“Happy birthday, Haku,” she said.

I watched her, soft and silent. She gazed at me with full and gleaming eyes, soft hazel shaded gray, and I was so touched I wanted to cry.

“I haven’t seen you in a while,” she said, “and I almost thought that I wouldn’t make it tonight, either. Things have been crazy…”

She paused, blinked, and inhaled. Then she started to talk again, low and slow and steady. She told me about her job, her classes, all the things she had been up to since we’d last met, and I listened with quiet attention. Her staying busy did not surprise me — she had always been that kind of person. I was a little concerned that she would get in over her head and burn out, but for the moment she seemed to be doing well. More than anything, she said, she was happy. And that was what mattered most to me.

“I’ll try to come again,” she said, “but I don’t really know when, my schedule is so hectic now… but listen. I’m graduating in the fall, and my boss says I’m due for a promotion, and there’s this program I want to apply for… you see? I’m happy. Really happy, things have been great and it looks like it’ll continue this way… We have so much to look forward to.”

We have so much to look forward to. Something in that statement profoundly moved me. After all that had happened, and considering how terrible her situation still was, the fact that she could still say she was happy, still say she was looking forward to the future…

Around us, the sky darkened and the salty wind began to blow the day’s fallen leaves off the grasses. The air was thick and polluted, the stars nearly invisible, but she didn’t seem to mind, and neither did I. Our meeting had been long overdue — and together, in spite of everything, we had so much to look forward to.

“Happy birthday,” she’d said. Another year, come and gone. She left the cemetery at midnight, the moment when it became not my birthday but hers, and as I looked after her I felt at peace. 

Things were going to be okay. They just had to be.

Entry #51 – Life, Updates

Hi all, hope you’ve had a good week.

Sorry to have missed daily posting the past few days. Various life things have got in the way, I didn’t have power for 30 hours straight and this heatwave is driving me nuts, and there’s a few relatives suddenly in the hospital… some good things too, it’s been a very mixed week for me. Anyhow, I will take the rest of this week off and aim to be back on my regular writing & publishing schedule on Monday.

Take care and be well,


L/N: August 10-15, 2020

the things i still remember

Daydream・August 10, 2020・Full Text

The piece is a meditation on the things we remember about the people we’ve loved and lost. Memories can be altered, and they can fade away to nearly nothing; their meaning can also change with situation and time. In order to maintain our memories, we often rely on writing – and for many people, this is why we write. It is certainly one of the reasons I write, though not the only reason; but how adequate can writing ever be?

Epilogue (Part V)

Prose-Poetry・August 11, 2020・Full Text

This prose-poem is about metaphors becoming reality. As time passes, this transformation seems to occur more and more often, and sometimes without us realizing it. What happens when figures of speech become fact? They were always true, but truth and fact are different things. More on this theme can be seen in patterns of succession.

hollow men

Tanka・August 12, 2020・Full Text

In some situations, we become hollow and empty – not numb exactly, but there is a sense that our bodies are suddenly just containers with nothing inside them. Both physical and mental health can trigger this effect. Most of the time, we are so full of ourselves that we don’t realize how small and fragile we truly are.

living spirits

Tanka・August 13, 2020・Full Text

Some people are alive without truly living. We float from one day to the next, waiting for something meaningful to us – even death – to come by. After we lose our loved ones, I think it is particularly easy for humans to become living spirits like this.


Tanka・August 14, 2020・Full Text

I think everyday people don’t realize how much power they truly have when they work together. When it comes to politics, for example, a lot of people don’t vote or don’t really follow the politics of their nation or region because they feel that their vote doesn’t actually matter in the grand scheme of things. But there is something incredible in collective action, I think, something really powerful and transformative.

patterns of succession

Free Verse・August 15, 2020・Full Text

This piece is a reflection on and reaction to the Arctic fires occurring right now. I think it’s one of my best recent poems; I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. There are a lot of smaller messages and themes contained within it, but if I had to point out only one thing, I would suggest readers to give some thought to the poem’s title and how it relates to the content of the verses. The connection is ambiguous, but it has a lot of meaning.

patterns of succession

every day that goes up in flames
   is a star that falls too early,
a star that shines too late;
poetry is a metaphor for reality,
   but they don’t tell you what to do
   when old metaphors become new truths,
when ‘the earth is on fire’ becomes fact,
   and you’re faced with something –
something so expected, so comprehendible,
you can’t even begin to shed a tear.

every day that goes up in flames
   is a sliver shaved off of the end of my life,
another wood sliver hammered into your coffin;
we used to dance to the rhythm of the earth,
   to the rising, falling tides
   and the migration patterns of the birds,
and now we can’t even hold each other’s hands,
   we’re so torn apart by these borderlands,
and this choking smoke births only bitterness in our mouths,
hatred in the place of our hearts.

every day that goes up in flames
   is another soul being lost to our shame,
another soul surrendering to meaningless pain;
you think you’re so smart but you don’t understand,
   it was never about evolution
   or power or race,
it was about time and space,
   a home to heal in without leaving a trace –
but the trace you’ve left is a full-body burn scar
and the healing ice and cold water have melted away.

look into my eyes,
   and hear my voice on these nights,
because it doesn’t have to be this way.
every day we walk to save our children from the firelight,
   to turn reality back into metaphoric poetry,
   is a day of meaning,
an offer of hope and healing,
   because we can dance to the rhythm again –

and it wouldn’t be a miracle.

it would be nothing more, nothing less
than a simple act of love.