Cross My Heart and Hope to Write


Friday, November 30, 2012

Learning To Appreciate Things: I Am Thankful

How often do we stop to be thankful for the things we have? The simple things, like four walls, a full fridge, and a cat. But even simpler things, I think, deserve thankfulness: Like this computer or phone screen, or the shoes on your feet, or the paint on your nails, or even that bruise you got the other day. Why be thankful for a bruise? Why be thankful for a scar? Why be thankful for heartache?

Life has a silly way of being precious. There are things we take for granted that, even when we think of the things we take for granted, we don't think about. Like... solid ground... or birds singing... or being betrayed. A lie can even be cherished. What if you had ended up with that boy or girl who broke your heart? The childish love that never was - what if it had been? Maybe if you had you would have never learned to love yourself. The good and the bad, in time, are equalized.

I had the idea for this poem two years ago, but finally got around to writing it this year. It's meant to be a Thanksgiving poem, so I wrote it on Thanksgiving morning. Hopefully, in reading it, you can learn to appreciate things you hadn't before. Its purpose is to remind us that, even in the darkest moments, there is something worth being thankful for. In the end, everything has a silver-lining.  

I Am Thankful 

I am thankful
For eight fingers
And two thumbs
I am thankful
For two legs
And two arms
I am thankful
For vision
For sight  
For foresight
I am thankful
For taste
For smell
For touch
For speech
For an intact mind
I am thankful
For an empty stomach
Because it reminds me of what real hunger is
I am thankful
For a hungry mind
For curiosity
For inspiration
I am thankful
For ideas
For convictions
For concepts
For virtues
I am thankful
For fear
Because fear gives us something to conquer
And something to keep us in our place
I am thankful  
For tears
I am thankful
For mistakes
For being able to make mistakes
For being able to learn from my mistakes
For being sorry
For my mistakes
I am thankful
That I am not perfect
Because if I was
I wouldn’t need a reason to strive for better
I am thankful
For strife
I am thankful
For struggle
For hope
For faith
For being let down
I am thankful
For pain
For pain
For pain
For pain
Because when pain comes
It makes you want to forget what it means to feel
Because when pain comes
I want it to leave
And when it leaves 
I am thankful
Because pain reminds us of the beauty of contentment
It reminds us of how petty some things are
How real some things are
How fake some things are
I am thankful
For loss
Because it reminds us of what we still have
I am thankful
For memories
For being able to remember
I am thankful
For being able to forget
To forgive
I am thankful
For forgiveness
I am thankful
For love
The ability to love
For unrequited love
For lost love
I am thankful
We never were together
I am thankful
We couldn’t make it work
I am thankful
You didn’t love me back
I am thankful
For loneliness
For giving me a reason to listen to myself
For loneliness
For teaching me to love myself
I am thankful
For words
For language
For expression
I am thankful
For your attention
For your eyes
And your ears
And your tongues
I am thankful
For community
For friendship
For family
I am thankful
For my companions
I am thankful
For my mother
For my father
For my brother
For my grandparents
And my great-grandparents
And my great-great-grandparents
I am thankful
For my blood
I am thankful
For happiness
For humor
For laughter
Because the only thing stronger than your will to live
Is your laugh
And I am thankful    
For the stars
Because without them
The chemicals in my DNA
Would have never been
Because without them
I would have nothing to reach for
I am thankful  
For breath
For existence
For consciousness
For life
And all the baggage it comes with   
I am thankful
That I have been given the opportunity to exist
And to be thankful
I am thankful
I am thankful 

Check out the all new ReverbNation page. Including exclusive recordings of such poems as Dust, Reality, the song Halley, and now I Am Thankful. Keep up to date on venues, shows, and new audio files by becoming a fan. Ask me a question, leave a comment, and download some of my MP3's. And remember to share it with your friends!   

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Join myself and Pramila Venkateswaran on Saturday, December 15th at 7:30pm at The Poetry Place in Patchogue, NY for a lovely evening of poetry and expression. We will each share their work for approximately fifteen minutes, after which there will be a short period mingling, followed by an open mic. Bring your own work, share with the crowd, and feel free to invite others.

or simply mark your calendars!

And, as always, spread the word!
I look forward to meeting you all there (:

Religious or Spiritual?: Antidisestablishmentarianism

I can't claim to be religious. Then again, what does that even mean, "to be religious?" I have heard people talk of frustration when inquiring the same of others, only to be responded with, "No, I'm spiritual." What does that even mean? I talk to God (though I can't say I'm certain who or what I'm talking to). I pray. But I don't adhere to a particular discipline. Though my weekend yoga routine may be somewhat regular, that's the closest I come to Sunday Mass. Yet, I feel comfortable in any religious setting, be it a Baptist church, an Islamic mosque, a Hindu temple, or a Catholic cathedral. Indeed, I indulge in such eclectic participation, though I respect other's potential abhorrence of such activities. Sure, the community created by organized religions is beautiful, but I think the point of "worship" runs far deeper.

