The Gift of Freedom

Once there was a fairy, whose wings were stolen from their back as punishment for dreaming of a world that they lacked.

This was simply not done. Other fairies knew best. Fairies must stay together from their first day until their time of final rest.

“Why dream?” they scolded, and sneered, “Why are we not enough? We should be all that you think of, and all that you need, but you are a strange one, clouded by greed.”

The fairy watched as the others flittered and flew, wondering why was it so outrageous that they should wish to too. They stared at the ocean waves, and they cried beneath the moon’s wax and wane. Left to wonder why daring to dream caused the others so much pain.

But if they could not fly, that did not deter them from attempts to try.

They walked to the ocean’s edge, and built a boat to sail away. It wouldn’t be forever, it would be just for today.

All the same the boat was sunk, and torn asunder, as the fairies cried each one to the other. Leaving was simply not done. What kind of ungrateful creature did not wish to stay forever with their own, instead choosing to run?

“What will we do when you’re gone?” they wailed, and wept, “What if we are sick, and we need ourselves kept?”

The fairy watched as the others flittered and flew, wondering why happiness could not be theirs to choose. They stared at the ocean, and they joined not in any dance. The others whispered in disbelief, for whatever could cause such a trance?

Time shifts and sways, futures sought crumble and decay like so many dandelion puffs adrift and gone away.

Stolen wings get covered in dust, lying forgotten amidst dregs and rust.

Yet still that fairy stares at the ocean.

“Come here,” the elder fairy finally says, “come here and listen, my dear. I’ve stories to tell and lies to dispel.”

Once the elder fairy dreamed of faraway lands too, they longed for all that they hoped to do. But they were told only bad fairies leave, and doing so would cause the rest to grieve. You must stay, they said, you must care for us all. For who would tend our wounds should we plummet and fall?

The elder fairy believed these words, and thought it only fair that if they should be hurt, surely the others would take their turn to care. The elder fairy stayed due to this belief, watching opportunities pass with concealed grief.

But time shifts and sways, and futures sought crumble and decay.

“Look at me now,” the elder fairy says, “I stayed behind because of their words, yet when these old wings faltered, my cries went unheard.”

They told the elder fairy they were one and the same, in blood united had been their claim.

“But now they fly without thoughts for me,” the elder fairy says, “and they only wanted me to stay to sate their needs. Once upon a time I know I told you to stay, but my heart has changed and I see the hurt you bear this way.”

“What should I do?” the wingless fairy wonders. “Without wings I can no longer go yonder. When I built a boat, they did naught but tear it asunder.”

A final gift the elder fairy offered to bestow, a return of the stolen wings that they may now go.

Stolen wings now in disrepair, for all those years locked away from the air.

Flexing their wings, the young fairy laments, “I thank you for this gift, yet I fear their strength spent.”

“Try to fly,” the elder fairy says, “try to fly far across the ocean, to a place where the rest of us haven’t even a notion.”

Afraid and uncertain with wings returned, the fairy flew to the ocean, towards that which they yearned. Their weakened wings faltered and frayed, yet onward they flew, daring to dream all the same.

For time shifts and sways, and futures sought may yet come to be one day.

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Lament for the Fallen

Fallen Petals, Broken Stems
by Lola Lorne

I scoop up fallen petals, palms open to the sky
Traces of beauty scattered too soon
The heat came on suddenly
As did the storm that followed
What chance did they have to survive until tomorrow?

My mother weeps for the tulips she wanted me to see
Their stems now broken, beaten down carelessly

Crouched amidst fallen blooms I have to wonder
Did their hearts ache when the wind tore them asunder?

I scoop up fallen petals, a gust sweeps them away
Traces of beauty too fragile to stay

Winds of Change

Longing for Equity in a World Saturated by Greed
by Lola Lorne

Winds of change, come quick, I beg
This world needs reshaping from its sorry state

Dethrone the barons, their wealth ripped from oil
Elevate the working class that they should not break with their toil

Day in and day out, constant and unending
They scrimp and save with the hope for the future bending

But every penny gathered eventually bleeds away
Taken by governments and businessmen who care not in any way

They tell you to be thrifty, they tell you not to splurge
But lifetimes seep by without a single fulfilled urge

They will shove celebrity health gossip into your face
Manipulating you to forget reality, and care about their fate

The ‘poor’ wealthy, the tragic stars
Are closer to being  theirs than ours

The rich have shaped the world into their home
The only freedom ever gained shall be their own

Another year passes, yet again a dream turns to despair
Every saving and effort siphoned into medicine and care

I watch my father slowly suffocate
Told to be grateful to the government
While I drown in their tangle of red tape
Knowing with a heavy heart, any aid to be too late

So, winds of change, come quick, I beg
Lest I tear out their hearts in your stead
Winds of change, come quick, I beg
For I will do what I must to keep myself fed.

