Friday, December 23, 2011

Withdrawals.

I try not to dwell on it.
Choking back melancholy painfully on marble stairs, your echoing footsteps to sing of that ache, beating unexpectedly, knocking the wind from my chest. I wasn't supposed to be vulnerable. Neither were you. You weren't supposed to see.

"Come here..."

Gripping arms promise nothing, but hope — tentatively, of course — for more. Or so I'd like to think.

My subconscious runs its fingers through your hair guiltily late at night when I sleep.
It knows it shouldn't. I can do nothing about it.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Was I like the young girl from Sadec, the bus that took me up the mountain like the boat that took her down the Mekong River for the last time,
her tears as startling to her as mine were to me?

The universality of human experience, of human emotion. For many things, there are no separations of time or space.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Are we bound, then, to the roads we are able to tread?

Are we bound to find love where we walk? bound to extract life's darkest, most profound secrets from only the few people we are able to meet, the few places we are able to go? bound to find meaning amid the confines of circumstance?

Yes, of course.
What do you expect? A just God?
Fool.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You wear on my mind, but I'm no longer sure it's you.
Sometimes, I think it's me.
Sometimes, I think you weren't even there at all.

Friday, December 9, 2011

In the Mood for Love.




I think this story was real. I think I was her that one night, sitting across from you. A table for two. Words to mask premonitions. Chatter for pain, talking heavily about the past. But it wasn't really all that heavy, at least, not from my lips.


We are twins, same race, same place. Parallel lives, just a few decades apart from each other.
It doesn't matter. Some things are timeless, anyhow...

Things like this. Emotion, confusion, isolation raw and on fire, searing the bones on my body, the bones in my head. Hoping that in another, we'd both find some footing. But just for the night.

Tomorrow, I will climb a mountain to the very top. Take my secrets and whisper them in a hole and cover it with dirt. No one but the wind will know of my struggle.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Regurgitation.

These days, I feel swallowed.
Masticated, ground up ruthlessly, spit back out, my standards held as steady as my grip on my mind.
I crawl out doorways in clothes I've worn for the past two days. I don't even notice, until
a sidelong glance and a casual comment, "You look like you just woke up."

Woke up from what?
I haven't slept in years. Not that I'd expect you to know anything about me. Or my habits. Or the plague of a whimpering mind, the slow grind of the blade on steel, not to sharpen, but to dull.
That slow grind, how it seeps into your skin.

Fires turn to flickers, passions turn wan.

I burn candles by the window to remind me.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tromper.

This is where restless hands dig doubt.
Scratchy gray threads of cheap upholstery, explored.
We search for solace from ourselves.

Orange lamplights dance in half-built streets, illuminating metal arms of sleeping cranes.
Morning dew hangs in the air. We do, too,
suspended, silent, still.
Our tongues are wrapped in cobwebs, important words left untouched.

We fight it off, until Atlas bends, weak and worn,
and Babylon crumbles.
Guilt recedes to the back of the mind,
a silent whimper pounding, pounding,
gone.


So here it is, here's Samson's call,
A bloody blow before a fall.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Contradictions.

Strong will.
Strong hands.

One is tangible, one is not.
One can be questioned. The other cannot.

And it's easy to question one when the other grabs you by the waist, no strings, no promises, no questions. Just surprises and lack of expectation.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pour toi.

Five months.


Has it really only been five months?
Five months since I saw you that way for the first time, five months since I left you that way for the first time. Five months and we've already been further than Columbus could ever have hoped to go.

You say we have yet to travel the world, to go places together, to see things.
It's not true.
I've seen mountains and seas, sunsets and sunrises through my dusty windows. I've seen millions of people, read millions of words, cried millions of tears, thought millions of thoughts.
I fall asleep every night and wake up every morning and have traveled thousands and thousands of miles, and I have never, for a single second, left your side.
You've never left mine.

Maybe when I come back we'll both be old, skin sagging from the weight of our sleepless nights and wrinkles etched into our faces from the hours we've spent smiling while straining.
And if we both died tomorrow, bones crumbling prematurely from holding each other up, it would be okay. I wouldn't be sad.

Because five months with you is worth a lifetime.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hello, solitude.

Days spent buried
in the room, in my bed, in my head, it hardly matters where I hide.
It's dark even when the sun shines, especially when the sun shines.

I feel it through the autumn winds, the slow-setting breath of solitude inching its way down my back,
stripping trust from the deeper layers of my skin, stripping warmth.

I feel the onset of more sleepless nights to come, more restless wandering,
more half-smoked packs, half-finished paintings, cups of cold coffee sitting on my desk, waiting for the dusk to turn into dawn, waiting for empty hands, empty souls
to wash out the dregs.


Sometimes, I remember you.

"Penniless and tired with your hair grown long
I was looking at you there and your face looked wrong


Memory is a fickle siren song..."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cities.

They're romantic until they're lived in. Well-lit from far away.

Live in one, and you no longer matter. It swallows you whole and spits you back out on its grimy streets. It strips away your layers until you're just a small, insignificant part of a whole. Part of a whole that will never really need you.

People no longer write but to speak of decadence in them, these cities. Youth, excitement, glamour. Money. Growth growth growth, always growth, always growing, and it's never enough. Growing on the outside.
Inside, it's all dead.

There is beauty in lackluster grit. But oh, that lackluster grit, how it wears me down.

----

I want to sleep by the water and sand it away, this shell,
the one I sleep in and awaken in and breathe in.

I want to bathe in the rays of the moon, the ones only seen when there are no lights to compete with it, no buildings to obscure the view. No death to taint my livelihood.
No cage for my spirit. No more iron bars.

I need to find to find the ocean soon,
to know I'm not the only one.




Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Endless summer.

The sun doesn't sleep on this side of the world.

Fire.
Fire through my windows in the morning, fire through my eyelids in the afternoon, burning,
reminding me that there is no rest. There is never any rest.

