Stars


It looked something like this, only a little less sparkly. It was better. Because I was looking at it with my eyeballs.

It looked something like this, only a little less sparkly. It was better. Because I was looking at it with my eyeballs. Also, there was a moon involved.

I’m not entirely sure who decided to call movie stars “movie stars.” They are people who act in movies. They are in no way comparable to actual stars, and I decided this tonight while I was on a quick walk around my block (the walk was quick because it was very cold and I had not anticipated quite how chilly it would be).

I looked up at the sky tonight, y’all. This shouldn’t be that big of a deal, only I realized while I was looking up that…I never do that. I don’t even remember when the last time I stopped and looked at the night sky, honestly. But it was so brilliant. I don’t think looking at stars will ever get old for anyone. Ever.

There was a moon, and some stars, and it’s not exciting to describe but…the moon was so glowy and the stars, though sparse, were absolutely luminous. That’s one of the perks of living in the country: there’s not so much light pollution to cover up the stars. I wonder what it would’ve looked like in the days of the cavemen when the stars shone through, unfiltered.

I wanted to take a picture, but there is no technology (at least that I can afford) that can capture what my eyeballs and my soul can. Because I think when you look at stars in person, there’s something that happens inside you…that little spot between your belly and your chest just glows, and it feels like it tries to reach up and touch the sky. I can’t take a picture of that. I can try to write about it, but even this barely does it justice since I keep saying things like “I looked at the sky and there were stars” which isn’t exactly poetic.

Anyway, it made me think that, even though I try to appreciate my surroundings whenever I think of it, I don’t think of it enough. It’s my March Resolution now: notice things more. It feels nice to see beauty.

Also, I’m listening to this right now and it’s making me feel so happy, and I think you should listen to it, too. A little folk-rock for a Friday evening. I had so many tests this week my brain is sliming out my ears, and I like to think this music is healing me.

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Little Squeaks


Last night, I was really worried there was a mouse in my apartment. A real one, with little ears and whiskers and possibly rabies, and it made me very nervous. Now, remember, I pride myself on not being creeped out by bugs or snakes or small rodents (except squirrels, because they’re always up to no good). But when there’s a possibility that one is hiding under your bed hoping for a nighttime snack, it’s a whole new situation.

I heard a few squeaking noises, which I initially thought were coming from my toilet (and let’s be honest, that’s entirely possible…my plumbing isn’t exactly up to par) and then I heard something fall down (another moment of honesty: things fall down a lot in my apartment because I apparently don’t know how to hang stuff properly). I never figured out what fell, exactly, and I was incredibly sleep deprived from an insane two weeks of manic test-taking, so it’s very possible that I’d been hallucinating or something. 

I was still pretty paranoid, and I have to admit I did sit on my bed in terror for a few minutes (hours), and I looked under my bed half-expecting to have one of my eyeballs gnawed off. After walking around my apartment (crouching, really) kicking everything to make sure my mousey friend wasn’t hiding in or under it, I came to the conclusion that there’s a 99.9% chance that I’m losing my marbles and there is not a mouse in my house (har har). 

So I guess if Little Squeaks (that’s his name, obviously, especially because I’m hoping he’s really small) does live here now, he and I will just have to coexist for the rest of the semester. I do have plenty of cheese.

Props to Edward the Groceryman


I got groceries today. This is not a particularly novel activity, as I have seen groceries before. Heck, I’ve even purchased them for my mother. But today, I took a bus to get them. This is also not very exciting. I’ve looked at busses, stood in the rain and been splashed by busses, and even ridden a few in my time. So today, I hopped on that bus, ID card in hand, and smiled at the incredibly grumpy bus driver before sitting down and getting bus-sick. Note to self: don’t sit in the sideways seats anymore. You knew this. This has happened before, Cappy. Don’t be stupid. Also, I got off at a stop by McDonald’s and the automated bus voice (I’m pretty sure her name is Nadine) pronounced it MAC-Donald’s, so I’ve concluded that busses are super sassy and I love them.

