One

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And we know, that we only have
the resources we are given,
And that is how we are made:
To see two where there is one.
But this is where we begin,
and we can go everywhere from here.
Look at how there are two,
The sloping diagonal of the hill
and the gentle rise of trees,
The verdant moss of life’s green,
The fiery reds of season’s end,
The skyward grace, the earthward pull,
The last breaths glowing bright,
The humble, slow rise to life.
I look at one, and see the other,
My gaze cannot rest on one alone,
Separately they can’t fill me.
One thing bleeds to the next
Until I realize that it is I
who have needed demarcations,
You as apart from myself.
I look now, to this body of mine,
That has failed me in less ways
Than it has abundantly granted me,
And stumble over the parts
I have rued for too long.
The inward breath – halting rise.
The outward breath – staggered fall.
Two of the infinite manifestations
Of how we come to live,
And I know it must come to this:
To bring the self to perfect stillness,
Where boundless beauty multiplies
Not in succession, not points in time,
Not through clashes, or with walls,
But this, only this, only now, all of it love.
 
– Tammy Takahashi
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For All the Victims of Sexual Assault, With Love.

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People’s hearts are ripping open.
Mine is too. The clawing tear.
There is no painless way to arrive
at the truth, at emancipation.
To wrest the long-buried secrets
From festering in the darkest caves,
To lay bare the grisly stories
And understand the vicious stronghold
Of the oppressor in locking them down,
For so long, in their greed, and fear.
There is no winner where power lives.
There is no winner where power lives.
Past the bloody fields of power’s rule,
I see children. Wounded, bright, pure.
They are us. What we want to be.
What we have never learned
To retain as we grow older.
I see us feeling before thinking.
I see us accepting before drawing lines
in the sand of you and I, he and she.
I see us looking around at the wreckage,
unsure how this all came to be.
I see us crying, understanding
from a deep place of ancient sadness.
I see looking at each other and
bowing at the alter of what is sacred
in every last person among us, and,
without speaking, vowing. Never again.
No subjugation. No lies. No cover-ups.
No thirst for more than we need.
No false needs. No avoiding the pain inside.
I see us embracing our pain together.
I see us knowing this pain is all of ours.
I see us reaching for joy beyond pain,
and knowing this joy has no limits,
and is destined for each one of us.
I see peace. I see love. I see peace.
 
– Tammy Takahashi

For a Hard Day

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When it’s too haunting
and the memories spill over,
threatening to dismantle
the fragile, beautiful edifice
of your everyday life
and hard won victories,
When the emotions assault,
and you honour each of them
even as they dance and clash
and squirm in all directions,
and they don’t know where to go
and you don’t know how to guide them,
Take it all into your space, and retreat.
You don’t have to go far,
or to bury yourself
in the layers underneath,
above or beyond where you are.
You don’t need to escape.
It is all here, right here,
in one sublime sunset,
in the rippling sea speaking of forever
that glistens in each wave
lapping against the shore.
Find a tree, kneel down, graze roots
that commingle with the entire planet,
taking all that life force through trunk
and up to the highest branches,
carrying messages of the sky
back down to earth,
for every single one of us.
Listen for those secrets
with utmost silence, your prayer,
and as you reach down
to touch stones and smell soil,
notice how it is, in every sense,
there for you, a perfect full presence.
All of it, all of it, for every part of you,
no judgement, only love. Only love.

– Tammy Takahashi

Two Minds, One Love

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The side looking left, then right,
Lowered to the ground, skybound,
To the child inside, the world wide,
Here and there, this ever-motion,
For every turn, a revolution awaits,
The answers around every corner.
But what do we seek? What ails us?
What needs persistently plague us?
Can we make our two heads one,
Our two sets of eyes, ears, our two minds?
Will we stop pinning on the world
Every last desire and hope,
All our sadnesses turned to blame?
Or, can we see how we’ve become,
and find some peace with our two selves,
And try to find all the ways
They copulate, love, hate, entwine,
And dive right into the middle of things,
And become the war we want to end,
Until at last, it turns to dust,
Leaving our most bare self exposed,
And tarnish it will, though gold remains?

– tammy takahashi

I Stand with the Dreamers (for DACA)

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I Stand with the Dreamers

I am with the Dreamers
I awaken each day to the miracle
Of a sun that still,
In the face of all this, rises,
Grows strong and golden
And blasts us with a rush of warmth
Reminding us of time’s cycles,
Of renewal, and how brief it all is.
I want to use the time wisely,
To create the love and acceptance
And justice I want all around me.
I look at the sun; it is impossible,
Regarding its striking power,
To think of Earth, or any part of it,
As mine, as belonging to me.
In this way, I, like you, might be
Utterly, completely, blessedly free,
And am appalled at how quickly
It can all fall apart.

I am a Dreamer, like you.
I do not live where I was born,
I was not born in my parents’ countries,
And their parents come from
Another place still.
Is this not, going back far enough,
The state of things for us all?
I weep for the nature of circumstances
That took my ancestors from me
Before I could know their legacy,
That today grant me movement
And wrest from others
The right to their dreams.
For what holds us here, fragile and unsure,
But the dreams we carry with us,
That bear witness to our fear and pain,
That promise of a bright tomorrow
That will keep on expanding
With every dream that dares to fill it?

We are all Dreamers
In our pursuit of the pure and true,
In our wish to know that
Our pain can be lessened,
That our hopes,
Lively, imaginative and necessary,
Live and that they matter.
I stand with the Dreamers,
In a world that can only survive
And thrive
On the breath of every last one
Of its beautiful dreams.

The One in Two

 

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there is this mind –
this uncertainty over
where to place the gaze,
which step to take
and in what direction
(for me, it is the ever-pull
between the
gilded rise of east
and the heavenly
dusky skies of west)
 
a feeling of being torn –
leaping through
this portal
means so much left
behind, left unsaid
and undone,
so that the life and
blood of where we are
here, now, becomes
a space of absence
 
so here we stand –
and we have a choice,
we can have more
than one view and
our imagination
can fly every which way,
but we can choose
to lift the filter, and
not see two, but live
and love the One.
 
– TS