Tag Archives: loss

111 Days Walking

On New Year’s Day 2019, I lost a dear friend to reckless driving. 

Few months back, he’d mapped it out and said that it would take only 111 days to walk to where I am. This poem is inspired by that conversation.

Here you go Niekje.

You said you’ll be
Right over, it‘s only 111
Days walking;
I said I’mma put the
Kettle to boil and make you
Some koffie

Why didn’t you come
Right over, it‘s only 111
Days walking;
If you did you’d (still) be here
With me, and none of this
Would‘ve happened.

You liar.

You said I got plenty
Of time, cuz it‘ll be 111
Days walking;
But that quiet New Year’s
Morning has taken you further
From me away

And you’re never gonna
Come anymore, not with 111
Days walking;
I know you didn’t want to go
This way, and I know you were
Fighting for your life
But that driver was too reckless
You had too short a ride

I’mma put the
Kettle to boil and make you
Some koffie, and you
Can have some after
111 days walking.

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I Want To Know You

I want to know you –
Your typical morning habits
What you totally hate eating
What you actually mean when
You don’t say a word, or do
Little things that often go
Unnoticed, except when time
Stands still, but time is
Never on our side, so
Before it’s too late
I want to know you.

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Deja Vu: Translated

Heard this by chance and was immediately smitten, so
Here’s the English sing-able true-to-meaning translation.
(Well, as far as possible. ;))

Like a fresh lemon tequila
With a dash of salt you flavour
Same old wounds, the same old song
Well, it’s the same old story
Like the way you would have told me
Déjà vu, an endless song
(Tú me abriste las heridas que ya daba por curadas
Con limón, tequila y sal
Una historia repetida
Solamente un déjà vu que nunca llega a su final)

Oh, I’m better solo
To forget your eyes, your touch and let you go
Oh, I’d dance alone
To forget that we had ever had it all
This bachata, hipocresía total
(Mejor me quedo solo
Y me olvido de tus cosas, de tus ojos
Mejor esquivo el polvo
No quiero caer de nuevo en esa foto
De locura, hipocresía total)

I’ll never love anymore
Leave, turn and tango
One last dance now from me with just a song
I’ll never love anymore
Like our bachata
Just a last dance for me in a song
Don’t say you love me anymore
I won’t speak of love
Won’t speak of love anymore
No, won’t speak of your love no more
(¿Quién puede hablar del amor y defenderlo?
Que levante la mano por favor
¿Quién puede hablar del dolor y pagar la fianza?
Pa’ que salga de mi corazón
Si alguien va a hablar del amor
Te lo aseguro, esa no voy a ser yo
No, esa no voy a ser yo)

It’s her idea, rewind and then play
To cajole and tease, she then sways
And my mind and soul restir
Well, it’s the same old story
Like the way you would have told me
Déjà vu, an endless song
(Esta idea recurrente
Quiere jugar con mi mente pa’ volverme a engatusar
Una historia repetida
Solamente un déjà vu que nunca llega a su final)

And oh, I’d stay alone
To forget your eyes, your touch and let you go
Oh, I’d dance alone
To forget that we had ever had it all
This bachata, de hipocresía total
(Mejor me quedo sola
Y me olvido de tus cosas, de tus ojos
Mejor esquivo el polvo
No quiero caer de nuevo en esa foto
De locura, de hipocresía total)

I’ll never love anymore
Leave, turn and tango
One last dance from me with just a song
I’ll never love anymore
Like our bachata
Just a last dance for me in a song
Don’t say you love me anymore
I won’t speak of love
Won’t speak of love anymore
(¿Quién puede hablar del amor y defenderlo?
Levante la mano por favor
¿Quién puede hablar del dolor y pagar la fianza?
Pa’ que salga de mi corazón
Si alguien va a hablar del amor
Te lo aseguro, esa no voy a ser yo)

I’ll never love anymore
Leave, turn and tango
One last dance now from me with just a song
I’ll never love anymore
Like our bachata
Just a last dance for me in a song
Don’t say you love me anymore
I won’t speak of love
Won’t speak of love anymore
Won’t speak of your love no more
(¿Quién puede hablar del amor y defenderlo?
Que levante la mano por favor
¿Quién puede hablar del dolor y pagar la fianza?
Pa’ que salga de mi corazón
Si alguien va a hablar del amor
Te lo aseguro esa no voy a ser yo
Esa no voy a ser yo)

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New Heart

If ever your heart is broken;
Smash it until it becomes
Powdery dust, then pour in
Your tears and mix it all up

Freeze it cold at length;
You’ll get a new heart, and
It will be stronger and better
Never again to fall apart.

