Friday, 7 December 2012

Free, at last.

 Angel, by Salvador Dalí

So you are standing there, on the edge of some imaginary cliff. You are so damn afraid, to fall, to fail, to look like a fucking fool. It feels like the entire world is watching you.

The hurricane of doubt challenges your balance. You become so self-aware.  You forget the muscles that hold your once gracious posture. Your knees weaken.

The claws of fear possess you and the offbeat of your heart makes you tremble. You close your eyes. The beast of vertigo makes you want to jump. You stumble.

The ground on which you’re standing is burning. Confidence melts with your frantic terror and your will stubbornly freezes as you stand on the sizzling fire.

You wish, oh yes, you blindly wish, for everything to be done and over with.

Really, who cares?

Somewhere, out of nowhere, someone shouts: Jump!

Com’on you can do it! Another voice screams.

They have faith in you, but you just can’t believe it.

You clutch your nails tightly against the palm of your hands. You want to fight back, but those muscles, too, have abandoned you.

And just in that moment, when your dreams start fading like thin particles of ashes blown by gusts of self-deprecation, someone whispers your name and almost violently, defies you face-to-face:

“I love you! I love you!” the invisible voice says.

That’s when you open your eyes.

You are awake, and the cliff -yes that cliff - is fucking real, just as the fists that couldn’t punch, just as the wings you never noticed unfolding, just as the abyss beckoning you.

Without thinking or knowing why, you jump.

Yes, you jump.

Just like that.

Somehow, for reasons without words to explain it, you discover that you can fly.

Yes, you can fly.

Just like that.

All beneath and above you is an amazingly vast white canvas.

And yes, oh yes, the entire world is really watching you.

Nothing can stop you now.

You’re free.

At last.

  [click here for audio version]

by Amapola in Six-Word Memoirs on Dec 06, 2012 | add favorite | T-shirt | Edit

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Haiku for the wind

Whistling ghostly wind,

gusty lullabies crawl in

creeping, like night thieves.

Friday, 16 November 2012


Hush! said the silence,
brushing my words timidly
with the ink of love.

Image source here.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

More word melody than fast fingers.


It was summer 1984 in the Dominican Republic, when my mum signed me up for a course to learn how to type. Her argument was that I should invest in this skill, as in two years time I'd be in college and I'd be able to type my own papers. The cool catch was: the course took place at the university campus and I loved the idea to combine it with sitting at my mum's lectures. It made me feel like a sophomore.

Back then, electric typewriters were a luxury. I learned typing on one of those bulky, clumsy mechanic machines. I still remember how I loved the sound they made as we hit the keys. That clack-clack symphony of 30 typists in training, all chasing each other with a crescendo speed. As if we were playing the piano in allegro, then in prestissimo, something that I always dreamed of learning. But my modest parents couldn't afford it for me during that time .

My favourite part was the fastest-typist competition: we had to reproduce a piece of text under three minutes. I always ended amongst the top three. My next level was the blind-typing challenge: the fastest 'blind' typist with least mistakes was the best. I also beat that one.

I liked it so much, that I fantasised with becoming a stenographer in court cases. Later on, not only I had temp jobs as a secretary, but  I had the chance to type on an electric Olivetti.  It made me feel extra important!

When I started college, I typed my own essays and I even earned some money transcribing manuscripts for others. By that time, computers were new to education and Wordperfect was THE THING to learn!

Now I seldom use a pen. And when I see people typing with two or four fingers, I always recall my mum's gift. Like she said when I was a kid, and didn't get the piano I asked for Christmas:

"We cannot afford a piano, but we can offer you the best education".

Years went by and writing became my instrument of expression. Tonight, like piano to poetry, the hushed typing on my high-tech keyboard blends with my hasty words' melody. I close my eyes, running after the wonderful inspiration that made this memory possible.

Thank you mum.

Published in Six Word Memoirs 

Image source here

Friday, 24 August 2012

This is who I really am.

Do you want to know who Amapola Blooming really is?  Read this interview from my beloved writer's community SMITH Magazine.  I am the featured Member of the Month (August 2012).

To review the article, click here.

