Visitors had flown back home...
The much-longed for respite
Finally, was at hand.
It felt good...to be on your own...
Leaning on the bed, alone, though
Still nursing a cold from two weeks past.
To catch up with sleep
Was all that mattered.
Quietude was a blessing.
There was no noise at all
At 5:00 in the morning.
What? 5:00 AM?
No rushing footsteps? No showering?
No flushing of the toilet?
On a school day?
This can't be!
Rising from the bed was a struggle,
Everything seemed light...floating,
Panic lurked in all corners of my room,
Loomed, it did, and spread all around,
In the midst of a widening cloak of fear.
The vacuum...in the right ear...
Cleared those fuzzy thoughts.
My right ear could no longer hear.
Whether lying cringed or curled,
Prostrate, or supine,
Predominated in the days that followed.
Diagnoses and prognoses, all were bleak.
The cruel, deadly virus did it all...
The loss superceded, and
Displaced every strand of confidence...
A downward pull was imminent.
No phone calls were accepted.
Unexpectedly, true colors surfaced,
Real friends came forward...
Family, other voices kept whispering:
"Shibashi waits, tai chi helps,
Both can alleviate, heal the heart,
Heal the mind, to be able
To accept the unacceptable."
Fourteen days seemed a year already,
Moments spent in soul-searching...
With prayers and courage, gathered within,
I dared cross that busy street,
Though shaking, quivering from fear
And from the cold winds of February...
Almost got hit by a car,
Cursed by its driver,
But reached the church grounds in one piece.
Practice started at 7:00 AM, sharp.
Movements were calming,
Concentration was perfect!
It was a sunny day...
Wind blew softly,
Carrying small things, floating, flying...
Tiny strips that went with the wind...
What I thought were garbage...
Strips of thrash paper... from a shredder, maybe...
Thrown from a house I passed by...
Blown even further, higher up...
I walked back home,
With strips of paper on my head.
Two weeks were too short, I was still confused,
Unaccepting, mad, sad, felt cheated,
Still in denial, of what had occured...
Standing in front of a vanity mirror,
Wondering what God's message was this time.
Strangely, I thought of those strips of thrash paper...
Confetti from Heaven???
My situation wasn't a festive event!
Could I have overlooked something here?
Was God trying to call my attention?
I wasn't sure...all I knew was,
I was depressed...
I lost equanimity, I lost my serenity...
I was distraught, I was everything but happy.
But, those strips of paper...
Falling on my head...
Made me look up to the sky that morning....
There were no tears before, and even today...
I am a bit afraid, but
There is a calmer me...
There is solace in the fact that,
God gave me two ears...
I could still hear with the other...
I live a quite active life 'til now...
I move briskly...
I sit where the speaker's voice is most clear
To my left ear.
When something is difficult to hear, or understand,
I get so frustrated..
Sometimes, I forget about it,
It has its good effects.
It would soon be seven years after...
I have learned to
adjust to my limitations,
And still wanting to know how to overcome
Or resolve these limitations...
One day, I might just...
One day, I might just
Accept what should be accepted...
There'd be much gratitude for my sole request:
To be understood...
And not pitied...
Early morning ,December 11, 2013
(From journals of 2007-2008)
Rosalia Rosario A. Bayan
They danced on the steps
Of the first methodist church,
Not caring who watched or
How their young feet hurt.
When the clouds rolled over
The sun and the wind ceased
To be breathing, they
Stopped their tom foolery and
Accepted that life sometimes is still.
They walked to the water.
There they saw the ships bound
Across the waves like rabbits
Or horses through golden tinted field.
They were scared for the sailor's,
The sailor's never knowing they
Were thinking of them at all.
After the water, leaving the sailor's
On their waves, they wandered to
The fishermen's docks, where
Crooked poles and wavering hulls
Stood erect and set pointed to the sun.
These were the men of patience
And respect, feeling death and life
Around them in dualistic harmony.
Because they held no lure or pole,
They watched the masters work as
Masters usually do. The sun trickled
Through thin white cloud and the
Wind pushed the twos hair over brow.
