Swanee’s 57th birthday and his bloody cheek

Last night I was standing outside Reposado’s and a man named Swanee came over to me and my friend with a bloodied face. He said it was his birthday today, he had turned 57 and he had gotten into a little fight in which another man hit him with a rock. His face was swollen with a sharp puncture wound from the edge of the rock. There were stains of blood and a raw spot where he had been hit, on the cheekbone. He asked me if it looked really bad, dabbing the drying blood away over and over again. I told him that it had stopped bleeding and it didn’t look so bad, but that he should clean it up with some rubbing alcohol as soon as possible. He shook my hand. I felt really sad. He told me that he was part native Indian. I told him nice jacket, and that he looked good. His brother Rick came and handed over a pair of glasses that he had been wiping clean, which Swanee put on after checking to see if they were broken, with a sombre and upset face. They seemed fine. Swanee borrowed light from us for his brother, and after recounting the episode on the bench in front of the bar while Rick smoked, they walked away. The way they quickly drew away into the dark and how profoundly sad I felt surprised me. I don’t know why. The night was chilly, and I was upset for a very long time.

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life like water like wind like the air

i do what i like.
i just do what i like.
that’s my life motto.
i
do
what i like.
it’s harder to do than one would assume…
it’s like performing playing…
can so easily screw up the channel
the natural forces. if i REALLY just did what i liked
i know that i would be perfect
my life would be perfect for me
alive in each moment.
that’s all.

but let there be spaces in your togetherness

But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver together with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran, pp. 15-16

just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones

(reblogged from http://theinfiniteconversation.tumblr.com/)

Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.

And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.

And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.

– Haruki Murakami

Kafka on the Shore ~ (Trans. Philip Gabriel) ~ NY : Vintage, 2006 / pgs 5-6

I miss Mr. Davidson.

somersault

Listen

You’re the prince to my ballerina
You feed other people’s parking meters
You encourage the eating of ice cream
You would somersault in sand with me

You talk to loners, you ask how’s your week
You give love to all and give love to me
You’re obsessed with hiding the sticks and stones
When I fear the unknown
You feel like home, you feel like home

You put my feet back on the ground
Did you know you brought me around
You were sweet, and you were sound
You saved me

You’re the warmth in my summer breeze
You’re the ivory to my ebony keys
You would share your last jelly bean
You would somersault in sand with me

You put my feet back on the ground
Did you know you brought me around
You were sweet and you were sound
You saved me

You put my feet back on the ground
Did you know you brought me around
You were sweet and you were sound
See I had shrunk yet still you wore me around
And ’round and ’round

innocence speaking

A short off-the-cuff for you before embarking on my paper.

I look at my friends taking jobs and starting on careers — knowing them personally, their professional outfit/garment/what seems foreign and even surprising in many cases.  If I ask them about their work, the way they describe makes it seem even more distant from what I know of them, their persons.  It is a kind of disconnect.  I suppose when someone who has known me through my youth would think the same thing when they hear about me in law school and working law jobs.

Trying to get a job never struck me as anything that may deviate from what you already know and do while I was in music, since in music one’s areer is a natural extension of one’s chosen training–in addition to the fact that something like music is a (total) expression/actualization of one’s self.  For many people, though, now I see as I am doing the same thing, finding a job is, well, finding a job.  Of course if one is lucky enough, one can find a job in an area of personal interest.  More often than not, however, it is an opportunity one finds and clings to as a means of financial sustenance.  [It is ironic that this generation has grown up being taught it had so many choices and the skies were the limits, yet the reality leaves little room for the flourishing of choice.  Truth is, it isn’t all that different.  Maybe the fact that the norm is post-secondary education and building a family becomes a delayed responsibility, but with so much debt in student loans it is probably about the same if not worse, the financial pressure.]

Sometimes, in some fortunate scenarios, one can grow to love one’s work, but a lot of the times people start identifying with what they do in a disconnected yet inevitably integrated way — their work, workplace, career, becomes integrated into their identity.  They may not absolutely love what they do, but it becomes an important part of who they are because frankly, there isn’t much time or space for them to have explored or expressed their (true, inner ) identity outside of their work.

When I see the friends of mine taking a job and embarking on a career–and this will be me soon–they seem glad to have  a means to pay the bills, sometimes an excellent means.  They also seem excited about where that might lead, the career, even if it isn’t all engaging or related to what they are as persons/related only to a very little part of who they are.  It’s like a stepping into an unknown white building with trepidation, excitement, and relief at having some place to enter, but with mystery hanging over them: whether they would get stuck, realizing what they had stepped into isn’t at all what they imagined their life or career would be like–then getting too comfortable with their habitualized work, which takes over the sense of who they are, despite a certain wide-eyed resolution to keep the two separate, and to step outside of that building years later, having lost the traces of brilliant youth that once existed, changed beyond recognition, resigned, though perhaps happily so.