Anyway, today I rode that bus to dreamville (the weird, sort of creepy local grocery store with huge confetti-like shapes on the building…the 80s called, but they definitely don’t want your decor back) and it was magical. It’s not actually called dreamville, by the way.

Aisle after cramped aisle of overpriced pre-sliced lunch meat. So many products on sale (previously incredibly expensive but now semi-reasonably priced) for purchase by poor college students who prefer to shop local instead of going to Walmart. So many croutons. So many donuts, which I narrowly avoided by focusing on carrots instead. Such expensive bell peppers (seriously, why are they always so expensive?). Milk…milk for 4 dollars. Little tiny 4 dollar milk. I bought holiday-themed tupperware because it was on sale and I have nothing to put leftovers in. I didn’t know anyone wanted holiday themed tupperware.

I had coupons, yo, and I saved 5 cents for bringing my own reusable bags, holla! Bought most of the stuff on sale, except for prunes. Those are expensive forever. But they’re really good on baked chicken (who would’ve thought? Me, that’s who).

Anyway, props to Edward the Groceryman for fitting all my groceries into 2 bags! I’d bumped into him earlier in the freezer section (It’s dangerous for you to be here in the frozen food section…cuz you could melt all this stuff) and he joked that we could dance. It was a wide aisle, and I almost took him up on it, but he was a little elderly and might’ve strained his back. I’m a pretty wild dancer. Dance with me at your own risk, y’all. So then we reconnected in the checkout line, where I checked him out (no, I didn’t) and he was very helpful and very nice. Thumbs up, Edward.

Step two of adulthood complete! (I don’t know what step one was. Maybe not burning all my food?)

Start this at 0:42

What’s the Point of Simon Cowell


So, I was about to write a really really super sassy post about how Simon Cowell is a jerk and what’s the point of walking around with a huge scowl on your face because does nothing please you?!

But then I googled him (because I couldn’t remember how to spell his last name, to be honest) and came upon his twitter and…is Simon Cowell nice now? He says lovely things and posts pictures of his doofy dogs (they’re named Squiddly and Diddly…you have to be nice to name dogs that way) and now I’m just confused about the world.

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But then! (You’re on this journey with me, people) Then I read an interview he did with Jay Leno and he said something about not initially wanting to sign a band because the guys were all really ugly and I threw up on my computer.

It got me thinking…does he live his entire life being an ass for the cameras? Has he decided that the only way he’s memorable is by treating other people really terribly? That just sounds so tiring. And lonely.

I think the energy we put into the universe is the energy we get back, and if you decide (even falsely) to put out a whole load of negative energy, that’ll catch up to you somehow or another. Maybe Squiddly and Diddly pee in his bed every night, or bite his feet a lot or something.

Anyway, I love you all, my cheeky little muffins! Finals week is killing me, but I somehow managed to put this post together, even though it’s tragically insignificant and incoherent. Cheers!

The Rebirth


It’s been two years, either today or yesterday, since life meant very little to me. Two years since I broke and my mother had to take a plane at 6 a.m. to be with me, to keep me safe and protected. Two years since I started rebuilding.

I never expected any of that to happen, and I would honestly prefer that I hadn’t felt that much pain and suffering and absolute nothingness, because it’s the absolute worst, so don’t start thinking it was a positive experience at the time. But I also know I would not be who I am today without those horrible experiences.

“Everything happens for a reason” is an obnoxiously common saying, and usually I think it’s a bit of a cop out, a way to distance ourselves from pain and confusion. But in a different way, perhaps a more subtle one, I believe it. Life is one long chain of events, each tiny action creating reactions and waves. It’s not just that I wouldn’t attend this particular university on this career path with these friends; it’s that I, as I exist in this moment, would not exist. I wouldn’t understand my inner self in the same way (in fact, that inner self would be very different indeed) and I would not have the same outlook on life that I do right now.

That other person, that child who existed pre-December 2011, would have been lovely too, and I know that wherever she exists — perhaps in an alternate universe — she is absolutely striking. But she is not who I was meant to become.

