Monday, December 31, 2012

Three Years Later

It all started on a moonlit balcony. Enter an amateur who is undoubtedly oblivious to the misguided camouflage of the pink bathrobe and the not so subtle sound of smooth jazz. And then I started writing, and sentences turned into paragraphs, and months turned into years. Three, to be exact.

Three: the time it takes for a full moon to turn blue, the same shade of blue that is blending, perpendicularly, with the lines of these anaemic pages. Three: the (lowest) number of words it takes to put together an uncomplicated phrase, one that is capable of evoking a myriad of emotions at any time of day and under almost any circumstance.

Best year ever. Caterpillars become butterflies. Close your eyes. Then open them. Come find me. Dreamers are lonely. Fall then fly. Fears are imaginary. Free your mind. Happiness is temporary. Hope is not. I miss you. Insanity is relative. Just say yes. Life is beautiful. You are too. Make a difference. Memories are fragile. Mortality is overrated. So is money. Open the cage. Paint the clouds. Use a pencil. Paper beats rock. People make mistakes. They also change. Deal with it. Photograph a smile. Read a book. Serendipity is random. Just like science. Smell the magic. Soul mates exist. Stop and listen. Suffocate the doubts. Take my hand. Travel the world. Try something new.

Happy New Year. Live a little.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Beginning of the End (a Letter)

Dear you,

For reasons you will soon come to understand, I shall not be divulging my identity straight away. If I do, it might change the way you look at this letter, and I don't want that. Do not try to understand what I am about to spew here, because between you and me, I'm not even sure I know myself. Writing this is not even remotely close to my idea of fun, but the chief/s in command, who I never had the pleasure of officially meeting, asked me to, just in case. So here I am, making this up as I go. If at some point, I become incoherent and you find yourself lost, bear with me. Contrary to popular belief, I may not be cut out for this. Still, I think I owe it to you, and myself, to try.

If I am to be totally honest though, I don't fathom what you are even doing on the list. You see, you are not the only one I am sending a letter to. Way before the rumours started, I was provided with a long list of names, of which you are the first privileged enough to be contacted. But like I said, I don't know why you, of all people, are on it. I have been trying very hard to grasp the meaning and intent behind this random selection. In a feeble attempt to digest this assignment, I even took the liberty to take a quick peek at your past, and surprisingly enough, you check out. Yes, you may have stumbled on your own two feet a couple of times, but overall, you are what I would consider a regular, and a pretty lucky one too, if you allow me to say so myself.

So here is where my dilemma lies. On the one hand, I was told to atone for a sin that I haven't even committed yet (and probably won't for a really long time, if ever), and on the other, my gut is telling me to direct my last remaining energy source elsewhere, in view of the hypothetical bigger picture that is as yet obscure. Because if the predictions about me are true, then I guess it won't matter, but if they're not, well, then I guess you will be far better off pretending that my imminence is real. Which is why I have opted to go with my metaphoric, yet still very intuitive, gut.

Having decided so, it is not my intention, and definitely not my place, to meddle with how you decide to live your life, especially since you seem to be doing so well on your own. However, I couldn't help but notice a somewhat disturbing trend over the past few years. You are probably too wrapped up in your own head to realise, but those silly little things that used to put a smile on your face everyday, don't anymore. You have also become numb to the emotions that once made you cry. And yes, while I do understand that things don't always have to stay the same, I don't see why they shouldn't.

Why shouldn't you succumb to the beauty that surrounds you? Why shouldn't you evaporate in the kaleidoscopic sun as it plays hide and seek with the quiet, majestic birds and the fleecy, evergreen trees? Why shouldn't you immerse yourself in the sweet symphony that accompanies the incandescent lights emanating from the tall buildings as they make their way down into the river crossing the city? Why shouldn't you let the warm wind, barging in from the car windows, thaw your heavy beating heart? Tell me, why shouldn't you? And don't pretend like you don't know what I'm talking about here. Because you and I both know that you do.

But listen, like I said, I do not intend to give you a hard time. It's just that some people have been living their lives as though my existence is absolute, but not you. Mind you, I'm not saying that you should, but you have been cruising through life pretending I don't matter. But in my own way, I do. I do matter. Irrespective of whether I'm still around at the end of this week, or at the end of the century.

I do matter. Whether you choose to believe me or not, is ultimately up to you.

Love,
the End of the World

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Not Cold Enough

She ran,
and ran,
all the way to the ocean,
stopping only to watch 'Life in Rewind'
playing in slow motion.
Every bone in her body told her to jump;
got dismissed, just like always,
by a throat and its lump.

It takes courage to dive,
to breathe underwater,
to sink but not drown,
when you're your father's daughter.

So she stood there,
for an hour or two,
baring only her soul,
and her damaged left shoe.

Fighting hard against gravity,
against time and its Boolean brevity.
With no one to call her bluff,
about the water not being cold enough.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Best Never Had

I thought I would have forgotten by now, you, looking at me, looking at you. I really thought I would. I remember smiling, because I honestly had no idea what else I was supposed to do. (I still don't.) I remember you smiling back, causing the inebriated cardiac muscle to contract a fraction of a second before the designated time. I had read about this sort of thing in my now rusty old books. I had experienced the idea of it every time I heard that pathetic song on the radio. But never like that. Never in real time. And we both seemed to be enjoying it, shooting sparks and banter back and forth at each other from across the library table. I know I did. Your gaze and your lips, slightly hidden behind that clean shave, defibrillated my terrified heart like two metal paddle electrodes. And for a minute (it was in fact three hours), time was no longer relevant. Time was infinite.

