Snow globes

My Grandmother gave me four snow globes over the course of four winters

Each has a place on my shelf, frozen in time

When I look at them I am reminded of my Grandmother’s love, of that beating heart that gave it’s own blood to bear four children.

Each snow globe holds a lesson

One contains tropical fish swimming over ceramic coral; it reminds me to stay fluid, to keep moving forward in the face of obstacles

Another houses a castle; it reminds me to stay strong, stand firm and feel at home in my body

The third encases a wizard; it reminds me to stay open to the magic of the present moment

The fourth has a family of panda bears in it; it reminds me that I am connected to all living things

I used to have a fifth snow globe which contained a unicorn; it was smashed when I left it unattended, reminding me to take care of what I have

Sometimes I think about giving my snow globes away

They could have a new life and brighten a child’s day

For now, they stay

Musings

On the shores of sleep

Waiting for the tide of insomnia to roll out

I am crushed by anger

I struggle to breathe under the weight of it

Lord, take this burden from me

My dustbin collects what I’ve tossed aside for later

Later is now

There’s a feeling I can’t shake that the whole universe is a flake of dandruff on the scalp of a much larger being

When I am the queen bee, the person I sting the most is me

Life on Earth is a virtual reality ride at the intergalactic carnival

Human life passes quickly in the context of eternity

We’re just playing

You can do what you want to your avatar body, made from the latest technology

All that I wanted, all that I need, was always inside me

To tap into timelessness by returning my attention to the present, to reassure myself that I am more than ok- this is the meditation that frees my spirit

I return to this meditation again and again, waves lapping on the shore of consciousness

My anger boulder is also the rock that supports me

I offer up my rock collection

Lord, please take what I don’t know what to do with, what I no longer need

I feel lighter already

I have an old habit of letting the perfect be the enemy of the good

May I be ok with feeling hurt and not throw the whole relationship away

May I become comfortable with discomfort and stay

I usually dream that I am being persecuted- I run, fly, and fight ineffectively

When I scream no sound comes out

Last night I dreamt that I was being bullied, publicly humiliated and subjugated to abuse of power- another day on the job

Vultures ripped at my exposed flesh- bon appetit

The difference between us is our intention

My spirit sent a sincere namaste third-eye wink to the bully

She felt a spark of light in her heart and didn’t know what to do, it disarmed her

I think that on some level, she recognized the divine too

Hallelujah

Soar

This body is my prison

Everybody has a body
Everybody is somebody’s son or daughter or both
Everybody is somebody
I’m tired of trying to be somebody and failing and flailing
When I could shed the skin I’m in
Crack open my ribcage and fly free
I’d let go of my eyes that once gazed into yours and kiss goodbye my lips that once kissed yours
I’d let go of my strength and my softness, my curves and my curls
I’d give up my form, vanities and imperfections
I’ve flirted with suicide my whole life
And spoken of it to no one except the one who pulled it off
I heard his rib cage crack open on the concrete below our college dorm
I understood
Afterward, we sad survivors put on a show- a tragedy!
But he just did what he wanted to
What many of us want to
Those who want to be free from their body know
The temptation to empty the lead from their pockets
And soar

Off My Chest

I need to get you off my chest

I’ve never felt relaxed in my life because you raised me in the war zone of your wrath
Bombs of panic explode in my mind all day every day
Choking me with your smoke and mirrors even though you are far away
My ears ring with your shouting
You were the biggest little tyrant
Not even two years my senior
Yet always more needy
Mandating, yet begging
I didn’t realize the power I had over you, and still do
You were the one dependent on me for affirmation, not the other way around
I didn’t have a choice then, but I do now-
To live a life without your storms brewing on my horizon
I’ve never slept well in my life because I thought you were going to murder me in my sleep throughout our childhood and adolescence
I used lie in bed wearing a cross around my neck with a note attached to it asking you to think before acting, waiting for dawn to break, dreading another day with you, feeling trapped and hopeless with no end in sight
I never felt protected, respected, seen or heard by our parents
In moments of desperation, I wish you had killed me
Instead you continue to torture me passive aggressively, and I am passive passive aggressive
Silenced, as if buried alive
I toss and turn, tormented between insomnia and nightmares
I’m trying to think before I act
I am upset that I’m even thinking about you now
I am upset about how you get upset ‘at’ me: you throw your rage at me and have me clean up the mess, time and time again, left to calm your ass down as if your reactions were justifiable or somehow my fault
It was never my fault
I am not responsible for how you feel
Leave me alone you evil bitch
I want to scream at you with the force of 35 years of repressed anger and tears
At the same time, I am trying to let go of the hot coal which burns my palm
I am trying to let the rippling waters of my pond be still
I am trying to not be irritated, for only then will you no longer be irritating
I am trying to take responsibility for my thoughts and feelings
I am tired of trying so damn hard
I am ready for ease
I am ready for peace
I am ready to breathe
Please, get off my chest
I don’t need to ask- I am responsible for how I feel
I’m not sure what to do next
I’ll probably meditate and self-medicate with raw emo poetry
Like the note pinned to my cross-necklace, you will probably never read this
But maybe those who matter will
Those who feel they are suffering alone
May find healing in this onion peel
And breathe just one breath more freely
For this I humbly pray
Namaste

