Thursday, December 31, 2015

Six Years Later

It's that time of year again, where in between the stuffed stomachs and hearts, we reminisce about days gone and plan those looming in the distance. Have I done all I could do or has history repeated itself once again? Did I set out to live a truer existence, one in which I was more adventurous and carefree, and if so, did I succeed? I'll let you in on a little secret; most people haven't, not because they didn't try, but because they did and they feared.

You see, fear is a multifaceted phenomenon. It presents itself in many forms, shapes and sizes; the front door of your house, the clockwise turn of your car's ignition key, a red legged devil on your shoulder whispering in your ear words you'd never have the courage to say out loud. It's a wall dividing the square kilometre you live in and the vastness of the Japanese Alps, separating who you are and who you could be. There is no saying who or what led to its construction but it's imperative that you break it down, sooner rather than later, before the sand runs out. Because for all you know, it could at any minute.

I have never said this before, but fear was one of the main reasons why I started Life Unplugged six years ago today. I was afraid, scared of life and everything in it, so instead of fighting that fear, I hid behind thoughts and wrote, and wrote, and wrote. I made myself the heroine of my own stories and together we embarked on journeys to lands I am still not sure exist. I never told anyone about her, so much so that to this very day, she remains nameless. Unfortunately, with time, we both let go, decided to live our separate lives, me a coward and her the "untitled heroine".

I saw her again this summer, as I was strolling down the streets of Japan, mispronouncing the hello's and the thank you's, nibbling on grilled stingray fins and raw horse meat. I saw her again this summer, carrying a big bag on her back and a notebook in her hand. She looked at me funny, probably because the years have been kinder to her than they have to me. When she finally recognised me, she nodded in approval and smiled as if to say "I see you"; and she did, I know she did. For the first time in six years, she saw me, not for who I am but for the woman she knew I could be, free of fear.

Let go of your fears this year. Be adventurous, live a little, life's too short.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


I didn't leave because I stopped loving you. I left because I had to. I left regardless of all the reasons begging me to stay. You, in my bedroom, in the middle of the night, kissing my forehead, listening to my breathing, making sure I still inhabited the land of the living. You, on the roof, amidst the little trees, teaching me wrong from right, that the world can be cruel but that there is still hope, even when the mean men turn up to chop down the big tree, the one that used to sit, slouching, in front of our house. That there is always love, yours for me, mine for you. That I should do what makes me happy, even if that meant this, us. It's been too long.

No, I didn't leave because I stopped loving you. I left in spite of that. Now I'm not sure if that still gives me the right to call myself a good person. I'd like to think that it does. I'd like to think that my selfishness, for the lack of a better word, doesn't take anything away from what you mean to me. You, being the first man I ever loved, with an ability to express interest in almost anything; the flowers, the sky, the stars, Houdini; stroking my hair when I couldn't sleep because I was scared of life, of what happens when it's over. "We don't know", you said. "We're not supposed to know." and I believed you. I'll always do. If you wake you tomorrow telling me that the sea is yellow and the sun is blue, I'll believe you. I'm a scientist, or some version of one, so I should probably check it out for myself before I do, independently, for three times. But I won't, because it's you who said it, so I'll believe you.

Like when you told me that Santa is real and I stood there, on Christmas morning, oblivious to the fact that Santa's handwriting is nearly identical to yours. Only now, over fifteen years later, do I realise what a cherishable moment that was. I know we have less of those moments now, and I'm the one to blame, but daddy, I grew up. I wanted to see the world for myself. So I came to this city; this city where the noise is inversely proportional to kindness, where I am me, and you, and everyone else. Three years in and I still feel so lost sometimes; happy; lost. But then I remember where I came from, who you are, and who I've become because of you — the (more or less) adult edition of the girl you used to check up on every night knowing full well that she was safely tucked in bed. For what it's worth though, I'm glad you did.