I get on my knees at night and beg for rain. I beg for the color gray,
gray like the dinner dress draped across my lanky bones. Gray like the color I pull over my head before I go to sleep.
Gray hangs on my walls. It buries itself in the musty folds of my curtains.
It wraps itself around my waist.
I wear it well.

I'll hide some in my closet, in my drawers. I'll collect it until the day I have enough.
Enough to douse the angry flames in the sky,
to paint clouds, to paint fog, to paint rain.


And I will sleep.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Filler text.

Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit . . .

Friday, August 12, 2011

Hard days and even harder nights.

Sometimes, they marvel, half in admiration, half in disbelief that I would do something like this. Sometimes, they try to understand. But there are some things you couldn't begin to understand. No. Not unless you've been through it.
Sometimes, they think I'm stupid. I know they think I'm stupid.


But everyone's stupid about some things, and if there's anything I don't mind so much being stupid about, it's for being in love. 
Not that unrequited stuff, nor the silly, ungrounded infatuations of the youth. Things like that don't last the storm, and this is a tempest. 



My god, is it a tempest.


But the thing about tempests is that once you've beaten past it, hands blistered from fighting the current with your oars, face wind-chapped, body drained from swimming for days, and you're crawling back onto shore crushed to a pulp but not defeated,


nothing else will ever seem quite so difficult anymore.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Clarity.

I don't know why I'm saying this now. I don't think there's much of a point to it, really. We used to understand each other so well without words, but now, now we no longer do. It has been a long while since we've understood each other, even with words. Whenever I do talk to you now, our conversation is wan, sullen, abrupt. We no longer reside on the same plane, but then again, we never did.


There's hardly a week that goes by that you don't appear in my thoughts somehow, somewhere. Sometimes it's the wonderful things I remember, sometimes it's how much you hurt me. You hurt me like nobody has ever hurt me, like nobody ever will again in my life.


He hasn't got what you had, your sheer, ingenius brilliance of mind. The same brilliance that made me fall in love with you, the same brilliance that you gave a bit of to me, the same brilliance that ultimately turned me away from you. The same brilliance that is now dulled, masked, tainted into some unrecognizable form by the life you choose to live, a life that I wish never to be immersed again. 


But he has eyes that see the truth, hands with a gentle touch, and a heart full of love. Unconditional love  that not only did you not have for me, but also exploited from me. His mind holds the rain without the clouds. In him, I find the solace, the peace, the beauty of safety, of security, that I never found in you. With him, I am never afraid to love. With you, I always was. 


I have missed the feeling of loving passionately with no reserve.


Call this a parting letter, if you will. It seems clear enough now that our lives will not intersect much anymore, and if they do, it will only be a sort of passing reverie, a brief acknowledgment of everything we loved in each other, everything we hated in each other, before we both turn and walk in the opposite direction, something we both knew would eventually happen. We knew this years and years ago, even right from the beginning. 


But no matter how much you've put me through, how many years of emotional pain and torment I endured for you, I will still always love you and wish all the best for you.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Vulnerable

 — I am.

Door cracked open with the key in the hole. I teeter, tip-toed on the edge.
I no longer sing behind stone walls where they can't hear me.
The mountains, they awaken to my morning songs.

Cliché — I am.
But all lovers are. It is mocked until it is known, until you know

that the seas and skies are not large enough.
They are never enough.


Transparent — I am.
A sleek and polished looking glass. No flowery prose nor leaden lines.


Windowpanes defogged, and my sleeve is damp.
I trace patterns into the glass.
They see me. They know.



Vulnerable, I am.
I am not afraid.











Friday, July 29, 2011

Comatose.

If this is all we have, I will take it to sleep,

fluttering eyelids on a dimly lit screen. And soon,
soon we'll both fall asleep.


Your lips, my hand,
a half-awake dream.




Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tipsy on love.





I feel myself sobering up.






It frightens me.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I am convinced

there is no fire
there is no ice
no hard fall's bruise
no slick blade's slice
no heat of sun
no guilt from vice

that burns like you do
in my mind.





Saturday, June 11, 2011

Renewal.

I don't know all that much about God, but I like to think he lives behind the peak of the mountain outside my window, where the feathery rainclouds cast shadows on the rock, and I can't really tell where the sky meets the earth.

I am suspended in mid-air, the weathered walls of my room dangling on a thread, a thread stretched so thin I never really know when it's going to break. Or if it will at all.

When it rains here, this rapidly moving city sits still for a little while. The tiny cars below move a little slower, the voices outside are quieter. The air is thick with some sort of silent contemplation.
Hungover, listless people stretch out of bed and toss out empty bottles in time for the Sabbath, repenting a week's worth of sin.

Cleansing, washing, purging.
We wipe the rust from our wheels, the sleep from our eyes, the dust from our books.

Here, there is no amount of decadence the rain can't rinse away.





Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Waiting like the dawn

There's really no need to speak in riddles. But that's all anything feels like these days.
Penciled-in plans constructed on brittle foundations.

I feel you in my sleep, corporeal, palpable. Hair like the silk dress I left at home.
I awaken as brutally as I fall asleep.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Absence makes the heart forgetful.
Only time will really tell.
For now, there are strokes to glue a crumbling wall. Hundreds of strokes for hundreds of characters, hundreds of miles, hundreds of days.

Then perhaps in hundreds of days, we'll be able exchange uncertainty for beauty, pain for complacency, tumult for peace. And single-digit hours won't drive us to madness, delusions of our melting skin reaching tendrils into each other's subconscious.



But right now, I'd give a finger for your hand on my cheek
to dry the saline on this sunburnt visage,

bright sun on a moonlight face.




Friday, May 27, 2011

Respite.

We'll feed each other anguish with a spoon, bullets and daggers sinking into the roof of our mouth,
determined to sap at the stem until the bitterness subsides or until we fall asleep, whichever comes first.
It's usually the latter.

