How the trees speak

How do the trees speak to each other? 

Does the morning mist carry

their whispers of good morning,

and does the breath,

push forward little paper boats 

holding goodnight notes

down the river of moon milk?

Our bodies are made up of

fingers, tongues poking out

tasting the world fully,

covered in eyes and mouthes,

everything that touches us

makes us spark,

when we walk barefoot

on the land of the mother. 

When we howl,

we let her rip our throats

open,

until all that’s left

is empty space

giving birth

to feather melodies,

boundlessly,

sailing across tree trunks.

A singing of no one,

the golden endless music.

Like snakes, we weave back

into the fabric of life,

feet tapping to the rhythm

of the beating heart core,

the breathing of the plants,

the lungs we share.

Back to where it all started:

the beating drum of the forest.

The trees are the eyes of the

Mother. 

Let her see us again.

{A poem of Gratitude & Infinity written on the Himalayas.}

I sit on wooden floor,

body covered by yak wool layers

and a burgundy hat,

small tiny butterlamps flicker

like fairies holding hands, dancing along

the polished sides of 

the monastery. 

Semi-darkness lit by a small warmth,

not enough to warm my frigid

cross legged limbs-

but I do not mind. 

My body is placed in the middle,

exhaling delicately,

as if not to ruin the precious rhythm

of being in the temple. 

I do not move one inch,

for I know I am in exactly the right place,

in space and time, and beyond,

this has been my nature for countless times.

It could not be in any other way,
I could not exist in any other way

than 

right 

here.

Sitting, 

existing slightly outside this vessel,

gazing at the towering statue

before me:

the buddha.

It sits in full-lotus,

eyes as calm as curtains weaving 

in soft wind, teaching,

observing, pupils resting 

on me:

this is how to breathe,

as if you had

the patience of the mountains of Tibet,

as if you had all the immortal time 

in the world, 

in your hands. 

As my chest rose up and down,

like a big whale coming up to

the surface,

then diving back home

to care for its baby,

the statue did the same.

So I followed its footsteps,

and it held my hand.

Meanwhile,

the wind outside rattled the windows,

the white-gray snow capped mountains

showed themselves through the fog,

and the silence thickened in the space

between me 

and the teacher. 

The colorful flagged pillars,

carpets,

trumpets and drums,

little ritual items and offerings,

were an audience sitting in silence and awe,

meticulously placed around

the room,

filling it with water of devotion,

yet allowing one to sink into 

an extense of vastness.

And so, I kept sitting, as if 

it were the most

natural thing, as if 

I had done this infinite times

before.

As simple and comfortable as resting

your head on your mother’s lap.

A sense of coming home.

So that was what I did,

all afternoon.

I came home that night,

with a treasure chest full of trust,

for the way things were,

and a sense that finally, I had come home,

to a place that had always remained,

beyond space and time. 

IN DEVOTION TO THE DHARMSALA MOUNTAINS

{some reflections made on the mountains and sweetness of meditation}

Today, the mountains were particularly spectacular, let me tell you, there was no need for glasses or binoculars, for the mere vision of them would bring holy water to the eyes, healing anyone in its path. They jutted out, razor sharp hips and edges where light would hit in parallel lines, turning each crease of the fabric of snow upon mountains into soft peach, indigo satin. Crowned like a godly halo, the kings of the valleys sat patiently, waiting to be bathed in gold. The blooming light from the red biscuit sun tiptoed, leaving behind a trail of lemon light sitting straight-spined like prickly baby hairs on new mountain skin.  All dressed in their sunset gowns, these kings and queens sank back into the soft pillow of the sky, the color of flower petals: a melting from pale, new violet to deep wine, like spilled paint, lathered with a butter knife. And if you tilted your head back enough, amidst her guardian bright tufts of clouds, you would see her. The moon, an elegant milky fingernail, cutting the sky apart with a smirk that implied she’d seen it all: you dancing on the roof below, countless times.

