I thought you ought to know…

…I’m going white water rafting today. On class IV+ rapids, supposedly. I signed the release form that says it’s my fault if I die, and specifically that “I understand that class IV and V represent the most difficult and dangerous levels of whitewater and recognize that the risks associated with whitewater rafting are increased.”


If I die, this will be my last blog post. If I almost die, my next blog post will be awesome. Living on the edge, baby!


Lo que he visto

he visto la guerra
he visto el hambre
he visto el fin de toda la tierra
y he visto el mundo, lleno de sangre.

pero lo peor que he visto en mi vida
— lo que mi corazón nunca olvida —
fue la cara, por lágrimas envuelta,
de una niña, pequeña y muerta.

I have seen war
I have seen hunger
I have seen the end of the entire earth
and I have seen the world, full of blood.

but the worst that I have seen in my life
— that which my heart never forgets — 
was the face, wrapped in tears,
of a girl, small and dead.

Cosante del cojo

English translation follows.

Con la cara consternada
y la boca torva
el cojo en la calzada

Vida de dolor y la enorme carga
vida que se marchita
el cojo en la calzada

Falta de esperanza
piedras pesadas y la lluvia
el cojo en la calzada

Lágrimas de la alondra callada
desesperación infinita
el cojo en la calzada

El sol escondido detrás de la montaña
la sombra creciendo sin parar
el cojo en la calzada

Con la cara consternada y muerta
y la luz apagada
el cojo en la calzada

With the dismayed face
And the grim mouth
The cripple on the footpath

Life of pain and the enormous burden
Life that has withered
The cripple on the footpath

Lack of hope
Heavy rocks and the rain
The cripple on the footpath

Tears of the silenced lark
Infinite despair
The cripple on the footpath

The sun hidden behind the mountain
The shadow growing without pause
The cripple on the footpath

With the face dismayed and dead
And the light gone out
The cripple on the footpath

Written in December 2013 and inspired by Octavio Paz’s poem “Cosante.”

Rest in peace, Uncle Peter

Dear, Sweet, Peter
Gone from this world of pain you are finally at rest.
My heart is heavy. My tears flow freely.
You left today, the battle is over.
Today you run and sing with the angels.

— Written by my mom on June 4, 2014

Dear Uncle Peter,

I’m sorry I can’t write something beautiful in your memory. My mother expressed her emotions far better than I ever could.
I’m sorry I haven’t seen you for years, long enough that the memories are grey and faded.
I’m sorry I never sent the Get Well Soon card I intended to when I heard you were sick.
I’m sorry I never called to say hello and ask how you were doing.
I’m sorry I never visited to show you much I cared.
I’m sorry I can’t remember the last time I told you I loved you.
I’m sorry I didn’t tell you I was praying for you, because I was, every day.
I’m sorry I waited to do all these things, because now it’s already too late.

I love you. I’m still praying for you, for your wife, your sisters, and all your loved ones who mourn your passing. May God grant you rest and make your memory to be eternal.

Much love,

Your niece

Posted for Writing 101 Day 4: Today, write about a loss.

I’m hugging you, Mom. Can you feel me?

My dearest Mom,

Today’s Writing 101 challenge was the easiest question I’ve had to answer in a long time. Well, except for “Are you hungry?” to which the answer is always, unequivocally, yes.

The question was this: If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?

Like I said. That’s the easiest question in the world, because I’d be with you.

It’s not just that I’ve been living halfway across the world for a month now, though that’s certainly part of it. It’s not just that I miss you, though I miss you more than anything or anyone. It’s not even that the thought of being so far away from you for yet another month makes me shiver with homesickness.

It’s because I know you’re grieving, and can’t be there for you. They told you he’s in a coma, and I can’t be there for you. Your only brother is dying, and I can’t be there for you.

You’ve never been good at coping with death. Why would you be? You have such a big heart. You have no concern for yourself: you pour your essence into everyone you love, holding nothing back. Of course it hurts when a loved one dies. You’re losing part of yourself. I wish I could spare you, but I can’t, because your capacity to love is your greatest gift, and its price is your greatest pain.

I know you better than you know yourself, and I know you’re suffering. Politely, quietly, and utterly alone. My heart has ripped itself to shreds trying to escape its confinement and run to your side, till all that remains is a bloody pulp.

It’s okay to cry. You don’t need to be strong, or stoic, or embarrassed. You know me and I know you, and there is nothing we need to hide from one another. Give me your sorrow and let me carry it too, because you shouldn’t have to bear it alone.

You’re more than simply the woman who gave birth to me, more than just a mother. You’re a friend, a best friend, a soulmate. You mean the world to me. That’s why it’s so hard for me to know you’re in pain. Your pain is mine, and my shoulder is forever yours to cry on.

I’m here, Mom. Can you sense me? We’re sitting next to each other on your bed. The door is shut, and no one’s home. Just us two. You’re telling me how hard it is. I’m listening, Mom. Can you see me? You’re telling me how hard it is, and I’m telling you I love you. I love you, Mom. I love you so much. Can you hear me? You’re crying, you’re apologizing, but you shouldn’t, you should never apologize for being human. You’re crying, and my arms are wrapped around you, tight, tighter, squeezing and holding you together so you can let everything go. I won’t let you fall. We’re holding each other, hugging each other in silence. I’m crying, too, sharing the pain, an outpouring of love for your brother, my uncle, that can only resolve itself in grief. I’m here for you, Mom. Can you feel me?

There’s not much you can do except pray, fervently, for your dear one, and continue to live. Continue to love, even though love brings pain. And remember that love also brings comfort.

I wish I could be there with you, to hold you tight and tell you everything will be alright, but since I can’t, the warmth of my love will have to suffice. I love you with all of my heart and every fiber of my being. You know that. I hope you can feel it too.

I love you all the way to Planet X and back.



A kyrielle

Most of my poetry is free verse (I’m lazy), but I wanted to try something different this time. I decided to write a kyrielle because I liked the name.

I sit in shadow here alone,
Mind locked in a broken tower,
Where once a kinder sun had shone
Quiet ‘neath a leafy bower.

Once, eyes bright and hair windblown,
Far more fair than spring’s sweet flower,
My love’s soft lips caressed my own
Quiet ‘neath a leafy bower.

Now, death’s touch chills blood and bone
Despair and pain my soul devour
Her absence screaming from each stone
Quiet ‘neath a leafy bower.