Client Poem: I Breathe by Sonam Hajela

I breathe
In your presence, my breath is ignored, lost, forgotten
It skips, slows, speeds up
My heartbeat thunders, goes quiet
It drifts, it crashes
I breathe
In your presence, my breath never matters
It is an idle watcher on the sidelines
I chase it, come back I say
Come back.
I’ll hold still, I can manage, I can do it but I try
Grasping with my arms, it is lost to me.
I breathe
In your presence, I forget how. I forget why.
But even so
Even so
My breath running, running, hiding,
Losing, wandering –
Even then
My breath goes completely silent at the thought that yours, one day, will

You say you love
But do you even know what this word is?
You say you love
But do you know what this word does?
It is a shield for you
To hide behind
A safe place for you to draw weapons
To aim
To fire
Because love isn’t just a word you say
To appease
To mollify
To use
To defend
To hurt
It is standing with your nails dug in your open chest
Holding your heart in all its dripping frailty
With no cover.
It is no limbs, no skin, no bones
No eyes or hair
No sharp teeth, or nails
It is no I or you

It is raw openness
You need, I give
You touch, I take
You break, I fall
I hold
It is strength, it is power
Love is a fight you can’t turn away from
No matter how ugly the sides
Love is not saying “for now”
“until then” or “don’t push”
It is ugly, it is in the middle of the night screaming moments
Right before you bathe moments
Before I even wake up moments
It is standing up when the other can’t
So when you say you love
I don’t hear fight, or courage or truth
I hear cowardice, easy words
And a war lost.

Video – Client Poem: Crash by Sonam Hajela

Crash by Sonam Hajela

Written and read by Sonam Hajela


it’s coming
like a rain
down my face
a train hurtling at tragic speeds
a hurricane gone
I whip my head
my hair floating around me in
slow motion
where is everything?
my hands reach but
I can do nothing but wait while the
tires, rails, winds, sounds
crash into me
and I can only absorb
the skin too porous
my heart gone still
waiting, gasping
for everything to still
but the stillness is dangerous
I have no cover
from silence

Client Poem – Little Black Dress by Sonam Hajela

Client Poem: Little Black Dress – by Sonam Hajela

You want me to zip it up
Blend me in
And close me out
All those straight lines
And perfect seams
You see numbers,
Fake smiles and handshakes
Status quos and authority
All I see is a disappeared spirit
I want fire
Orange, red
Painted against the sky
Like the sun leaking
Pouring out its heart
Dripping in flames
Too hot to the touch
I want to be ablaze
Not the tepid little doll
That holds true to the mold
You don’t understand the burn
Of an artist, the hunger of a creation
I want a revolution, not a following
I want gasps, the trees to bend
The sky to tilt
And the grass to turn blue
The chaos painting me divine
In all my humanity
The Gods smiling down at me
Knowing I’m just that much closer.
I wish
just once
You had said
Go set the world on fire
And leave the rest in black.

Videos: Trauma, Brain and Relationship Sections 2 and 3

Trauma, Brain and Relationship: Helping Children Heal
Videos from the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute

Section 2: Brain Development at Risk

Section 3: The Many Faces of Trauma


Client Poem: I Write – by Sonam Hajela

I write
Behind my eyes
The broken lines
And the broken yesterdays
And all tomorrows
Given away
Before I had any purchase
Something snaps
Something fragile
The dust and smoke rise up
From the fragmented pieces
Swirling in the sunlit spaces
Rising higher
Away from me
Just like everything I ever
Reached for
In vain
And can’t say
For they’re bigger than me and my
Fruitless words
Tripping in their power
Wanting that which has no name
Needing that which can’t be had
Locked away behind doors
To which I have no keys
Only windows to reveal
They tease and taunt
Close but no cigar,
They say.
That which does not kill you
Makes you stronger,
They say.
Well, every new thought
Is like a gun aimed at my heart
With my finger on the trigger
My heart bleeds
Leaking from my fingertips
From my eyes,
Down my face
The eyes that I can’t face in the mirror
The eyes that ask how much longer
I’m running out of air.

Hunger – Poem by Sonam Hajela

I bleed internally
There’s a scratch
I can’t seem to itch
Where is it
In my heart
On my tongue
On my body
Rolling over my arms, legs,
Feet aching for a body
Fingers restless for a touch
My thighs quiver for a need
I can’t express
The wind whispers something to my mind
I want to taste the salt on your skin
My tongue licking my lips
My fingernails leave marks
Their trails a mark of my todays
And yesterdays
Telling me I still live
I hunger for more
I want to be pleasured by the skies
The sun caressing the insides
that have spent a lifetime
in the desert.

Poem: A Condemned Woman – by Sonam Hajela

I am condemned

By my mother’s hand
and her anger
that flows like wine
murky and deep
By my fear of the
By my father’s desperate
Desire for the world
To be
By my inability to
To thine ownself be true
And all else a lie
By my legacy of hate
And judgment
That has drowned me

I am a condemned
Hear my blood speak
it mocks me
It knows my
Grief and
Yet it condemns
Me to gaze up on that which
Is not and cannot
Be mine.

Poem: The Beast Unchained by Sonam Hajela

I broke my ties
From you
They lay on the floor
You ask why
And I cannot answer
Because my heart is a wild beast
And is roaring against the
Bars of blood that close in

So take my words
You made my body a cage
But I will break every bone and bleed out every
pint of blood
so I can walk with this
And roar against the tides of all my

You ask why
And I cannot answer
For I have loved your pain for too long
My own is now too loud to ignore

So take my words
And know I dug in the dirt you never wanted me to
streaks of it now mar my face
but oh wouldn’t you know
I was elbow deep in your cloak of shit
And I found a key.

I am looking for peace
It is not still
It is an ocean that rips against those bars
Mixing with the scarlet
There are things
You cannot know

I want ugliness, a mark against this
Fragile filigree of lies
There is nothing pretty
About clawing my way out of your
Paralyzing eyes

And you are not forgiven
I forgive myself
You broke all the pieces and would have
Thrown the rest away
Locked away in shackles

So take my words
I will leave a trace
Of myself
Without your haunting legacy of
Reins and blood and bone

Poem: Mirage – By Sonam Hajela



Your love came to me
In a time of thirst
Deep need
And a raging desire

My own pools
Have been drained
And I tire of scraping the walls
With my nails
For droplets that have long gone dry
And leave trails of sadness

So I ran to you
I ran and
I ran
My skirts tripping my bare feet

My face blazing from the sun
My arms on fire
And my heart half dead
Only to find you


Your face was like an oasis
Fingers in my mouth
And your scent in my breath
Your body warm against my skin
But you were never there

I drop to my knees
And cry to the sky
Rail against the dunes of time
My tears draining me of
What is left…

With you
I disappear
I disappear here.

Poem: Either/Or by Sonam Hajela

Either you will
go through this door
or you will not go through

If you go through
there is always the risk
of remembering your name

Either I will awake
one day
to see my face and know
thine eyes
Either my fingers will buzz with the electric
Feel of my creations
Either I will behold the planes of my face with
Either I will sink into my skin
And finally
See a true version of what was intended
In grace
In beauty

This I will know
“Gifted, fortunate one”
my name
will know
in truth
what it was meant to be

Or I will die
before I die
And know not what will be
All beauty lost on
And paths uncharted
My luck shriveling up
Counting its dimming stars
And half lived moons