Often the angel, in his inexperience, would weep
Solemn, a ghost of a child, he was desperately unaware
of his own lack of existence
The air felt soft, and the light warmed his body
But the new growing wings, tender to touch
Were a gentle, cynical reminder
That he was no longer
So his tears were as wind
Metaphorical and baseless
A body, once made of flesh
now stood composed of an undying light
Yet the darkness, crushing
Seemed no longer there
The evil had gone in the puissant shine
And the claws of despair, in their powerful clutch
From a soul now released
And with time he would hear them; The whispering voices
The ones that would tell him to not be afraid
He’d listen all night, to still his soft heart
And know that he wasn’t
a thrown-away child
Realization would come, and the tears would return
But this time they’d be of understanding and pride
As the tiny angel, in his inexperience
Was not just a soul, but a victor of life
That space was dark. It looked dangerous, deceitful ― wide open and ready to suck its nearest victims inside it like an ongoing black hole. I had always been afraid of it.
“Watch the gap!”
Mom’s hand clutched mine firmly as we hopped out of the train, her other hand carrying bags of clothing we had just bought on our trip to Lapa, the borough of São Paulo, Brazil. The bright day we had started with had begun to die down. Sunlight now fell as a weak veil onto our faces, the air tinged with a slight coolness that had not been there before. Yet, I could still feel the heat of human bodies rushing past me―people swerving in between each other, desperate to get to their own destinations. My hand tightened around my mother’s, I did not want to get lost amidst this mob of people. A parentless child in the cities of Sao Paulo was like a sole mouse in a cage full of snakes. It was a chance I was not willing to take.
Skipping down the gravel-paved streets, I watched, with the typical curiosity of a child, the occasional salespeople that walked amongst us, a few of them sporadically stopping to advertise in hopes of reeling in a buyer. My mother dragged me past them; there was simply neither time nor money for this right now. Following her lead, I paid little attention to them beyond warily observing. I was taught to never talk to strangers. Dispersed in the mix were also several stray dogs, homeless and unkempt, that delighted my fancies to no end. How badly I wanted to pet them- with their sad eyes and slow, fruitless skulk up and down the pavement ― they needed love! But to mom the dogs were strangers too. I could not pet them.
With our steps quickening to get home, I struggled to keep up. I wanted to see the sights, to count each little rock that dotted the road beneath my feet, even if we had taken this same exact path a thousand times before. But time was precious and running, and thus I had only time for a cursory look. Mom needed to get home and make dinner. We would not stop.
However, along the way we came upon a moment where time itself did stop- even if for just a moment. It froze my gaze and caught my attention like no other scene had done the entire day. I gaped, as my eyes widened into big, shimmering puddles, and my heart was still. It was hard not to stare at that man. He was a different kind of vendor- a frail skeletal figure covered by white leathery skin and an air of vulnerability. His arms were skinny and old, seeming almost pliable, but he had an amicable face, with eyes of a bottomless blue color and just a tuft of snowy hair upon his head. Rags clung to his body, and he looked weary, as if a ghost had begun to form inside him, slowly fossilizing and taking out the life. It was a difficult moment for me, especially at that age, but a realization did come to surface. I had seen the quintessence of poverty.
The old man’s trembling hand rose, In it, a small wheel of dry cheese was picked up from the tattered wooden table in front of him.
His voice was dry and weak, almost a whisper, and he grimaced, as if it had taken all his energy to speak. Poor old man, I thought. No one’s going to buy that old thing from you on these streets.
I was right. I looked around- no one bought any. People rushed past him, their faces tepid as they deemed the old man’s existence negligible. His days were finite and no one cared.
He reiterated, before holding a hand over his mouth and coughing. His words had lacked fortitude and fell on deaf ears, but they were there. He was trying.
My eyes teared with pity. At five years of age, my heart broke for him. I had now understood empathy.
I looked up at my mother; she was oblivious to what had just toyed with my innocence. Inside, I was pleading for her to stop- to buy the old man’s sad little cheese wheel. But it was no use; The moment was quick and we were soon past the train tracks and on our way home. The old man faded into a solemn glow in the distance.
To this day the image still lingers in my mind. Throughout the years, I have wondered about him, and struggled with a question that, as an inexperienced child, I had wanted so curiously to ask. Why do you go on when you have nothing left?
And today, after having had my fair share of adversity, I can say that that was a very silly question. The answer is simple.
Because you are here.
“We are an ocean.”
A droplet of water hangs from a ledge
bravely into new life
it´s small yet insignificant
a tear drop from a lonely soul
Years pass and the droplet, fed by rain,
begins to grow
it becomes a river.
Now grand and beautiful, it glistens in the sun
as if adorned by pieces of
tiny broken stars
No longer a spec of fragility,
it is envied, valuable, rare
and yet, empty
For when the sun goes down, its sparkle fades
it becomes dark and unexciting
a body opaque and solemn
So it flows.
It flows on and on, forever searching
for a bigger purpose
a reason to keep on existing
when the sun goes down
Eventually, it begins to fail
all movement breaking down gradually
as the thought of giving up
the will to go on
there is a sound
a hush, similar to its own,
that risks the thought of hope
Another flow in the horizon inches closer
to its call for help
Two rivers, now following the same path, tremble
The rush is now a roar,
and the flow of two is replaced
by the blended ripple of waves
The search is over
the river has found its match
and they, together,
became an ocean.
- Gabi Marques
(Poem dedicated to the love of my life, Bruno Oliveira, aka Leon. ♥ love you.)
And if black streams down your eyes
Taste of charcoal dreams, fading
As peace cries out underneath fatigue
A rope, held out from the midnight sky
Says hush, silent. Sleep.
Light will, tomorrow
Replace the ebony from your face
& I will lift you through the night.
- Gabi Marques
it has no claws
or fangs in coats of red
there is nothing
that can hurt you there
nothing to be afraid of
is already present
within you, deep
and it holds your fears
everything is going to be okay.
- Gabi marques
listen to the stars
as they sing a lullaby
glowing little angels
from their cradle in the sky
leave behind your secrets
let them show you trust
humble to their light
for all we are is dust
- Gabi Marques
We wait all our lives.
We wait for tomorrow. We wait for our future. We wait for a better day, a day where we can think clearer, be happier.
But maybe there’s more to life than waiting. Maybe today is the tomorrow we were hoping for. Maybe it’s our last chance. Maybe we’re supposed to live, now.
Maybe tomorrow won‘t come.
- Gabi Marques
So surrender. Let go. Live.
We’re all made of breakable bones and rippable flesh. In the end, the only thing infinite will be our souls.
- Gabi Marques