Friday, April 29, 2011

Broken pencil poetry. Diving into the sun

I've always looked younger than I really am. I've often acted half my age as well. Somehow, though, I feel that I've missed out on a lot of the madness of childhood while I was growing up. Things are rarely the way we imagine them to be and we keep holding on for a dream until long after we've woken up.

I've also always been fascinated by the energy of youth, by people who live with passion rather than just live. I have constantly seen children younger than me who had more talent or knowledge than I did at their age or even when I was older.

I have also seen a crazy little film in the crazy way I often like to see them. Fragment by fragment, seldom starting with the beginning and almost never reaching the end. A perpetual story, where you can enjoy any part of it over and over again. Isn't that how youth is like as well?

This poem was inspired by that film. I hope you'll like it and that it makes as much sense to you as it does to me.

Diving into the sun
7 October 2006

Take the smooth jaws of destiny
To bite from your skin -

In twilight shivers a smile
You've poured in a hole in the road,
It's something cold and dark
Until you can no longer see the stars.

There is pure madness here,
In the shallow charms of youth,
Here you see the white bone curling
Around a blackened sliver of wood,
Doves love each other
And yet not quite.

Partake in this swirl we call life
Where nothing worries over blood,
Bestow upon us incantations
That hide behind the sun.

It pains me so that such sweet incense
Should be burnt on the altar of stain,
Yet what was once born white
Will be reborn again in marred reality
And altogether all the more pristine.

And of the times that were
Naught will be left, but the shiver.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A garden in a pot

Ever since I was in school and living with my parents, I've always had a small potted plant to take care of.

Little plants with big stories to tell

I had a colocasia, a plant with big leaves, also called "elephant's ear". It barely had two or three leaves and was quite sturdy, but I did take good care of it and enjoyed seeing its vibrant green. I can't remember very well, but I think mom took it for the balcony plants once and it withered a bit soon afterwards.

Another plant I had was a small hanging plant with long stems and small leaves. It grew so long that I had to keep it in the bookcase and the wooden shelf swelled with water. I noticed an interesting trick: if I took a small piece of the stem and replanted it, it would grow roots and become a happy new plant.

Once, we were asked to bring plants to decorate the classroom. Not wanting to part with mine, I just bought a new pot and soil and planted a few stems in it. The poor thing looked tiny and everyone laughed at it. Even if I tried to explain that it would grow, they wouldn't listen. So, I took it back and brought the other pot, with the long stems. Needless to say, they still laughed at it.

One of the more intriguing plants I've had was a cactus. It was perfect, since I didn't have to water it too much. I used to keep it under the clothes drawers and, on numerous occasions, it tried to snatch my clothes away from my hands. Just as it was growing its first flower though, mom decided that she would like it for her office. And there it went.

Failure after failure?

When I moved to the big city, my mom bought me a little plant, with orange flowers. It was the first plant that had flowers (except maybe for the cactus), so I was happy. Unfortunately, the flowers withered fast and in a few months the plant itself, despite my attempts to save it.

A couple of years ago, mom and dad bought me another plant, similar to the previous one, but with yellow flowers. I tried my best to care for it, but it never bore flowers again. It did however have huge lovely leaves at one time. I used to say it was my cute giant radish. Alas... This one withered too within a few days. I was baffled.

The yellow hibiscus and plotting a new potted plant...

Our last flatmate brought his own flower to the house. It is a yellow Japanese rose, or hibiscus, as they call it. It had just one stem and had been kept in the dark, but we managed to liven it up. It even tried to have a few flowers, but they fell before blooming.

The little rose had two problems: one was the tiny pot (and I know the huge one mom kept her own Japanese rose in) and the other was the small bugs it had on it. At first, I thought I would find some repellant to get rid of them, but one day I got ambitious, armed myself with a couple of damp paper tissues and cleaned them off, leaf by leaf. I was amazed to see that after this there was no more bug in sight.

Now, our friend had to move out when mom moved in, but he left the rose in my care, saying he'd be back for it when the weather got warmer. I would love to have a house plant again and thought about using a stem from the original rose to grow my own. I'm not very sure how I should do this and, since there is just one secondary stem, I would have to do it properly the first time.

The little hibiscus and, behind it, my poor withered "radish"...