I’m so happy with who I am and the path I have chosen. Something inside me — some slumbering beast of peace — awoke two years ago and has been struggling to the forefront of my consciousness ever since. I surprise myself lately, in the most exciting and breathtaking way, by how at peace I feel. Every discovery I have made — in Hinduism, in my daily life, in understanding myself — existed in that beast and absolutely exploded into being these past few months.

I am so perfectly flawed and so determined to work through the knots I hold inside, and I honestly gasp sometimes when I realize…I am fulfilling this destiny of sorts. I am becoming me. I never realized I didn’t know who I was until I met myself — I wasn’t lost until I was found.

I will question “why me” in the future, I’m sure, when something terrible happens and I feel broken again. But never again will I look to the past and see tragedy; it was only opportunity of the most brutal nature that allowed me to feel so utterly free.

This earth is so much, so gorgeous, so overwhelming. Sometimes I drink it in and realize I can’t stop and I drown a little, blinking into the sun and choking on the cold. I remember a time when even the heaviest downpours felt like nothing, just another burden to bear. Now, I welcome the sleet as another excuse to feel every nerve in my body vibrate.

“Namaste:” the light in me greets the light in you. Now I have found my inner light.

I Have a Few Issues With Bathrooms


Bathrooms should be sanctuaries. Sanctuaries where we poo. But lately I’ve been noticing a lot of issues with these supposed “tranquil” areas.

1. Why does the bathroom stall door open inward? Because when I’m on campus, wearing a backpack and a huge coat (it hath snowed, everyone), I already barely fit in the stall while the door’s closed. But then, upon attempting to leave the stall, I’m faced with a conundrum: how? How do I leave? I try to pull the door open and accidentally hit myself in the face! Now not only am I stuck in a poo “sanctuary” but I’m bleeding profusely from my schnoz and am possibly concussed. And then there’s always the possibility of an accidental falling-in-the-toilet situation. Which would just be unfortunate.
Someone needs to remedy this. I’m lookin’ at you, engineers.

2. What’s with those nonsense faucets that only spew water for about 2 seconds? You know, the ones where you lather up and then push a button with the back of your soapy hand, only to have a momentary spritz of water before the water stops. Those faucets are teases. “Oh, you want water? Sure, have some water. Nice, warm water to help you sanitize your icky hands…oh just kidding. I’ve run out. PUSH ME AGAIN.” Again. Engineers, you’re half-assin’ it.

3. Nothing you touch is sanitary. Ever. How can I exit the poo sanctuary in peace when the whole time I’m dodging bacteria like a germaphobic kangaroo? Those minxy faucets clearly are disease ridden, judging by the amount of times everyone has to punch them to get more than a tablespoon out. And the doors always have handles and open inward (both on the stalls and upon exiting the bathroom). I don’t want to touch a door handle after I’ve just washed my hands, because lord knows I’m in the minority when it comes to sanitizing my mitts after pottying. I’ve seen so many people leave that sanctuary uncleansed. Ew.

Basically, someone needs to do something about this, but it can’t be me. I’m too emotionally involved, and that would just lead to nonsense, like adding zen gardens into every toilet and having a toilet attendant who compliments you on your hair before you leave. Somebody. Do. Something.

An Ode to a Pencil


Silver-grey lines
become wisps, spirits
like seagull wings in flight
capturing impermanent
imperfect
rushes of ideas, which
to me are more stunning than final drafts.

You are worth more
than bubbles on answer sheets,
short essays in high school.
You deserve to become
a novel
a love note
a sonnet
poetic devices stretched out along blue horizons.

You should be bowed to,
your wooden soul propped on a pedestal
and worshipped by the meek
for they shall inherit the earth
one silver-grey line at a time.