There's not too much that Nepenthe can't mask.


We'll wake up and wipe the grime from the window, or is it from our eyes?
It has been so long that it's hard to tell.
Arsenic melts like sugar in our mouths.


If I could, I'd plant hyacinths over this grave, this arid dirt that has been plowed over and over. I'd buy enough to build a sea, blue like the great Pacific. When everything's blue, there will be no difference between the land and water.
No vast deserts to cross, to sky to separate.


We'll dig holes and bury our bones until our hands are raw, only to have them dug up again and reburied again,
iron shovels burning rusty blisters into our hands.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Condensed thoughts.

Truly great people are those who want to be great, not those who want to be viewed as great.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Peace in a time of war




"You are you, and I am I.
You do your thing, and I'll do mine.
And if in the end, we are together,
It is beautiful."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The Rhine-


All I need is to see the water ripple like that again, to know that some things can stand still
while everything else moves.


But maybe I'm not there because it's not true, because everything moves with everything else.
A swiftly tilting planet.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I am becoming transparent.
They can see everything.
I wonder who's watching.

Where do I hide?
Where do I hide?



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


It was good like that. Iron petals tightly rolled,
clenched,
fingernails digging sharply into sweaty palms.
Walls of steel.
I was comfortable in my discomfort.




Then 
Orientalism.

You meddled in things that need not have been meddled in,

clenched petals forcibly unfurled,
warm fingers oil for a stubborn lock.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Monet, Seurat, Van Gogh.

Some paintings look better from far away.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Siúil A Rúin

We made some sort of short, cinematic strip, arbitrary bits of our arbitrary lives pieced together frame by frame. It was, perhaps, a creation made when there is little room to create much else.

We ran it slowly, played it at night, not knowing how it would turn out, not knowing if what we projected onto those shadowy walls would be anything coherent in the morning.
Because, you see, doubt and beauty go hand in hand.



You're right; love was the absolute last thing in the world I was after, the last thought in my mind. It was the last thought not in my mind.

But somehow when we played that film, slides running across the stale walls of my room like your hand down the contours of my confused body,
I felt it melting slowly on the tip of my tongue, tasting vaguely of something I've tried so hard to forget, the caustic bitterness of hesitance, fear, the sickly sweetness of novelty, of desire,

melting as our evenings did,
breezy nights into restless dawns.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My body is a paper bag.

It's scalding hot outside, and I'm freezing cold. The sun is too fearful to be warm, whetting its tentative rays on a gray palette.

I'm sick of Keynes, but I'm sicker of Friedman. So sick, in fact, that I have no appetite, save for Red Bull and filtered cloves, which I crave morning and night. The smoke is the color of the circles around my eyes.

56 glass beads on this string, 56 colors of my moods this week. 56 seconds to insanity.
Not even 56 days until I'm sailing on the spine of a metal bird, crossing the Atlantic. Or is it the Pacific? Where am I going? When does it end?



These pages look less like a book and more like a rope.
I wake up a few times each night to loosen the noose around my neck.



Sunday, May 1, 2011

I often forget

that people actually read this.

When I remember, it freaks me out.

Friday, April 29, 2011

not a night for apathy

The ticking is overwhelming.
His picture perfect broken family is overwhelming.
The mess in this room is overwhelming.
The night outside the window is overwhelming.
Their sickening values are overwhelming.
This movie is overwhelming.
This memory is overwhelming.
These people around me are overwhelming.
Your last-minute desperation is overwhelming.
This inbox is overwhelming.


I can't go.
Not yet.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

loisirs

I spent my day finishing a really difficult transcription of this long, French interview while listening to Balmorhea (c'est belle, comme le roulement des bras de la riviere).

And then all of a sudden I didn't know where the day went, misplacing eight hours like I often misplace my keys or my rings or my thoughts.
I went to look for them, but I gave up and put down the heavy wooden oars because my arms were hurting, and I floated,
my sleeping face pressed down on the planks of the canoe.

I woke up with lines across my face and through my chest. Drifting.
Bags under my eyes, time making them sag like wet reeds washed to shore.

Half the time, I wake up not knowing where I am.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rushdie says,

"The lives of artists are more fragile than their creations."

This is so true and beautifully said. But I can't help but wonder which comes first.

Is it the fragility of their lives that causes their creations to be a fragile reflection of it? Or is it the fragility of their creations that causes their lives to be modified in such a way to protect these creations?

Perhaps it's a bit of both, each feeding off the other in a vicious cycle that eventually wears both down.
I don't know. It's interesting.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Heart full of wine

Every so often, everybody needs to move. Relocate, go somewhere, maybe temporarily, maybe forever. If there's anything at all that can shift perspective, it's the knowledge that you're leaving.

We take time for granted more than anything else. We throw it away, we wish it away.
We settle into these deep ruts where we think for a while that the people around us will always be around us and the things around us will always be the way they are. And the sun will always shine the same way, and the trees outside will always scrape your windowpanes in the same place.

But everything looks different when you can see the clock ticking, when you can feel the little grains of sand slipping through the cracks of your hands.
You're trying to hold on to it for as long as you can, but you know you can't pin down time. It's when you realize that that your actions get more desperate.

The people around you mean so much more, and that little desk in the corner that you've spent so many long, monotonous nights sitting at seems so much more crucial, and every time you enter and leave a room you begin to wonder how many times are left that you will enter and leave the same room before you can't anymore.

When you can see the clock ticking, everything seems more urgent. Your happiness becomes ecstasy, your melancholy is more devastating, your love is more potent and more wrenching. You realize how much you've done, but you realize more how much you haven't.


It's tragic that this is how human nature is. Tragic in a beautiful way.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Glimpses.

I'm often torn between what sort of life I envision myself in.

Business suits, five-star hotels in Milan, wine with lunch. High-class relations I use to reap in more money than I could possibly spend on myself and maybe a wealthy intellectual of a husband.

