July 24, 2021

I used to write about love
As if I knew the experience
I used to write about sadness
Like we were best friends
I used to write about grief
Though I'd never grieved a thing
I used to write about time
When I had all the time in the world
I used to write about desire
Yet I had never wanted for much
I used to write about anxiety 
With the steadiest hand
I used to write
I was so happy then

It’s really hard for me to look back at the things I’ve written in the past. It’s pretty funny, going over how stupid it all was. Thinking about how sad I thought I was or how much I thought I lacked. The trivial things I yearned for. Most importantly, it’s incredible to notice how much subtlety I lacked. I think many writers would do almost anything else before they looked at older works.

I suppose that means it’s time to move forward. Still, as bad as it all was, there’s still lessons to be learned by revisiting it. I don’t have the heart (nor the strength) to share any of my older writing, at least not yet. Maybe one day I can find the fortitude to share it and we can all laugh together.

June 30th, 2021

I'm getting out of bed and checking my phone
I'm watching my cats run around the fire place
I'm making myself my only meal for the day 
I'm thinking of ending things

I'm texting the group chat to make plans
I'm out at dinner with my friends, we went to that Chinese place I love
I'm thinking on the platform while the train approaches
I'm thinking of ending things

I'm playing in the snow with my brother
I'm thinking of all the memories we're making
I'm thinking about how nice his smile is
I'm thinking of ending things

I'm thinking about my girlfriend
I'm thinking of how much I love her hair
I'm thinking of where our lives could go in the future
I'm thinking of ending things.

Salome

I have aged beyond my years
In a room built just for me
I have suffered many lives
For the hope I may be free

I heard the door unlock
I watched the heavy bolt drop to the floor and
I felt the wear of time reverberate through the room and
I could only hold my breath

I do not know if this counts
I suppose it is a type of freedom
The biting frost of the air is
An unfriendly reminder

I look down to the water,
I look up to the sky
I have lived my life for you, Salome!
Yet it is for myself

Salome, o
Not even you are this beautiful
I hope I find my way to you
Salome

March 11th, 2021

It’s hard to write sometimes. A lot of times, really, if you’re me. I know that not every single thing a writer produces needs to be spurred by some relentless frenzy of passion, but for myself, it feels like if I’m not writing in a frenzy, with ideas flying through my head just needing to be put to paper, then it feels like I might as well not write at all. It doesn’t just feel inorganic, nor is it that it feels uninspired. It feels like a lie, forcing myself to write. It feels like I cannot say that I well and truly mean every word I’ve typed out, in which case, what was the point? After about a year indoors now, I find myself lacking not only in passion, but also in inspiration. To say I miss the city and the crowded subways and the busy streets would be the understatement of the century. It’s not just the people or the streets or some combination of both, it’s more-so the thoughts they invoke. The highs of getting roles in such a web of people’s lives just by sitting in a certain subway car. The lows of wanting nothing more than an escape, feeling suffocated, or maybe feeling disenchanted. Wherever I find myself, it’s easy to find a muse. It’s easy to want nothing more than to either envelop yourself in everything a place has to offer, or to reject it with every fiber of your being and dream about the places you could be, the things you could’ve been.

For this reason, I would say that quarantine is especially painful. Where one might feel joy and/or suffering out in the world, experiencing any and every possible feeling towards life, the last year has sort of been an absence of that. If happiness were a white and sadness or grief a black, quarantine would be both, but also neither. Not really a type of grey, because grey requires color. More so it would be the lack of any color at all. This analogy is the best way I’ve managed to explain the feeling of no feeling. This entire thing is quite cliché, I know. There’s a reason things become cliché though, no?

Five times have I re-written this and five times have I gotten it wrong. I suppose I’m only writing this because I must write something. Surprisingly, I don’t even have the energy to write some rousing essay on the struggles of the working class in this country or deliver a scathing rebuke of the United States Government. I am, as some would put it, “running on fumes”. Maybe it’s time to try something new.