The sweetness of meditation: 

It is the feeling that is indescribable, beyond human petrified symbols such as ‘stillness’ or ‘vacuity’, for they are a mere skeletons of reality. It is the feeling of blowing on a pile of weightless ash with a single exhale, or the complete collapse of a sandcastle, with the sweep of a satin nightgown. Smaller, lesser, lighter than the bare wisp of vapour emanated from whispering lips. Slighter than the sound of a vanishing mid-born intention. And that’s when you realise the marble under your feet, holding the equation to what you’ve always thought was frigidness, bed-rock hardness was actually a door into something minuscule. An ink spot sitting comfortably, languidly stretching out, amused at the pattern at the tip of your finger. It urges you to look closer, squint, yet it will only show itself if your spine unlocks, muscles melt like butter and your gaze drops nearly to sleep. Only then, in that sweet promising moment edging into darkness, will that minuscule microcosm pull back its curtains for you. Once you open the door, it is sharp as the rays of noon sun, biting through the fangs of winter cold, crawling invisibly under your skin like an unknown yet completely familiar traceless shiver of a lustful memory. That’s when you know it’s gotten to you. And at last, you ingest every last drop of its essence, and you’re all of it. You explode like a sunset flooding the sky completely, leaving behind infinite traces like clouds cut up by a child and thrown into the air, to have them stick to the clear blue canvas sky as if it where a whiteboard. 

You realise you’ve been dog barking at the reflection of the moon all your life.

It’s a gloomy, cloudy day, which happens to the consequently lead to very cold temperatures. I’m wearing an immeasurable amount of layers and a lukewarm hot water bottle. There’s a cut in the crease of the fabric in the sky and the sun bleeds through it hazily, like melted white chocolate. The prayer flags whistle in the wind- their limbs running urgently, trying to catch the last train of the night. The big tree in front of me swings its big head- a mop of oblong leaves forwards and backwards, like a melodramatic lover, weeping at the balcony. Meanwhile, the tall, stark, mustard bamboos stay still like statues of living things, crystallised by medusa. The wind or threat of the rain is not a source of discomposure for them. And I, sit by the steps of the gompa, splayed and scattered like the unfortunate bougainville flowers blown off their branches at the ripe age of their effervescent magenta.

I’ve realised that my mood reflects the weather like a mirror. On cloudy, murky days, this body walks slow, feels mellow and seeks warm comfort. Its breaths are longer and deeper and time moves slowly. Every sound elongates at the touch of the ears, and every taste tiptoes up to it like a silent ballerina. This body and mind just want to fall back into the bunch of feathers that composes the sky. Make me some warm tea, read me some bedtime stories, let’s bake some cookies and give them all to our neighbours. But mostly, what I seek, is human body warmth.

And on days where the sun blazes its radiant teeth out, reflecting infinite rays, this body opens up like a bud and follows the light like a sunflower. It becomes pure gold, malleable, there, yet not there- motion of a compendium of sparks exploding. I’ll gobble the world up and sprint across all oceans, exhale breaths full of love with hands in prayer over my racing heart. The world is my garden, flamingly alive, every lead and cloud and rose petal breathes in unison with mother earth and this blood that is of mother earth. Nothing is mine. My fingertips loosen their grip and become like the hands of each mother: transparent, yet powerfully there, healing. Like vines, I wrap this self around each everlasting yet fleeting present moment. Come sit with me in this enchanted place of a dream and let’s marvel at it all, with a pen, a book and  pair of sunglasses. Sprawled like lazy caterpillars on this grassy meadow. 

Hello, I sit on a small bumpy rock in the middle of these yellow rice paddy fields that roll like small waves on ocean foam ridges. Sitting where I am, if you tilt your head slightly higher, you’ll be met with the forked spines of naked trees, fanning out their branches like hair in the wind. And even behind that, you’ll find what I’m really here for: these mountains: relaxed, as if on a reclining chair, yet vigilantly aware, they stare back at me. Their white snowy eyes, blurred azure shadows of mouthes and deep dark arms of furry trees- all bare through my pupils, with gentle insistence. And what is this soft whispered urgency of the mountains? It is the truth that has been begging to come home to our fluttering hearts. The reason to why we always long for a home we can’t reach for. For we do not know, like blind moths stumbling, that the power and essence of these icy snow-capped giants already runs through our bloodstream. It is the air we exhale, it is the glue to our flesh and bones, it is the string to our words and songs, it is the last moment before we roll into sleep, it is in the deepest cry of our human sorrow, and the lightest feather of joy. And even when your breath has been snuffed away or your heart misses a beat, in that absence of all, that clear, pure, power undresses itself completely. 

