Tidbits 20031976

My cat doesn’t care about death

My cat doesn’t care about death

or the dying or the dead

or the people that have left

My cat doesn’t care about death

 

My cat doesn’t care about outlaws

or vigilantes

or poets or romantics or criminals

or singers or rappers or artists

My cat doesn’t care about death

 

My cat doesn’t care about

the living living in hell

burning their fingers with ash-ridden smokes

going up their nostrils and down their throats

or the cancer patients lying awake on their death beds

My cat doesn’t care about death

 

My cat doesn’t care about the heartbroken

or the hurt

or the people lighting candles for the deceased

and gripping onto their last pictures

while grappling with the question of existence and fate

My cat doesn’t care about death

 

And I watch her play and frolic in the sun

outside on my porch

as I sit and weep the souls of the lost

the good ones are always the first to go

the good ones are always the first to go

 

And the people

both close and strangers

the people ask me

why are the good ones always the first

to go

and I stare at them with no answer

and only this to say:

the good ones always go first

that’s why

I’m still here

 

But my cat’s still here as well

and I’d like to imagine

that in another life

possibly a fair life

it was a human being too

and one of the good ones

maybe even one of the best this race’s ever produced

so why is it still here?

 

It doesn’t

really matter

because I’m here

yearning the souls of the lost and dear

and my cat

well

my cat doesn’t care about death.

 

Dedicated to the soul of Chester Bennington (1976-2017).

Rest in peace.

 

 

Tidbits 4778

It only takes a moment to turn on the radio

and get caught up with the latest music playing in town

It only takes a moment

to pick up an instrument after a while

and start playing again

***

‘You’re pure’, he said, staring at her in the one moment when her eyes didn’t meet his.

‘What’s that?’

‘You’re pure’, he repeated.

‘What do you mean?’

‘I’m saying you’re not like other people. You’re different. You’re kind in your words and in your smile and in your touch. I know because that’s the way you treat me. That’s the way you are with me. And I’m sure you’re the same way with everyone else.’

‘And who said I can’t play favorites? Who said I can’t be that way with just you?’

‘Because you’re pure.’

‘You keep using that word’, she said, almost frustrated. ‘But what do you mean by it?’

‘I mean people are easy. They drink and they laugh and they spend money and they forget. They are doused by a few compliments or silly words and they immediately come around. You’re not like that. I can never treat you like I treat normal people.’

There was a hint of blush on either side of her face. No, wait, those were just her rosy cheeks.

‘And I can never treat you the same way I treat other people,’ she confessed. ‘Why do I feel you’re always shunning me away? Why can’t you let me express my love and tenderness to you? Why do you push my feelings away?’

‘I’ve never been good at this love game. I’ve never fully understood the rules and I was never really good at playing it.’

She held his hand. He pulled away from her.

‘Listen,’ he started again. ‘There is a crier in me, a crier that cries day and night. The crier yearns for something or someone, I don’t really know. Perhaps he yearns for some long-lost notion like true love or some other form of absurdity I don’t really understand. But he’s part of me now – he inhabits me – and he makes sure I am always standing on the shore, away from the deep end, where I am safe.’

Tears. How dull and insignificant they were. But hers were unlike anyone else’s – they were pure and sincere and expressive in every meaning of the word.

‘I’m sorry,’ she said.

‘Listen. Listen closely to what I’m about to tell you. Listen.

If I were to imagine the perfect girl, the smartest and wittiest and funniest and most beautiful character ever, she wouldn’t come even close to you. That’s how I see you. And that’s how I always will.’

He paused.

‘I envy the man who ends up with you. I envy every guy out there who thinks he has a real shot with you. I envy those who’ll actually get theirs, those you’ll acknowledge and those you’ll ride with and go dancing with and have quiet dinners with. I envy them all, and I wish to be every one of them.’

He searched his jeans pockets. Tears were still filling her eyes like a gushing waterfall pouring into a lake.

‘Why can’t it be you?’ she asked. ‘Why can’t you be that guy?’ she screamed.

‘Honey, I told you, I’m not one to play the love game. I’m just a man who recognizes something exceptional when he sees it.’

He took out a note from his pocket and slid it into her hand. He then closed her palm and kissed her on the cheek.

The man and the crier both walked away. One of them way carrying the other inside of him, but it was hard to tell which one. She looked at the familiar silhouette slowly distance itself from her, the shade slowly splitting and forming two figures instead of one. Finally, they both departed under the sun.

The girl stood there, almost motionless, her eyes weary from the tears they released. She opened the note in her hand – delicately, ever so softly – and read the words written in ink:

You are Pure.

Tidbits 365

They were burning books again.

