Playlist

“You can tell a lot about a person by what’s on their playlist.”
– Mark Ruffalo

 

I accumulated songs spanning across decades to a Cassa’s Faves Spotify playlist. They are songs with lyrics touched my heart. Other than that, I had not done any analysis on the playlist until I came across the Mark Ruffalo quote “You can tell a lot about a person by what’s on their playlist”.

We are who we are both in the sun and in the shadow.

My professional life requires me to be a people person who is supportive, accountable to my work, respecting others and acting with integrity. So I seem to be a real positive person who is full of hope. I will say this is me in the sun.

My playlist is me in the shadow. I am filled with regrets, sadness, missed chances, broken promises and disappointments. When I listen to my playlist, every bit of me mesmerised in the melodies, transfixed in the lyrics, living out my shadow in the open air. They take me to places where I allow the pain to surface, rise and fall, ebb and flow into the inner chamber of my heart so very ever scarred.

I allow my heart to mist my dark eyes, to rain on my soul, to darken my days. The long nights is my companion, the daybreak is my watching angel and the first ray of the sun is my knight.

I am me in the sun and in the shadow in one breath.

Love Is A Losing Game – Amy Winehouse

Goodbye My Lover – James Blunt

Brick – Ben Folds Five

Clown – Emeli SandĂ©

Mr. Blue – Michael Franks

Skinny Love – Birdy

Quiet Time

This weekend has been planned out to be a busy one with cooking, travelling and loads people contact. However with some magic shuffle, I ended up with a window of quiet evening. I attempted to finish reading a book I was half way through but couldn’t pick it up. Then I attempted to write a poem or two and felt uninspired. The next thing was watching a movie on Netflix but nothing looked interesting. There was a sense of unsettling for me. I felt I needed to sit with my feelings to untangle them. So I sat and played music softly in the background.

I am always grateful for what music gives me when I am exhausted with giving or run out of inspiration. Besides the nature, music is my second go to place for quiet time. I feel that through music, I am able to relate my own feelings to the artist. It is more like the artist reaches me through their music and lyrics. They help me identify my own feelings and emotions. Then what was trapped in my head has an outlet to express. For me, it is usually through writing.

Sitting with my own feelings is never an easy thing to do. With music though, I feel I have a guide and I am never alone.

Treasure

A depressed teenager, I was, and insomniac. People came and went like whirlwind on a daily basis which left me dizzy and confused. Music and books were my true friends.

I must have been fourteen or fifteen when I started to write poetry. I produced two poetry collections with themes in love and nature. They were more like scrapbooks filled with hand scribbles, doodles and glued on magazine cut-outs. They were the treasure of my teens, and probably the only treasure I proudly claimed mine.

I had a pen friend, yes, a pen friend. Strong and I shared a common interest in poetry. We had written to each other for over three years. We got to exchange our favourite pieces of own poetry. After so many years, he still kept my correspondence. I am grateful to him because he preserved a few pieces of my poetry from early days.

You may wonder what about those two collections. Well, this is what this short writing about. Be careful where you leave your treasure and who you trust.

My buddy Bupa and I were very close. We talked on the phone for hours every day.  We talked about anything but nothing. In hindsight, they were mostly harmless banter but also completely time wasting. It seemed to me at that time of my lonely years, Bupa was my only trusted friend. When I decided to come to Australia to start a new life, I asked Bupa to keep my two poetry collections for me under lock and key until I returned. He didn’t say no. That was summer in 1998.

In 2014, I finally met up with Bupa and asked him to return my two collections. He told me he didn’t have them anymore. He threw them away because of fear of his wife’s jealousy. I was beyond shocked. The painful realisation of the little worth of our friendship had a secondary effect to the loss of my treasure, the loss of part of me.

In 2018, by blessing I reconnected with my pen friend Strong via social media. He took photos of the poems I sent along in letters to him. That’s how I managed to reunite with my teenage self through those poetry.

Trusting someone who are not trust worthy is a lesson for me to learn.

This short piece has been stewing in my mind for a while. I wanted to be a meaningful piece so I procrastinated. Now I wrote it, it is like a weight off my shoulders. I didn’t realise it bothered me so much. Now this is history, done and dusted.

Here are the English translation for the preserved early pieces:

Mirage

Wishful

The Appointment

Pondering

Unsettled

Fragile

Perilous

Sweater

 

 

Reality Check

Parents! We don’t have a problem child. What we do have is an ungrateful heart.

A child is God’s gift to us by grace. We did nothing to deserve a child who is precious and beautiful in every way.

Children are here to help us to grow up, to be mature and nurturing adults, and to live our full potential as human beings.