I walked by the fire he had created with sticks and dead bougainville, and wrinkled leaves. We nodded to each other and I silently placed myself next to him. He put out his hands in front of him, and I imitated. We both tried to communicate- me looking straight into his dense light brown irises, trying to decode something, while he stared back at me blankly. “Ok.” He would reply to my questions. I would nod back at his hindi. Both of us knew this was going nowhere, yet there was something intimate that remained when one shares a fire with someone. Both beings seek for the same primal need of comfort. The fire crackled like ice-shards cracking into millions of pieces, patiently and elegantly. The wind blowed and the soft red flames hid their own ashes for while, which then sneaked out like sheep after the wolf had gone. They were persistent: these slow, laughing, blames, as we fed them smaller branches and they exhaled in relief. For some time, the wind changed direction, blowing bits and pieces in the lanky man’s direction. He lowered his cap, keeping his head down in his squat position. He asked me if I was from America, and I said no. Then we sank bak into silence. He sneaked a cigarette, which he hid below his crossed arms, and then we both went back to watching the fire as if it were the only thing keeping us alive. After some time, he got up and walked away. A few moments later, I followed suit. 

Mother Earth In Desperation

Mother Earth In Desperation

Our mother has been sucked dry,

her blood cracks on our lips, our snake-like

tongue languidly licking

canines

sinking

into passion fruit, we eat her.

Crude.

We drink her up, gurgle and spit.

Rude.

 

We stomp forward down her hills,

stab her with drills,

she whimpers, clenching in silence,

then teeth scrape

with anger,

biting nails,

back of her throat fighting against vocal cords,

her green limbs shake and thrust up to the sky.

Pressed down, she winces and

contracts in pain as we

keep

digging into her breast for her milk.

Scratching through her pubic forest for wood to burn

to turn to green paper,

we venerate no longer, our mother

but that

 

through voices of birds and forces of winds,

she screeches

for help,

shackled mouth yelps

drowning in petroleum

tree trunks ashes in fire

yet incessantly,

she screams

squirming

struggling to breathe

under our technological ropes.

 

Like parasites we destroy our own source,

bite our womb and

bend down for the new deity,

perfect, rectangular, crisp

it shapeshifts like her:

instead of from winds,

to trees, to chirps, to waves,

it’s from fives, to tens, to fifties, to thousand.

With these numbers crumpled up in our grasp,

we walk home,

claws sinking into the soft,

concave belly of the mother.

“Are you proud of us?” we ask her.

And the

ground trembles, crumbles,

skies start to cry, in reply

and we wryly

wonder why.

Not a single whisper guessing it’s the pain

we inflict as we cut

that umbilical cord between us

and our green mother,

for that piece of paper.

 

Eventually, she will flail her arms back, giving up,

rolling into herself like a baby,

as her own

hand-woven creations cut her stitches

fry her moss, mountain,

fresh-water meat.

She will sit silent,

waiting for death.

 

Her kingdom is falling.

 

And we’re hungry wolves. watching

breathing heavily.

 

 

-Anthea Y.

