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i'm ditching the december batch, hoping that i can keep up with the new year craze, writing for 365 days straight. so far i've failed, backtracking my way to three days past like i'm some sort of time traveler. i'll just have to live with trying not to give up because my initial impression just wants me to close the door. maybe i can move forward with my resolution, accepting writing as a challenge, a craft that makes me want to pull out my hair and stand in disbelief at how outstandingly beautiful and talented my favorite authors are.
an english major touchy about academics, defending the consistency and credibility of an english degree.
an english major unsure about studying literature when engineering graduates brag about writing twenty page papers.
the english major has written nothing more than seven.
engineering graduates brag about how their degree was dominated by that art.
and the english major doesn't know if she can critically think.
perhaps the english major has chosen the wrong field.
maybe the english major shouldn't attach herself to that identity so much and just accept who she is for who she is.
and become a lawyer.
in his wooden chair that creaks on the dully lite stage in the quiet bar with his arms awkwardly around the emerald green guitar he sits. he stares out into the crowd with no one single thought that is thought, no one single song that is sung. breathing quietly, his thin fingers begin to strum in an up down down up pattern along the gritty steel strings. as he plays, his voice, a being within a being that can no longer be stuffed and muffled, sings in a sweet low bass that rumbles the floor "the dear ones".
follow the rhythm of key strokes.
push glasses up
ziggy played guitar.
clearing my throat
dancing in one position
all in the good time.
scratching my arm, hoping it will give me inspiration to get working, even if it is a job that i don't even like anymore.
it's like i'm typing from the future to my past just to let my past self know that i still hate this job, scratching myself, like that ever solves anything.
my past self smiles, and my whole body still feels unbelievably restless.
you're not alone.
it's a fucking battlefield, she wrote in her journal. her thin body was wrapped in a quilted blanket tightly around her. crumpled up tissues were sprawled randomly around the table with tobacco sprinkled in between the white islands. her white blood cells were working over time, trying to kill whatever disease was in her body, whether it be the common cold or influenza. my thoughts, congested in my ears, tight around my eyes, are oozing out my nose.
her body tried, is trying, will try. bodies don't give up, but thoughts do, no matter what.
we are all like a piece of thread that are brittle enough to be spliced in two, losing most of the tension. and like thread, we can be wound back together, each side back in tact, without losing the strength. thick like thread, thin like thread, we weave in out and of each others life, loop in loop we are all interconnected, but also stand alone, each stitch its own relying on each others strength. if i cut one out, the rest remain through the power of one, one thin thread or two, it no longer matters.
a cough, a runny nose, and congestion in my ears.
a weak voice, strong body, timid thoughts.
i sneeze but i'm out of ammo. the ammo i did have is scattered across the table as little white islands. it's a fucking battlefield out there, boys, and you have to be careful not to pick up everyone's germs that float in the air, trying to seep into your skin to find a new home.
but they've found a new home and are using my body as a host. after all, they, too, need to celebrate the new year.
writing in the past about how i feel in the current day surely disrupts something in the space time continuum.
maybe not, because for all we know when we die we'll just become sodium particles floating in the sky.
how sad would that be to live a life thinking of heaven or hell, or still have the belief that there is something else?
then we just die, without planning. we do just break down into particles and fade off with the wind.
i suppose, let's make the most of what we're supposed to make the most of.
whitman, the man who wandered the american back road looking for peace between women and men, blacks and whites. he is the man who wandered through new orleans and st. louis and then stopped at the arches. he knew everyone's sad secrets, hopes, fears, and desolate desires and so on.
so he kept walking barefoot up north through chicago, and although he was met with such uncanny hospitality, would not stay. he knew that his home was east, not west like everyone had said. he defied patriotic americans when he returned to die out east.
a cough persists in me, vibrating throughout my body, being expelled by my lungs while excess hate and fear oozes out my nose.
some call this the common cold, but i just call this life. everyone has this at one point or another and what determines our health and whether we'd like to get better is how we relate to this mess that our bodies suffer through.
sometimes we'll come out alright, and other times we'll surrender to our shaking bodies and wither slowly away.
and that's my fear: withering away while nobody cares.
but a stone sends ripples.
once, when i was five, my mom took me to the mall for a day to shop for herself, but, as always, i was promised a present at the end of the day if i had been good.
