Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Is it OK to love someone or something that is evil?

No one, and nothing, is evil all the time. Evil is a relative term. What's evil for me isn't evil for another person. Someone loved the men who flew a plane into the Twin Towers. Someone loves the murderers and killers behind bars. Not all murderers, but if just one is loved than loving evil is, in fact, possible. Or rather, loving despite the evil is possible.

Even those who are completely evil and solely consumed with killing and destroying can be fortunate enough to find love. First-hand, I don't know anyone who fits this description but the occurrence of this phenomenon is possible as seen through the characters in the stories we tell our children. In the Batman comics, Mr. Freeze had a loving bride. Octavius from the Spider-Man comics also had a loving wife, and while that was before he became Dr. Octopus do we really doubt that despite his rampages and actions she would have continued to see the same man behind those now-evil eyes? I don't mean to trivialize this argument, but characters are figments of humanity's imagination and the curious thing about our imagination is that it is limited by our environments; i.e. we are incapable of creating anything that doesn't already exist before us. Our brain utilizes bridges to get from thought to thought, image to image, creation to creation. The sheer fact that these loves develop and intensify on the page is interesting because if this type of love were not possible then it would seem ridiculous to the readers. The entire thing would seem like too much of a stretch.

The most beautiful characteristic of love, and that which enables it to flourish despite of evil, is that it is not dependant on the object of the emotion but rather on the eyes that look upon it. Despite all the reasons not to exist, love finds a way.

So I began to wonder about love and to doubt whether it was so special after all. I mean, if anyone can be loved, anyone at all, even the crudest of souls, what's so good about it? If anyone can find it, what's so grand about love?

But then I realized that it is for that exact reason that love is as majestic as it is. We can all find it if only someone can find some spark in us. We too can love. And be loved. We just can't control when or how.

Still, before we learn to love, or to accept love, we need to learn compassion. You have to crawl before you can walk.

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Monday, October 25, 2004

Because of the promise of the morning

“My advice to you is run. Run. Do you want to wake up every morning, with all the promise that morning conveys, and come here?”

I’m very self-conscious. It’s not that I think I’m less than others; I’m just very aware of my own imperfections. That’s why when I read particular writers I analyze my words versus theirs. My storytelling next to theirs. I think of how I constructed a work and of how another might have done it, or I look at the other work and think of how I would have done it.

My doubts humble me. Every time my pen kisses the page and the product isn’t the very best poem ever written by a man, I feel doubt. I feel doubt that I will write a line that will change someone’s life. I doubt that someone will fall in love with my poetry. I doubt my books, my verse, my tongue and my pen. I doubt everything except the beauty of the poem, because there is always truth in my verse, and the truth, if nothing else, is beautiful.

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Friday, October 22, 2004

Just get me home

I've taken this route home before. In the dark. With the lights along the highway acting as makeshift stars, I drove a car just like this one. An older model, but the smell on the cushions was exactly the same. And there was a hand clutching mine, too. Just like now.

I've wanted to cry on this road before, while driving home after the battles that came after long, lonely waits, but today's reasons are altogether different. There is no shadow here, I'm very different from those days. Yet at the core I'm a carbon copy of the past. I'm the constant that never changed despite changing. Like the waves coming and going while the coastline remains exactly where it's always been.

I've smelled this hospital before. I've seen these beds. The tiny bathrooms in the outpatients' rooms. The visitors' chairs with bland-colored plastic. Off-white walls, yellowed sheets, barely-there blue on the trim, and the sense of not really being anywhere at that particular point in time.

The hunger, the pain, the disease… all the reasons I hate hospitals. The silent nights broken only by the rushing of the staff in the hallway, running over to a room to give life again before it is too late. Before it is too late.

And the pain. The disease. And most of all, the good byes.

I've taken this road home before. And it seems that just when you're so far from ever going down it again, you're repeating yourself and stepping on the very footprints you have previously made. And you sole digs deeper into the ground every time you do this, because it seems that every time you come back around you have more weight to carry on your shoulders.

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Thursday, October 21, 2004

Between lost and saved

I think of the poems of I've lost along the way and damnit, I've lost some good ones. But then I think of it again and realize that I was also lost by some. And suddenly I understand that that's just the way the world is; some people lose things so others can find them. Otherwise, no one would ever come across anything.

But I lost some good poems, I won't lie. And often it was my fault that they were lost. I lost blonde poems, red-haired poems, skinny and chunky, pretty and ugly, nice and rotten, and I lost them in the morning and in the evening sheltered by the sun and the moon, and sometimes both.

I lost poems, I'm not ashamed. A man is who he is not by choice but design. So I admit my inability to hold on to the poetry because I'm no less for it. I'm more for the admission.