Or ratty clothes and microwaved food, nothing in my one-bedroom leaky flat but a computer, balled up wads of discarded inspiration thrown around, only to picked up again once I'm dead. Perhaps never picked up at all. A life of lonely, self-righteousness. Playing footsie with a world I despise.


Both are equally romanticized,
equally miserable.

Equally ideal.


Monday, April 11, 2011

noncoherentism

"It's a luscious mix of words and tricks
That let us bet when we know we should fold
On rocks i dreamt of where we'd stepped
And of the whole mess of roads we're now on."

_________________________________________________________________________________________



It smells like honeysuckles outside, so fragrant it burns.

Honeysuckles smell like too many things. They smell like one of the only things I remember from my childhood, how I used to run around barefoot picking them off of bushes and licking the beads of nectar off the stems until I got a stomach ache. It was something I had forgotten about until today.
I don't remember too much about my childhood. I only really remember the bad things.
I'm not sure why.


There is hardly anything more ephemeral than a memory that is associated with smell, as if something flips a switch on for a few milliseconds and then flips it back off, leaving you to grasp at some vaporous thing of the past, trying to pull it into a more tangible form. Sometimes you succeed.
But sometimes you don't. And you're left standing there, wishing more than anything that you could only remember what it was that you almost remembered.
It's a terrible feeling, not unlike waking up in the morning knowing that you had a vivid dream but not being able to recall what it was.

_______________________________________________________________


My thoughts are my walls. Tall, unintentionally constructed, engulfing, isolating.
I have an inability to reconcile them with reality, with the world of surface interaction and duty. But what else is there to do? Sacrifice them in order to better connect with that surface world in which I'm forced to play my role in? I cannot do that. I could never do that.

So I have to live two lives.
One in my head, the other in my corporeal form in the physical world. I keep them separate. I spend equal amounts of time in both. They must not touch or collide or coincide in any way. I would not know what to do if they did.

We've been reading copious amounts of literature in class that involve characters whose illusory worlds collapse into reality. They never really end up right. One is usually sacrificed for the other.
Sometimes, I am not so sure that I really am reading about other people.

_______________________________________________________________


I talk a lot about why I write. It's important to me.

It's my liberation. I don't often talk that much. I think it's because talking waters down my thoughts. It waters down the power of emotions, it waters down the meanings of my words. There are too many things that are lost in translation when mind waves go to sound waves.

The world is filled with diluted thoughts, some that are half-formed, some that are just not conveyed as they should be. I don't want to be a contributor of these. We humans are capable of so much that we will never do.

Writing is my tunnel between reality and surreality. It's the only way I know how to reconcile the two worlds I'm a part of — the one in my head and the one of my body.
Often, I don't know which one I'm in. And then I become a walking whirlpool of terrible things, anger and bitterness and violent emotions. But mostly of confusion.

That's when I write. Because when I do, it no longer matters where I am.




Saturday, April 9, 2011

Lag time

There is often a gap, a brief lull in the universe when the planet spins a few milliseconds too quickly

and then everything sits still.

And then your bed feels like a burrow, and the air is quiet, and the second hand on the wall ticks as mechanically as you move. One, two, one, two, tick, tock, left, right.

Then the sky starts to look as glassy and lifeless as your reflection in the morning, and the night has an odd texture to it. Gritty, tasteless. Powdery like the sawdust you eat for breakfast every morning, like the sawdust that make up the little wooden people all around you.

Cheery little puppets, marionettes on silver strings. Uniform smiles and uniform eyes walking around at a uniform pace. And then they move in jerky segments like programmed automatons and speak in metallic voices
and the globe sits at a complete stop on its axis, in its orbit.

And then you're scared.
Because you have to get away quickly before they come after you, or worse, before you become like them. But you can't run so fast when the world is at a stop and each step you take sinks you into the crumbling powdery cement. And then the sidewalk ends and you've got nowhere else to go except backwards.

So you unravel, like a ball of yarn, a roll of paper, film tape on rewind. Faster and faster until you roll off the edge and into space
floating, suspended, and you wait.

You wait for the earth to start spinning again so it can catch you back in its orbit, its arms a cradle for your barren mind.




Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lullabies

I write sometimes even when I've been writing all day, when my fingertips feel like rubber and my mind feels like a molten mess of week-old thoughts and leftover brain waves that linger only to recur in my subconscious. It no longer matters what keys my fingers hit, so long as they don't stop.

I wonder if this is anything close to how Beethoven felt, when he could no longer distinguish between night and day, and there was nothing left for him except the keys of a piano that he dissembled, placing the soundboard on the floor so he could feel the vibrations even when he could no longer hear them.
Vibrations produced by his fingers. Music from his fingers.

This is really not that different. My words are my music from my fingers, too. Strange, peaceful lullabies for myself only. Unspoken tunes that flow from my mind, words that I string together quietly with needle and thread to make melodies.
Nobody said music had to have notes.

But perhaps words and notes are the same, making melodies of prose and stories from song. Maybe I'll let my words cascade, trains of sixteenth-notes to pour over my wet skin. Or perhaps they're whole notes I'll hold in my head til the morning when they'll make sense. Or maybe they're staccato notes, a stepping stone bridge to merge two sides. A portal to merge two worlds. Just as Beethoven merged his tangible and intangible with the vibrations from the floor upon which he crawled, desperate to find the reconciliation that this cruel world provides little of.

My keyboard is my soundboard, too, and this is my song.
A song to build a portal, too.
A song to sing myself to sleep.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Story of my life, Hermann Hesse

I am rereading something that everyone should read in his or her lifetime. The book Steppenwolf, by Hesse.

When I say everyone, I don't really mean everyone.
I mean those who understand these words as grippingly as I do. Not those who read it and think well, I guess I've felt something like that before. I mean those upon whom these words resonate so strongly and so profoundly that they are left with a sort of bewildered feeling that anyone could possibly describe so accurately a sentiment that they did not believe was shared by anyone else.