so i watched my mom try on dresses, pant suits, earrings, make up, and nearly anything that women tries on. i watched my mom with her grace of a woman as she breezed through isles holding my hand, determining what would be suitable for her with a flicker of her ocean blue eyes.
i tried to copy her, and she laughed.
when my mother laughed her eyes would become as bright as the noon sky with the same ocean softness of the pacific. napping in her lap i would awake from a nightmare and would tickle my mom with my awkward child-like hands just to hear her.
i would snuggle in, my head against her stomach, pretending to understand the volcano inside her.
and i would smell the stale cigarettes and bud on her breath, a scent that would seep out of her being and would faintly drift up into my nostrils.
but i loved her anyway.
and i threw a rock inside the make-shift pond by the first house where i was born. we had a rolling field outside, or rather, man made hills but i always thought they were green mountains, something that only a Midwesterner can understand.
and when i threw the rock i saw the water ripple out so effortlessly that i pretend i was on a boat riding those ripples until i would just fade out all together with them.
afterward i would take a waxy paper boat my big brother taught me to make and just ride endlessly.
all the shame i feel when i breathe, sit, when i move slightly.
all the shame i feel when i pass by an individual without a home, someone who is addicted to a substance and can not separate themselves from the thing.
all the shame i feel because of all the friendships i no longer wanted. i was saturated with ill feelings.
all the shame i feel because of all the money i've cost my parents and i'm not living up to my brothers expectations.
but i'm changing.
i'll cast the first step on the long journey home.
where the hell did January go? i woke up one day and it was the middle of the month. only yesterday does it feel like it was a brand new year.
i admit this, though: i'm happy that we're getting through january nice and easy because it can be a real pain if you live in chicago.
because chicago gets cold. the wind beats down on you, pushing you along the street, reeking havoc on your face, trying to freeze you as you try to make it to your destination.
yes, welcome, friends, to chicago.
wondering if we're all wasting time.
a lethargic nap,
suddenly the couch becomes our home.
fumbling around the interwebs,
becoming interconnected with open sourced articles,
learning novelty information that will never be on exams,
much less used in a daily interaction unless i'm talking about those king beats and their life (which i don't have the right to peer into).
the whole day i'll tell myself to write. words will flow into my mind and sentences will bend around my brain like a river endlessly flowing.
don't you know that when i start i just can't stop?
i know there's a lot of hate for on the road, people using capote's famous demeaning quote as their favorite sock in the arm to jack: it's not writing, it's typing.
but man, there are some beautiful sad passages in on the road and you have to get through the nonsensical jibberish from dean, sal, carlo and remi to get there.
because man, this novel is sad. it's not happy, it's not joyous, it's not jack bragging about sal and dean.
it's jack crying his heart out, telling it like it is, sharing his sadness with the world.
my future, sometimes, can be wrapped up nicely in a box with a bow.
then i can unwrap it, take it out of the box and examine it with a close eye.
and by the time that i'm ready to put it back in it's square box i'm nauseous of whether i'll climb into that cardboard box and never come out.
so where do i go and what do i do?
am i a disillusioned american who is buying into the tv idea that i need to make more money than my brother?
the same simple sounds reverberating off of the oak colored floors, bouncing off of the white washed walls, flowing out the window and the passerby's walking by don't lift their tired heads or cock their ear to the left or right, but they just simply pass by.
the white snow casually crunches under their feet as they stop to let their dog release what's been built up inside him throughout the sad, desolate chicago night where only the speckled lights keep you company.
and we're all trying to make due through this sad, forlorn night.
back and forth, through the past and more past, trying to understand why and when i did everything i did.
is this confusing for you too?
i feel like i've made mistake after mistake and it makes my heart heavy with sadness.
at least, i don't think it's regret.
all i can do is to be me and justify my reasoning in the past, i mean, i was so young. what does all of this mean anyway?
my greatest fear is wondering: will i ever be okay?
where does the fine line of sadness end and happiness begin?
how do we say sorry to the world?
my heart is full of sadness and it swells up to fill my whole being, flooding my mind with memories of terrible and sad things that i've done.
all the while i write, one hundred words at a time, hoping to write some sense back into my life. and maybe that's why everyone starts writing, and maybe that's what leads to the great american novel. just writing down that burning desire to make what is wrong back into right, or just write sense back into all of us.
i'm way behind in the game, just like i've always been behind. but it's the year of resolutions and i'm determined to keep up my goals, wants, and desires.