If we refuse to grow up, refuse to accept that they are here to teach us, to challenge us, instead, we bully them, blame them to be the problem of our arrogance, ignorance and obstinacy, to label them to be the problem child, we are in fact the biggest loser.

In our childish and foolish ways, we get into competition with our own flesh and blood, we grow jealous of their innocence, wisdom and talents. We are unable to humble ourselves to let our children to try, to shine, and to thrive. We wonder why we grow harsh, stone hearted and despair. It is impossible to please an ungrateful heart.

Love our children as they first love us unconditionally. 💕

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. – Psalm 127:3

 

man person cute young
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Mama

Mama,

I finally moved back home from the theatre limelight. I don’t know what took me so long to resign from the stale cigarette and rancid wine. I guess I wasn’t thinking all that straight.

Before I decided to move back, I dreamed of you one night. We rode our bikes to that big pine tree by the beach. I wore the turquoise fairy dress you bought me for my 5th birthday. It was such a breezy sunny day. I smelled the ocean scented fragrance from your fingertips when you reached closer to fix my hat. I looked up, the blue sky piecing through your windblown hair in strips. You smiled at me like a sunflower. And I knew you were pleased with me. Mama, it has been so long since I dreamed of you again. When I woke up, I still felt the warmth of your hand on my freckled cheeks, and heard you saying “Darling, look at your beautiful glow! Your smile makes the sun shy.”

Mama, most of the time I was so alone. The stage was filled with clapping audience. I was too scared to look as I knew you weren’t there no matter how I searched for your face. My success was meaningless without you Mama. People thought I was busy achieving to please you. But only I knew, I was just avoiding seeing you ill. I didn’t know how to be your daughter, the grown up and responsible one. I was still a little girl in that fairy dress who needing her mommy to fix up her hat.

Now I am home, strolling the same beach we once walked every day. I heard the same waves slapping the rocks in anger, the same sun pouring abundantly at the ocean, the same pine tree carrying more shade. But Mama, you are my missing piece. I am still that little girl hopelessly fell off the bike, tripped over the tree roots, food got snatched by seagulls. Mama, why do I have to grow up?

Photo taken by Cassa Bassa at Long Reef beach, Sydney Northern beaches, Australia

Passionate Death

It is times like this I wonder if the line is too blurry or my mind is filled with opiate, in between of trembling and dead calm, losing control and yet in such a firm grip.

Tell me, where do you want to land? Will you let go?

Land in a complete state that any extra is  too much. The waves become dead calm in a pool of serenity.

I feel your heart open, red, beating, bare for me to see. Tell me, what do you hold back?

There is always a veil between us except when your fire penetrates through and burns before it has time to form again.

Sometimes I swim in your pools. I feel the warm currents.

I effortlessly brush over your feet like summer breeze.

From my feet to my face I land with a kiss.

My breath has a way to climb your firm form. It agilely tests its territory without disturbing while senses the tensing and flexing.

Be careful, I am delicate but strong, not to be played with.

Your breath stimulates every hair, every goosebump as it delicately climbs along. Like a goddess with the power to leave the one they desire helpless.

Then we are bare, heart to heart, in our coffin bed. In the confinement of death ahead, there is no more to lose than ourselves. At what point will you let me go? As we spin together into galaxies of nothing and light.

You are always free my love! You are free from my lingering fingers tapping poetry with your heartstring.

I am not free. I can’t let go. You are everything I always wanted. I forsook my life to get lost in this whirlpool
 blackhole


Play me the song, the funeral song as I spend my final moments with you. Completing our love. One final dance. One final journey into the mysterious.

Oh how I lament over this forbidden encounter in the early mornings and let torturous thoughts drown me in denial.

I study your body, your beautiful feminine outline, so swelled and sharp, surrounded by tiny goose bumps. And your skin so smooth, two mounds that dip down, every muscle quivering. How my tongue explores...

When the veil slips, my being has a way to meet your every desire in obedience and passive eruption.

Lead me, tangle me in your web, bewitch me with your desolate desperation for conquer.

Then, I will conquer you. I will pull down your last covering. I will slip in to places unknown. I have many ways to satisfy.

I’ll plough your dew-soaked lake, deep and forceful while lay my hand below your head, dance my lips to yours like sweet poetry. Lilies in the valley fill my inbreath. I become lightheaded, intoxicated and lost in you.

My hands interlock above my head in surrender. My every expression fuels your vigour to go total abandon.

Scream for me! Tell me how you want it.

My aura intensifies before your staring hunger. Every fan of fire calls you to dwell deeper. Take me, take my life! Take me to places beyond death’s reach.

Nothing felt like this before. Tell me, are you ready to join for our dying climax?

Always ready for the virgin eruption, paving the way for orgasmic combustion.

Crimson fire fills my view. I was lost in the moment. I give away and let myself go fully in you. This is our final act.

