Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Platform Terminal

(image credit here)

As published in The Chronicle A.Y.2013-2014

Train stations and delays, flights and arrivals and departures. You were always the question mark in my carefully mapped out plan, the only wrinkle in my path to tomorrow.

You were that question I can never answer.

I know the basics, like how you came into my life (it was college, everything is scary, and you were the first friend in the sea of faces and strangers and sky-high expectations), but I don't know how you made yourself so important. Nothing was ever permanent, but you made me feel that you are. Through deadlines and stress and all the unhealthy habits, you were always beside me, or else in the background but still a significant presence.

You were there. You were always there. You were the only definite spot in the map, the only landmark of my failed romantic ventures. You were the last saving point in a game, always there to urge me forward and try again.

I never realized when you turned from the saving point to the goal.

You were the princess to be saved in the tower. The final stage, however, was also you.

Despite your permanence in me, you were never one to be still. You were the dictionary definition of action. Movement became you, and life happened with your step and smile and snap of your fingertips. And despite my geeky, video-game analogy, you were never the one to wait for a savior. You were the type of princess who owned the castle and made friends with the dragons and trolls that guard it.

You never waited.

You said so yourself, until I met you. You said the last four words lightly, but I heard the weight of the words.

I was your anchor, and you were scared of that. Anchors kept ships at ports, and you only saw ports as changing points for the next adventure. But ports were also safe places, for repairs and refreshments and getting to know what it means to have stability.

I was an anchor. You were the princess in the tower.

Maybe we were waiting for each other. For the ship to set sail, for its final passenger. Maybe, just maybe, this was why we waited.

The train is slowing to a stop, the final boarding call is being sounded out. There were places we need to go. It was time we stopped meeting them alone. There were crossroads to be taken both ways, with held hands in both directions. There were paths that needed wrinkles for people to try and iron them out, questions that needed to stay unanswered until that right one comes along and the right person answers.

Coming along, then?

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Touch Language

(image credit here)

I never understood
what it meant
to be this close
to another human being
Before this,
before us,
I only read
of fairy tale beginnings
and beautiful endings
I have yet to learn
the secrets of
the language of skin to skin
Of the creases and calluses
of hesitant hellos
and fingerprint friendships

I don't know
what became
our beginning of everything
but I know it included
singing in the rain
without an umbrella
and twenty-inch pizzas
Doodles behind notebooks
and guitar chords
Swept up hair
and drunken
must-be confessions
and maybe a sliver of
confusion(?) and denial(?)
we became

This bundle of blushing
bumbling idiots
With a million undiscovered nerve endings
on every inch of skin
from the shoulders when we leant into each other
to our fingers
as we held on and wondered
how deliciously different
this feels
whatever it is

was our loudest answer
for we are born
in the quiet of each other
amidst the noise
of a thousand people
bustling with their own brands
of hellos and goodbyes
while here we stand
meeting each other

Hand to hand
finger splayed against finger
palms together
with signals from every known nerve ending



(image credit here)

What drove people
to create things?
Monuments and destruction
were the endings
of all the wars
that ever were.
So what was the point
of all the music and
the movies and the
paintings, all the art and
dance and bombs and
explosions and births
and orgasms?

Why does longing
for the warmth of human flesh
struggle to find descriptions
that raises the blush in your cheeks
and memories that should be kept
in heart and not grey matter?

Do we long for perfect
first kiss stories
to hide the ugly truth
of why the world
is falling apart
in its seams?

Or weep over
the things we cannot control
to show that we
are truly grateful
of all the things
we take

So why does it seem
that for every wrong
there are
a multitude of rights
to make you feel guilty
of what you can have?

Why do we seek
to find
all that is
and take a picture?

Are we that afraid
of wiping out
our own species
so we are now
all desperate
to leave our mark in the world?

Every polluted molecule
every sullied part of nature
we are there
every birth
and every death
we are there

Of the things we deem ordinary
and the things we may not understand
our existence
is woven into every droplet
of rain
and paint
and tear
and alcohol
that ever existed

We are there

Every grain of rice
of sand
of wheat
Every leaf
of tea bushes
and marijuana

We are there

In the midst of creation
there will always be
the destruction
and decomposition
of what we know
as "the self"

For what is the self
but beliefs
and memories
and feelings
coming together
to form
and everyone else

So why do we have
to make sure
that someone
would remember us?

Is this struggle
made for the comfort
of those we leave behind?
To have a final say
in how we want
to be remembered?