fishing in your subconscious waters

I’m itching to write, as if I were presented with a scab that has remained forever unpickable. I crave to write and write and have this pencil glide from page to page to scroll to keyboard, from material to technological, my words shall keep speaking. Kingdoms of two meter waves, rosie autumns, misty minds, suffering, hoping for catharsis. I crave to write about this whole existence, the earth and all the systems within it, and of course, the systems within and of course, the unknown, when we turn the lights off. In this little controversial mind of mine, I shall clear some space for a little writing laboratory. Test tubes and microscopes, sieves, gloves and the whole lot. You see it’s a science. One must first dip themselves into the waters of imagination, with gloves, carefully extract samples from different kingdoms: darkness, despair, adrenalin, jealousy (and we usually go for the nastier ones, harder to grab, more likely to bite your finger). And once you’re back from that expedition, you examine them under a microscope, these little twitching encapsulated potentials. With some wit and pincers, you tie them together to form a little world of yours, where gravity might be slightly different. Another warning: you can’t really control when these urges to dive into these creative, inviting, dangerous waters will come. Whether your head rests on a pillow, hair relaxed, body decompressing for sleep, or whether you’re at a coffeeshop, or on a rollercoaster, this urge simply does not care. You’re thrown into your diving suit and pushed into your subconscious synovial fluid. Down under there, the sky varies often, blanketed by the indigo wine and occasional lighting strikes. You might find some familiar structures, bits of picked up memories. You might find grieving faces- suppressed pain never nurtured. Now… I don’t want to spoil your exploration nor uncover too much of myself in this. All I can say is, remember to take your backpack.

donut hole

Recently,

I’ve been stuffing

my body and organs with

tissue paper, gaudy empty,

slippery buttery

donuts.

 

I climb through donut holes,

small mole in woe

indented into fried dough,

dirty oil bubbling

boiling

tackling

flour, sugar and coil.

The final product sits

through my finger like a loose

ring: it fits.

Tender and appealing

Slender, full of splendour

and

whole.

I contemplate,

how shall I make

it sickeningly sweeter?

and maybe if I ingest all that syrup,

I’ll discreetly be as sugar,

delicious

delightful?

 

I’ll eat around the hole,

until the hole is no longer a hole

walk out of its role,

for what’s around it is gone,

it’s just one whole,

nothing.

Maybe the hole, in between ribs

and nightless nights

will take flight?

whole or un-hole as long

as its no longer…

a hole.

 

Teeth stained by moist

divine, liquid delight,

give me a bite,

guilty for that hopeful nectar.

 

I’ll swallow and gobble

Munch this donut up, and finally I can say

something solid makes me up,

makes who I am,

down to the last damn gram.

This little amorphous saliva,

mucous dough has

a purpose,

a hero’s journey,

a place in the circus.

Mouth to stomach, intestine to anus.

It is bound to cross the finishing line,

reminding me, forcefully,

that I will too?

It’s like trying to sink in brine.

 

Destruction of the void.

That cave in the middle, is an intruder,

a tumour,

but I’m lost at the riddle of escape.

And if my hole were to cave in with all this dough

would it be full,

fulfilled? Filled in,

but in the right way?

 

The problem, plain simple,

sits in the middle. The

hole.

All this dough can’t hide.

Infinitely a hole,

infinitely nothing.

So I’ll gobble down

sugar coated outsides

and poof! the hole softly

fades out of existence,

my hole slowly fades

out of existence for…

 

three,

two,

one

 

buy me another ring-shaped

fried sugar thing, or whatever,

as long as it can pile up

inside me and I’ll feel this fullness

for once,

even if its just in my stomach.

yellow buoy man

Today, my brother swam in the ocean for the first time in a year. The water was frigid and licked our toes maliciously, tempting us to dive in and merge with the fish. We entered at the same time, and immediately sprinted metres away from the shore. The burn of our muscles fought the tingling cold. With our laboured breaths, we streamlined in and out of the salty water, eyes agape, trying to make shapes through the fog of our goggles. The underwater realm was turquoise, but of a dark tint: the clouds were to blame for this, as they stood above us, troubled and stormy. Yet, the sea was just as calm and welcoming. It took us under its battered blankets of algae and mossy rocks. The pebbles and dark algae armies seemed incredibly alive beneath our floating bodies. Occasionally, big boulders would rise above others, so we would plant our feet on their welcome mats and rise above sea level, looking for the shore like kings. Leo placed both feet and a slipping hand over a rock, and climbed it.

“That yellow, huge box-shaped buoy, behind the smaller red ones…”

He bent forward, slightly swaying like a lanky tree to the force of the tide. “Let’s swim there,” he mumbled, and threw his body back into the ocean.

