Shine Upon My Face

Let the sun not shine upon my face

For I have proven to be a disgrace

Field mice and snakes may do their duty then rest

But for me I must forever be put to test

I deserve not the comforts and eases of sleep for the more

For I have been taught to always shut that door

I must carry the burden and weight of one forever out of place

A stumbling child of the universe in need of grace

When my weary feet can take it no more

I trip and hesitate on bruises that battered me to the floor

I search the heavens and beseech my soul

I light the corridors of my own aching hole

For where shall I look when I have searched the great outdoors

Yet found no place of refuge and solace that can lead me back to shore

Then comes the work of rebuilding each day

Of trying and learning to love this here face

For it is my only face, that knowledge I grasp

Why can't it not feel the sunshine, not know that it can be glad

The embers that crackle, the firsts of light now piercing through

Guide me by sun, by twilight, by moon

Each step is a hidden metanoia of the soul

My tears embrace my heart, which shivers from the rhythm sprung anew

At dawn, the first bleeding lights of rays

Scare me no more, may that sun please touch upon mine face


I feel mightily overwhelmed, very shaky

Standing on a boat with the waters crashing into my stern

The wave of emotions ever stronger, higher, tumultuous

Have they been held back too long?

Or am I drawing phantasms?

The excitement for solitude

Do I recognise myself?

Who is in the mirror?

A half, a whole, a piece?

What am I experiencing?

An up, a down, an in between?

Is this the bridge to cross to the shore -

Unveiled tides that carry me to steady ground

A mystery, then.


A wave of sunshine caught my eye today

As my humdrum day began its end

The new green leaves seemed to throw their applause

Fresh, yellow green at the cusp of spring

In my steps, humming in my heart

Larry and Giselle

Giselle came home to a dark house. It was silent as well, with only the faint buzz of the refrigerator greeting her. Her silhouette framed the doorway as the door swung open and her movements were clamorous as she kicked off her heels. The tiles were cold. The windows were usually closed by the evening due to how cold the nights could get. One hand full of files and the other holding groceries, she forgoed* flipping the light-switch and had to step uncertainly after almost twisting her ankle on a misplaced object. She went towards the nearest couch and put her files down, dropping her tote bag beside them, then resting the groceries there as well. She paused for a moment to marvel at how loud the crinkling of the scandal bags sounded. 

    As she went to turn a light on, she wondered where her errant companion was. Larry was usually awake and comfortable at this time. Neither the television nor the radio was on and she couldn't smell anything cooking. She couldn't even hear his snoring.

    Her nail clicked against the plastic of the switch and the room brightened. Walking further inside, she saw him slumped over the dining table, his head turned towards her, eyes open. She enacted a silent version of a scream, eyebrows rising, hand moving to her chest. He blinked as she ran toward him hearing her say, "Larry! What are you doing?" He turned  his head to the other side, unknowingly placing his hair in drool. Giselle poked him in the stomach, attempting to rouse him from his stationary state. He pushed her hand away, mumbling that she should leave him alone. She did. She walked toward the couch to get the groceries and pack them out. She looked at Larry as she walked through the dining room to the kitchen. His eyes were red and marks were on his face from it being pressed against items on the table. She looked at him again as she walked back to pick up her bag and work files. He was still wearing his marina and pants from work. She craned her neck as he slipped from her field of vision. He was also wearing socks. She walked the long way around to her room, aiming to see his face since he was turned away from her. His skin was oily and his lips were dry. She came back from her room then went to the kitchen to pour a glass of water. She set it in front of him. 

    "Larry, what's wrong?" she asked. He didn't answer and she sighed. Her stomach rumbled, and she scowled as she realised she would have to deal with the food tonight. "If you want to mope and not talk to me, go somewhere else and do it," she said, crassly. She turned on the radio and went to  the fridge. She put some left over soup on the counter to thaw a bit while she went to change her clothes. Returning to the table with a file, she retrieved the manuscript and tried to ignore Larry.

     It was some story about a musician and his struggles from birth to death. She crossed her feet, bounced them, scratched her head, pinched her nose, and began to read. Some time passed. There were few errors so far, but the story wasn't interesting her. She was finding it hard to concentrate. 

    Larry farted. She peered over the papers in her hand and waited, then frowned. He usually said something silly after that. He didn't say anything. 