But then I had to go. I don't know why I had to but it must have seemed important at the time. (It probably wasn't.) What happened next is a bit of a blur. I must have felt you, standing behind me, so I turned. You tugged at my sweaty palm, leading me upstairs. Upstairs, where you said the water was. I don't think I ever really understood what was happening. I don't think you expected me to. Then, before I had time to fully regain my senses, you asked. You asked and I said yes, my first yes to that overused question. Neither one of us said anything after that. We just stood there, looking at each other, like two lost souls who had finally found something to hold on to. I smiled and you smiled back. And then I left (and for the life in me, I can't remember why I did).

I put an acoustic sappy song in my ears and I left. And as I walked through the city, the city lights creating strange shadows on the rainy London streets, I found myself smiling. Strangers looked at me funny. I looked at me funny. But I didn't care, because for that one night, anything was possible.

But now I'm here. I've forgotten how I got there. But I have not forgotten you.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Euphemisms

We beat around bushes,
afraid of what they would say.
We stab ourselves with euphemisms,
and then we pass away.
Before drowning in an oasis of judgemental looks,
noticing only the cover and not the whole book.
Imagine putting quicksand in an hourglass,
and you don't know if it's oxygen you're breathing,
or just a dose of laughing gas.
Try taking a camel out of the desert,
then look at its face, full of anguish, inert.
Watch him as he desperately tries to let go
of the urge to suddenly become a John Doe.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Constipation

Well, here we are after three hours in mid air on an obscenely coloured window seat, and twenty five days of excruciatingly uncomfortable conversations. Then today, reality struck, and with it came the realisation that what used to be fixed by these ten nail-bitten fingers is now subject to a phenomenon commonly known as writers' block, frequently attributed to boredom and futility. Yet, despite this verbal constipation, there is still that familiar urge to neatly vomit words from heart to pen to paper. So that's what this is. This is not some lame attempt to get over being unable to discharge (no pun intended). It is simply a matter of doing something because you have to, not because you want to. Again. Catharsis.

Then again, maybe this is only understandable. Leaving a big chunk of your heart on a totally different country should not be taken lightly. Especially if this is compounded with daily local mishaps that give stupidity a whole new meaning. But maybe that's not it at all. Maybe it has something to do with the inability to feel that adrenaline rush, that crave for life that makes you want to wake up in the morning without wanting to smash the multi-purpose alarm clock against the back of your bedroom door. Maybe, it's about that all too familiar feeling of being a social outcast in a place where you never really belonged, despite failed miserable attempts at proving yourself and others around you otherwise.

It's about not finding the right words to empathise with what you've been meaning to say, thus bringing you to a very dry, very tepid conclusion: the bowels inhabiting this brain are frozen, constipated, blocked. Which means that it's going to take one hell of a laxative to flush it all away.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The City

Taste it with the tip of your comatose tongue,
happiness in its endlessly salivating form.
Wrap it around your little pinkie finger,
dipped in a deceivingly clean skyline,
replaced by Ben’s nine foot hour hand,
as its chimes silence the heavy noises
of multicultural underground feet
going nowhere, anywhere, somewhere,
ignoring the virtue of right handed patience,
so they can arrive a quarter of a minute
before the stipulated time.

Smell it with the nostrils of your oversensitive nose,
the calm cold winter air penetrating your lungs.
Suck yourself into this pleasurable whirlwind
of feisty independence, vinegared by
unrecognisable enigmas
in warrior-like suits,
cleverly crafted in such a way
so as to avoid scented shadows
from escaping to the beyond.

Hold on to it before see you laters turn
into temporary goodbyes,
before familiar certainties question your attempt
at playing nice.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Piece Of My Heart

The quiet noise, penetrated by the sound of the crackling fire, inspired her. The chair, slowly rocking to the beat of a hopeful heart, made her thoughts stand still. Like most girls her age, Mae asked a lot of deep rhetorical questions. The strategy of self-questioning was something she was all too familiar with. She understood the difference between the fine art of fairy tales and the otherwise inconsistent oblivious reality. She was aware that a happily ever after is not always possible. She knew that life doesn't always turn out the way you expect it to. She knew. But it doesn't mean she accepted it.

Truth be told, Mae wasn't your average teenage girl. She didn't have many friends, and those she used to have, never bothered to care. The imaginary friends she had when she was five years old were far better off. She was creatively introverted, a dreamer, always looking for that bright silver lining. So she created a world where everything's better and everything's safe, a wall made out of cushions, a bubble of beautiful colours. She isolated herself by pretending. By now she had learned the pretence lesson all too well. Yet deep down she knew things would change eventually. It was just a matter of time. She was naively optimistic, deeply acquainted with the half full glasses. She was patient. She didn't know how to be any other way. Somehow, she knew happiness would come looking for her too. She knew. She could feel it in her heart.

She just didn't expect it to find her so soon.

* * * * *

It was a colourful afternoon in March. Mae was home alone, beside the fireplace, rocking on her grandmother's carved wood chair. The silence, except for the heavy sighs every now and then, was deafening. The fire flames, her only source of warmth, were slowly dying out. Outside, the soft breeze was gently caressing the tall vibrant tree, teasing her as it does so. "At least they have each other", she thought, wiping the tear streaming down her face. True, she may have enjoyed the walk by the river the other day, but nature seems to lose its sense of wonder when you're in it, exploring it, taking it all in by yourself. Because the thing is, loneliness is an exhausting feeling, and no matter how hard you try to make yourself believe otherwise, you know it just is. You learn to live with it, and against all odds, you sit and hope for something better.

As for Mae, she breathed loneliness pretty much all her life, even when she was surrounded by people. And sitting there, in the living room by herself, only made these feelings escalate. The questions, the thoughts, they wore her out. She was always so tired, so sleepy. She needed thrill and excitement. She needed someone to have meaningful conversations with. She needed something to keep her mind off things. And that day, that beautiful colourful afternoon in March, she got exactly what she needed. The loud bell at the door ringing changed everything. It was the sound of hope renewed, and she didn't even know it yet.

