Lisboa, Minha Amada

Dei uma grande volta

E estou de volta a ti

Lisboa,

Minha amada,

Mulher difícil tu és

Mas eu te amo como és

Aceitas-me de volta?

.

Abres-me a porta

Para o teu coração

Minha amada

Acolhes o cansado pássaro na tua mão

Por favor

Não me encarceres outra vez

Nessa tua gaiola dourada

Em que estive prisioneiro

Durante dias, meses e anos…

Sofri e sofri muito

De solidão,

Discriminação,

Um dia me davas atenção

Noutro soltavas uma gargalhada macabra

Na sombra do Outro vivia

Nessa gaiola tua

Sim deste-me comida, casa e sustento

Mas a Luz não chegava aí dentro…

.

Por isso quando vi a gaiola aberta

Escapei

Seguindo o canto de um cuco viajante

Atravessei mares, rios e vales

E cheguei a conhecer as tuas Irmãs

Falei sobre ti

Minha amada

És amada e odiada ao mesmo tempo

Pelo sofrimento que causaste

 Ao mundo

.

Sou pássaro Livre agora

Como as nuvens dançantes no Céu

Por favor

Não me encarceres

Nessa tua gaiola dourada

Minha amada não,

Respeita-me como sou

E eu conto-te as minhas viagens

Te cantarei o que eu sinto por ti

Mas quando for tempo

Voarei para os quatro cantos do Mundo

.

Aceita a minha Liberdade

Minha amada,

E juntos podemos ser felizes

Até essa próxima jornada

.

Esta é a vida de viajante

Escolhi e não escolhi

Desculpa

Mas eu aceito o que me foi dado

E tento fazer o melhor dele

Perdoa-me por não estar sempre para Ti

Mas no meu coração você está

Aí nesse altar secreto

Jaz o meu Amor por si

.

Lisboa

Cidade amada

Vestida de cores

Bronzeada do Sol

És caprichosa como a Lua

Teimosa como a maré

Vais e vens,

Em tristeza de fadista

Às vezes

És tímida,

Escondida por detrás das tuas

Irmãs europeias

Mas não tens nada a menos que elas

Só a mais…

Mas não fiques demasiada convencida

Amor

Tens de ter cuidado com essa tua atitude de superior

Sabes que ainda magoas as tuas Irmãs

Do Brasil, Angola, Moçambique, Cabo-Verde, Guiné, Guiné-Bissau,  São Tomé e Príncipe…

Por favor não continues com este

Ciclo vicioso

Colonial

Desconstrói a tua história

Memórias do passado

Sim tu e eu estamos manchados de sangue

Sofrimento que vamos levando

Vidas e vidas

Nos nossos barcos imundos

Até atravessar o tortuoso Oceano

Sim talvez devagarinho

Chegaremos lá,

Minha amada

Com Amor e Compaixão

Chegaremos lá sim

Eu acredito em si

Na sua humilde força

Um dia lá em cima estaremos

No altar do Mundo

Brilhantes como uma constelação

Tu e eu

Lado a lado

.

Com amor,

O teu pássaro viajante

When you meet another bird

When you meet another bird

You learn to let go

Wow I’m not that special

Just a wondering bird among many

Perched in this world-tree

~

When you meet another bird

You learn to let go

Your worries, attachments and cravings

Fall down like cold snow

As it touches the witnessing Earth

It becomes the cool stream

That flows and flows and flows

Oh this stream has flowed through

Rivers and mountains and forests

And so it shall continue to be

~

When you meet another bird

You learn to be Free

Dharma and Love are not mutually exclusive

Love is Freedom

Not the egocentric selfish cage

That imprisons the soul

So be Free little bird

Fly and go see the world

Experience it and suffer from it

To finally internalize Buddha’s Noble Truths

~

Oh Lord Buddha

When will I stop craving?

The bird sings

You have a long way to go

Perhaps

When you flow through

Enough lives and experiences and sufferings

You will let go

Let go of all

And dwell in Nothingness

What am I?

What am I?

I ask myself

Flowing with life

~

I am not a writer

I lack wisdom to teach

Though I observe

Anthropologist I am not

Discipline I lack

To become a real researcher

I am active but not really an activist

I care but I am not a social worker

Connecting people I like

But community organizer I am not

I can take some photographs

But photographer I am not

I like to paint

But not really an artist

I can dance sometimes

Though bboy I am not

I enjoy playing with words

But poet I am not

~

What? What am I then?

I ask myself

Contemplating life unfolding

~

Am I that tiny little bird that sings perched on a blossoming plum tree?

Am I that tree that stands facing the unforgiving change of seasons?

Am I that clinging leaf that falls while pondering its impermanence?

Oh Mother Earth are you going to embrace me soon?

