Monday, February 28, 2011


“Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry”
(from “Eating Poetry”, Mark Strand)

Some of my favorite lines ever written are from Mark Strand’s “Eating Poetry”. I remember doing imaginary cartwheels in ecstasy the first time I read the first stanza of this poem. The vivid imagery, the endless possibilities, the sheer beauty of the words… I stopped reading the poem for a whole five hours, for fear that if I went any further the rest of the poem may somehow spoil my rapturous worship of the mind that could have conjured up such perfection by merely stringing words together. Hours later, I feverishly picked up my anthology and reverently thumbed through the rest of the poem which, I must mention, completely lived up to that first stanza.

A poet today is confined to fewer words than a pure prose writer, employs fewer colours than a painter, has none of the sculptor’s clay but must produce art as moving, as authentic and as unmistakably beautiful as any of these artists. Gone are the days when “Aristotle’s Poetics” sought to define poetry and dwelt extensively on a common practice of the classical and neo-classical age which was the use of poetry in other literary art forms – poetic drama, prose-poetry etc. However these days, poetry is a bit more restricted by the assumption that brevity characterizes poetry as lengthiness does prose. Poetry has nothing to do with length it has everything to do with language being used just for its sheer beauty to evoke emotions or deep feelings. Sadly, this genre today ostensibly belongs almost to an exclusive club.

Often times, I am told the words “I do not understand poetry” accompanied by a dismissive wave of the hand while my darling poetry is scorned for other art forms. As devastating as that may be to a poetry lover, it is nothing compared to a deep-seated anger felt towards pretentious charlatans who spew out dribble in print and have the repugnant audacity to christen the incomprehensible, incoherent or even downright childish slobber “poetry”. Apparently, claiming a love for poetry is like being in a school fraternity, you can look down your nose on the uninitiated even if you have never read a word of Wordsworth’s genius, been Shaken up by Shakespeare’s ingenuity or been left stranded trying to make sense of a Mark Strand poem.

You know you are authentic when you think in poetry, when you look around you and poetry stares at you, when life to you is one long poem. It was Gracie Harmon who said the immortal words “I even shower with my pen, in case any ideas drip out of the waterhead”.

It saddens me when I read profiles of literary agents and publishers who emphatically state “Does Not Accept Poetry Submissions” like “Don’t even think about it”. I understand it though. Nobody wants to read poetry. Poetry does not make money and (this may come as a surprise to some writers) publishing is money making business too. I have two thoughts about this. What then has happened to the whole so-called community of poets and poetry lovers out there? Are they too busy writing “poems” but not reading any? (Insert wry smile). Secondly, isn’t this reluctance to publish poetry an evil cycle or isn't it having a ricocheting effect if you wish, thereby even further driving the nail into the coffin of this finest of arts? Where will poetry be a hundred years from now? I shudder to imagine. There probably will be no need for the disclaimer “Does Not Accept Poetry Submissions” for no one would be submitting them anyways.

Poetry is my life. It means more to me than cleverly put together words. It is my outlet. An expression of the world I see. It is with wide-eyed wonder I study poetry to learn more of this vast place of possibilities called the human mind. Trying to make sense of beautifully strung words even where sense isn’t intended is so stimulating you have to feel it to know it. I am sorry if you do not understand it, or are too lazy to task your sleeping mind any further than to figure out how to open and shut your eyelids. I’m sorry if poetry is too deep or too boring or too whatever your excuse could be for not venturing. The point is for as long as I have a blog, for as long as I have a mouth, for as long as I own a computer, have a functioning brain, can read and write there will always be extensive fodder to feed the poetry gobbling monster in me. I will chomp on all the poetry I can find on print, in prose, in paintings and all other art forms, as well as, in life around me.

Do not be shocked if you came across me and you saw thick glistening ink running down the corners of my mouth – I most definitely have been eating poetry.

Monday, October 25, 2010

What makes me unique?

