Adult child

“Go ahead, I’ll come in a bit”
I was 12 and staring at the wooden ceiling
of the attic
I heard you climbing up the stairs
you were 85 and out of breath
“The soup is getting cold”, you said
when you got there
“Go ahead, I’ll come in a bit”

What they called an old soul
was a childhood sold prematurely
in the black market
and the thieves were welcomed home
they threw them a feast and called it family
“Come eat with us, we saved you a seat”
“Go ahead, I’ll come in a bit”


The short-lived dream
of a little girl
I held it for a moment there
with one hand
I ride my first two-wheel bike
“Watch, no hands!”
I saw you through the eyes
of a 5 year old
but when I opened them
a quarter of my life had gone
wrong

No preparation for the tears I would cry
no medal for putting you first all the time
I was an adult as a child
the unceremonious passage of time
I close my eyes
and see you whole and complete
the full version of me
“Stay, we’ll take it from here”.


the noble act

here lies
the impossible dream
of every writer–
the child in me
throws her whole potential in the sea
just to dream a little longer
one day she’ll be heard and seen–
the impossible dream.

these are the words that never reached
the eyes and the ears of another–
still I write them.
these are the rhymes
that need no permission
to make sense,
no validation to exist,
aimed at no one and nothing.

does he need the ears of another
to say that he’s fallen
in the forest without a sound?
‘Hope’ written in the walls of the prison cell
his feet are hovering–
and I still would write these poems
all over the walls of that dark room–
not to bring light to you,
but to hear my soul speak through–
my noble act
worthy of honor and respect
the possible dream
lies here.

I think I found the way out of writer’s (or any) block

When I say that journaling is very therapeutic and the best way to know yourself, I’m not saying anything new. Through art, literature, psychology we have had a way of making it part of our modern society as a way of healing. I have loved writing all my life, but there have been times when I have hated it more than anything. I have burned journals, tore down hundreds of pages I had written for years in an attempt to rid myself of the bad feeling I got from writing. I regret none of it. Writing made me feel isolated and incapable of connection and everything that I was writing at that time came from that place. For someone like me who values connection, that is the worst feeling. I remember being told to write about my family’s trauma, let it all out to feel relieved from what was weighing me down. So I started writing, filled entire pages with details, explained how well I understood where each of the family members were coming from and why, wrote about the inherited generational trauma, intellectualized every emotions, made fault orphaned, redefined anger as self-protection, shifted my mood. Instead of feeling relieved, less heavy, as if the weight on my chest had lifted, I felt more blocked. I stopped writing for two years. The way that I had been writing was while having an audience in mind. As if I wanted to impress someone with my knowledge on my family’s history. Afraid of being perceived “mean” or just being perceived at all, I deprived myself of the thing I needed the most, the only thing that was going to set me free. I wanted to be heard. All I was doing was denying myself that right again. I was suppressing again. I was resisting myself again. The peace I felt after simply admitting that I wanted out bred an epiphany:

The culture of capitalism has induced in us the hustle and grind mindset which translates on how we “handle” ourselves whenever our inner environment feels disturbed. In other words, what we do when we feel bad. Formulating sentences to get my point across becomes challenging for a topic like this, because the use of the English language automatically implies a need for “action” in most of us. “What do we do to fix it?” The aim of this post is finding a door out of this seemingly confined inner environment which feels imprisoning. Everything you do to “fix” your unpleasant situation in an attempt to change it, often leads you to more uncomfortable feelings. It all happens at a subconscious level and because it happens so fast, it surpasses your intellect and goes straight to your emotions. In your attempt to fix, you end up feeling worse. The worst thing that can happen to you will happen by you. The best thing that can happen to you will happen by you, too. Pain is not a prerequisite for art.
I am here to tell you that everything you do that doesn’t make you feel good or comfortable is everything you do to suppress who you are. Nobody knows you better than you know yourself and everything you specifically need is already in you. That is the only place where anything worth reading comes from. Who you are wants to be heard/seen. If it is given the opportunity (by you!), who you are will know precisely how to make you feel good and comfortable with zero effort on your part, in fact, you will automatically feel that way. Just like the blind man uses his cane to avoid the places he doesn’t want to walk into, your only job is to stay alert when your feelings are trying to communicate something dangerous or unpleasant to you–the rest will take care of itself, you will be walking exactly where you’re supposed to, you will be writing exactly what you need to save yourself.