A wedding cake in four movements (true story)


When I married my ex-husband, we opted for a very informal, non-religious, absolutely intimate Dutch wedding. We were short of money, so we decided to prepare all the finger food ourselves. After all, we only had 10 guests.

It was the night before the ceremony, when we were avidly preparing our wedding version of our improvised movie-night tapas, that I realised that we didn't have a wedding cake! It was nearly 10pm, and the supermarket was about to close.

Before rushing to the supermarket, I decided to make a quick call to my mum in the Dominican Republic so that she could take me through the ingredients of the recipe. She used to bake wedding cakes for a living when I was a child, and I used to feel thrilled to be allowed to help her.

(But honestly, in a case like this, who would you call if not mum?)

But mum was not home and I had to be quick, otherwise I was doomed to have a 'cakeless' wedding. So I ran to the supermarket and I got all the ingredients that came to my mind as I recalled the many  times mum and I baked together.


I intuitively mixed the eggs, the flour, the butter, the sugar, the cocoa... and by midnight I had a perfectly shaped and neatly scooped steamy marble cake. In the same memory flow as in the supermarket, I also managed to prepare a cream with rum. I let the cake cool before I poured a generous amount of 'crema borracha' over it. It was winter and the cool drafts of the night crawling into the kitchen would keep it fresh until the next day, so I left it outside.


Back in the house after the ceremony: that unmissable moment where the bride and the groom cut the cake and they bite that first little piece of married sweetness they carefully put in each others' mouth.

I don't remember if we kissed, but the cake tasted heavenly.


In all the times my mum supervised my baking (a habit that stayed on until my teens, long after she had stopped baking for a living), I never managed to bake a cake as soft in texture and balanced in sweetness as this one.

Traveling was expensive, so my mum and my family could not attend my wedding. But that cake, THAT cake! had MUM written in every sliced served.

It simply melted slowly, like a tender kiss.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Musa solitaria

El poeta y la musa by Rodin

“Ven Pablo,  ¡dibujemos un poema!”
¿Dibujar un poema? ¿A qué te refieres, mujer?
Los poemas no se dibujan, se es-cri-ben.
Los dibujos no se escriben, se di-bu-jan.
Dibujar un poema... ¿Qué pretendes, mujer?
No sé dibujar, no sé escribir bonito
Y  encima de eso te inventas
que dibujemos un poema.
Olvídate de eso, déjame solo y no insistas.
¿Dibujar un poema?
¡Qué ocurrencias las tuyas, mujer!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Never too much...

Blue Angel by Chagall.
There's never too much giving.
Only too little self-care.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Digging creative flow. Bach is here.

When I listen to this piece...  I dream, I dream, I dream... 

Bach -click here: Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major

 The Dream Maker by Orlando Agudelo Botero

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Quiet, not dead

Bereft of hope, the good old wind abandoned.
The sand was sad, the mermaids were silent.
They hid with the waves under the rough reefs.
A pale reflection of the distant moon
prayed and sobbed, begging the sea not to sink.

I'll die for you! a young sailboat mumbled.
I offer you my life! an old sailor screamed.
Since when are you a coward? A twirl asked.
With tired, weeping eyes, the sea curled in fear.
His tears were thick, his body was trembling.

'The ocean never rests', he remembered;
and feebly he walked towards ailing shores.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The empty bottle

A chilled draft of darkness cracks the ghostly curtains.
Like a burglar, it crawls and tiptoes into her room,
Leaving lingering traces of olden mud behind.

A miserable, empty bottle rolls on the croaky floor

and hides under the dusty, massive teak table.

It peeps at her despair with pity:

She curses the night, spitting rambling insults,

splitting her sanity into horror and blight.

Her odious words sound young, rebellious.

She's not yet a woman, no longer a child.

The ocean in her eyes lashes her vision

and memories pour out like pointing knives.

Like that empty bottle hiding under the teak table,
She too, got to know about misery too well:

The cruel rage of a reckless man
On a starry night at the seashore,
Gripped her life with lust and drank her breath.

Now she soothes her shivers with songs and sketches.