She went back to reading. No words were spoken for a while. They sat there, sitting, reading, ignoring. Larry refused the food when she brought it to him and his eyes didn't follow her movements as they did sometimes. The only sound was Giselle's flipping of the manuscript pages. The room's atmosphere was subdued and tense. It lightened as the evening wore on though, until Giselle's eyes were beginning to droop and Larry's limbs were shifting with restlessness.

Giselle pushed the papers together and sat up, fearing she would permanently damage her glasses if her head dropped to the table another time. She was cautious as she moved, taking a wide berth around Larry. During her multiple trips to and from various rooms in the house, the table was cleared, the cold soup was taken up and she noticed that Larry was asleep. As she walked past him the last time, she bumped him with her hip, then turned off the lights as she heard his stumbling. It was satisfying to hear him curse.      

As she came back from the bathroom. He was standing in her doorway. "I can't do this anymore." He said.

"Oh?" she said. "You're ready to talk now?."

"This thing." He ignored her statement.

"What thing?"she asked.

"You and me." he replied.

"You and I?" she corrected.

Larry tensed a bit, gritting his teeth, then swallowed and sighed. He nodded.

"Is that a yes?" Giselle asked.

"God dammit, Elle."

She looked at him. "Okay." She went inside her room and shut the door.

He stood leaning against the wall.

She re-opened the door marginally, not coming outside, and talked to him through the crack. "Why?"



*(Apparently the past tense of of forgo is forwent, but it just sounds wrong.)


I cricked my neck this morning changing my shirt in the bathroom at 2.a.m. Now I’m going to spend all day feeling sorry for myself and asking the universe to take away the pain. It reminds me of feeling sick, feeling like you have this handicap that isn’t that bad but because it’s the only major annoyance for the time being, the moment it’s gone, it feels like freedom and a breath of fresh air.

    I’ve been missing Jamaica so I started running through all the songs on my ipod, and have been connecting mostly with reggae music or music from across the Caribbean sea. I told myself to stop searching for a feeling and just let the music play. Currently, I’m listening to Grooving my girl by Richie Spice. I’m thinking about traveling cross-country with this song bumping through the speakers. I remember the rumble of the road. Outside the window it was daylight. We were driving fast. No 65mph speed limits and too many people. There was blue sky and yellow fields with common notes of houses and straight lines.

It was the best thing I’d ever seen. Coming from mountains and valleys to plains and long horizons I had only read of in books. A chance to explore, a different kind of atmosphere.

Desi-Rae Comment
The annoyances of oil paint

T-Thump t-thump t-thump t-thump. T-Thump t-thump t-thump t-thump. The beat sets my mind in sync with the song. The bass keeps rhythm. A lighter atmospheric sound joins in, then a voice begins to sing. I step in time to the beat as I walk across the room. A faster beat steps in, adding to the thump thump thump thump keeping time. My mind falls into the state I’m trying to induce, like clockwork. Nothing but me, my intention and the music.

My hands set to work, and an image assembles itself in my head, picking up its fragments since the last time I was in the space. I start mixing, I start eyeing the different components, picking out all the little details I’m not satisfied with. I think, ‘if I do just this, it’ll be good’. But then a minute later I say, ‘No something is still off’. I step back. I look at my source image. I look some more. And I look even more. Then I look at my image. I examine angles, shapes, negative spaces, proportions. I look back and forth. I say, okay I think ‘it’s this that’s off. I go to fix it. I fix it. I compare again. I think, ‘Nooo there’s something else. I must observe some more’. I repeat this process a few times. Before I know it 4 hours have passed. I stop to eat. I get back to work with my focus maintained. After some time, I go to the bathroom. At the beginning of this short journey, I think, ‘I can’t wait to get back to my painting’. It seemed my body was caught up to the new activity but my mind was still there. After I flush the toilet (and wash my hands!) and begin to walk back, I think my realisation, ‘ok I’m hungry’. So then I look at the time. I am surprised. It’s now the afternoon. I go to heat up my food. Then I remember, I had some things to do today: the busywork and paper stuff that always feels like an interruption. So, I set about doing that. Halfway through, I stuff my face. I keep thinking of the painting by looking at it. I’m thinking in the background of my thoughts, ‘it’s too complicated now because I added too many elements’. I keep glancing. During one glance I realise, I know what to do. I feel a surge of triumph. Today is miraculous because I didn’t have many things written down. I remember to go back to the painting. Then once I’ve changed the thing I noticed a bit before, I stop. I have to let it dry before I do the next step. I was working on it all day, thinking today, I’ll just do this and it will be done. But as is often the case, I am proven wrong. The annoyances of oil paint.