She twisted the door knob and she opened the door. "Hi", he said. "I just wanted to come by and introduce myself. I'm Lucas, but my friends all call me Luke. My family and I just moved in the house next door. I'm from Lindsborg originally, it's a small town in Kansas, but my old man got offered a job here, so we moved. I liked it there, it was home, you know. And now I'm here, and I don't know anyone, and I'm expected to show up at this new school next Monday, and I'm lost, and this big change is baffling and exhausting enough as it is." He paused as if to get a hold of his breath. "Um, I don't know why I'm telling you all this, I'm sorry. Let me start again. Hi. I'm Lucas. I guess I'm your new neighbour. What's your name?"

Mae stood there, perplexed. She wasn't sure what was going on. She never heard so many words in so little time. He was probably a couple of years older than her, maybe in his early twenties. Auburn curly hair, emerald green eyes, and a smile so innocent, so sweet, so beautiful, it could light up her entire existence. She didn't understand how a stranger could pour his heart out like that. "Hi", she finally managed to say. "I'm Mae. Nice to meet you." she said, smiling coyly.

"It’s very nice to meet you too Mae. I apologise if I came on too strong. I'm not usually like this. I guess I'm just anxious. I'm not used to this much change." he said, his voice somewhat softer now. He seemed genuinely lost. They both did. He then asked about her life in general, her likes and dislikes. They spent over an hour on the front porch talking about everything and nothing at the same time. She felt different, lighter somehow. This never happened to her before. Fact – Sometimes all you need is someone to talk to, especially if that someone is a perfect stranger who has no idea who you are or where you've been. Besides, it was like he knew exactly what she needed to soothe her loneliness.

"Luke", she said when they both stopped talking.
"Yes."
"Thank you."
"For what?"
"For this."
He smiled and her heart skipped a beat.
"No. Thank you." he said.

He looked into her big hazel eyes, as if he expected her to say something, but she didn't. She didn't know what she was supposed to say. So instead, she got up, took his hand gently in hers, and softly, she said, "Come with me." They walked past the tall vibrant trees and by the river. The beautiful colours of sunset were reflected in the waves, the same waves the ducks were using as part of their rhythmic dancing routine. The night was looming in, and by then you could hear the distinct chirping sound of the crickets. They found a patch of grass to lie down in, comfortable enough to look up at the stars, isolated enough to shut out the rest of the world. She felt at peace. He was no longer the handsome stranger with the beautiful smile by her front door. In a day, he became the friend she never had. That night, they talked about almost everything, about constellations, life and death, politics, relationships, sex, travelling, war. They talked about their fears, their hopes and dreams. They didn't even sleep. They talked and talked until they ran out of things to say. But the silence between them wasn't awkward. On the contrary, it was quite comforting.

On one occasion, she felt his hand brush up against hers, and for the first time in a very long time, she felt alive. She could see him smiling, even in the dark. His eyes, they sparkled, mirroring the moon. She was too busy being blissful to notice that he was watching her too. Her silhouette inspired him. He didn't feel so lost anymore. He could do this forever. He knew he could.

So he rolled over, kissing her cheek. With his lips touching her ears, he whispered...
"I want you to close your eyes and I need you to trust me."
"Why?" she asked half-heartedly. Trust was never her strongest suit.
"Because I have something to give you but it’s meant to be a surprise."

She closed her eyes, reluctantly at first. She didn't know what to expect. After all, she didn't know him that well. And he seemed restless. He fidgeted impatiently, as if he was looking for something he couldn't find. "Here", he finally said, as he stretched out his hand to reach hers. "You can open your eyes now."

* * * * *

She did. She opened her eyes. She looked around, but she couldn't see him. She just stood there, in the middle of a cold empty living room, looking down at the palm of her hands, her hopeful heart beating to the echo of the rocking chair, holding nothing but a memory, a star, and a tiny little piece of his heart.

* * * * *

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sun at the Corner of the Page

Ever since we were seven years old, or maybe even younger than that, we were taught the importance of having friends. Parents told us to share an already way too small lunch if someone forgot theirs. Teachers asked us to use each other's Crayola crayons during art class, knowing very well that it takes more than just the sharing of sticks of coloured wax to build a friendship.

Back then, naive as we were, we didn't stop to question their teaching methods. We just nodded, pretended we knew what they were talking about, and merely played along. Now, seventeen years away from drawing stick figures and a quarter of the sun at the corner of the page, I find myself at a loss trying to understand this relationship, based solely on the give-and-take premise, they were trying to shove down our throats. Because yes, sharing of goods is, well, good, but then again I don't consider the homeless person I shared a sandwich with the other day my friend either.

True friendship requires so much more than that. Actually, it doesn't really require that much, just the little things. Things like consistency, effort, patience and heart. To find that in a person, in a place so big so chaotic so unpredictable, is as rare as finding a quiet unlit spot in the city centre. So when you meet someone who's willing to open up to you, share with you their hopes and dreams without any hidden agendas, someone whose colours are more genuine than the sixty-four pack of crayons from Crayola, you take that and you cherish it.

To have someone in your life who can brighten up your day just by being in it is pretty much the equivalent of drawing a quarter of the sun at the corner of a blank white page. You don't have to have it but it's so much better if you do.

Non-Profit Disclaimer: No immediate profits were made from mentioning the Crayola brand of crayons. Thank you.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Temporary Home

For a whole year I called this my home. Mine. But now, as I find myself surrounded by the emptiness of these four walls, overshadowed by these overpacked luggages, I realise that it was never mine to begin with. Yes, I may have tried to make it look like it's mine, but when push came to shove, when every little thing was packed or carefully thrown away, that 'mine' became nothing but a distant memory. My home, this room, is now just a vacant space ready for the next oversensitive tenant to turn it into a temporary home.

