m not promising it will be easy.

.

I’m promising it will be worth it.

.

December 20th, 2015

spread some love today and speak your truth– you are worth it