Wordlessly, I glanced for a second at the yellow blob in the distance. I spit in my glasses, rinsed them twice, and tailed him. Minutes later, we both stopped, and the big yellow buoy, probably the size of both of us, remained just as far. I overtook my brother, then realised he had stopped.

“You’re coming, right?” I inquired.

“No, I’m scared.”

And so I watched his back hunch over the water and each node of his spine dip back into the sea like a while after having come up for air. He swam back towards the shore, and I followed him too.

 

Half an hour later, we’re both back in the water. We rented two kayaks and we were ready to go looking for jellyfish, like the year before.

“Left or right?” I yelled in front of me.

“Let’s go left, then,” I replied to myself.

Nonetheless, we both ended up drifting to the right. Like falcons searching for preys, we looked for lighter spots in the ocean: sand not populated by the algae, better for finding jellyfish. Having caught a glint of bright blue at the bottom of the sea, we both dipped our heads underwater like ostriches. It turned out to be a piece of plastic. We were expecting to find the big blue jellyfishes from last year. And as we pedalled, we realised that we had reached the big yellow buoy. Out of nowhere, a sense of satisfaction and closure filled my heart. But what truly took me aback was the low thumping that came from around the buoy. I circled around it further, to then gather that the soft humming actually came from inside it. As we leaned forward, with our kayaks uneasily tiptoeing forth, we picked up the melody of a song. The discrete music seemed to vibrate all over the surface of the buoy.

“It must come from the beach, they probably have strong speakers…” Leo mumbled.

But we both knew his assumption was a rather scarce attempt at covering up what was truly happening before us. And as we came full circle around the box-like buoy, we found a small circular window near the water surface, half engulfed by sticky moss. A thin rod poked out of a tiny hole from the window. I pressed my face to it, and saw an old little crumpled man holding a record player. He sat cross-legged, spine bent over, and was completely naked. His skin shone, as moist as an amphibian, and his wrinkled, swollen eyes were closed. In that tiny enclosed space, he somehow still managed to sway slightly to the music’s beat, as if his body were part of the music itself. His beard and hair cascaded over his whole skeletal body in cataracts, reflecting shades of faded brown and grey from the scarce sunlight that filtered through. Before we both decide whether to knock on the window, our kayaks crashed with force against the buoy, and the strong wind opened the window wide. The little man stopped the music and looked directly into my eyes, as my face contorted in shock and embarrassment.

“Well, hello.” His voice was melodious, and flowed like liquid.  Yet, there was something to it that made it remain slightly inhuman.  He pulled the fishing rod back in and stashed it behind him. At the same time, I noticed his thorax did not expand or contract to breathe.

I struggled to find an explanation. So my brother did, from behind me and remaining hidden.

“What are you doing here?” He asked.

“I’m living. What else?”

“How long have you been here?”

“Oh, a long, long time, my dears. I can’t really truly remember how I came to be here…”

He squinted at my face and I moved back slightly.

“What did you say your name was again?” he asked.

Before I could reply, he checked his watch and swiftly pulled out the fishing rod from behind him. I was surprised there was even space for him to move his arms that way. He took a worm out of his mouth and poked it through the hook. Soon enough, he was fishing from inside the buoy. I gave him another inquisitive look.

“It’s dinner time and my stomach’s rumbling for jellyfish,” he blurted out.

“It’s him, taking all the jellyfish away from the sea,” Leo whispered in my ear. “That’s why we didn’t see any.”

The old man didn’t hear the comment for he had already turned the music back on. He was happily humming again.

“The jellyfish are attracted to this music. And so am I…”

He seemed completely unworried about the lack of response.

“It calms the soul, this soft music, doesn’t it?” He continued.

“Yes?” I barely whispered, still utterly in shock. I couldn’t stop staring at his incredibly moist and shiny skin.

“Why are you here?”

He stopped and really looked at me.

“I don’t know, really. I’m the only one that can fit in here, and I truly do suffer from memory loss…” He scratched his head. “Nature has taken one thing away from me, memory, but IT has given me something else in return. You see, nature is always give and take.”