However, even though it's no longer mine, in my heart, in my emotionally-attached heart, it will always be a little bit mine. Just because something is no longer within your reach doesn't mean it's no longer yours. Moving on without the engraved beautiful memories is like eating a new flavour of ice cream in the rain. You do it because you enjoy doing it, maybe even because you want to, but it would mean nothing if you constantly complain about the dreadful weather without appreciating the unfamiliar watering taste in your mouth.

And the truth is, as scared as we are of change and moving ons, what we sometimes fail to realise is that life has a habit of opening up doors we never even thought existed. So today, as I take one last good look around this room, as I close the door of my temporary home, somewhere deep down I know that even though this door is closing for good, another one, which may not even exist yet, will open up eventually. After all, things always happen as they should.

And as they should we should let them happen.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cheap Getaway Car

Dance with me like you would with an elephant's nose.
On a beach, just you and me, with sand in between our toes.
Fill me up like you would fill an empty sky with stars.
Underneath this well lit moon, bigger than the one on Mars.
Look at me like the sea looks at its shore.
Because tonight I just want you and nothing more.
Open up to me like a fish to its bait.
Oh dear me, how I wish I stayed.
Sing to me melodies I never thought I'd hear.
Never in a million years did I want you so near.
Tuck me in the back of your cheap getaway car.
Take me to that place, that one, the one that's far.
And then, as I fall asleep, whisper in my ear those three little words I hold dear.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Train To Athens

It takes five hours and twenty minutes to go from Thessaloniki to Athens, which means I have three hundred and twenty minutes to kill. The fact that I find trains particularly fascinating makes this a whole of a lot easier. I love how you can just sit, music in your ears, and wait as a whole country unfolds before your eyes.

Equally intriguing are the two locals inhabiting this six-seater two-thirds full cabin. Seat 65, there's this tanned, white-bearded, white-haired man sitting next to the window. His light grey eyes pierce through the daily newspaper, a newspaper whose headlines I can't even begin to pronounce. His bag, sitting idly by on the empty seat next to him, is the mystery of the hour. I'd like to think he's a photographer on the way to the city to make his childhood dreams come true. Open to interpretation are the wrinkles beneath his eyes. I'd like to think he's married. I think he found true love but it's not enough. Maybe he wants to tick off every bullet point on his bucket list before it's too late. Maybe now's the time for him to actually bother.

Seat 66, blue trousers, white shirt, long black-grey hair, late forties. He's been staring out the window all ride long. I wonder what he is thinking about. I wonder if there is someone he's going back to. He gives off the artist vibe, but he could very well be a businessman, too rich for his own good. His seemingly expensive watch is the only possession I'm interested in. Time goes by really slowly when you have nowhere else to be and nothing else to do.

The sun is on its way down now. Train conversations have been had, time has been killed, and Greece has been crossed, which means the city is now within reach. However, memories of the afternoon naps on the beautiful sandy beaches, the clear blue waters, the homemade sangria and the late night card games on the breezy balcony will remain.

Just like this constant itching for this life altering addiction called travelling.

(written on Wednesday, August 22, 2012)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fish in a Bowl

Quite frankly, I don't understand how I got here. I can't seem to fathom the fact that this year is almost over. That person sitting on my bed back home, staring at the yellow walls doubting herself, that's not me. She wants to be, and she will eventually get there, but she's not me. Not yet anyway. A lot can change in a year. A lot has changed in a year.

Moving to a city five times the size of your home country can be very tricky. Imagine a fish in a bowl. Now imagine that same fish in the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, my point exactly. Fish has to search for its own food, clean after itself, and avoid being eaten up by much bigger much more powerful fish. In a nutshell, Fish has to learn to adapt, because if it doesn't, there's no way it will survive. Some may call it survival of the fittest. Truth be told though, it has nothing to do with fitness, nor survival. It has everything to do with heart, and will.

Then, without you even realising, you become a part of them, a part of these underwater breathers; breathers who stand on the right side of an escalator, who hold the door for you no matter how busy their day may be, who act like they're reading the daily newspaper simply because they want to avoid eye contact in the subway. Whether you like it or not, you become a part of this school of fish. Sometimes, at least after a while, they all start to look the same. Just like fish breathing through their gills. They're all different but they're all the same. Just like you.

Nevertheless, you'd still choose the ocean over the bowl. Because even though the bowl is fun for a while, it gets cloudy with time, and with time, your vision starts to get blurred. And blurs and life do not go well together. Risks, on the other hand, do. There is nothing more fulfilling than sitting in one of these two-storey-high red buses, crying your heart out, knowing you took a risk and you made it happen. You actually did it. Not Fish, you. You and this overwhelming sense of gratitude towards this heart-poundingly beautiful life.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Snakes and Ladders

Up the ladder and down the snake, that's how I remember playing the game. Quite frankly though, I never really understood why. I obviously did understand why you had to get away from a snake's venom filled tongue. That, I understood. What I didn't understand was why you were only allowed to go up the ladder but never down. Until now.

Now I do. Now I realise that the view is better, much much better, the further up you go. You don't necessarily have to be at the top, but it certainly beats anything you ever tried to scrape at the bottom. Every now and then, you have to remember to look down though, as it will keep you grounded. Taking a peak at how it all used to be might even give you that little nudge that's been missing all along.

Sometimes though, what awaits you at the top, scares you. In that case, you might want to go down a couple of steps. Not a lot, just enough to earn you the time advantage. I know, you probably think that going back, down, is never really a good idea, especially when there is the choice to go forward. Right. But maybe, just maybe, back is the only accessible way to forward. Maybe, one step back and two steps forward is better than no steps at all.