Blue Butterfly

Wind rushes through long grasses. They sway and ripple like a golden sea. The sky overhead a brilliant blue, and the sun a soothing sting. A forest rings the field, green and lush, and I walk with my hand in yours.

Voices call, singing in an ancient tongue. Familiar to my heart though never uttered. Welcoming, joyous, and I know your heart swells with the beauty of the hymn even as my heart sinks with understanding.

I walk with you, afraid to face you.

If I look back at you . . .

If I look back . . .

We walk hand in hand, your light bright behind me as I lead you through the dazzle of gilded grasses. I feel your happiness as the song calls you forward, calls you home.

The golden fields break for a river. A bridge awaits.

All the same I’m afraid of facing you. If I look . . .

If I see . . .

I don’t want it to be real.

I don’t want it to be goodbye.

It is beauty and it is ineffable, and my heart can’t help but long for it even as it aches.

Then you are walking past me, a last smile before crossing that river into the arms of peace.

We didn’t say a word but I knew.

When the dream began I thought I was here to comfort you, to lead you, to assure you this walk need not be alone.

But no. I understand now, this was for me.

A last gift. A wordless farewell. A moment offered to show me your joy, your elation. You were there to bestow solace, to squeeze my hand as you always did before we part ways.

My heart aches, yes, but it will mend with the memory of your smile.

So I looked . . .

So I looked . . .

And I saw you.

Beautiful and free, as butterflies like you were always meant to be.

Love is Varied

Love is varied.

A friend longs for outings with her lover, for fancy diners, and endless gifts. Another tells me they want nothing more than to live a life of adventure with their significant other. While yet another wishes for country living, complete with hobby farm and acres of land.

Love is varied.

As for me, these things while nice are not what I dream of, not what I long for. Glitz and glamour can be pretty but ultimately it is not what matters to me. Adventures are fun . . . but not a necessity. Shared work can be fulfilling and rewarding, and I understand the appeal but I also know the importance of  having separate hobbies and interests lest two people become too entangled with one another to the point that they grow weary of each other.

Perhaps my view of love makes me less exciting because it is not about the rush, not about strained hearts and raging passions. These things are nice, and they have their place but . . . if I am honest, it is not what I want the most.

I do not wish to know that I make someone crazy but . . .  instead that I can provide comfort, and peace. I hardly want them to lose themselves for my sake, but . . . instead become their best selves while I encourage them.

I dream of sitting together in our pajamas, sharing a blanket.

Imagining what a luxury it would be to walk at their side. To wander the night knowing if I reach out my hand, I can find theirs as we look up at the stars.

I think about a garden with the sun on my back, and if I lift my gaze I will see them there, waiting for me.

I dream of cups of tea and quiet, meaningful conversations just as much as I long for moments of laughter at the ridiculousness of life.

How wonderful it would be . . . to hear them working in another room, to simply know yes, they are there.

That is really it, I think.

Presence.

Love is varied.

But love is everything that is beautiful about the world, simply because . . . you’re there.

Hello, Stranger

Hello, Stranger

I missed you the first time.

I was cooking and did not hear you chime.

When I glanced at my screen and saw, “Unknown Caller”

I shrugged, and decided it likely a wrong number.

Now months passed, and I put it out of my head.

But what should happen then but my phone lit up on my bed.

I stared at my screen,  after emerging fresh from the shower

Perplexed at these missed calls listed as “Private Number.”

Worse yet, I did not miss just once this time but several it seems

Stranger still that it should be the exact amount I use for emergencies.

Was it family? Was it a friend?

I call and text, but no, not them.

You know my trick, but it could be coincidence.

All the same I am sad for having missed the chance

If only just to say, “Hello, Stranger.”

