Sunday, July 25, 2010

Existentialism, insomnia, and all that jazz.

It's too quiet here. Sometimes, quiet is good. Very good.

But sometimes, especially on those nights when the whole world seems to be in a pacified slumber and you're still sitting painfully restless in front of the computer,
wishing you had a giant cheeseburger and wishing you could sleep and wishing you could get over your crippling case of writersblock and wishing that there weren't so many damn crickets outside your window,
that's when quiet is bad.

That's when you log onto Facebook and start clicking "older posts" over and over and over again,
not because you want to, but because you want to be somewhere louder, noisier, and there's nowhere else to go.

And then that's when the thoughts get so loud that even cricket rock concerts can't drown them out, and they progress from being situational to fundamental. Something along the lines of:

Why can't I have a cheeseburger?
I'm really, really super hungry and super restless and why does my best friend have to be on
vacation right now and why is it only me who suffers from this kind of insomnia and why aren't
other people brains as strange and screwy as mine and why can't I write poetry right now and
why can't I just make up my mind on what to do and why do I want to call him so badly and why

didn't he fight for me and why did I never get a shot at that constant, exhuberant happiness that
so many people are wrapped up in and why must I always defy what is normal and healthy and
why do I think so much and why are people so stupid and why is the world so unfair and where is God
And why am I here?

As you see, it's a dangerous, lonesome progression of thinking that leaves you with much larger and much more complex questions that what you had started out with.

The very worst part is, even after these long hours of circular, wandering thinking as you sit there zombielike, listening to an old, saxophony version of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, you realize that you still have no answers to anything at all.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Flash, rumble, pound, shake. It's funny how dark it gets
before the sky lights up, rattling trees, starting fires,
shaking souls right out of the bodies of those eager
onlookers, who peer sallow faces out of grimy
bedroom windows, hoping that catharsis
will come, not in the form of another
oversung song or a colorful piece of
Romanticism artwork, not in the
form of tears or poetry or star
gazing over rustic bridges, or
the grand mess of glorified
nothingness shot out of a
satellite dish, but instead
in the form a splitting
tree, a city shaking
from the force of
something much
larger than
we will

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Lonesome Goatherd

I heard an amazing piece of music today, and I wanted to share it with you. But...
I couldn't. So I had to share it with someone else,
someone else who I knew didn't understand it as soon as this person said, "Yeah, that's kinda cool".
I wanted to pick up the phone
and tell you about a poem that I read -a poem that made melancholy feel tangible,
a poem that made darkness feel bright, a poem that made rain taste like wine-
but I couldn't.
So I tried to share it with other people, all of whom said, "I'll look it up later."
Of course, I knew they wouldn't.

Because how am I supposed to explain that a part of that tangible melancholy and a part of that bright darkness will always be laced into every faintly glimmering brainthread that you tread so heavily across?

How will those pixilated pictures of you ever stop wringing out my lungs unless I forget what you look like,
forget that childish tree-climbing somehow made me grow up faster,
forget that you never even heard me play the third movement of the Moonlight Sonata,
forget there ever was a lonesome goatherd, strumming guitar strings for me on front steps,

who taught me how to say what I needed to say,
even though it nearly killed me.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


There are few things in the world that can make one feel more insignificant than being on an airplane.

If you’ve never been on a plane,it’s difficult to describe how the earth looks from 18,000 feet up in the atmosphere. Cars look like ants until they disappear. Then houses look like ants until they disappear into huge patches of green. And then the Golden Gate looks like dental floss and the Himalayas look like snow-capped Hershey’s kisses. And then countries blend into countries that blend into oceans and pretty soon, the overwhelming feeling of insignificance suddenly hits and you’re thinking,“Whoa, I really don’t matter in this world.”

It’s a terrible but simultaneously awesome thing to realize that the world is so big that continuously journeying for your entire life won’t even allow you to cover half of Earth’s surface or see 1/1000000000 of the people who live on it.

We, as relatively privileged people on this planet,are conditioned to believe that individually, we make a big difference in the world and we matter a whole lot. But somehow,18000 feet up in the air, I didn’t feel so sure of that at all. Up in the air, my previous illusions of grandeur were just as concrete as the obscure layers of the atmosphere I found myself embedded in.

We live our lives entrapped in microscopic bubbles. It’s not a small world at all, despite what they always say. It’s only small because we make it that way, trekking through our petty lives from one short day to the next, hoping that the few good friends we make and the few good deeds we do will change the world in one beautiful and bombastic instant.

Dream on, all you poets and artists, philosophers and orators. You can use all your mindpower and willpower, engineers and doctors, but there will always be corners that your tendrils of knowledge will not reach.

And sometimes it takes a window seat on an airplane to remind yourself of that.