Besides, this is your ladder, and there are no real snakes around. Except for the ones you single handedly captivated in your head. No, you don't have to go all the way up at one go. That rule does not apply here. Because this is your ladder. And this is no game.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Come Undone

Let me be the canvas to your cheap art,
the rugged rhymes to your insincere poetry,
the rusty nail to your silly trust coffin.
Allow me to stab you with my clean knife,
so clean in fact I can see your rigid reflection.
Allow me to ossify your gaze into mine,
disturbed by the freckles on my pale arm.
Allow me to kiss the top of your forehead,
undrenched from the evils of this wretched world.
Let me. Allow me.
Tell me, that it's going to be all right all night,
that it doesn't matter who and where we are,
that souls can be bent and broken,
but they can also be mended, unspoken.
Give me a needle and a thread.
Stitch me up like you would a broken doll,
abandoned by a grown up eight year old.
Stitch me. Fix me. Then wait...
for me to come undone,
interrupted by the cold of the sun.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Swallowing Apples

This life, it swallows you whole, like a hungry beast on an empty stomach, a vacuum pump set to maximum speed, a clumsy tornado in the middle of a murky sea. Yes, occasionally, it nourishes you, nurtures you, protects you, but then, it takes it all away when you're not looking. You start off with an intact apple cart but you may wind up with the messiest, most creative, piece of modern art you've ever seen.

So, as it turns out, when we grow older, we are all given one, an apple cart. Some like them red, some like them green. But because this is for information purposes only, and because colour blindness has never been my strongest suit, let's just leave it at that. Anyway, yes, we are all given an apple cart at some point or another. Sadly, instructions are not included in the receive one, get one free, package deal. It's just a cart full of apples.

If I'm being completely honest here, the metaphor was never about the cart per se; it was more about what to do with the apples. Throughout the years, I've met people who just sit around and wait for the apples to eat themselves, leaving them to rot as some kind of alternative statement (or so they think). I've met others who chop them up into small pieces, eat them slowly and steadily, and juggle the rest as they're munching away.

Then, there are those who are running out of apples, not because they are old, no, but because they, like hungry beasts on an empty stomach, swallowed them whole without savouring the juices first. Usually, the blame falls on life itself, that it is swallowing them whole, that it is what's choking them up. Of course, what they fail to recognise is that life only swallows what you feed it.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Plunge

If only your smile wasn't etched on my heart. If only your lips weren't grafted on my skin. If only.

You knew back then what I know now. You knew. That it'd be good, that it'd be more than good, maybe even better than great. You knew. That hands don't have to be held to be warm, that lips don't have to be kissed to be wet, that words don't have to be said to be heard. You knew. Oh yes you did. So why didn't I? Why didn't I know that aching souls can be cured by drunken sunsets, that there was more to it that meets those beautiful blue eyes, that there is more to this, to life, that merely being able to hide behind childish stupidity?

Why didn't I? Or maybe I did know. Maybe the only way we know how to avoid being consumed by fear is to hide from fear itself. Maybe that's why you knew and I didn't. Because you weren't afraid. You were willing to take the plunge. Instead, I took the plunge(r) and I drowned it. I drowned it into your red and rugged glass of white wine. And it drowned. And it sank. And it kept on sinking. Just like that boat in the middle of the empty ocean, with a little black hole piercing its skin, allowing water to ooze in, drop by drop, until there was no more space left, and so, the only thing left for it to do was go down. Slowly.

Slowly. I watched it, go down. I am watching it. But then I remember your smile and your lips, and suddenly, just like that, the boat stops sinking. I realise there's a plunger right where the hole used to be, and for a minute, could have been a second, reality is no longer etched and no longer grafted. For a minute, it is what it is, because what it isn't doesn't make much sense at all.

You knew, didn't you? You always did.
It's all good though. Because now, now I do too.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

People Are Like Books

I love books, but it's been a while since I've read a really good one. I love people too.

People are like books. Yes, they all have their own story and what not, but frankly, that is not where I want this to go. People are like books. You enter a bookshop, hopeful, you go round and round, and then again and again, and you search. You search for something meaningful, for something that you are willing to spend time on without losing too much of yourself in the process. Your eyes, they fall on that one particular book. No, the cover is not that good looking. You're not that shallow. You don't judge a book by its cover (I'm sure I've heard that phrase somewhere before). You open it, gently, as if your life depended on it. Then, before you start reading the blurb, you smell it. You don't know why you do the things you do, but you do them anyway.

But that's not really the point here. Blurbs lie; they make you think that the book you are about to purchase is the best book ever to be written. Wrong. Because then, you go home and you start reading. Months later, and you're stuck reading that very same book. You thought it would get better halfway through. You thought it would start to make sense by now. Think again. Then, try again. Not because you enjoy doing it, but rather because 'half finished' has never been your style. But maybe it should be. Because if the ending is just as painful as you suffering throughout the whole book, then maybe it's just not worth it. But the thing is, how would you know if the ending is good or not if you never bother finishing it?

But now you finished it. Now you know. It's not you. It's the book. Maybe it's a little bit you. Maybe you just lost interest. No, no, it's the book. It has to be. Because blurbs lie.

But sometimes they don't. Sometimes, books can surprise you. It's what I love about them.