My moans turn primal and my scream has no names


A Lost Battle

Her own teeth grinding sound woke her up. She moved her jaws and some saliva brought on the mild sweet taste. Her eyes gradually opened to the daylight piecing through the treetop. It’s only just after ten, she checked her phone, no messages. This is normal for an unwanted waste of space. She tried to get up from the hardwood park bench. Her neck and back were aching. The fucking methadone knocked me out again, she cussed. Her eyes met with a pair of doll eyes belong to a toddler with curly hair. Her face suddenly got slapped by a little thick palm. Boo the toddler uttered covering the doll eyes with two tiny chubby hands. The hands ran down from the doll eyes to the nose, on to the lips, smearing the dribbles all over the face and the giggling doll eyes never left her face. Boo the little monkey called out again with upmost enthusiasm. She covered her eyes and called out peek-a-boo to the curly hair. This caused more giggles rippled out on the playground. The retiree moved in fast and took the hand of the doll eyes, pulling away from her. She saw the retiree’s cautious fake smile. She gave back a fake smile and started walking out the playground.

That was all too familiar to her. She knew she was clean and tidy these days. So, she could not have been mistaken to be a homeless outcast. Then why the fuck people still gave her the look. Yes, that look, the fucking not sure what to do look. She thought it was the dole recipient depressing aura that she was wearing. Everywhere she went, people stayed away. She saw through people. She knew she was not dumb, on the contrary, she was street smart. She ran the phone for her mum’s strip party business in 6th grade. She had an adventurous life by stripping and travelling. If it wasn’t for the heroin addiction, she would still be having a good life.

She got on a bus without destination. Her daily luxury was the $2.50 flat rate pensioner’s travel. She leaned her head to the window looking out to a world she once belonged. Watching the school children waiting at the bus stop mucking around, she imagined her baby will be one of them, being well adjusted to this world. She was in two minds of getting the custody back. She had remained clean for almost two years so she had a good chance to regain the full custody. It had been a numb and lonely two years. She visited her local chemist daily to get her methadone doses. She was drugged up to her eye ball every day. The only difference between methadone and heroin was she felt low all the time. She kept fighting for the chance of being with her baby again. Now when the fighting was almost over, she felt the dread of not being able to dash across the finishing line. She felt so tired, so drained and so incapable of looking after herself left alone her child. The fear of letting her baby down again tormented her day and night. She was waiting to be judged as an incompetent mother and sentenced to a lonely low life, a constant living hell.

She got off the bus and walked towards the scenic cliff walk. The blank state of her mind led her all the way to the cliff top where tourists were posing and taking selfies.

“Breaking news today, a Sydney ex high paid escort killed herself by jumping the Gap in front of a group of Japanese tourists close to noon. It is reported she has been fighting to regain the custody of her six-year old son who is under the foster care system. Cassandra reporting from the Nine Network.”

Three BFF

Julie sat, blank faced in silence, staring at the Japanese style crane wall papers. Behind her, the gathering meal was being served. The service staff was pushing the food carts. The sound of the wheels rolling across the wooden floor intersected with the footsteps of funeral guests.

“Jules…Jules…Julie” Megan called out and placed her hand on Julie’s bonny shoulder. She was startled and broke out a cold sweat. She instantly stood up and turned around. The crane wallpaper flew out of her vision and Megan’s sleep deprived face gradually came into focus.

“Oh M!” she slummed herself into Megan’s full busted chest. “I am so glad that you are here. Oh my God! I need you. I can’t believe Bella is gone.” She sobbed uncontrollably, vibrating through her skin and bone frame.

“I am sorry I missed the whole service. I got here as soon as I could. I think I am still in shock that she is gone.” Megan gently pressed Julie’s head on her shoulder and comforted her with gentle patting on her back.

They stayed standing until she stopped crying. Megan took her hand and walked towards the courtyard. “Tell me Jules, everything you know about what happened to Bella.”

They stood by the fence. Julie started chewing on her already bare nails. “Oh M, it’s a tragedy. I saw her last Sunday. We went to check out the new doggy grooming parlour in Westfield. And she missed the knitting class on Tuesday. I called and called.” Tears ran from her red swollen eyes.

“Johnny called me Wednesday morning and told me Bella is gone. She jumped the Gap Tuesday night and the police search team found her body down the cliff. M, she is gone, it’s too much for her. She couldn’t do it anymore.” She sobbed and hung onto Megan for comfort.

Megan was trying to absorb what Julie told her. In her mind, Bella’s bright smile and the images of her and her adorable companion dog were playing screen by screen. ‘Bella jumped the Gap’ was an unconceivable idea, let alone a piece of news that she was never prepared to receive. A surge of anger came up from her stomach to the throat. She let out a low grunt which was out of her cool calm and collected character.