He untangled his limbs and came towards me. Alarmed, I sat back into my kayak. He poked his head out, nodded at my brother and touched the water. The moment he did that, his face scrunched up and his tiny eyes shrank into miniature fish. A tear slid down his cheek in pain. A few seconds later, he pulled his hand out of the water with a curse.

“It burns,” He hissed. “I can’t touch water, but I can have conversations with it. You want to know what the water told me today?”

We stare back at him, and he continued.

“It told me tomorrow will rain and that your cat died two years ago on June the 25th. Is that right?”

We took one last look at him, and our muscles clicked at the same time. We paddled away as if we were saving our lives.

 

The next day, it rained like never before. The palm trees outside the small glass rooms shook and shivered in pain, and breakfast was delivered directly to all the rooms. My brother and I didn’t speak about the old little man, nor the fact that his prediction was right. I didn’t tell Leo what I planned to do that night, once the rain had subsided.

At 3am, I WAS awake. Under the blooming sky, I ran to the beach. My heart felt palpable and crazy from adrenaline. It was the first time I was running off, or breaking any rules. I got hold of the the first kayak and ran off into the frigid sea. I found the little man by following the faint music I heard the day before. He opened the window to my knock, not at all surprised. I wondered if he had predicted that too.

“I’m taking you out. I’ve decided. You need to see the world, you can’t stay trapped here forever. I need to save you.”

“Well you needn’t save me.”

“Why?” I ask, incredibly perplexed.

“I don’t want to leave. I may not know much about the outside world, but I know that this is my purpose and my place on earth: to stay in this little buoy, play music and eat jellyfish. I was born into this life with this sole reason.”

“But, don’t you want to explore all this, outside? Let me at least take you to those boulders over there.”

He didn’t protest.

He wrapped himself up in a blanket, picked a few dried jellyfish and told me to not let him touch the water as I carried him on my kayak. We paddled towards the boulders peaking from the water, at the southern edge of island. He didn’t speak the whole ride. I carried him with utmost care, as if he were made out of porcelain and ice and the floor were made of fiery spikes. With serenity, he sat cross-legged on one of the boulders and calmly waited for me to join him. We both sat on different rocks and gazed up at the sky and the water, hugging our knees. He offered me some dry jellyfish and we both munched on them.

“Won’t you ask me about all this?” I asked him. “Have you seen these rocks or trees before? Or those umbrellas at the shore? Do you know what a shore is?”

I was completely bewildered.

He looked around once more, not amused, as if he had seen this view forever.

“You see, my dear, I’ve lived so long in this little buoy of mine, and as time went by, I sat in pain and talked to the waters. And you know what they told me? That I could not be anyone else and could not be in any other situation. My role had been assigned already. Right now, outside my buoy, I am not playing my role and this hurts the universe around.”

I looked at him with a blank glance.

“In every universe there is meant to be a little man in a yellow buoy hunting jellyfish,” he explained. “That role happened to land on me. Just as there was meant to be a role for you, and you’re playing it out accordingly.”

At that time, I was thirteen and I couldn’t understand a word he said. So, we finished our jellyfish in silence and then I brought him back to his little buoy.

He gave me parting words. “The waves tell me that it is of utmost importance that you don’t come and find me anymore. Human contact deteriorates me.” And he looked down on his body. I noticed moss and barnacles starting to crawl up from his feet.

 

Only years later did I understand his need to return to his purpose. And only after four years later did I return to the little island in Italy. I only remembered him once I saw the same yellow buoy. The first thing I did was to swim there, fearlessly. The music thumped and I was filled with nostalgia. I looked inside the buoy but I only found the record player. Dazed and sniffing from the salty water swim, I looked underwater and followed the cord attached to the buoy. There was a boulder that served as the anchor. Expelling all the air from my lungs, I sank down to the sea bottom, and I saw him. His features and cross-legged position were were mummified into stone. Moss covered him from head to toe. Even frozen, he held held his fishing rod. I stretched out my hand to caress him, but I ran out of air before I could do that, and my legs pushed off the bottom as a reflex. I came up for air calmly.