I wanted to ask my visitors who have had the patience to read this far to help me with some advice. Mom said I should keep the stem in water for a few days, until it grows some roots. I wonder what my chances are with this little rose...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The light

The church bells tolled solemnly, filling the air with a metallic sound. No matter the event, this sound has always been ominous to my ears and I usually hurried along, head low.

This time, I wasn't in a hurry to go anywhere. I was standing among the mass of people, huddled around the church in the street, in the parking lot. We were all listening to the bell, waiting.

A little after midnight, the little flickers of light started moving out of the church and spread among the crowd, passed on from person to person. Soon, everyone had a lit candle in their hands.

The wind was blowing in gusts, making the tiny flames dance and shiver. We tried to cover them with plastic cups, with our hands, not letting the light go out. Some succeeded, others had theirs blown out and had to ask their neighbour to help them light theirs again.

Slowly, the masses started dissipating, each on their way home, carrying their prized candles in their hands. Walking home, with one hand over the plastic cup we had improvised as shelter for the lights, I could feel the heat on my palm. That heat was very familiar.

Every year, on Easter, I would go with my family to a nearby church at midnight, to get some light. Every year, the same nervousness, joy, worry about the little candle in my hand. We would sometimes stay for the mass too, singing Easter songs and saying to one another the traditional words "Christ has resurrected" and "Truly he has."

This year, I looked at my little candle with new eyes. Harder eyes, thinking that all of this was a cute charade, but nothing more. The only thing I had left was walking home, taking care of the candle. The little symbolic light of hope that I somehow needed to keep alive.

Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dream shards. Harley Davidson eggs

Last night I dreamt I was staying at a hotel of sorts with my mom, my fiance and a few other people. My mother's room was very elegant, with antique beds, tall mirrors and it was all extremely clean.

Out to find my friends in their other room, I met the little fat boy, who had a bunch of scallions in his hand, going to lunch. I started talking to him, to maybe get a couple of scallions myself. My dad and I always used to have them with almost every meal in spring.

"Of course you can have some. But first, I have to leave one here." We got to a classroom, where, on a bookcase shelf, there was a big bowl full of wilting scallions. The boy put one of his own in the bowl and said "Earth day".

Getting a bit late, I left the boy and his scallions and went to my friends' room. It was nothing like mom's room. It was dark, crowded, with a sense of familiarity. Everyone was huddled in front of a tv set, playing video games.

After staying a while and chatting, I got hungry. One of my friends ordered something for me, saying the food there was great.

Soon enough, the cook herself brought me the food on a plate. She was a stocky woman, of mysterious Russian-Spanish origin and her otherwise good English was sprinkled with a few Spanish words.

She carried a plate with three fried eggs and some fried meat. They were all so well fried, that the eggs had a crust underneath and on the sides, which was very close to a burnt shade of black.

Trying to stay nice, though I like my fried eggs without the crunchy crust, I tried a compliment towards the expectant cook. "Thank you! The eggs look very... sturdy." She seemed pleased with this and stayed for a chat.

Quite amused at all this, I turned to Scorp and showed him the food. "Look, Harley Davidson eggs!" He smiled and continued talking to the cook.

Unfortunately, just as I was about to dig in, mom called me for some important matter she had to discuss with me.

I went back to the other room, but everyone was asleep already. Mom woke up and started trying to persuade me about some nonsense she found important, like she always does. Losing my patience, I turned to leave saying "Mom, that's what you called me for? My Harley Davidson eggs are getting cold."

Of course, mom didn't get the joke and just grumbled something behind me. I left her to her own device and was on my way back to the other room and my lunch.

On the way, I met the boy with scallions again. I asked for some, thinking they might be good with my eggs, but this time he didn't want to. I ended up trying to wrestle one from his hands, while he kept arguing "It's for Earth day. They're for Earth day, you can't have any."

And this is where the dream shattered...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bla bla blo blog

I thought it would be interesting and quite fitting to talk about blogs. This is a blog and you, dear reader, are quite likely also a blogger, since one knows best how to be patient and read another's posts.

Extra, extra, read all about it!

A few months ago, the pet blogging community started a challenge: what did our blogs mean to us and what was our "schedule" or lack thereof?

