Two Sides of A Coin

“In resurrecting the long undead, I open Pandora’s box. It is not without unease that I do so. I know the dangers, but I also know the possibilities. Live! Live and wreck havoc on the world once more and know that I let you loose to raise up those I love and damn myself.”

“If all your sanctuaries have been invaded where’s the last place you retreat to? In your mind..”

What if someone demanded access to even your most private thoughts? Where do you go?

Have you ever seen a wild stallion stabled and bridled?

There’s an invisible chain around my neck chafing more than ever. What hurts is not that I want to be free of it. What hurts is that I see no workaround and am being pushed until I can no longer endure it and scream bloody fucking enough. You don’t wanna hurt someone you love, but you don’t wanna give up yourself too – what do you do?

I don’t want to be subsumed and swallowed whole. I want a piece of myself to remain separate, sacred, untouchable, which only I can access.

I want coffee and cigarettes whilst typing away in front of my PC – but not literally. I want a locked room in the attic with an open window overlooking an open field. I want to go hermit for months on end just being locked up in my room and flying on wings not given to me. I want, most of all, a partner who understands that chatter can never be a substitute for deep, silent companionship.

If I held your hand, laid back, and just stared out into space – I am giving you much more of myself than I’ll ever give anybody else. It is not the words I speak which will reveal me but those which I don’t. There are moments when conversation is right, but until then, do not force it. Enjoy the moments by which we share a common bond of silence that only our souls can bridge together. It is there, tangible between the space of our locked hands, there in the space not occupied by our separate bodies, there, hanging in the air as the silence stretches into minutes, and the minutes into hours. And if you find that we’ve fallen asleep and a day has gone by with not a word between us being spoken, rejoice for you are then one step closer to unlocking my mind. All I need afterwards is a kiss and a squeeze on my hand and the words: what’s for breakfast? But not literally.

“And the roar between our almost touching hands has grown so loud that only interlocking them will silence it…”

Understand too, that this is not me. This is him. And now it’s me.

“This key I now hand over to you, over this body housing us both. Do with it what you will but remember this: what you inherit from me you will protect. For failing that, I will take back the key and bury you, I will not, but instead throw you out and cast over you the curse of the unreturnable.”

Now I’m hearing the call of the wild. It’s so strong I can almost taste the wind on my lips, rake the wind in my hair, and feel the tug of the boat.

*cue song*

It started out as a feeling
Which then grew into a hope
Which then turned into a quiet thought
Which then turned into a quiet word

And then that word grew louder and louder
‘Til it was a battle cry

I’ll come back
When you call me
No need to say goodbye

Now, we’re back to the beginning
It’s just a feeling and no one knows yet
But just because they can’t feel it too
Doesn’t mean that you have to forget

Let your memories grow stronger and stronger
‘Til they’re before your eyes

You’ll come back
When they call you

No need to say goodbye

He holds the key now, but it doesn’t mean he owns it. It’s truly a hopeless case trying to find out which one of us is dominant. Isn’t it just enough to know that there are seasons and there are reasons behind the madness?

Rest in peace. But not literally.

Parable of the Silent

I’ll just write. I just need to write – and the world will be forgotten.

You know how some people reach for a paper bag whenever they are hyperventilating? That’s how I used to be whenever I felt I’d explode from all the pent-up emotions inside me I never let out. Except instead of a paper bag, I reach for a pen and paper. And words seemed to flow effortlessly from heart to pen and pen to paper. There were no distractions then. I could zone out and no one would accuse me of anything. I could stare at the walls, look far away, dream of worlds and create stories, and no one would pop my bubble and tell me I’m being unfaithful.

These days, I can only zone out when I drive. One day, I was lost inside my mind following a thread of a story I was planning on writing when suddenly I got that glare that could pop bubbles like they were, you know, bubbles. Of course I lost the thread I was following. Well, we can kiss that story goodbye. It never meant anything anyway.

I saw this snail once when I was on the beach. The more I tried to get it out of it’s shell, the more it tried to hide inside. Then I let it down and watched it from afar and it went out of its shell and slithered away. And I said to myself, “wow, what an epiphany.”

I grew up being the more fortunate of the pack. As I watched them toil with their families, I knew then what I would value more in life when I had mine.

