Heartbreakers

My heart still
breaks a little
at the sound of
your name.

I wonder where
you are, or how
you have been
or how many nights like
these passed by without
you noticing or
remembering that
once, on an August night
we were together
and you were mine.

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Return to Poseidon

Today I stood in the middle of a sea: a great white sea of papers and parchments and pain crashing one after the other with all the madness of a tidal wave, screaming to kiss the shores with all the urgency of a ticking time bomb. I stood in the middle of the raging waters and looked longingly at the immeasurable vastness of this now foreign territory, an ocean-deep of memories from my five-year stay at the university. Piles and piles of papers lay before me like flowing river: test papers, term papers, thesis drafts, photocopied pages of books from all of my adored authors, sheets of scratch and sentiments.

I looked each of them with wistful eyes, trying not to remember the long tough days when I once clung onto them like a child, like my whole life depended on every single word written on their pages. I read these words now, treaded on them carefully as if trying to extract a secret code, to see if maybe I had missed something important in all of my five-year education in philosophy. But in the end I only see these words words words and the absence of their context, their meaning, and realize that maybe I could never think again as deeply as when I did when I was there in the university—face to face with the unspeakable colors of dusk, the gentle breeze wheezing from the lonely river nearby, the gentle rhythm of trees swaying as in a dance, the sound of students’ laughter seeping through the cracks of time.

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Songs of the Sea

This has been the longest semester I have ever had in my entire stay in the university. When I closed my eyes last January—the blaring sound of beating deadlines ringing in the background, the clicking sound of tapping keyboards banging steadily in my ears at 2am, the hollow feeling of isolation in the midst of the great white sea of papers—I felt like Time stood still and never again ticked like it used to. But now I could hear the rushing sound of Time once more as I approach the final deadline.

Graduating today feels more like a dream, like a fiction. Like even if I put on my best dress, slip into these expensive pair of Charles and Keith, wear my graduation robe, it would all seem unreal (Yes, I deliberately used the word unreal instead of surreal, for the former captures better the phantasmagoric nature of the event) which I deem is a pretty normal feeling for an event as momentous as this one. But far from this dreamlike reality, I imagine myself misplaced—a piece of a jigsaw puzzle which could not fit into the picture. I feel like I am not here anymore, like I have graduated a long time ago and carried on a different life.

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Marching Meltdown

Hello blog! I have not written much for quite some time because of the crazy deadlines at the university and of all the unimaginable pressure from thesis writing. I do not have any grand plans for my upcoming birthday on the 15th as I would spend every ounce of my time on reconstructing my chapters. But it was a very good thing (and I am very happy for this) that my thesis adviser was finally able to get an initial overview of my proposed thesis, and more than that, to congratulate me for braving the road less traveled (At least academically, since I will be writing on Proust and Deleuze)

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Race to Silence

Some days just feel so unspeakably empty despite the presence of events and people. some days just run like the flow of time and take away everything in its wake. But some days just run dry and leave no words, no language—nothing but the sound of a moving life with all its unmoving senselessness.

I wish I know what I am saying, dear blog. But you see, I think of all these things I want to write about, but as soon as my mind sets itself into motion, the thought of all those feelings, all those senseless attempt to craft my own meaning, simply melts into the distance. Maybe what I am trying to say is that sometimes you just have to lie to yourself because the cost of honesty is too high a price.

A Year of Admission

There are voices inside my head that refuse to be silenced. On the train or at the streets, or at the streets or in the silent corners of a classroom at the university. I hear these voices with all the sharpness of a wailing knife. Sometimes they tell good things to me, but most of the time they curse curse curse. I wish they would stop but the stronger I wish they were gone, the louder they scream into the depths of my calloused consciousness.

But even with all these weight I try to live like the most of them: these lost and floating faces in the university. And through my interactions with them I come to realize how little they differ from me, and how much we share the same encounters. I promise myself this year to learn to live with acceptance, and in all of those moments I find myself wanting for some, I tell myself over and over again to learn to accept my circumstances and to learn to be grateful for whoever the Universe sends in our way. The ultimate strategy is to live in the moment, and to let the rest of your worries find their own time.

December Souls

It has been pretty heavy this burden that I’ve been carrying lately, and things have been quite harsh and unforgiving. But then again, when you look at my life beginning from my childhood days up until this present day, you would see and recognize the same pattern, the same theme, that have been dominating this life.

Sometimes I think maybe we are fated to chase this lost object situated between the extreme polarities of pain and pleasure. Maybe we are condemned to repeat the same cycle throughout our lonely lives. Maybe, just maybe, we are cursed to this pursuit just as much as we are cursed to our doomed destinies, and our only chance at happiness—if such a thing really exists—lies in our momentary experience of the extra-human; of the other side.

