± H13.com - Archives - May 2004
may 2004

Clouds5:17am monday, 31st may
These clouds of unknowing, my luxurious ignorance:
in cold blue skies, the castles I have built pretend at gravity.
I try and catch myself as I drift by, missing what I mean...

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Nightmares10:34am saturday, 29th may
The nightmares that I find most distressing are usually not so spectacular in nature. They usually don't involve falling from great heights, or explosions, or wild animals, or serial killers. Nothing of the sort. I think I have never feared such things to any great degree, not really as deep as to have them emerge in the form of dreams. Instead, it is the dreams where I am given some task and I fail (or begin to fail) at it that most disconcert me. For this type of sensation, that of failure, I have had intimate relations with. Several times, especially before returning to college for the last year and a half, after my five-year-long break, I had dreams that I was taking some classes, and found myself forgetting to do the work for one or more of them, forgetting that I had had those classes at all. Then I have woken up, relieved that it wasn't real. I have even had this dream long after successfully graduating: this paradigm is situated that deep.

Just recently, I had a dream where I was given a list of tasks to do, and then, and I'm not sure how it happened, I was given an account of them, that I had been at a lapse in all that I was to have done. When I awoke, I remember being not so relieved at all, for I truly had been at a loss at all these tasks — for all of them turned out to be impossible — and there was no comfort to be had except that I forget it all. I did find this dream a little strange, as since my conversion in 1998, I have not failed at any sort of employment I have been involved with. But the creep of my past — perhaps there is no escape from some of my sins. In dreams, I have died, but death will come to us all, and it is of no shame that we succumb to it. I could not bear, though, to have been given life, and given all the chances to make of it something, not to have done anything. That is fear. To have sat through life, as life slipped by, letting all our fire blink out.

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Sense7:44am friday, 28th may
I dunno. There come times when I look around, and everything around me, all the elements of my life — it all makes sense to me, each thing in its way. Not like I think of every little thing, and see it in perspective against all the other things, but there is that overall sweep of meaning that washes over me: that all is somehow right in my corner of the world, that life is really worth it.... And then that little feeling comes creeping along, and I wonder if I'm missing something. That within this armor of contentment there is some little chink I am not aware of, some refutation to all the reasons why. As if there is something that is fundamentally wrong with me, and always has been — that my true purpose is to suffer.... It is perhaps, though, that both visions are flawed. Maybe not all of it really does make sense, that I am overgeneralizing a momentary contentment. But maybe these lapses are not so fatal, not so critical. Maybe it makes sense enough, that I may be happy enough, and life goes on. I dunno.
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Meager Inspirations7:35am thursday, 27th may
There are no words the angel told me to write.
What I write is my own.
There are no dreams destiny fed me.
What I imagine is not so mysterious.
There are no wonders that have ever come from my fingertips.
What magic I have ever seen has come from above.
And yet, always has hope been in my heart.
There are to be none who will write of me,
or sing songs to my name,
there are to be none who will think of me
that I was great in my time,
but that does not cease my weaving my meager inspirations
into these patchwork technicolors;
none but death shall stop my good writing hand.
Suffice it for the moment
that I have found these few aluminum words;
suffice it for the hour
that this poem completes its own course;
suffice it for the day
I have done with the sunlight a little of its justice done on me;
tonight may I sleep well with what today I have made.
This world, I think, remembers
few of who are worthy of remembering.
I imagine how many have come and gone
profitable of the seasons given them.
I dream of words no one ever wrote down
that forked lightning in their time.
And magic? That we are given the chance: such a wonder.

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Wordcount7:00am tuesday, 25th may
How many words does it take to describe something? I imagine that if two people were at the same place at the same time when some amazing thing happened to them both, it might only take one word to capture the whole essence of the thing. If one friend, for instance, were to say to another, "Milan!", perhaps that would be all that would be necessary to convey the entire spirit of the whole enterprise that were involved. Then, on the flipside, there is that age-old question of how to explain the concept of color to a blind man. I dunno. I have something of a heightened faith in words; I think one might be able to do it. But this may be the classic example of where one could write tome after tome, and never get your point across: this is red, this is green, this is blue. Or perhaps words might, here, be the wrong tools to use to crack such a nut.