It's also what I used to love about people.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Candy

It all starts with candy, your mum telling you not to accept any from strangers in minivans trying to lure you in. You remember fidgeting, nodding, thinking that candy is just candy, that there shouldn't be any hidden agendas. But as it turns out, there is, there always is. Because, as a matter of fact, being approachable, easy on the hearts, naive even, that's exactly the kind of aftertaste you don't want anywhere near your mouth. Before, there used to be this wide open wooden door with a key underneath a carpet and an invitation that says come in. Now, now there's just a wall and a carpet being sent over to dry cleaning. It's funny (not really) how, when you grow older, candy is replaced by empty promises, the stranger becomes a "friend", and the van, well, the van is just a van. At least back then you would come out a winner with a full stomach and a happy smile. Now you just come out empty.

People lie. That's what they do. They think you don't notice. They think that because you don't notice, that they can get away with it, which they do, but not because you don't notice, because you do, but because you'd rather waste your energy somewhere else. And the sad part is that you know there must be good in people. Maybe they just fail to share it with the rest of the world. So eventually, you learn to lower your expectations. No big deal. Seriously, if they don't really care, then why should you? Why put so much effort when it's all going down the drain and into the minivan anyway?

Trust is bitter sweet, like candy, and you either have it or you don't. And as the saying goes.. fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice shame on me, so pack your bags and just let me be. No, wait, it doesn't exactly say that, does it? Oh well, nevermind.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Once I Had A Dream

Home is... leaving at the eleventh hour, arriving twelve hours later, with only three hours of uncomfortable sleep, to be welcomed by familiar arms, butts, and faces. It's that almost forgotten feeling of not being constantly surrounded by strangers for whom your existence doesn't matter much at all. Home is remembering who you are, where you come from, grounding you to a reality that you seem to have removed from the now empty corners of your mind. It's your heart smiling for no apparent reason, the warm love received unconditionally without you having to beg for it, look for it, pay for it, in a place that is not only cold because of the weather (pinch of salt). Home is not having to eat leftover dinner by yourself, but rather being surrounded by loud, no longer annoying, voices. It's the (yes) sun raining all over your bleached body, the sea spraying salt all over your bare feet, the appetiser to a flirty summer, knowing very well there will be no main course. Home is the pause button to a life that seems to be stuck on fast forward. It's a bonsai of mixed raw emotions, fully grown and nurtured, while you try to hold on to something that has always been there and will still be there when you're gone. Home is them knowing what you want, who you are, and loving you anyway, even though doing so breaks their beautiful hearts into tiny hardbound pieces. Home is a swimming pool of memories, staying afloat if and only if you want them to. Home is a feeling and this was my failed attempt at trying to define it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Rock-Paper-Scissors

Sometimes, translating built up feelings onto pieces of leftover paper just isn't enough. There are times when no matter how much you want to, no matter how much you need to, it just doesn't happen. You'd think that words, being your usual go to, would help you get through it, that they would cure you, comfort you, caress you. That they would always be there no matter what. Well, you'd be wrong. Like everything else in this life, they leave, they change, they bottle up inside you in a form you have never quite exploited before. Or maybe you have and you just don't remember. You're so forgetful lately, forgetting what and who you are, where and how you've been, the little things that really matter.

What about them little things anyway? Why are they so little if they're really just big? You used to have it all figured out, back when figuring stuff out was the hardest task at hand. Not anymore. It's like playing rock-paper-scissors with yourself, and you're either always winning or always losing, because you know the outcome way before the hands are dealt. So maybe it's time to change the outcome. Maybe it's time for something more. But more of what? Of this? Of anything else that is not this? But this is good, so anything else is just going to either be worse or much much better.

Eventually, it's all about the chances you're willing to take, the fears you're willing to overcome. It's about succumbing to the smart little people in your high-on-something-that-is-not-weed brain telling you that it's okay, that change is good, that chickening out is not even remotely an option, that fear of the unknown is only natural, that no one ever really gets anywhere by building tree-like hedges around himself; the thorns may not be pretty but the flowers are. And they smell good too. But you won't be able to smell them from a million miles away. Try all you want, but you won't. Believe me, I tried. It just doesn't work like that.

You want something? You go get it. Don't pretend like it's going to fall from the sky one fine evening on your way back home from work. It might, but it's not going to. But it might. And if it does, what then? Do you catch it or do you just let it go? Well, if the past is anything to go by.. okay, okay.. let's not go there. Not today. Not right now. Then when?

If not now, then when?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Stripped

That's the thing about patience. It can screw you better and harder and longer than any male stripper ever could. Not that it has ever been experienced first hand, and not that you would need to know. But you see, no, you probably don't. You feel it, deeply penetrating your skin, your soul, like a parasite eating and sucking every cell of your body, injecting venom, poisonous, inch by inch, until there is no more space left, until it's all clogged up, and then suddenly, just like that, you feel asphyxiated, breathless. Your flesh, like that of an old man who's been through hell and back, captivates you. You'd think that that's a good thing, that it's finally happening, that the quiet selfless tormented bastard is finally ready to come out. You would think that that's a good thing. Well, it is, until it's not. Until you slowly start to realise that it has always been there for a reason, and just like every other reason ever invented, it doesn't make much sense at all. Until every organ in your body oozes bitter sweet tears, tears that stopped coming out a long time ago, a time when patience was still acceptable, when it was still a virtue, a time when oxygen was not produced in limited editions. Yes, that's the thing about patience. It screws you hard, and time and time again, and for what it's worth, better than you ever thought it could.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Conversation With A Squirrel

Hello there, little squirrel, fancy meeting you here. It's okay, you can come closer. It's safe, as safe as it will ever be. I won't hurt you, I promise. You look so familiar. Have we met before? No, no we didn't. I'd remember if we did. But it doesn't matter, we can still sit here and chat for a while. I'll do most of the talking, don't worry.

I wonder, little squirrel, do you find life confusing just as much as I do? You probably don't. I bet it's so easy for you, with nothing hindering your mind except maybe silly thoughts of your free existence. And not even that. Nature is your oyster. You can do whatever you want and no one will judge you for it, except maybe the other squirrels. But they probably won't recognise you anyway. You look so familiar.