What can you give the man who doesn’t care much for material things? I’ll tell you what, a thought is more precious than a diamond ring. There was this one girl who said she planned to give him this gift she knew he wanted so much but couldn’t find it. And this man said, you’ve already given me the best gift of all out of all those who gave me one. And then there was this other woman who keeps apologizing she couldn’t give any gift because she didn’t have any money, and this man felt sad because she couldn’t see what was right there in front of her he always unwraps everyday whenever he wakes up.

There was this man who wasn’t very much passionate about certain holidays. He wished there was none at all so people could see this not as a duty but as an opportunity. He still treats each holiday like any other day, and spend each day like a holiday. Others had just one Christmas and Valentines every year. This man misses both just once a year.

A man was once told by his wife, “You never say I love you to me.” The man thought, “You never see how I show it.”

Do you know how much a million dollar is? Not enough to buy the life of one taken by God. But do you know how much that life taken by God is? It costs just one moment, one raindrop, one meeting, one joining of two hearts that came together and brought that life into the world.

For every fleeting moment you spend counting coin, you pay one moment you’ll never have back again. I knew a man who died poor but had his family around him when he died. And I knew a man who’s richer than some kings but died with only his lawyer holding his hand – trying to get his last signature.

I certainly do not know the value of money. I throw it around like it was just some piece of paper. My thoughts however, I guard carefully. As all the things I hold dear in my life. They are after all, more precious than paper.

In a job interview, I was asked once, “suppose we ask you to skip an important day or family activity so you can put in more time for work, would that be okay with you? We pay overtime of course.” I asked the interviewer if he does this too. He said, “yes. in fact it should’ve been my day off today but I had to come in as we are ramping up hiring, you know.” “Wow. You’re very dedicated to your job,” I said and the guy smiled. “I’m just sorry to say I can’t be as dedicated as you.”

A group of men was asked once to list their greatest accomplishment in life. Some said they became CEO of a famous company, others said they won medals and many awards, while a few mentioned they amassed riches or gained fame. When it came time for the last one to share his accomplishment, he stood up shyly and couldn’t speak for a minute. He spoke hesitantly. “I don’t have any such accomplishment in my life as some of these fine, distinguished gentlemen with me have.” “You must have done something, attained something, something you can be proud of.” said the facilitator of the group. “Well I, I’m not sure this counts. But yes, there is one thing I’m proud of in my life.” “Well, spill it man.” “My son,” said he in almost a whisper. “My son is all that I can ever be proud of in my life. I watched him take his first steps, smile his first smile, hear his first laugh, savor his first words…” And as he continued, his words grew firmer and he stood taller, his demeanor becoming brighter as he remembers each memory. “I raised my son. I’m proud of that.” “You mean you raised him to be a fine young man is what you meant, right mister?” “Oh, I don’t know about that. I raised him is all. He’s his own man and not my own making, and that’s what I’m proud about.”

There were two men who were tested by God. He told both he was going to take away one of their loved ones but that he was going to give them a choice whom to keep. The first one chose his wife over his daughter. He said that it was okay to lose his daughter so long as he had his wife. He and his wife can procreate anytime they want so long as they have each other. The other chose his son. He said that even if he chose his wife, they can never give birth again to the same son they would lose. To the man who chose his wife, he made the father of many. To the man who chose his son, he made the father of one. Both men lived long and the one who chose his wife outlived her too. When both men died and went to the afterlife, only one had his wife waiting for him.

There is another ending to this parable.

Two women were tested by God. It was the same test given to the two men before. Husband or child? The first one chose her husband and gave the same reasons the first man above did. With her husband alive, they can make as many kids as they like. The second woman chose her child. And gave the same reason as the second man did. Once they made their choices, God told them the toll he would exact for them to save whoever they chose to save. The first woman wept, and the second one had many grandchildren thereafter.

Still, there is another ending to this parable.

Four couples were brought in before God. The men were separated from their wives and posed the same question. When the men were done with choosing, the women were told the same question and made to choose as well. When all the choices were made and all their lives spent and lived and they all died and met in the afterlife, only one family stayed together.