I recall one sensation back a few years back, reading Crime and Punishment, where Dostoevsky wrote about Raskolnikov being read scripture by Sonia. I remember, still, the effect it had on me, how quiet the world became when I read those words, a solemn epiphany. It didn't take that many pages, that scene, but if you were to ask me how many words it actually took to describe that moment, I would have told you, "a couple of hundred pages worth." There was no way I would have felt what I felt without the whole context, Raskolnikov's murdering those women, his fever, his wanderings; Sonia's history, how she became a prostitute. It was like he got into my head, and he knew to press there would send me flying. I wonder what it would be like if we all could get in each other's heads. How few the words we would need to convey the heights and depths of each other's souls. Maybe just one. Imagine.

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Heaven/Hell Inside6:07am monday, 24th may
There is Heaven and Hell within me; I have seen them; I have been there. There are states of mind I have entered where I could do no wrong, where every touch was inspiration, where all was right and good with the world, for even all its many faults. Then there were hours where in sudden fear, my world collapsed in on itself, and I was left with a ruin of a consciousness — when all futures lead only to death, and pain was my only reward. As I am still alive, I cannot truly say from this perspective of neutrality that I prefer one to the other state of being. True, being in a Heaven state is more pleasing, but I know that suffering (for my part) has done me much good, and I wish, too, not to get too spoiled by bliss. The one thing, perhaps, that I have learned is never to expect either state to last for any length of time — to breathe of Heaven's air while I can still smell it, and that I will live past any hellish suffering. Sometimes we forget that things in this world do not last, none of them. Where Heaven and Hell are only words, the meanings which only hint at eternity.
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Are10:37am saturday, 22nd may
Time is never an enemy, though it will kill us all.
Some things merely are as they are — do not blame the sky for its rain.
We are not such: our being, instead, is constant becoming.

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Justice?9:11am friday, 21st may
I have read the words before, but to actually feel it: what would it be like to hunger for justice? I don't think I can quite comprehend it, never having really been wronged by anyone in my life, nor knowing of anyone who was truly a victim of malice. What would it be like to feel it pathologically, I wonder, to be a Batman-like character who craves to make things right, even if he has to break a few bones to do so? Could it be an addiction, like a compulsion to clean? Addiction I understand, but with me, some substance has to be involved for me to be able to wrap my mind around it. And mostly, too, I think I comprehend more of wanting what is wrong with a far more clarity than to desire something that angels do — does even the superego crave things? It may be that I don't know what I'm asking.

For my part, I have realized (some time ago), that I am no hero, but I do think that perhaps there is a little hero in all of us. It's probable that I'm thinking too big when I ask my question; I have a tendency for that, if you haven't noticed. And it may be that even those truly known as heroes start small: picking up dropped handkerchiefs, helping little old ladies across the street, giving your spare change to the homeless. Perhaps to hunger for justice begins with that kid whose ice cream cone got knocked down by a passing bike messenger? So you buy him a new one. It may just be that the one thing being a hero doesn't start with is just sitting there and letting the pieces fall where they may. Nothing ever heroic about that.