“I need a stiff drink, Jules, would you care for one too?”

“I suppose it will do me good. Get me a White Russian please M.”

Megan left Julie and walked straight to the bar where the funeral guests huddled and chatted in low voices. Megan ordered two White Russians and waited at the far side of the bar where just behind the screen that shielded her from the rest of the crowd. She finally cupped her hands on her face and started to weep, then it turned into wailing. She felt a piece of her heart was stabbed and twisted by a serrated knife. She could barely breathe with nose all congested and head pounding.

The curse

My feet are numb and my hands slowly come into focus. I am seeing stiffened crooked fingers. I don’t have arthritis. I use my thumbs to run over my fingertips. The sticky and slimy texture send chills to my rib cage. I feel I need to pee desperately. My body starts shivering in convulsions with the sensation of rain slapping on me.

Shhhh-tik-tik-tik…Shhhh-tik-tik-tik…The sound of the lawn sprinkler draws me to an awakening state. Relying on the moonlight, I find myself standing in my backyard soaked in my pyjamas. It is July, in the middle of Winter, Sydney’s temperature drops to 4°C. I raise my hands in front of my eyes. I see red stain trickling down to my elbows. “Aaaaah!” I let out a shriek.

The garden light comes on. The next thing I can make out is that I slump into my father’s arms shaking uncontrollably.

“Katie! Katie! Sweetheart, shh…shh…You are home safe darling.”

“Daddy, do you see the blood? I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” I am sobbing in fear and hyperventilating. I stare at my own hands which aren’t my hands.

“Darling, you are having nightmares again. That’s all. Shh…shh…You are safe.”

“It’s not a nightmare Daddy. I was standing on the lawn. I saw myself with gnarled fingers just like the curse. It is real Daddy. They are coming for me to repay the lives I took.”

“Baby, it’s untrue. They are just bluffing. There is no proof for it. It’s some kind of dark magic or spell they cast on you. You are innocent. You are my angel. There is no way you took any life. You hear me Katie? That is a lie!”

Scarecrow

This is a story about a scarecrow and a farm helper. 

The scarecrow was hand crafted by a farmer couple living in a village surrounded by rice paddies. They carefully created her with the late summer hay, natural dyed clothes, straw plaited hair, bamboo knitted hat and brown marble eyes. She was as beautiful as a china doll. 

The love the farmer couple poured into her made her the most precious scarecrow in the land. In return, she faithfully watched over the rice paddies throughout the seasons. She also watched the farmer couple tilling their land, planting and harvesting crops together. She saw them sharing teas, meals and sweets under the shady dancing willow. Oh how she wished she could understand their smile and the way they looked at each other. She felt empty and sad because of her hollow heart.  

In harvest seasons, the farmer couple hired a farm helper, an orphan boy from a village upstream. He had a good name on the land for hardworking, respectful and honest. Harvest was coming in a week. The helper returned to help preparing for the tools, clearing the barns and storehouse. 

The helper knew the scarecrow very well. They spent meal time, rest breaks and any free time the helper had together. The helper shared his daily happening with the scarecrow. Sometimes he told her his longing to know his parents and his sadness of being alone. The helper also played the harmonica especially at sunset to the scarecrow. The nostalgia sound of the harmonica saddened the scarecrow but she was without speech so she could not express her feelings to him. 

Every time the helper left the farm after the harvest season, he grew silent and gloomy because he missed the scarecrow terribly. He went on to work on other farms helping with building, feeding and minding cattle, training farm dogs or anything would make him a living. He read and played his harmonica in his spare time to help ease the pain of missing the scarecrow. He would also pass by the farmer couple’s property regularly to see if they had any small jobs for him to do so he could be with the scarecrow besides the spring and autumn harvests. 

One day the farmer offered the helper a cook position because his wife had fallen ill of a female problem which caused her to be weak and lethargic. The helper gladly accepted the offer and became the cook of the house. He not only performed diligently as the cook but also managed the housekeeping of the farm. He spent his free time to help the farmer in the fields. Whenever he stopped to wipe off his sweat, he would look up at the scarecrow with a big grin brighter than the morning sun. The farmers and the helper became great friends beyond the master and helper relationship. 

Every Spring and Autumn, the helper lovingly strengthened and repaired the scarecrow using new hays. He made her different straw hats that matched the new outfits he sewed her. The scarecrow always looked the best and remained the most victorious against all the birds to protect the farmers’ rice crop.  

The helper and the scarecrow faithfully served their duties for the farm and the land. They lived simply and adored each other in every way they could make happen. If not for the scarecrow, the helper would had been a lone farmhand. If it were not for the helper, the scarecrow would have been sadly watched over a land, eventually weather worn and devoured by birds.