Once there were four men who led different lives. One was a painter and loved to draw, the other one was an athlete and could run like the wind, the third was a musician and could sing such a lovely note, while the last one was a writer who loved nothing better than to be alone to write his stories. The queen of misfortune spied these four men one day and decided to make each of them either blind, deaf, mute, or crippled. Just to make things more interesting, the queen decided to let the four men choose which handicap they’d like to have. The painter, being a man of beauty did not want to be blind seeing as how he’ll never be able to see the world in color again. So he chose to be crippled, seeing as he can still see the world and paint its beauty in a wheelchair. The athlete naturally, did not want to be a cripple but was okay with being deaf. He can still compete and play his sport in a silent world. The musician did not want to lose his voice nor his hearing. Music is supposed to be sang and heard and he’d rather be blind than go without the two, so blind he chose to be. The writer ended up being mute. Being a man of silence and solitude, he found out he never lost much as the other three did. He was as silent as he was before the day lady misfortune laid her eyes on them.

Music and Memories

Music and films – they’re the keys to my deepest emotions and buried memories. Every story, every event, every second of my forgotten life comes imprinted with music and films that define that time, that day; the way I felt and how ordinary each event felt back then. If you would look through my life, my life would be a series of films and soundtracks. Nothing demonstrates this more than the film Hackers. This was the watershed moment of my life. No, not the exact moment I watched the film but the entire era of my life encompassed by this one simple film.

It was the 2nd year of high school and I was on the start of a journey that would take me from dreamer to poet to writer. In one age, an age called by some as innocence, I was as naive as the next blue boy on the block. More immature than most and very impressionable, I took to whims and emotions as fast and as erratic as a bee chasing flowers. But I had a guiding hand in my development, one that I’ve never stopped to look up to as my one and only mentor.

Then on this one innocuous day, a day so ordinary you would not think anything of import would happen, a group of us and said mentor decided to go watch a movie. This movie did not forever changed my life. No. In fact, it hardly made a dent into my already predetermined life. But it did burn memories deep into my mind which rises so clearly on occasions I would hear the soundtrack of this film.

This song, and this movie marked a period in my life when I was just developing as a writer. Crash and Burn aren’t just words from a movie for me, Angelina Jolie isn’t just my favorite actress, and Heaven Knows isn’t just some unknown song I only just discovered later in my life. They’re all threads of a memory of me growing up, pangs and all. This is me at my most vulnerable and most pure state. I am a vortex of emotion. A roiling, thundering wave of pure juice. In my most visceral state, music draws out each threads of my life – and rising out of the ashes are hundred of images connected to each thread. Each thread is a memory, and each memory is an emotion I buried.

Have you ever wondered why I never cared a whit for photos? Why I hate posing for the camera? It’s not the resulting image that I abhor, but the interference such posing produces for an otherwise pure moment in my life. If you would capture me in a photo, do it with candid shots. I would rather remember the moment, than all the posing and hassle it took to “capture the moment.” I don’t need pictures to remind me of events. I have my music and my movies to do that for me. Clearer and more indestructible than photos, my burned memories only need a trigger to resurface. With those triggers being music and movies. Though sometimes, I bury things too deeply that a random search wouldn’t be able to access.

In an age, a time most consider mid-life, I am well on my return way home. Less mature than I would like to be, yet wiser in some ways, I bob and weave on the waves like a sailboat. I look for things that I have lost and throw away things that I wouldn’t need. Less naive than when I started, I still am that boy afraid to burn my all. I am still that tempest of emotion, lying untapped and waiting to be sparked to a conflagration. My emotion is the fountain from which my inspiration springs forth. From my heart to my pen spills a thousand and one emotion – all crying out to be free.

Why do I want to lock these away? Fire brings the intensity, the power of my words. Yet that same fire will burn everything I have. Every time I crack open a memory, a gout of flame bursts forth. It will consume me eventually. But for the nonce, I’d like to enjoy what I have and put off the inevitable. The combustible liquid in me can wait for a while longer. For now, I listen to this music and hold off eternity at bay. I’ve made peace with my past, and I’ve connected you to my future. This song isn’t originally yours. I didn’t even know its lyrics much less its tune until I connected it to you. But now this song is yours. For in the gap between that day when I was fifteen and today when I’m 30 spans a bridge of fate that led me to you. And every step of it is worth crossing if only I can sing this song again to you.

Then I would burn myself to cinders, and out of this fire will come out a film. A film, a song, and memories of a lifetime

A Tale of Two Tails

I would like to say this story began when I first saw you, busy as you were talking to your friends. For a moment I noticed your shine, but that too quickly passed as friends jostled me and I lost sight of you. It would not matter anyway. We were in the same class and I soon found out your name. The day ended and weeks passed. I would like to say that was when it started. But it did not. This story started years before when I a was child barely capable of retaining lasting memories.