Am I that tingling morning dew dripping into the eternal river

That flows and flows through

Mountains and valleys and plains

To finally empty itself into the Sea

~

What? I am nothing really?

Nothing?

I must be something

Hm maybe I am nothing yet something at the same time

I don’t know

I am quite confused

~

Oh! Perhaps I am a confused bird singing perched on a blossoming plum tree with leaves filled with dew dripping into the eternally flowing river flowing towards the Sea emptying itself…

Oh I see you now ego! It’s nice to meet you my dear ego trying to be someone, to become something darn we do have a long journey ahead and lots of suffering on its way so let us wish ourselves a bon voyage towards the Sea it’s going to be a rough ride home

streaming from a humble Chinese restaurant

I the ungrateful child of a restaurant have searched all around the world for solutions to my sufferings and I have been propelled back to you time after time until I finally realize that I failed to be grateful to you dear humble restaurant you are like my mother and father you have given me a roof a shelter you have given me food and nourished me to become who I am today you have sent me to school to college and traveling all around the world and here I am back to you my dear humble Chinese restaurant with all your flaws and imperfections please forgive me in failing to appreciate you the smell of stir fried oil the brothers and sisters within you who cook and serve all the customers that stop by for Chinese food please forgive me that I didn’t appreciate your blood sweat and tears dripped into the plates of food that you serve I know you have your own flaws but you are what you are as of now you might be part of a capitalist system that exploits its workers and condemns them to lots of suffering but I know you will be continuing your process of self-actualization and I know you will change someday somehow because you have too in order to survive and sustain yourself so let us be here and now and I am no longer shameful to say I love you and I am part of you and we shall never be separated my dear humble Chinese restaurant you are me and I am you in an imperfect world seeking transformation so I shall continue my journey flowing filled with love your bird child

(Re)telling the tale of the white parrot

Oh little parrot

Why do you cry?

Asked the Bodhisattva

Although (she/he) already knew the answer

.

Dear Bodhisattva

While searching for healing fruits

For my sick mother

I have been poached by

By vicious hunters

Now here I am

Prisoner of this golden cage

Forced to sing poetry

And entertain

Officials and the Tang Emperor

When I sing well

They throw me a bowl of cherries

I used to enjoy it

But now I feel like

Vomiting

All the cherries I’ve eaten

.

I’m sick of this

Please help me Bodhisattva

I want to go home

And see my mother

.

Oh little parrot

Your filial devotion

Touches my Heart

I’ll free you

Go home

But be ready

.

I’m home

But where is everyone?

Why?

Where is my parrot mother?

Where is she?

Oh no, why?

Why am I

So unfortunate

Not fated to meet my mother again

Death seems less painful

Than my present suffering

So much pain

Stabbing me

I wish I was the one dead

Instead of my beloved ma

.

Help me Bodhisattva

Please help me

Compassionate One

Please guide me

Ease me from my terrible suffering

Save my mother’s soul

.

I’m here for you

Little parrot

I’ll assist your parents to Pure Land

Let go of your pain

Worries and worldly desires

And become my disciple

.

Come to the South Sea

And follow me

Cultivate the Dharma

Dwell in the Prajna-Paramita

Sing if you feel like

Little parrot

Listen with your Heart

Can’t you hear peoples’ cries of suffering?

Your work has just begun

Let go of all

Fly, little parrot, fly

Fly and go ease peoples’ sufferings!

.

.

ps. If you would like to read the actual tale just search for “Tale of the Filial Parrot”, it’s an inspiring old Buddhist tale.

Song of Exit

Oh little bird

Why do you search?

Can’t you see?

You are free

Fear not

Nothing external can cage you

No body

No place

No space

Small enough can cage you

No house

With its walls and windows

Can cage you

All disintegrates upon to its conditions

Little bird

Your Golden Cage

Is within

Your house walls seem thicker and thicker

Because you are more and more imbedded into

Your sense-desires

Craving

Awaken!

Lord Buddha once exclaimed

“Oh house-builder! You are seen, you shall build no house again!”

Thus cultivate, little bird, cultivate

Take upon the path the Elders have set you

And slowly untie the knots

That bind you to suffering

Oh little bird

Why do you search?

Can’t you see?

You are free

ps. Here is a free resource for Buddhist practitioners. I thought all precious, free things should be shared, here it is. Credits go to my teacher who introduced me to this book.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nanamoli/PathofPurification2011.pdf

Flying Home

Home

Is a concept I struggle with

 

Where is home?

Sometimes I ask

Flying around the world

 

Is home

Lisbon?

An estuary city where the adventurous Tagus River

Meets the mysterious Atlantic Ocean

History recalls that seabound ships left

This city’s shore towards the four corners of the world

Some call it discovering new worlds

Others call it conquering,

Pillaging,

Raping,

Murdering and enslaving.

