I reach over the wooden case holding the countless books I have purchased over the years. I have arranged and rearranged them many times but they are simply the magic of words sprinkled upon papers thick and thin. I dust the shelves often, making sure that nothing settles over my books aside from the gifts of poetry and prose. Absorbing their content, they tend to bring me back to my reality the further I escape from this world. They are my comfort, my arrival, my escape, and my survival. Sometimes, I open a book I have already read and look over the pages. I am dashed with vague memories of stories and scenes. When I am hopeful, I open the books I have yet to read. I flick the pages between my fingers, the smell of fresh papers like a jolt to revive all that may grow dull with time.
Owning books has always been important. I refuse to rid my shelves of the names and titles that have kept me company for years. The books sit in a corner, stacked, layered and approachable. The endless pages wait to be turned and taken in. The books are organized as they should be. This is a pleasant corner in my life.
The beauty within her veins glows as she walks down the corridors. I see her often, in black jackets, in blue jeans, in skirts and shorts, and in different shapes and forms. One day she is blonde, the next she is a brunette. Sometimes, I see her lost in the world of her phone, shining as bright as the midday sun. I look at her until she lifts her head, only to look away. I have little meaningful to add to her waiting minutes. At the bus stop, she is with her friends, at work she is with clients and colleagues. It’s not easy to catch a real glimpse of who she is, to come close and ask her about her day and where she’s going. There is little I will really know about her.
We briefly cross paths only to separate and head into different directions whether morning or evening. I have known her as an acquaintance, as a friend, as a lover, and a stranger. I notice her on her way down on an escalator. I see her on her way up in an elevator. They say the world is separated by six degrees, by the people we know who know each other. I know her in different ways, as different people, from up close and afar. I will never understand what really makes her tick, why she speaks the way she does, what she’s really thinking about, or what would even make her really happy. I just watch her come and go, over and over again, and wonder.
When I awake, I feel the chill of autumn descend over my home. The sunshine splays through the blinds, and I am happy to have woken. Without tossing or turning, I enter into the morning routine so precious and hearty to my being. I am a man of mornings, relishing the early hours before time takes its effect upon my daily continuum. Writing, reading the news, and a stroll with the dog have grown staple to a routine existence. I cross between activities, bridging the familiar with the fresh and new, the old with pleasure of the moment.
Approaching the end of the week, the days behind leave the days ahead to be wondered. The daily grind, the hustle of minutes and hours, the pains and the joys of the week lay strewn in both directions. Completing each day in a persistent glare, scaling and conquering challenges leave the body worn and twisted. Regeneration and respite charge the physical being, the soul shaped by experience and the body molded by the contours of everyday life. There are days to conquer ahead, and there are seas of existence left to explore behind. I travel slowly in both directions, the past shaping outlook and the future guaranteeing the unknown.
Holding my guts, my hands patch the holes through which I come undone. Seeping slivers of my interior, I am outside in seconds, still clinging to a dull notion that all that is within is intact and safe. An exposition of internal, I am a short-lived passing through passages, thoughts and fragments severed and extracted outwards.
It was a gentle unraveling at first, like loosening a collar, unbuttoning a shirt, or taking off a sock. Now I am ripped apart, my hands trying desperately to clutch tightly to what has already slipped through my fingers to the ground, the damaged bits washing away in waves.
Delirious as I bleed in bursts, my eyes clinging tightly to their sockets, wedged inside their rightful place as I fall apart in little pieces. I am not a broken bone nor a rupture, but my texture is turmoil, tormented into pieces of a puzzle no longer able of being put together as whole. A bullet may not unravel such an interior. Surgical incisions are likely to reveal less, but there I am, a ghost with eyes, carrying through the air what I could not carry inside. They turn and whisper, the cover their mouths and point, they shriek and stomp their feet, but I continue as if all is well, my eyes my only attachment to earth.
I find a seat on a bench, touching my stomach to make sure nothing more has fallen out of place. My guts have bled out and dried, and I am satisfied, despite hunger and numbed pain. I turn to check if I am leaking, if there are still escaping and dripping parts but I am intact. I lean back and rest what is left of my eyes for a minute. It is nice to be as light as air.
Humans of simple sins. Of innocent debauchery and harmless hedonism enjoying the not-so-fine finer things that life never really meant to offer any of us. They are products of pleasure, appreciating all that must be relished and revisited on occasion while falling deeper into the hands of self-indulgence, existing not for complexities but for simple desires.
When reality strikes, hands work and feet kick. The struggle begins and the proud strut is reduced to a pacing, the body reduced to a casing, and the human within hardening with each passing failure it becomes accustomed to facing. Pleasures are few and far between, everything experienced turns to old habit, and simple actions are the fruits of labor, not the pathway to inherent and oncoming successes that are so craved and expected.
A foot ahead for a foot behind keeps stagnation at bay. An inch clawed is an inch gained and a small victory in the day to day is a conquest fit for kings. Our shells are not protective, easily vulnerable to wear and tear, and our insides intangible, susceptible to endless chaos.
