Kayani’s Writing

My Favorite Place – The Depths of the Forest

The depths of the forest is my favorite place to be.  Here I can see green leaves like fingers beckoning me to stop by and rest, birds flitting overhead as colorful as polished gems, and shafts of light filtering down and blending into the shadows of the forest floor, like a waterfall dissipating into mist as it descends.  I can hear elusive birdsong that tickles the ear, the wind as it flows amongst the branches, and empty silence that fills every other moment in the forest.  I can feel bark crumbling beneath my fingers and loamy earth squeezing between my toes while I recline on a fallen log.  I can see, I can hear, I can feel in my favorite place, the depths of the forest.

Meditation on a Shell

I gaze upon this curious thing that is many shells united as one.  Once it was like a thriving city, filled with numerous residents going about their lives.  Now it sits vacant, like a ghost town where some disaster has bleached away all traces of color and life.  Suddenly, it’s like a bizarre mountain range, its jagged, white ridges concealing pits deeper than any gorge one can find.  And now it possesses a different beauty.  It is like a formation of crystals, its dome covered with countless flakes of frost.  It appears fragile enough to disintegrate with the barest touch, and like its former occupants, seem as though it never was.


As I eat my meal I realize something.  What I have in my mouth right at this moment, used to be alive.  Whether a plant or animal it used to be something else, breathing, and growing, and living.  And while it was doing these things, it was also doing what I am doing now; consuming other things that used to be alive.  It was once a miracle of creation, and now it is simply a clump of energy and nutrients, waiting to be processed by my body.

The entire idea makes me want to spit.  How could I be doing such a thing? What right do I have to take from another so that I may have?  To deny one life so that I may live?

 Then I realize that there is no such thing as right or wrong in this.  This is the way things are, the way they have been for billions of years, and the way they will be for many more.  If I were to refuse to participate in this cycle, I would cease to be, and everything else would go on without me, unchanged.  And I myself would be devoured, my essence passed on to something else.

With this thought, I sat back down in my chair, and finished my meal.  It was delicious. 


Are you able to remember events from your childhood with so-vivid-you-feel-like-you’re-there clarity?  When I try to take a trip down memory lane, it seems to be a blurred, overgrown trail through the undergrowth rather than a solid stone road.  Most of my memories from when I was a kid are of being with my family: my parents, my little brother, aunts, uncles, cousins, and Grandparents.  Whether we were at my Grandparents’ house, in a car, or in the living room of my house, I remember those days with fondness.  And yet, I always had the feeling of being crowded, that everyone else was being too hectic while I just wanted to be alone for awhile.  Still, my childhood was a blessed one, and I will always be grateful for it.

My Grandparents kept this miniscule bicycle-like contraption that was built from smooth wood, with four rickety plastic wheels attached to it.  The tiny vehicle looked as though it was designed for mice, but my older cousins had discovered the secret to riding it.  Since the seat was too small to sit on, they rode this vehicle by putting one foot on the seat while the other foot was pushing it along the floor like a scooter.  And what do you know; the seat was the perfect size for the feet of a 6-year-old X-gamer.  However, the handlebars were in proportion to the rest of the contraption, so as I watched my cousins roll down the slippery floor of my Grandparent’s hallway, they were half-crouched and standing on one leg.  And whenever someone inevitably crashed, clattered, and cried, all of the nearby adults would rush in to make sure that they were okay, even if the kid wasn’t actually hurt.

If I look back on my childhood, it seems as though I’ve spent half of my life riding in the car.  I remember watching the scenery blurring as it was whisked past my window.  We were likely to get fast-food while we were traveling because we didn’t have time for anything else.  This was the only time that I ate french-fries without ketchup, since squirting condiments out of flimsy plastic packets onto food that was on my lap was a literal recipe for disaster.  At night, when I wasn’t just passed out in my seat, the headlights of the vehicles traveling in the opposite direction would repeatedly stab into my eyes, giving me just enough time to blink the glare from my vision before the next one came, while I futilely tried to time my blinks so that I wouldn’t be blinded.  When the extended family traveled together, I was shoe-horned into the back with my brother and cousins, squished into the side with the seat-belt squeezing the life out of me like a boa constrictor.  I also got carsick rather easily as a kid, not enough to turn me into a puke machine, but more than enough to make me a miserable example of a human being.  And if I stepped into an unfamiliar car, then it was even worse.  Sometimes the interior of the car would be permeated with that strange, almost-new-but-not-quite car smell that would invade my olfactory unit, bypass my respiratory system, and plunge into my stomach.  Add in the headache inducing exhaust from a faulty, oil-ridden engine to the mix, with a road as twisty as a slinky to top it, and I felt like jumping out the window to embrace the blessedly solid and stable asphalt of the road.  But this does not mean that all of my memories of car travel are traumatic.  Even though I couldn’t have ketchup with my fries, I didn’t mind too much, and I remember the taste of the first bite of a cheeseburger, a little piece of heaven to my juvenile palate.  When I wasn’t reading a book, I had the radio to keep me occupied, listening to NPR in the morning on the way to school, or the songs from my brother’s CD’s in the afternoon.  His tastes in music constantly shifted over the years, though I always approved of his selections.  And of course, there was the excitement of traveling, either to somewhere fun and familiar, or to a place that I had never been to before, with unknown experiences waiting for me.