There were a few interesting answers. Some came from professional journalists, who felt blogging was like a job to them and the blog - a publication which should be taken seriously. "Would you like it if your favourite newspaper or magazine was only issued on a whim?" There might be a point in that, but probably only for some blogs.

Companies and individual professionals offering a service or product might get more visitors to their online shops if they had a blog. Offer and product/version updates are always welcome to the interested customer.

There are also the blogs that are a lot like newspapers, republishing news and other "hot topic" stories. The hotter and more controversial the topic, the more intense the discussion in the comments section.

I don't really mind those blogs. To be fairly honest, I don't really read those blogs either. They are the kind of things that I find while searching for information and are very useful, but might not get a second visit from me.

Footprints on the "Welcome" rug

Now that I've bored you to death (and most probably annoyed a few of you as well), I will jump over the fence and hop in the neighbour's garden. Because that is how the more personal blogs feel like.

They are like open diaries, where you are invited to take a peek and say your opinion. The host isn't always home, but the door is always open and the tea is on the table.

This is how inspiring and pleasant are so many of the blogs where people not only use words, but use them with feeling.

I remember a question about bloggers getting writer's block. Well, if you ever lose inspiration about being yourself, go and see what your friends have said about you in their comments. Moreover, it is quite hard to have blogger's block. Your blog is your own little corner, where you can be as yourself as you like. People will appreciate the effort.

Thank you for visiting! Take a seat. I make some mean hot cocoa, would you care for a cup?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Broken pencil poetry. Clay

I used to live in a small, quiet town with my parents. Wherever you needed to go, it would take you about 10-15 minutes to get there. The streets were clean, there were chestnut trees on the sidewalk on the main street and you could really feel at home. The centre of the town was a long street, only for pedestrians. The forest was within walking distance and I used to go there every week for karate lessons.

Most people would say it isn't paradise city, nor extremely fun. It is my home town though.

Three and a half years ago, I moved to the big city to go to university. The place is a huge shock compared to what I was used to. Before, coming here for just one day exhausted me. The neighbourhood I live in isn't too great either, since it's right next to a big marketplace. It's dirty, crowded and loud. Public transportation is often ruled by the law of the jungle during rush hour.

The worst part about a big city is that you get lost in the crowd. You lose meaning, you have less chances of bumping into friends in the street. I used to be one of the "favourite" students because of all my school achievements. Nothing like that mattered anymore in university.
When I was still new in town and also still very homesick, I wrote a little poem about all my frustration at being in such a crowded place. One thing led to another and I found myself wallowing in it. I still miss home, but now my family isn't there anymore. It's easier to be away.

December 5th, 2007

I live here.
In this old domestication,
I live here.
And feel like I'm collecting dust,
Day by day,
Night by night,
With each passing second.

We are a mass,
We are a substance -
When all our dust gathers,
It moulds together
Until there is no individual.

There is no backspace,
No hidden illusion,
Everything is there, another part of us,
We are like molecules,
We are sticky, sweet and hard to swallow.

We go to this place or that
By tram, bus, tube, plane,
In masses, one huge wonderful army
Marching to its destiny,
To die for a common noble cause,
To be decorated and then forgotten
To rot,
To rot together...

Behold! There, in the corner,
With hidden eyes and gloved hands
Stands Procust with his tools,
Ready to pluck you from your soil
And throw you into a great pot
Of primordial soup.
We are the salt and the pepper,
That he whispers,
But when tasted
We still have no flavour...

We are all food for the worms though,
Why need we be so tasty?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bitesize fiction. Homesick

A little drop of sea water curled inside a seashell, wailing quietly, singing the only song it has learned to sing. Longing for home, sitting on its little spot on the table.

The little gold fish in the aquarium opens its mouth a few times, listening, understanding. In its own little mind, there is a call, a call of the sea. Singing with mute sounds, it joins the seashell in a chorus. The seaweed undulates slowly, dancing to the song of the waves.

The window swings open and the salty air rushes in, salty tears caught by the wind, spread around the room.

The light carpet waves as well, stirred by the soft breeze. The threads break into tiny pieces, small pieces, grains of sand.
The furniture and walls, melting down slowly like sandcastles someone had poured water on. Collapsing to the center of the room, revealing the light blue sky, the sunshine and soft white clouds.