Happy Birthday Dad.
I love you.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

In Our Heads

I thought I saw you again,
percolating through the rivers,
the wide widowed deserts,
unable to recall your name.
I thought I saw you again,
smiling unrecognisably,
dancing in slow motion,
puffing on a cigar that's never lit.
I swear, I know you, I do,
it's you who never did.
I thought I saw you again,
suspended in mid air,
fuelled by worn out words,
the kind we mutter to ourselves,
(in our heads), listen, believe me,
hug me, it's me, tell me,
do you remember? the doll,
you hid behind your back,
the one intended to shut me up
when you were gone? Because I do.
I still have it. I always will.
Just like my memory of you,
of us, just standing,
just standing still.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

In This City

in a city where even the squeaky subway mouse
is blinded by purple, rotten, thin pieces of paper,
heaving and sweating its lonely way to the top,
up with the scrapers and the vicious vapour,

where saying sorry, excuse me, pardon me,
is the strictest form of rebellious art,
looking at you, thoughtfully thinking,
'I wish I could tear your face apart.'

where the noise is not just noise,
it's a deafening cacophony of silence,
now premiering at the West End theater,
'every man is a f****** island!'.

in a city where dreams are made,
redundant, perhaps sufficiently broken,
where if you're good and obedient,
you receive a fake, golden token,

where paupers and pigeons go to die,
in the middle of Camden High,
as they ceremoniously collide,
down by the resting river in Park Hyde,

where the buildings eat you up,
and then spit you back out,
but you get so used to it,
you forgot how to live without.

in this city where life is fast,
and the traffic is slow,
I found you,
and that's all you need to know.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Wanderlustful Birds

These hearts of ours were meant
to travel the world over together.
From continental Europe to Asia,
wanderlustful birds with no tether.

They were meant to fly across the world,
and take a fifteen kilometre hike in Kamikochi,
to burn off the rice cakes we ate in Tokyo;
gooey, pillowy soft sweets known as "mochi".

And amidst the shrines in the old city of Kyoto,
they were meant to sweat, burn, then catch fire;
two cormorants on the ferris wheel in Osaka,
getting higher and higher and higher.

Our hearts, they were meant to cycle through
orchards and vineyards on the outskirts of Wien,
swimming as the sun slowly set over the Danube,
or maybe it was heaven, or somewhere in between.

Our hearts, they were meant to go on big adventures,
the kind they'll remember for years and years to come.
So take my hand and let's fly away again together,
like two wanderlustful birds with no tether.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Gravy In The Cauldron

Like a dog with a bone by the river,
all or nothing; a drunk man's liver.
Relinquishing what makes us human;
strong, pungent, pulverised cumin.

But the old lady at Morrisons had a good day,
hopes to have one again tomorrow, unlike the
economists on the top floor of The Shard,
painfully pleading for more money to borrow.

Too ugly to prostitute, too honest to steal.
Begs for a pound, can't even afford a meal.
But as long as we have a roast dinner in the oven,
with gravy in the cauldron, and our own coven,

For as long as it doesn't directly affect us,
we're as pathetic as the weakest bully
on the school bus.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Fish On Mars

Life is strange. People die. Sometimes of natural causes, sometimes of sheer carelessness, and sometimes, well, sometimes, they die because they kill themselves. Because life is weird and they assume that there isn't a way out. And yes, maybe there isn't, but if we could all just sit, silently, and listen to that smidgen of hope that's buried somewhere in between our veins, then maybe, maybe we'll all realise that we don't always need a way out. Then maybe we could all stop pretending that we've got it all figured out, that somewhere in between puberty and turning twenty six we've managed to miraculously grasp the meaning of life and what we're meant to be doing for the rest of it. But the truth is, we haven't, and we're all just as lost as we were back then, back when boobs didn't need support and single chest hairs needed all the support they could find.

Trust me, we're all lost, just different shades of it. Being lost, however, isn't an excuse for finding a way out. If anything, it's an excuse for finding a way in, back in to this life, no matter how fucked and screwed it may be. Because as unfair as it is sometimes, life can also be surreally beautiful. I can give you a multitude of reasons portraying just that, but I won't. Because you have to be the one looking out for them, the little things that you often take for granted, probably because you're too busy being busy, looking aimlessly at a device that is sucking up your soul quicker than it sucks its own battery, working hard at a job that you don't even like, saving money for a life that is begging you for another way in. Like a fish on Mars, you are desperately trying to quench your thirst, yet you keep running and running and running in circles.

Stop. Just stop. Look up. Breathe. You're alive. You may not understand how or why, but you are. Whatever it is you're going through, it will get better. You. are. alive. This, today, right here, right now, is your life. This is your life. Is it everything you dreamed it would be?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

White Daisy Paper Petals

Time and time again, we have been made to believe that time is irreversible, that time is paradoxically, infinitely limited. Time and time again, we wonder what it would be like if it isn't, if Stephen Hawking is partially wrong, and backward time travel is actually possible, possible and reasonably priced. Some of us wonder. I wonder. I've been wondering, where I would go, what I would do, whether I would change anything. Today I came to the conclusion that if I could, if time travel was possible, I'd travel back to this day, one year ago.

