Poem: Surrender

Releasing this poem online as a dedication to New Ventures West PCC-X Cohort (2021): Congratulations on your certification and graduation.


a voice I hear
calling for me
to return, to come home 
to myself, but

where is my Self; how can I return to it?
what is this Self; how can I know when I’m there?

with each ebb, each out-breath
        I allow myself to fall
        and slide
        down the shore

with each flow, each in-breath
        I allow myself to be swept
        and carried
        up the shore

allayed by these rhythmic splashes
I fight no more
accepting and receiving

our pulses harmonized
I am the lullaby
the world ushers me

Splendid Imperfections

The clouds—
gaining bulk then losing weight, then drifting high
above the atmosphere into the ether.
Imperfect beings made to perfection.
to any minds with no space
for fluff. It’s bound
to bump into someone
who sees it as imperfect,
deems it as imperfect.
But imperfect
belongs not to it—
a title, a label, put on it by another
who’s clouded in the mind.
A puff without integrity
or a billow of full potential?
As it glides across the sky—my pocket
of sky framed by the window—it boasts
its full glory, baring its shadows,
taking up space, un-
reservedly, un-
hurriedly, un-
apologetically filling
the sky, blanketing it.
How splendid this perfect being dons its imperfections.

Go on, announce your presence:
Roar and rain.

I never dared

I woke up from a nightmare, sobbing,
        smothering my cries with my blanket,
I never dared call for Mum.

I never dared tell her some girls on my school bus
        ganged up to taunt and scorn me.
I never dared tell her, one of them was a neighbour’s kid,
        that neighbour she smiles and greets in the lift.
I never dared tell her, a teacher chided me to reflect on my character
        in my unsuccessful attempt to borrow a piece of craft paper from my classmates.
        I was only eight, did I deserve such hate?
I never dared tell her about her colleague,
        “She lied! It’s not about the candy, I’m not greedy!
        She said she wasn’t going to friend me, and she was your friend.
        I…was scared.”
I never dared tell her why I acted out on one of our road trips,
        jealous of my cousin sitting on her lap those few hours.
I never dared tell her how shocked and afraid I was
        when I encountered the flasher, and how much I wished
        she’d pick me up at the bus-stop after that event.

I never dared tell her many things, afraid
        she wouldn’t take my side, afraid
        she’d shame me or be ashamed
        of me.

Then, she left.
Like me, she never dared tell
or ask for help.

I never dared cry to Dad.
I never dared tell him the first piano teacher I had gradually idled away
        during our lessons, and wasn’t teaching me much.
I never dared tell him another neighbour asked me to stop my piano practice
        so her daughter could get her afternoon nap after school.
        (Oh wait, I did let him know, jokingly,over a decade after I parted with the keys)
I never dared tell him of the nights I was trembling under my blanket, traumatised
        by the presence prying and staring in through my window slits.
I never dared tell him of the accident I was in, where the car was flung
        across four lanes of the highway, landing on its top.
        (With God’s mercy, I was carried out of the smashed metal, unscathed)
I never dared tell him how terrified I was of whom I was once engaged to
        and why I broke it.
I never dared tell him how upset I was when he disregarded my offer
        to invite his friends to my wedding.
        (I had wanted him to share his joy and pride.)

I never dared utter a word
        when my heart shattered,
        when I screwed up in life.
I wish I had.
I wish I felt safe.
I wish I was assured.
I wish it was different, and I
will make a difference, starting
from this piece—

I dare.


One word, two letters;
the former with sharp edges, the latter,
a smooth, round body.
Paired with different punctuations,
each No its own entire world.

NO! with an exclamation—
outright rejection of what we don’t want,
the emphatic expression of our displeasure.
One of the first words uttered as a child;
short, easy, straight to the point as we push away
that disgusting broccoli or pea or medicine
our parents try to stuff into our mouths.

nowith trailing ellipses,
drags along uncertainty or worry,
a sign of holding…

NO. Period—
stands firm and steady, resting in its own ground,
gently yet powerfully asserting its disagreement
with whatever came.

And of course, there are many more.

Matched with a comma, quickly followed by a But;
a combination often heard. The No in this trio is brief,
almost inaudible, swiftly propelling its energy into the But,
negating everything with the new proposition.

There’s also the semi-colon, a favorite
in academic literature, hinting there’s more
to the argument that’s coming, as demonstrated
in the preceding example.

how amazing this one word is.
What worlds might open and close
with this singular utterance?

Check out the full newsletter issue on No.

Sweet Surrender

When I allow myself to rest into what is, sweetness emerges. Sweetness in the peace and serenity, a mellow taste of life. Savouring this life gifted to me, oh, what more is there to ask for? There is always room for more, and what I have is enough. I possess neither lack nor feelings of lack. This moment, finely sweet…exquisite, intricate—a drop of warm honey rolling on my tongue, spreading the sweetness of the labor of worker bees, of the honeysuckle blossoms bursting in spring, of the nourishing rays and loving rain. Richness in the subtleties of a moment. An abundant feast. I feast on my life, I feast on me, oh, every moment can be this sweet. Ecstasy.

what arose from meditation this morning.