Breathing … sand …

(poem inspired by a dream, credits to the subconscious :D)

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Breathing …
Sand …
And blue water …

Breathing …
The wind
That I can see in the small waves,
The biggest of them all,
A mountain far ahead.

Breathing … (hiccup)
With hiccups. (hiccup)
From my balcony,
I can see one building,
Which ate a slice of the sea. (hiccup)

Breathing …
It’s slowly …
Getting dark …

Breathe in, breathe out …
Dream in, dream out …

A silent noise:
The mountain turned into a wave,
To my right,
The sea falls down like a valley,
To my left.

It took away with it the sand,
The building,
And my breath.

With what air is left in my lungs,
I look out:
It’s bluetifuuul !

The sea is rumbling,
Yet somehow,
I cannot hear it.
The mountain is still far away,
To my right,
The sea is falling down like a valley,
To my left,
And I am safe,
On my balcony,
Breathing…

Salsa for people who think too much

I write because it lets me predict the future. Yet for the first time, I had no clue where this story will bring me. Maybe it’s because, when I started, I was mature enough to understand that:

I’m Perfect!
I’m Smarter than you,
I’m Faster than you,
I’m Better in every single way,
And for all I have done
Let’s be honest,
I deserve more than you!

I was somewhere in this cheerful mood, when I went to my first salsa class. Now I have to confess something: I have never, ever danced before. Not even under the shower. After I took the first beginner class 3 times, the second beginner class 3 times, the third beginner class 3 times, moved to intermediate, and then came all the way back to beginners, I realized … there must be something wrong with the teaching method. So I decided to come up with my own. Salsa … for people who think too much.

Lesson 1 – the upside down umbrella

You dance in a circle, switching partners. By the end of the class, you’ve done the full tour twice and you get a pretty complete and consistent image of yourself:

You’re frowning, you’re angry, you’re thinking too much,
you’re counting, not counting, don’t do it as such,
so wait for the next one, next time, boy oh boy,
now?
Now you’re not good enough.

Let’s skip all the blaming and get things straight – Yes, I’m the guy, Yes, I’m supposed to lead, it’s all on me. Yes, I really, really wanna do things right. Yet here I am, stopping in the middle of a move because I forget where the freaking legs are supposed to be, stuttering back and forth a bunch of times until I think I got the rhythm right (and I look into her eyes – nope, I didn’t). Here I am – hating myself for every clumsy little move, and I put in my google calendar that the next time when I go, I won’t just talk about my mistakes, I’ll make people compliments, but I can’t. I guess that was my first salsa lesson – you cannot make compliments when you’re frustrated.

One evening, at a salsa party I saw a really strange thing. In the middle of the stage, a chair, and a little kid sitting on it. Two larger, heavier kids, were pushing him from the sides, trying to see if they can fit him in smaller space. I could read on his lips, he kept saying, if only I could disappear, if only I could disappear and these two assholes would bump into each other, if only, I could disappear… I ran off to help, but the children vanished.

I looked around, and on my right, there was a girl, who I asked to dance, and for 2 minutes, I forgot all about my salsa mistakes. All I could think of was her hair. Whenever she turned around, her hair raised, weightless, like an upside down umbrella. I didn’t say anything. Back then, I feared that making compliments always has consequences. Instead, she looked at me and said, in the sweetest possible way: you think a lot, don’t you ? It might have been a compliment.

Lesson 2 – the alien

I land. I watch the dancers float on the stage and I am amazed. I make contact with the humans: unbelievable, we have the same five fingers. But what do I say? On my planet, the whole world lives inside my head, but here, your world is too big, and I cannot carry all its emotions. I am … a mirror. An emotional amplifier. You want me to be myself ? If I share the dramas that live inside me, they would crush you. So I break the loop. Instead of reflecting emotions, I transform them. I become a drunken clown, that turns fears into jokes. A colorblind poet, that paints the world with words.

That night, I left early, exhausted from too much thinking. I reached the entrance, and there I saw a man, sitting down, his legs closed, flipping one coin over, and over again, never happy with the outcome. After he flipped the coin a thousand times, I found my courage, and went back to the dancing floor.

Lesson 3 – What did you wanna become as a grown up?

When I was a kid, I really wanted become an extrovert. I remember going to parties, where I wouldn’t talk much, but I would always say good bye – to people I knew, to people I didn’t know. It was the easiest thing to do – I didn’t have to have a half-an-hour conversation after that goodbye (although that seems to happen all the time lately and I love it). Somehow, doing that has become a sort of tradition for me. Because for me, goodbye, is when people get to know me: I am … the child who didn’t disappear. I am the man who flipped the coin a thousand times, the coin that every single time showed, in reflection, his face, to realize that I am … you!

