Like sepak takraw, that
you have not had a chance
to learn.
You would not be able
to describe a child –
hood you have not lived.
Most things seem
easy when you are out
looking in.
Gently, you squeeze
the last
of your sorrows.
The plants today are
ambivalent to your absence.

Advertisements

Some scattered thoughts on Language

1. When you say something is, you are spared from having to say the infinity of things that it is not.

When you say you love someone, you are spared from having to admit that you do not love everyone else.

Language is convenience. It is the precursor to the wheel.

2. Language is the only way to communicate the unspoken—the divine—but in the process kills this divinity. What is expressed through words is ascribed mortality. An eventual death.

When Nietzsche proclaimed that “god is dead,” the weapon that slew him is those very words.

When god said, “let there be light,” he has doomed us all to darkness.

***

1.1. To say “it is a cat” is to imply it is not a dog, water, or rock. But the cat, when not described through words, is “not a dog, etc.” to begin with. Everything that it is not is part of itself.

To say “I am” is to limit. I can no longer be the countless “I am not.”

When we speak of the unspoken, we are translating the sacred into our terms. The human experience—fleeting, corruptible.

This is language’s most powerful character: to humanize. It is a god slayer.

To proclaim “I am,” therefore, is to assert your mortality.

With apologies to Descartes, “I die therefore I am.”

***

I am filled with a love for ideas of things and stories and people but I am scared that if I open my mouth to speak about them for even just a moment, I would spoil everything that remains sacred in my mind…

Isn’t it true that language turns ideas into a shadow of themselves? A word is a thought brought to existence imperfectly, not quite as intended… like Frankenstein’s monster, both beautiful and sad…

An idea has to die through language before settling in another’s mindscape, to live, again. To die, again, once uttered or written.

***

some parts originally published on Twitter last February 14 & March 20

Looking at concrete overgrowth / leads to chemical hysteria / and between a mumble / and a foothold / to find the epicenter of this tragedy / is a cinematic residue / or an unrelated accident / or your mother browsing old albums / waiting for her beloved strangers / to knock.

A finale

(Particularly on the subject of my already fading or faded relationship with people I used to call friends without a doubt.)

Hey.

I’m all right, or at least, I no longer know if I really am fine or acting the part, or maybe I was intent on removing baggage (because I couldn’t carry them along anymore, nobody could have, well, nobody could ever know how heavy it became when it decided to turn to an abstract concept: a friendship without the walking together, the tensionless arguments, the late night escapes) that I shed something essential to be able to care—cumbersome, yes, but essential—and as a consequence I’ve become disinterested in getting it back, whatever it is. I’m fine. I’ll live. They have it worse, don’t they? Who am I to complain. Who am I, who are you: it’s as it is, only the young can recognize.

I wish I could personally talk to them, show them that I did have plenty to say, and I did say them (though they weren’t enough to cover long distances), not to patch things up, but to put a lid on them, and the words I would have used have migrated onto another place, another dead star, a calmer, locked chest. A heart too tired to travel is a heart that beats only under comfort. I seek, therefore, happiness. Not the kind I’ve gotten used to since 6 years ago… nothing could compare anyway…

I wish I could tell them that I didn’t intend for us to hurt, that I’ve only ever wanted for them to be satisfied with the kind of life they’re living, that I tried my best to help (the one way I could), that I, too, was empty, that I, too, wanted to be acknowledged, not invalidated, that I had never underappreciated any one of them (it was an overappreciation, in fact, that led me to this ruin), that I held on to the promises we made to the last minute—wondering if they’d forgotten, wondering what this library was for, wasn’t it for us, a place to call home, an oasis, wondering what happened to living together, making art together, what was it all for, you taking me in your cozy little shack, giving me a place to belong, only to leave at your earliest convenience—until I heard a scream, an audible crack, a gut punch, a “stupid me, they can’t afford to dream, they’re in the real world now, it’s time you get into that train too” and so I did, and so I read different books, met different people, ran farther and faster away from the memories that were whole worlds now crumbling, if not extinct, and so I forgot, and moved on, and felt colder, and felt warmer again, and we’re all better for it, whether we admit it or not. We coped in our own ways. I think I was stubborn… I chose to be. 

Tell me, was it my fault for trying to keep my principles in check, to improve, and now that I have conviction, meaning, am I somehow less than who I was? No need for your input, I know the answer.

Ah, so that was what I left behind. Dependence.

