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Kelly Mistry Mar 8
The Future
What future?
The future is here.
The future is now.

The next generation can inspire
We can admire their ideals
Wish aloud they had the power
                                                           to make change

But they don’t
here
now

We do
WE DO
We can do more than wish and admire

The future is here
The future is now

Many minds are needed
Tackling a worlds’ worth of problems

Many minds are already
solving one problem at a time
here
now

So many solutions exist
So many already pursue them
Beware waiting for the “best” one

The search for perfection
Runs right alongside
The path of procrastination

Try all the ideas at once
Throw everything we have at the wall to see what sticks
Use the solutions that are
here
now

Some may say
“Best” is worth waiting for
Being methodical is more
                                                efficient
  ­                                                               cost-effective
                                                  ­                                         safe

SLOW

The future is here
The future is now

Find the ones who are already
Identifying problems
Advocating for needs
Bringing solutions

Give them the resources
Amplify their ideas
Scale up their actions
HERE
NOW

Solutions will come from above and below
From science and beyond
From outsiders and insiders
Let’s meet in the middle
No mind turned away

The future is HERE
The future is NOW

Say it with me

The future is HERE.
The future is NOW.
Mar 3 · 311
Part of the Whole
Kelly Mistry Mar 3
Stay on the trail
We say
Don’t disturb the environment
We believe
Limiting our presence
is best

But is the trail truly separate from its surroundings?

Just for a moment
                                  leave the trail behind

Step on the grass
Settle into the dirt
Sink into the water
Feel the rock
The sand
The soil

Any of it
All of it

We are not confined to the trails
Not our influence
Nor our impact

We are not separated
Kept safe and apart
By the trails, roads, structures that we make

The illusion of our disconnection
From our ecosystems
                                        is
                                              dangerous

Allowing us to only play the role of
Savior with our absence
Destroyer with our presence

Both Savior and Destroyer are outsiders
Gods that act on the world
While remaining removed
Unaffected

We are not gods

We are
               players in all ecosystems
                       entrenched in all food webs
                               affected and affecting

Only by seeing ourselves in the picture
Neither problem nor solution
But part of all processes start to finish
Can we see what conservation truly is

Conservation of balance
Conservation of community
Conservation of self
                                      as part of the whole

Static equilibrium is not the goal
Our world has always been dynamic
Ever changing
Ever evolving

Each player in an ecosystem gives as well as takes
How do we give?
Can we balance our give and take
Find reciprocity
                               in each unique facet of our world

I believe we can
We must
We will

Imperfectly but with purpose
Through setbacks and leaps ahead

And I need you to believe it too
Kelly Mistry Jan 20
Sunken below the surface
                                                   J u s t out of reach
                     Underlying everything


Motivations                             emotions
   ­                       experiences                       memories


WHY do we do what we do?
The reasons you say
Think
Believe
Is that really the whole story?

Or are you neck deep in a buried river?
Caught in the currents
Of
      Past pains
                          Future fears
                                                 Unnamed desires
                                                         ­                          Neglected needs

It happens to all of us
We can be d r i p p i n g wet and completely
                                                                ­                unaware

Blinded to our truths
Denying our senses
Lying to ourselves
            to others

Motivations are never singular
Buried rivers run deep

                                                 e
                                              s
               ­                            i
The water level may   r
                                or  
                          ­             f
                                           a
                                                l
                                                    l

But it will never run dry

Sometimes we can read
                                           what is written in the currents
Decipher the meaning
                                         of our needs and fears

Other times the water is turbulent
                                                       ­       roiling with secrets
Swirling dark and deep
                                            pulling us under

Inherited secrets can be
                                          preserved through time
Handed down
                            through the generations

Those can be the deepest buried
Hardest to uncover
                to decipher

We think that if we just knew WHY
Then the waters would calm
We could breathe
See clearly


But knowing doesn’t always calm the current

                    to buoy us up                                               above the water
It can help                           so we can keep our heads

While we seek the means
To
      Heal pains
                           Calm fears
                                                 Recognize desires
                                                         ­                         Meet needs

Watching others being swallowed in their river feels like
Frustration
Pain
Helplessness

Especially
                    if they think they are standing
                                                                ­            on dry land

