Prose: Alone at a Café in Paris

19 01 2014

The seductive sounds of a four piece jazz band—a scat-cat afternoon buzzin’ on too much caffinee.

If there is such a thing.

Thank God I’ve got this music to fill me up.

I feel so empty.

I can’t believe I left him standing there—in the rain.

It rained last night.

It’s very sunny today.

The weather irritates my mood with its inconsistency.

How can a person be less predictable than the weather?

I’m a mess.

This trigger steadied by a shaky crook-hand up my back side and I feel angry.

What did she ever give him other than his drink?

A stiff drink is nice but not nearly as nice as her sex.

I can’t figure it out.

I kissed him!

And for what?

To discover that he had shaved himselfby coincidence?

I doubt that.

I wonder what it’s like to be a man? To make love to a woman…

I wonder if he thinks… what I think?

I doubt that.

I’m a mess.

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Women’s Work

9 01 2013

We grew up

with paper cups,

promises leaking out the sides from too much sun.

Then mom cried

when we got the carpet wet

becuase a woman’s work is never done.

Daughters cry back,

said we were sorry

as daddies scoop us up,

kiss our soft forehead and say:

It’s okay little girl.

I love you.

You’re perfect.

A girls’ peace of mind leaves the day her fist learns to fit down her throat

to purge away the parts that make her a woman.

It becomes a woman’s work

to find her reflection in broken mirror depictions of what a woman should be,

what they see

while we,

struggle.

It’s women’s work

to defend our choices turned black and blue,

saving our lives at the price of a person

by choice.

It’s work!

Pretending everything’s okay when he asks

because it’s uncomfortable to cry in the arms

of a man that is not

a father.

Our grown bodies

tied to a tide of frustration

that waves red twelve times in a year that we count in seconds,

waiting for the moment that someone might not be afraid of this cycle…

might think…

it’s beautiful.

Might not think it’s strange that a woman can bleed for five days and live to become

a mother.

No longer a slave

to her ambition

because a mother’s work is never done,

and a woman’s just a girl

that believed she had the power to make a choice.

She

will be praised for her sacrifices and shunned for her success until she is broken.

She

will destroy her self-esteem and pick it up with strong arms that project from his body.

She

will replace the woman with more girls inside her belly.

That’s a woman’s work:

To deny the struggle of sisters and daughters, mothers and women.

To chain the choice and be anything other than

woman.

To teach young girls to believe in their dreams

then clip those white wings with sharp scissors.

She

is now part of this world.

So we pray

and we pray

that she

will some day

be better

than women’s work.





Personal Apocalypse

22 05 2012

I couldn’t see it from where I was standing. The sun and the moon where going to collide in eclipse, something that happens rarely enough to warrant a social panic of creative iPhone pictures. I didn’t have my phone with me, and the trees obstructed my view enough for me to understand that I would not be part of this moment. And that didn’t really bother me, I was in the middle of an anxiety attack, the likes of which made me believe that either the world was going to end when the sun settled directly behind the moon or I would resolve to do something crazy enough to end it on my own.

Personal Apocalypse

There comes a point, a point where frustration merges with a realistic goal to beat the crap out of your boss. Though I am not for violence, I am for making a scene. And I really want to right now. I want to throw my Mac across the room, burn down this building, take all of my money out the bank and run to Mexico, if only to prove a point that I’ve had it up to my eye balls with these business folk and their inflated egos, pitchy sales bullshit and shiny male chauvinism. Anyone who calls you ‘hun’ in an email should be hung in effigy as a reminder to all men that this business really means business.

I’m seriously thinking about quitting my job. I have no idea what I am going to do or how I am going to do it, or how long I will be unemployed or if I even want to be employed ever again. I don’t know! There comes another point, at some point, every crazy person looks at their situation and admits to themself that they have no idea how it’s all going to work out; but they believe, and that religious experience makes it possible and worth the struggle. It’s those sane people who have it all figured out I guess. At least they feel confident knowing that struggling to achieve something difficult isn’t worth the time. I don’t know anything.

The only thing that keeps me from falling to this floor and crying like a 3-year-old is my pride, and perhaps the simple truth that although I don’t know how I am going to get myself out of this mess of problems I have sustained, I always figure it out. But I’ll tell ya, screaming and yelling, making a scene, having random mental depictions of violent scenarios as alternatives to things happening right in front of me are common and pushing my brain to a place of hysteria. My eyes hurt, I get headaches all the time and I don’t remember how to have fun right now.