I wonder, little squirrel, do you ever feel like running away just for the sake of doing it? Oh hey, did you see those two love birds flying over us? You're so small, squirrel. Why are you so small? I wish you were bigger. Or maybe I'll be as small as you are. But then we wouldn't be having this conversation in the first place. You look so familiar.

I wonder, little squirrel, how are you feeling today? You don't have to tell me. I can see it in your eyes. You miss it, don't you? I know you do. But it's for your own good, I promise. I know it hurts like hell (is there a hell for squirrels too?), but it only means you have something to live for. Your heart is in the right place though, little squirrel. Don't let the other squirrels tell you any different. Are you sure we never met before? You look so familiar.

It's getting cold now, little squirrel. I have to go. I apologise for not giving you much time to talk. But we can continue this some other day. Still, thank you for listening.

Goodbye, little squirrel. Goodbye.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sundrenched Heart

hello again, warmth penetrating my skin,
my toes, my fingers, my now awakened chin,
the gentle breeze caressing my inner ear,
under this blue blue sky, drinking beer.

hello again, rays of happiness diffusing through,
on this little island where we once grew,
adorned by the strange familiarity of coming back,
with nothing but a luggage and a backpack.

hello again, birds singing on a sunlit tree,
staying close to home yet longing to be free,
a freedom that challenges what you once thought you knew,
could be nothing, or maybe this is just your cue.

hello again, life in a different form,
the smooth silvery sea after the moderate storm,
inspiring mixed feelings of staying or going,
mocked by the well known sensation of the not knowing.

hello again, sundrenched heart on a sailing ship.
remember, the iceberg is only broken at the tip.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Before

Before I got my pen and paper, I decided to take a good long look in the mirror. No, not out of vanity but merely out of curiosity. Because, you see, six months ago, the person at the other end staring back, she used to almost know it all, she would provide me with biased, concrete, direct answers, answers to questions I never even thought I had, simplified truths I didn't want to (or have to) admit to myself. Today, finding myself in need of some heart to heart assistance, I went back there. I hoped, with every cell in body lacking melanin, that given everything that happened, nothing changed. So I waited. I looked and I waited. At one point, I think I started losing her. Nothing, not even a nod or anything resembling a twitch. Okay, maybe it was a bit naive of me to think that after all this time things would stay the same. Truth is, few things do, and the way I see it, change, as drastic and overwhelming as it may be at times, is life's way of telling us we're growing up. You can fight it, you can try to ignore it, but it's there, it's inevitable, and you just have to learn to live with it. Most probably, change is life's way of telling us to stop hiding behind mirrors in search of emotionally exhausting expensive answers and just get on with it. Because if the person in the mirror would care to reply, she would probably tell me to just shut up, reminding me that my crave for change is what started all of this in the first place.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Boy With His Heart On His Shoulders

Let me tell you a little story. But wait, before I go any further, you should know that this story is not real and that any resemblance it may have to a true story is purely coincidental (no it's not). You may find yourself enjoying it, you may even relate to it, or you may think it's crappy or cheesy, in which case I will totally understand. Anyway, enough with the chitter chatter, and here we go.

There once lived a little boy in a little house in a little village in the middle of a little island. This little boy, he loved everything about his life. He appreciated the fact that he could talk to trees whenever he wanted to, he was absolutely fascinated by the way the deep blue sea and the big beautiful sun made love to each other on an almost cold yet still somehow warm September morning, he loved seeing the flowers smile as the gentle breeze caressed their innocent pretty faces. Mostly though, he just enjoyed taking it all in, bit by bit, second by second, hour by hour. He knew that everything he would ever need was right there, right there in front of him. He was sure that no matter what life held in store for him, that that was going to be enough.

And then the little boy grew up, and it wasn't. It was no longer enough. He knew that eventually, sooner rather than later, life, and his love for the little things, would come running back to him. So he waited. He was always a patient boy, and so waiting had never been too much of a problem for him. He waited, on the front porch, for the caterpillar to metamorphose into a beautiful butterfly, for his little brother to come back home to him, for winter to turn into spring and then into summer. Yes, this little, now grown up boy, had no trouble with waiting.

And then he grew up a little more, and he got tired of waiting. His little house in his little village on the little island stopped giving him everything he once thought was everything. Or maybe it didn't exactly stop. Maybe, just maybe, he just stopped seeing it. And so, with his heart on his shoulders, he did what he thought was best, not for everyone, just for him. He was not selfish or anything, he just felt like he needed to do it, he felt like he had to. So he left.

He left and he kept on leaving. Eventually, he settled in one place, on another island, a much bigger island (not much sunnier though). Here, the people were different, maybe better different, maybe not. He still hasn't figured that one out yet. What he realised though, was that on this island, being different, weird rather, was okay. It's okay to talk to trees, to smile to yourself in public, to have an existentialist crisis (whatever that means). It's okay to just be you, good and bad.

He misses his little island sometimes, the sea and the sun making love, the sand looking at both of them and cracking a smile while trying to close his eyes. Oh yes, he misses it. But it wasn't his fault it stopped giving him what he thought he needed. It wasn't his fault that he grew up. He never asked to grow up. "Growing up is for amateurs", he thought.

So now, an expert on growing up, he decided to make a very elaborate plan. Okay, maybe not that elaborate. He decided, once and for all, that against all odds, he is going to stop growing up. Not in a Peter Pan kind of way, but rather in a boy-with-his-heart-on-his-shoulders kind of way.

Because only then would he be able to go back to his little island and feel as if nothing has ever really changed.

The End. (or The Beginning).