And won’t accept                                      to stay afloat
                                 that they need help

I seek to learn
                           to swim in my depths

Decipher what I can
Acknowledge my truths
Have patience with secrets
                                                  that remain concealed

Each time I look below
                                           more is revealed

Even as new
                       motivations                         emotions
                                              experience­s                     memories

Create new currents
And keep my river running
                                                    deep,
                                                                ­swift,
                                                          ­                  and true
Nov 2021 · 909
What if I lose them
Kelly Mistry Nov 2021
Pieces of me
F  l  o  a  t  i  n  g

S
     i
          n
               k
                    i
                         n
                              g

Hiding below the surface

Keeping them submerged takes effort
Drains energy
Makes the pieces feel like a secret
                                       wrong
                                       shameful

What if
I lose them
Buried deep

Out of sight
Out of mind
Never to be seen again

The fear seems foolish sometimes
                                                       ­       but terrifyingly real

To be always incomplete
Never able
To put the pieces back together

What if my self didn’t need to fragment
For others’ comfort
Their easy understanding
And acceptance

Wholeness is hard to imagine
Especially for the pieces that started to s
                                                               ­       u
                                                        ­                b
                                               ­                          m
                                                               ­           e
                                                    ­                       r
                                                               ­             g
                                                  ­                           e
                                                               ­                  before memory began

What a wonderful dream though
To always have access to all of your parts and pieces
To in fact not have pieces

To just be

One person
                         
Complete
                                         ­   
And whole
Kelly Mistry Oct 2021
Anger

The simplest
And most complicated
Of emotions

His anger is celebrated
A mirage of strength
Power
Control

Her anger is ridiculed
A loss of control
Inconvenient
Emotion without reason

Neither view is complete
Or completely wrong
For all of us

We feel righteous in our anger
Full
And complete

But anger can be an illusion
Of power
Control

Sometimes it pops
                                   Like a bubble
                                                          ­     A balloon of hot air

And we are left feeling empty
Drained
Sometimes full of regret
And shame

Even when it is justified
And full
                  of substance

It can only be an important step in a journey
But never a home
                                    worth living in

Use anger as a tool
A sign
“Injustice may live here”
Worthy of further exploration

But even in its most righteous form

Anger alone cannot solve problems
It can fuel action
Incite support
                               In the moment of outrage

But avoid the quicksand
Of rage untempered by reflection
That way leads to despair
Inaction
Silence

Beware anger as a shield
Against feeling

Pain
Guilt
Regret
Fear

These emotions are necessary steps
To continue any journey
To grow

Feel your anger
Seek to understand it
Then look beyond

Find strength
And power
In feeling
In seeking
                    shared vulnerability
                                                   ­          empathy
                                                        ­                        and joy
Sep 2021 · 345
Steps along the way
Kelly Mistry Sep 2021
Accomplishment
Milestones
Completion...of a step

What does it mean to be done
Is there such a thing?

Sometimes the moment of doneness passes by
                 Invisible
Revealed only in hindsight

Savor the moments
Of completion
Accomplishment
Being done

Even if only of this step

The best laid plans can always go awry
So celebrate along the way

Celebrate the effort
The intention
The support you receive

Doneness as you expected may never come to pass
If it does
You will more concretely see
                                                    all the steps it took to get there

Either way
We all benefit
From celebrating milestones
All the steps along the way

Whether that means dreaming an idea
Or completing a voyage
Across a sea
Intact
Aug 2021 · 1.2k
The Right Lesson
Kelly Mistry Aug 2021
Cycles of pain
Circles of healing
What did I learn

Did I hold on
                         to the pain and miss
                                                              th­e lesson

Trauma can teach
But how do you know
The right lesson

We need meaning
To contextualize our pain
To start healing

If there is no meaning
Then we create one
It’s our greatest strength
Or possibly
                      our greatest weakness

I may make one meaning
You may make another

Which is right?
Both?
Neither?

Time will tell
Time will heal

But in time
                     Lessons can fade

We reimagine our past
With the meanings that we make

Who can say who’s right
And who’s wrong
In your own history

Does it matter in the end?
When the lessons we seem to learn best
Are the ones we already believe

New ideas are harder
Does harder mean better?
More real?
More right?