S. quit his job and i'm upset about it just because i work a job that i can't stand, but i volunteer at a place that i love.
so i go to school, volunteer twelve hours, work a job fifteen hours, and clean and cook.
fuck my life.
but screw that notion. i want to become a better person so no more smoking or drinking in excess.
we all know i'm lazy. we all know that i try to do something, anything, and i just end up surfing around all over the internet, getting bogged down on what i'd like my future to be.
i still have to write this paper on who my dean is and why.
so i'm choosing belgium and the group of crazy cats i met in belgium and how we just sat around on park benches drinking beer and talking about belgium and america and how we all wanted out.
then we went to a five star hotel and stole breakfast.
i confess: i have something to get off of my chest.
when i was a wee community college attendee, i decided to attend drexel university, even though i got into university of colorado at boulder. i think i didn't go because my dad said no, and because i had only seen boulder when i was 14.
so i went to drexel, had a bad and good time, and transfered back to university of illinois at chicago.
why do i now, then, regret not having gone to boulder?
i think it's because boulder is ivy league.
chicago winter is like the tundra and a simple walk suddenly becomes a penguin challenge of waddling over iced sidewalks.
yeah, and looking up at the gray bleak sky while waiting for the bus becomes a frozen adventure and we just end up staring at our hot breath condensing in the air.
when the great flat chicago earth freezes for the winter, we should all just sleep instead of hustling around this city with our hands shoved in our pockets.
and don't you know that nobody is actually dressed for this dismal weather? we all just pretend.
hitting the road at 3:30 am because it's better to beat traffic than wait in it.
going the wrong way, ending up in michigan, getting directions from a shady character that we dug anyway.
went south to springfield because we were in lincoln territory full of american pride.
then to tennessee, seeing the outskirts of mephis in all its poverty. old men sitting in rocking chairs, staring at northern white chicks
flying through mountains at110, scared to death, my knuckles white.
eventually saying "ah yass" as we cracked a beer on the coast because we ran out of land.
what is the secret to a happy life, and does anybody know it?
or is it something that we breathe, constantly, but just ignore.
and why am i so unhappy as of late?
lately i just want to be alone, have some alone time.
i wake up, go to class surrounded by people and come home and S. is there.
i go smoke in the other room and S. is there.
i sit in this room typing and S. is here.
i just want to be alone sometimes, in this apartment without feeling smothered.
maybe i'll go away.
there's something about the american life, or the american dream, that makes youngsters want to hit the open asphalt american road, whether driving around the 'burbs for hours, or going cross country.
maybe we're all day dreaming about a perfect life that's carefree, terrified that our future will trap us in a full-time job, suffocating us for the next forty-some years.
and what about our partners that we meet along the way? what about our friends and family from coast to coast?
i think, am i happy now, or just ignoring my overwhelming sadness?
do people remember me? why are they flooding my mind right now? haunting me in my waking and sleeping dreams.
it's like i can feel all of their hearts beating at the same time, and i can feel their sadness swelling.
i never trusted them when they made advances. i always thought they were doing it to try to sleep with me and once they left, they'd forget all about me.
i never trusted them because i was afraid.
so now all i can say is that i'm sorry.
i left their worlds quietly, no longer posting messages and deleting them one by one.
now i'm creeping back in slowly and reminding them and i that they once knew me.
so that's the weird thing about facebook: we can swell and recede like the tide.
so someday day, when it's high noon in a sunny philadelphia, all of us will sit around a table and live. we'll tell somber stories of what happened and sullenly shake each others hands for having the courage to go out in the world and do their own wild, twisted thing.
look, january is almost over. just one more day. actually, i'm lying right now, because today is the start of a new month.
i hope that this new month wont be so dark and desolate. i hope that somewhere in this month, a new light will shine on me and i'll be reborn.
i should've gone to a better college. i should've gone to boulder.
i should go to a good graduate school and land a good career thereafter.
i should've, could've, would've.
how do i start to do the right thing?
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