I was always a loner in my preschool days. It was just the nerd in me preferring to be left alone. I always liked silence – and the vast emptiness of space it produced which I enjoyed filling with my imagination. That’s why an outstretched hand and an offer of friendship seemed out of place for me. She was that girl that stood beside me while we were scolded by the teacher and asked to stand on our chairs for something I cannot remember now.

I think it started that day. Yet I cannot be sure. Early childhood memories are always suspect. You cannot trust which are real, and which are just figments of an overactive imagination. A problem which was certainly exacerbated in my case.

You told me before how crazy and vastly different life would have been, if things did not happen as they did. Youth stole away everything from us. Yet it gave us that fleeting time, that one moment nobody can ever take away from us.

We were never friends even when it started. Always we started with the premise of love before friendship. I think it was the wrong way to cultivate everything from the beginning. I thought it was something we could fight through.

I was always unforgiving of myself, and you were always intimidated by me. Those things doomed us from the start.

We were polar opposites, and opposites attract. We could never bridge that gap, to complement each other instead of destroying each other.

I was one day late with my call, and you were one day too early leaving.

I can’t delay the inevitable, and I must keep pace with my destiny. The years I’ve been spending idling is over. I’ve forestalled as long as I have in the hope of making something out of nothing.

I’d like to say this story began with you. But I’d like to believe this story began before time even ran. And I’m picking up where I’ve left off. Right in the beginning, filling silence with imagination.

A Writer’s Needs

What does solitude mean? To intrude on one’s thinking or accuse one of imaginary infidelity simply because one was caught with a far-away look is simply, mental. To claim one knows one’s spouse so completely yet fail to grasp that being a writer, said spouse would often be in the habit of daydreaming or having that “far-away” look is just downright ridiculous.

Perhaps one fail to see that when writers have that far-away look, they are not thinking back on past loves or future mistresses, but rather they are “working.” For when the hell else would we have time to build our stories except in the spaces of our solitude? And when you intrude even on that, and ask that we surrender even that in exchange for your personal peace of mind, then what the hell did we even exchange vows of trust and love for? When you intrude on that and demand idle chatter instead of loving silence, what does that say of how deep your understanding of your spouse go? And when you break that reverie, who knows how many countless stories you have just sentenced into oblivion? Perhaps I have not been transparent enough that even the combined knowledge of all I have written failed to show you anything but that which you chose to see. By being uncomfortable with silence, aren’t you just revealing how much you truly don’t know about me?

Is there any writer who can work whilst having their spouse continuously look over their shoulder, studiously picking every word written and scrutinizing everything for their peace of mind? If I write a story about a guy contemplating infidelity, would that automatically mean that is what is in my heart? Should I just throw away that story and find something else to write that would be more suitable for your “peace of mind” even when that story would make a great story?

I need you to be there without conspicuously being there.

If you can hold my hand for a day and never have the need to speak a word…

If you can go on for months spending time with a shell of me while I travel in imagined worlds…

If you can endure my eccentricities and not take it personally…

If you can make me breakfast even when it’s 12 midnight…

or bring me coffee, instinctively knowing when I need it – understanding I need a break but not interruption…

we can go from here – and i can finally write.

Movies and Me

Once upon a time, there was a pool on a roof that had a leak, and there was a kid who dreamed of writing books for shows and movies which only existed in his mind.

Now, there’s only a forty year-old man, with his waning memory and degrading writing skills, waiting for something to bring it all back.

But once upon a time, he dared to dream and live up in the clouds. He dared to see the world, to see things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find others, and to feel.

These are the movies that shaped this kid into the man he now is. These are the movies he cried and laughed over. These are the movies that were etched into his mind as movies that had soul, grit, and tenacity. These are the movies he watches over and over again when he needs fuel for his soul. In a way, you can say these are the movies that defined him.

I will graduate life with honors, and without regret.