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This of Motion7:53am thursday, 20th may
I am thankful for the breeze that blows. That is what I want to say to the Reaper, I think, when he comes for my soul. It is a simple truth, not some wind of change am I indebted to, but a simple movement of air, whose stroke upon my face gives me a slight comfort. But if I were to hold my composure, to remember such a phrase upon the hour of my reckoning — perhaps Death will think twice of me, that this is a man who has heard the tune of mystery before, and can hum a bar or two himself.... I know not what lies for me past the nil point of being, but as I can, to my last, I desire that I craft some design from the spinnerets of life — one that is worthy of That which made me. With every erg that is granted me so that I may of motion, let me not casually let them drift past all the chances that come only once. Let me end, if not with a spectacular crash, with the note of a song that haunts the memory like a lost love, far away.
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Conjunction7:00am tuesday, 18th may
I have had troubled dreams,
feverish midnights,
howling visions with no reason,
the smells of apocalypse:
I dream of ruins
in a world that never was,
I dream of fire
swallowing whole cities in its flames:
as if I have lived another life,
in my dreams, where I go
wearing an alternate me,
and somewhere
my two existences
begin to occupy the same space
simultaneously — and
the person who is being created
in these invisible forges
is neither me nor anyone,
a one wholly new,
who will have memories
that were never his, of both this world
and the world out of my touch.
And so, if you see me
sometime when I seem...
not quite myself...
introduce yourself to that person,
because he will know you,
but he will not understand
that he is not
a survivor past the end of the world,
and you are not
an angel of the former world,
trying to call him back home.

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A Day in the Life6:19am monday, 17th may
I woke up this morning in such a funk. I mean, I just felt not right, not right at all. It's not that often that it's as bad as this morning, but this sensation was not out of the question for my psychic makeup. In my manic depression (yes, I know that you kids call it "bipolar" these days, but when I was diagnosed — way before I was known to have schizophrenia — they called it manic depression), this was definitely the depressive part of the cycle. I felt like crap. When one is depressed, one is low on seratonin, the "feel good" chemical in the human nervous system, and I could sense that something like this was going on, having had so much past experience in experimenting with my body chemistry. I fell back on what I could; not on psychological gibber-jabber, which is what you might think would be logical, but to ride it out like one does a bad acid trip. That, I remembered how to do. Get yourself busy in something, don't think about thinking, and hold on — let time bring you down.

It's funny. When I'm manic, I do something similar: I treat it like a high. Ride it for what it's worth, not taking things too seriously, and just try not to do anything stupid. Interesting that the habits are that deep grained into me, the metaphor of drugs. But anyway, this morning, as I was teaching my second class (I teach English here in Seoul, remember), I started to feel better. It was definitely good being around people, being active, not sitting alone somewhere huddled in a corner feeling miserable. This made me think of how much psychology does really affect us, how even these serious chemical imbalances we go through can have purely mental cures. But I think it must be hard, when you're playing by those rules. This morning, I put my condition in terms that I know how to deal with, and I got lucky, I think. I feel sorry for those people whose job it is to find such metaphors for other people, whose skins they are not in, hoping that they hit on the right thing: like cracking a safe with mittens on.

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Childhood, Now9:08am saturday, 15th may
When I was a child, I remember looking up at all the big adults. I remember looking around this great big world; I remember the huge stairs leading upstairs and the huge roads that I needed to hold hands with someone to cross. I dunno. Now that I am grown (physically if not completely mentally), I feel a little cheated. I thought I'd be taller, for one. Yes, this world is still pretty big, but not in the way I thought it would be. Those stairs aren't so formidable anymore, those roads are actually pretty small. And now that I can buy all those cool toys that I wanted back then, I look at them and wonder how on earth I could ever have been entertained by such simple things. Little lights flashing, some plastic molding, a few moving parts: that used to fascinate me? No, it's not like I want to be a child again. It's just that I wish it could be a little more fun, sometimes, that it would be adventures like I thought I'd have.
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The Art of Day6:41am friday, 14th may
I walked outside today into a rainfall made of ink.
The clouds had been drawn in hurriedly, like the horizon had shrugged.
No one erases — this is just yesterday painted over.