"...A storm’s come and a tree’s snapped
A bone’s broken and a page’s closed
A life’s changed and a prayer’s said
I’m stronger and I’ve come of age."

Most of the separate characteristics that make up my personality are generally repeated everywhere and throughout the ages. There is a wide spectrum of human behavior which are amazing in how they are reproduced and can be found in any geographical or chronological setting transcending culture or even tradition.

People use the cliché “No two people are same” very often without thinking about it. However, there is more to being unique than just having a unique set of DNA. What makes a person unique then is the unique mix of these generic traits and a person’s approach to life. Though human behavior is generic, no two people find themselves consistently in the same set of situations or face the same set of opportunities. The way your nature reacts to your own personal and peculiar emotional and physical environment is what makes you unique. Uniqueness is that one thing that makes you stand out from the crowd, that one thing that sets you apart.

In order to determine the particular trait which makes me unique, I have asked myself a few questions to determine what it is I do differently from the crowd around me. What is that unique thing that I do which gets results each time? I have come to the conclusion that what makes me unique is in my uniqueness itself. Being myself is what makes me unique. Being myself is what gets me results each time.

Sadly, when we look around us not too many people are true to who they really are. A lot of people want to be accepted and even loved, as a result, they display behavior which they assume would make them more likeable. Most people are afraid of rejection and ostracism. Some of these people end up achieving the opposite effect. It is interesting though to note that those few who have learnt to be true to themselves and their innermost convictions shine like bright lights in a dim world of deception and pretentions. My uniqueness is in the fact that I am ‘me’. I have recognized that there is only one ‘me’ and have decided to do those things which come naturally and feel right in my heart.

The one trait that I think is most evident as unique and peculiar to me is my resilience. Resilience as a character trait is not unique on its own, however, no other person has had to face the same set of difficulties or opportunities that have been peculiar to me. I am RUBBER-BAND.

There have been situations when I could have easily given up but then decided to see the situation through to the end. If I had a personal maxim, it would be “if you stare at a problem long enough it will blink first”. The interesting thing is no difficulty actually lasts forever. One day it will become history, your own personal history, to talk about, to write about or to educate people about. I have found that each time I find myself in a difficult situation what keeps me going is the realization that it will be over if I applied myself and thought of the best way and method to deal with it. My thought processes in the face of difficulties are unique in themselves. I may be faced with a really generic situation however my methods and the decisions I make are mine alone.

I am also convinced that it must have been this peculiar resilience of mine that saved me from dying years ago when I was ill and at the point of death. I reached deep within me and decided that I was not tired of life yet and was not ready to give up on the world. This positivity kept me going and was indeed strong enough to help me fight back.

There have been a number of situations such as the ones mentioned above. I have been in the dumps a number of times but what keeps me going is my one desire to not give up because one day I would help someone by recounting my own story. I sincerely believe that the difficulties I face would be for someone’s benefit someday and if I gave in I would be in no position to be of help or make an impact in someone else’s life. In times of difficulties, this is a recurring theme in my mind. This is how I am able to achieve the tremendous staying power which keeps me going till date.

I must reiterate that people deal with their situations differently. We may achieve the same results at the end but our methods vary based on our individual personalities and inclinations. I try to be the person I really am with no airs or affectations. Reaching out to people around me to encourage them to be true to themselves is something very dear to me. I live as though I would die someday and would not like to die as though I never lived, easily forgotten and not remembered for the impact I have made. This is what drives me and informs the decisions I make. This is what keeps me going for there is yet so much to do. Giving up is not an option and the person that I am does not give in to difficulties which would come anyway. The danger is not in falling but in falling and never rising.

I have observed that people who are renowned for one extraordinary trait or the other is because they gave themselves a chance to be who they were meant to be. This is why there is only one Mahatma Ghandi, one Mandela, one Michael Jackson, one Mohammed Ali, one Barack Obama, one Mother Theresa, one Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and one me.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Half a life...