So when the eclipse happened, I was inside myself, having a personal apocalypse.  Burning fires and geographical shifts of tectonic plates were rolling thunder sounds all through my bones shaking me to my core, and I wept. And I felt better. Those single tears a glittering manifestation of that crazy that constantly battles for my attention, the part that needs to be fed every so often with melodrama like this. This is the sound of a person trying to hold it together when nothing feels right beside the familiar sounds of self-doubt and pity that accompany misery. I however, do not want the company. I’ll figure it out.

I envy anyone who thinks I’m crazy, because they have no idea what I’m talking about. 

Like this BlogPost if you’re crazy too.





Flash Fiction: Drive

16 05 2011

The sun was setting quickly in the west; the darkness surrounding, like an aperture closing around a memory. The noise of the engine  hummed above everything, coaxing the pedal down deeper. Until it was on the floor. She wiped a tear from her eye before it shed. She laughed.

Sun glided away from the horizon on tiny ripples of gold ribbon. Stretching her arm out,  fighting the wind, she imagined touching the waving light; wondered what it might feel like. Was it real? She approached a familiar curve in the road that use to send her body into excitement, but now was driving her insane. A noxious urge; she would resist it.

She rubbed her eyes. The length of curve took her up a subtle incline, the ocean now almost head-on. Could she drive forever on this sweet bend? Drive straight into the blue fading? The wheel slid through her grip, correcting itself with ease as the hum pushed through the curve until she traced it backwards in the rear mirror.

Purple night shades crept over the hillsides of a foreground in green and gray. The salt heavier in the air now, clung to her lips. She rescued another tear.  Half grinned. The evening coast air was stirring something inside her, twisting her stomach tighter, punching the air from her lungs. Locked in a stare; her chin close to her chest, trying to breathe, trying to see the road beyond her heavy gaze. Just a little further, she thought.

The road was familiar. She closed her eyes for a couple of seconds. Opened them, and laughed; thinking she had tempted fate, and won. The exit was just ahead, the sun gone and the night all around her. The hum began to fade. The green reflecting sign was getting bigger and bigger. The words were getting bigger and bigger. She read them over and over until the lines of the letters had lost all meaning. And just as the sign passed over her, eyes following it up and beyond the windshield, she grabbed the wheel and pulled it free from the lane, cutting across the white broken pattern that kept her safe. Car horns emerged from above the roar of the 350 engine, like laser beams shooting out into the dark. The steel tail of the car whipped left with exhilarate force, pulling her deep into the pocket of the door frame; the force drawing her face to sea. Out the window, the horizon an imaginary line in the dark: oblivion. She lifted her grip off the wheel, softened her foot against the floor and closed her eyes.

Tears, as free as the road now pulled under her forward momentum. She laughed. She was going to be okay.





Resolution

4 01 2011

Sometimes the only thing I can count on is change. For better or worse, the last five months have been difficult adjusting to a life outside of my warm suburban playground. The holidays in particular were a reminder that thousands of miles separated me from the warmth I remember in decorating a tree, baking banana muffins, feasting with family and exchanging gifts. But had I not felt so departed I might have never known the true value in the season: being close with the ones we love. This Christmas, Korea offered little to compensate the emotional connections I have to childhood tradition surrounding the holiday spirit, red, green and white. The lights strung up on buildings, the carols heard inside a cafe, the desperate attempts to advertise an American holiday, all rendered a cerebral spirit void of context outside my reach. But sharing this empty space the best I could, I found myself delighted in the little things that made this Christmas unlike any before it.

Few living in the symmetrical spaced apartments of Ilsan, own conventional ovens, but this didn’t stop my attempts to recreate one of my favorite activities during the yuletide season. My friend and I worked quickly to move in and out the instant chocolate chip cookies from a 12 by 12 inch tray that fit perfectly inside a toaster oven. I wasn’t sure if it would work, but 7 to 9 minutes later each puffed masterpiece came out golden brown in batches of four. It took several hours to complete a few dozen, but it was well worth the effort: the apartment filled with the aroma of something we both felt familiar to. Experiencing snow on Christmas was both romantic and novel; the idea of bundling up considerably before we stepped out to the street shed new meaning on the various holiday jingles that filled our space from a laptop set by the window. The holiday party was enjoyable, so much so that I barely noticed that I was probably missed at home, but things change, so we make the most of it. For better or worse, the holiday season came and went, the dawn of new year rose up and I was happily present in that moment. Though some things we hope never change: the warmth of family, laughter with friends, being in love, inevitably we walk the linear life course that in it’s very nature requires us to adapt, evolve. But knowing that we can believe in change reminds us that we are human and we are alive. At no other time during the year does this seem more important, when we commit ourselves to better, to achieve, to change. For this I resolve.