The masters were discontent
In their catch and their day. Their frowns
Showed their failure and they wished
That the cold winter weather
Would soon pass them and go away.
The two thinking of two different things,
Then conversed on where they should
Go to next. One said the tower, where she
Had never been before, and the other said
The park, where he had been many times.
Their differences were their love and
Their love was what kept them entwined.
Just then, in the heat of silent argument, a
Master pulled up hard on his bamboo like rod.
"A catch," the man screamed in his native tongue,
"I've got a catch here! Won't you see! Won't you see!"
The two scurried over to where the master
Stood, their eyes peeled to the end of his line. And
As the man reeled and reeled and reeled, he
Soon did reveal a battered tin can and a weathered old boot.
The master plopped the two on the crooked
Wooden dock, cursing to the God in his mind.
The two picked up the boot and the can and said,
"Thank you" and ran up the salty concrete strand.
As they reached their bus stop, they realized
What they'd done and started to laugh at all
Of their fun. The two giggled and cackled,
Screamed and roared, until the two could no longer
Take anymore. After a minute or two, the sky
Straightened out, turning full blue, so the birds
In the sky who soared and cooed, showed they
Really had no rules they were forced to uphold.
The two agreed for home. When their
Bus appeared, they both felt the same, seeing that
Living together was a much better game.
Tomorrow would be another start, just like
Today was another part of a puzzle never
To be finished, only taken to heart.
I have had it all wrong,
I wonder if my grandfather
thought that, when on a steamer
he arrived a dreamer
of moving west from Montreal
single trying to find a life, better,
opened and tasted peanut butter,
and never did ever eat that again,
I have had it wrong, all of it
He kept dreaming and trying,
took the train to the northern Alberta,
saw his dreams take shape as he built
homes for other dreamers,
he met his wife, but that is a poem for another story,
he was a pacifist, he did not support, killing another,
but he sure had a temper,
for a peaceful man, he decided to retire, and that
let him get old, I admire for what he stood for and sit at
a desk he built with my dad.
I still have had it all wrong.
The desk is nothing special
other than the hands and
knowledge that built it
and something a father and a son
did together, one of the last things
of each other, that
would be remembered, they worked well with their hands.
Both men were dreamers.
My dad had his dreams, he mostly kept to himself,
but you just knew that they were to do with
things outside of the house.
Oh don't misunderstand, he loved working with wood,
he knew firearms, he recieved a Medal for Military Merit,
for dedication above and beyond what a militiaman was
to do, he wasn't a pacifist, in many ways he was different
from his dad and so many more he was exactly the same.
Shame, I have had it all wrong.
I was not an A student, but Gee, I tried hard,
my potential was palpable we just needed to resuscitate it from time to time,
I joined the CAF, married and had three who have amazed me,
with their strong beliefs, so different from one another, see?
I have worked twenty jobs and not one among them defined as a career...
oh and yes, I have spent time in an unemployment line.
I am not a carpenter, like the other two could, my grandfather as a career
my dad took it on as a hobby, I am a pacifist, yes, but don't push to hard,
I might write you into a poem...
I have written so many serious and sombre pieces,
There is already so much sadness in the world,
If planet Earth could cry a tear, standby with the tissue,
I deal with my stuff in words, I try not to hang onto them,
Rather free them like birds, Ravens and Crows with Hummingbirds and Eagles,
My soul is sore and
Animus would rather soar,
so I pour the toxins from my mind, my skin, from my day
you already know I am not perfect I sin, from my way of life,
so I pour the garbage I live and beauty as I see
it is around me for you all to read, shame on me
I have had it all wrong.
I don't have to get it right, I must write.
Once I undertook a journey,
Out upon and completely around,
the very face of our entire world.
To view for myself the many pictures,
And written descriptions of all the writers
In all those geography books and History Classes,
National Geographic magazines poured over
and movies seen.
My personal Quest to see with my own eyes
What I had only experienced second hand.
And in my mid twenties, like a dream,
One foot in front of the other,
There I was doing it.
I sniffed and tasted the scents of foreign lands,
Incense, Sage and Frankincense, fish curry,
fried snake and even monkey brains.