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Reality

Nevermind, it was all just a dream, and what you think just happened, didn't, what you thought was real, isn't. Because the unavoidable truth about reality is that it doesn't exist. It is only real for the people who believe in it. For those who don't, it's just a heavy burden. Reality is nothing but a cloud in the sky giving you the wrong kind of impression. It's an almost tangible optical illusion. It's a mother load of memories stuck meticulously together, side by side, on a bedroom wall. It's a trick no one wants to discover, a parrotlike belief involving a rabbit (or a parrot) magically coming out of a replica of Sir Abraham Lincoln's top hat without any hidden agendas. Yes, reality is basically just an imagination. But then again, what if this reality is unreal making the unreality real, what then? What if this is real? What if this is actually happening? What then?

Wait.. but this isn't real, is it?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Difference Between

It was over before it even started, my blissful reality with you. Because bliss, as I have come to realise, is not about what you need. Rather, it's about what you want, what you really really want, and that thin faint fading line in between. It's about expectations, savagely penetrated by the fear of the unknown, like the death of a synapse you never saw coming. It's about pretending not to give a fudge (non explicit version) when in fact that's all you ever really do. Because the truth is, as much as you needed it, I didn't want it. Not like that. And yes, a red rose doesn't always bloom in a deserted desert, but who am I to tell it not to? Who am I to tell a bird not to fly, a rainbow not to be colourful, a story not to have a happy ending? And the funny thing is, before it started, I think I remember seeing the roots, the wings, and probably even the colours, but what I didn't get to see, what I hindered myself from seeing, was the ending. So between you and me, I'm glad it was over before it even started, because god knows what would have happened if it ever did.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Look, and I Miss You.

I look at you, the you in my head image of you, and I miss you. I look at the squirrel, on the tree, wriggling its tail, as if dancing to a much better cover version of the Macarena, and I miss you. I look at the night sky, the stars faintly drawn by a poor painter and his expired colour palette, as I vaguely start to recollect the much brighter the much more beautiful shooting stars we had seen that night last summer, and I miss you. I look at the children in the park building snowmen, laughing their hearts out, maybe in a failed attempt to stay warm, and their laugh reminds me of your laugh, and suddenly I wish you were right here beside me, and I miss you. I look at the singer songwriter playing with his guitar, holding it close to his chest, like that woman who he thought slept in his bed last night but didn't, and I remember what you said, what I thought I heard you say, and I miss you. I look at the city, so full of life, so full of colours, darkened by these annoying repetitive sirens, but somehow it's still colourful, and amidst all this orchestrated organised chaos, I miss you. I look at the non existing sun, and I miss you. I look at the alarm clock, and I miss you. I look at the bicycles, the empty bench, the flowers, the morning newspaper headline on the tube back home, and I miss you.

I look. I look, and I miss you.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Snow

it fell, beautifully, heavily, from the night sky,
caressing life as it waited, patiently, idly by.
it fell, only to remain suspended in mid air,
not knowing how, now knowing where.

it fell, and it kept on falling,
carefree, with open arms, and no true calling.
earthed by the sudden pull of gravity,
by time and its limited longevity.

then there were angels, balls, and men,
satisfying  peacefulness, quite like Zen.
because grass is whiter on the other side,
in a playground right in the middle of Park Hyde.

but now, slow motion movement through the cold sun,
of patches, remnants, and a shadow where there is none.

everything is back to the way it was before. melted.
and as he died, a little each time, I felt it.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Cave

Sometimes, when no one's looking, when life sneaks up on you the way it does, you feel it, getting to you, like a forgotten memory you never saw coming. You feel it, you know it's there, so instead, you ignore it. It's not because you're afraid, and it's definitely not because you don't care, it's just, well, it's easier this way. However, the problem with easy is that, eventually, sooner rather than later, you grow out of it. Because easy is for the weak hearted, for the shadows on the wall who don't know any better. It's for the freed prisoner sitting by the fire who never even bothered to look beyond the cave, while Socrates, all dead and buried, rolls in his fancy little grave.

And so, with easy not being an option, you find yourself at a crossroad. You can turn right, left, or you can go forward. You are not allowed to go back. Back is easy. Back is safe. Safe is uninteresting. Safe is not living. So you sit, right there, right in the middle. Passersby, thinking you've lost it (you probably did), come up to you, asking you all sorts of questions. People are curious that way. You ignore them. You're good at that. Instead, you nod and you smile. They don't know what they're talking about.

Eventually, you force yourself to get up. Now standing, you take a good look to your right, a good look to your left, and a good look forward. With your eyes closed, you spin, in a clockwise direction, until your head starts to hurt. So you stop. Then, just as everything starts to fall into place, you open your eyes.

Now what?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Melted Crayons

it's the uncomfortable void
in the middle of the night.
a null analysis by Freud,
and so, instead, I write.

floating in a melted crayon of doubt,
sinking, slowly, feet touching the ground,
silenced by the viscosity. whisper. do not shout.
visible. here, there. lost. never been found.

awakened by this sudden urge to breathe,
by a hidden sunrise, glimmering underneath.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Chances

life is for the living. that's what they say.
an acronym for the hopeful. day by day.
a game of hide and seek in the shadows,
of a boy and a girl running naked in the meadows.

it's a bird, moving, now standing still,
not wanting to be caged against his will.
it's a silhouette in the background smiling back,
beautiful as the little butterfly kissing her neck.

a happy journey, scaring the shit out of you.
maybe already over. maybe long overdue.
an empty bench in the corner of a park,
afraid of the loneliness as it gets dark.

a sleepless clock, always awake,
mocking you, your every mistake.
a dream in the middle of the night,
of squirrels, rainbows, and colourful kites.

it's that chance, not taken, now probably lost.
a life who should have lived whatever the cost.