"...I dreamt of love an armful of roses
Of non-ending ballads and autumn leaves
Perfumed breath, a feathery touch
A never ending sea of peace..."

What is Emotional Abuse: Abuse is any behavior that is designed to control and subjugate another human being through the use of fear, humiliation, and verbal or physical assaults. Emotional abuse is any kind of abuse that is emotional rather than physical in nature. It can include anything from verbal abuse and constant criticism to more subtle tactics, such as intimidation, manipulation, and refusal to ever be pleased.

Emotional abuse is like brain washing in that it systematically wears away at the victim’s self-confidence, sense of self-worth, trust in their own perceptions, and self-concept. Whether it is done by constant berating and belittling, by intimidation, or under the guise of “guidance,” “teaching,” or “advice,” the results are similar. Eventually, the recipient of the abuse loses all sense of self and remnants of personal value. Emotional abuse cuts to the very core of a person, creating scars that may be far deeper and more lasting than physical ones (Engel, 1992, p. 10).

Abusive Expectations• The other person places unreasonable demands on you and wants you to put everything else aside to tend to their needs. It could be a demand for constant attention, or a requirement that you spend all your free time with the person. But no matter how much you give, it's never enough. You are subjected to constant criticism, and you are constantly berated because you don't fulfill all this person's needs.

He wanted me to be with him all the time. Saying the only time he was happy was when I was with him. He said my presence made him feel whole. He picked me up from work and dropped me off at work everyday. He couldn’t get enough. I had to be totally dependent on him. He moved in with me practically, when I asked that he went to his own house we had arguments over my not caring enough…

• Aggressive forms of abuse include name-calling, accusing, blaming, threatening, and ordering. Aggressing behaviors are generally direct and obvious. The one-up position the abuser assumes by attempting to judge or invalidate the recipient undermines the equality and autonomy that are essential to healthy adult relationships. This parent-child pattern of communication (which is common to all forms of verbal abuse) is most obvious when the abuser takes an aggressive stance.

There was a lot of name calling, a lot of direct insults. Calling my friends on the phone and telling them what a “whore” I was. Phrases like “f****ing b***h” where never far away in an argument. When I kept quiet and didn’t respond he yelled more and said I was ignoring his anger and trying to belittle him

• Aggressive abuse can also take a more indirect form and may even be disguised and "helping." Criticizing, advising, offering solutions, analyzing, proving, and questioning another person may be a sincere attempt to help. In some instances however, these behaviors may be an attempt to belittle, control, or demean rather than help. The underlying judgmental "I know best" tone the abuser takes in these situations is inappropriate and creates unequal footing in peer relationships. This and other types of emotional abuse can lead to what is known as learned helplessness.

He wanted me to be completely dependent on him and got mad when he was unable to provide things he believed a man should. I didn’t care that he didn’t have any money and was willing to support him till he achieved his dreams. I gave him my rent money to help get a loan to pursue his dreams. However, he seized every opportunity to criticize me for it. Always telling me how I was stuck up and thought I knew everything. “who do you think you are”?, You are nobody do you hear me?! You are nobody?!”

Constant Chaos
• The other person may deliberately start arguments and be in constant conflict with others. The person may be "addicted to drama" since it creates excitement.

There was always an argument or the other. A lot of drama - Check these out:

Event 1: We went to a friends house. While there a conversation started about how everyone needs a love object a relationship beyond family and friends. My contribution to the conversation was that yes I agreed that in order to be a balanced person you needed a support group but that support group doesn’t necessarily have to be in the form of a romantic relationship. That is just a want. So m y friend said, so if your car breaks down on “third mainland bridge, who will you call, would you not call……?” and I said not at all, I would call “Triple A”. So as we drove home and I sat at the passengers seat, he started yelling at me. He said “so you don’t need me right?! You don’t need anyone?, I wonder what you think you are, going about disrespecting me in front of our friends and making me look stupid. Let’s see if you are afraid of dying and he goes ahead at high speed and rams my side of the car into a car driving beside us!