The sun is beating down on her back, blue sky, cirrus clouds, hurrying footsteps, random shouts, faint music, catcalls, birds screeching (not chirping), muttered curses. Ordinary day, ordinary sounds. “Idiot! Put me down.”

“Miss, wait a minute.”

“How many times do I have to say that the strawberries are kept in this container?”

“Don’t you dare.”

“Miss! You left your change!”


“Lady in the red top!”


Ordinary day; ordinary words.


“Woman! You!” Isn’t that in the wrong order?

”Aika!” Her name finally registers and the sound of gravel crunching underfoot stops. Sunlight glints off her glasses as she turns to face her cousin, Miles. She glares and he rolls his eyes. “She’s been running after you for a while.” Her eyes follow the direction of his finger and lands on a pair of huge breasts. She reacts by rapidly looking away and back, looking up into brown eyes, producing an embarrassed smile and scowling immediately after. Miles reacts by laughing. ‘Top-heavy’ dumps a $500.00 in her hand and winks at her. She shudders and Miles laughs... again. “What did you buy?”

She ignores him and continues her long trek home. “You could’ve invited me. I didn’t even know you left the house.” Her rhythm falters momentarily as she glances at a flute in a music store. The light shone down on the display, lending it a magical aura and her thoughts wander as her leg muscles start moving. She misses her sister so much. Her fist clenches as memories flood her consciousness. Music was Danni’s thing. From way back, she could remember her shouts to tell her sister to go practice somewhere else, the notes of sorrow at their parents’ funeral, her battle screams punctuated with bursts of shrill whistles from the damn instrument and the happy tune as she sung along at her school auditions, right before Danni fell and began hyperventilating, heart attack. Danni was too young for that, too precious, but that never stopped her from going away. It never stopped her at all. Aika hadn’t cried yet. Danni used to cry for everything, from watching soap operas to getting an ant bite, the girl was annoying, but it was Danni who had raised her, Danni who helped her with frustrating homework, gave her her first paintbrush, taught her about her body, boys, life. Danni who was now dead.

A month had passed since she’d last heard her sister’s voice and her Aunt Michelle and her son were living with her. She resolves to buy the flute on her next trip to the mall.

“Aika, you’re not even listening to me?” Miles was like a fly: ugly, annoying and persistent. Well, scratch the ugly part. He had commendable locks and eyes. However, he was still a pain, all the time. They made their way home, and she continued to grapple with her thoughts.

Snippet, WritingDesi-RaeComment
No Signs of Hate

Smack. Right in the face. How silence speaks volumes. The human body has perfectly evolved to communicate its messages, its unspoken world. And it executes with perfection, casual, efficient. The mental thought had not yet become words. How glances and gazes bewilder. How the ego I always knew and believed to be strong, felt a graze. My identity it seems is ever-changing. But it must come from within, something so beautifully detailed: my core, my values, my dreams, my I'm going where I'm going, I'm happy to be me. And I am happy to be me, and I want others to be themselves. And in the spoken words, the direct conversations, where eyes meet, and teeth bare, no signs of hate.

OpenDesi-Rae Comment
On Art

When my thoughts are confused and slippery, producing no friction as I reach for them, I listen to music, write, or draw. This emotional release is art. This stimulation of the senses is needed not only to release bridled emotion, but to reveal it as well. The process of making art allows one to dwell on thoughts and to bring the unconscious into the conscious. The arts are a form of therapy that help to maintain a state of calm and order in an almost unnoticeable manner. Artists are able to sift through their thoughts during the creative process, often in an absentminded manner. It is why authors and playwrights write. It is why visual artists paint or draw. It is why composers and musicians make music. It is why dancers get lost in sound. The arts are about feeling and expression. This is true for visual arts, performing arts, literature and other forms of the arts, and it is also true at both the individual and the community level. It is so for the people who create it and for those who experience it. The lines scrawling across a paper, the chords that run throughout a song and the degree of clarity or confusion in a piece all say something. An artist takes a feeling and intensifies it; he or she tries to sincerely convey emotions in a way that makes sense. This is why art can never be a bland thing. No matter how simple a piece is, it can evoke an exact emotion in the observer and bring a message across; that is its purpose.

