Change Agent

(This poem is not new, but I had forgotten to transfer it over after my first blog crashed. The other poems that have been posted recently were all from this year.)

 

Change Agent

I am
a
special agent.
Not quite a ninja,
but in my mind,
still as good
at saving the world
as
007.
Saving the world
isn’t
all about
external oppressors.
There are internal enemies.
Inner working models that create
self doubt
and fear
and silence.
I don’t have a cape,
but
I AM all about the rescue.
Fighting against mistrust
against destructive coping mechanisms
against lies that seem like truth.
This fight
isn’t one of violence.
In fact,
I could be compared to a turtle
or
a sleepy lizard.
This is not an action movie.
My mightiest weapons
are my two ears.
With them I listen
to words that have
never been heard
although a million times said.

I don’t have cool gadgets
(like a phone that turns into a parachute),
or the ability
to become invisible.
But I do have
some invisible qualities
that activate
at the precise moment
they are needed.
There is a sense of
welcome,
comfort,
and
peace.
It doesn’t look like much.
In fact, you can’t see that part at all.
I look like
a regular person.
(I told you it’s not an action movie).
Even the soundtrack being played
as I leap from one precarious situation to the next
is probably
the most annoying song from
a children’s show on television.
I wield my weapons;
Ears on my head!
High-fives in my fingers!
“Unconditional Positive Regard” in my heart!
It’s an arsenal that has me ready for anything
that a change agent could encounter.
It is good
to be prepared.
I once encountered
ten kinds of ugliness
in a single day;
all being issued
from the one who
I intended to help!
Sometimes
there is no gratitude.
It is not the ‘damsel in distress’ that
the change agent rushes out to assist,
nor a nation
that is suffering from the affliction
of an overzealous neighbour.
No.
No that is not what I do.

I read books.
I provide emotional support.
I choose to give a very valuable gift;
my time.
Attached to it is a valuable message;
“You are worthy of my time,
because You Are Important”.
Is
there any other message
that speaks so deeply
to a
rejected child?
I cannot undo his hurts
but
I will not look away.
I will wash the darkened windows
that have left his mind without
a hope.
I will reach out a hand
even though
he has stopped
believing in comfort.
I will take him to see
a view of the world
that won’t be defined
by his inner working model.
I will be
a change agent,
working to save the world
without super ninja skills
or a fancy hidden pistol.
Just me
embarking on another day of adventure
wearing my rainbow flip-flops
as I chase down
a run-away youngster.

 

Feminist at the age of three

I have been a feminist

since the age of three.

 

Before I could read the word

before, even, I had heard of it,

I knew that life was rigged –

that I was not in the position of privilege,

and my two siblings would walk a path

that was free from the hurdles on mine.

 

I learned at three.

 

It was fine that I had brothers,

and that the sister was me,

but I did not know that these were gendered terms.

Being me was fine,

for I did not know

I was not like them.

 

My sibling saw that I wasn’t like him.

At the age of shared baths,

he said, “is she broken?”

The answer we were told

I had not known,

and I wanted to disagree.

 

Mother taught us:

You are different

because he is going to be a daddy someday,

and someday, you

will be a mommy.

 

Stop!

I don’t want to be a mommy someday!

I want to be a daddy too!

I am going to be a daddy someday!

Why not me?

 

I was adamant.

Me at three.

I had opinions,

I didn’t like being told my inescapable future.

It seemed cruelly unfair.

 

Daddies had opinions,

and mommies didn’t,

and I wanted to keep mine!

So it was a daddies life for me,

but they told me no.

They told me I was going to be a mommy,

and that was that.

 

My poor mom,

maybe she thought I loved dad more.

That’s not why, though.

It’s what I had seen

about who makes the decisions,

about whose happiness comes first,

about who supper waits for.

 

I hadn’t gone to kindergarten,

much less learned about equitable work

and gender roles,

yet,

I wanted to be a daddy,

and it wasn’t because I liked his clothes.

 

I craved something that he had,

although I couldn’t name it at three,

and still struggle to pin it down now.

Did I see men as powerful?

Did I want to have authority?

What did you see, little feminist me?

 

I wanted to hold my own voice,

to be the only seal that stamped my words –

as genuine, as real, as truthful, as worthy.

I wanted to be human.

And human only.

 

 

Too scared to let go of a troubled past

Too scared to let go of a troubled past
(Alternate title: Mix tape)

 

How do I say goodbye

to my mother?

Where are the words

that this page will find

bearable?

 

Now is a time

when my thoughts are so sacred

that speaking them aloud

turns them to a poison

that causes my voice to break

and tears to spill

from my eyes.

 

Like soldiers before battle

I turn my mind to encouragements

and solemn songs

of brave endings.

 

Say something, I’m giving up on you.

I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you.

And I will swallow my pride

You’re the one that I love

And I’m saying goodbye.

 

I try to bolster my courage

with the energy that comes

from recollecting your behavior

You treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough

No you didn’t have to stoop so low

 

And I step into stories

that echo my feelings

with the meanings hidden

between the lines

 

Don’t nod don’t laugh all nicely

Don’t sigh, don’t sip your iced tea.

So cordial, so rotten…

Kiss, kiss, let’s meet for breakfast.

Don’t be so damn benign

Don’t waste my fucking time

Don’t ask me how I’ve been

 

Although my own words

are insufficient

I find meaning

in the words of others

 

I don’t want to drag it out

Don’t wanna bring you down

I never wanted it to end this way

Maybe I was holding on too tight

I guess that this is over now

I guess it’s called the falling out

Just turn your back away and leave

There’s nothing I can say to you to make you feel alive again.