One year ago today, back to when your lips first grazed mine, back to when our hands first entangled into each other. I don't know what I would say, whether I would use the exact same words I used that day, whether I would even choose to talk at all. Words, like time, are infinitely limited. What I decided I would do instead is sit, and listen. To the racing beat of our hearts, both laminated with white daisy paper petals. Two hearts, lost in a city marinated in noise, polluted with excitement, shouldered by giants, and us, the dwarfs with dreams bigger than the rest of them. Two hearts, finally merged, like colliding plasticine planets in a galaxy far far away.

If time travel was possible, I'd go back and sit on a branch on that tree in Regent's Park. I would smile, looking at us two trying to figure it out, how months of friendship can turn into this, us, back then, right now. You call it blossoming. I call it something else, by a name that is not as yet present in the British English dictionary. If it was possible, I'd like to take you with me, so you'd experience it in the same way I'm vividly experiencing it right now. And when you do, when we both do, we'll go back and do it all over again. And then another time, each time indulging ourselves in a feeling that we somehow missed the first and second time.

But here's the best bit. Here's what I would probably end up doing if time travel became possible. I'd choose to stay right here. I wouldn't go anywhere. I'd stay right here, with you, right now. Because right here, with you, right now, is all I ever longed for, and all I ever needed.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Back Here

I keep coming back here, back to the scorching warmth of the sun, penetrating my skin layer by layer, looking like graphite with diamond freckles sprinkled on top. Back to the turquoise waters, reminding an eight year old that school is almost over, that long division is somewhat irrelevant when he could be building castles and covering his undeveloped body with sand grains instead. Back to this crispy air in spring, smelling like ice-creams, and sea salt, and strawberries, and sweaty kisses between young lovers. I keep coming back here. Here, where the people are strange, weird, but kind, strangely kind, whose heart is convinced that here is the most beautiful place on Earth, even though they've never really been anywhere else. Here, where the clouds are intermittent, and the sky is blue, like it should be. Blue, not a murky shade of grey. Blue, infinite, filling within the lines of my soul, like that same eight year old who has finally gotten the hang of his overused colouring book. Here, where time is slow and deep breaths are not few and far apart. I keep coming back here. Here, on this tiny island I call home.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Johnny Was A Good Man

Johnny was a good man when he set out to sail,
tempted by the blood and sweat of the holy grail.
He borrowed a boat, and a sharp, razored shell.
Behind him, now gone, his own personal hell.

He had with him, no money, nor food.
Nourishment on board, oil, but crude.
Quiet thoughts kept him awake at night,
disturbed only by the moon and its bright light.

With no one to talk to, and no one to see,
he found himself counting the one, two, three.
Several times, everyday, day in and day out.
Eventually, he will find his way, no doubt.

So he sailed further and further and more so.
Figured, if God was real, then this is all a show,
a performance of a lifetime culminating in jaws;
no use waiting for standing ovations or the applause.

Survival of the fittest without the survival or the fit,
didn't even give him time to use that first aid kit.
See, the boat sunk to the open ocean floor, with poor
old Johnny longing for days spent on the shore.

Monday, February 2, 2015

I Will Tell You

You never asked me when I knew, how I knew, if I knew, but I will tell you anyway. I will tell you, right now, someday, today, because today is a good a time as any, because if I don't, the details of the memories will fade, and all I will be left with are the indistinct feelings of what once was, of tropical suns once seen. I will tell you because my heart is overflowing with high (perhaps on weed) words, incoherently assorted words, words, a plethora of them. I will tell you, when, how, if. I will tell you everything that you probably already know, already lived, already memorised. I will tell you with the same rawness, the same sense of urgency that took over me when I first touched your lips, not only because I did, but because you resuscitated the little girl inside who slept and dreamt and slept and dreamt and never really did much else. I will tell you how you did, when. Although I don't exactly remember when if I'm honest, just the how. Because the how is easy, the how is continuous, the how is everyday, the how is now, you in the kitchen cooking for us while I listen to Ray LaMontagne, or Ray The Mountain, as you so aptly nicknamed the poor chap. I will tell you, everything you need to hear, everything you need to know. I will tell you, someday, maybe even right now, today. I will tell you. Yes, yes, okay, alright, I will tell you. I just need to find the words first.

Monday, January 19, 2015