The meeting of the juggler and the jester

Flying through the air
with the greatest of ease
the women on the trapeze.
Feel the weight of my nose
reddening not by choice
by a tactless back-and-forth
I overhear–
remind me again, who invited me here?
carefully honest non-offensive mockery
my loud chuckle’s a polite gesture
to make the bad joke less awkward
you guessed it– I’m the jester
you invited me here.

You drop a hint
Catch at my sleeve
left all the kids in disbelief–
who invited them here?
All the balls are in your hands
“I want to be cool just like that!”
and casually intense
the sixth sense behind a snake’s fence
you’re the juggler–
the glamourous lure.

Throw in the towel on me
pick up one of the women on the trapeze
with the greatest of ease
electricity between two hands
the juggling begins again.
My clumsy legs remember their way to the tent
though they all look the same,
they don’t all smell the same inside.
Memories of you reading my mind
a few too many times
for me to keep believing in coincidence.
I smell the smoke and the alarm goes off
nothing’s meant to burn down faster
than the meeting of the juggler and the jester.





Live the question

The answers sit uncomfortably
on the arms of my mouth
unbalanced–they’re pushed out
by the pressure
where pressure’s not meant to be.

Like the trembling legs of a fawn
my answers try to survive on their own–
impossible–the tension grows
now they carry a weight they had to create–
clueless on how to let it go
cannot answer my calls
busy trying to look busy
like every grownup I know–
how fast they grow,
how little they know!

The solutions approach me awkwardly
like the unnatural first kiss between a couple
where connection’s not meant to be–
how they stick around tied by nothing
but insecurity.

The advice I give feels artificial
in the air surrounding my lips because
the answers, the solutions, and the advice I give
I can not live.
so I go and live the question
Present and surrendered–
and that will be the closest thing
to an answer.

For every you that creates so much internal suffering, there is a you that deserves so much better.

An open letter.

Dear Irla,
You are 5 years old and you don’t know why you feel excluded from your own family, but you do—they are all adults. Taller, bigger, and more sophisticated than you. Seems like they have all the answers of the universe and they’ll always bring down to you everything that’s out of reach. There’s something unspoken between these adults: something that none of them seem to see—but you do. You don’t have the words to explain how much it bothers you that nobody seems to notice it— you can just feel it. Feel what? The unspoken presence.
The moment you could speak, you started pointing out other people’s duality straight to their face—you’ve always been forward like that. You couldn’t stand the slight change in the pitch of their voice when they answered a phone call from some friend or coworker or distant family member. You never hesitated to point it out and call them fake. It bothered you so much for some reason, but you didn’t have the words to explain why—you just felt it. Your mother later told you that the name for it is hypocrisy. She was being a little extreme, but you got the point.
You love to play with your friends, but towards the end of the day, when they’re begging their mom for a sleepover, you don’t feel right, but you never say it out loud: you pretend you want them to stay—but you don’t. Even though you love the friend so much, you’re so relieved when they leave—you cherish the time you get to spend playing by yourself. You are in love with solitude and your rich inner world. You want the freedom to let your imagination roam endlessly limitless which only seems possible when you’re alone. You see nothing wrong with that, but nobody around you seems to think that way. They’re worried that something’s wrong with you—so here’s the genesis of your pretend.
The moment you entered the education system to the moment you left it, you were pretending the whole time—from first grade to the day you graduated from university. Nothing about the traditional school system sat well with you. You hated all forms of authority and role playing—all forms of sarcasm and cynicism in the classroom and above all, you hated from the gut the competition and comparison induced by the figures of authority. Nothing about tradition sat well with you. You never left your desk—the only freedom you could find was through writing. It was the only thing they couldn’t confine. It was the only thing that seemed to shut the noise off. Whenever you read what you had written, nobody made a sound. You fell in love with the silence of the room every time you read your own writing—you fell in love with the shift you induced; you made them feel something. You opened a portal for them into themselves and it felt so aligned with your purpose. The silence would last a few seconds longer after you’d breathe out the last word and they had nothing to say—they could just feel it.
The seasons went on and for a few years you tried your best to be just like everybody else by thinking you were not like them. Your love for solitude transformed into the monster of self-isolation rooted in the fear of abandonment. It took control over you and ate you alive. You started to reject your core and your focus became their opinion. You agreed with the bullies and believed that they were right about you. They were mirroring the self-rejection. You would chase them down and spent years trying to prove to them that you could and you would change for them. You felt like your existence made other people feel uncomfortable, so you decided to numb yourself. I am sorry. Truly. You chased the wrong thing infinitely, but it always seemed to run away so you ran out of breath and fell to the ground—but, to your surprise, you didn’t shatter. That’s when you heard the voice of your true self for the first time. You had all the words to describe it, but none of them seemed to do it justice—you just felt it. Presence. It didn’t feel brand-new, it was a return home, and you listened. Here’s what it had to say:
For every you that creates so much internal suffering, there is a you that deserves so much better.
Love,
Irla

