To Write Love on Her Arms

Are you following me?

I have spun myself into a circle, into places where she’d been, and sought for a sign. I have left a mark on the road in case I forgot the way back, but my mind has lost traces of her footsteps the moment she mentioned something about substance. And right then I thought about abuse and the dim lights of a yellow bulb singing its way into her soul, a round of prescriptions on the bathroom floor taken twice, thrice, until there was numbness and the sorry look from a stranger’s face saying “What have you done to yourself?”

I thought about her eyes, dull in the height of frenzy, and watched the rainbow haze float from out of her misshapen mouth. I thought about her silence but all I remembered was her scream, and the cracking of an old vinyl as it swallowed the hollow spaces between her smoke-stained teeth.

I thought about the crooked line that separates both substance and abuse, and wondered how one person could be both. I thought about the setting sun, and the stillness of her sunken face when Death finally came to empty her of her miserable miserable life. They said overdose. They said she had too much. But she was so empty, so hungry, when she left us all.

Are you following me?

There are only two points in a straight line. Point A is where we’re at. Point B is where we’re going. Kara never cared about the line, only that she wanted to carry her cross to eternity. She jumped her way out of it—into the vacuousness of everything real and imaginary. She spun herself in circles, in spirals, for she never believed in an end. She danced. She dances still, to the slow steady music of an ethereal eternal return.

Books that Changed the Way I See the World.

Some random speech I wrote for the final presentation in ENGL 1033 tomorrow. I think I like this, being random and all.

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When was the last time you sat down with a good book? When was the last time you allowed yourself to be transported through time to a place where words are magic, or to a place where dreams seem so real? Was it a few days ago, a few months, or perhaps a few years, counting on and on and on, until we lose sight of them all.

One of the many things they taught us when we were young is to learn how to read. And when we learn, we read everything: from storybooks to newspapers to magazines to comic books to telephone directory to computer manuals to cookbooks and college books, until we are old enough to think on our own and to understand more about the world than the authors we so loved and idolized. But isn’t this a mistake, an arrogance, that for the most part  separates us from our understanding and acceptance of the world, even life itself? Who knows why we stop reading sometimes.

When I was a young girl, people laughed at me for reading too much. While girls my age would dream of becoming Disney princesses, I would be in my room reading away the books I stole from Daddy’s closet, the books about the many evils of the Inquisition. I didn’t understand much back then. But when I look back now all I remember is her curiosity and how it nearly burned her yearning mind. My mother thought that I needed to see a doctor because at one point I was crying my heart over the Diary of Anne Frank and the next day I was singing the Nazi Hymn and proclaiming my heart for Adolf Hitler. But I hated the Holocaust just the same. In highschool, I was the bookworm of the batch. My classmates believed that I would follow the footsteps of J.K. Rowling but it was so funny because I never loved Harry Potter. No, not even once.

Now in college, I dig into a lot of classical literature and feel sometimes that it’s too late for me to ever love Dickens. But I find salvation in Plato and his many Dialogues and realize that there is no such thing as too late for a person who is willing to open up his heart to literature, or to philosophy for that matter. I could be a 70 year old woman now and would still love the adventures of Alice in Wonderland.

I realize that the greatest books that changed the way I see the world are not the ones that talks about religion, politics, economics or even the Heideggerian question of Being. It’s Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, Camus’ The Stranger, Orwell’s 1984, the many adventures of Hemingway and the genius of the Russian giants that allow you to see the world in a different light and to experience life in its most beautiful expression. And for that, I salute Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Pushkin. I applaud Murakami. I sing my heart for Fitzgerald. For Kafka and Nabokov and Hawthorne. These masterly bastards, they just don’t tell stories. They change lives.

Lumus Maxima

Once upon a wishful dream, I came across a stranger and fell in love with him. In my dream, I cast a spell of love and there he vowed to love me for all eternity. The time came and the time went, we lived and loved inside the dream. Until one dark and dreary morning, he woke up and loved me no more.

I woke up to the pitter-pattering of the raindrops and the first thing that came into my mind was you. I watched as the rain showered gently from up above to wash away the melancholy within me. I must have been sleeping for so long to think that there is nothing left for me to chase but time. But still, I wish not to be awakened from such slumber because there, and only there, am I able to catch a glimpse of you.

But who are you? You, who steals every precious minute of my dream and puts me into a state of trance. You, who takes a gentle grip of my hand and leads me to a world of make-believe. You, who lures me with magic and fantasy and fills my heart with such wonder and awe. Tell me, who are you?

It’s ironic to think that you are, just like everyone else, a stranger. Yet for some profound reasons, it is as if I knew you all my life. I can feel you in the gentle breeze that hovers around me. I can taste you in the presence of the pouring rain. I can hear you in the stillness of a cold afternoon. I can see you, no matter how obscure the vision may be, in every nook and cranny of my searching heart.  Continue reading “Lumus Maxima”

You Should Date An Illiterate Girl

Date a girl who doesn’t read. Find her in the weary squalor of a Midwestern bar. Find her in the smoke, drunken sweat, and varicolored light of an upscale nightclub. Wherever you find her, find her smiling. Make sure that it lingers when the people that are talking to her look away. Engage her with unsentimental trivialities. Use pick-up lines and laugh inwardly. Take her outside when the night overstays its welcome. Ignore the palpable weight of fatigue. Kiss her in the rain under the weak glow of a streetlamp because you’ve seen it in film. Remark at its lack of significance. Take her to your apartment. Dispatch with making love. Fuck her.

Let the anxious contract you have unwittingly written evolve slowly and uncomfortably into a relationship. Find shared interests and common ground like sushi, and folk music. Build an impenetrable bastion upon that ground. Make it sacred. Retreat into it every time the air gets stale, or the evenings get long. Talk about nothing of significance. Do little thinking. Let the months pass unnoticed. Ask her to move in. Let her decorate. Get into fights about inconsequential things like how the fucking shower curtain needs to be closed so that it does not fucking collect mold. Let a year pass unnoticed. Begin to notice.

Figure that you should probably get married because you will have wasted a lot of time otherwise. Take her to dinner on the forty-fifth floor at a restaurant far beyond your means. Make sure there is a beautiful view of the city. Sheepishly ask a waiter to bring her a glass of champagne with a modest ring in it. When she notices, propose to her with all of the enthusiasm and sincerity you can muster. Do not be overly concerned if you feel your heart leap through a pane of sheet glass. For that matter, do not be overly concerned if you cannot feel it at all. If there is applause, let it stagnate. If she cries, smile as if you have never been happier. If she doesn’t, smile all the same. Continue reading “You Should Date An Illiterate Girl”

Date A Girl Who Reads

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book. Continue reading “Date A Girl Who Reads”