She draws bleeding hearts as fetching clutches

Breaking through the chest of headless babies.

She composes slurred, frantic prayers

She strums thunderstorms, random hurricanes,

With a broken cello and ravenous chants.

Yet, in her ocean,

in the very depths of her torn eyes,

an angel,

an ailing angel hums loose verses

of drown innocence

and sunken lullabies.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

What to do in case of an earthquake


Today it's been two years. It was nearly midnight on January 12th 2010.   My older brother had posted a few messages on Facebook, announcing that the earth was rattling pretty badly in the Dominican Republic and the rest of our island.  A few hours later, I became aware that a terrible earthquake had taken place in the poorest country of the Western hemisphere.  It was impossible to read and watch the news about Haiti without feeling devastated. Almost paralysed of sorrow and horror, I called my parents back home.

“Ay mi hija, it is indescribable, so terribly sad.  If you can, send some money, we’ll find a way to help.There is not much more you can do just now”.  My parents said over the phone when I broke in tears.

My immense urge to give was greater than anything at that moment. I regretted living so far away. I wished that instead of being a teacher, I was a doctor, a nurse, a rescuer or a wealthy person so I could do something for Haiti. Still sobbing, I asked myself:  “What can you do for Haiti?  Think!  You can’t just sit and cry!”

By inwardly repeating this question, the few things I have learned in Buddhism revealed to me:  that clinging to our own sorrow or anger paralyses us from acting positively; that any problem or difficulty is an opportunity to practice loving kindness and compassion; and, as I once heard the Dalai Lama say: that one should never, under any circumstance, lose hope.  With these thoughts in my mind and reassuring myself that when I wake up I’d be calmer and more able to find an answer, I eventually fell asleep.

At the crack of dawn, I started to post messages on Facebook.  I was asking my network to donate money for Haiti, with the simple reasoning that whatever I could collect would surpass what I alone could give. "If I can give hundred euros, maybe I can triple that. I'd be more than happy with five hundred" I said to myself.

The response was overwhelming. An incredible domino effect followed:  after that fateful night, what started as a tear of powerlessness, anger and sorrow, turned into an unstoppable wave of donations that lasted for about 8 weeks. People started to drop money in my bank account, in my mailbox, in my hands.  Friends of friends started to donate and ask money on my behalf. Students and colleagues knocked on my office door with an envelope in their hands. Every extra cent was another update on my Facebook status, and a personal tag on the logo that symbolised this campaign (see picture). 

The donations were channeled through two Dominican-based emergency operations: Helping Hand Haiti (, set by my good friend Olivier Flambert and IBG Fund, a charity set by the Baptist Church, to which my mum and older brother belong.  Contrary to the negative media messages regarding the slow reach of foreign aid, these small donations were used inmediately and reached the victims directly. I could provide donors with visual evidence of how their money was being used by posting photographs of the emergency actions on my Facebook page. These constant updates contributed greatly to the credibility of my efforts. Before I knew how much more I was to collect, I had given birth to the IHAITI campaign.

I honestly never felt so humble in my life.  I learned that being a teacher was indeed the right profession to help Haiti: 95% of the donations came from my network of students, colleagues and alumni from The Hague University. Without their trust and genuine giving, the nearly 59,000 euros (yes, fifty-nine thousand!) collected would not have been possible.   I also learned that my students can become my heroes and inspiration. One of my heroines in this effort is my friend and ex-student, Lubomira Kirilova. She replicated  the campaign at the European Patent Office in The Hague. Her trust & selfless dedication resulted in collecting more than 50,000 euros. With a result like that, who dares regret being a teacher?

I also learned another valuable lesson:  choosing a spiritual path is not merely a question of faith, but of genuine practice of the heart.  Regardless of belief and vocation, we need to think humanly and act in harmony with our principles and with the planet.  With an increasingly interconnected world, every single action we take, every message we send out, every gesture we make can transgress borders and create a powerful human viral effect. As long as we act together for the cause of love and compassion for others, we can welcome the beautiful future we all can create. We only need to live day-by-day guided by our faith and by our innate capacity to give unconditionally, never abandoning our principles, our values and our ideals.