I’m gonna read this aloud tonight, y’all. It’s the perfect embodiment of everything I feel when I write, and it needs to be spoken. So tonight, at a burrito joint downtown, the world will hear my ode to a pencil. xoxo

Snow Globe


I want to rummage through stacks of books with you.
Dirty, musty books
so when we rustle their pages we choke with joy.
I want to sit on the floor, legs crossed
and pile adventures in my lap.
You’ll stand on a stack of encyclopedias and reach for
that perfect copy of Don Quixote
while I flip through Robinson Crusoe
until you reach down and say, “I found this one for you.”
I want to be lost with you inside a fiction more beautiful than the
huge snow globe we inhabit
always shaken by someone else til we’re displaced
tiny flakes in a fish tank.
So I think if I have to get lost, I’d like to be holding your hand
when my dreams for this life
seem so broken
like this damned snow globe
because aren’t they supposed to make you smile
and turn the sky white?
The sky was grey today. This snow globe’s defective.
I want to be poor with you
but only with you
because poverty isn’t romantic
unless all the riches in the world exist in the gold flecks in your eyes.
I want to be anything with you
because you’ll be anything with me
and that could stop this snow globe shaking.

With this, I revamp my current poetry series from one about my childhood to a poetry series about anything, because…why restrict myself? Poetry is freeing, and I need to be freed right now. Cheers. Let’s all work on making this snow globe a little better.

Champa


If words were fragrant
my poems would smell like champa flowers.
Heady, deep and sweet,
they smell like —
The moment I knew I would grow up
My daydreams of adventure
The dark room I adopted in my adolescence
The isolation I felt as I became someone no one else had known
The reason for my faith
My future.

If fragrances were words
the champa flower would be Shakespeare.
Songs to Krishna
carried on the breeze like soliloquies
depicting his lotus eyes
whispering softly —
I could feel you before you were real
I looked for you and found nothing
I waited for you, and you came
I love you like I’ve loved no other
I’ve seen you, but I was blind to all else
I know you like I know myself
I carry you deep inside
I thank you.

There ends part 4 of my childhood poetry series, which describes more my adolescence/early adulthood and less my childhood, but which is a huge transformative part of who I am today.

I Grew Up So Well


I may be up at 2 a.m. and it may be because I finished editing a short story I’ve been working on for a year and I may have just submitted it to my university’s literary journal so I may be having a mini heart attack but also may be feeling so accomplished that I can’t stop jittering. Y’all, I actually finished something. Conceptualized, drafted, wrote, edited, re-edited, ruminated, re-re-edited, and…submitted. This is real life.

And it got me thinking…I had the best childhood. (How’d this thought train happen? I wrote something! –> Reading as a child helped me write –> one time I wrote a crappy story about Cleopatra and my mom loved it –> My parents were so supportive –> My parents had such eclectic taste in everything –> I practically came out of the womb singing Neil Young.)

When I say “best childhood” I don’t mean “most innocent” or “happiest” necessarily. I mean I had a childhood that I look back on and appreciate, because I accidentally was a pretty insightful kid. And everything I did then, everything I was exposed to, has made me pretty awesome (if I do say so).

Want an explanation? I present you with a series of poems from my childhood, which you will receive every other day for as long as I can come up with them. They will all be first drafts and will probably be written in the middle of the night, so feel free (gently and lovingly) to offer criticisms and ideas.

We’ll begin with BLOCKS.

I drag Pops’ box blocks, dead like wooden bricks
across the oriental carpet (red spirals from somewhere I will dream of later)
and — thunk — drop rubber zoo animals from their cloth prison, only to box them in again
within the lifeless block-walls.
The harder they come the harder they fall
Jimmy Cliff sings, high and warm, as lions leap upon giraffes, teeth tearing through tendons and muscles, spurts of blood hitting onlookers.
Years later I will remember this carnage fondly
if only to laugh at my morbidity as a five-year-old
and to rent a copy of The Harder They Come
which was about drugs
according to Dad
and I didn’t know that meant violence, too, because drugs are always paired with violence
at least when desperation gets involved,
so we document it in movies that hurl knives against the TV screen.
Age 5 doesn’t allow for true understanding of desperation, but I must’ve seen it
because I replicated it
with lions
in my house.
Peace often followed, as the lions
sick with remorse and giraffe flesh
bathed in the sun, rolling in the red tide of a rug born somewhere I’d never heard of.
As all I couldn’t comprehend washed over me
heavy accents filled my ears
and mondegreen* stole my understanding, turning every sad lyric into something pleasant.
Them a loot them a shoot them a wail shanty town.

*mondegreen is the mishearing of a word, usually within a song.