“Balance in Chaos”
Rain-spattered panes around,
A translucent view outdoors.
A distant flash,
One, two, three.
Crash, and the windows rattle.
Hand around ear
Of the thick tea mug.
Liquid comfort,
But the content sensation
Of the drink is intensified
Only when the outdoor conditions “deteriorate” and the Sun
Hides so that
That stable, untouchable
Feeling of satisfaction must be, inexorably
Replaced by
A concoction of leaves and honey.
The bright star is loved,
But its absence frees the Architect
Who constructs those brief moments
Of tea, and a notion
That rain and thunder are pleasant.
For without the rain and thunder,
The tea’s value ebbs away into obscurity.
One basks in the warmth of the sun,
hyper-aware, in harmony with
Nature’s children.
Another longs for times of rainfall,
And patiently awaits the Architect’s spawns.
But the Sun and the Architect
Are in a union, clandestine partners
Since the beginning.
And so, we shall befriend both –
Not for order but for chaos –
Sit with our hot mug in the scorching heat,
Shake from the refreshing coolness of the rain,
Embrace the sweat, the fever, the goosebumps –
Hold hands with the Sun and the Architect –
And enjoy every damn second of it.

“Return to Purity”
Years had passed,
And here I stand,
Ankle deep in the murky green lake water
Whose intermittent comings
And goings
Caress my feet like satin.
Where the kayaks lay piled
Some sand divides the vibrant green grass
And the water;
A weak excuse for a beach,
But all is in its proper place.
Khakis and a v-neck –
In no way dressed for the occasion,
The occasion of homecoming
And greeting my old friends,
But as I ungainly climb into the
Downtrodden vehicle of memories,
And the liquid residue of a previous trip
Seeps through the cotton cloth
And tingles my skin,
I am home.
The paddle weaves its way through the gentle waters,
A sharpened blade through silk,
Cutting and cutting,
But the offbeat strokes
And strikes
Of the paddle against the kayak
Stress the degeneration of me
In the ten years past,
And conjure a revelation that
My nine year old self puts to shame
This man desperately attempting to swim
For the middle of the lake,
In a half blind search for the careless,
Visceral, and intimate
Balance with nature
Of the former days.
A panoramic vision of water,
I find myself stranded in the middle of this pure vastness
So that when I produce my smart phone
The resulting snapshot appears pathetic
And nonsensical, as if a film of dirt obscured
The camera lens,
But I know wholeheartedly
That the technological anachronism
Is at fault, an obvious mistake on my part.
The phone is back in my moist pocket,
Because just this once
The picture will not be able to capture
A remnant of a feeling
Or even the sight before me;
I will immortalize the memory,
And return to the purity
With my eyes closed
To see the iridescent horizon,
Feel the gentle rocking of
The stationary kayak,
Understand that the burning
In my forearms and shoulders
Is not pain,
But a reward
For returning to the place
Where it really all began
And where
No convoluted answers were sought for
Because the questions were tucked away
Far, far across the horizon
And all that mattered was the kiss
Of the evening breeze
Amidst the sun struck ripples
Of water.

“The Butterflies Awaited”
Are memories what we want
Them to be?
The white brick edifice still stood
As it did when an oblivious little boy
Departed from its confines years earlier,
But the five story outer wall near the sidewalk
Was not white, but a sandy brown
That seemed fitting for a sandy Middle Eastern village,
And not an urbanized European town.
A pleasant surprise
Because the memories were only painted
White and grey.
The car steered right
Or left
And someone remarked it all seems so small
But my mind was still registering the general vicinity,
So the sight of the building’s courtyard
Struck me
From the inside
Because only then did I realize where we were.
Narrow drive-thru, a packed driveway,
I looked up at the bleak structure
Whose rain seeped plaster walls
Did no justice to the memories
Stored within the foundation,
In the apartment with the long corridor,
Where now reside strangers.
They call it home too,
But as adults with previous homes,
They will never recognize it
As the starting point.
The car stops,
Wistful sentiment does not overwhelm me,
But a creeping sense of discomfort
At the tightly packed cars and buildings
And the meager garage in which I entered our car
On frozen mornings,
To be driven to school.
Preconceived notions of a
Romanticized homecoming
Shatter as reality pierces;
Nothing changed,
Yet home is here no longer.
The idea remains,
The unrealizable realm of being,
forever implanted in some antiquated part of mind.
There’s your bedroom, through that window,
That one?
On the right?
The confirmation is absurdly insignificant,
Yet the space inside is the beehive,
The golden cluster,
An aggregation of meaningless
Yet at once endlessly crucial
And as I think back,
I feel them fluttering to me from the window,
Butterflies of varying colors,
And they somehow pass through the car window too,
And assemble in the center of my chest,
Where a warmth flourishes,
Not from individual butterflies
But from the kaleidoscope in its entirety.
The broken chain of time and causation
Is filled
And finally,
I understand why things are
The way they are.

“A Necessary Cycle”
Let me tell you about forgiveness
And the way the world works.
To forgive
Is to climb a mountain
On whose peak sit
Love and Reason,
The apex of the process.
And if Love and Reason
Rest up there,
Then the empty ground
At the base
Reeks of bitterness and monotony.
I know the ascent can get tough
When the howling wind scratches your cheeks
And the snow-capped ice twists your feet
But son,
You just have to keep going,
Cause once you stop
You might never get up again,
And the ridges will swallow you.
You already told me about forgiveness,
You keep telling me,
And I know how the world works
Because we left Mama
When you stopped climbing
And now there’s ice in your veins;
I saw when you cut yourself with the kitchen knife,
And the blood ran white and blue,
I could see its coolness,
And you looked at me with those empty eyes
That didn’t recognize me.
I cried then, remember?
You smiled,
But I knew then
That you stumbled down into the snow
Long ago
And the smile was an old mask,
Frozen over your face from when
It radiated warmth.
So Papa,
I understand forgiveness,
I even told Sammy it’s okay
When he broke my bike,
But you have to get up
Because there are other mountains to climb,
So let it go.
Forgive me.

About Lukasz Grabowski

I am an upcoming university student from New Jersey. I emigrated from my native country to the United States when I was nine years old, and have since then developed a deep appreciation for language, culture, and thus writing. I plan to study business administration and philosophy while continuing to pursue writing in various forms. I am also very passionate about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).