Epilogue

If to be broken,
Is to live in a world,
where only the satisfied are fed,
and you,
you’re so hungry,
that you learn to pretend.

If to be broken is to live life,
like it’s a Mario game,
never making it past the first level,
always falling down into that first pit,
because for some odd freaking reason,
in the those twenty something years of your life,
I had no idea,
that THERE’S A JUMP BUTTON!
that I can skip over pain,
jump over yesterday,
live like a child,
never right,
never wrong,
too small to make sense of any of this,
but still taking the jump,
the bold leap of faith,
and hoping
that one day
I will learn to fly.

Thinking that maybe, maybe the happiest moment of my life
Is right now,
And right now, I am split, spread out,
between the lines,
Between you,
Letting go,
With so many walls torn off,
With nothing to fear,
And nothing to defend,

If that…
if that…
if that is what it means to be broken,
Then broken is what I want to be!

Descartes didn’t think enough

There is one downside to being a superaware cameleon,
I have no energy left for joy,
When every drip of blood that flows under my skin
Goes into asking:
What’s wrong with me this time around?

Oh shit,
my hands are dangling awkwardly
as if in an out of the body experience,
I guess I’ve always looked like an astronaut on fast forward
navigating the void space between my mind and others,
without the gravity of confirmation.

And look,
the socks I picked in a rush
don’t match my clothes and I wonder,
before the whole pants below the waist thing was fashion,
did people wear them low to hide the socks out of shame ?

You see, the great Descartes said
I think, therefore I am,
But for all the 50 layers
Of hierarchical meta-thinking,
Self-fulfilling, self-deprecating loops,
I’d hardly say I am,
At best, I’m a bit lost.

To my grandlove

The last time when I fell in love,
I was counting in the wrinkles on your belly,
The ages of hunger, and of overweight…

It was lunchtime,
when I proposed.
But you…
You were too old,
and too slow
to respond.

The rest … is haze.

I think,
I just stood there,
Petrified,
Waiting for the first lightning,
To bestow on me the shape of time.

Carried down by winds to your beginning,
I could see all the future,
Which has already been.

Or maybe,
Maybe I just left,
Moved on, away.
And now I’m falling down with other raindrops…

I’m getting closer, close, to understanding…
nothing,
Reciting,
to a selfie stick,
and 7 billion cameras,
the timeless poem,
the hope of joy,
the breath of life:

Je
Roo
Nii
Mooo!!!!….

When I am done, my love, must promise you will hide me,
At dinner time:
I’ll be another wrinkle on your belly.

Chicago rain

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Be fruitful and ye
Multiply a dozen bridges o’er the river,
Build towers up into the sky,
One thousand floors of shining silver.

And whilst the rain fills up your hollow,
One million droplets of the same,
Thy shadows run, I try to follow,
A zillion people, with no name.

Until thou stop…
Against all odds…
Thy ghost forsaken to the now,
And then I learn,
Thy name,
Thy why,
From whence thou came,
And where thou run.

Bavarian Highlands by Edward Elgar. Sliced rehearsal

Huzza!  The hit!
The two groups have split
A rupture unending
And rather mind-bending
Till when will it last?
It happened so fast!
The joy of my morning,
Has turned into mourning…

I sing lullaby
To all passers-by.
They stop and they say:
Before end of May,
It’s almost tomorrow
The end of your sorrow.
I think and I count
Time seems like a mount.
Till when will it last?
It happened so fast!

Big Brother

I’ve grown a million eyes,
To watch the present,
And live forever in the now.

I watch it all,
My day, my night,
A tireless big brother.

For every single thing,
That goes under the sun.
Must have some meaning,
For another.

I’m keeping now a record,
Of the facts.
That I myself forget,
For the next day,
It’s all anew.

The past,
Is obsolete.

To kill a mocking-ghost

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Behind a tree,
Or somewhere else,
A white-haired mocking-ghost,
Sang darkly.

A child put on a pair of shades,
And filled his ears with fallen leaves.

A grown up stood to move the tree.

The tree, once green, was somewhere else.

An elder, sitting, sang along,
His chords were slightly out of tune.

I killed a ghost one day!
They all remember,
I talked to it:
It died,
Once it became alive.

 

(For some, this ending is maybe … not the most clear. I’ve hidden some hints below. It’s my take on it. You can reveal them by selecting with your mouse, the text underneath.)

I started this,
with just one thought:
what’s the best way to kill a ghost?
I still don’t know…

A ghost is a dead thing.