I lost good poems, and I lost more than lost me. Because the computer won't act without my command. And because sometimes I forget to hit save when all along, it was the poems that should be saving me.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Silence

She wanted him, and then she didn't. And just like you'd get rid of a used paper-towel she trashed him. Suddenly distance. Silence. Oh, that ever-piercing silence.

So now the kid isn't himself. Drinks more. Smokes more. Eats little. It's the always-repeating tale of the unrequited. I'll leave it at that without finishing the thought since I don't think the feeling was that intense. It was more like a desire. "I want her." Eventually it transforms and becomes about the chase and the game and it's no longer about how she makes you feel. So it's not love. And it's not even a feeling remotely similar to.

I tried to tell him to move on. I wanted him to understand that dwelling on the situation won't accomplish anything. I tell him that what's gone is gone. And what wasn't there to begin with won't be there now. Because I held on for too long. And because people held on to me for too long.

But she calls his house late at night. And she can still make him feel alive. So he picks up when the phone rings despite recognizing her number on the caller-id. And he listens to her excuses about the distance she needs. And about how she can't break totally free. And sometimes she cries, and sometimes it's just a plain, dry conversation. And I try to tell him to just let it all go. I try to convince him the gamble isn't worth the pain. But he tries anyway. He can't help but to do so.

She wanted him, and then she didn't. And just like that, distance. And silence. How I still remember that silence. How I wish I could make everyone who is still hanging on hear my screams in the darkness of sound.

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Monday, October 18, 2004

Growing up is understanding that we're all just people

To cause others pain; I can think of no greater sin.

I know of very few people who are exactly who they want to be. The rest of us are striving for something more. We're clawing at the mountain, aiming for the apex. But it's all in the journey. It's all in getting there. It's all in learning that we can be more and turning that into a smile on a stranger's face.

On a loved one's face.

We cannot avoid who we are. I've said it before and I believe it still. We are flesh and emotions. We are bones and heartache. It's all part of growing up. What a shame some of us never do.

There are times when I wish I could go back in time to my days as a child; but what I crave is the innocence. All the effort that's gone into my acquired understanding of people and the world is something I would not forfeit. I'm proud of having grown into who I am. And I'm very conscious of causing others pain.

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Thursday, October 14, 2004

Fantasy

If you wake up to find the things you desire are yours for the taking, finding them no farther, say, than an arm length away, hanging from a tree in the back-yard, would you take it? Or would you allow the dream to write itself?

The unseen fantasies that play out around us go unannounced because of our inability to see. It's not that they're mute. It's not that they're ghosts. They're real. But we lack the eyes to see. The five senses aren't enough.

But if one day the senses ARE enough, and the dreams are right there, and happiness is an apple in the orchard, should we live out the fantasy or abide by the way it's always been… a dream we can't control?

Who's to guarantee, even if we do grab the apple, that we can control it anyway? How can we shape a reality we've never known when we can't even shape the one that is actually real; our everyday lives?

I guess what I'm trying to understand is can we be the kings of our dreams? And if we could, would we have to rename them?

I have a difficult time remembering my dreams. I like to think that it's because I'm constructing stories in my mind all the time, so much so that when it comes time to rest my mind doesn't want to dream up any more scenarios. I wonder if this is true for other writers. I wonder what I would do if I lost my life to a fantasy.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Colder

Not so long ago, when I worked here for the first time, it seemed like the cold came sooner. Now, the warm days extend into Indian summers and there doesn't seem to be a real winter anymore. Back then, I'd stand by the window, peering out at the recently-fallen traces of snow on the concrete, and I'd miss a girl. Then I'd sit down and write her poetry. And it'd either be good or bad, but it didn't matter, because I had the cold weather to keep me company. I'd walk to the bakery in the middle of the afternoon. Their coffee tasted like shit, but that was fine. It wasn't the coffee I craved. I wanted the taste of the wind. The feel of the snow. It was company for my pain. And I liked that. Somehow, it made me feel less alone.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Forgotten

Sometimes, when people are taken from us, we forget. We let go of those once-blissful now painful memories in order to create a life for ourselves. Life goes on, they say, and we understand and comply. We make do with what we have left and try our best to mend the pieces hoping that the glued china will be close enough to the original to allow us to proceed.

And we feel numb. And nothing much makes sense. Time soars by uncontrolled, or rather unannounced. Where before we noticed each day now the fog bends everything into itself as well as into everything else. And since everything becomes everything else, it's all the same thing. It's all the same and it doesn't matter much, because the pain shadows everything. The pain might actually be the fog that bends the world. I don't know.

How long to remember the dead? How long to hold on to the pain, the memories, and all that won't go away on its own? Because sometimes, we can't forget.

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