A New Year for New Dreams

Looking at the date and seeing the number 2022 feels strange. While I’ve been aware of the passage of time on some level these past few years, I’ve also felt caught in some sort of blur of repetition and mundane cycles. I suppose  . . . being stuck in a pandemic will do that.

But we are a new year. Now, while I am not the type to make resolutions . . . mostly because I fear I’ll just forget them the moment the new day rolls around . . . I do find the first dream of the new year tradition to be at times insightful. Not always, but dreams have their moments.

On the first, my friend asked me what I dreamt about. Without thinking I replied with a laugh, “I dreamt of meeting someone who is far away. They were finally within reach when I woke up. Also, for once no one in my dream was wearing masks.”

Yes, until this point the pandemic had in fact infiltrated my dreams. To the point where most nights if people appeared in my dreams there was often alarm in my heart if they appeared unmasked or came within six feet of me. The gist of my dreams these past few years have often involved me turning down invitations to gatherings, refusing to step closer to people not wearing masks, and in one recent case kissing someone . . . while we were both masked and wearing thick scarves so that it was not so much a kiss but more like a nuzzle. Or maybe that was fuelled by my cat’s nightly face cuddles, which was in fact, the reason I woke up from my first dream of the new year.

Whiskers brushing my cheeks and a little nose poking mine.

While it’s frustrating to awaken when someone seems within your grasp after so long . . . I could hardly stay mad when I saw my cat’s eyes and heard his soft purrs.

All this to say, initially I brushed my dream aside as yet another example of wishful thinking. I’m certain I’m not the only one who misses people from far away.

However, then my sister mentioned that that was the first time she’s heard me talk about a dream where people weren’t masked or there was no element of the pandemic in years.

Initially I shrugged it off, chalking it up to desires of the subconscious and all that. But the more I thought about it . . . the more I decided I wanted to believe it was a sign that maybe . . . just maybe, things would brighten within the coming year.

Granted with the way omicron is tearing through my province, I am not expecting changes in the immediate future. All the same . . . maybe something is shifting, changing.

Perhaps the future as unknowable and ever malleable as it is, is on the cusp of a new shape.

I for one hope it is a dazzling one.

Defy the Nightmares
by Lola Lorne

A dreamscape of souls, milling and drifting
Shades of grey amidst a barren landscape

Doorways to dreams beckon and pull
I search for you amidst the crowd

So many faces, both known and strange
So many nightmares calling my name

I dig my heels in, I don’t want to go
He’s lurking close by, waiting, I know

A sudden warmth floods my back
You’ve found me first this time

Exchanging smiles, we run through the dark

We settle by the sea, and our foreheads touch
Murmured words soft and rushed

My hand seeks yours, squeezing tight
And all the grey dissipates into the beauty of night

A Dream Glimpsed

. . . in a show after dark once the lights are dimmed.

These are my impressions of  BUCK-TICK’s recent streamed performance, Misemono-Goya ga Kurete Kara ~SHOW AFTER DARK~.

We have a saying here, “C’était juste parfait.” Just perfect doesn’t quite mean the same, it is more like . . . just right. Not too much, but also not lacking. Balanced and beautiful. From the set list, to the actual set, and the lighting, to the costuming, and the mood the band projected as they performed.

The lighting especially for me was just stunning. If I could set up my dining area like that I would because it creates such a warm intimacy.

I know it is darker in atmosphere than ABRACADABRA but . . . it is the good kind of darkness. It is difficult to explain. Not the kind that makes you uncomfortable or scared, but rather . . . the darkness of mystery and fascination, of beauty and boldness. Yet also softened by certain song choices like the remix of “JUST ONE MORE KISS.”

Like a dream of drifting through a night forest and being drawn in by a glimpse of light.

I felt like a little moth fluttering around the lights unable to look away.

Some personal highlights for me include:

♥ The remixes of “Uta” and “JUST ONE MORE KISS.” And of course the altered “ICONOCLASM.”

♥ All of Sakurai’s rolled rs. So many. In one concert. My brain was well fed. I could listen to him roll rs like that all day long. His vocals for the duration were just . . . phenomenal. I really can’t describe it, he is someone you should absolutely listen to for yourself. He’s got power and such a lovely timbre to his voice, if you have never heard him you should remedy that. Treat your ears to some beautiful range. My sister commented on this too, that he is someone who keeps improving vocally, and that is incredible to me. I have always liked his voice, that is in great part what drew me to the band to begin with but . . . this performance was truly on another level. So much emotion threaded seamlessly throughout his vocals. To the point where at times I would catch myself almost crying and have to laugh a bit and remind myself that ok, calm down.