I often see artists at work and imagine what they are feeling and what is behind all their motions. As a child, I could really stare at and contemplate these people and their masterpieces. These opportunities come less frequently as I grow older and people grow colder, but I realize that the finished products of artists give me a glimpse of who they are. I watch movies and plays and wonder which individual a particular character was based on. Why did the scriptwriter feel the need to emphasize this trait more than another? Why were certain materials used in a piece? I want to know what the artist is trying to tell me and if I am getting their story just right. Art is communication. It is the selective recreation of reality based on the value judgment of the artist. It is not possible to fit everything into one piece. Hence, the artist portrays a world view that is specific and focused away from the general experience of life. In doing this, he makes an argument about what is important at the time. He tells a story through the medium which best helps him to bring it across. This is what is so beautiful about the arts; the storytelling that is a key part of them. Art exemplifies what life is about: stories.

Everyone, every group and every individual, has a story and the arts are essential to the transmission of these stories. The arts allow heritage to be passed down through generations. This includes simple aspects such as dress or folktale. They embody the culture of a people and share their stories in a way that nothing else can. Sometimes, literature is the best way to do this as it takes the reader on a journey of the mind into what a person’s lifestyle was at a certain time. Architecture and paintings provide images which are concrete in the thoughts of the observer. Music and dance provide something more abstract, yet definitive of a particular background. Film and theatre often recreate experiences much like literature does. The arts preserve history while providing a simple, unobtrusive method of educating different societal groups about each other. What I think is so beautiful about art, is how it allows people to reach beyond what they know, to experience something different from who they are and to think beyond the familiar. They can touch a sensation that was not originally their own, but then make it theirs once it reaches them or once they reach it. Art cuts across all boundaries, including culture, education, language, background and time. Each time that art is experienced, an imprint is left on the mind and that impression, if given time, can often change the way a person thinks. It can change how people relate to one another, simply because they recognize that at one point they were at the same place and experienced the same things. Two persons from completely different social spheres are able to come to the same conclusions on certain subjects. In this way, the arts develop the personalities of individuals, nurturing more tolerant minds and decreasing ethnocentrism. They allow persons to find similarities among themselves and build on these to form bridges to one another.

Art builds appreciation for the unfamiliar and encourages people to allow themselves to feel their own emotions. It helps them to understand themselves and to understand each other. Of all the things that the world needs in order for humans to coexist with themselves and with their environment, it is these two that it needs the most and the arts provide them.


From ever since, he had looked toward a different time, a different life, hoping it would blend into the now that he knew. He mused on it frequently, on where it would be, on how long it would take, and etceteras. He acted too, tried the little things that promised to pull his new life closer. He kept burrowing for comfort, unable to find a place where his limbs fit.

Eventually, he grew tired of playing with his dreams. Every time he met them in the sandbox, they pushed him to ground with their enthusiasm, and then laughed when the grit got in his eyes. So, he held a requiem for them one night, bringing a bottle along for the ride. Because he hated what he had made of his thoughts, the visions he had created in his head. They scarred his retina every time he chanced a look at them. They were too bright, too full of hope.

He thought up silly fantasies to take their place. He wanted to be an English man with an English name and have an English wife. He wanted two dogs and lots of plants in the backyard. He wasn't sure about kids. Kids messed things up. But he wanted a yacht too, a vessel to sail on and remember days gone by when what he had achieved was all just wishful thinking. And as for work: he wanted to start at the top. His skin wasn't too tough after constantly being rubbed between the ground and the shoes of his superiors. He wanted a sweet life, sweet like candy, and pretty like money. He’d seen the futility of his desires and refused to put them within his reach. If they dangled too far, there was no point in making the effort to reach them. Maybe, they would drop from the sky and hit him in the eye, without him ever noticing them while they were too far to touch.

Sometimes he would get lost in these thoughts. Then he would remember where he was and how things really were, the heat whipping against his face, the sounds of the city and murmurs of gossipers, all carried along by a silent wind, a wind that just wouldn’t bring him what he wanted.

Sweaty bodies lurched against each other as the vehicle moved. Dust, plastic wrappers and bits of paper repeatedly jumped up and returned to the surface of the bus floor. They maintained a gentle rhythm, dancing with the flaws of the road. Kamal absent-mindedly watched this. Every night when he reached home, it seemed as if his mother were even angrier than the night before. She constantly nagged him to go find work, pressuring him to do something about his state of limbo. The pitch and persistence of her words stung his ears and fueled his reluctance to try. His friends looked at him through slit eyes, accusing him of laziness in an effort to urge him on. He didn't see the point. Experience had perfected his fatalistic expectations. Besides, he had told Ashlee that he was going to call her tonight.