There was a time when I needed their answers, or anything at all, any news is good news, any honest, short update on their misery is an “I love you”, and if I shrug it off, what of it? They would be patient, they would love me just the same, but that’s dumb, and selfish, and that’s not friendship is about, let alone the best kind, now I fumble for more definitions from the dictionary we painstakingly compiled and end up opening it to an irritating emptiness. Oh, then, friendship is absence?

Well. What are we now, at this point? No names. Colleagues. Acquaintances. Just another familiar face in the crowd. Throw that coin in the wishing well, would you? You’d need a whole bank for everything in your list. But we don’t trust banks anymore, do we?

So I stay here, for staying has always been me, what I’m good at, along with leaving of course, as I’m often accused, it’s too easy when nobody is left–neither resentful nor grieving, I’m convinced tonight that I’m way past that, though I concede that I’m melancholic, a touch literary, the side of me I missed the most–searching for Home, keeping a home, not for anyone but myself, though to my shame, setting aside a small space for those familiar faces who happen to pass by and would like to rest. I have coffee ready, no charge but a fresh start with no more half-hearted apologies and long-winded explanations. I’m not hoping, but being kind, I’ve stopped waiting, it’s true, but I haven’t thrown the dreams yet, I carry them in my pocket all wrinkled and old and like broken toys, useless, kept only as a reminder of the days when they were still functioning. Anyone with half a brain could fix them, but not soon, not for a very long time. Like I said, I’m stubborn like that.

And if I’ve entered into a false tranquility in this new home I chose to dwell in, I never want it to break, for fear of falling apart along with it. So here’s a coin I could toss without worry: I wish you all good luck.

Where the clouds are late I thought of you, or phrases I collected in my notebook, or a message getting lost in the bag of a mailman, or unread in your inbox, or still floating in the ocean in a bottle I bought from a thrift shop selling foraged seashells too, where the clouds used to linger, when you are both here and not here, a quantum superposition, a hypothetical, a cruel experiment on cats, just an idea tossed around for a bit, that you know where the clouds have all gone, maybe.

What pilgrim named you queen, tree, ancient snake, slew and stole your heart, left us longing for a long time gone? A deception, misnomer, surely—for how could a happy place persist in the presence of countless farewells? What thankless welcome turned you cruel? Was it the memory of your past life, borrowed, like all others, across the sea? Or was it because of one weary traveler who declared, without consultation: “Oh city, I christen you Naga, mother of wayward daughters and sons,” when you had no more love to give?

Are we done dealing with the devil? / The contract left unsigned, life / unsaved, filleted fish on the bin / scavenged by the cat, famished, once / condoned, now abandoned, / perhaps a triplicate of melancholy: / a silver medal from one bad spelling / slipped between boxes, a frown / once found, now framed and / forgotten, or simply mourning / over a dying plant, needing another hand / to count losses…

The morning had been unkind. You woke up from a state that could barely pass as sleep. First, a protest, then a race against the water draining from the bathroom. You slipped into your crumpled clothes in such a hurry that even you did not recognize your feet on the curb outside.

The rest of the day went as horrible as the tale intended. In a blur you were back home, dreading the sight of your room you left a mess, like your hair that you never comb. Like yourself you never bothered to take a closer look at, terrified of the honesty that it would require.

Resigned, you opened the door.

There you found your bed fixed. Sometime, somewhere, a reflection in a mirror hidden behind a closet sighed in relief.

The pillows were piled neatly on one corner and the sheets invited a promise. As if nobody had ever dreamed of monsters there.

Save me from the listless
sleep of children with lesser dreams.
Where cities, burdened
with news of your leaving, slowly
crumble in shame. I will
let your long distance
kisses of home miss and fall
by the wayside.

A traveler will harvest them,
in spite of my warnings.
I worry, perhaps, that he will sleep more
peacefully at night.
Or for this lesser dream to end,
to remain, again, without rescue.

I will wake
up at once, at this moment:
about to wonder if to tire is trifling.
The traveler scowls at the road.
He unfolds a map
without rivers.

Alone in bed, I trace the veins
on the back of my hand.

From now on, I will endeavor to show my appreciation towards people who deserve it—especially if they make my life a little less difficult (sometimes simply by existing).

Like apologies, gratitude should be given sparingly but sincerely.

I hope my existence, in turn, offers comfort for a few individuals, at the very least. Then I would have made a difference.

That is a bit optimistic, is it not? I often wonder if I ever made someone feel like it is worth staying in this miserable place.

We all need a break these days.