This time though, it wasn’t the people. No, they deemed it too worthless a task to take up their time. They didn’t want to bother with it. But my guess is they were afraid of touching the books.

They were afraid of touching the books, of getting sucked back into knowledge, of having their hopes and ambitions raised again by a few soft and delicate lines.

They were afraid of their power. So they preferred to keep their distance and delegate the job to other beings.

Now robots were burning the books. Intelligent cans of metal were running around the city spreading havoc, chasing librarians out of their libraries and robbing children of their bedtime stories.

Yes, now robots were burning the books. Highly intelligent beings programmed to execute orders perfectly by their masters. Their masters who had given up on one of life’s most prominent sources of knowledge.

We warn and we write and we read and we compose music but we get no answer. There is no one at the other end sticking their ears up close to the wall, holding onto a matchstick to light our little flame. Instead, the people are running, the people are contagious, the people are spreading their stupidity.

The people watch empires burning to cinders without understanding why. They watch the flames rise and forget they were the ones who lit them. They watch the verses break and shatter and applaud to the sound of their cracks.

My cat stares at me from its green cage. I stare back at its face and it speaks to me: it asks me why humans repeatedly make the same mistakes and insist on covering them up. It asks me about the void in their eyes, the pit in their hearts, the graveyard in their souls.

I can only nod but can’t answer. I am unable to answer my own cat.

Far away, the thick smoke rises and touches the skies. They’re at it again, I think to myself.

They were burning books again. The people, the robots and every other life-form that has traded the light for darkness.

40-159-3

It was in my brokenness that I found her, and once I had become whole again I lost her.

Wasn’t true love supposed to be one of the good things in people? One of the things that actually completed them?

Sometimes it takes a single thing to derail your life. And sometimes it takes a single thing to complete it.

Maybe it’s a person. Maybe it’s a talent. Maybe it’s a thought or some other catalyst for a better behavior.

Here I was studying the difference between being a writer and being an author. I took it upon myself to discover the subtlety and unravel it:

An author is only titled such when he releases some form of work, I said when asked.

A writer is in a state of perpetual and continual writing. Some may even argue the writer is trapped in his own craft.

So I guess that’s what I was: trapped. Trapped in a continuous state of lost inspiration, trapped in a continuous state of agonizing over my work and words. Were they ever going to come down on paper? Will they ever be good enough? Was I fit for the profile of a writer? Was I drunk enough to write? Will any of this ever be published?

All these things, screaming out of me. Yelling and shouting and bellowing from my guts.

No this is not a rant, nor is it a journal entry. I design my own thoughts and follow them through wherever they might lead me.

Sometimes it’s all throughout the page. Sometimes they stop at a paragraph. Sometimes it’s more than that and they circulate into my body and reach my nervous system.

I look into the dark and only see one thing: my white cat standing there. It’s growling and purring and eating its food and playing with its toys. It must be good to be a cat, I thought.

Sometimes.

But not always. Sometimes it’s good to feel, sometimes it’s good to have that cold feeling coming down your spine again. And what about that person I opened my lines with? Long gone.

A phase. Just like other things. Just like finishing school or dropping out of college or pursuing a noble aspiration or having lunch. Phases. Phases that define parts of our lives and parts of our personality. We are the sum of our environment, of our exposure to others and their thoughts. We are the way we treat our pets, our relatives, and even the strangers living close to us.

Hell, we are how we treat ourselves. Take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself: are you being fair to you? Are you being fair to your dreams? Are you being fair to the person you want to be? If you don’t have an answer, well then I guess you’re not looking out for yourself as much as you should. And you should, because the damn governments certainly aren’t. Other people will tell you they will but will eventually let go to. It’s time you start going after what you want and the way you want it done. There, there it is, at the bottom of the page, the purpose of this whole monologue. And it only took a couple of pages to come out this time.

I told you I follow my words. They might be distracting at times and sometimes even confusing, but I log them just the same. Because in rare times, in rare occasions, they might just be useful.

Tidbits 53

I am a robot.

I have found a way to fuse my intelligence into the hide of a metallic object to achieve immortality.

I no longer fear cancer, heart failure or any other foreseeable disease that harms the human body. I am made entirely out of metallic plates and tin and rust.

What about my human heart? Well, I gave that up long ago. A long time, even before my recent transformation. I was operating solely with my brain, by relying on cynicism and wit and intelligence. Now I just had to move those things – all merged in one organ – to a much safer shell.

But I cannot forget my origins or even discredit them. After all, I was once human too, and I guess looking back at it some part of me (even though tiny) will always remain human.