I don’t know

I guess I will just
Continue to make meaning

Seek to heal
         And hope for the best
Jul 2021 · 280
How can a seed be planted
Kelly Mistry Jul 2021
Empathy comes from…

Shared feeling
Shared experience
Mirror neurons firing amok
Design, chance or evolution

All of the above
None of the above

Whatever the source
It is necessary

To my existence
To my experience of the world
Getting it
Giving it

A life without empathy

Would be colorless
Tasteless
Washed in gray and empty
Of life

But if you can’t give it
And you can’t accept it

How would you know what’s missing
A sense you’ve never had

I think of empathy as a vine
Tenacious
Entwined in all aspects of life
Always growing back if it is cut down

But I see
For others
How they move through the world

Maybe that isn’t true
Not for everyone

How can a seed be planted
But how
                can it not already exist

Perhaps its buried very deep
Out of sight out of mind
Requiring water
Light
Air
Belief
To grow

Empathy is necessary to our existence
The source may be mysterious
Debated

But without it
How can we see the humanity of others
How can we see the humanity
Of ourselves
Kelly Mistry Jun 2021
How can you not see?
How can you not know?
Not hear

The manipulation beneath the concern
It may be real to them
The concern

“I just want what’s best”
For you
(For them)

“Best” is a narrow place to be
Pressure from all sides, pinning you in place

You’re just a puzzle piece
If you won’t make yourself fit in your place
They’re happy to help you cut off
                                                             the parts that don’t fit

Their image
Their vision for their world

It’s hard to resist
When they believe their own press
That they are the savior
The martyr

The truth is

They are a spider
And to be free of their web
Sometimes requires

Cutting all ties
The original version used female gendered pronouns, because that is true to my life and experience, but that felt too narrow, so this is a version with non-gendered and/or non-singular pronouns
Jun 2021 · 633
Her Web
Kelly Mistry Jun 2021
How can you not see?
How can you not know?
Not hear

The manipulation beneath the concern
It may be real to her
The concern

“I just want what’s best”
For you
(For her)

“Best” is a narrow place to be
Pressure from all sides, pinning you in place

You’re just a puzzle piece
If you won’t make yourself fit in your place
She’s happy to help you cut off
                                                         the parts that don’t fit

Her image
Her vision for her world

It’s hard to resist
When she believes her own press
That she is the savior
The martyr

The truth is

She is a spider
And to be free of the web
Sometimes requires

Cutting all ties
Jun 2021 · 301
Illusion of Control
Kelly Mistry Jun 2021
Holding space
Holding feelings
Stopping time
     For a moment

What does it mean to feel safe
To BE safe
Can safety be given

Or only taken away

I believe it can
I hope it can

Safety is an illusion of control
But a vital illusion
One we all need
               all want
               all deserve

Why is safety so rare
                              illusive
                     ­         easily taken away

If we all need it
why can’t we all give it
To ourselves
To each other
To our past

I don’t know the answers
Only the questions
The yearning
The dream

So for now
I will hold space
          hold feelings
          stop time

In a soap bubble
My sphere of influence
Invisible but all encompassing
Fragile but resilient

For a moment
Oct 2020 · 332
Closing the gaps
Kelly Mistry Oct 2020
Restoration
Rebuilding
Reshaping

Filling in the fissures that have opened up
Between us
Within us

Fissures can become canyons
Sometimes suddenly
With a great roar of sound and cloud of dust
Sometimes gradually
Worn away by a river of neglect and dismissal

Both sides carry these fissures within
Wounds that can fester

How do we close these gaps?
Between us
Within us

First both must see
Acknowledge
Desire to heal

But there are no guarantees

Rebuilding relationships
Righting wrongs
Seeking and offering forgiveness

None of this can be done alone
Without community
In a vacuum

Sometimes the fissures become scars
Calcified and brittle
Painful when poked but otherwise unnoticed

The wound may heal over
But the fissure may never
Completely
Close
Sep 2020 · 841
What they don't tell you
Kelly Mistry Sep 2020
Vulnerability is
                            Strength
                           ­ Source of power
                            Seed of change

By tearing down my walls
I invite you
To lower yours
Meet me on the field of ugly truths and lofty dreams

