Friday, April 24, 2009

Sliding Phones

I’m two different people at the same time. I spent almost a year living in Eastern Europe. When I moved back to the US, I made seven round trips in a 3-month period between the two locations. When the airplane touched down, I would put my clunky smartphone away and take out my dinky flipphone (or vice-versa).

Each phone features a roster of local phone numbers and saved text messages from that locale. I customarily call M-- and S-- (or J-- and G--) and find out what’s happening on the ground that night. It’s been four months since I last touched down but I find I still belong in both places. I live in two different universes: two different sets of friends, histories, conversation topics, shared experiences, and goals. But I'm the same guy.


Monday, April 20, 2009

a quiet death

a quiet death, a momentary lapse
of reason, slurred cognition, vision blurred,
the fearful soundless waves, the mental traps
relinquished, love now vacant, life absurd.
     a broken shovel pounding, blazing stove
     for charring hopes and melting timeless dreams,
     forgotten, acquiescence now inferred.
     a creature of the dirt, a plundered trove,
     a catastrophic ripping at the seams
     of microscopic dignity, deterred.

or on a freezing star, intrepid soul,
with fervour, condescending all the while,
still glowering at mem’ries, filthy pile
of hate unfurling, rage beyond control.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Let Love Go Free

“If you love something, let it go free. If it doesn't come back, you never had it. If it comes back, love it forever.” - Douglas Horton (an ecumenical preacher)

This is probably one of the most overquoted (and misquoted) aphorisms of all time and I’ve always hated it. I always dismissed it as comfort fodder for those who loved and lost (and wished they never loved at all).

On the other hand, maybe there is a greater truth here. Perhaps the purest way to measure love’s strength is by suffering its absence. The outcome is uncertain. But then there’s no resentment--no regrets.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Shadow the Hedgehog

my friend on the couch
playing Shadow the Hedgehog
an evening wasted?


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Life with No Vision

I looked up from the television to my phone and back again, and then I looked over my shoulder. I closed my eyes and I could still see it: a blurred patch, 1-inch square, in my vision. It was disconcerting that I couldn’t focus on an object directly in front of me. I panicked. I used eyedrops and walked in circles. Next, I went onto the computer to look up the symptoms but found that it was difficult to read because of the fuzziness and I had to skim via my peripheral vision. The spot grew until it was double, triple, quadruple the size.

Slowly, the undulating colors flowed outward and my primary field of vision was restored. I could read the text but the monitor frame was fuzzy. I closed both eyes and my brain perceived a crescent shape of color on the left side. It kept flowing outward until I saw the distorted colors and shapes in my peripheral vision (which gave me a throbbing headache). I couldn't escape by closing my eyes nor concentrate on anything else until this passed from my system.

This happened yesterday afternoon and the entire incident lasted about twenty minutes. It was one of the most frightening moments in my life for two reasons: vision’s relative importance and the feeling of utter helplessness. I was alone and my phone is not tactile so I imagined the steps as I lose my vision completely and bang on a random neighbor’s door to call for an ambulance; then the void of living the next sixty years without enjoyment of all the visual pleasures I currently take for granted. I would rank eyesight among the most satisfying of those marvelous miracles I enjoy on a daily basis.

Today is Easter Sunday and I just witnessed a particularly scenic orange sunset from my balcony. I spent the day considering all that I have to be thankful for and will continue to be mindful of in the future; in addition, I’ll probably schedule an appointment with an eye doctor.


Friday, April 10, 2009

N. on a rainy eve

ah to be staring out at the moonswept pavement as
time slowly unfolds around me into soft cushy layers
and each passing moment leaves behind millions more
which for all i can tell seem to never run out

i cant stop my mind from creeping eerily towards
some unknown destinations places people like
what im gonna wear tomorrow and who im gonna see
and whos life could i change with a wave of the hand

the rain pitter patters too and i think about numbers
i contemplate god and friends and beef stew and love
yes love it is riveting and confusing and wonderful
all at once and seems to come from nowhere

certainly love is a coveted thing i know so i hold fast
and never relinquish it but i also have learned that
it floods you slowly and swamps you and you cant
wriggle free no matter how hard you force it

now ive been forewarned that love takes awhile so my
mind falls back towards what im gonna wear tomorrow
what classes i have and finally i resort back to the time
which im sure i will never run out of

It’s drizzling outside. After a spontaneous and satisfying evening, I’m content to sit in my comfy (if empty) apartment and savour the moment. There’s a flickering tinge of nostalgia and I feel older. I reread and relish the second stanza.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sometimes, There's No Right Solution

A riddle I am never meant to solve
Perplexes me tonight. This paradox
Involves a foolish man with strong resolve,
And woman locked within a cosy box.
Dozens of keys are in the man’s possession.
He tries with passion; not a key will fit
The tricky lock. The woman staves depression
Off and fiddles with the catch a bit.
The time goes by. He finds a key that seems
To work, yet swallows this and then his pride.
But equally as strange, she always dreams
To leave, undoes the catch, yet stays inside.
     I’m stumped by this, but other puzzles yearn
     For solvers such as me to take a turn.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Friendship Love

She is my lover, and yet, I’m her friend.
Or, could it be the other way around?
This modicum of happiness I’ve found
Is laced with regret. No, I don’t pretend
To understand nor offer hand to lend.
Pensive, prostrate, I strain to hear the sound
Of sweet relief. It’s muffled underground,
Perhaps? To dig a hole, I’ll not intend.

But still a question lingers in my mind:
Could clarity make all of this as clear
As night from day or ice from roaring fire?
I quiver; sometimes friendships are the kind
That fade, yet others lead to strong desire...
So maybe it’s the title alone I fear.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Good Days and Bad Days

I have good days and bad days. Like most people, I have some moments where I feel on top of the world and other moments where I feel the world is ending. There doesn’t seem to be any discernible pattern. Oftentimes, I wake up feeling great and leave work feeling upset for no reason. Other times, I have a difficult time getting out of bed yet wind up feeling like the luckiest guy on earth. The only constant when it comes to my feelings is that they are transitory. Neither end of the emotional spectrum reigns supreme. Today started out just fine, but by mid-day I felt downright rotten, and later I felt splendid. I’ve trained myself that the bad times are temporary and I shouldn’t dwell on them. I’ve learned to savour the good times. I’m sure I’ll have plenty to laugh, cry, and smile about tomorrow.


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