DEPARTURE

I was out on a walk through the city when my mind shifted between the membranes of existence. I had been looking at the crowds, breathing the air—both the fresh and the foul—and letting the tail ends of the trees brush through my fingers, just like any other person. Then, I was outside myself, looking down on everything else. Not as a god, but a hopeless observer. My body was still moving below; still enjoying the views and smiling at passers by, and I could feel it’s every movement and ache within myself. But my eyes had left this world. I was out over the clouds, looking down at my own personal globe of reality.

I turned the vision, and saw the whole mass of people on earth. For months, I followed them around, growing further and further from my body each day. It wasn’t long before I lost connection to it altogether, and had to track it down myself, instead of just feeling its movements. By that time, I was beginning to grow bored with my new world. Being an observer is hard.

The people below don’t even think about what they are doing. They go about their days, listening to iPods, working mindlessly, and ignoring nearly everyone else. Many of these people go home, look up to the sky, and hope for something to change, but never take the first step to do so. The more they talked, the less I listened. They weren’t all like this, some brave souls tried to explain the problems to the youth, but too often it was too late for them too. Eventually, I found myself more interested in the flowers and the trees than people.

I could follow the roots, below the ground, and watch as they sucked the water from the dirt. I could track the petals as the fluttered through the sky. I would try to console the wilting plants, neglected by their owners, before they washed away into the earth and became part of the collective again, but the truth is they never heard me. I could dive down with the fishes, and see in the dark. The bottom of the ocean is more quiet than the biggest caves. The creatures down there don’t move so fast. They drift, like wood on the surface, wherever the unseen current would take them.

I could even slip between the rocks, and watch the long conversations they had. One day, while I was listening to them, I felt a tug at my soul. First it was light, like a child pulling blankets in the night, but then it began to pull harder, and I felt myself flying through the world. Faster and faster, until I couldn’t even see where we were going. I tried to dig in, to grasp at my globe, but the force pulled me along. Then, as quickly as it started, it all stopped again. I awoke with a start, in my bed, as if from a nightmare. It was dark in my room. I moved to the doorway without even thinking, and flicked the light switch. I was home again. I was back in my body. My heart began to race. I didn’t want to go back. It was so boring here. I climbed back into bed, hoping to escape in the sanctuary of dreams, and fell asleep.

——

 

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DREAMS. IN. SPACE.

Last night I fell into a dream that started at an intergalactic academy. The headmaster, a short, plump woman with a deep red hair, was dogged about the need for utter obedience in her subjects. She walked us through the school to demonstrate the success this obedience had gained her—highlighting slave labor that she had used to turn a profit for her and the rest of the administration.

Being the big mouth I am, I said something to her about the horrible conditions this meant for the poor students, but when I did, she rounded on me in anger. She called security, and I had to high tail it back to my space shuttle. I made it back, and the flight crew took off. We thought it was exceptionally strange when they didn’t chase us. Two hours passed, and then we suddenly heard a tapping sound outside the ship. Din-din din-din. It was eerie. Then it repeated. Over and over and over, and we realized that whatever was out there was making to come in. We began to throw on our spacesuits. I had nearly gotten mine on when the whole roof of the shuttle burst open, and we flew out into the dead of space. I had just enough time to get a last gasp of air before we entered the cold nothingness.

The icy world on my face stung, and the tears that flowed from my eyes froze before they had journeyed far. It wasn’t before long that my lungs were pounding and the fluid in my eyes began to freeze. In front of me was the mirror from the space shuttle, and I saw my reflection—blue in the face, with my hair flying out in all directions. I thought I was going to die. Then from behind me, the strangest thing happened. A vulture, with massive black wings, descended into the plain of view to land on my shoulders. They’ve come for me. I thought, though I couldn’t really say who “they” were. The vulture placed a clawed foot over my mouth, and suddenly I could breathe. Yet it didn’t help my vision, and the water in my eyes ran cold until everything was just an icy plane, followed swiftly by blackness.

 

So I don’t know what this dream means. In the moment, I thought the vulture was from the academy, come to kill me, but then it magically saved me. Perhaps if I hadn’t woken up in real life, my dream self would have woken up as a slave to the academy. Or maybe not. I know my disdainful reaction to the sight of slavery was well in my character. Perhaps it as something to do with the nature of unbalance within the school system—though who can say for sure. Anyways, those are just my thoughts. Let me know what you think! Do you have any strange dreams like that? Tell me about them in the comments!

 

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DREAMS OF THE FAIR

This week I had a dream that I was trying to go to the fair. The ticket booth, which was the only was to get in, was on a dirty covered hillside, behind a row of strangely placed buildings. There was no parking near any of them—the closest parking had been up at the top of a plateau, about half a mile up from the ticket booth. There were pine trees scattered about and another half-mile past you could see the fair. I had gotten in line behind a few slow moving people. I think I had been trying to meet my little brother, my older sister, and my father there.