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Cogito8:47am thursday, 13th may
I cannot live my life as if I will one day turn a corner and find myself out of my mind. I cannot live in fear of it, for to do that would be to succumb to it — I must trust that I am okay. I know the danger is there, as I have fallen before, but when I look back on those times, I understand that the circumstances were rather extraordinary. I did not go psychotic my times that I did without extreme stress to my psyche, mostly in the form of drugs being taken. If I stay this course of a normal, functional, decent, productive life, it is a process that autocatalyzes: being good helps me to be good. My past madness need not be something that looms always over my head, that there be no escape from, something that I must always wonder if some word will trip me over the edge. I feel that I am a little bit stronger each day, balanced of sanity, far from the ledge.

I know what I once was. I will recollect at times those periods where I was far from this waking world, but I know it is merely to sift through ancient history, at the bones and artifacts of the past. I do not think that that makes me any less credible, that I detach myself from that which I was — I think I must, or else, after all, be caught up in the maelstrom, leaving logic strewn in my wake, to comprehend only my inner demons. I must wonder, too, how much of it I truly understand, how much of it I will never really know what it meant, if it meant anything at all. Some of it is still confusing, if I think back on it, still out of order in my memories. But all of us have that, don't we? Things in our past that we don't understand why or what? I'm guessing that mine were just a little wilder, walking in lands not all of us go, places some never come back from.

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Stray Thoughts7:07am tuesday, 11th may
There is such silence, there is such noise. Such darkness and such light. I have gone far in this life, sometimes I think, and then I look at some others who have truly traveled and wonder why I never went anywhere. It's all about contrast. I read somewhere that to get a true sense of humility, do not crouch down low to the ground and make of yourself a weakling. Instead, stretch up as tall and as mighty as you are able, then place yourself against something huge. That'll show ya.... There is such wonder, there is such boredom. Such joy and such sorrow. And I think it is no contest, to see who has been to the most extreme of anything — for who can measure some of these things? No one will understand what you feel, though all of us have experienced it: those days when it takes infinite effort to drag oneself out of bed, and to face another day.
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Clarity7:01am monday, 10th may
A moment of clarity,
a moment of blessèd vision,
and it seems to have meaning:
why there is this and that,
why there is nothing sure,
why so much of it all is random,
why so much of it all is worthless;
a moment seeing through
illusions of what is value
and valuable, a moment
wondering silently
about the garbage I've sloshed through,
about the things I've tossed away,
why, why, why, why, why;
for this understanding,
I would have given a finger,
I think, or a toe, but it was given
to me as always, freely,
like my life has been given me —
and I forget that, too, at times,
how much all that is worth
anything I paid nothing for.
A moment of clarity,
and it seems so ultimately clear,
and I think as a child
I understood this, or at least,
the gist of this vision:
even the things other people
have thrown away,
gather them I together,
and anything can be of value,
anything can be worth
a price beyond platinum,
if only I love what is there,
and I ask for nothing more.

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Unreal7:00am saturday, 8th may
Things seem at times unreal to me. I know this is a sort of hangover from my old madness, relating something to my past drug usage. The things that I handle, even the people I deal with — they seem as if they are not really all that solid, as if they are merely a veneer put upon the void. What might seem odd in this is that since I cannot escape my own existence, I myself feel quite real. Even odder, I sense somewhere that God is even realer than me. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust: except that is not just the measure of man, but all things: even the telephone poles, even the buildings, the streets: from dust you came, and to dust you shall return. Now, it is not always like that, of course; mostly, I go about my business in a regular way, not doubting the metaphysical existence of the pieces of paper I write on, but there are these moments... it is as if I'm peering past the grand illusion, and there is nothing really there.

I do not, though, really hold to the idea that it is really an illusion, all of what we may see. If I am touching on any sort of existential truth, if my feelings are based in any way in some grain of that which is, it might be merely that sort of vision into the dimension of time. Things are ephemeral, having a beginning and an end, or some such thing. All to say, I do not think much that I am touching on truth when I have these visions of mine; it is just another thing that I deal with in the winding courses of my mind. Strange the visions that I have had, and I cannot base any sort of rational discourse upon such wild foundations. I report to you that the visions change but never go away, that they become a sort of philosophical bent, but there was never anything of the deeply real that they seemed to possess. What is real I have always known, though I have forgotten at times; I always come back here, to myself.