I’m not much of a storyteller, honestly. I’m very good at telling them, don’t get me wrong. My delivery can be dramatic enough, and I can stay on one train of thought if I’m focused enough. Rather, I’m not very good at crafting narratives, not for very long. I struggle a lot, not at coming up with ideas of where to start, but rather developing places for the story to go. Nothing ever feels right, necessarily. Everything feels forced, in a sense. I’m sure that’s the same for everybody, or every writer at least, and I can’t imagine it’s impossible to overcome. It doesn’t actually need to be impossible to overcome though, as long as it feels that way.

I don’t have anything to end this on, really. Just take care of your loved ones. As long as you try to be the best person you can be, nobody can ask more of you.

I hope this finds everyone well.

Maybe I’ll try writing stories.

January 6, 2021

I don’t know when exactly I’ll get used to writing “2021” out, by hand or on a keyboard. It’ll probably take me longer to get used to saying it, honestly. I can say though, that like most people, I’m glad to see the previous year leave.

Just like many others, I had a somewhat trying 2020. I lost a lot of family. More than I thought I could in one year. I made mistakes and lived through the pandemic we find ourselves in the middle of. The fact that we made it, all of us still here, means something though, I think. I think it stands for something. Things might not get better immediately, in fact it might take a very long time to see notable improvements in the situations of our lives. The lives that were lost and the people close to us will never be replaced, and any mistakes you or I or any of us may have made cannot be unmade. The only thing we can do, is move forward.

The world we live in right now would be unrecognizable to many of us even just two years ago. The trials many of us face regularly now would test even the strongest of us in the best of times. It’s a hard world, and a lot of people are suffering. I do however, believe, that all of us will make it through this, just a little worse for wear.

I was going to write something on New Years Eve to put out there, into the world. Something for those of you that read this to get some entertainment out of, or something that may make you think, but for once in my life I was at a loss for words. I couldn’t decide if I was relieved, or anxious. I didn’t know if I should expect things to get better, or prepare for them to get worse. The only thing I could think to do, is to stop worrying. There’s not much you or I can do to affect the course of this entire year, but as long as we do what we can, we have nothing to worry about.

I hope that as the year passes, no matter how things proceed or turn out, that we continue to allow ourselves to feel love and terror and hatred and passion. I hope that we do not find ourselves indifferent, or apathetic to our situation. I hope that we continue to grow and learn and develop and experience life however we can, rather than finding ourselves blind to the state of the world. Most of all, I hope everyone here has had a wonderful New Year, and that the year is good to you.

Neither love nor terror makes one blind: indifference makes one blind.

– James Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk

December 4th, 2020 + a Sijo

It’s Christmas soon, again.
I think like many others of us, I have lost track of the days completely. I am luckier than most though, I actually get to go outside whenever I please. The woods around my house belong to nobody but me. Well, me and the bears. And the deer and the lynx and potentially some bobcats. Being able to get fresh air is pretty nice though, especially after half a year stuck inside in the middle of the city.

It’s a little scary, how quickly things can shut down and end. It seems like overnight when this first started, the city went from packed and thriving to barren. I couldn’t set foot in stores I had been in a few days ago. It wasn’t even really safe to take the train to my, at the time still in-person, classes. At least I can now suffer through this without suffocating while I do.

I still haven’t had much time to write, nor any inclination to. My muse was, and is, the city and its people. I am currently cut off from both of these things. I enjoy thinking about the lives people may lead outside of mine, and telling stories I’d like to think I know, but it’s not because I enjoy storytelling. I enjoy the emotions evoked by these people and their made up lives. No more being able to piece together the tragic day the woman across from you on the train had because her eyes look exhausted and she fell asleep with her purse open. No more wondering the circumstances that lead the man at the other end of the car into, and then out of, prison, covered in tattoo’s with a kitten in his duffel bag that he’s very protective of.

