after here

What if when we die, we do not go to a single place where all people ascend to, but to whatever place we believe we will go? What if we create our own individual afterlife, and no two afterlives will be the same? If you believe you will go to a heaven, that is where you go. If you believe you will reach Nirvana, that is what you will realize. If you believe you will become unconscious and vanish into nothingness, that is what happens to you. If you believe you will meet a god, you will. If you believe you will meet a satan, you will. If you believe you will meld into oneness with the universe, you will. If you believe you will become a conscious being of light, you will. What if? There is so much we don’t know. But we might consider the possibility that what we believe will become our reality in the hereafter and seeing those we love again depends solely on our mutual belief in what happens to us when we leave here. We just might be powerful enough to be the creators of what happens to us. What if?

a dime bag

i remember a time when
meditation was free
now the stolen moments
cost dearly

i lean back and think

a memory is worth more
than a dime bag
but no one buys memories
they want weed to get high

meditation won’t
take them there
too expensive
too much time to collect

a dime bag is easier
time costs too much

no, meditation won’t get you high
stolen moments won’t pay the rent

– zaji


the ocean and i

Today I went to the beach to watch the waves rushing in from the ocean, and to find peace. Families lightly speckled the sand. Children splashed about in the water and others built snowmen with sand. It was, after all, nearly Christmas. What’s Christmas without a snowman, even if made from sand. Children of Florida may not have snow, but they know how to get into the spirit of the season. I don’t celebrate holidays anymore. I try at all times to celebrate each day that I’m alive. Listening to the children’s laughter on the beach reminded me, yet again, that everyday is special. The moment, now, is all there is. Nothing else is guaranteed.

The photograph is of me looking out at the ocean. I watched as surfers struggled to ride the too tiny waves that weren’t enough to give them a decent ride. Beach bums sat on their chairs looking off into the distance, coffee mug by their side. Some with a book in hand. What were they all thinking? Were they wishing for the same things I want? Freedom? A culture void of the violent madness that plagues the planet? What lives in their daydreams?


The problems of the world cannot be solved by day dreams. They must be solved by action. What did we all hope would happen out there, in the ocean? Would it give birth to something new? Would the cries of a new birth rise out of the water and travel to distant lands for all to hear? Who would cut the cord of this new life that we all would share? Who would fearlessly join the revolution and usher in a better world? Who would join the cries of rebirth? I don’t know. It’s all just our imagination–thoughts unformed. But in that moment of deep contemplation and introspection, time stopped. The sun was setting. The sky began to turn hues of red and pink. The birds were making their last rounds in search of food and shelter.

I kept looking out. I wanted something to happen before I left. But nothing did. Maybe nothing would ever happen. Maybe this is all there is. Me, the ocean, the moment and thoughts that turn to dust when the sun fully sets.

the pitter-patter

A house with three small children, a three-year old, two-year old and ten month old is far from a home filled with the pitter-patter of little feet. When they are each wound up like giant mechanical toys, one could only wish they would wind down at the end of a few minutes. Their screams, cries and whys resound throughout the many hallways, out through windows and down short streets. As they chase each other across the wooden floor, their tiny feet sound like a herd of elephant heading for the wide open plains. Six feet, all leaving dust behind, or is it really a path of toys that mother will be left to clean up? Dust, toys, it all looks the same when the sun rises, the quiet night is over and the sandman has gone away. Six open eyes. Three yawning mouths. Six begging hands. Three dirty bottoms. Six stomping feet. There is no pitter-patter in such a home. Just the wild cries of jungle animals, all clamoring for the morning to give them attention. Mother hangs her head low and prays for night to return.

the lazy writer

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted. There is really no excuse. I am being lazy and that is never good. What’s interesting about my laziness is that I still write in my head. Sometimes I’ll create blog posts or entire chapters for my manuscripts and even imagine myself typing out the stories. How ridiculous is that? What good is it if I don’t actually write the stories down?