Or do we create
for the sake of creation
to fill the urge
of emptiness
seeking for
pretend completion?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


(image credit here)

Our love is spelled out on the cracks in the pavements
and the dirt caked into your fingernails and your once fair skin
now illuminated by neon-light signboards and faint lighter glows
and the cigarette fires screened by the hazy clouds of smoke
pumped out by blackened lungs and nicotine-stained gums
and curling into spirals around your fingers laden with cheap imitation rings
to hide the patch of whiter skin on the fourth finger of your left hand
like a scar, now clutching a fistful of empty, polluted air
as everyone else goes home to their partners or families or
imaginary happy relationships or procrastinated papers
and you order another drink, a tall glass of your own
choice of poison and watch the stream of people reduce
to a trickle, looking around hopefully for another soul as lonely as yours
But like as many nights, you fail yet again
with nobody but the bartender to bother
Who every night wears invisible headphones of indifference
and slaps on a fake smile of concern
for vagrant misfits that assault him, not with broken bottles and glasses
and spilled alcohol, but with the deepest pits of human consciousness
awakened by spirits and the hidden need to be heard and understood
And you, the you I now barely recognize, were the bar's regular,
the girl with the reserved bar stool of sorrow and shame
Drowning your tears in liquid numbness, the alcohol dulling the pain
of unreturnable yesterdays, regretful todays, and lost tomorrows
As you retell the story of the day you never wanted to remember
you look up and around and realize you were alone, more than ever
The bartender was clearing your glass, wiping the tears and drool
you left on the table, and tell you, not too unkindly, that it was closing time
And you reach for your wallet, groping at crumpled bills
and finding the last love note I wrote you
before stumbling out of the bar and the bartender lets slip 
the fake understanding to give way to real sympathy
And you stumble out of the cab that takes you home,
kick off your shoes, and fall face first onto the bed
You let the sobs begin, shaking your whole body
from every tangled hair on your beautiful head, to the toes that curl up involuntarily
against the raw truth of it all, all that has happened and all you have refused to accept
As you fall asleep again this way, your body is a lonely apostrophe
in a bed that was too big when you shared it with someone before
I long to wipe away the tears still falling from your closed eyes
from the happy dreams you are having
of the two of us together


But I could only make the breeze blow softer on your face
Jealous that it could touch your skin, ruffle your hair the color of baby corn
in the first hours of the morning, while I sit here
Denser than air but less solid than water
Cradling your head in my arms
Holding you, but not holding you
Always in the void, the in-between
Of nothingness, and almost-somethingness

Our love is spelled out on the cracks on the pavement
Broken, unfinished roads to once familiar
now unknown destinations
Of what was once whole and known
into fragments of what we've built

Our love was spelled out on the cracks on the pavement
was my last conscious thought
as my life's essence flows away
Filling in the cracks in the concrete
but cutting unhealing wounds
into your heart
and mine

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


(image credit here)

You stood there
head bowed
back straight
pink-tinted cheeks

You held the gaze
of every heart
Everyone envied
the wall that was your friend

Everyone wanted
to be that one guy
that would raise your head
and make you smile

But you were busy looking
For patterns in the dust
Too scared to see constellations
In somebody else’s eyes

You were so busy
Making yourself small

But you were everything but
Unnoticed and invisible

I wish I could tell you
All the things I’ve said
But this whole conversation
Was all in my head

For I was leaning
Against the opposite wall
Nursing a drink to my chest
And wishing I wasn’t so tall

I wish I could tell you
How pretty you look
Or how the lights made your freckles
And your dress light up the room

Or how the sweep of your eyelashes
Against your cheeks
Made me want to be brave
And make small talk

Everyone wanted to hear
How the wallflower speaks
Was it a whisper to the heart
Or a shout to the universe?

But you are a wallflower
And I’m more of a weed
But the walls are our anchors
Our ports, our barriers

The room was too big
To be too close to you
The room was too small
To be right next to you

I thank time and space
For bringing us here
Awkward but not cold
Quiet but not alone

But the universe can
Only push me so much
I am too attached
To my wall and familiarity

So when I saw you
That night at that party
Both of us not knowing
Why we were there

I can only look
Stop, and then stare

Too scared to try and ruin
What I built in my head
Imaginary happiness is best
Without the emotional baggage

For you are a wallflower
Beautiful, but not fleeting
And I was once
a non-believer

But the chance I got
To see your smiles
Across the room
Made me think

That you were a flower
With you own sun
And your existence was
What blooming really is

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

(Not) A Special Snowflake

(image credit here)

You never were a special snowflake. Special, yes, but your smiles are too warm and your hugs too comforting for you to be likened to the snow. You are more like a breath of fresh air, gently caressing my face with your little laughs and our inside jokes. Never cold but for when you are not around, you are the sun that makes my morning.

Cold was when you turned away. Cold began when you stopped smiling. Frozen was when my heart ran out of its supply of your sleepy face when you just woke up and the voice that cracked when you sing songs that were too high. Frozen was when I ran out of my supply of your smirks and witty comebacks.

Frozen is what I am now.

I can't pretend to not know what happened.

There was enough evidence in the news and the papers.

I wish I could just go back to the sunshine and the warmth. But you were gone, and enjoying it without you seemed like such an insult to you, who taught me how to enjoy it.

At the very end, you snatched away the warmth you gave me in the first place.

In the end you really were a special snowflake. You were special, and you were cold at the very end. You melted away with the sun, and froze with the warmth of a thousand unhappening tomorrows.