I think it’s reasonable, to be angry. Angry at each other, angry at the people in charge, and angry at anything and everything in the vicinity. The entire year has been wasted, for most of us. Millions of people were and are facing eviction. People are out of work, out of money, homeless, hungry, lost all because of incompetency and greed. This year, and the lives that have been lost, have been stolen from us and the world. I do not know we are expected to accept this.

Currently, my timeline looks something like this:

I always thought it was scary being aware and tracking how fast the days go by, and how quickly said days turn into weeks, weeks into months, months into years. I suppose it’s just as terrifying not recognizing it go by. Or, rather, watching it go by while you feel frozen in time. I cannot say I would mind this, if I was out travelling, exploring, discovering, etc. Unfortunately, I am not.

I don’t necessarily have any wise insights to share. Well, not many. I suppose there is one thing, though. I’ve learned that the past is like a ghost. It does not exist yet it continues to haunt many of us. I suppose it’s important for everyone to learn to let their past go at some point. It does not exist, and the only power it holds over you is the power you give it. Making peace with that fact has made me a much happier person. And I suppose that’s all that really matters in times like these.

Trapped in time that does not move, I find my grip holding firm
The rose in my fist is thorny, yet my hand has not one cut
In having a beauty such as yours, what allure does spring hold?

An Existential Crisis

Preface, this is long, sporadic, unstructured, and garbled. I wouldn’t read it tbh.

Today, or tomorrow (I don’t know when I’ll post this), I turn 20 years old. Like most other twenty year old’s, I’m lost. I’m lost in life, I don’t know who I am, I don’t know what defines me, and I don’t know who I want to be. This, is normal, I think. I’m not experienced enough to determine my worth, my measure. I’m not wise enough to state my place in the world, or to assert my own existence at times. Or maybe I am. I don’t really know, and I suppose that’s part of life. Something something “it’s about the journey, not the destination” cliché.

I am, however, lucky enough to know what brings me joy, and what I consider right and wrong. I abhor hedonism, but I’ve also learned recently to give myself some leeway. To allow myself to enjoy things. Granted, it took twenty years, but I never extolled my intelligence. Still, that has to count for something.

This is going to be pretty jumbled, just a heads up.

I’ve gotten to do a lot in my life. I’ve been to the other side of the planet, I’ve lived in some of the largest metropolises in the world, and in the middle of the unforgiving wilderness during the harshest winters. I’ve read more books than I could ever remember, and I’ve met people I could never forget. I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser – Wait, no that’s Blade Runner. The point is, I’ve been lucky in life. I’ve been luckier than most people, truthfully.

It’s hard not to tell yourself that you don’t deserve it, when you lead an okay life. At least, for me it is. When trying to figure out the measure of a man, or rather, the measure of myself, it’s hard not to think of the bad. All the mistakes, all the embarrassing moments or immoral choices. All the pain you’ve caused or experienced. It’s difficult to accept for anybody that’s not a complete sociopath. It’s hard to accept that you’re wrong, or that you have been weak, or that you have even been immoral. It always will be, for all of us.

I have spent twenty long, crazy, exciting years now existing. Yet all I have to show for it are lofty goals and unfulfilled ambitions. I hope that, when I look back after twenty more, I’m able to say that I have achieved my ambitions. I hope that I can say I’ve learned to forgive myself for mistakes I’ve made and accepted myself for who I am. I hope that I can say I’ve done my best helping everyone I can, improving all the lives I’m capable of, and being the best friend I can to those that need it most. While tempting, self-flagellation (both physically and mentally) doesn’t achieve much. The only thing that does is fighting, to increase the material conditions of everyone you can, and fight for the freedom of those who have none. It’s easy to tell yourself that you’ve atoned when you feel your own personal pain. It’s hard to accept yourself and your limits, and do what you can for other people in spite of them. Self-flagellation is masturbatory, and gets nobody anywhere. Taking action brings real world benefits.

Sorry about the rant, I’ve had a lot of thoughts in my head lately.