Walked in lush Jungle Bush and Desert sands,
Along the shores of many Islands and the coasts
Of Four Continents’.
Heard the voices of 30 divergent Dialects
And cultures. Smiling and laughing with,
The beautiful children of all of them.
Set beside the fires of primitive tribal men,
Heard their chants to their gods above,
Or upon the land and sea.
Clapped my hands and moved my feet in
Their Ancient mystic dances.
Drank their tea, Kava or whatever they shared
Grateful for their offered unselfish brotherhood.
Stood on the flanks of the tallest Mountains
In the world, on my toe tips, to try to see the
Face of the God of my youthful teachings,
Mildly disappointed when I did not see him, or Her.
Found instead an inner tranquility, imparted to me
By Red robbed Monks from within their chants of
Peace and wise earthly enlightenment.
Strolled the cobbled streets of two thousand year
Old Cities. Walked among the ruined remnants of
Nearly forgotten once great Civilizations.
Explored Modern Euopean Citiadels of wealth and learning.
Over time rode on planes, ships, buses, backs of open trucks,
Horse pulled carts and human drawn rickshaws, taxis, subways,
Rented motorcycles and cars. Walked perhaps a 1000 miles.
In all a journey of the mind and heart lasting for three years.
And why you might ask, "What qualifies you as a pilgrim
of any kind, to travel so far, for so long a time?"
"And what was I looking for, what did I hope to find?"
All indeed, fair questions.
When a boy, I read a simple five word line,
“Seek and thee shall find”.
And it stayed with me all my life.
I read books, saw films, did Research,
all in a quest to understand,
what those five words truly meant.
After a stint in the Military,
still wondering and seeking,
I embarked on my own personal,
physical and emotional Journey.
The next obvious question you might
repeat of course is, after all that;
“What did I find?”
Well I guess the answer is very simple,
after all that, I found myself.
Every piece of me you gently unraveled
Every coffee stain country you promised we'd travel
Were the bricks of a house with walls that were painted
Telling the story of a love that was ancient
A stranger passed by, she was singing your name
You invited her in, our home went up in flames
There stood Queen Envy in glowing green sashes
I still hear her song
I still taste the ashes
A village of bears sleeps in the trees
10 miles North of a town called Amveese
The humans keep busy and away from the wood
If they'd desire to hunt, they certainly could.
The bears are afraid of the humans so close
And hiding is what these bears do most
But Billy the bear is anxious today
His teeth are a mess, a complete disarray.
“Bears need to toughen and deal with the pain.”
“Bears don't have dentists, we aren't the same.”
Billy was tired of all the excuses
For once he heard dentists that satisfy Mooses.
So on a cold night, as cold as expected
Billy crawled quietly, pray not be rejected.
A 10 mile walk in darkness to light
A new set of teeth was Billy's delight.
Upon reaching the town, the sun had arisen
Hustle and bustle blurred Billy's vision.
He hid behind corners and a big garbage can
The dentist in sight, he had a great plan.
Uprooting a bush, using cover to hide
He moved like the wind, in big bear strides.
He moved around back, and knocked on the door
A new aspiration for humans galore.
“Welcome my fury and large bodied beast!
Come in, take a seat, prepare for a feast!
While you are here, you will dream a new dream
For humans, pray tell, are not what they seem.”
The doctor moved quickly and dragged him inside
“There's no time to waste, my work I take pride.”
He danced and he moved like no human seen before
And snuck into a dark and closed wooden door.
“I'll be out in a minute, just preparing a sample
For you will be next on my prize winning mantle!”
The door flung open, the doctor stood grand
For he had an old fashion musket in hand!
Billy was frightened, and tried to retreat
But noticed a dart sticking out of his feet.
Someone had drugged him, he didn't know how
BANG went the musket, and then, no more sound.
So the days went on, and the doctor was pleased
A new trophy cleaned, polished, and seized.