 

Shall I march into the unknown?

I know not what to say.

Perhaps I can send her a mix-tape.

 

The ghosts of yesterday,

Refuse to fade away.

And they’ll haunt this place,

Till we accept our fate,

that it’s time to walk away.

Cause we’re holding on to what we had.

Too scared to let go of a troubled past.

Though the memories will always last,

It’s not enough to stay,

So I’ll walk away.

 

I’m saying Goodbye.

Don’t ask me how I’ve been.

This is over now.

There is nothing I can say to you.

Accept our fate.

It’s time.

 

This is goodbye

I’m saying it’s time.

Our fate is over now.

Don’t ask me.

There is nothing I can say.

 

This is a burial

and I want the words to be noble

a worthy epitaph

for a bond that once was holy.

 

Where are the words for that?

Instead I see inadequate sentences

scrawled on this page

like a break-up

from preteens

in a text message.

 

 

letter to mother

 

I think I will miss you.

 

Yes. I think I will miss the idea of you.

Much the way

the person you love

is only an idea about me.

 

We are like children

holding balloons.

‘This is my Mother’ (but it’s only a balloon)

‘This is my Daughter’ (but it’s only a balloon)

both of us concerned

about losing the other.

The string that connects us

so fragile and thin

is somehow protecting

my fragile ego

from my new description;

“See that girl? She’s an orphan.”

I see that the whispers have also touched you;

“Her daughter ignores her. Was she a bad mother?”

 

Will people think that? and how will it impact you?

I

will

tip-toe

away from those people

away from those questions

farther from you now

to untie this string soon

and burst my own bubble.

I will pop this balloon idea of my mother.

 

The idea was a really lovely one.

It was about a mother’s love being pure.

I’ve been keeping that one

close to the heart

even though bad things have happened

I wouldn’t let it be marred.

 

All those ugly words,

the rejection

in the form of an unwanted ultimatum,

the misunderstandings,

your refusal to listen,

and that time you asked “Why?”,

then agreed, and then changed your mind…

I did not

hold you to account

for these things.

 

In the first,

I saw another person

who I deemed to be

more responsible.

And the rest

I thought

was not beyond

my ability to tolerate.

 

I walked this path

to hold on to you Mom.

 

I wanted to hold on

to us

but you said

that you had already given up.

 

You’re my mother!

You were my mother.

 

I feel lost

without a mother.

What strength can I draw from

to convince you

that I am worth fighting for?

 

I have found none,

it seems to have leaked out in the places

where you treated me like a stranger

and became a victim blamer.

 

Even if I find that strength again,

the energy to fight for us,

I am pierced by the knowledge

that the person responsible

is you.

There is no scapegoat

and no blame passing now.

I must sit in the room with honesty

as she explains that you did this

of your own accord.

 

I’m not angry enough to sit in judgement.

What I have to say is not your punishment.

 

Pure love does exist,

it is not

what you offered

to me.

 

Dear Woman,

I am no longer your daughter.

My mother is Love, my mother is Truth.

My mother is the woman who helped me give birth to myself.

Dear Woman,

I am no longer your daughter.

You are no longer my mother.

What more can I write you?

 

Dear Woman,

This is just to practice

our introductions

Sincerely,

A Stranger.

A rewritten poem (this time for my mother)

 

 

I miss this belief:

that a mother’s love is more powerful and more pure

than any offence of the child.

 

I had to change my belief to fit my reality.

 

You still think you are right;

that it is my responsibility to apologize.

You choose not to see

that you are emotionally irresponsible.

I won’t be burdened

by the unpleasantness or discomfort

of your feelings.

I will not

take that up

or enable dependence

because I had to fight through my feelings in seclusion, and you do too.

 

I waited,

and I tolerated

many things I wished to change.

If I looked closely

into my deepest fears

I could hear the whisper,

orphaned’.

 

There is immense joy in freedom

but it means being free from you.

You told me

that you couldn’t handle

my accusations.

Now it’s my turn

to tell you

I’m done enduring

your shallow cordiality.

 

To hold on

through every challenge

makes me persistent.

Long past the time

it would have been

reasonable

for me to say ‘no more’

I continued

to talk to you.

 

My emotions

and my boundaries

have not betrayed me,

but still,

it feels like a betrayal.

For to no longer think

that this is

someone else’s fault

has pierced me.

 

I weep for this.

Deep in this child’s heart

a pain so heavy

that no mothers hand can soothe.

I feel lost.

I know that no person

can replace

a mother.

I would wash away your wrongdoing

but it clings to you.

 

I have some patience

to spend in some places

but I can no longer

be patient for you.

You gave up.

You gave up on me.

I will not attempt

to convince you

that I am worth the fight.

Love doesn’t need convincing.

 

I am freeing myself

from my fear

of losing my mother.

If I face it now,

in every mirror

will be an orphan.

Your pride is a wall around you

that protects you

from my unwanted-truths.

 

 

The truth was not pleasant

But I have accepted it now

and the solutions are few.

I tried the other path

of ‘maybe that’s all you have to give’.

I got tired of that.

 

I am ready

to say goodbye.

Goodbye to my mother.

Goodbye Mom.

Goodbye to the one

who wasn’t a Mom

when I needed her.

I need to be free

more than

I need

my mother.