The fair itself looked quite a bit more spectacular than the local one we get. There were dozens of rides that rose above the walls, and off to the east there was a strange roof that appeared to be made of water, which had reflected light through it in the way that a pool does. It was so exciting—and frustrating, because the line hadn’t moved. There were only a few people there. I remember thinking, Why are people so inept? before I actually decided to look around and see what was going on.

The line had three people ahead of me, all of them were elderly and white. So white, they looked as though they had bathed in a tub of bleach. All of them were wearing strange clothing. One, a woman, wore a big yellow rain coat, and massive rain boots to match. In front of her was a man, dressed in an all-grey track suit, with a pair of running shoes that had been so worn they were beginning to fray. The last person was dressed in a light green sundress, though I couldn’t distinguish if they were male or female. But they were certainly grey haired and wrinkly.

All of them were looking down, and the young woman in the ticket booth was looking beyond confused. She had called “next” several times, though even I hadn’t heard her say it until I saw her. I skipped ahead of the line when I realized nobody else was moving. When I began to walk past each person, the elderly people slowly raised their heads in disdain, but none of them moved to stop me.

I don’t remember speaking to the girl, nor getting inside the fair, yet somehow I’d made it there. I was in the water-roofed room. The ceiling had no glass, but somehow, as if by magic, the water was all suspended in the air. It was a beautiful sight, like the spirit of vacation incarnated. And it was the last thing I remember seeing before I woke up.

 

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SLIPPING IN AND OUT OF DREAMS

When you start walking through walls, do you finally realize that you are in a dream? Personally, I struggle to even remember dreams, much less realize that I am in them. I’ve been trying to take stock of them when I wake up over the past couple weeks, and I’ve gotten a little better. Now I can usually remember the endings of the dreams, and if it was really vivid I can usually remember the major plot points, but I still struggle with beginnings.

Not that dreams really have beginnings. I doubt there is some voice over that says “one day our weary hero was walking through the woods, blah blah blah blah” like some cheesy 80’s movie. But let’s take, for example, a dream I had about a week ago. Somehow, I got to a point where these massive, titanic beings were chasing after me, literally bursting through buildings to get to me. The whole world knew, and the everybody was trying to help me get away from them, but I had no idea how I had gotten to that point. Was I the scientist who made them? Was I carrying some secret? Was it some other reason? I don’t know. But I am certainly curious.

The other interesting thing I’ve been trying is to slip in and out of my consciousness and dream states more quickly. Often times, I will wake up—or be woken up—before I mean to start my day. In many cases, I will have been woken up out of a dream, and will want to fall back into it. If I have to get up to do something, I’ll lose track of the dream, but if I can relax my mind into a resting state, I can often slip right back into the dream I was experiencing. Sometimes it takes a sharp turn because of this. For example, if I was dreaming about picnics, it might be that while after I wake up, the picnic leads me to a circus fair or something.

Anyways, that’s just my two cents on the topic. Do you have any recommendations for remembering dreams? Let me know!

 

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DREAMING ABOUT DREAMS

I recently was reading through some of the dreams that my late grandfather wrote down in his lifetime, and was struck by how bizarre they were. People trapped in houses, sexual symbolism, unknown entities hunting him down…really just the works. Yet in spite of this, they were completely enthralling. Maybe that’s why they were so interesting. Regardless, dreams are cool.

When you think about it, dreams really are something that we should value higher in our lives. So many people get up quickly just to rush their way back into reality—myself included. I think that’s probably the default state of being for people, perhaps because dreams are often forgotten quickly, and like to hide in the back of our consciousness. There’s a short list of dreams I can remember. But considering how historically important dreams have been to us, I would think we would care about them a little more.

Einstein is a famous example, who dreamed about sledding down a mountainside so fast that he began approaching light speed, which, when he awoke, he used to help form his theory of relativity. The idea that he could use a dream to inspire and create the work that made him famous is incredible. Yet it wasn’t because he just happened to be struck by this dream—it was also because he sat and thought about it.

If I haven’t sold you on dreams yet, think about famous speeches. The “I Have a Dream” speech plays on the mythic qualities of dreams. If we thought dreams couldn’t be reality, it would be a stupid idea to try to use them to persuade others—which, in truth, is part of what that speech was about. Maybe it’s just because dreams are outside reality, which makes them seem better than they are, maybe not.

Outside reality is an interesting side topic for dreams, as it relates to drugs. I mean drugs are usually used as another route to escape—in many cases, people use them to have hallucinations that are very vivid that they can interact with (sound anything like a lucid dream to you?). I’m not sure this is as bad a thing as many people make it out to be. Certainly, some of them can be addicting, and THAT can be dangerous, but simply experiencing the imagery and immersing yourself in the wiles of imagination (because where do hallucinations come from if not imagination) does not seem like it should be entirely feared. Many people produce important work while in a “dream-like state” from drugs—just look at the Beatles!