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Small8:47am friday, 7th may
I wonder at destiny with a helpless sense of my smallness. It has come full circle, I guess: once, I believed that all creation could bend to my whim, that I was the ultimate of beings; and now, I feel as if less than a paper bag in the updrafts of all the great things that may happen to the world. I have resigned myself that if it is destiny that I fall, no matter how hard I try, this is what will come to pass, that there will be some perhaps small flaw that will make me stumble, and I will come to nothing. Less than nothing. The only thing I might be able to do is to hand it all over, invest myself, trust in a ride greater than myself, and hope that the ticket is good no matter what happens in my days. I am no longer brash enough to take on the world on my own. I have had it beaten into me to know that I am not a fish big enough to turn the tide of the oceans in which I swim. I pray, and I hold on to the little lessons I have learned to give me hope.
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Seen6:19am thursday, 6th may
I have seen much, but have understood so little of it:
mysterious messages from nowhere, visions of other worlds....
Storms have passed over me, I only to know of their ruins.

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My Believing6:23am tuesday, 4th may
I have gone to my Lord full of pain and misery, beseeching please, please, and somehow I am emptied of suffering. I don't know how He does it. Unbelievers, I know, have theories of psychological phenomena that go with the act of praying, of how we make our own relief and such, how this and this is an explanation for that and that. I know, because I used to be like such. But there came a time for me when I had nowhere to go, when there was no one who could possibly understand what my problems were, when I was so utterly alone. I remember this devout atheist being so full of desperation that I fell prostrate to the world, clasped my hands and prayed, "Guide me." It was to no one in particular, no specific higher power. But it is still with me, I think — that prayer. I have been guided, and am still guided, by that which listened that desperate day.

Explain it away, if you want. But if you would truly like to make an accounting for all the things in my life that have happened to me, the explanations would run on and on, invoking theories of man as to this phenomenon and that, why the things happened, and why there is no reason to believe anything otherworldly played a part. I, instead, say merely that my prayers were answered. It's simpler, and it makes more sense to me to see things that way. I have gone to my Lord full of confusion and woe, understanding nothing of why, and somehow, I begin to sense in me a reason for being. Telling me in scientific terms what endorphins are reacting in my nervous system is like explaining the Mona Lisa to me in terms of the chemical composition of the paint. Think me not ignorant that I believe. I have my reasons.

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Best Of 99:36am monday, 3rd may
It has been another six months, so these that follow are the latest and greatest from this time period past.

Sunset - "...slow sunset descend in the music of the summer winds."

A Couple Clues - These I have learned from experience; they might help.

Elsewhere - Questioning where we go in our madness.

My True Love - What I imagine of my love, true.

Illusion - On how I am less than a wind, fainter than a ghost.

Breathless Run - Running across the horizon, across the snow.

Simulacrum - How I am living someone else's life.

Phantasms - Perhaps why my visions never explain themselves.

Gears - A sijo about the disintegration of the sky.

Windows - Having nothing to do with Microsoft or Bill Gates.

In the Quiet - Of the whispers, of the dark, of imagination and Death.

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The Prize9:48am saturday, 1st may
You see it, or you think you do, for one moment, and the moment slips by. It is as if you are worthy of some prize, that you have earned some blessing. You search the pathways where you have traveled, see where they go, wonder which of these you have chosen correctly, and which ones to take in the coming days. There is so much hope. But there is then the true test: when the prize does not come, when the blessing is as much a curse, if not moreso, what does our heart seize onto? Do we anger, do we despair, do we imagine that the world has lied to us and hate what we once loved? You may give up, and move on to another thing, or you may press on despite setback, but there is to be measured in us a mystery called faith: to have it, it is worth more than whatever prize, better than the blessing you thought you wanted. Sometimes, we are made to fail, for true faith is not known without adversity — trials where we may find we lose the prize, but where instead, we gain a soul.
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