Event 2: He comes to pick me up from work and I was in a meeting and not ready. When I eventually make it to the car. He yells at me from V.I to third mainland over how I let him wait for me downstairs like he was my driver. How I want to make everyone know he has no job. How I had no regards for him. He yells obscenities while driving at top speed and when I tell him to please drive carefully he stops the car in the middle of third mainland at 9pm, steps out of the car and slams the door and starts walking. I drive beside him for a bit and then ask him to get back in the car. He did and I then drove all the way home.

There were a million and one events like the ones described above

• Denying a person's emotional needs, especially when they feel that need the most, and done with the intent of hurting, punishing or humiliating. The other person may deny that certain events occurred or that certain things were said. confronts the abuser about an incident of name calling, the abuser may insist, "I never said that," "I don't know what you're talking about," etc.

Withholding is another form of denying. Withholding includes refusing to listen, refusing to communicate, and emotionally withdrawing as punishment. This is sometimes called the "silent treatment."

When the abuser disallows and overrules any viewpoints, perceptions or feelings which differ from their own.Denying can be particularly damaging. In addition to lowering self-esteem and creating conflict, the invalidation of reality, feelings, and experiences can eventually lead you to question and mistrust your own perceptions and emotional experience. Denying and other forms of emotional abuse can cause you to lose confidence in your most valuable survival tool: your own mind.

You know differently. The other person may deny your perceptions, memory and very sanity.
On different occasions, we argued over what we argued about or over what was said or who said what. Surprisingly to me my recollection of those events rarely matched his. Which only led to further arguments.

• Someone wants to control your every action. They have to have their own way, and will resort to threats to get it. When you allow someone else to dominate you, you can lose respect for yourself.

He wanted to know everything. Go everywhere with me, do everything with me. He hated for me to be around other people and gradually I stopped seeing family and friends. For over 6 months nobody knew where I was or what I was going through. He hated all my friends and said I sounded too familiar on the phone with my male friends while my female friends were all “the wrong sort”. He hacked into my facebook account and constantly looked through my phone.

Emotional Blackmail
• The other person plays on your fear, guilt, compassion, values, or other "hot buttons" to get what they want. This could include threats to end the relationship, totally reject or abandon you, giving you the the "cold shoulder," or using other fear tactics to control you.

He always apologized, said how much he loved me and was sorry. He made excuses and said he was frustrated because of his financial situation. He wished he were more a man to be able to give me everything I wanted in life. He wished he could give me the wall, and felt I was slipping away whenever I went out with other people. I felt like I was in prison. I couldn’t even articulate what I was feeling and cried for no reason sometimes.

• The abuser seeks to distort or undermine the recipient's perceptions of their world. Invalidating occurs when the abuser refuses or fails to acknowledge reality. For example, if the recipient tells the person they felt hurt by something the abuser did or said, the abuser might say "You are too sensitive. That shouldn't hurt you." Here is a much more complete description of invalidation

He said “you are tough nothing reaches you, nothing touches you”

• Minimizing is a less extreme form of denial. When minimizing, the abuser may not deny that a particular event occurred, but they question the recipient's emotional experience or reaction to an event. Statements such as "You're too sensitive," "You're exaggerating," or "You're blowing this out of proportion" all suggest that the recipient's emotions and perceptions are faulty and not be trusted.
• Trivializing, which occurs when the abuser suggests that what you have done or communicated is inconsequential or unimportant, is a more subtle form of minimizing.

Unpredictable Responses
• Drastic mood changes or sudden emotional outbursts. Whenever someone in your life reacts very differently at different times to the same behavior from you, tells you one thing one day and the opposite the next, or likes something you do one day and hates it the next, you are being abused with unpredictable responses. This behavior is damaging because it puts you always on edge. You're always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and you can never know what's expected of you. You must remain hypervigilant, waiting for the other person's next outburst or change of mood. An alcoholic or drug abuser is likely to act this way. Living with someone like this is tremendously demanding and anxiety provoking, causing the abused person to feel constantly frightened, unsettled and off balance.