If you feel that after reading this, go buy this book. And then find me and be my friend, if you're not already.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"There is much to be said for contentment and painlessness, for these bearable and submissive days, on which neither pain nor pleasure cry out, on which everyone only whispers and tiptoes around. But the worst of it is that it is just this contentment that I cannot endure. After a short time it fills me with irrepressible loathing and nausea. Then, in desperation, I have to escape into other regions, if possible on the road to pleasure, or, if that cannot be, on the road to pain.

When I have neither pleasure nor pain and have been breathing for a while the lukewarm insipid air of these so-called good and tolerable days, I feel so bad in my childish soul that I smash my rusty lyre of thanksgiving in the face of the slumbering god of contentment and would rather feel the most devilish pain burn in me than this warmth of a well-heated room. A wild longing for strong emotions and sensations seethes in me, a rage against this toneless, flat, normal and sterile life. I have a mad impulse to smash something, a warehouse perhaps, or a cathedral, or myself, to commit outrages .... For what I always hated and detested and cursed above all things was this contentment, this healthiness and comfort, this carefully preserved optimism of the middle classes, this fat and prosperous brood of mediocrity."



I don't expect many to understand this, and I mean that in the least pretentious way possible.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Tesseract


The gods, they wove some sort of fabric, gilded wisps between their fingers. Played cat's cradle with dark matter, spun into the threads of time.
They placed me in one silent corner, kept on weaving for a year. Waves in seas of ticking clocks, and empty space and empty rhyme.
They gave me colors, gave me papers, gave me ink to stain my hands. They gave me music, strong and bitter, songs that no one else could hear.
Then threw me down into the orbits filled with others, flesh and bone. Made a beating heart of fervor when all others were of stone.
Then they crafted just one other, and I tried to swim to you, across the strings and quarks and lights, dimensions I could not get through.
Sometimes when I'm barely conscious, your mind's tendrils within reach, the gods they then fold up the fabric building a small bridge for me.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sans liens



Je suis libre, comme un montgolfière seule.
Flottant, léger, sans un pays, sans abri, sans destination.

Où j'habite, là est mon foyer.
J'existe partout et nulle part au même temps.
Je n'ai pas de liens à un endroit particulier, à les gens particulier, même pas à mon famille.
Je n'ai pas une famille. Je suis un produit de l'air.

Mais, quelquefois, quand il pleut dans la ville
et quand je suis amoureuse,
je suis déboussolé. Je ne sais plus rien.

Quelquefois, j'ai peur. Quelquefois, je ne suis pas sûr.


Mon cœur, c'est une chambre vide.
Et moi, une carcasse vive.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sanctuary hours.

Sometimes I see people, too. They bask in the glowing, orange lamplight. Sometimes I make eye contact with them. Sometimes they talk. "Good evening," they say politely.

Erudite-looking people. Bright eyes, black shoes. I give them a smile and nod. There are some times of night when it just doesn't feel right to talk. There's something sacred about the few hours suspended hazily between night and day.


I wonder what they think, these wanderers of the night, of my scraggly hair and bleary eyes and ashes I tap out from half-lit stubs. Maybe they think I'm a nutcase, mental... or maybe they're out for the same reasons I am. Probably not.

But I can pretend that all these listless vagabonds, insomniacs, wanderlust-inflicted people, can hear the misfit birds chirping, too, singing many hours before the rest will. The birds that missed the trip southward, or perhaps came back a little early just to keep me company.
Just so they could break the chilled silence of my walk back, reminding me that not all is numbed like my fingertips, that there's still something to say even when I forget how to speak.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Earthquakes and floods


"The nuclear plant might explode - what are we to do?"
Well, maybe we'll watch the news on our flatscreen TVs
from our dens, mugs of coffee in our hands,
praying. For the victims, yes.
The ones clinging to the rungs of palm trees
or the ones turning up large rocks to look for
lost sisters,
dead children.

We'll pray fervently. Dear God,
save them.
And then we'll smile secretly and whisper,
though we won't admit it, not even to ourselves,
Poor bastards. Thank goodness I'm not there.

Because the couch is warm, and the coffee is hot,
and we gaze at swirling waters and floating carnage
through bars,
like we would exotic animals in a cage,
knowing that it is only safe to do so because there are
hundreds of miles of stormy oceans
and strange lands and vast continents
between us and them,
the ones we send haphazard prayers to.
We're safe.

Sideline spectators.
There's a name for our role. We look upon disaster
with the same half-interested bemusement
as if we were watching a mildly interesting movie
narrated by whitened teeth and straightened hair,
knowing that in a few days,
we won't be grieving for people we don't know,
we won't be praying over foreign corpses,
and when we've seen waves snap bridges and wash over cars
for the tenth time, we'll stop watching
because it won't be so interesting anymore.

We'll make toast for breakfast
and think about the weather
and how much gas costs
and hope that they can clean up debris
in time for our next vacation.



Because when it all comes down to it,
we, the living, know nothing of death.




-----------------------------------
3/12/11- A graphical illustration done by my dear friend, N.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

a hypnic jerk

"stay. stay. the night is cold."
"i'm a beast, my dear. why do you not understand?"
"it's so cold."
"but you're so bright. your skin. like the moon."
"where is your bathroom?"
"it is there, my dear. at the end of the Euphrades. do you see it?"
"i cannot swim. what am i to do?"
"i'll give you a push and you can float to it."
"it burns, it burns. please make it stop."
"just focus on this. my touch."
"why is this echoing? i'm not in a cave."
"what color is the grass?"
"the grass is black."
"you sacrilegious filth. you have no faith."
"rome. london. berlin. amsterdam."
"you are forgetting one. there is one more. what is it?"
"i might have to crawl on my knees to get there."
"you certainly can't afford a ticket. not with libya like it is."
"maybe i wouldn't have left if you didn't call me by her name."
"but i'm a beast, my dear. why don't you understand?"
"I can't hear you. the wind is screaming tonight."
"hurry up, we have no time."
"why is my telephone ringing? no no no no..."
"all i have is coal. but i can feed it to you slowly."
"not this again. not you again."