The human made of metal, of mettle throttled, shaken, stirred, and settled. If only he had little pleasures to give him ground. If moderation was his vice as to not wear him thin. If he could balance the left with his right. The one who wishes to exist with a smile while juggling his frown. The one who wished to be lifted up as gently as he is let down.
When I look up to the sky
there you are
wishing to please me
with different shapes and colors
and the sizes you take on
to keep me hopeful
of novelty and tomorrow
We are the same
but you are fresh
in your oranges and blues
in crescents and cues
Never to change who you really are
keeping me going from further to far
and still inching closer to the stars
but moving closer to me
simply and truly
in all regards
I looked at my passport
and was surprised by my face
The photo dark and reddened
and my eyebrows thicker than I thought
There were numbers and codes
and dates and expiration
with places to sign
for all the places to go to
I know home
and I know away
just as I know my face
may have gone astray
Do I look like my countrymen?
Do I have similar features?
Am I a naturalized alien?
No longer an extraterrestrial creature?
Sometimes in the mirror
things are not as I imagine
or is it the bathroom light
washing away all that is dark and fragile?
When they check my photo
they no longer ask much
“What’s the purpose of your visit?”
Without real hints of mistrust
Maybe I’ve found acceptance
maybe my face has changed
Or maybe it’s my passport and nationality
that are no longer causing me pain
Once when I was a child
I saw the moon appear from behind the clouds
from the back seat of a taxi
I tried escaping her and she wouldn’t leave,
I tried catching her but to no relief
She never left me no matter how far we went
and I couldn’t ever catch up with her no matter how fast we sped
So I couldn’t help but wonder
if my moon kept an eye
and what would ever happen
if the moon ever said goodbye.
Today I awoke heavy with the fog dropping down over our little streets. I did not rise but remained flat like the morning air. The clouds hung low, and my dog slept by my legs, lower than usual, resting against my feet fighting for a little space upon my bed. Aren’t Tuesdays a pleasure, a weekly occurrence, suspended in the middle of nowhere fighting for existence between Monday and weekly oblivion?
If I could be a day, I would be Saturday. I would make many happy, providing a well-deserved freedom, and existing without much immediate worry. But I am a Tuesday, a void safely sandwiched with work and responsibilities far heavier than necessary. The pressure mounting on each side, the squeezing hands ready to chew and swallow me far quicker than I anticipate.
Am I simply a window of time, a moment in the spectrum of existence, a unique occurrence, born and forgotten with each passing minute? Am I more unique than the last, setting the way for the future Tuesdays, to be lived without real worry in either direction? Do our days go from up to down? Or do they travel on a horizontal plane, strikingly similar with each passing hour and breath? Am I simply a Tuesday, no different than Wednesday but quickly and thankfully forgotten like most Mondays?
Must I be reminded that it is me that makes the day or must I fall to the mercy of the day, making me as it goes along and doing as it pleases? At night, I strap a blindfold across my eyes, spin, and fall into my bed. This time, I will awake upon another day that I will embody next. A good day, a bad day, an unnecessary day, an important day, but a day regardless, numbered and waiting.
Are you a day like me?
Working the self to extremes in pursuit of minimal wealth only to lay at rest at the end of the day and repeat the cycle. The only warmth afforded by a life so demanding in the touch of the softened pillow that whispers sweet nothings into the darkness. As I lay contemplating my aching limbs and outstretched skin, wondering whether the morning rush of energy is only to bring life into a false swing.
There is pleasure in work and the dear necessary burdens of thwarting the hands of laziness through progress and pursuit are essential. However, there are no barriers between the weight of the world and breaking points of humans. When life throws all that it has at once to divide and conquer individuals and families through mishaps and misgivings, it is easy to wish to turn away and crawl out into a life of irresponsibility and ease. It is simple to step down and walk away but it is quickly learned that there is no escape from the ticking hands of time nor the fate afforded to those who await long enough to accept it and move on. The degrees of separation are useless in distinguishing between those who bleed red in bodies of different colors and creeds. The human condition is as universal as it separated and segregated.
There is little that can be done against the slow breaking barrage of life. Through turmoil and slow aging, through disease and discomfort, the skin grows thick as patience wears thin, and what is experienced within is harder to set aside for the sake of continuance. There is little left to dream when the systems of reality continue to keep us busy and occupied while slowly starving us in promise of food and a few extended comforts.
What it must be, to attain all the wealth in the world and yet rely on hope and happiness to propel the self ahead. What it must be, to have happiness and hunger rotating roles at the forefront of a life of poverty. There is little to stop people from living the life they wish, only to be misguided by the dominance and the majority manipulated and so happily occupied with our machine. People who choose the wrong despite knowledge and those who turn a blind eye in defeated acceptance are not always to blame. It is time and circumstance to blame and it is part and parcel of existence to suffer through the storm in wait of the sunshine.
It is also a shame to await brighter days, only to reflect on the scars incurred in the rain. But such is human nature, holding humans limbo, suspended in a space where darkness and despair offer hope in the form of some worthwhile prize, no matter how small or reparatory it may be, and success is merely held high on pedestals through our visions and the disguises yet to be unraveled by our ambitions and our failing eyes.