♥ When I woke up that morning I was really hoping they would play “Mr. Darkness & Mrs. Moonlight” and they did~!

♥ “Suzumebachi”!!! It doesn’t matter how many times I hear it, I always giggle. This song is regularly on my play list because it just cracks me up. Ah~ to be a soft little bee . . .rolling around in pollen~ 0 : }

♥ Imai’s whole outfit, hair, makeup, costume, all of it. Years ago I translated an interview where hide of X-Japan said that Imai was like an “object d’art.” You know . . . he was right. I too would like a little Imai to put on my shelf to admire, but I will content myself with his performances because at least this way he dances~

♥ Speaking of guitarists . . . all the great guitar shots! And bass shots! And drum shots! YES!!! My sister remarked on this too. Saying how they seemed to show far more close ups of them playing than usual and how it was really nice, and it is certainly something I noticed and appreciated because look, B-T are masters of their craft, so being able to see that with close ups of their hands is just really magical for me. Also it is one of the advantages of filming a performance because if you’re seeing them live, depending on your seating you might not be able to see their fingers fly over the strings. Or in Toll’s case, you might not see the precision and elegance of his drumming if you’re too far. But this way you get a chance to really appreciate the skill that goes into each part.

♥ “Maimu maimu” surprised me. It went from playful . . . to heartbreaking. Instead of it just being flirtatious banter between two people, the shots of Sakurai interspersed in between of him sitting alone changed my entire impression of the song. Suddenly it wasn’t so light and playful but kind of sad and lonely. He looked like he was waiting for someone who never shows up. Or at the very least someone who is terribly late. Given the whole pandemic . . . and not being able to travel . . . or see the people we love . . . yeah, this hit hard. I feel like we’re all just sitting and waiting.

♥ Closing with “Yumemiru Uchuu” . . . bittersweet. A cosmic connection to tie it all together beautifully and meaningfully.

I will admit some of my excitement faltered as I watched because sadly . . . being an overseas fan . . . I found out about the tour in the same few minutes I found out that Japan is closing to tourists due to the pandemic. It was like emotional whiplash. A flash of excitement, and then a dousing of realism. So . . . my first watch was a bittersweet blend. Sad I have to wait . . . again, but also happy that at least I have this, and as the week wore on I decided I would not let the news stop me from being happy. This was beautiful, and I enjoyed it.

And of course . . . I did also apply for a ten year passport and get fully vaccinated so~

At least I can take these steps towards a future of possibility.

♥ ♥ ♥

A Father’s Love

“Don’t let go,” Mom said, handing me the ribbon dangling from an opalescent purple balloon.

My fist clenched, eyes boring into my fingers willing them to grip more tightly than anything I had ever held before. My first balloon. A treasure, a novelty, and a wonder as it floated in the air as if by magic.

Was there ever such a happier moment than this?

But what is a child’s will versus the call of curiosity.

Up, up, up, my gaze drifted. Transfixed by the bob of the balloon.

A balloon that lazily rose beyond my reach as its string slipped through my fingers all the way to the high ceiling of the shopping centre.

My distress flared as my heart broke.

How fleeting, a gift becomes a loss.

Yet . . . while a child’s grip may falter, a father’s love is great.

“Don’t cry,” Dad said, “I’ll get ya your balloon.”

Two chairs stacked atop a table, then another chair atop those as high as he needed to go. Impossible. From my perspective, a hopeless cause.

Up my father climbed all the same as onlookers gathered, staring, whispering, and pointing. Could he do it? Surely he couldn’t!

Did I dare to believe?

He rose on his toes, his hand outstretched towards the teasing curl of ribbon. . .

Applause erupted from all around as he snatched it in his grip, a wide grin on his face. Down he bounded as the crowd marveled in awe at this act of love.

Around my wrist he tied that purple ribbon.

Crouching next to me, in a voice he reserved for telling bedtime stories and singing me to sleep he said, “See? There now, don’t cry.”

I remember that moment, for it was then I learned this:

Nothing is impossible but you have to dare to reach.