See, the thing about humans and animals alike
They'll behead anything if there's an available pike.
my family seems to be falling apart
screaming is the poison
that broke the bonds of love
that once stood strong against the storm
tremor at the slightest gust of hatred
you say you want to help me, but its just a waste of our time.
my pain gets you paid, every few seconds is a dime.
but i could sit here for hours, just sit here and think.
its your silence, not mine, that pushes me to the brink.
i want to reach out, to scream in your face.
but somehow i feel like that isn't my place.
you sit there and smile, like i should be glad.
you don't realize its you that makes me so mad.
your legs remain crossed, like my arms over my chest.
if we could just solve one single problem, we could solve all the rest.
but we sit here unmoving, barely breathing, in anger.
if only, if only my life weren't in danger.
suddenly, a thought seeps into my head.
what if i just spoke? i wouldn't seem so dead.
so i lift up my eyes, and stare straight into yours.
this simple gesture, seemed to open up the doors.
you crash into me with a wave of questions, expecting answers and reasons.
but i cant give you them, my feelings change as quickly as the seasons.
i open my mouth to object your forthcoming, find myself telling my story.
you lean in to hear it all, details minute and details gory.
with every new sentence, i almost shout.
my new-found strength found a way to drown the pain out.
now i call you every sunday, just to make sure you're okay.
it used to be so different, i dreaded seeing you everyday.
when you have something to tell me, i listen to it all.
just like you were there for me, through the big things and the small.
i never saw it then, but its clear as day now.
you were always listening, its just that i didn't know how.
you read my eyes, when they were the only things speaking.
they absolutely betrayed me then, my story that they kept leaking.
i stood alone in my time of need, and blamed everyone but me.
nobody understood i was hurting, but just couldn't plea.
i know to appreciate everything life throws at me these days.
and i know how to deal with them in so many ways.
i look at my scars, the ones he put there in the worst ways he could.
i know i could cover them, and i wish that i would.
but i no longer wear them as an embarrassment, a badge of shame.
i know that he did it, and he's the one to blame.
i stopped taking my pills, i wanted you to know.
i want to be truly happy, i wanted something to show.
i smile on my own now, each and every day.
its because you listened, that i can finally say.
i made it to serenity, and now im really okay.
I wondered that one day,
what words I might say.
An event so catastrophic,
I became so hypnotic.
Never saw anything like this,
not something you'd wanna miss.
A phenomenon like no other,
not sure I'd ever recover.
Not something easily explained,
not a soul could be blamed.
People just stopped to stare,
something was just in the air.
These things only happen to someone else,
no words could ever try to express.
A drama turned disaster,
hair turned white as plaster.
Life flashing before the eyes,
stomach filled with butterflies.
As the world stood silently still,
you could feel a bitter chill.
No one knows how or why,
never got to say good-bye.
Everyone in a sudden awe,
felt like an episode of Monday Night Raw.
No one knows exactly what happened,
everyone felt so lost and abandoned.
People couldn't take eyes off the news,
was this real or just a ruse.
Hiding tears with sunglasses,
was billions of the masses.
Possibly the darkest day in history,
everyone had their own theory.
Sometimes you just never know,
there's an ending to every great show.
Mine ended on that fateful night,
no more words left to write.
No one ever saw it coming,
peoples hearts were rapidly pumping.
I went to sleep and never woke up,
filled with sorrow was everyone's cup.
As the world began to mourn,
one day I will be reborn.
Death feels like a hypnotic trance,
I'll return for a second chance.
As I look down from the clouds,
I watch over all the saddened crowds.
Unlike Jesus, I shall return,
still a lot of life left to learn.
I'm afraid of what I am
because I had a mother
who kept telling me ''You're not good enough''
until at a certain age, I agreed with her
because I had a father
who had a fist that kept repeating ''I wish you were never born''
until at a certain age, I started viewing things as if I were never born
Quickly I learned that the rotation could only be slowed,
but never broken;
I noticed how the people were still laughing,
they were still going to school, to their jobs
- as if I was never there at all.
I believed the world would be a better place if I were gone.
At that point in my life,
I stopped talking. I stopped eating. I stopped believing in everything I ever stood for.
I even stopped crying.
I felt still and empty, like some diseased tree
The life inside of me had wilted
I couldn't move, I couldn't ask for any help,
all I could do was just stand there-
In the middle of that forest
Waiting for it to finally be over