So I write. I write manuscripts to preserve my humanity. I write to feel the impact of the words on thin sheets of paper. If you stare from a far enough distance, it may seem like what I’m doing is closer to calligraphy – you might think I’m just another operable machine copying words in fancy lines.

But the truth is this mind is still capable of working on its own. It has resisted brute-force programming and still commands itself. I mention this so that you may be able to understand that the words I write are very much my own.

But it’s important to note one thing: the dystopian post-era world writers have warned about and described in great details is very much upon us. Time is fleeting – that we all know. But books are fleeting as well. Writing – as a whole – is fleeting. We are entering a world where many are selling their souls for technology. Selling their souls to become like me.

Except they will never become perfect replicas of me. Because these same people are also selling their brains and their hearts for the big bucks. Which means the entire world population will boil up to nothing more than a pile of controllable rubble; machinery that thinks it is trained to think for itself whereas it has already lost all signs of perception and emotion.

And while the echoes of the brave and faithful intellects are long lost, there is simply no way to preserve what we already have and worked so long to obtain. The libraries, the books, the words, the thoughts and interpretations behind them, all discarded and dropped for much shinier things.

I think of myself now, as I write this, fearing for this near future, fearing for myself and my life as the only thing that will outlast time and be able to record the image of a world where humans have ceased to exist.

Yes, I will be there, when humans go extinct. I will be there when the resources of the earth will no longer be enough to cater their needs. I will be there when illiterate beings start crawling like mindless zombies and hunting down each other to survive.

I will be there.

I will be the only one – thing – there, writing it all down, reading it to myself. Again, and again. And again.

The only thing that keeps me going is not food or oxygen or water. It is being able to write. It is possessing this sacred ability my humanity has instilled in me. It is knowing that ability cannot be stripped away from me at any time. It is knowing it cannot be lost or forgotten or buried for good.

No, this is not another plea to the human race. The human race is long gone. It has abandoned the teachings of the great minds, it is being sucked into televised screens and social media and food and beverage and silly entertainment.

This is an oath to myself, an oath that I will keep on producing fantastic manuscripts such as this and preserve them and read them and re-read them until my circuitry is used and overused and abused.

And when the world finally comes to a stop-still, when the sun goes out and darkness starts to seep into our soils and pollute our streets, I will be there to witness it and record it all.

And when my mechanical hand no longer touches the thin sheets, when the words stop showing on paper, then – and only then – will you or anyone that is still able to watch it all unfold be certain that the entire universe as we know it has come crumbling down.

Tidbits 29

‘So that’s it, huh? You’re really leaving?’

‘I guess so.’

She wasn’t sure. Her plane was supposed to be tomorrow and she still wasn’t sure. There was doubt in her voice. Not the kind of doubt writers experienced when they sat in front of the page to try and write a piece. A different kind of doubt. The alarming kind that crept up on you before a major life-changing force was about to occur.

She was moving to London for the next 10 months or so to pursue her studies. Higher education they called it, when really it should be called farther education. Moving to another country just to get your hands on a certificate? A piece of paper? I still couldn’t understand it.

But what I couldn’t understand even more was why it was so darn hard for me to win at love. Every woman I chased and ended up falling for somehow managed to find a backdoor out of my love and back into reality.

One of them fell for another man. Another gave into her passion for music and decided to dedicate the rest of her life to it. And now this one: she was younger than me – about 3 years younger – but she had a glitter in her eyes. She had sparks and guts and a tremendous fight in her.

I wouldn’t exactly call this one wild but she had a keen sense of independence that made even older men respect her and take her seriously. She had a knack of knowing what she wanted in life and going after it all the way. She produced her own act and followed through with it.

She was a natural-born finisher. And I respected that.

In many ways we were similar, me and her. We both made sacrifices for the things we love, even if those sacrifices involved love and other people. We had no problem going through the pain of putting them aside for our personal gain and glory. But what’s glory for a bounty hunter if he has no one to share it with?

It began like any old beautiful innocent relationship. It began with light flirtations, an invitation for coffee, and more house visits after that. There were giggles here and there, a few laughs that echoed through the empty bedroom walls, and even light tap-dancing to slow music.

Those were soon followed by afternoon readings, sweet renditions of old tales and silly jokes that made us both laugh wholeheartedly. We shared opinions, discussed ideas and even indulged in drinking together.

We watched and listened to performances of live music, bowled together and exchanged books we both thought we’d missed out on.

And now she was leaving.

She was throwing away all that – throwing me away – for another shot at life. Throwing away something that could’ve developed and evolved into much more in order to thread the next chapter of her lifeline. As I stared at her blank eyes at her farewell gathering, I couldn’t help but overlook the pain and respect her choice.