Ok, anyways, dreams are something super valuable that most people take for granted, which is a sad concept. What do you think? Do you have any special dreams that have changed your life? Let me know in the comments!

 

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DOWNPOUR (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Unending

Tick-tock, ‘round the clock.

Do you ever wonder when

the world will stop?

 

Enjoy

There’s not enough time

in this short life that we live

to not eat good food.

 

Fantasies

While your mind wanders,

night sets in; but you can still

picture the sunset.

 

Yard Work

With dust in my pores

and dirt soaking in my hair,

I feel at home.

 

Downpour

Consume the hatred,

let it flow through you like rain,

but don’t drown yourself.

——

 

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WE ALL FLOAT DOWN HERE

I have always been interested in why it is that we like to see obscure, strange, and often grotesque images. Think about it. Have you ever seen a picture (or video) in which you had a strong guttural reaction to look away, but at the same time felt you had to keep looking? I mean, there is a cliché aspect to it when people say “I couldn’t look away,” but that was born out of something very real.

I have never been a big believer in any reality to mythology, but the stories are something that I have always found to be entertaining. Cyclopes’, gods, frost giants…they all add this sense of awe and wonder to an otherwise kind of boring life. I mean, think of all the times you have sat in front of a movie screen, and watched an action-type movie. Or a horror movie. Horror movies are a great example of something that gets the blood flowing (pun intended). I just watched the original “Stephen King’s It” this weekend, and Tim Curry as Pennywise was really quite a show. I mean, the movie has a real…cheesy 80’s vibe to it nowadays (which I guess it technically a 90’s vibe, since it released in 1990, but still). There is a reason “It” is getting a remake, and that’s because the unknown and the unreal is entertaining! And it looks SO SCARY in the trailer (which, if you somehow haven’t seen yet, you should go click that link and do).

Of course, if we’re not careful, I’ll derail this conversation into a movie critique post (though if you would want me to do that sometime in the future, let me know. I’m down for anything), since that is what we love about It. Not the plot twist at the very end about how its all a…oh wait some of you may not have seen it. But we love Pennywise. The creepy clown that fuels our adrenaline (and our nightmares). Back in the day, that was why people told scary stories around the campfire, or snuck up on unsuspecting friends to give them a frighten. It makes people feel alive to have their heart racing and their breath caught at the back of their throat. Not just lounging around, listening to repeated Louis C.K. albums all afternoon and evening (which I may or may not have done a few times before). And sure, maybe too much of that would cause a heart attack or something, but every once in a while is good for you. Exercise those reflexes, get used to the adrenaline rush, and maybe you’ll float too. 😉

What do you think? Do you like that rush of adrenaline? Is it something we should avoid? Let me know!

——

 

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LOVE POEM #41 – THE STORY OF ALEXIA

When electricity made love rigid,

And enslaved men in their lusty livings,

The world itself seemed to grow frigid,

As nature was filled with such misgivings.

 

Time itself had grown old, aged, and weary;

The bolts of Zeus no longer cracked the sky;

Hades realm had been filled entirely,

And Poseidon’s sea kingdom had gone dry.

 

The great Zephyrus had breathed his last breath,

And Boreas ruled in the winter lands.

It seemed to me Eros had met his death,

And Aphrodite raped by evils hands.

 

But then came the spark, that flash of hot red,

That burned away the technology,

And we watched as the wicked turned and fled

Like a lost story in mythology.

 

They called her Rekka; Fira; Hestia,

And all sorts of other fiery names,

But by birth her name was Alexia

And the real fire was in her brains.

 

She found the fuel to burn down the kings,

Who had slaughtered the people she loved most.

And her vengeance gave revolution wings

Till the fire had spread from coast to coast.

 

And I tell you this tale so you know

That true love can defeat the greatest foe.

——

 

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NATURE’S FURY

I saw a single blooming flower on the tree. Against the dense, green foliage riddled with long, thick leaves, the delicate white of the flower stood out like the first star in the night sky. The flower itself was enormous—nearly the size of a cantaloupe, with majestic petals, curling their way out to greet the sunlight. Yet it had not completely unfolded into its maturity. The purity of the original bulb shape was still perceptible to the attentive eye.

I saw this lone flower blooming, and knew I had to have it. It was off the ground, out of my reach, and the tree appeared to be an arduous climb. But the craving in my gut pulled me up to the task. I moved to the base of the trunk. The bark of the tree was rough and protective, like a father. It was also quite sturdy, and as my nimble fingers curved themselves into nooks and crannies, I found that the shoulder like branches of the tree were stronger than I had initially expected. I darted up, from branch to branch, with such rhythm that I felt like Tarzan himself.