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Waves On Shores

These waves that
One day shall bring me
Home on your shores.​

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Armour Of Death

My muse it calls and I shall heed,
A prose it sings, to write and bleed.

You told me to bring
Me back, but can’t you see
You’re connected to me;
I can’t return when you’re
Not back, my heart is dead
Though it might resurrect;
For now it lies, protected
Beneath the armour of death
Perhaps one day it’ll live
May it come sooner yet.

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I’m Losing You

I’m losing you; a
Beautiful plot takes on life
With its own twisted end

I’m losing you; an
Attraction subconsciously drew
Yet repels now at tangents

I’m losing you; a
Futile regret for the unforeseen
That could not be otherwise

O what comic tragedy!
That devastation should strike in
Midst of pure ecstasy.

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The Stars Are All I See

It has been an exceptionally painful year of more passings than I’ve known.
A reminder of that one Japanese song I love birthed a prose.

For those who have lost, grieve so you may find strength.
我は行く さらば昴よ!

I cannot grieve
For this sorrow in my heart
That no words can express

I cannot grieve
For I am dead to the world
Though the pain still lives

I cannot grieve
For I walk this path
That I must go alone

I cannot grieve
For though the skies are dark
The stars are all I see.

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Act Three: Somewhere In Time

Twenty-eighth March. With a wry smile, she thought about all those twenty-something entries in her journals that meant something. Just as she thought everything has subsided, they take her on that devastating journey one more time.

Just once more tonight.

That evening, he had invited her to watch an old travel-back-time movie that was screening on the English channel together over the phone. She turned off the lights in her living room, switched on the television and dialed his number.

“Is it you?”

“Yes.”

She froze. Weren’t those the exact words they exchanged the first time they met? Richard and Elise, the writer and the actress, she and he.

“Did you hear that?…” he sounded just as amazed as she was. A mystery that went unexplained while the plot spent itself into a poignant ending, telling the story of a love that changed their lives, both of them gripped in intense silence till the last moment that it ended.

Like the protagonists, she was consumed in his presence. It was terrifyingly intoxicating and there was nothing else she wanted, and nothing else she could do except to want him.

It was just another evening, chatting over the phone again, but that night his tone was more brooding than usual. He was calm, yet the silence was deafening.

“I told him, I tried. But he doesn’t want to let me go.” The situation was not on her side, and she was confused and troubled. She needed a kind word, but he was in no state to give her it.

“I cannot be with you like this… do you know what I feel every time you leave me to go to him? I want you in my life completely, or not at all. Can’t you see? I need you here with me!”

She could almost see his pained expression and touch his despair. But she too had no words that could comfort him.

Twenty-eighth March. Her fingers pressed the dials on her phone and she placed the receiver to her ear as the familiar dial tones repeated themselves. She waited.

“Hello.”

One word, and a tremendous surge of peace washed over her tormented mind, soothing her aching heart. He sounded so reassuring that for a while, she forgot their predicament as they chatted about school and other trivia. But as they started making plans to meet over the next couple of days, she grew hesitant, brought back to the reality of her compromised situation. And he, sensing it, became brooding too. Then it happened, so suddenly. Without warning, their conversation took a turn for the worst.

“I know you are not in the position to decide… so I will do it for you.”

“I will do it because I cannot bear seeing you in this state over me, over us. It will be for the better.”

That quiet afternoon, behind closed doors, she hung onto the receiver, too overwhelmed in shock and pain that sent her reeling to say anything. And for what seemed like a very long while, not a word they uttered. Only the silent wrecking sobs that shook her body and the taste of hot new tears that could not stop. She knew he was silently crying, but she could not dry his tears any better than he could hers. There was no turning back. He had decided for the two of them.

Quietly, he hung up. It was but a quiet Saturday afternoon in March.

Long after, the dull pain that would surface on all those twenty-somethings each year always served as fresh reminders of how inept she was at fighting for the one to whom she truly belonged, and how helplessly she allowed the course of her life to be changed by him.

Yet, it was but the one time she tasted true love, so pure and devastating, in all its bittersweet glory.

– End of Act Three –

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