47/2017: When the Mind Stalls but the Heart Wonders…

A choice to be made,
options no longer delayed,
for as resistance fades,
the heart shall embrace,
the path in which you reside.

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy


Image from Pixabay – Artist: Qimono https://pixabay.com/en/users/qimono-1962238/


Day 366: The End

A journey started with trepidation,
the weight of so much expectation.

How could I have said yes to this year,
was I drunk?! It’s a bit unclear!

Three hundred and sixty-six days to complete,
a challenge that is a bit too bittersweet.

For finding my voice and words once more,
means accepting I had thrown them away before.

The challenge was not to find words on a page
but seek the truths that would keep me engaged.

For this poet is just a person who is searching,
finding True North, so she can get her bearings.

And although this year may be at an end,
this poetic heart has finally started to mend.

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy

AN: Apologies for the earlier post – Today is a busy day for my family, it is my dad’s memorial day. I had started the poem yesterday with the hopes of having it scheduled to go. Unfortunately, yesterday got away from me with errands and all the prep work for today. Totally forgot about the scheduled post until I received a notification. So apologies for the “double” post.

Day 354: The Reasons Why We Are No Longer Friends 

**AN: Apologies for the repost – For some reason WordPress moved this post from yesterday, December 19, 2016, to published on December 3, 2016**

You willfully linger in the
empty dark
doubting both,
the beauty of the night
and fearful of embracing the light.

So, you tightly wrap that shawl
of possession tighter,
holdings on to others,
scared and scarred to trust
your own power,
the strength of your legs
grounded and holding up up.

Instead you prop your weight,
stealthly and quiety
on the backs on those,
so unsure of what they
really weigh, they don’t
notice the added burden
of your fears.

Those bitter dreams
and fallen promises,
Tied in place
by wills of ancestors,
too scared to leap and fly,
instead you build wings from
the feathers of others
not realizing,
it’s your own will
that keeps you afloat.

Thus, as much as I would like
to loan you my wind,
to help you stay up
the currents of my life
I can no longer direct to you.

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy

Day 346: Snow White’s Question

“I am searching?” I said to the mirror
“For what?” my reflection asked.
So I held up the photo of us,
the one we took before
before stories of who
we were supposed to be
took over the narratives
we wanted to create.

“I am sorry,” my reflection said,
“For what?” I asked the mirror.
She showed me the story of us,
as we truly were,
neither good nor evil
but afraid to mend the small cuts,
we gave each other,
letting them bleed and fester.

“Now what do I do?” I cried,
a girl with a mirror,
not knowing what questions to ask,
what answers to seek.
Gazing at illusions
of things that never were.
Left with the only words
I can ever recall

“Mirror Mirror on the wall,
who is the fairest
of them all.”

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy

AN: I am fascinated with fairy tales – growing up they were also the ones with the female leads. Though granted they were being rescued, but they were women who were confronting things. Life outside the home (Snow White); taking a risk and doing something for themselves (Cinderella); Enjoying the simple life (Aurora – Sleeping Beauty); being independent, even when her family said no (Ariel – Little Mermaid); stepping outside of gender norms and fighting bad guys (Mulan) and being unique, smart and a book worm (Belle – Beauty and the Beast). Forgive all the Disney references, but they are the most shared and universal, though I have read many different kids versions of the above stories.

As I grew up, I began to learn about the darker nature of these stories, and more than turning me off, these stories began to grow in richness and depth. They made me think about these characters in a different way, which ends up coming through in my poetry.

Day 336: Shattered

The flawlessness of the crystalline glass,
makes it the most fragile creation,
delicate and smooth,
Unforgiving when broken.
I wonder how Cinderella
floated above the expectations
or did she just walk on shattered pieces,
Quietly bleeding until the shards
were embedded and she no longer
knew love without the pain
of perfection.

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy


Day 289: Why Brown Lives Should Care

Let’s forget the fact that these lives lost were people, with dreams and families. Imagining future stories to be created and recollecting tales from the past.

Let’s pretend that these people didn’t just step outside to see, and to feel the air of freedom on their onyx skin. Understanding the gift that freedom is, and the ability to share their wonder with others.

Let’s argue that all the things we know about their humanity were false and that the truth of who they were, lay in past mistakes. In choices made in the circumstance that their privileged prevented.

So – ask me again why this matters?

The hierarchy of race, we were taught to care about from the time our eyes could discern the spectrum of life that was around us.  As if the brown skin was better, was (en)lightened because it glowed like maple syrup on snow in the winter, and looked like gilded sands on a Grecian beach in the summer.

A system that sells us the belief that milk baths will quench the thirst within, to belong. That the sun only shines for those who “need” color and not for those blessed with it. In this world where contrast is beautiful, and dark shadows are just the background in which alabaster figures command…

attention, freedom, focus, centre point, the right to be

Because if the only way I can talk to you is in words of colour and melanin, let me remind you that brown is made from mixing purple and yellow; blue and orange; red and green – There is no “white” in there.

You, my brother, my friend, are more closely aligned with the shadows than you are with the light. Those eyes choose to only see two tones, and though it makes them glow, those eyes will remain blinded by reflections cast by ivory statues;created by men who sought to capture all the world’s colours and only give us back two.

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy

AN: This piece, “Why Brown Lives Should Care,” was written as a response to all my family, friends, and acquaintances that see #blacklivesmatter as a black issue and ignore the fact that it talks about systematic racism. Working in social Justice, I have held many sessions with youth and community members from the South Asian community, who will tell me that they don’t face racism because they are part of the “White” crowd, that they fit into these patriarchal and colonial structures (my more honest words) and will be seen as individuals, not by the colour of their skin. Challenging racism in racialized communities still remains one of the hardest parts of my job but I always believe, things will get better.