"please. leave me alone."

"just for tonight."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Phantom Pains

I sawed it off in the middle of the night. Abruptly, because I didn't know what else to do.
Abruptly, because it was hurting my shoulder, and my head, and my chest.
All it took was one swift cut, one smooth motion.

And maybe when I wake up tomorrow, I'll stop trying to use it, stop trying to reach with it,
stop trying to eat with it, stop trying to dry my eyes on the back of a missing arm.



I'm holding an empty shoulder socket and rocking it to sleep,

cigarettes to take the place of painkillers,
cigarettes to take me to Lethe.




Monday, March 7, 2011

Martyrs for Nothing

People like us are everywhere, just in different forms.

There are those who are half-orphaned and dripping in wealth, soaking the wounds of deep, psychological scars in painkillers and pricey gin in European bars, while absent guardians neither inquire of their whereabouts nor their existence.

And there are the others who are caged misfits, knitted woolen gloves worn in the desert. Stuffed hurriedly into small towns and ordinary suburbs here and there, chained to duty at a young age and stifled by company for their entire lives. Those for whom the ordinary cannot satiate, but can find no easy way out.


"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." There are those who are accepting of their desperation. There are those do not know of their desperation.

And there are those who are desperate enough to self-destruct.

Desperate for that dreamlike sort of parallel existence they've slowly crafted for themselves, but now cannot access. They see it every second of every day, like a reflection in a long, endless mirror that follows their every step.

It's behind the glass door they're gripping at, on which their fingertips leave oily streaks.
They sit on one side of the door gazing into the other, imagining, going mad with their delusions, the delirium their inventions have caused them. Going mad because they cannot get through.


So they throw to break the glass. First everything around them, then everyone around them, and then, when what is in the real world is left in pieces of shattered glass and debris and the wall stands unmoved and resolute,
they throw themselves.
Scratching, then pounding, then kicking, then slamming. Until they're nothing but pulped flesh and liquified bone.


And it's only then, if they're conscious enough to be aware of it, that they can seep under the cracks to the other side.
But in most cases, they're not conscious enough. Because at that point, they've already lost sight of what is real and what is not.

At that point, their imaginations are the only reality left, the reality they're left to die in.


At that point, they've succeeded,
succeeded in living a transcendant life that few others can fathom, succeeded in fulfilling some grandiose idea of the ultimate end result of passion, of insanity.


Martyrs. Society gives them all sorts of names and then locks them up, maybe medicates them, maybe ostracizes them.
Suicidal, schizophrenic, depressed, crazy, strange.
But perhaps they are the only ones left who know how to fight.


Perhaps, ironically, they are the only ones left who know how to live.



Saturday, March 5, 2011

Awakenings

Snow White. Sleeping beauty.
Rip van Winkle.
Juliet.
Why do they get it, cold, still repose? My body aches for deep sleep. My mind is throbbing. It's been about five days.
What I wouldn't give for just a few hours of death-like slumber.

To not see pictures in my eyelids every time I close them, unsettling dreams rattling my bones, jolting my brain waves from REM.
Up, down, up, down. Like a seismograph in an earthquake, the shaking ground after an explosion.

I must find a bomb shelter soon.

Maybe it's a week for a disturbed subconscious. Or maybe it's because it's the beginning of a month.
Maybe I read too much or think too much or indulge too much in Scriabin. Maybe this is the result of spending too much time in an alternate universe.
Maybe this is what happens when you shirk reality. It seeks revenge.


Or maybe it's just because the weather's getting warmer, because all that died in the winter is coming back to life.



Sunday, February 27, 2011

Green-eyed monsters

They always come at night, silently,

silently.

Slipping effortlessly into your skin,
oil down the sides of a glass bowl,

until it sets. Sharp fingers sinking between your ribs
digging into your closed eyes, scraping into the soft walls of your stomach.



And that's when you feel it clawing slowly down your spine, when you lose control of your consciousness and surrender it to the latent desire,
to the coldest, darkest corner of the night.

And you feel it. Slender hands gripped carefully around her neck. And all you really want to do is to tear it off
the flaxen ocean on her scalp,
the pale, freckled skin as bright as the full moon. And all you want to do is
strip flesh to bone and bone to ash and ash to dust

sinking to the bottom of the Marianas,

until there's nothing left for his breath to graze night after night
except your own, of course.
Nothing left for his hands to slide over, nothing left to satiate the hunger of an animal
that you want more than anything to cage up, to make suffer.

Until you wake up in a violent jolt,
all the anger, desire, bitter rain that no longer falls from grieving skies

mixed in with the cold sweat seeping from your pores.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

3 o'clock

There's only one time of day when the sun is brightest.

Blooming vines creep slowly up cold stone steps. Neighbors lay in grotty flats tangled in bedsheets, motionless, sleeping, sundust dancing lazily across their tired skin.

There's one time of day when it's too late to be asleep, too early to dance or paint
or sit alone by glassy ponds. When reading philosophy feels wrong, and Tolstoy has no flavor. When love lies dormant in the cracks of a dried, old oil painting, hung on a wall of peeling paper.

It must be the sun at 3 o'clock, a burning, laughing sphere, bleaching the life out of everything it touches. It must be its fiery tongues that drive me to the coffeeshop, in search of a sort of calm,

a way to contain the frightening rays in a cup, and swallow the fear sip by sip in a bitter french brew
until nighttime falls again, bringing with it a sigh of relief.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Motel musings

I spend a lot of time in strange places with strange people I don't know very well doing strange things. My writing this at this time of night sitting on a motel bed a few hundred miles away from my home exemplifies this tendency. Though there is a particular reason for why I am here in this instance, I've realized that more often, I find myself seeking all that is bizarre and abnormal and out of my comfort zone.