Sometimes I feel it when I look at the city view from the sixth floor of the university; when I fumble for words at the sight of the sunset and how it bleed in colors which I have no name of; how people and voices blur in the background and merge into the silhouette; how I wish it was a different person I was speaking to. Sometimes I feel it when I feel things all at once: that sharp and unpredictable prick in the heart, speaking for itself to you in a completely ethereal language, convincing you of what lies beyond us.

Religion has a word for it: heaven. Sometimes I would like to believe much more than that. A world that is completely beyond our language, beyond our grasp; that the mere concept of such a world would render it defeating or negating. It is a world that we do not know, but it is always there. And if I let you annihilate the last sentence, please do so. And then I shall fall silent and let all language retreat and run back home.

Without words, I could only feel the sweeping passage of Time, this haunting reminder that we only have a few months to spare (if we’re lucky enough), and that the five four years almost feel like a dream and nothing more.

December—the syllables run dry through my palate, my screaming tongue. I want it to be over, but I do not want it to end.

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A Rite of Passage

“Yes to life!” was my mantra on repeat as I stepped out of the door and into the burning embrace of a scorching Thursday morning. In my head was an elaborate map of the place I was supposed to go, backed up by a paranoid prayer to the Universe begging to keep me from getting astray in the wild city streets. In my head I was thinking the worst that could happen was not to be caught in death or in traffic jam, but to be cornered by perpetrators whose stone-eyed faces and hardened hands one could always encounter along the way. I was a lanky little paranoid, screaming at the top of my lanky little lungs: fucking Yes to life!

A few weeks back, one of my colleagues had provided me a detailed direction to get to this place that is well-known for scrumptious sushi. But as dumb to directions as I will ever be, I had to trust road signs and the little that is left in my gut-feeling to get to this place locals call Suki.

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From Cogito to the Other: A Persistence of the Fetish (Part 1)

Is it not astonishing that since the world began none of those people who call themselves philosophers dreamt of producing, at least in the classical period, this essential dimension which is the one I spoke to you about under the name of what can be called: autre chose, something other. (Seminar 5, 15.1.1958)

Should there be a coinage, one which could by itself—alone, singly (albeit painstakingly) demarcate the boundaries between Modern Philosophy on the one hand, and Contemporary Philosophy on the other, it must have been the coinage very commonly circulating in ‘post-structuralist’ literatures in Continental thought, namely: the other (at times spelled with a capital letter ‘O’ as in the complex literatures of, but not in any way limited to, Jacques Lacan’s. [1]

This Other, to be directly broad, pertains to that which eludes any possible identification with the self, or subject (be it singular subject or collective subject, physical or not); this coinage painstakingly dares to capture that somewhat enigmatic and phantasmic something that can never overlap with any cohesive identification whatever—thus the apparently pathetic or weak appeal to merely capitalizing the letter ‘O’ in the efforts to refer to some-thing residing in a dimension that can never be grasped by a consciously ruminative thinking subject.

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That Which We Call God

Every semester has its own dangers. This semester’s danger is in the form of a collision: bodies smashed against each other, heads thrown in all directions, blood everywhere. It happened all too fast, and before I knew it I was standing along the road together with the other passengers, shocked as we were at the tragedy in front of us.

I could not erase in my mind the image of that afternoon — a young girl drenched in her own blood, almost with no life at all, caught between the webbed strands of both life and death. I walked away from the scene and headed home as quickly as possible, aching and limping as I tread the busy streets to get to safety. In my head I was bursting with prayers, thankful that I can still catch my own breath while that poor little girl fights for her own.

Earlier in the university, I shared conversations with few of my colleagues. At one point, one of them asked rather mournfully, “What is the point of everything?” to which I replied, “Maybe there is no point.” Part of my response was the steady belief in the uncertainty of things, if not in the absence of it all. Maybe there is no higher purpose or direction in our lives. Maybe there is nothing in the world that makes sense. Maybe we’re just ashes blown by the wind, left to scatter helplessly in thin air. We were back to Existentialism 101 all over again and I was the bitter nihilist in the midst of them all.

And then came the accident. A split-second collision of atomic particles bursting aimlessly into space and time and memory. What happened earlier this afternoon shamed me in more ways than one. It was as if some invisible entity was there to direct my thoughts and to command my actions to lead me to safety. If I had sat in the front seat my head would have been smashed by now. But here I am typing these words and praying, praying, praying.

Dear God, what illusions we humans have of our own providence. 