He hit the standing fan down, broke things, punched walls, crashed the car all in anger. He broke the side mirror off the car, shoved me roughly, yelled constantly and even threatened to kill himself and me. I never knew what he would do next.

Verbal Assaults
• Berating, belittling, criticizing, name calling, screaming, threatening. Excessive blaming, and using sarcasm and humiliation. Blowing your flaws out of proportion and making fun of you in front of others. Over time, this type of abuse erodes your sense of self confidence and self-worth.
He called my friend for two hours and told him I was a whore and he picked me from the streets. He called me names constantly. Held me down and asked “so who did you sleep with today”. He said horrible things I may not be able to repeat now.

Basic Rights in a Relationship

If you have been involved in emotionally abusive relationships, you may not have a clear idea of what a healthy relationship is like. Evans (1992) suggests the following as basic rights in a relationship for you and your partner:

The right to good will from the other.
The right to emotional support.
The right to be heard by the other and to be responded to with courtesy.
The right to have your own view, even if your partner has a different view.
The right to have your feelings and experience acknowledged as real.
The right to receive a sincere apology for any jokes you may find offensive.
The right to clear and informative answers to questions that concern what is legitimately your business.
The right to live free from accusation and blame.
The right to live free from criticism and judgment.
The right to have your work and your interests spoken of with respect.
The right to encouragement.
The right to live free from emotional and physical threat.
The right to live free from angry outbursts and rage.
The right to be called by no name that devalues you.
The right to be respectfully asked rather than ordered.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The dream

"...I dreamt that then a time will come
Of fame, fortune and fawn in tow
Straddling a star, my name on it
Waving my love to adoring fans..."


~Self Therapy – Learning about myself~

I got depressed thinking of the gap from where I was to where I knew I dreamed to be. I looked at my circumstances and wanted to throw tantrums, blame someone…no… everyone for my anguish. From the mother who I felt didn’t teach me better to the man who made me waste 2yrs of my life, from the rapist to the boyfriend that ditched me because I was too much for him. ‘From the foolish people at work who didn’t promote me when they were supposed to, to my bloody landlord who increased the rent though he knew I was broke. From the downright ridiculous, to the insane, from the pain to all the tears I shed over non-issues. From all the people who said “you are strong, you can handle it”, to the people who acted like nothing was happening...
Instead of throwing tantrums and blaming whoever I chose a different path. The path I walk to this day. I may walk another path years from now but right now I choose to walk right here. Where shame has taught me it is just fine to be me, guilt has taught me it is just fine to make mistakes and pain has taught me strength has nothing to do with muscles.

I am who I am. The things these eyes have seen, this ears heard and this heart felt are the ingredients, I am the soup. I am the scoop. It is all about me! I’ve no idea if my way is best; I have never given a thought to it. What I do know is it works for me. It has quelled the tears and stopped the fear. It has given me a new reason to wake up and a long-lasting one because for as long as I live there will always be me. I wake up for me, people. Every morning I wake up for me. Everyday I think to myself, “how can I make me happy” – the answer could be “by making someone else happy” or “by going clubbing and dancing till my feet ache”. I ask myself “how do I justify my existence today?” and the answer could be “by talking of my experiences to a group of youngsters seeking a career” or “by stopping every now and then to smell the roses”. Not dramatic or cast in iron, but works for… you got it… ME.

Not everyday is happy but everyday I inch closer and closer to my dreams, same ones that began when I was a little girl. They haven’t changed, I have.