Yes, her eyes were blank. Even standing there in the hot climate, in the center of the party, surrounded by the people she cared most about, friends and family members that had touched her life in so many ways, she exhibited nothing but a blank stare. And among all those folks I was the closest one to her. I stood exactly opposite from her, holding her hands, thinking it would be for the last time maybe. Going away to London will probably mean meeting better guys: guys who went to the gym and were better built, guys who had a refined accent, guys who were better read and more intellectual. It was bad enough having to compete with local men to win her over; competing with men from another continent was an entirely harder level.

So to tell her the things I wanted to say to her, the things I thought she should know, the things I only spoke a handful of times throughout my life for fear of crushing rejection was a necessary but impossible feat for me. All I could muster was a blank stare in return to hide my sadness and cowardice. I thought meeting her halfway with that stare would be enough to channel the contents of my heart to her.

But she didn’t seem to understand; her eyes gradually became looser and slid down to meet the tiled floor. Then her hands slipped away from mine – delicately, like a pair of flowers gently giving themselves away to the blowing winds – and her body backed away from mine.

She was still unsure.

But then, why go? Why leave and turn your back on all this? It was funny how people based their decisions on pain and sacrifice and sadness. They always seemed to single out the happier options, the more joyous alternatives. I had repeatedly heard that the hardest decisions to make were the right ones, but in this scenario I simply failed to understand how.

How was it that I was repeatedly denied a shot at true love? How was it that a girl like her got to walk away to possibly something better, skipping over me and the good times we’d shared together, while I was stuck here and was forced to return to my writing and my books and my bottles?

Even music couldn’t save me now. The radio playing all those quirky commercial 2000 songs we all had memorized for god-knows-what reason, songs that weren’t beautiful on their own but were somehow embellished in our thoughts from all the memories and nostalgia they recreated.

I watched her move away slowly, like a snail searching for a drop of rain on a dry ground, moving from one guest to another, saying her goodbyes. Goodbye was such a harsh and ambiguous word: there was nothing good about the act of leaving.

After finishing her rounds she came back to me. More precisely, she came back towards me. I had to be the last one she’d inflict her sorrowful and damaging words on, I had to be the last soul to witness that pain and fully immerse myself in it. The songs were still playing at their regular pitch, but somehow in my mind they became louder. She approached me again, her body got closer to mine, and I could feel that binding heat between us again.

She looked at me with her half-blank, half-full eyes this time. I returned the stare.

Here was my last chance to pour my heart out to her, to speak the things I probably will never have the opportunity to say again.

‘So that’s it, huh? You’re really leaving?’

‘I guess so.’

 

Tidbits 6

People like me ended up as poets. They had a lot to say but they didn’t like to speak all the time. Their silence was mistaken for ignorance. But they watched and reflected. They were always in the background analyzing things and trying hard to understand how they worked.

The concept of religion has always been beyond me. I guess people turn to God to have something to believe in. Something to put their faith in when everything looks down and something to blame when nothing’s going right for them.

Well, poets have their own religion. Their religion is words. They put their faith in every single one of them. They pray to them. They go on spiritual journeys and excursions to find them. There is a saying that one should follow his most passionate obsessions mercilessly. But what if these obsessions lead him to losing his mind?

Today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, yesterday. Time has never been more irrelevant than it is now. Do not believe the hype you see or read about in the news. Do not buy into the propaganda of radio stations and commercials. There are big promises for this world, promises that involve change and advancement.

But time has never been more irrelevant in the sense that everything is at our disposal now. Everything’s within our reach to the extent that we are able to recreate the same day twice in a row. We are able to live the same life for an entire week. There is no more mystery, there is nothing more worth going after.

Why were things like this? Why was it that the garbage man and the businessman both had to work, yet only one of them was respected? I watched him pick up other people’s garbage with his head held high. This was a man who was proud to work, proud of his work. His face showed no shame, only perhaps the slight dissatisfaction of not being able to work twice as hard to earn twice the measly bucks he collected.

And I watched the other, the corporate man, sitting with both legs on the desk in front of him, air conditioning and all, setting up meetings, complaining about his coffee, his employees, the market, saying he is never appreciated enough. These are prime examples of the best and worst of both worlds, the best being the lowly man who can come out of the underworld bearing his working kit on his back, the worst being the man coming from luxury and money yet simply taking it all in and doing nothing about it to improve himself.

I was caught between them, I wore their faces everyday, and their struggles meant mine. The fine line between their parallel worlds – slowly walking together without ever touching – was like little cracks in my words, fissures in my writing. The only way to fully understand them was by being a good poet, but hell, I was a mediocre one at best.