I find myself valuing the company of vague acquaintances more than that of people who are closer to me. They don't know my life; I don't know theirs and have no desire to learn more about it.

We connect on no complex grounds of the past, on no hazy expectations for the future. We connect in the present. In the now.

It is simple. It is becomingly carefree.


**********************


There's something too comfortable about closeness, security. Something unfulfilling in its fulfilling nature.
There's always something that overpowers that desire for a routine, the concept of having a niche in the world: a desire to be lost.

Lost in what? Lost where?


They always ask me, those who don't understand it. But there's no point in explaining, because there are only two types of people in the world: Those who don't mind being lost every once in a while and those who deeply fear it.

And of course there are those who are not aware of whether they have ever been lost or not. But those are hardly people at all.



*******************

Perhaps it's because sometimes, the world seems too vast and we are possessed by a desire to not just understand it or see it, but to be it.

Sometimes, we want it so badly that we are willing to break our flesh up into infinite grains of dust to coat every molecule of land and air that make up the planet. Maybe this is why people want to be cremated after death. It's one last attempt to embody the world.


*******************

Being lost is a sensory engagement.

We don't notice the dirt of the worn paths we tread under our feet every day. We don't notice the doorframe of our own house, the color of our curtains or how the carpet in the bedroom feels under our feet. Those things become a part of our mind that is caged off.

Our senses shut down to things we are too familiar with.

But if you walk into a neighbor's house, you will notice the feel of the carpet and the color of the curtains.
Walk onto the streets of a foreign city, and you'll notice that you have five senses again. Everything becomes sharp. The wind feels colder on your fingertips, colors are brighter, smells are stronger. Sounds are louder. They're louder because subconsciously, you're listening harder. Because you have no idea where you are or what to expect. Your senses are on fire.

Everybody is more aware when they're lost.


******************

Russian literature comparatists came up with a qualification for writing to be literature, that is in order to produce true literature, one had to defamiliarize. In essence, take everyday, common events that one experiences and paint them in a different light, a unique perspective.

But in order to paint the banality of daily life in a different light, one must first view it in a different lens. And to do so, one must adjust his or her mind to accomodate it. It takes a conscious effort at first to view things in a different light, but if done correctly and constantly, it becomes intuitive, habitual.


I no longer see roads as roads or people as people when I walk by them in passing. They are characters in a book, subjects of a painting.
Rain is not rain, but a mood. Music is not sound, but emotion.

It is in this way that I am able to write, to paint, to think in poetry and walk in metered time. It is in this way that I am no longer like any of those around me. It is in this way that I can no longer connect with others in the same way, not even many of those with whom I've shared long years of friendship.

Defamiliarization. It has shaped me. Some would say it has destroyed me.
And some would say if it hasn't now, it will later.

**********************

What is it to be lost?

It is to be pitched into a void. To have no idea where you are or how to get where you want to go. Sometimes it means not even knowing where you're going at all.

To be lost is to throw yourself in this void for the sake of knowledge, for the sake of experience, for the sake of defamiliarizing. To be lost is to actively and consciously search for the lens that will provide you with that different perspective, even if you do not know what you are going to do with it.

To be lost is to climb out of your warm bed, your dark room, your den of friends, and embrace the senses that you have long since lost contact with. It is to embrace your deepest, greatest fear: The fear of not knowing. The fear of being insignificant.

The fear of being alone.


It is only through embracing this sort of terrifying unknown that you may also embrace that part of your mind, buried amidst the tangled neurons of trivial everyday interactions and mundane tasks, that will allow you to see and feel in a way that transcends how everyone else sees and feels.

It is only through embracing this unknown that will also take you a few steps closer to embodying the world.




Monday, January 31, 2011

the fall

maybe this is it, you know,

the end.
if one could even call something "the end"

when it never really began in the first place.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Disconnect.

There is nothing so heavy about the concept of love.

Whoever made it so was foolish, because all lovers have some form of love. Ours was like the snow in the winter where we lived.
Light, leger.

It carried no weight, no responsibility, no burden.

We found each other brushed under the thin ice that coated the sidewalks,
melted the ice crystals off our skin with a burning love for Europe, our emotions heated for a continent in a way that they never would be for each other.

And perhaps
that was what we found in each other, l'esprit de l'europe.
Venetian canals, grapevines, gothic cathedrals. Perhaps it was through those things that we found some sort of love for another human being too.

We crafted beauty with the casual —
"de temps en temps," as the parisiennes would say.

It was through this disconnect, this unbounded territory, that we planted our roots,
not knowing what would become of anything we had, or if, in twelve short months, we'd even have anything at all to talk about over our glasses of Perrier and relentless insomnia.
Not knowing if you'd remember my face when I left,
or if the pictures of les montagnes et les compagnes on my wall would still remind me of the person who gave them to me.


We knew only that the fickle breeze of Bretagne would come by spring,

that it was only more beautiful
because it would end soon.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

(3)

She swore to her soul and everything else she believed in that she would never end up being one of them.

One of them — those foolish, cotton-headed women who lived to wait. They were everywhere.

Those who would put on dresses and sashes and hats and wait. Those who would eat dinner and sit on their couches in the evening and wait. Those who would go to bed and wake up and look in the mirror everyday at the dust collecting in the creases of their once-beautiful and now gradually aging faces and wait.

For love to sweep them off their feet, for success or great fortune to come billowing their way.

For the 9:30 train.
For some sort of revolution.
For the beginning of their lives.


They disgusted her more than anything, those miserable creatures, helpless to themselves, helpless to fate. But then again, she didn't exactly believe in fate because it was that concept in and of itself that disgusted her. The idea of not having complete control over one's own life, that every premeditated occurrence in one's short life lay in the hands of some invisible, omniscient deity.