The last wood shards from the door burst, pushed aside by a huge wave, washing everything in its way, taking the little gold fish and the seashell in its embrace. The two souls sang in unison, a song about the sea, a joyful song about being back home.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

"Resistance is futile"

Some of you who have read my other posts on this blog probably know that I am fond of sci-fi and particularly of the Star Trek series The Next Generation. Very few of you know about my father.

It has been more than a year now, that he died of cancer. I was there with him the last few days and it was a grueling time.

Today, I've seen the episode of the series mentioned where Picard is assimilated by the Borg. For those of you who don't know, the Borg is a collective organism made up on man-machine symbionts who want nothing more than to assimilate more and more people. Picard is the captain of the human star ship. You can imagine the rest.
Now, let me take you a few years back, when my parents and I used to watch this series together on tv. We loved it and assigned ourselves characters from it. Dad was a combination of Picard and Riker (the first officer), which made him Piker. Mom was counselor Adreeana Troi and I was, of course, little Data, who always said "may I ask a question?".

Watching this episode today and seeing the captain taken over almost completely by the Borg, brought back painful memories to me. Picard and my dad looked so much alike in their afflictions: pale, without the spark in their eyes that means the joy of being alive. Literally going out like a candle, at the mercy of a more powerful organism living in them, who didn't really give a damn, except for its own expansion.

The first book I translated had a lot to do with cancer. One intriguing theory was that our cells normally collaborate for the well-being of the organism. If one has to die for the common good, then it will. But cancer is strange. The cell refuses to die and obey any command from the central system. It modifies itself and the cells around it, drawing up energy and blood to create a whole new "organism", which seemingly has a mind of its own. A very strange story of treachery. It shouldn't happen and we don't know why it happens. But it happens.

Just like the Borg.

Except that there is very rarely a happy ending in our real life...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Scorpio Design

Maybe you've heard of my fiancé, Scorpio, though I don't say much about him here (he's rather camera-shy). He's a friendly guy though, don't worry. Also, he's quite the budding artist and this is what the whole story is about.

Lately, he's been improving his skills in graphic design, both 2D and 3D. Since we're both kind of out of work right now, he's been making logos for a lot of companies.

He has also recently launched his little presentation site, showcasing some of his newest and best logos. Feel free to look around, though it's just at the beginning and doesn't have a lot of content yet.

That is his site logo.
Now, for my little announcement...

He is offering to make free logos or buttons for my followers throughout the month of April.

If you have an idea for a design and want him to do it for you, just contact him (the e-mail address is on the site) or me or just leave a comment here. It's really easy and said he'd do it for free for my followers. That was his little request, that you also follow either of the two main blogs. I've also made this announcement on the doggie blog.

I do hope you drop by and request a logo or button. It's free after all.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Once upon a village road...

Big world, very big world
For the first 4 years of my life, I lived with my grandparents at their village house. Life was simple then, I was in the garden all day or playing with the hatchlings and everyone around me seemed old and wise, including my 10 year-old friends.

My grandmother was like a second mother to me. I know you hear it a lot and it's as cliché as can be, but it is true. She took care of me, since my parents had to work. Maternity leaves lasted only a few months back then and there was no word of paternity leaves yet.

Most of the people I saw in the village were very old, while my parents, still quite young, lived in a town and went to work every day. My little prekindergarten mind got the idea that, when you're small, you live in the village with grandparents; then, you go to the big city (my hometown is a very small town actually) and go to school; after that, when you are old enough, get married, have kids and go to work; eventually, when you grow old, you will move back to the village to raise chickens and farm the land. Yes, it was all very clear to me then.


One of my fondest memories is about taking care of ducklings. Ducks are my favourite animal and I can swear they have a permanent smile on. I was attached to one in particular, who was hatched out of season and didn't have a "groupie" to stay with. You know that baby ducks will think of the first being they see as their mother? My dear duckling pet was following me all around. I would pretend I was teaching her tricks...

Unfortunately, she must have ended up as roast, since that was the fate of all poultry around there. My grandma never really told me what happened to her and maybe that's for the best. Maybe I will entertain you with more stories of my country life later...
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