I Celebrate Myself…


Free Will

She placed her hands upon her lips
As if to hold back the real sentiments

Her eyes, her Judas
Gave away all that she feared
She loved him and she was vulnerable

He, afraid in his own right
Torn between man and boy
Simply stared, waiting
For some utterance of desire

Both perplexed by raw emotion
Created a shift
That dispelled the purity of their love

Fear grabbed a hold of them
And so they cowered into their corners
She in her books and sad love songs
He into the arms of another

The ease of compromise
Quickly embraced

A mold previously set
Copyright © 2008 RNLH


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She hurried down the steps of the 6th avenue station, sliding through the doors of the train as they closed. She couldn’t bear to wait for the other train, it was summer in New York City, and this station lacked the privilege of the large fan engulfed with dust on 14th. She slid between two people to sit down, placing her workout bag between her feet. Her purse she placed on her lap, propping her arms to hold the book in just the right way. The Death of Mr. Ilych intrigued her– she was engrossed. She smiled to herself at the wit of Tolstoy– exposing the human stain of greed.

She felt her eyes roam to the guy next to her, he too was reading. She stretched her neck over to see if she could get a glimpse of the book’s title; she was not successful. He looked up, their eyes met, she asked, “What are you reading?” He told her the title–some political book on the state of American politics. “Interesting book, you should read it,” he said.

She was not a fan of books like that; she preferred discussing politics than reading an entire book on the subject. Her education came from Democracy Now, NPR and the major newspapers. She loved fiction. She smiled at him. He continued, “I see you’re reading Tolstoy, never read him before. Friends of mine have read him. How do you like him?” She was amused by his honesty and admitted that she just began to read a couple of his short stories, that Tolstoy surprised her, for she thought that authors like him were read by pretentious people. She realized that while she was saying this to him, he was looking into her eyes attentively, as if trying to read them. It felt comfortable though—she realized that she liked being read by him.

The conversation ended with him saying that he would give Tolstoy a try. She dug into her purse and took out her ipod; her parents lived an hour away and she needed some background music to accompanying her mental picture of Mr. Ilych. She selected jazz, though classical music might have been more fitting. As the train rocked back and forth, she never forgot the stranger next to her, reading his book. She felt, rather oddly, that he should be next to her. She wanted more from the interaction but she was too shy to say something else to him.

Finally he got up, before he did, he gave her a little nudge to say bye. She looked up and smiled, he returned the gesture, looming over her before the doors of the train parted. She watched him leave the station, his tall lean body walking slowly through the turnstile. She hoped that he could read her mind, “meet me here same time, same place, tomorrow?” She knew that she would not see him again, she was in town to visit her family for a week, but the nudge felt like home.
Copyright © 2008 RNLH

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Within me lies a poem
That explains the lack of laughter within your heart

Within me lives a story
That will suffice your deepest desire

Please read me

I dare not speak the evidence of your life
I fear the confusion it may cause
And so the pause button soothes
Your restless soul

You stutter
Your mouth houses the spirit within

I dare not tickle your side
The laughter that may escape
Will be followed by guilt and remorse

With regret I watch you die a gloomy death
While your body
Reads from a script
That you do not connect with

In the audience I sit 
Watching the authentic libretto
Within your reach
Hidden under cloaks of your past

Maybe I have been the one
Who fears the inevitable
The truth that reality brings
The spectator who wishes to change the ending
With the curtains already drawn…
Copyright © 2008 RNLH

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Shine More, Bleed Less

Eboo Patel wrote this wonderful blog entry in the Washington Post online, regarding his New Year’s Resolution. The poem he read to his nephew and niece, “On Turning Ten”, encapsulates the mood I am in currently–recognizing the reality of being a grown up.

The person in the poem talks about being young and believing that there was light under his skin. Now, on the verge of being older, he realizes that if he skins his knees, he will bleed.

Patel simply puts that he wants to “shine more, bleed less,” and I want to do the same this year. I want to still believe that there is a mystical part of myself that will endure the trials of life, and even if I bleed, I will continually recognize the light within.