Once it becomes alive…
once you give it meat,
once you paint it in colors,
and bless it with true words,
…it ceases to be a ghost.

So many people would rise up and shine,
if only they would be seen.

Halloween is when the dead move around us,
but maybe, maybe, it should also be,
when the living become alive!

(photo modified from https://thewannabesaint.com/tag/mockingbird/ )

Story written with both hands

(published in NXS #2, Synthetic Selves)

I don’t know how others deal with it, but I talk to the hand. All day long. And the hand is listening. Both of them are in fact. In perfect communion, they embrace my thoughts, giving shape to all the nonsense that flows between my ears…. Set free those two teams of pointy fingers, and I am able to reach out to things and call them mine: an extended version of the self that feels confounded with the air in my room, a barely legible writing that looks more like a time-varying signal, the sharp sound of the violin I haven’t played in ages.

I talk to the hands while washing the dishes, when they are both covered in soap. At the hairdresser, when they are hidden beneath the barber’s cape. While I’m outside wandering through the city, and my hands, tired from too much walking, rest in the pockets. I talk to the hands at my desk, when they are both, for once, uncovered. Imagine that! The left sits on the mouse, the right rests on the keyboard. Talking to each other, the hands are trying to shape the countless universes dawning upon me. One hundred billion neurons. Hundreds of trillions of synapses. Should be a fine match for the mere one billion websites. More or less.

I remember vividly my first seizure. It was the day when I reached my first million. Of websites. Viewed. On the screen, a spectacle of light. On the chair, an earthquake. I thought, naively: this must be what freedom feels like, away from personhood, the ecstasy of a world connected, a whole body shaking in synchrony.

I try to do my thing. Talk to the hand. To both of them, in fact. And not one of them is listening. Moving above in the air, my hands take a life of their own, scribbling a writing that does not look like mine.

It took another million websites to experience the second seizure. And then a thousand. After a year, I couldn’t load a new page without shaking.

The diagnostic: my brain has grown to be a replica of the internet. One idea links to ten, maps to a hundred, creates a thousand anew, which are, of course, better summarized by a million others. An ever-multiplying hydra. A rock falling off the tip of a mountain, taking down with it, one by one, blades of grass, trees, pieces of land, the whole mountain. All of that amounting to a predictable earth-shaking contraption.

The one and only solution: split. The two conjoined twins that live together inside my head. Break the avalanche in the middle. Cut away the corpus callosum, and leave each hemisphere on its own. The decision was made. The scissors cut through. Or so they say. I wasn’t there. I was asleep.

Earthquakes are now what they should be, rare, less intense. Thousands and thousands of pages coming alive in between my synapses, without a shake. It worked. But something else has also changed. I’m talking to the hands. And the left does not seem to be mine anymore. Fast forwarding through the never-ending flood of information, it swings lavishly on the hypnotic waves. It takes the shape of objects around me. It touches every button, clicks every link, drags and drops things around, according to its own imagination. When the left hand is not sitting on the mouse, its middle finger scrolls through the air, pages and pages of content from my mind. Whether I like it or not, it randomly streams the subconscious, jumping between distant corners of my memory.

And the right hand, well the right hand tries to give shape to the nonsense that flows between my ears. With all the fingers rolling down the keyboard, it lives to tell the story. Or, better off, to make it. Sometimes painting in the color of dreams, other times, looking for logic in the puzzle of distant memories. Yes, the right hand is rewriting the story of the gestures made by the left hand, creating, according to its own imagination, meaning.

Left Right
Looks around for something new.
Celebrity haircut. President tweet.
The last season. The newest series.
Conflict. Peace. Incoming. Outgoing.
Red carpet entrances. *exits.
I need to read some history.
The hand starts all over again.
History? News
At the intersection of all things moving,
I count the beginning of moments,
with only one finger.All the while, my other fingers,
are catching water drops still in the air,
before they get lost in the sea.

Distracted by every other liquid passer-by,
the eyes have also
become part of a flow,
with no memory,
no judgement,
no color of its own.

In between the falling droplets,
I sometimes grasp, still in the air,
a glimmer of the sea.

It’s all anew,
I think…
I don’t remember.
The past,
is obsolete.

Left Right
I can never remember the time,
when people were still collecting stamps,
tabulating the symbols,
of letters not yet sent,
never to be sent,
many of them,
duplicates.
In my time, in my book,
I’m collecting just names, and their faces,
the post office has moved, from downtown,
everywhere,
and the faces,
the names,
are still waiting for letters…

Strolling down my collection,
a lone finger sends waves to the crowd,
moving back, moving forth, till it stops,
pointing one name at random,

It’s the first on the list.