That is what happens in life, I see, and for the generations and generations before this life has been the same.  Youthful innocence, adult responsibility, happy moderate resignation.  My complaint is the disconnect between the ideals we are fed, and the short window of time in which that switch to reality has to occur.  I suppose we are all quite resilient, but amidst the pressure from the idealist expectations of both us, our parents, and “society”, it is yet another variable in the stressful modern formula of success.  When the ideals of choice, limitless opportunities, and choice weren’t even there or so prevalent, it was ok to figure life out — but now, in addition to the unchanged financial pressure, we deal with ideological pressure of what we could be and should have been by now,* at the same time coping with the betrayal of those ideals in the face of reality.  The miseries of life doing us in, or just plain growing-up catching up with you much faster than you ever thought.

* The rest of my original post from “should have been by now onwards” is now gone for mysterious reasons.  I think I liked how I ended it originally, but I honestly can’t remember — it was a wrapping-up gesture but I liked it!!!!!!! God. So frustrating. Auto-save contained nothing useful.  I am almost thinking that just before I published this, I accidentally deleted the last part of this post.  Oh well — whatever.

impulses captured, idle preoccupation, or the life itself

Sunday, 30 December 2007 at 00:49

The cat wants to come into the room.
I am sort of cold. This room is a bit chilly right now.

It is what you choose not to say.

Blink was an okay book. With very interesting insights. Whatever lifts you out of an ordinary perspective is worth the while. In fact the book may even have been quite good. It definitely read faster than anything I have read in the last long while. Damned law books. Law reports aren’t written by The New Yorker staff writers, that is for sure.

@#$@#%#$.

If the elimination of a sensory organ leads to more acute sensing through other organs, would the opposite hold true? This would be opposite in the inversed sense. Does over-development of one type of expressive means in a person diminish at all his ability to express through other means? Maybe Malcolm Gladwell can write his third hit book about that.

How often do you actually know what you are saying? Often times I feel that this is only possible with the most factual of statements / observations, or about certain states of your own mind or emotions or certain traits of yourself – but of course, even that with the awareness of the approximate and temporaneous nature of such things.

F. I lost track of what I was going to say. This happens when you get caught up in the execution or preoccupied with a less important part of a thought. Attempts at precise execution and clarifying the thought are important, sometimes even to the extent of fleshing out the thought itself. But It is a shame that thought cannot be more completely formed at the desired moment of execution. We can’t all be Wolfgang of words, I suppose. For the mere mortals who lack the intensity of thought and the capacity for unrelenting pursuit of an idea, thought is largely casual and the expression muddy. Ah, just like that.

It’s amazing how so much attention, thought, and energy must be poured into the capturing of a fleeting moment of euphoria, beauty, depression, doom – an immediate essence of things, scenes and people that is felt and processed in a “blink” of an eye.

One note of unfettered beauty and poise requires years of discipline and an obsessive pursuit of ideals. And when it is done, what is left – nothing that you can see or hold onto. And sometimes this very futility, or, more precisely, the evanescence of beauty itself is felt and described as a kind of beauty.


L’âme évaporée

L’âme évaporée et souffrante,
L’âme douce, l’âme odorante
Des lis divins que j’ai cueillis
Dans le jardin de ta pensée,
Où donc les vents l’ont-ils chassée,
Cette âme adorable des lis?
N’est-il plus un parfum qui reste
De la suavité céleste
Des jours ou tu m’enveloppais
D’une vapeur surnaturelle,
Faite d’espoir, d’amour fidèle,
De béatitude et de paix?

(I am not so cold any more. [It has served its purpose. In other words, I am slightly depressed. Idly depressed. (Was even more so, but made to feel better after the above.) I seek consolation and comfort in music like the second movement of Ravel Piano Concerto in G at moments like this. I drug myself to ease whatever needs to be eased with music like this, and appreciate even more the beauty held by the Impressionists. I don’t usually know why I feel this way when I feel this way. I look at it as an impulse to be artistic, to be immersed and isolated in some concentrated pursuit of artistic stimuli, getting lost for the sake of getting lost… like that walk I took in that random neighbourhood around school in Boston, on a rainy, foggy fall afternoon. I love getting lost in those moments, moments of wonderment and the prepared openness for those wonderments. The world comes alive then, each of its parts breathing and squirming and glowing and gazing back. Asie.])