The last few branches were the most perilous. Near the top of the tree, the branches thinned and swayed, and beneath my weight a few began to snap. I glanced as they fell away, while my arms grabbed for new holds on the tree. Eventually though, I found my way to the flower. She was beautiful, pure, and perfect. There was no flower quite like it—no flower that I had battled so valiantly for. I knew she would love me as I loved her. My hands, trembling, reached out and cupped the base, where she connected with the tree, and carefully plucked her away.

The whole tree seemed to shake for a moment, and the flower quivered, curling slightly back in on herself. Then everything was still. The descent was much easier, fortunately, and I carefully shielded my flower from the stray branches and leaves as I passed through them. They felt like tiny hands, pulling, scratching, and seizing my clothes. I shook them away as I moved. I reached the ground, and broke into a great, boyish smile. I took the flower home; watered it, and gave it sunlight.

But would you believe how she repaid me? The bitch wilted, unbloomed, before my very eyes. The vibrant pure white, which seemed to cleft through the surrounding, faded into a smoky fog, and then further into a dead, blackened husk. Every morning, I awoke, and saw her with disgust. Such beauty; why couldn’t she have been mine? And yet, I felt in the pit of my stomach something more terrifying, though I had no idea as to what it was.

Until, of course, the dried petals finally began to fall. Then, I was shocked, to hear the roar of the forest, like thunder, calling to me. The great tree, which had grown since I had stolen her from it, had taken up its roots and marched on my home. All my structures—the walls, the roof, and the floors—were ripped apart by this incarnation. The wrath of Nature itself stood on my doorstep. Roots and vines tore it apart, until I stood, naked, before the behemoth himself. The vines snapped and slithered around me, wrapping around my arms and legs, and I was pulled into the air.

I hung there, limp, for what seemed like an eternity, while the vines snaked around my neck. Then they paused, and a vine lifted my chin. Before my eyes, he held her. She looked solemn, limp, and peaceful, but utterly dead nonetheless. In a rush of pain, I felt both my legs snap. I cried out, but there was no help for me.

Then, it all stopped. I was dropped on the ground with a thud, and the tree went away. My legs sprawled lifelessly beneath me, but I had been shown mercy. My watered eyes looked out around me, and I saw the tree disappear behind the hills. I slumped to sleep, as my eyes grew more and more blurry, and as they shuttered closed, I saw a single, pure white petal, before me. Mocking me.

——

 

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A LETTER FROM MY FORMER SELF

I received a letter from myself the other day. My high school biology teacher had my entire class write a letter to ourselves for our last assignment as seniors back then, which she then mailed out during these last few weeks of college (Yay! I’m graduating). Reading (or I guess technically rereading) that letter left me with a lot of mixed feelings. At the time I wrote it, I didn’t really know where life was taking me. I knew I was going to Cal Poly Pomona, though it was not my first choice of schools, and I knew I was in love with my (now ex) girlfriend. That was about it. I didn’t know I was going to be interested in writing. I didn’t know I would be working two jobs. I didn’t know that the grass really is greener from a distance than it is up close.

But all that aside, here we are today. I once again have no idea where I am going, or what I am doing. In some ways I have even less of a grasp on reality than I did then. Yet I know a lot more today than I did four years ago. I find it curious that, for all this reminiscing, the problems of my life are completely different. In that letter, I wrote about my love interest, my issues with my relationships, and my certainty of my own greatness. Today, I would write about the monotony of daily activities, the debilitating incapability that my generation faces, and the omnipresent desire (and impossibility) of being an individual in an ever-growing social world.

I recently watched an interview with Morgan Freeman, where he was asked if race plays a role in succeeding in one’s dreams in the present. He said no, which I found interesting, because in a way he is correct. It is true that, if you really try hard enough, eventually something is going to work. But at the same time, I’ve been at this blogging thing for a year, and I have only found minor success. Of course, I am a straight, white male. But to say race has no role in success is a bit unfair, don’t you agree? I mean, he said “we are proof” that race is not a major role player, which to me seems a little short sighted. There are only so many roles in Hollywood available, much like how there are only so many spaces available on a basketball team. To say someone can be a part of that miniscule percent of successful black actors “if they try hard enough” seems like a bit of a load to me. We can’t have 3 billion fulltime actors. It simply wouldn’t be sustainable. We would starve to death.

But success does seem like it is within all of our grasps if we can redefine success for ourselves. Perhaps success isn’t being famous, or accruing a fortune, but instead perhaps it is simply being happy with life. And while for many of us, that seems like it isn’t somewhere we are at currently, it is somewhere that we can strive to get to. Ok. Hopefully this somewhat sappy story has helped you in some way (I’m sure it has been a nice form of therapy for me somehow). Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

——

 

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