Whatever terms people decide to give

By the other side of the river

Lord Jesus Christ stands with arms wide open

Watching over

Who am I to judge?

I am just a little wave among all the waves

Hitting the shores of this coastal city

Where fishermen sail deep into the ocean

Praying to hopefully return to their families

With cartloads fresh fish

Oh that lightly charred sardine!

Oh the smell of roasted chestnuts

Tap-dancing in the hot oven

To the humble seller’s melodic chants

Nearby pigeons

Dance in circles their stylish pigeon-dance

Around the old smiling lady

Feeding corn and stale bread

Calmly

Each movement gently flowing

No rush to do anything

People sitting and chatting

In sunny esplanades

Drinking “cafés”

Laughing

And reminiscing the good old times…

I remember

From when I was still in elementary school

That unexplainable smell of warm spring rain

Gently touching the mud

Pregnant with the seeds of spring flowers

Waiting to blossom into the world

When rain fell

All the children would stop playing their usual games

Some seek cover, some not at all

And everyone would simply contemplate little raindrops

Falling from the sky

Into the open school ground

And when these short rain showers stopped

I would run with my best friends

Dig holes in the mud

And continue our glass bead game

Our circular beads

Clashing and departing

Only memories remain

 

Is home

Gantou?

A small village in south-east China

By the margins of Ou River

Where my kinship line is traced to

The ancestral tombs resting on bayberry covered hills

Calmly watching over the village and its descendants

Sometimes I wonder

If my ancestors are happy with all these changes happening:

From a small village to an industrial town

From small huts to tall buildings

From farms to factories

From cattle to cars

From streams to stench

Oh my childhood stream

Where I used to swim

It no longer flows

Standing still like a puddle of stenchy urine

Discharged by uncaring residents and factories

I remember I almost drowned playing in that stream

Fortunately I was saved from death

But how about the people slowly drowning in the polluted industrialized air?

How about the old people silently drowning in sorrow

For their past village memories no longer correspond to their present reality

Oh lonely elderly parents

Most of their children have migrated abroad

Filled up their pockets with foreign money

Some send back remittances

Some return to build big tall houses for their parents

Or for themselves to display and compete for social status

Their pockets might be full

Yet their roots are rotten

But who am I to judge?

I am just a little stream among many streams

Flowing trying to connect to the river of Life

Instead of judging others

I strive to clean up my own mind

And deeply dive into myself

Therefore I continue my search for home…

 

Is home

New York City?

Where I was born

Under the shadow of temple like skyscrapers

Spreading ideas and ideologies

Coded in images, sounds, products and services

Casting a web like illusive world

Where people flock like sheep

To this land of struggle and opportunity

Searching for the American dream

And once the ‘chosen’ ones finally reach this place

They are given a take it or leave it offer

Either take a bite of the American dream like everyone else does

Or go back to where you came from, loser

I wish I knew where I came from

So I’ll continue searching…

 

Is home

Ithaca?

A land of waterfalls and peaks

Rising and falling

Into its vineyard surrounded lakes

A hilly place this is

Where learning and un-learning occurs

Where conditioning and un-conditioning occurs

Depending on the seeker

A place where the bonds of friendship are tied and untied

Where the cold heart is tickled by the warmth of its downtown festivals

Where all kinds and types of people somehow gather together

To celebrate, dance, sing and eat

Crunchy apples, savory chilis, pad-thais, momos

And whatever dishes you can think of

Ithaca can be place of inspiration

Contemplation

And meditation

On its South hill

A Buddhist monastery

Stands majestic

Spreading dharma into the ten directions.

Hm I am still not settled yet so I’ll continue searching…

 

Is home

Kolkata?

A city in the land of Bengal, India

Where the Ganga flows though

To surrender herself to the divine Sea

Where the East meets West

Not so peacefully

Where everyday is a battleground

Of class, caste, race and ethnicity

Yet from chaos

Sometimes order ensues

After the traffic fog clears

The divine nature of things

Can be experienced by the river

Impermanence

When people bid farewell to their beloved ones

For no(body) lives on forever

Interdependence

When upper and lower castes all depend on the same river for survival

The Void

When the river fully absorbs and becomes the force acted upon it

 

It might be

That the concept of home is

Self-constructed by the Ego

 

It might be

That the concept of home is

Beyond the concept of space

Beyond the concept of time

And it is necessary to transcend these

 

It might be

That in order to transcend these

I need to clean up my sense of “I”

Wash off the mind’s dirt

Sweep the dust of cyclic existence

Clean up past karma

And purify all impurities

 

It might be

That home is a state of mind

Beyond consciousness

Or consciousness meeting consciousness

And exclaiming

Long time no see

It was about time my old friend

Welcome Home

Search no more

For you have finally arrived at your Destination.