The living room is the hub of our home, no matter what house we live in.  Everything that involved my entire family usually transpired in that room.  My brother and I usually did our homework in the living room, even though we were supposed to be doing it in the office where we would be out of the way.  I listened to the scratch of pencils on paper, breathed the stuffy, dust-filled air, felt the hot sunlight streaming through the windows and onto my neck, and smelled the Lemon Oil that my mother rubbed into the grains of the table, making the wood slick to the touch.  My parents would call us out to do chores, I would sigh in exasperation and annoyance, but I would get up to do them anyways.  And at the end of the day, the dark dangers of the night were kept at bay by the impenetrable force-field of our windows.  We would all eat dinner, and I would do my best to keep the soft cushions of the couch from swallowing me, while we watched PBS on the television, together as a family.  No matter what house we live in, the living room is the hub of our home.

It is now time for me to grow up and to leave my childhood behind.  And as I head out into the world, practically on my own, I am sure that I will miss the company of my family, no matter how smothered they made me feel occasionally.  At least I know that I can always come back to them when I get tired of being a lone wolf.  And even if I can’t visit my family,  I will always have my cherished memories, no matter how clearly I can remember them.

How to Laugh Like a Madman

  1. First, you need a proper setting.  The top of a hill during a powerful thunderstorm with lots of rain, wind, and lighting is traditional, as is the underground scientific laboratory filled with overly complicated chemistry sets and safety-hazard electrical equipment, but do not feel limited to them.  Feel free to experiment.
  2. Stand if you have not already done so, but hunch over with your head down, so that your face is hidden from view. (This is easier and has a greater effect if you have long hair to have hanging in front of your face.)
  3. Flex you cheek muscles to stretch your mouth into a ghastly grin, baring as much teeth as possible.  Widen your mouth until it hurts.
  4. Widen it more.
  5. Open your eyelids wide enough to make your eyes pop.  It is important that you do not close your eyes or even blink until the steps are done.
  6. Give your eyes a light touch of manic glint, do not allow your gaze to focus on anything in particular, you must be “staring at everything, yet nothing.”
  7. Take a deep breath.  Start with some low but deep chuckles to prime your diaphragm and vocal chords, making them barely audible.  Allow your shoulders to shake while doing this.
  8. Without warning, abruptly straighten so that your spine is bent back and your visage is aimed upwards.  At the same time, thrust your arms up into the air with your fingers curved into rigid claws, like the gnarled branches of a dead tree.
  9. Let your cackling bubble up and assault the world, making it as loud as possible while keeping your diaphragm working and remembering to breathe.  With the right acoustics in your surroundings it should echo nicely.
  10. Pitch your voice as high as possible, but DO NOT under any circumstances let your voice crack.  If your diabolical laughter collapses into a mouse-driven-into-a-corner squeak, the entire effect will be ruined.
  11. Pepper your tirade with occasional rants, wherein you reference some gods from the obsolete religion of an ancient civilization, the older the better.  I suggest the Greek Pantheon.  In this ranting you will either A. Curse them.  B. Call upon them for aid/attention. C. Dare them to smite you. or D. All of the above.  It all depends on your circumstances.

 I hope this has been helpful. Now get out there and make us proud!

You have a long and venerable tradition to uphold.

There Is a Dry-Looking White Tree

An emaciated birch, white as bone and just as leached of moisture and vitality,

Struggles for survival on an outcropping of brown, barren bedrock

The harsh unyielding stone is bereft of all other life

The vast vault of the sky soars above,

A sapphire dome with white clouds frolicking in its expanse

The tree originates from an unyielding slope,

Forcing it to twist and bend itself in order to grow straight and tall

The roots appear flimsy and insignificant, but they have proven their mettle,

Holding fast against the ravaging elements of torrential downpours, howling gales, and the searing sun

Despite its bleak appearance, it stretches up to the sky with its grasping branches,

And it stands above all else in this little world

A Pantoum

“Come on now, it’s time to go.”

A new life begins today.

There’s an unknown world to see, and so,

I hope I don’t lose my way.


A new life begins today.

I set out with my meager possessions in tow.

I hope I don’t lose my way,

Or I won’t learn what I need to know.


I set out with my meager possessions in tow.

I must make my journey on my own,

Or I won’t learn what I need to know.

I will not die without renown!


I must make my journey on my own.

A figure in black is at Road’s end.

I will not die without renown.

He offers his hand with the grin of a friend.


A figure in black is at Road’s end.

There’s an unknown world to see, and so,

He offers his hand with the grin of a friend.

“Come on now, it’s time to go.”


“What is this mysterious creature, a man?

He is what the world makes of him

And though he struggles as hard as he can,

He’s carved by destiny’s every whim”


“In the face of odds found insurmountable,

He may wallow in his despair”

“And yet for reasons unaccountable,

Man finds hope in every where”


“Committing horrors to cling to life,

 He would steal from others, their breath!”

“But in order to save his loved ones from strife,

He goes willingly to his death”


“Man is evil! Surely you see

That humanity loves to hate!”

“Our eyes also find mankind’s kindness, and me?

I say redemption may still be their fate”


“So though he may find it a difficult task

A man is defined by what is inside

And so it is to you that we ask,

‘What is this mysterious creature, a man?’

You are the one to decide”


I once took a trip down Durban

And found it surprisingly urban

So I went to the east

Which to my eyes was a feast

‘Till I found I’d forgotten my turban


There once was a cat in Kihei

Hanging out in the sun every day

When a mouse scampered by

The cat was more spry

He caught it and trotted away

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