Those Damn Richard Nixons

One day, you told me about
how, in high school,
you and your friends
would skip class
and hang out in the teacher’s lounge.
About how
you’d flip through textbooks
and draw devil horns
on all the pictures of Richard Nixon.

I am drawn to rebellious people
like a moth to a flame,
because I see them
as more actualized versions
of myself.
It wasn’t all of why
I fell in love with you,
why you felt like magic to me,
but it was certainly part of it.

I only skipped class once
in high school.
I went to the library
to study for another class,
and felt nervous and guilty
the whole time.
Deep down, I wanted to be like you–
braver, more reckless and unconcerned.
I wanted to base my decisions
on the desires of my soul,
not rules and authority figures.
I was always good,
but I didn’t want to be good.

I wanted to be free.

I wanted to draw devil horns
on those damn Richard Nixons.

(May 2022)

Uncharted Waters

I tried to escape the pain,
and nothing worked.
So now, I will go into the pain.

As I stand at the edge of this ocean,
I cannot see the opposite shore.
But I must trust that someday I will,
if I’m brave enough to start swimming.

(May 2022)

When I Go Deep

When I go deep into my guilt, I find innocence.
When I go deep into my sorrow, I find joy.
When I go deep into my anger, I find forgiveness.
When I go deep into my self-hatred, I find self-love.
When I go deep into my grief, I find rebirth.
When I go deep into my hurt, I find healing.
When I go deep into my loneliness, I find connection.
When I go deep into my weakness, I find strength.
When I go deep into my fear, I find courage.
When I go deep into my bewilderment, I find clarity.

When I say deep, I mean DEEP.
The path to heaven often takes a person straight through hell,
offering no shortcuts.

But every suffering is the raw material for its opposite.

Don’t be afraid of your darkness.
Sit with it quietly.
Listen to it intently.
Someday,
it will lead you to your light.