Workaholic

I went into medicine partly due to heartbreak

The exhaustive training of medical school and residency was a welcome albeit ineffective distraction from my sorrow and loneliness
24-hour shifts are a convenient justification for not keeping in touch with loved ones
Even though the real excuse is my social anxiety and sense of inadequacy
Living within hospital walls, I suspect that I am not the only physician who became a medical doctor to try to forget unrequited love, to escape the world of human relationships
My older colleagues work far more than they need to to make ends meet, far more than any reasonable person would work in a week
Who needs friends or feelings when you have patients and science?
Our skin grows pale under fluorescent lights
Our vision becomes shortsighted as the screens stare unblinkingly
Our hearts forget how to feel carefree
Our muscles atrophy as our brains hypertrophy
Our minds become boxed in with facts, our mental filing cabinets overflow
I am a recovering workaholic working alongside workaholics who do not appear to be in recovery
Perhaps they suspect the same of me
Heads down in the trenches, none of us can know another’s heart
We can only know our own heart, if we listen
We carefully administer medications, surgeries and therapies
We measure progress in numerical metrics of lab values, calculated scores and vital signs
We arrive early and stay late
We work day and night without a break
We always have too much on our plates
We deprive ourselves of sleep, fresh air and food
We know why we have irritable moods
Practicing medicine is an unhealthy, imbalanced lifestyle and we know it
We can only ever heal ourselves
I’m ready to show it
I am finally healing my broken heart
I found that I had to begin at the start
Childhood wounds tangle and bloom
Trauma begets trauma until we change our thoughts, words and actions
Breaking old patterns even as we hold traction
I am love itself, I am the source of what I sought
My cup overflows, it was not all for naught

Death Certificate

Another day, another death by COVID.

My COVID patient who died today was relatively healthy and young.
While filling out his death certificate, I paused over the ’cause of death’ section:
 
My patient had multi-organ failure with a subsequent cardiac arrhythmia incompatible with life and viral pneumonia causing respiratory failure, however the failure that lead up to his COVID infection was systemic at a societal level.
 
My patient was a prisoner, infected by COVID-19 because he was denied the ability to socially distance, robbed of the right the protect himself.
 
I didn’t know him, but as I studied his body during his final hours I imagined what his life had been like, and wanted to include on his death certificate:
 
Cause of death:
Complications resulting from loss of human rights due to imprisonment
Secondary to the prison-industrial complex
Secondary to class warfare
Secondary to poverty
Secondary to racism
 
I didn’t know him, but I shared pieces of his struggle:
Adverse childhood experiences, trauma on trauma on trauma
 
His premature death is another stone in my pocket
My path is liberation
Wherever his soul is now, I hope he feels liberated too
Liberated from the brown skin which lead to his incarceration which inevitably did him in.

Orderly

There was seemingly so much order in the house

I didn’t hear the echoes of screams or shouts
Silence deafened the din
The ticking clock was the only sound within
All those books lined up stoically on shelves
Couldn’t hold back his chaos from hell
Every room was clean and neat
Her living nightmare uncontained by crisp white sheets
Grandma, you lived with abuse all those years
Warrior-strong, I never saw your tears
Grandpa’s explosive anger was unjustified
You finally have peace now that he died
But you can’t turn back time
You can’t take back years of your life
From your struggle, I have learned
I depend on no man for what I earn
I prioritize how I feel inside
Over how others perceive my life
Spring cleaning starts in my mind
My relationships are full of ease, not strife
I know you had your reasons
And I thank you for your sacrifice
I honor you by living my best life

