train your doubts

whenever I find myself drowning in my woes and the world’s noise, I turn to chapter nine of Rainer Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet. this masterpiece of his has been my pick-me-up for the longest time, his writing a comforting embrace to my insecurities, doubts, and distress. in this chapter, Rilke tells Mr. Kappus that his doubt may become a good quality, if he trains it.

our doubt must become knowing, it must be critical. whenever we are in doubt, we must ask it, demand proofs from it, why something is ugly. we must insist on arguments from our doubt. so often i find myself feeling sorry for myself when i am in doubt, and i make the blow even harder by centering on my ugly qualities and mistakes boohoo hoo, woe is me. i realize it is not fair to do this to myself, to be in doubt but not objective and constructive. to treat myself fairly, i must be objective even to the things i like the least about myself. Rilke says that if we are watchful and consistent, the day will arrive when our doubt—the destroyer—will become one of our best workers, perhaps the cleverest, even.

so we must train our doubts. no matter how tempting it is to kick ourselves down, remember that we must also be fair and objective. why is it ugly? why is it bad? why is it disappointing? why is it a failure? amidst all these questions, remind yourself to be kinder and fair to yourself. with all the injustices in this life, it would be absolute criminal that we be unjust to our own beings.


ode to common things


in the depths of forgetfulness.
I pause in houses,
streets and
touching things,
identifying objects
that I secretly covet;
this one because it rings,
that one because
it’s as soft
as the softness of a woman’s hip,
that one there for its deep-sea color,
and that one for its velvet feel.


Man Woman Woman Man

she watched the toast turn brown in the oven, but her mind is elsewhere

she figured he stopped loving her

the moment he’d rather put his mouth on cigarette sticks

than her own lips.

so here she is, the woman, walking with a chip on her shoulder.

at night she clutches at her pillow, making herself believe it is her lover.

she numbs herself of everything: Feeling and thought,

she is okay for the meantime.

in the morning she absentmindedly stirs her lousy tea,

“in a matter of time he would slip from my mind,” she assured herself,

but his name is still bitter on her tongue.

the name that she seeks cannot hold her anymore,

he is not waiting for her embrace.

she preens in front of the mirror, but really, she is just pruning her self-respect.

in the presence of the man–the beast–she finds her knees gelatinous once again.

always on her toes, always weak in the knees, always soft, always crumbling for him. 

she is his through and through: His voluntary throwaway

yet he is only hers for the meantime

hers, but not really.

the woman disintegrates effortlessly,

but even she is not as crisp as toast.

rather dry, the woman is week-old bread,

stale enough for the fungi to grow on her,

turn her to scum,

and reduce her to something, anything, lower than filth

until she loses herself completely and ceases

to exist.



unspooling yarn : stripping my clothes
you : me
your words : rose’s thorns
arsenic : my love for you
your knuckle on my cheekbone : lightning on something sharp
a choker : your hand on my neck
winter : sleepless nights
my favorite blanket : your arms around me
black coffee : vanilla sex
sugar on tongue : kisses
a caterpillar in a cocoon : me wrapped around your finger
unclasped watch : letting go of your hand
waiting for you : a doctor on call
blackened bruises : a ripe, juicy plum

Star Gazer

The people that love us never really leave us.

Once one perishes, his body is buried under the soil.

His soul is perennial and will continue to live on forever,

His energy initially the Universe’s, indestructible and everlasting.

Your very molecules in your body were once the centers of high mass stars

That exploded their particles into the galaxy.

So no, you aren’t leaving, you aren’t leaving at all.

You are coming home.

You will not be the person that I have known,

For you will now be everything and anything around me.

You will be the sea and the waves,

The air that I’ll breathe, the scent that I will smell.

You will be the storm and thunder, lightning and deluge.

I wouldn’t be lying if I told you,

I’ll never be afraid of dancing in the rain.

You will be nightfall and sunrise

But even more, you will be the iridescent stars

That’ll permeate the dark skies

And I, I will be your star gazer.