I didn't always see
Didn't always know

To be vulnerable
To speak truth
To share my ugliness and confusion
Gave me power

As I expose each truth to the light
They lose their hold
Guilt retreats
Shame seeps away
New growth can take hold

It is what it is
I am what I am
Exposed for all to see

The truth will set you free

Trite
        but accurate

What they don't tell you
Is that
Your truth

Can set others free too
Sep 2020 · 449
Home is where the heart is
Kelly Mistry Sep 2020
Home
Such a deceptively simple concept
When you have it
           you can’t describe it
           and take it for granted
When you don’t
           you are forever searching
           aware of the hole in your heart
           but not knowing
           how to fill it

Some say home is where the heart is
Where your people are
Wherever you lay your head at night

Comforting thought

But what if home is also a place?
On this earth
Tangible and corporeal
Rooted in the land or water
That each of us must seek
And may never find

It could be where we were born
Where we end up
Or someplace we have never been

What happens if you never find that home?
What happens if you did
And then you leave

Alaska is that home for me
Not a specific place or town
But the combination of
        mountains,
        braided rivers,
        wildlife that requires respectful distance,
        weather that demands preparation,
        tundra, bogs, and spruce

I doubt I will ever live there again
But it will always live in me
Aug 2020 · 270
Until the Fog Clears
Kelly Mistry Aug 2020
Grim determination
Slogging through mud
Breathing through smoke
Blinded by fog

Alone
Isolated
Moving forward with no idea where my foot will fall next

Quicksand lurks
Waiting to pull me down
Backwards
Drowning in despair

These are the images
The feelings
The obstacles
That the world imposes on me

Yet I know
That it is both real
And an illusion
Designed to sap my strength

Because I am not alone
Others walk beside me
If I reach out to them, we’ll walk together

And sometimes there is a break in the smoke and fog

I can move
I can breath
I can see

Hope lights the way, a destination is in sight!

But for now
The light and clarity is just a distant memory
That I hold onto
As I continue to move forward

Through mud
Smoke
Fog

Falling back
On grim determination
To propel me forward
Aug 2020 · 693
Beyond the Veil
Kelly Mistry Aug 2020
As I approach the edge
Of awareness
Danger flashes!
A veil of flame
You risk burning fingers here

Pain
Confusion
Shame
Guilt
Crushed by the weight of the past

Once invisible worlds that shimmer
Just out of focus
Beyond the veil

What draws me near?
Why do I risk burning?

I have not always felt the lie so clearly
But as I learn and explore my world
The shallowness of my existence has been plumbed
Found wanting

It doesn’t match the world that others see

To see their worlds
I must
Walk through the fiery veil
        To connect
        To love
        To fit the pieces of their worlds and mine together

Now I pity those I was once like
Trapped in their small worlds
Blinded eyes
Plugged ears
Wrapped in cotton

They don’t know what they don’t know
But a part of me knew
A part of them knows
And mourns

For the world that waits for them
Beyond the veil
Thinking about how I, as a white person, have benefited from doing anti-racist work; a big thing is relieving the cognitive dissonance that comes from your perspective of the world being frequently in conflict with non-white people, especially distressing and confusing when its in conflict with friends and family
Aug 2020 · 240
Power
Kelly Mistry Aug 2020
Power comes from many places
In many forms

From other people
From things
From knowledge
From history

My power comes from within
A wellspring in bedrock
Without limit
Without end

I can feel uncertain
                 anxious
                 afraid
Still my power flows within

It has always been there
I know
That it always will be

I don't know

Where it comes from
What it's made of
Why I have it

But it’s there

I do know

Who I am
Who I will always be
While I am also
                    Forever changing
                    Forever growing

I search for
How best to use this power
How to share it
How to show others how to access their own
        Buried deep
        Forgotten but
        Never lost

Vulnerability is the key
To sharing power

Join me
I will share mine with you
Share yours with me
Aug 2020 · 411
Not Accepted
Kelly Mistry Aug 2020
I don’t accept
I’m not ready
You’re not ready

To say
“I’m sorry”

Because to forgive for me
Is to forget for you

And I’m not ready
For you to forget

I need you to remember
To think
To agonize

As I have remembered
And thought
And agonized

Not as punishment
Sometimes pain is necessary for growth

So I need you to struggle
To grow
To seek to understand

Otherwise your “sorry”
Is a blank canvas
Meant for me to write
The meaning

I refuse to do your labor
To bear this pain alone

I don’t accept
Your “sorry”
Thinking about how it should be the person receiving the apology who has agency to determine when it's appropriate to move on, not the one who needs to apologize
Aug 2020 · 249
Racist Within
Kelly Mistry Aug 2020
She whispers
“Maybe you should cross the street.”
“He could be a threat.”
“Are you surrrrre you’re safe?”