Open window,
And send:
Worried face,
A thumbs up,
Then a quick middle finger,
Laugh out loud on the side,
Zipper mouth, dollar eyes,
Throwing up,
Then an eye roll.
Goodbye!
The hand starts all over again,

Pointing one name at random.
It’s the second on the list.
I can never remember the time,
when I sent away my last letter.
The post office has moved, from downtown,
everywhere.Silent whisper,
has become our exchange.
With no words, only signs,
intertwined, disconnected,
by the beautiful,
grammar … of emotion.
Left Right
The hand feels the phone.
Presses the camera icon.
Turns on selfie mode.
Takes pic, pic, pic, pic x 100.
Browses through.
Deletes everything.
I need to eat.
The hand starts all over again.
Now takes selfies with food.
The untraceable shape of a room full of mirrors,
lures a light flashing from somewhere … from everywhere,
to multiply all the facets of my soul:
the pigments, the dark spots,
the light in the eyes, the shadows of the past,
into a hundred figures, all the same,
distorted pixels of each other.A voice, trapped to hear no one but the self,
searching in vain for its own complement,
calls into the hollow, glittering glass:
Mmmmeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

The liquid sand, frozen, perhaps forever,
shatters with the sounds of an earthquake,
enclosed in a space too small,
playing back the fading echoes of an old underground melody:
Mmmeeeeee, Mmmeeee, Mmeee, Me.

In between two corners of the room,
I discover another light, a smile, a new muscle memory,
large enough to stretch onto the left and right,
in between bites of food,
munching away the vowels still reverberating everywhere:
Mmm,mm,mm,mm,m.

The curve sweeps into the past and the future,
a new image of who I was, the one I am becoming.

I am my own complement.

 

The right sits on the keyboard, the left covers the mouse. The eyes are closed, just resting for a while… In my head, I can see the hands moving away from each other. Like in a game of Snake, where both head and tail are growing at the same time. Speed levels 1,2, and 3: it takes an eternity to move from one corner to the other. I don’t want to grow old doing this! 4,5 and 6: the hands are swiftly avoiding each other, like people rushing quickly through a crowd during the rush hour. Crossing my fingers and jumping straight to level 10: my eyes, though closed, are spinning, following the mish mash of gestures. And then silence. They finally collided. In a forced embrace my hands have come together again…

I’ve trodden many hidden paths, and stepped into the unexplored. But this is new. I’m talking to the hands. For once, the right is quiet, and the left is speaking. I’m talking to the left. And it tells me back its own alien story. It’s beautiful. Grasping, reaching, drag & dropping, swiping, scrolling, touching, feeling. The story of the one who wanted to live outside her own mind. But it couldn’t. The right has always tried to figure out why. It’s about time the left gave it a try:

In epilepsy, neural networks are characterized by hyper-excitability.[1]

A simple stimulus can lead to seizures, periods of hyper-synchronous brain activity.[2]

During an epileptic seizure, one may experience convulsive body movements.[3]

When seizures occur often and the condition does not improve with pharmacological treatment, surgical intervention is advised.

This may involve the resection of the brain area that is the source of epileptic activity, typically the temporal lobe.[4]

Or the removal of the corpus callosum, a white matter structure comprising most of the connections between the two hemispheres. [5]

Side effects.

Sometimes, alien hand syndrome, typically affecting the left hand, where the person perceives the hand as acting on its own, reaching for objects according to their affordance, as opposed to acting according to the person’s intention.[6]

Confabulation: Visual processing is crossed, the left hemisphere processes stimuli in the right visual hemifield, the right hemisphere processes stimuli in the left visual hemifield. In patients without corpus callosum, a stimulus may reach the right hemisphere, and the person may act on it, even though the stimulus didn’t reach the other, left hemisphere. The left hemisphere is responsible for describing behavior verbally. If the left hemisphere sees the behavior, but doesn’t know the stimulus that caused it, it will just confabulate, it will make up a story. [7]

I’m talking to the hand. All day long. The hand, which gives shape to all the nonsense that flows between my ears.

I am … the hand.

The … hand.

[1] Basic mechanisms underlying seizures and epilepsy https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2510/

[2] Reflex seizure https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reflex_seizure

[3] Epilepsy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epilepsy

[4] Temporal lobe resection http://www.webmd.com/epilepsy/guide/temporal-lobe-resection#1

[5] Corpus callosotomy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corpus_callosotomy

[6] Alien hand syndrome https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_hand_syndrome

[7] Confabulation https://www.edge.org/response-detail/11513