No, certainly not. Those were the thoughts of idealists, dreamers. The ones who stayed in bed and dreamed of traversing tumultuous seas, trudging through their lives, never knowing what exactly was reality and what wasn't. And when they were finally able to draw the line, it was too late. They had nothing left but ashes in the fireplace, family in the mausoleums, cold tea dregs, and a few grains left in the hourglass.

She shuddered. Never.



But when she couldn't sleep sometimes, when her eyes tired of staring at screens and books and papers, when she lay in bed listening to her clock tick its way slowly to 4 a.m.,
when troubled thoughts stirred her mind — thoughts of temperamental emotions and half-present lovers — and strange moods made her question her sanity,

she wondered if she really wasn't one of those foolish, waiting women after all.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A story for you (2)

It wasn't that she had to do it. She had no genuine need to do what she did, neither was she in lack of anything.

But there they were, stacked in pretty rows, thrown in little baskets for her to sift through, available for her nimble, trained fingers to run over, to toy with. And sometimes, it just wasn't enough to sit in front of her computer to type, though she was good at that, too.

Come to think of it, she was unnaturally good at most things involving her hands. They called her a kinesthetic learner, and she saw the world around her not with her eyes, but through her fingertips, whether they were drenched in colorful paints and smeared against white paper or rubbed up against the rough, sandpapery bricks of the buildings that lined the icy streets she walked every day. She felt color and read people by touch. And even on the coldest days, when brutal winds would chafe the skin to bleeding, she never wore gloves.
Ever since she was young, she had an interest in building things with her hands, folding origami, writing, drawing.
Giving.

Taking.

It wasn't that she had some deep, uncovered mental issue, though some seemed to be convinced that she did. She wasn't greedy, morbid, impoverished, or harboring some buried event in her past that manifested itself through a rare psychological disorder. On the contrary, she was a rather bright person, extraordinarily amiable, her cheeriness only occasionally tinted by the cynicism of her realistic side that she touched base with every once in while when the lights were dim and exhaustion plagued her mental faculties. She was ambitious, just like most average people her age. But unlike most average people her age, she cared not for fame, or for fortune, or for luxury, recognition, or anything else that usually was assumed to accompany greatness.

Her only desire was to satisfy her hunger, a hunger that was insatiable by means of any material object that could possibly be offered to her on earth, and she had every talent and ability to acquire such objects if that was indeed what she wanted. But it wasn't.

The only things she ever wanted were those things that were intangible, those abstract concepts and twisted ideas that she ached to soak through her skin by touch, and she spent every excess second of her life finding ways to do so. But sometimes even the greatest thinkers of the past were frustrating. And sometimes when she could find no answers in the notes of melodic composers or the over-leafed pages of her books, or in the scarce intelligence that lay scattered around her in the form of mechanic human beings, she turned to the only thing left that could give her a brief, fleeting, yet undeniable moment of utter satisfaction.

The only thing that could break every social and moral boundary that tied her immovably to the frame that she wanted so desperately to shatter. It was passive. It was subtle. It was a crime.

And the feeling of being full and not hungry, though ephemeral it was, was still a good feeling nonetheless. It fed her like food did a Holocaust survivor. It kept her running until the next time...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

To kill for your love

Some start with a bang. Some start with smiles. Some start with sparks.
And some, some you can't even tell how it starts at all, only that it did
and now you're




tangled. Hands and feet bound in a net wrapped, twisted around your body, around your bones, around your brains.
And you can't get out of it. But you don't want to anyways, because this is what it's like
(or as they all say) what it's like to fall in




traps.
Or so you would be inclined to believe. Because the last time your back was up
against a wall like that, so was everything else of yours. Your emotions, your convictions,
your religion. And when you finally pulled yourself off of it, you swore to the only god left that
you believed in
that you would never put anything of yours in the hands of any





beautiful person
because all beautiful people were the same. Lovely and different from afar until you got within the reach of
their crusted fingernails, their sharp talons that raked in what you had to give and locked it
away in their cold rattling chests to feed on until they could prey on their next victim. And you
were left, stripped down to the skin and running as fast as you could




into exactly what you wanted to avoid,
exactly what you swore you'd never go near again. But this time he was lovely and different from all the others. He had strong hands, a gentle touch, and you couldn't see any talons.
So there you were again, in a net, knowing you would hate yourself again in a couple months,
knowing you were tangled in the trap of another beautiful person, knowing that right now you were helpless to it, and knowing that





this time, you had a knife.

A knife to carve out the bleeding heart of a beast.






Saturday, January 1, 2011

To 2011.

I spent New Years with some friends in a gray void down by a pier in front of the Atlantic Ocean.

We had expected to see fireworks by the harbor, the traditional explosions in the distance, fire in the sky. Countdowns, toasts, clear skies.
But instead, we found a night with fog as dense as steel wool clinging to our skin, with visibility hardly five feet in front of us. We couldn't see lights, we didn't hear explosions. All we could see was gray nothingness, a sort of frightening nothingness at our fingertips.
And quite honestly, my thoughts about the new year were the same, that is, I had none.

So here's to the new year,
To my expectations for this year being as obscure as our view from the pier, not having a damn clue what lies out there in front of me,
To not even knowing if I'll have what it takes to meet whatever is there.

But here's also to knowing that no matter what happens, this is life.
We live, we love, we lose. In retrospect, 2010 showed me all of this, and more. Much more than I expected to see.
And whether I'm ready for it right now or not, this is another year.


2011, hit me with your best shot, and by best, I mean, not too hard, please.
I usually make resolutions, but I have none this year. When my expectations are more foggy than they've ever been, there is no possible way I could make any semblance of a resolution.

And to everyone who may stumble across this, here's a toast to you, too:

May your love be greater than your loss, and if not, may love be in your loss. May you find passion in your grief, happiness in your solitude. And may you seek beauty in everything you do.

-MW