I suppose I’m coming of age, in a country that’s finally at the precipice of facing the reckoning of centuries of oppression of the poor, of the black, of the Asian, of the native, of the Hispanic, of the gay, of the alien, and of the “other”. Trying to figure out who I am in a country that’s trying to say “we don’t know what we are but we know we are not *fascist*” is quite the interesting experience. I suppose it’ll make for an interesting story if I survive a civil war and climate change.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Martin Luther King Jr.

I’m twenty years old now, and it’s really weird seeing how things have changed. It’s jarring how fast time has flown. It’s terrifying how little effect I’ve had on the world as it is. Still, all I can, or any of us can do, is try our bests and hope to be better than we are. Sorry for not writing in a while, I have not had much to say. I simply hope I am able to determine my own meaning, and determine my own scale by which I may measure what a man I have become.

I hope this finds whoever reads it, or may read it, well. And if it is your birthday too, happy birthday. No matter who you are, please stay safe. The world is fucked right now, and all we have is each other.

August 21st, 2020

I hope not to etch my name into history
With a series of apologies

Carl Jung said that “we cannot change anything unless we accept it”. I think this is true, and also very difficult. Acceptance is something many people struggle with, especially with accepting themselves. Acceptance is painful. It hurts to accept ourselves and our flaws. It is far easier to escape ourselves and dive into the love and lives of others, but eventually we will always be forced to return. It feels great to jump from ourselves, escape our being, and deceive ourselves into thinking we are virtuous. It feels horrible to accept that we are flawed, we are imperfect, and that we are our most hated foe. We are the sum of all the demons we project onto others and the world. We are our own boogeyman.

Many of us live in a state of cognitive dissonance for much of our lives. The things we do and the ways we act do not match our own self-image, nor do they match the image we *think* people have of us. We will stay in this state until we learn to accept ourselves and learn to love ourselves so that we may properly love others. It is a journey, and we are all at different point in it. I don’t know why I’ve written this, and I don’t know why I write most of the time in general. I suppose it’s just to scream into the void.

I was wrong about change, previously. I think I have changed. I accept who I am, I accept my faults and flaws and all the mistakes I have ever made and continue to make. I hope you can too. I do not know if I’m ready to love myself yet, I don’t know if I ever will be. I do know that we should all have the chance to, or the opportunity. If you read this, whoever you are or wherever you are, I very much love you, whoever you may be. I hope you are able to recognize that you are your own “big bad”, your own most hated foe, your own demons. Love your “shadow”, as Jung called it. And I hope you are able to love yourself.

Faces

Terror, terror has a face
Terror has eyes full of malice and hatred that tells you you'll never see them again
Terror has a bone-chilling bite and frost emanating from its teeth
Terror has ears that hear everything and a memory that forgets nothing
Terror will chew you up and spit you out
Terror can smell the fear on you, every time you remember every human mistake you've ever made
Terror will never forgive

Happiness, too, has a face
Happiness has deep, wide, grey eyes that make your heart and soul warm like a warm hearth after a long day
Happiness has a beautiful and radiating smile that makes your heart start to race
Happiness hears the love you have for mankind and the remorse you feel
Happiness accepts you as the flawed human being you are
Happiness will never be unreachable

Disgust may be the face I'm most familiar with
Disgust has eyes that look just like mine
Disgust has a nose reflected backwards in the mirror
Disgust makes your stomach turn and your eyes water every time you look in the mirror
Disgust hears all your darkest secrets and wandering thoughts and it will never let you live them down
Disgust will never leave you

I can't say I can place a face to love
Love is the long nights out with those you call friends, talking about whatever ridiculous idea you ideas you have to save the world this time
Love is the warmth of being the big spoon and the little spoon
Love has the voice of every man and woman you've encountered in your storied life
Love hears the stories you have to tell and sees the remorse in your eyes
Love knows the lengths you will go even to simply help a stranger
Love will outlive you or I