Sex, Money, Dishes

Tell me you’ve never fought with your partner about sex, money, or dishes.
Sex
I used to fight endlessly about sex, mainly because I didn’t want to have it but my partners did, so we’d fight and fuck, then I’d cry and be blinded by images of destroying my body or their body just to stop the rape and the torture of not feeling safe in my skin. Amazingly, we all survived and now I have a loving partner with whom I have gold-medal sex; you have to experience it to believe it, it’s like I’m cashing in on some sex fund which I invested in long ago. Happily I don’t fight about sex anymore- I’ve got a man I’m attracted to inside and out, and he loves me the way I want to be loved.
Money
I used to exchange sex for money. It seemed like there was always too much sex and not enough money in those transactions, or transgressions. Even those back-alley deals were more straight forward than my relationships in which sex was exchanged for the illusion of not being alone, for food, housing or ‘safety’, though I learned that the cost to my physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing which false relationships exacted was not worth the dinners, drinks, gifts of lingerie, attention or the roof over my head. You might get raped if you travel alone, but if you travel with a man you are guaranteed to get raped. Live within your means because fine dining won’t taste good if you are eating with a strange man, believe me I know. If you have to learn on your own I understand, however if my years of pain can help prevent a moment of your suffering, it will have been worth it.
Dishes
Rare is the man who finishes the dishes. Common are the men who stack the dishes artfully in the sink until there is barely room to turn on the faucet. I have noticed this pattern during my co-habitations with men. I’ve done too many dishes. It especially irks me when men drown sponges in the rinsed yet still not washed dish pile, unperturbed as the sponge decomposes into a musty mess. Men seem deaf to the silent cries of the forgotten dish sponge. Day after day, I rescue the sponge, wringing it out and restoring it to its rightful place safe on dry land, in sight. My man shows his love for me not only through our award-winning sex, but also through money (ie, responsibility for personal  finances to contribute to our future together) and dishes: ladies and gentlemen, my man did the dishes tonight, thus allowing me time to write the words you read. If a man loves you he will want to learn your love language, which you must teach him with patience, positive reinforcement, and more patience.
I grew up doing the dishes, in poverty, and sexually molested by family and friends. My sister would beat me when she got in trouble for not doing the dishes with me after we were told to do them, but the alternative would have been getting beaten by my parents for not doing the dishes, so I was going to get beat no matter what I did. I wished that someone would do the fucking dishes with me. A girl can get lonely amidst the dissolving suds.

Let Every Moment be a Song

Let every moment be a song from your heart

This is a song without an end, without a start
Let every moment be a song from your heart,
Boom badoomboom boom badoomboom boom
With each beat of your heart may you feel loved
With each beat may you shine out that love
With each beat may you share it up above
and below and out and in
and out
Let every moment be a song from your heart
It doesn’t have to loud or smart
Let every moment be an expression of peace
Peace in your heart is where peace always starts
How far your peace will go, nobody knows
I hope your peace comes back to you
I hope you can feel my peace too
With each breath may you feel blessed
Each moment may you feel loved, at peace, and blessed
One day we’ll pass away
Where we’ll go nobody knows
When that time comes, may we rest
Until then, may you feel your heart overflow with love and peace
May you share it with those you know
and those you haven’t met
When we die, we will leave our bodies behind
Perhaps we will be able to bring peace and love with us, though we will have no pockets or hands
I practice love and peace in my life
Though I forget sometimes that I am love, I remember again
My life is more sacred than I know, made more precious by inevitable death
May every moment be a song of love from my heart
May my inner peace be a light in the dark
May your song fill you with joy
If it doesn’t, change your song
We all sing along on the one and only stage of life

You Can Have It

Darling, though we’ve never met

You rolled the dice, you placed a bet
That you could win a lawsuit
Born of the heartbreaking news
That your baby died inside you
A horrific experience, true
But of your baby’s death, I had nothing to do
The coroner’s report reveals the truth
Your baby passed away at least a day before you ever walked my way
Darling, I didn’t even lay eyes upon you
I was being a team player, not a baby slayer
In going above and beyond to help another
I didn’t imagine I’d be sued by a mother
You said we dropped the ball
But we were never playing at all
If it is money you are looking for,
Honey you’re knocking on the wrong door
All those years I could have been earning
I spent in medical school learning
about medicine, not about law
Perhaps I wasn’t well trained after all
You want us to take the blame
for your unspeakable pain
Can you imagine what I have given up
just to help you, is it never enough?
For you, I went hungry, I went without sleep
Hard years away from my family, I didn’t see
I got stuck with needles, splashed with blood
Only for you to smear my name like it was mud
On the journey that led me to you,
I gave up love, I gave my life
I turned away from ease and took on strife
Of my own pregnancies, I sacrificed them all
My weeping uterus bled raw
Just to give you my best, I gave up the rest-
My youth, my babies and childbearing years, too many unnumbered tears
I stayed in an abusive relationship throughout medical school
Because the only way to escape my abuser would have been to drop out and forego my education
I stayed in hell for all the women held back from their full potential because of men
Though it was the hardest thing I ever did, and I still have nightmares about him
I don’t feel safe in my skin, but then again I never did
I wonder if I’d do it all again, just to reach out my hand, only to have you bite it
I fought hard to serve you, and serve you I did
Without a word of thanks from you, kid
Then again, we’ve never met
I’m named in your lawsuit, yet
What I’m trying to tell you
Is that my medical degree,
My heart, my mind
My hard work, and all my precious time-
You can have it
It was always yours anyway
Everything I do, dear patient, is for you
I give you my life- you can have my lawsuit too
In trying to hurt me, you only harm yourself
We are all connected in the One True Self
Limitlessness is bliss
Reach out and return the infinite kiss
Available to you at any time
You can have it if you understand this rhyme