Leave of Absence.

It’s been 2 months since I’ve posted anything. April and May have not been kind to this idle dreamer. Work left me drained. My imagination and passion were lost in the long hours of labor. Every second tick was a stab towards my fantasy filled brain, and I felt the color and wonder slowly leak. I wanted to patch the holes, and store the ooze of my leaking world in a jar by writing it all down before it disappeared, but my body was too tired to move. Everything was lost and my brain has flat lined.

Now I’m here salvaging the remains of a lost world.


Part 1: Lost and Found

A lot has happen, and a lot of nothing happen as well. Where to start…

On April 7, I blacked out for the first time. It was National Beer Day, so naturally my friends and I went out to drink. One thing leads to another on nights like that, nights where alcohol is involved and a large group of friends you haven’t seen since high school gather, things just happen and there is not explanation. With alcohol rationale is throw out the window and you are whoever you want to be that night.

So I can’t quite explain how or why I decide to take a Xanax bar. To be honest, I don’t remember being offered or even taking it. That detail does no exist in my memory bank, but I was told that it was something that happen. That is all I can tell you. I closed my eyes at the bar and ended up in my room when I reopened them. Somewhere between that process was a car crash.

I spent the next few weeks recovering both my mind and body, and piecing together the the events of that night. I didn’t read. I didn’t write. I didn’t think about writing. April never existed, I spent those few weeks in a walking comma.

***

May came around and I started evaluating my life. Where I was going. What I was doing. What I wanted to do.

I did that for maybe two days and escaped the issue by sitting down, watching anime, and playing video games. It became a routine; I would get home, go to my room, and watch anime or play something for countless hours. It was a habit that I hadn’t done in a long time.

I was a hikikomori in my own way.

I wasn’t working towards anything. I didn’t want to do anything but stay home. The pen and paper slowly collected dust and I was accepting the idea of a… bland life.

I’m not sure what it was (it might have been while watching Tokyo Ghoul, and seeing one of the characters trying to apply for college), but I got the guts to apply at a University. Despite saying I was done with college.

I felt my chances to get in were slim, but I wanted to try anyway. I wanted to work towards something and look forward for something, so I applied for the journalism program at University of North Texas.

The wait has been harrowing. I wanted to know the results immediately to know what I would be doing for the next coming year.

I waited…

and waited…

…and waited

for what felt like months.

The result finally came in.

Congratulations, Jesse! You’re in!

Advertisements

Batman v Superman.

      So on Tuesday, despite the quarreling reviews, I went to go see Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (mouthful of a title). To give a very short review in a few sentences: It’s entertaining, not a masterpiece or revolutionary, but I don’t think it deserves a 29 on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s sort of what I expected when I watch any other blockbuster superhero film.

      It was strange though. At the end of the film, when my friends and I were discussing the film on the drive back home, I couldn’t help but think I watched it differently from them. One friend said he enjoyed it, and would probably watch it again. The other friend felt the opposite and was nitpicking small but yet notable details. When it came to my opinion the only thing I could, or perhaps wanted to, talk about was the philosophical and political questions that were touch upon in the film.

302295_275510912473151_761370200_n

      You see for me I’ve seen superheroes duke it out in movies, comics, and videogames; and I most likely will see them duke it out again in May. So it could be that I’ve smoked the shit of the superhero crack pipe since 2000, and now the effects of it have been diluted. I crave a different sort of high to stimulate the mind. Batman v Superman almost did that, as a superhero movie.

      If you were to ask me how would I fix the film I would say change it to a political drama featuring superheroes.

watch-the-final-batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice-trailer-now-835757      The first half of the film is just that, and it is the most interesting bit. You have people asking Superman to stand trial and face the consequences of his doings, asking the government to limit his power. You have Batman, a mere mortal, afraid of losing power, afraid of not being in control, which sends him out on this mission to prove to himself that he is not powerless as he was when he was a child. Lex, the villain, tries to find imperfection in what others believe is perfect, “God takes sides! No man in the sky intervened when I was a boy to deliver me from daddy’s fist and abominations. I figured out way back if God is all-powerful, He cannot be all good. And if He is all good, then He cannot be all-powerful.”
The film questions the idea if someone should be worshipped if they also hurt the innocent? Should a god abide to human laws? Who should be held accountable for the casualties and destruction when the battle is all over?

      You can see these questions and themes developing in the film, but they just blow it up in the end. As if to say, “get your politics out of my comic book movie,” because to create a film that questions the morals and beliefs of the audience can only result in a bore-fest. And Hollywood refuses to make something that won’t cash in, so just throw it in the trash and watch superheroes fight it out for the 100th time.

Question: What did you think of the film? Did you like? Did you hate it?

3/26

I’ve been trying to write this post since Saturday!

      I had made plans to do a write up of my Saturday and talk about all the interesting things I heard, saw, and did, but that same night I went out with my friends and got a little drunk. Then I thought about doing it on Sunday after I got off work, but, the moment I got off of work, I took an hour nap, woke up, listened to music, watched TV for a bit, and then went back to bed.

      Now, I’m trying to figure what all I wanted to sat about my Saturday, this morning, but I honestly don’t remember. Which has resulted in me making a list commandments for writing. The first one: Never hold off on writing because if you do the moment fades.

