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Bittersweet Summer Rain

I love this

chaotic thoughts

I guess its only right to say that I normally don’t write love poems,

but there’s something intriguing about them.

I like how their laughter sounds like music and their words form poetry.

I like how they make me feel safe and how gentle they are with me.

It could be their warm eyes and their sweet smile.

Maybe, its their cocoa butter kisses and how they feel cold water pouring down my back.

or probably its cause, they taste like summer rain somewhat bittersweet.

And maybe I like them because I know they are bad for me.

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life disrupted me

it can't be too morbid to imagine
that we're all graveyards at birth
acquiring traumas from inception
and stacking them up like legos 
till the wall is to high to climb
so we chip at it trying to crack the bricks
because the right one will make them all fall
but ever so often the wall collapses
and you're left covered in dust and heaps
as you watch yourself finally make friends with the dark

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life disrupted me

I feel so much about this film, I don’t even know where to start. It’s a perfect body of work, let’s start with the poster.

(Spoilers Included)

Part I

You have to look a bit keenly to tell but the picture is of three different people. Each is a representation of the same person but at different stages of his life. The first is Little, a nine-year-old boy whose already been branded words he can’t understand and looks for truth in it. As Little grows into his teen years, he is now known as Chiron and faces violence for who he is as well as having to navigate that inwards, so there is external and internal chaos which he is living through. Juan is sort of his mentor/father figure but is also selling drugs to Chiron’s mother which kind of blurs the lines because this is the life that Juan…

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The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

The story navigates through friendship, parenting, grief and loss as well as culture. Salvador is adopted by his dad, who is gay, after he loses his mother to illness. His father and mother met while in college and between them bloomed the greatest friendship or each their lives. Therefore, when the end nears it’s a no-brainer as to whom she would leave Sal with. She already has an idea of the type of person she wants him to grow to be and that would only be possible if Vicente, her best friend, raises him. From birth, Sal and Vicente share a love that grows to be friendship which is uncommon for most father-son relationship. Sal is completely accepted by his dad’s family and shared the strongest both with his grandmother. At a very young age he befriends Sam, who is a bit complicated and has a less than ideal relationship with her mother. They grow to be best friends and have an understanding of each other which ni one else ever would. Things start to change at the beginning of senior year when Sal all of a sudden Sal begins to engage his fists during squabbles with school mates, but nothing really is sudden is it? Problems start to haunt them when Sam loses her mom in a car accident and has the hardest time grieving especially because of their hard relationship. At the same time, Sal’s grandmother is also extremely sick but they find a way to make the best of the last moments ‘Whistling in the dark’. Sal’s distant friend, Fito, soon joins the team when they sort of adopt him after finding him asleep on a street bench. Fito had lead a hard-knock life and everyone and everything new in his life after being with Sal and Sam feels like an overwhelming outpour of love and care. Fito is dealt a blow when his mom dies of an overdose which seems o take him a few steps back. We see them handles fears, insecurities, heartbreaking and learn to love and allow themselves love in a very beautifully told tale.

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

Lucy and Gabe met during one of the most tragic days to have ever been lived through by many. This event connects them and seems to tie them together for the years that follow. Through the conversations they have they go ahead to discover their passion. It is this that divides them as they respectively seek to follow their dreams in different continents. With Lucy staying in New York where they met, it feels a lot like she gets left behind when Gabe moves to war-ravaged nations to cover their stories through photography. While still recovering from the heartbreak, Lucy and Darren meet but he is careful to take things slow with her. With the irregularity of Gabe’s appearance in Lucy’s life, the comfort and stability that comes with Darren is a welcome relief. She goes onto marry Darren after a few years although Gabe doesn’t completely fade in the background. They have two children but not without complications. Darren’s “Mr. Wonderful” face starts to fall of when he doesn’t take Lucy’s career seriously and puts on her all the responsibilities that came with the children. During these times Gabe visits his old city and sees Lucy a couple of times. Be it for comfort, company or conversation she was always there. It is during one of these encounters that they rekindle their old flame. Their bond is strengthen then but sadly that becomes their last encounter. The next time she sees him it is to decide when to sign forms to get him off life support, all while carrying a child that might or might not be his. The story really begs the question of which really is the end game, love or career, when ‘both’ isn’t an option.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Theodore Flinch is obsessed with dying, suicide to be precise. The statistics and probabilities of how he can off himself are constantly playing on his mind. Violet Markey is struggling to live through being haunted by Survivor’s guilt from her sister’s death. They meet on a ledge, the same reason having brought them there. Flinch talks Violet down from the ledge but because of popularity it is generally assumed that things happened the other way round. Theodore has no problem going along with this since he is already dubbed ‘the freak’. A school project brings them together as they get closer  and learn that there’s more to each of them than meets the eye. Violet struggles to go through the motions of her previous life; the one with her sister in it alongside trying to be more like her sister as she tries to make her parents happy. Theo also works on reinventing himself in an attempt to find a version of him that would want to stay in the world. All through this they learn to live for the moments, with Violet sometimes being the only reason he survives or forfeits the thought of death. The book explores loneliness, love, death and the reality of being left behind. It ends in tragedy when we are forced to come to terms with the fact that sometimes we do not have the power to save those we love. 