Such goes the daily commentary from my inner racist
She is persistent
And ever present

Always ready to inform me
About differences that are scary
Stereotypes that could be true
People that could be a threat

The least inattention allows her
To spring to the fore
And take over

Battling her is tiring
And feels thankless
And lonely

But if she wins

She divides me
From those who would support my struggle
As I support theirs

She divides me
From family
From friends
From connections that sustain me

She divides me
From myself

So the battle is necessary
But I wish I could believe
That someday she would retreat for good
And the battle would be done
Kelly Mistry Aug 2020
Anger is an overwhelming feeling
I swallow it so I won’t be
Consumed by it

But it bubbles
And simmers
In my gut, in my heart and in my head

Sometimes it isn’t tethered to anything
It’s just there, swallowing me

Sometimes it is tethered to something
To something that happened to me

               Long, long ago

How can anger stay so fresh
When it’s source has gone stale
How are events in the past
And also inside me, fueled by this fresh anger

Sometimes my anger is unfocused
It stares at all the world in rage

Sometimes my anger is very focused
On one point in the world

                   In the past

Will the past ever just be the past?
Will this anger always bubble and simmer inside of me?

Most of the time I think it won’t
That it too will eventually become stale

But there are moments
When I lose hope that that will happen
And I think I will always look at the world
With anger simmering in my heart
Kelly Mistry Aug 2020
“He looks homeless”
“Can she speak English?”
“It’s hard to take her seriously”

These thoughts have always been with me
Steeped into my thoughts
Into my beliefs
Into my actions

They hide around the corners of my mind
Always part of the background
Or they are front and center
Impossible to unsee

Sometimes I can label them in the moment
Classist
Racist
Sexist

Sometimes I can only see their influence with the distance of time
Or through another’s eyes

Where do they come from
How do they shape me
How do they shape everyone around me

How much of my essence is mine?
How many of my thoughts originate outside of me?

I think I’ll never fully know

All I can do
All we can do

Is label
Set aside
And look again
Aug 2020 · 217
"I'm sorry" she said
Kelly Mistry Aug 2020
Why am I always sorry?
I’m not responsible
I’m not to blame
I don’t need to appease you

Why am I always sorry?
When really
I mean
             I hear you
             My heart reaches out to you
             I accept the sharing of your pain

Women are sorry
Sorry to disturb you
Sorry to ask for things
Sorry to exist

Why is the language of empathy
             Also the language of abuse

I don’t want to shoulder your pain
I have enough of my own

Pain can be shared to heal
Or it can be shared to harm

I choose healing
Please choose healing

So I am not sorry
I see your pain
I hear your story

And offer my own
Aug 2020 · 400
Beneath the Mirror
Kelly Mistry Aug 2020
Emotions are hard
Hard to feel
Hard to share

It’s so much easier to offer a mirror
And let others
              See what they want to see
              Hear what they want to hear

Offering authenticity is complicated
                    Snarled
Full of light
              and dark
                       and confusion

Sometimes I don’t want to look
I don’t want to see
I don’t want to know

                   I don’t want to feel

But a shallow existence only works for so long
To grow, we must grow roots
To connect, we must reach out

Will you be worthy of my truth?
Will you face it with me?
Will you meet my vulnerability with your own?

I can only wish
And hope
And believe

That you will
Aug 2020 · 160
Secrets
Kelly Mistry Aug 2020
Secrets can make you
Secrets can break you

Secrets shape us
Secrets divide us
Secrets drop a wall between us

Dividing families with no one the wiser
How can they not see this?
It’s right there

Between us

What if I tell?
What if they know?
What if they judge?

The scariest outcome would be
If nothing changes

And the wall of secrets wasn’t
The real divide

Between us

— The End —