What I lack is discipline. How much further would I be as a writer if I actually wrote daily, rather than sporadically? I often wonder if a writing buddy would be helpful. Not sure. Any way you slice it, I need to write daily, no excuses. This is a habit I need to develop so I can move to the next level of my writing life.

I’m off to squeeze out a little bit of prose. No more slacking.

the uprooted tree

The well worn road was paved black. We’d decided to take a mile walk just because. The gentle sun didn’t blaze hot that day. It was warm and comfortable, not intrusive. The tree lined road ahead seemed long. The light wind swayed leaves. We talked and laughed and shared ideas, laughing at the ones that were ridiculous but fun to entertain. We gazed at houses, pointing at the ones we thought were worthy to live in. No turtles or cats crossed the road. Only us and the leaves crossed. They blew across as though looking both ways before moving. Maybe they looked for us as well.


The uprooted tree was unexpected. Its soul lay bare for anyone intuitive enough to feel its pain. It no longer had a place in the soil. It was cut and ripped from its home, left on the side of the road, exposed. I wondered what life it had lived and how many decades it had seen. Was it around for a war? Did it see settlers to the town? Was it the home of birds, squirrels, bugs and other life that needed a place to settle down for the night? Did it bear offspring from its many seeds that scattered at its base or floated through the wind, seeking a place to land? Where did the wind carry its lineage? To the other side of the forest? To distant shores? Did it cry out in pain, across time and space, when the saw that tore through its flesh ended its decades of life with a loud thud upon the soil? Its memories were fresh, its pain palpable. We were kindred in that moment of passing, connected by memories and a deep sense of knowing. We both remembered.

I too was uprooted from a past that was rich with history and life. My roots were torn from the earth and tossed aside as though insignificant and irrelevant, a history to be forgotten. I lay on the edge of time, cut down, hoping that I could someday be replanted, regrown. But the wounds are too deep. Very little grows from such deep rooted destruction. All that grows is the longing for what was lost. We long together for what we are able to remember; our roots. We reach for the sun across the sky, for the stars, for a past that will never return.

the candle

A candle sat on the table at the outdoor cafe. The wind blew softly, barely stirring the flame. Forks and knives tapped plates creating a different kind of music. The flame seemed to dance to it as though a memory were conjured forth. The quick flicker gave clue to this conjuring, this thing from the past that was remembered because it could be.

Did anyone notice the candle, with its sentient flame? Or did each person who passed through the outdoor cafe simply eat and talk, engrossed in their own memories, in their own past that would never recall this candle that had seen and heard many wondrous things.


my dreams

wpid-2013-12-0417-53-26-2013-12-3-14-55.jpgSitting on a dresser is an empty glass that contained fresh pineapple juice squeezed only thirty minutes ago. Next to it are three books, Martian Chronicles, In the Time of the Butterflies and Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand. Looking at the books make me smile. I received my packet from my teacher in the mail yesterday. I did a good job with the work I turned in. Her letter to me was motivating. It is time to put the books away, however. They’ve served their purpose. I need to prepare for my next packet.

A small black purse is also on the dresser, with pieces of my life zipped inside; a couple of debit cards, a business card from a literary agent I’ve been meaning to call and a library card that I haven’t used in about a week. My little pocket camera sits close to my wallet, which also shares a space with my iPad. The camera is my second memory, capturing the details I sometimes forget. The iPad is merely an extension of my computer, a place to carry those things I might need from time to time.

More books are stacked between carefully carved wooden bookends. They remind me of my to-do list and the next set of books I’ll need to read for class. The book ends look like West African women from an ancient time. I conjure a past I never lived but wished I could, a place so far away and long ago it feels like a dream I once had about being free. Dreams of freedom are really only dreams. There is no freedom here. But there can, at the very least, be a good life. We can make that for ourselves. Tonight I’ll dream of a good life. Maybe in some distant future my dreams will grow wings after emerging from their cocoon, manifesting into things that not only live and breathe in a new way, but can fly to places far away, into times so far from now that wind and water would have worn away any memory of what was once here. The rest would be hidden beneath sand and earth too deep to excavate. I would fly to that place, into freedom’s bosom.