Born A Crime by Trevor Noah

Meet Trevor, born of a strong African woman and a European father; his existence itself is punishable by law. He spends most of his younger years in hiding, be it in his grandmother’s house in Soweto, the white neighbourhoods he visits to see his father or his own home in an area where Africans are not allowed to own homes. Growing up during Apartheid, which he describes in the book as ‘Apart-hate’ there were never many options for Black people, be it housing or education. The odds where almost always stacked against him but his mother, with whom they operated as a team always found a way; a loophole which allowed him to live and more than that, be the best version of himself. He gives much needed insight into culture and beliefs and their intergration into the lives of those around him which in turn affected him. Faith does give people a reason to hope and shelter in hard  but to what end can you just lie down and take it. Meanwhile while culture unites us, it also highlights just how different we are from those of different backgrounds, giving hate room to blossom. Trevor’s mother is a big part of the book as she fearlessly struggles to do what is best for her children, all the while still being human enough to get vulnerable at times. She marries the man who becomes his step-father and goes on to endure an abusive relationship in a society where gender based violence is the norm with no help from the police who dismiss it as part of married life. Still, she raises him to be a man with strong principles and while still young frees him from black tax, which is often the downfall of the ‘first generation rich’. He takes us to the Post-Apartheid era; with the hate in South Africa still not dealt with, Africans soon turned on each other. It is mind blowing how much he has been able to achieve given his circumstances and how far he has come. Pearls of wisdom are to be found everywhere in this book: on love, family, tradition, self-awareness and community. 

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

A young Maya Angelou is faced with the real and harsh realities of life at a young age. At the height of segregation she and her brother, Bailey, are sent to live with their grandmother who holds their greatest respect and reverence. They suffer the seeming rejection from their parents, whilst holding onto dear hope that their parents will one day take them back. The difference in the races is clearly depicted in her day to day life in the South; with the utter disrespect of Maya’s grandmother by young white girls and the complete dehumanisation of Uncle Willie when the Klan comes calling. The killing of a Black man who might only be under suspicion for a crime is normalised and can be said in the same breath as the weather. When Maya goes to live with her mother, she is still somewhat of an outsider observing Bailey’s and her mother’s unforced interaction. She is sexual assaulted while young but still holds the innocence and naivety not to understand what happens to her. The feeling of wrong being present, Mr. Freeman puts a threat on Bailey’s life to keep Maya quite about the assault. When the truth comes out, Mr. Freeman gets a sentence of a year and a day. However, he does not serve this sentence since he is murdered not long after, although the experience stays with Maya. The siblings go back to live with their grandmother where new chapters where opened in their lives. Maya went on to excel in school although the ravages of racism still burdened them with mistreatment from white employers and denied healthcare. She grows older and ends up under the care of her father, who could not care less about her wellfare. At sixteen, she becomes aware of her body and tries to navigate her sexuality, thankfully with some help from her mother. She deliberately plans her first consentual sexual encounter with a boy from the neighbourhood after which she falls pregnant. After battling her fears she opens up to her mother who takes it in her stride. With the baby came the fears of a new mother, but her own mother helps her overcome that fear. The book comes to a close with the clarity of a mother’s love for her child.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Translated by Alan R. Clarke

We follow Santiago, a shepherd boy, in the journey towards his destiny. He first lives an average life, following a chosen path until he discovers in himself a desire to travel. With his father’s blessing he buys sheep and becomes a shepherd. This is what, in his capacity, allows him to expand his horizons. As a shepherd he learns from his flock and  books. He is still only acutely aware of the universal language the world. The boy gets his fortune told by a gypsy, then meets a king who confirms the existence of his treasure. He then embarks on the pursuit of this treasure, but not with hurdles along the way. In every position he holds, the boy does his best to better his environment and the people around him. To reach his destiny, he has to brave the harsh ravages of the desert but makes an acquitance who understands and propels his quest. He learns from men, from the earth and from his very own heart. He even finds love, and this too is in favour of his destiny. This is a story of courage, dreams, pursuit, love, omens and the Soul of the World. It pushes us to question our reason for existence, seek our own personal destiny and listen to that very importsnt voice within the depths of our souls. This is a story that will make you a believer in many things but above all, SELF.