The Culling

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I skinned off your hide

And tossed away the entrails

After which I drained the blood

And all the stains the leftover entails.

*

You, living art, like a sanitized indemnity

By the making of my own verity;

I pick what I love, discard the rest —

What I pack onto myself, my soul won’t attest.

*

The language that you speak,

Your beady gaze so bleak;

The clothes that you wear,

A spiffy countenance so dear.

*

Hair that hides your horrors,

Your jawline quite intent;

I lie to myself to myself to endlessly

I wonder, then, to what extent?

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A Different Type of Jubilee

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Moments that meant something

Even when I thought they didn’t — then.

A practice in mindfulness never endeavored,

Only memories as evidenced by my trusty pen.

And I know limerence flitted somewhere in my mind

So painful but oh look, how I’ll respond in kind!

***

I lunged through early morning shadow woods

High on life, or as the hicks say, “tripping on acid.”

And that’s with nary a wink or shuteye or sleep

My revolutionary ideas — none too placid.

A scheme! A scheme! On how to confess a lover

‘Tis my breadth of life, ’tis my ultimate fodder.

***

And when I bantered with my friend into the night

The cards and psychedelic music meant — game on!

And sometimes in my absurdist state

I’d stare at her ceiling and catch whereupon,

A whiff of the air that for once isn’t home

But in someone else’s where my soul will roam.

***

So, right…that staring contest with the ceiling?

I did that too, in days lovelorn’d.

Till I remembered there existed a world outside me

While I lie and lay, sat and scorned.

All these unprecedented jubilees — what is the scope of their power?

But they’re all I have, and they I revisit in my darkest hour.

Live a little, lie a lot

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I prefer reminiscing the peak of dawn,

the scene of myself lying all limp and lanky

after all my energy I transferred

into your lips.

Spent. Unlike the superficial beauty

that I keep alive in my perfume bottle and complexion

to seduce my equally dashing counterpart.

***

Body of a man.

Face of a woman.

***

Him? Her? My understanding is blurred

while I’m still drunk on life and nihlism.

I like your big hands, though,

a cheap mimicry of the real package.

Old wisdom told me that

ya ain’t good for me, bubs-!

ever since I dubbed you the ultimate

Generator of Dreams.

But what happens when dreams become a reality?

***

“Stay,” I sobbed into an imaginary breastcoat

after you smothered me so hard my head swam

in a narcotic pool of my own making.

“Exist. Even if just.

Else I’ll wither.

Lie to me so hard you fail me

gracefully.”

***

Live a little,

Lie a lot.

There’s Something Important I Need to Tell You

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Jump-wings, jump, jump-wings, jump…

In tap dancing lexicon, this move is called wings. I was successful in getting a murky tap sound maybe 70% of the time, and that was only when I spread out my jumps in between the wings.

But I’ll just put it shortly — it took me months to even get to a stage where I could do it 90% of the time and without spreading them out with jumps.

And then today, something clicked.

My warm-up jumps were smooth sailing, and my feet muscles could hold me up better than usual, thanks to the 3+ miles that I hiked the day before yesterday. With a spur of energy, I jumped and then pulled back — the sound was crystal clear. I jumped again — same sound. I still can’t explain how that happened. I didn’t know. But my feet did.

I did it again and again and again, and eventually I didn’t even to insert extra jumps between my wings for a proper liftoff.

Taking a breath for a moment, I wandered off the practice floor and out onto the deck, wondering, Yo. You promised yourself you’d be beyond elated once you got the moves down. Why aren’t you feeling more celebratory?

Yes. That’s the question I ask myself every time I accomplish something difficult.

Take finishing each end of the semester, for instance. Last semester was difficult. And by the time I finally, finally, finally finished, then what? Relief? Not even. Mostly panic attacks and last-minutes worries of having forgot to submit something online. In fact, I recall it was during junior year in high school that I had soul-crushing panic attacks for two weeks straight. I could barely even sleep, and that made everything worse.

Same with languages. At the beginning of each of my languages journeys, I imagined I’d find the exact day I’d master a language, and then when I come to the realization that I’ve learned something, I can celebrate and take a vacation from learning and drink Midori or whatever the hell is left over in our wine drawer at the moment.

Not true.

In reality, by the time I accomplish something, I crave even more perfection in my craft or project. I think it was Stephen King who once said that he never considered his books truly done. He can revise them forever and forever and ….

I feel ya, my dude.

So why don’t we feel satisfied whenever we accomplish something that way we imagine we would at the beginning?

Because accomplishment isn’t a finish line but a process. Accomplishment is an infinite extension of our processes. And accomplishment is also relative. If you’re like me (or Stephen King), you are inclined to hone and perfect your tasks indefinitely. Granted, there is supposed to be a stopping point, but my mindset was never “is it good yet?” but “how can I make it better?”

I will have ingrained so much information in my head that by the time I’m using it, the accomplishment isn’t a big deal any longer.

So if you’re experience this phenomena as well, don’t settle for “accomplishments.” Instead, gage for satisfaction as you learn on a continuum.

Oh, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reward yourself once you’ve mastered something big. Next time I need to let someone know how far I’ve made it in tap, one word will let them know.

Wings.

Cross Country Season

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The sun shrugged its temperamental rays

onto dancing dandelions — if I remember.

Weeks of cramps finally swelled high in my lungs

As I jogged alongside the turf,

miles behind the real victors of the season.

Heave-ho.

Heave-ho.

I was in a mood today.

A corny song of childish love rattled in my head

to the rhythms of the swaying inhabitants

dotting the side of the highway.

“Alyssa, mon ami…

Alyssa, mon cheri…”

A guitar, freshly plucked, backs the ambience

from the likes of my therapist’s office

and warns me about the gentle drop of leaves

well into Californian winters.

God knows, our former running aficianado needed it more

because this year, she was no longer with us.

I think I saw her crying about it last summer,

o road of the autumnite marathon mock-ups.

Whom else am I wought to share my memories with

except with ghosts of my idyllic past

lounging around somewhere in the local playground?

…and so, the streth stretched out into a hill

down which I tripped, traipsed and skipped

so I could tell the team and the day: I tried.

Shin splints are retractable, but

who will help me replace the stone

in my heart, sown of autumn semblances

on a familiarly new road that

begged for new memories to bloom

and mutual friends to rein it in?

I was in a mood today.

An Onlooker Speaks

I’m procrastinating.

***

Good god,

it’s that couple again.

I don’t want to date you, but

I can’t stop the tug of despondence

despite every reason I have to celebrate.

*

You know,

the first time I bumped into you

I was so enwrapped in what could be

that I forgot to even realize

that your mere existentialism

is so beautiful to me, and me alone.

Changeling

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I glided across the sidewalk in chiseled harmony

And a rhapsody above me played

A restless song of strings and scherzoes

Until classtime brought to a halt my private parade.

*

Weather warps are rapid, here in Pleasantville —

A sauna day outside from fair-winter fans

Indeed, to blast me some of its coolness

As false relief trickles through my veins.

*

Teacher can tell me all that fell on naught

That eventually, one day, I’ll come to rue;

But for now I’ll the harvest this season’s limelight

Featuring perfectly, fearfully, made-fully…you.

Time to Dream Again

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I like visiting my friends’ houses. In fact, I always liked visiting houses, any kind of houses. Homely, lively houses scented with human warmth. Maybe because it’s easier to pretend that I’m anticipating my crush, muse, or imaginary soulmate behind the walls. The indoors smell more distinct in the winter and it gives my imagination some leverage.

Or maybe I’m just projecting the smell of the eucalyptus wood from the living room into other people’s residence.

It’s that time of the year…