Fiction gives us empathy: it puts us inside the minds of other people, gives us the gift of seeing the world through their eyes. Fiction is a lie that tells us true things, over and over.

-Neil Gaiman on the Introduction he wrote for Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451

Day to Day Poetry, poetry


I’ve woken up
to sounds of roosters crowing, and hens singing as they pecked
grains of rice out of the soil, heavy from last night’s rain,
holding me up against floors made of bamboo and mats woven from coconut leaves
the sound of the waves crashing against rocks visible only during low tides
while a glass of freshly-squeezed milk waited for me,
on my aunt’s table.

I’ve slept in benches on a -30 winter’s night,
wrapped in gloves and scarves and second-hand coats,
covering my face so that nobody sees
the peace I’ve tried to achieve from within.

I’ve fought battles long and hard
and encountered numerous flat tires on a road
that’s gone on for far too long,
longer than what anybody bargained for.
Long enough for me to decide
which battles are worth fighting.
Most often my resignation is mistaken for loss, or surrender –
that’s not an act I believe is worth explaining to you either.

I’ve made a cocoon out of luxurious bed sheets
while my ears were pricked with the constant reminder:
Those are Frette, those are Frette —
as if his whispers would convince me to render myself
in a catatonic state of extreme euphoria with gratitude,
when all I felt was indubitable resentment,
for allowing myself to fall for the same old tricks,
yet again.

I waited in the dark, inside a small room with its own sink,
four white walls and mandala posters tacked hastily against it,
and a tiny window that overlooked Spadina avenue,
at 5 am in the early morning,
for a nurse to peek in with his flashlight and whisper, “Checks”.

A hundred unfamiliar ceilings
left their marks on me,
each scar a different story.

I used to dread the fear and the loathing settling in within me.
Now I fear that momentary echo of hope that still finds its way through the apathy,
it keeps whispering,
there must be something.
Still –
there must be something.