Semester Blues

It is the time of the semester once again for everyone to finally bleed: for words to fall heavy with the weight of farewells, for silence to finally speak the same. I think about this passing semester and remember not so much the days I stayed alive in crowded hallways and sticky classrooms listening to the hours tick away in slow motion, as the nights I spent awake thinking what will happen when all of these are over. I think about empty offices and the muted silence that accompanies them after everyone has stood up and left. I think about the stillness of the lonely river by the window, the ferry boats that pass every so often like time dragging away, and wonder what kind of lives people lead long after they have abandoned this place. I think about their plans, crafted well in pieces and hemmed seamlessly in place, and realize that I have long forgotten how to dream.

I spoke to my some of my batch mates yesterday afternoon, as if by accident. Their words were stars that sparkled in the dimness of own universe. They spoke of things that every average graduating student have in mind: grad school, law school, application forms, the endless pace of someone who chases after endless dreams. When they asked me about my plans, I spoke sheepishly of my wanting to retire already, to which they laughed almost as a form of contempt. I spoke of going to Europe and learning a language, leaving behind whatever there is that’s forgettable, heavy. I spoke of scratching the ground and starting all over again. My words were blunt, silly, marked by a childishness of someone who never take things seriously, but inside me was the turbulence of Tahrir Square. I thought about Berlin and a one-way ticket to everything that I have n[ever] dreamed, and realized that this too was practice. I thought about the future, the helpless attempts to decipher what is to come, the foolishness of it all.

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Fight or Flight

I will be turning a year older tomorrow. On the one hand I feel so young and insecure, as though I was born yesterday. I am filled up to the brim with a swirling energy to spread my wings and to conquer the entire world. I am jammed with passion for things and places that are yet to be discovered. Most of all, there is so much curiosity in the depths of my soul for everything unknown in the world; the kind of yearning portrayed in movies and novels, and in the lost sad lives of the young and the careless. Every second of this goddamn life feels so much like an unfolding Bildungsroman.

But on the other hand I feel so old, like someone who has lived through the end of life. There is too much in my soul that begs for calmness, for repose, for a supertemporal silence in a world full of noise. I see myself in the faces of old people around me, and how I lose myself every time I trace the crooked lines in their wrinkled faces, the fading life in their graying hair, the smell of breath and old age in their every uttered word. I admire their composure as they stare unflinchingly at blank spaces in front of them for hours on end without feeling lost in the emptiness of the surrounding void. I admire their complacency and their courage to confront the staring abyss, and to feel no ounce of doubt in the reflection that stares back at them.

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Apropos Life Negation [Revised]

 . . Do you have any idea how many people there are in the
world who like to force stuff on people and have stuff forced
on them? Tons! And then they make a fuss . . .[1]

Where does life-negation lie, a question here construed as curiously pursuing that particular location (lair) at which a certain life-negation (there alluding to a jargon in Nietzsche’s oeuvre) may be said to veil itself or could be found lodging, is a question of utmost tension; and the response is no else than: life-negation lies in that which is European; where else but in the European.[2]

In the European: and yet not so easy. For what follows such response to the question, whatever that may be, would yet be another explanation. It is in the efforts of explanation, proof, corroboration, justification—precisely: refutations—where life-negation itself feeds on. That which is European consists in that surreptitious escape, consciously or unconsciously, to a dominant herd morality against which Nietzsche’s aphorisms inveigh. The jargon of life-negation is that escape to a dominant herd morality which is European morality, or that intervening effort on the part of European mind to surreptitiously escape his damnation, his suffering—that is, his world fate.

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A Naked Truth

To fight for words
To stumble and lose
In my twisted tongue
Fragile words, and few.

Monday did not let me lose face when it let me pass through the day unscathed and unharmed. I scrambled for words at the back of my tongue, hoping to find a perfect kind of articulation for two class reports that was due that day. And I did find words, but only remnants from this self-made word wars in my head. And before my eyes I saw shards of glass, scraps of metal, bloodstains, bleeding.

Monday went as it arrived — completely forgettable, faceless, bland.
But Tuesday was a betrayer of trust.

I thought about leaving my paper empty as I stared paralyzed and defenseless at the sudden onslaught of questions. I thought about submitting a blank sheet before my professor, prepared with a perfectly resolute argument in my head as to why I refuse to translate Nietzsche into words, into anything close to intelligible, into any thing at all. It was not arrogance but rather something that persists at the opposite pole: repentance, or perhaps, self-reproach. I never understood him. He never wanted to be understood. I clenched my pen with my outraged fingers and hoped instead to write about the source of my irrational madness and my fuming rejection to answer the midterm exam. For a minute or two, I felt my professor’s eyes on me, and how his gaze made me hide in humiliation. There was no one but Nietzsche. My shame stripped me off of my defenses, of my excuses. My guilt, a screaming sea. For the first time ever I felt numb and naked like a newborn cursed with the consciousness of the world. With Nietzsche I felt bare-skinned, unconcealed, and raw. With Nietzsche I felt no need for words.

I don’t want to write. I never want to write again.