Saturday, February 17, 2007


This poem is inspired by the movie that I watched yesterday, Umrao Jaan (2006). The movie was about a woman whose life was "a saga of ill-fate." I never cried so much over a character; I cried even the day after watching it! One of the painful things to accept about the story was that it showed that in life, sometimes, there is no happily ever after, no matter how hard we wish for it. For someone who watches mainly happily ever after movies, you can imagine how deeply painful this movie was. But to feel pain is to know one is alive. Even more importantly, to feel pain is to know that one values life--In this sense, Umrao Jaan, who had every reason to despise life, cherished it. I admire that she could still kiss the ring that her beloved had given her, even though he wrongly accused her and married someone else. Moreover, upon seeing the man (now a leper) who sold her to a brothel, she could still ask God to forgive HER (for her bitterness, anger?). Umrao sang poetry. No, she became poetry.

I am the voice of a broken spirit.
My heart has become
a stone
in its cage,
and it rolls around
left to right to pinch my lungs—
robbing me of my breaths—
and up and down to irritate my mind—
making me a madwoman.
Its vengeful movements are a last illusion
of its beating pulses.

I am the voice of a broken spirit.
Night and day have become one—
there is no hope.
Most of the air has packed it bags and departed,
and I am choking
on the nothingness of me:
on the bitter memories of yesterdays
and on the empty memories of todays,
but not on tomorrows’; there are no more tomorrows.

I am the voice of a broken spirit.
You do not know where
I am coming from,
but my shattered bits are everywhere
around you.
Hear me as you forget me.
Dance as your dregs of life
become my choice gifts.

I am the voice of a broken spirit.
I am the pretty songbird
with a cut tongue.
My voice is but silence to you, for
I sing a dying song—
a suffocated song.
I am the voice of a broken spirit.
Mine is an everlasting voice
that dies every other moment.
Hear me as you shall hear me no more.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Update on '07 resolutions

How are you doing in terms of carrying out your New Year resolutions? It is time to check (and it is the only time I'll prompt you to check) if you made a reasonable resolution. If you did not, do not quit the whole thing; just modify it to suit practicality. Where you stand on your resolution now can be a strong determinant of where you will be by the end of the year.

For me, I am particularly excited that I am sticking with my "exercise more" ideal. Because of friends' concerns for my safety, as well as my need to prevent boredom, I have stopped climbing the stairs in my apartment building as my exercise. Instead, I go to the gym. I was so refreshed by my daily, hourly stair climbing exercise, so much so that I motivated myself to take the relatively long walk from my home to the gym. At the gym, I have more options. I use the stair climber, the elliptical, another exercise machine that is a hybrid of the elliptical, and, on occasion, the treadmill. I am also incorporating some strength training into my routine. I try not to stay too long at the gym, however, no matter how tempting it might be. My motto is to work harder, not longer. My heart salutes me for the daily, exercise refreshment I give it. If you are not already making exercise a regular part of your week, it is not too late to start--do it for your heart.

Writing and reading are also going well. I am, however, running a tad behind in my reading goals (reading at least one book, biweekly), because I had to pause to prepare for the exam period we just had and because of a distraction (see news about my beads below). I, however, am catching up for that pause period—it is a good thing there is still about two weeks left of February. I know that exam time will always put a (temporary) pause on any of my other scheduled activities.

A bit of exciting news: my beads are no longer collecting in a bottle! I found my beaded jewelry maker--the same one who made my two, strong waist-beads. Because I had so many beads, he advised me to string the beads myself and then bring them back to him to do the finishing touch. So, I spent a lot of time stringing my beads. I remember that while listening and taking notes during a couple of my lectures, I was also diligently stringing my beads. Talk about multitasking! In the end, I was able to make eight waist-beads out of my collection of beads. Now I have the perfect set of waist-beads: a set of ten.

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