Would any one like to share their resolutions?





Clean Floor

24 11 2010

The space of my interior is mostly empty. Necessary things. I can see almost all of my floor, minus the space from under a full-sized bed, a table. I sweep this gold wood floor almost every day. My long hair sheds, collects in the corners with dust and lint. I keep the floor clean. I sit on this floor, which heats the space from pipes below; circulating hot water which warms from the bottom up. It’s a well designed system. I walk bare footed from end to end, nothing obstructing the course and find solace in the act. The weight of possession can bog down a spirit in deceptive comforts, both internally and externally. When there is nothing to crowed a space, the void can arouse a feeling of need: a reaction to a lifetime spent wanting, desiring, wishing for something more than what we have; specific to the experience of living in a highly commodified society. So how do we turn off, turn around, confront the impulse to spend, acquire, collect and hoard? And how do we differentiate between wanting something and needing something without suppressing the uniquely human capacity to strive and achieve the very things that later fill once empty spaces? It’s our right as an evolved species to seek better comfort in an industrialized and technological society, but it is our burden as rational beings to seek understanding in those same desires.

As I cleared out the drawers of a dresser in my old room, I found a shoebox I had stuffed full of Hallmark cards. They covered just about every major holiday and spanned further back then I would like to admit. As I thumbed towards the bottom of the stack, I pulled out  a birthday card of bright colors, themed in Halloween. I knew exactly when I got it, and from who. I was eight, and he was Dexter King. I remembered my party: one which my Dad had gone to great lengths preparing: haunted graveyard, pumpkin-head fountain, and so much more that was overlooked by an eight-year-old. Thanks Dad; it was a great party. But why did I still have this birthday card? I looked at the hundreds of Christmas greetings, valentines from middle school, birthday cards from people I don’t even know anymore, and I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I’m never going to be featured on A&E’s Hoarders, but I found myself bewildered by my need to keep things that don’t mean anything. I will always remember that party, and I will always remember Dexter, so why did I keep all this paper? I looked around my room and saw countless other things that didn’t mean anything to me, things that I later took to the Salvation Army. So why where they there in the first place, if they were so disposable?

This moment has been the premise of my condition abroad. Besides a few boxes left in storage, I arrived to Korea owning the contents of one large suitcase; a duffel bag and backpack. The things I brought with me were necessary, things that required specific intention when I purchased them. I felt liberated by this weightlessness. I could go anywhere, do anything, without the stressful indecision that ownership has over our ability to think. Even better, clearing my exterior has in some ways cleansed my interior. There are no dirty dishes, there is but one dish. There are no meaningless trinkets upon the shelves, there are no shelves. And while I don’t expect my entire life to go without carless spending, I am enjoying the practice of thoughtfully considering my needs; now realizing how little it actually takes.





I’ve Got a Thing for Scarves

7 11 2010

A friend once said Fall was their favorite time to be in love. I’m from southern California, a place where only two seasons exist: Summer and, I guess we could just go see a movie. Perhaps this is why I didn’t understand the statement. Korea is literally changing before me. In three months I’ve  sweat out the summer humidity, walked ankle-deep in monsoon flooding; now anticipating the first snow.

Watching the leaves slowly change, delicately pulled to the wind from a tender segment, I think it could be beautiful: falling in love. We hug ourselves deep with layers of corded sweaters and hoodies; replace light sun-kissed yellow and orange with rich shades of purple and gray. Varied textures send our hands over and under folds of fabric; tug at a friends scarf. And scarves! It’s almost too easy; the flirtatious nature of frayed edges and flannel scarves. Twisting up the sensitive flesh of necks begging to be touched. Scarves. There is romance in layering. Each draped layer undone reveling face, neck, shoulder, curve. It’s a time to revel in the comfort of familiar interiors, that never look more cosey than on rainy Autumn evenings. The need to be closer, disguised in rosy cheeks, every inch closer more intentional than a matching glove and scarf set. Did I mention scarves? Couples face to face blow steaming cups of coffee, to chill the heat; between them a table and two right hands play together, searching for more skin. In the elevators we complain to strangers about the cold, breaking the ice confidently over this shared experience. Next time I’ll ask him for his number. Bump into hips, walking side by side down busy sidewalks where those same leaves that change, fall over top us, kick up as we walk, through the season.

Check out some great ambient music for chilly days:

Courtesy Joey Crotty aka Sulci








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