I'm not bastardizing routine religious and/or (as I see no concrete discernible difference between the two) spiritual adherence. Quite the contrary - I'm aggrandizing the personal experience of engaging in religious and/or spiritual activities. It is the personal component that is key. No organized religion or sect can certify for you the correct way in which you should perform your adoration to whomever or whatever you wish, unless of course you feel that religion/sect fit. You have the choice; you always do. The divine acts in ways that I cannot see rulable by man. The powers that exist beyond have bestowed upon you the gift of worship in any way you deem practical, even if you choose not to worship at all.    


All the Rites of Day and Night
Bestowed upon my temple
Of clockwork switches and capital heights
With spires and sconces in marble
Bury your teeth upon the alter
Be faltered by the depths of the murals on the ceiling
Rest your head on the granite floor
And ignore how you think the priests and nuns are feeling
There are staircases in hidden corners
Horns are grown, and groaned, to boast
You'll learn the points are sharper and stronger
To lobotomize and inoculate the ghosts
We baptize with bullets here
Neither our sheep nor goats
Lazy linens
And tenant tents
Swaddle our brethren and our hosts
Sweeping away the regurgitation of the day
When night comes knocking
You learn the flowers are not quite so gay
We're stripping the tires
Offering justice
To places who wish it, but find it not
On the map of life and luxury
We'll help you to erase your dot
Drones of clones and matchmaker weddings
Pending address to mail us a claim
"We're sorry for all the happiness,
"We'll be glad to blot out your name."
The seats sink in like an elderly mattress
To clasp you tight and let you go
To free you from commitment
(Your reluctance will let you know)
Blessed upon the brow
A sacrificial cow
With smoke
And glitter
And mint oil
Kicked in the back of the knees
To bow
We must be the dogs
To bay by doors
Denied the right to be a scoundrel
Denied a meal, denied attack
Water laced with plasma    
Quarried with salmonella hands
Bottled up for firmament
In barrels with steal bands
We will drink to the sloth
A company of gluttons
Introverted stomachs
Keep our petticoats and suits still buttoned    
Hear our choir illuminate
The darker parts of the mosque
When we pass around the hallowed skull
Its time to empty out your socks
We can raise the dead with the Rites of Day
And make you forget you passed away
Reanimate the potpourri
With an ungodly euphony
We can bring you to the edge with the Rites of Night
And make you forget you ever were alive
Disintegrate your spirits spine
Leave reality behind
Come together in our mass
Of abandoned monotony      

Saturday, November 10, 2012

After Sandy: Chawdron

I live on the East Coast. As such, we have experienced a lot of destruction and uncertainty lately. The New York area I think is fairly well known for its ego and hubris. We're always bustling around, rarely thinking of our fellow man. "Frankenstorm" Sandy (and the nor'easter that followed it) has been a humbling experience, returning people to the things that truly matter and making our collective humanity far more real. Though tragic, I believe life sends us harsh messages to remind us of the things that transcend the material and revamp our awareness of the deeper things in life.

The destruction brought by Sandy has compelled some in my community of poets to take action. The Bards Initiative, a local poetry organization on Long Island, has banded together to create "Songs of Sandy (SOS)," a collection of poetry and reflections on the events of the storm, and other hurricane related subject matter. The anthology will be included in a disaster relief bundle, consisting of SOS, two ebooks, four poetry collections, an indie album, and recordings, videos, and performances from poets (myself included) and artists from around New York and abroad. 100% of the proceeds from the selling of this bundle will go toward disaster relief efforts in the wake of Sandy. For more information, and to learn when the bundle will become available, check out the official Songs of Sandy website. Interested in contributing? Submit your recordings, poems, reflections, videos, and/or performances at, but act fast! The deadline is November 13th (this Tuesday). 

One cannot help but think of the worst as we look at images of the damage on our laptops, TV screens, and phone (if we even have access to those things). Our own destruction looms in the back of our minds and is brought to the fore in gazing at such vivid imagery. Our things are temporary; the memories they carry are temporary. We are temporary. Hold close to the preciousness of this life, and don't let it be flooded beneath the weight of petty things. 


When the entire world has fallen away
You’ll find me steeped in rust,
Attempting to keep boredom at bay
By sifting through the dust.
Squalor to riches,
Night to day,
Death, the common lust;
Love asunder,
Knowledge astray,
And only a sliver of trust
Blood soaked into the smattered loam,
Like decadent red velvet cake,
Arsenic had seized the foam
Of the sea, turned to bile, and ached.
My tux,
A ghoulish husk,
Of what once claimed this dank mirage,
A lasting hush,
A creeping gust
That sluggishly patrols the hodgepodge.     
I toil to find
The remnants of mind,
And where the body lay
To rebuild Fate
From humdrum waste
And the world’s newfound decay.
I wish to confine 
What’s left of Time
To reclaim that soiled day.