the aftermath of war

Sometimes the only way to permanently rule out the wrong thing is to chase it wholeheartedly for a while believing it is the incarnation of your dreams and the antidote to your ignorance. You follow it wherever it goes surrounded by the fog of your repeated patterns of thinking until you land out of breath on the ground. The dust that arises from the weight of your body fuses with the descending mists of the fog creating the perfect conditions for you to disappear without a trace–even Houdini would be left baffled. Your escape act serves you for a while, certainly, makes you functional within the frame of society as we know it–until it doesn’t. Over time you learn that the mechanisms and tricks you used to shield yourself have become outdated–now they are nothing but a hindrance. If the caterpillar could write, it would tell the story of the growing pain inside the cocoon.
Indeed the only way to permanently rule out the wrong thing is to chase it wholeheartedly for a while–follow it wherever it takes you and land there out of breath, distorted, surrounded by the fog, throwing your hands up shouting: “Now what?”
I used to view my pain as if it was a little child from an orphanage I visited once for a charity event, but meant to leave behind–perform the good deed of letting it know that I’m aware of its existence, but ultimately walk away, even though I’ll never forget their intense eyes. We all view our pain like that sometimes–as something that we didn’t ask for, that we didn’t create, but that now we have the responsibility of, not only taking care, but also providing a safe environment for it to grow and eventually let it go.
The tyranny of the person who refuses to take responsibility upon himself is calamitous. What stops us from taking responsibility is: the image of the performer has become us. We identify with it for so long and so much, that after a while we don’t realize that it is indeed something we created. If you’ve identified so long with your performance act, you are triggered by someone’s comment/opinion of it…you feel like it’s a personal attack and you’d go to war to defend it…and that’s what you literally do. Unaware of your true self, you equate the death of this image to your own death–you live your whole life thinking you’re the cocoon. You go to war with yourself on repeated cycles of obsessive thinking that literally do exactly what war does–create more separation, create more hate, create more division within yourself and others. You do exactly what two countries going to war do–there’s desertion, there’s pain, there’s ruins, burned houses, crying children, unexpected bombs, aerial bombs…inside of you a crying inner child that feels abandoned and unequipped as for what to do next. Optimistically, the burst of the bubble is fundamental to growth, because it gives rise to choice. Choice and our use of it makes the difference between spinning the wheel backwards and evolving.
So, this is why we do this, this is why we undertake the healing journey, because we want that child holding her doll tightly at the aftermath of war to awaken from the illusion of war (thinking) and feel life grow from the inside out. For now, we’re going to be very gentle with that child—patiently and slowly cleaning her wounds, healing them—having her trust again.

red canary

When I pulled the envelope out of the mailbox, it looked as though it had been in the post for years. The stamp on the right-hand corner had a landscape of the mountainous Colorado–the one next to it had a red canary and “Utah” written right under. No name-just my address. I stared at the envelope and pictured the places it had been just to arrive here, in my dark dusty lifeless mailbox– what a contrast to the fresh air of the Rocky Mountains and the infinite trees and heights that my red canary has been on before being frozen here on this envelope. I folded the envelope in the middle as if trying to give it wings one more time…as if trying to remind this paper of its green steady proud origin–the tree. I imagine it escaping the concrete of the main floor of my building and aiming for the Sun, dancing with the rays, forgetting the darkness of the closed mailbox. No name–no address. I wish it flies over Denver being greeted by lively faces in sunglasses, gloves rising up waving “Hello” to my liberated red canary. And up there in the sky, I wish it remembers me, not my face or my name–just my address.

East

The West is falling
oriental beauty rose
Only the rising of the Sun
the world moves her eyes
on the other side
like a robot
commanded
involuntary movement
repeats, repeats
History itself
it never hurts your eyes
staring straight at the Sun
it cures them–
the first lie
they are exposing
it wouldn’t have fallen into our ear
if they didn’t want to
I guarantee.
we are tasting it, we are living it
like robots
commanded
involuntary movement
and we love it–
essential part, you and me
thinking we have
absolute freedom
second lie–we are exposed.