He came off the bus at his stop, the clinking of coins being exchanged familiar. As he continued the journey to his house, he watched his neighbours kicking ball under a street light's yellow glow. He pushed his gate open. The air had cooled the metal. It unfortunately did nothing to stop the horrible creaking that always sounded as the gate opened. Yes, this was home.

Last Summer

I want to be the moment you desire.

I want to smile with you under bridges and over mountains of paper, recycled wood; drown in ink, drawings, and words; taste graphite; and become paint. I want to feel the grass at my back and your breath at my shoulder. I want to share something with you that no one else could recapture, even when you’re gone. I want to play at the edge of the well of souls and see your visions, hear your comments and observations, make them my own.

I want to have something pure, yet I would respond to the tainted. I want the good, but I would preserve the selfish.

I want to prove something: that we exist. I have a yearning so strong which claws through interwoven bonds like the slow burning of paper alight. I want you to hear my knocking like a siren’s cry and understand my gaze in that of a child’s.

I wish you could forget where you’re bound.

I want to damage time, cruelly force it to turn back, with a violence that is not my own, but a borrowed vehemence and guilt and shame. I wish you had heard my laughter and seen my energy, met me when everything was fine, even when it was not. I wish you had tamed my cries of joy and wonder and amazement, with yours of passion, fueled and transformed it into something absolutely raw and good, not skipped it and left a barren space of dreams.

I want you to experience this strumming in my chest and feel this breeze brushing away my sweat. I just want to share it, that’s all.

I want to lose myself in your embrace.

Now I Am Six

...I can think whatever I like to think,
I can play whatever I like to play,
I can laugh whatever I like to laugh,
There's nobody here but me.
I'm talking to a rabbit...
I'm talking to the sun...

--  "In the Dark" by A.A. Milne

There's a book of poetry that I have.
It sits at the lowest part of my make-shift bookshelf.
It's blue and small.
There is a pattern of bees on the border,
Or it could be flies. I can't tell which it is.
I stole it one afternoon from my teacher, when I was in grade four
Because I had to go home and I hadn't finished reading it.
I was alone at the time, when I first picked it up.
I sat in the left corner of the classroom, near the back, at my desk.
I remember how I paid little attention to everyone clearing out.
I never noticed my surroundings; I paid attention to the book.
Yet now I can remember the empty desks around me, the light shifting as people walked by,
The walls of the classroom and the whir of the fans.
I was entranced then
By the children in the book, the bad Jane and the two friends,
By the drawings of the buttercup field and raindrops on flies.
I never really understood, but the man who was a boy interested me too.
I rarely read the book now, because I save it for special occasions.
Whenever I read it, it's the same as when I read it then. And sometimes I want that feeling.
It's hard to get that simplicity in other places.
But I find it there.

Poetry, WritingDesi-RaeComment
Buscando Algo

I didn't know what to write. I haven't known what to write lately. I've known what to draw, what to play, what to read, but I haven't known what to write. The urges are there, but I ignore them because following them seems futile. They don't change anything. They never did really, but then it felt like I was doing something when I did decide to write. I was unleashing worries and uncovering the things I had buried. It was easy to manipulate words so that nothing was explicit, but it could still be understood. Now it's hard and since it never seemed like I was pushing myself before, I didn't start.

Maybe I should have. It feels eerily like I lost something because when it knocked on my door, I turned it away. Quite often, muffled whispers scratch and nibble at my brain and I want to feed their hunger, quiet their yearning. Yet when I try, I start without finishing. I don't allow myself to reach that state where I am swimming with my thoughts, picking them out as they hurl waves of emotions toward me. I don't want to think about the details of my life that are often written unintentionally, the ones that make me begin in the first place. If I did, I would have to concentrate on what is, the present. Life sticks me in the back while soothing my headaches and washing my feet. But I'm so used to the flavour that my tongue doesn't process the signals anymore. There's so much I could say, so much to contemplate, but how does it differ from how it will be. 

Ah. Now I know what this is about. It's pretty amazing how our minds bring things up without having to flash neon lights every time you pass something important. I don't want to pass anything. I don't want anything to pass me. Time is so precious, so finite. I don't want to lose it. I don't.