Whenever I look back at my life, I always look back at how this movie changed my life. For a time, I started collecting stones for my own “memories.” I bought The Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman because of this movie. My wife probably never even understood the significance when I gave her the book. I even wrote my final obituary “Simon style.” That damn obituary kept me alive throughout my bipolar years. I wanted to die a romantic death, so I kept putting off my suicidal thoughts. I wanted a perfect ending to my life like Simon did. This is the movie that has imparted this lesson to me very deeply

“O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

My young, idealistic self, asked myself that question too. What will my verse be? What will my contribution to the world be? To change the world and be remembered in my passing. I used to think I’ll do grandiose things, save the world from destruction, bring everlasting peace and all that jazz. At the twilight of my life, I now look at my life, standing on the seashore, thinking these thoughts to myself. It’s not me that I leave to the world. It’s my son and what he does. And I think I’ve done alright by the world, leaving a boy who is kind and infectious with his energy. I didn’t leave a version of me. That would have been a terrible malady upon the world.

Give me your hand. You know what this is? It’s my heart, and it’s broken.

I felt this so deeply that I had to spend all my young adult life being melodramatic. My heart was broken before it was whole. And for a while, I thought I would end up like Miss Havisham, handing down my heartbreak to someone else. It turns out that I would find my own Kaoru, which leads me to…

Tomoe haunted Kenshin all his life. But Kaoru brought him peace.

It’s not who got away who really mattered. It’s who stayed when all was lost who does. My wife often misunderstands why I loved this OVA so much. It’s not because the OVA reminded me so much of what I lost. It’s because the ending showed me so much of what I gained. Kenshin ended up with Kaoru and found peace with her. The swordsman laid down his sword because there’s no reason to wander anymore.

l have nowhere to send this letter. And l have no reason to believe you wish to receive it. l write it only for myself. l’ll hide it away with all the other things left undone between us. – Susannah

For a long while, I thought this would be how it would end for me. I was as haunted by Tristan about his brother’s death as I was about someone I lost as a friend. But I found my bear, and I went and defeated it.

“Tristan died in the moon of the popping trees. He was last seen in the north country, hunting. His grave is unmarked, but it does not matter. He had always lived in the borderland, anyway. Somewhere between this world and the other. ‘Twas a good death.”
Your pool must have a leak

This is all I have to say about this, really.

You can be loved by me!

It didn’t end the way the movies did. I never had the realization that Chris did. I had the epiphany years after the fact, after I chanced upon this movie on TV. And it dawned on me, “Oh, she was that crazy girl pushing everyone away, testing to see who comes back.” So that was why she asked me why I never called back, lol. In my defense, I was a bit dense back in the day. Okaaay. I was full on oblivious. Really thick. I finally understood the reference to 500 Days of Summers though. I misunderstood what you meant the first time you said it. But I finally got it years later.

The power of movies without words…

We watched this movie without subtitles, in it’s original language audio. And for the first time in my life, I realized the power of movies without words. It was this film that made me want to become a filmmaker. It still does.

Whatever you end up doing, love it. The way you loved the projection booth when you were a little squirt.

We can’t talk about film without taking about this masterpiece, this love letter to cinema. If there was ever a film that captured everything wonderful about cinema, this was that film. Everything about it just speaks genius. Including this heartbreaking soundtrack.

What I remember most from this film is that it gave us this soundtrack:

There’s many more I’d like to list down, but for now, I’ll stick with those that molded me during my formative years. And these are those films.

If

If I could leave you
without leaving you
I would

But I can’t

I can only leave
without saying goodbye

If I could kiss you
without loving you
I would

But I can’t

I can only kiss you
with all my being

If I could have sex with you
without making love
I would

But I can’t

I can only give myself to you
whole and uninterrupted

If I could only be a bird
without needing to fly
I would

But I can’t

A bird isn’t a bird
If it doesn’t use its wings

What Loneliness Is and Isn’t

Loneliness isn’t
that single oasis in the middle of the desert,
nor that solitary candle in a dark lit night.

It isn’t
that single goldfish swimming back and forth
in your small glass bowl

nor that one rose
in an empty garden.

Loneliness is
that guy
burning through parties every night,
hoping for a fleeting moment,
his emptiness filled
by the booze and sex
the night has to offer.

Loneliness is
that moment when you find yourself
wanting to celebrate a victory,
but find no one to share it with.

Loneliness is
that feeling
of having gotten everything in the world
and yet somehow something is lacking.

Loneliness isn’t
being alone with no one to talk to.

Loneliness is
being surrounded by so many people,
none of whom sees the real you.

Loneliness isn’t an island.
It’s a sea of people
moving through you and past you.
It’s a storm of empty days and empty moments,
going through the motions
and hoping that just for one day
your emptiness is filled.

Loneliness isn’t a state of being alone,
but a state of not being fully understood.