I met him at a vulnerable time, wondering if there was something wrong with me, knocking on 30’s door and wondering why no one taught me desirable enough to want to spend more than a drunken date with me. A time of uncertainty. Why was I the one everyone wanted as maid of honour… Then I met him? I chose him because he was normal (or so I thought) because he seemed sane and seemed-okay. Maybe it had been my fault all along, maybe I was too choosy. It was time to begin a relationship and stay with it. Deep love will come as you spend time together.

So I dreamt of me in my CEO skirt-suit and him in his pristine pilot’s attire, both of us the ultimate “power couple”. I dreamed the dream…

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I dreamt that then a time will come
Of fame, fortune and fawn in tow
Straddling a star, my name on it
Waving my love to adoring fans
I dreamt of love an armful of roses
Of non-ending ballads and autumn leaves
Perfumed breath, a feathery touch
A never ending sea of peace
A storm’s come and a tree’s snapped
A bone’s broken and a page’s closed
A life’s changed and a prayer’s said
I’m stronger and I’ve come of age


I vowed to not write until I have written a story I must tell. It's time to tell that story. I must tell it in the next post and the next and the next until it's done. Until I'm purged of it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Devil May Care

Warning: BLASPHEMOUS POST. If you have issues with your religious convictions please don’t read, if you have no issues read at your own peril. If you wish to have issues, by all means read!

Have you ever walked into those SME-like private hospitals where at 7.30am the nurses and cleaners, cooks and doctors gather to sing praises and pray profusely for the good lord to enrich, multiply and “bless” the works of their hands? I would have told you more if I could understand the various gibberish like tongues in which they are wont to speak. Sorry, can’t help you there. In fact, you may be able to help me if you have the gift of interpretation. I actually seriously think that some Christians get competitive during group prayers. You see, there’s a language of new generation prayer (and I don’t mean speaking in tongues here), there is a register which only the initiated can pull off without biting off the tips of their tongues. Those who are fledglings in this art resort to spouting gibberish tongues which, by the way, is also an art, but then, I digress. Maybe some other post…

So I was wondering about those prayer sessions, what exactly does this kind of prayer mean, Ehn?!, seeing that the works of their hands are dispensing medication to people who are ill. Another almost clichéd situation would be the coffin maker who prays for business every morning. How about at work? The dog eat dog situation we all face, now check this: imagine there’s this guy who’s been “Deputy Whatever” for years, sometimes “Acting Whatever” when the Big Kahuna travels or is on vacation but is unceremoniously stripped of all power when Kahuna comes back. Now, it is clear Kahuna is going nowhere in the nearest future, see, Kahuna is still young, nowhere near retirement , so elimination by retirement is out of the question. Kahuna is not likely to get a new job anytime soon what with the recession and everything. Is it mere coincidence then that “Mr. Deputy” prays much more vigorously in church on Sunday for divine elevation just when there is “gist” from a “reliable source” in HR that there may be job losses in their company. Pourqoir? Pray tell.

All these make me wonder, how does the good lord keep it all straight and fair? Selfish prayers are difficult to answer I suppose. Does he go on a ‘drop ‘em’ spree as soon as his beloved son, the coffin maker, cries to the heavens about being broke! Or does he feed the coffin maker the bad nuts, those who’ve never bothered to cry to the high heavens over… well… over anything? Or an even better scenario, what if he just allows the evil one get ‘em while he does his bit by directing the steps of the dead man’s relatives to this particular coffin maker?
I really don’t know how it’s supposed to work when people say selfish prayers with no thoughts as to who might have to be stripped in order to enrich them…


This post is the direct consequence of lack of sleep for three nights straight. If you have any unfavourable comments kindly address it to “PT’s insomnia” thanks.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tug Of War

There’s a tug of war in here
Oh there’s a tug of war

You make me cry
You make me laugh
You drink my love
And spit at me
You slap my face
And stroke my hair
You light my flames
And chill my bones
I say goodbye
And cling to you
I rue the day
I kissed your lips
I speak your name
And feel the shame

And fight this war
Inside of me

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