I guess I was just trying to find a feeling.

Stream of Consciousness

Moments. No, not the physics: the living. I want to capture this moment, this time, this place, But how do I do it? And now it’s gone. It just slipped through my fingers. I want it back. It feels like the universe just flew through my mind. And I’m so caught up in my moment that I’m trying to make it fit everyone else’s. I stare for five minutes at a spider web, very complex in its synthesis. There’s something caught in it and it’s shaped like a hammock. It makes me wonder Why I hate the feel of it against my fingers; how it wraps itself around my touch, But if I were that small, I would feel entombed. Not weighed down under a pile of soil and excrement, But warm and cocooned. The doors open and a man is staring at me. I’ve seen him before. This same place, different vehicle, and he was eating soup. He gets what he wants, the money and leaves. Back in the store, I order and want to take a seat But there are two men, one clean-shaven, the other ...well, not. Four seats, no space. Sprawled like the typical person with a penis. I say “It would be nice if I could sit down.” The solemnity disappears; Smiles replace it. I say thank you and claim my prize. I notice a Chinese woman notice the scene, And I hope she remembers it. Driving again. White house, blue house, white house, white house, blue house, peach house? I wonder. I want to know If there is another body with the same thought process. If this Is what everyone else sees when they see what I see. If this Is how all the great writers and artists felt when they saw life, Through a window, Watching from a darkened street. Were they analysing the scene, or were they living it? Better yet, is this living it? Blink. Blink. Blink. Blink. Blink. Blink. It annoys me seeing it. It annoys me writing it. I see sunlight making the windows of the building haze, Stretching a world of light, suspended midair and I change the picture in my mind’s eye. I’m small, vulnerable and oh so happy. I stand in a circular room And look up to see streaming sunlight and black birds, Not blackbirds: the unidentifiable ones flitting around. I don’t want to change, but already I have For they remind me of the millions of thoughts chasing through my head, Never tangled, because they are moving too fast, But solid in the middle and narrow at the ends All unfinished, unfulfilled, unrealized And I can’t string them together. The sky darkens And people bump the car. The car beeps. I am mildly annoyed. People bump the car. The car beeps. I am mildly annoyed. People bump the car. The car beeps. Person says “shut up”. And I am placated by the toothy grin exposed with the realisation that said car Contains a living being. So many moments. Time should be measured by them Except they could never be measured, For one is a thousand. It’s just another idea that would never work.

Written in 2008.

This Nameless Feeling

Time sleeps while the heart slips and surrenders its beats.

--------The day was stuck, he was convinced. His mind was stuck, the weather was heated and still, the clouds were stuck. Even the hands on his watch did not move, so the day was stuck too. That’s what his logic told him, what his sweaty back and languid stretch spoke. The creaks of the house echoed the sentiment as well, and the cool liquid rushing down his throat only made him want more. No satisfaction, no change of state, mental or physical. It was all the same. Everything he knew droned on and on in endless familiarity.

--------The wrinkles of his skin had deepened over the years, pores more visible, skin almost harsh. A crooked smile would lift his face ever so often, yet it was so ordinary that it blended in with the rest of his visage. Fine threads of silver were working their way in and adorning his head, and his eyes had a twinkle although they never shone. He had lived, was living, and was getting older, but this ‘now’ never did seem to change. The time of the world, of buses and cars, of appointments, meetings and rude alarms, seemed like a stolen illusion. For nothing could ever keep pace like the duration of his heartbeats, from the first to the last, each one a complete pulsation of the heart.

--------There was a pause here and as he stared mindlessly at his world, he just waited, waited for someone to turn him on.

Wrestling thoughts

It’s counting down to midnight. There’s a storm brewing outside and a candle burning in my midst. My stomach is already sated from dinner; my thought-train has already been overworked for the day. The shadows are everywhere and they flicker as the wind blows the flame. The windows are open and the night is cool. The only sounds to be heard are the drops of the rain on leaves, water dripping off the roof unto plastic below, night insects giving their serenade and the distant humming of a generator. If I try, I can also discern the scratching of my pen and the alternating inhalations and exhalations of my breathing.

Physically, it’s cozy, but mentally my mind has lost that state of homeostasis. It worsens when someone awakens and comes shuffling into the room. The careless sounds are deafening and the banging of the cupboard door draws my attention. He burps and bumps my chair, then returns to the darkness of his room. It’s silent again. My mind continues spinning, and I stop writing.