      That’s the only one I have written down for now. I’m sure the list will develop over the year… if I don’t forget to write it down.

      I can’t complain too much. Instead of writing about my Saturday on Sunday, I did, however, worked on my short story. So it wasn’t a total waste of time.

IMG_3570      But yes, back to the subject at hand, Saturday. On Saturday my mother, siblings, and I drove down to Ennis, Texas for an annual family cookout at my tío’s ranch. Maybe it was the fact that I was out of the city, but I felt free like the cloud of smog that carried my worries stopped hovering over me, and was left behind in the city.

The kids ran in the open field, smashing eggs over each others heads (we decided to celebrate Easter early). The wind gently breezed through slightly shifting my hair handsomely. The sun, set high in the sky, radiated enough light for what felt like a perfect 70°.

      I casually sat and overheard many conversations. Conversations about lost time, lost people, and lost memories. However, the one that caught my ear was the one about the border from Laredo to Nuevo Laredo.

 IMG_1664     I walked in mid sentence. Once the sun goes down the place is a ghost town, he said, it’s not what it use to be (how was it before, I wonder). People are scarred they run into their homes, lock their doors, and close their window curtains. I already knew who he was talking about, so much so that I started to feel sick to my stomach. ¿Y la policia? No hombre ¿Que pinche policia? None of the police get paid enough to risk their life or dare to stop them. Especially, when they get well-paid by them. He talked about “them” for a while. Them… a nameless parasite sucking the sweet nectar out of life. If you’re not from Mexico they can smell it on you, he said, and if they get you… forget about it. He talked about how long it takes to cross the border now. A process that use to take less then a hour now takes 4. He kept rambling about how ugly it has gotten and how worse it’s going to get, but at the end of it all, just as he was done beating the subject to a bloody pulp with a bat, he added, but the nights there are amazing. Everybody is alive, and there is nothing like it. He then got up and left, to get food I assume, and I stayed sitting, the wind tenderly playing with my curls, thinking about the many wonderful sights I would see when I finally travel down south across the border.

Where is the Poetry?

      This past week I’ve been burying myself in my readings, and privately writing in my journal flash fiction and poetry. None of which I plan to publicly publish here, for a lot of it I feel is unfinished and needs refining. Although, when I do read whatever clutter of words I have mustered to a friend they tell me it’s fine.

      I’m not sure why but I’ve been quite cynical about things lately, mostly about poetry. For a while now, I felt the art was being unappreciated by both writers and readers. I’ve seen great writers (on WordPress and Tumblr) go undetected, and lesser writers on Instagram get praised. Then again I am measuring their “greatness” through hashtags, at sign mentions, emoji comments, and number of likes.

      I was beginning to hate the current state poetry was in. The stuff I was reading on Instagram felt generic, lifeless almost, and yet people loved it. They would tag their significant other, as if those were the only words that capture their feelings. The subject this poet wrote, who I will not mention, was love. I’m okay with love. Love and I have a good standing, but if you’re going to talk about love make me feel something.

      I know what this looks like: a hate message from a lesser know poet to a well-known poet. But stick with me there is a light at the end of this intolerable tunnel.

      It didn’t help that, around the same time my cynicalness kicked in, I started to feel more and more alone. Not alone in the I need a significant other of the opposite sex, but in the I need to find a group of poets and artist in my community type of alone (Maybe it does help, considering the the book I’m reading dives into that subject matter, but I’ll save that discussion for another time).

      Those two factors are the reason I’ve been so reserved. Instead of calling my friends to see if they would like to grab a cup of coffee or go to the bar with me, I venture out on my own. With me I carry a satchel that contains a notebook and pen, for when the rain of inspiration fall on me, and a few books to read in between the droughts. The solitude has open the door to some of my most interesting writing, I think. Despite the fact it’s a hole I wish to crawl out of and into an other filled with other poets.

      On the night of  March 8, the thought of “poetry is dying” immediately faded away, and was filled with a flickering flame of hope. I went to my traditional coffee shop for my nightly dose of writing fuel. The place was holding an event for International Women’s Day. It was a poetry reading. I walked in at the start of the event. I decided to stick around and listen to their words. I fell in love. I remember writing a poem about it the moment it ended. I remember wanting to buy their books and all of them a beer, but I was broke.

I remember the shock to the heart their words delivered to bring poetry back alive in me.

I guess the question here is: am I being too harsh?

Dear February,

Dear February,

         There are people who love you and there are people who love to hate you, but no matter what it is it’s always in the condition of love. As for me, I’m in between, and I don’t care. Your month felt more than one day less, despite it having been Leap Year. 

         I don’t remember much about you; other than you, making feel a little more alone. However, I did find the courage to talk to someone new. Giving what your month represents, you would love her.

         Though my heart aches for we have never actually met. Our conversations has never extended over the walls of chatrooms and comment boxes.

So tell me Master of Love, why connect us but build a barrier between her and I.

         Believe it or not, I didn’t spend Valentine’s Day alone. The day was spent with a cup of coffee, cigarettes, and a friend. We talked about lovers past, and the scars that they left that we must carry. The question of the night: Will we ever heal?

I read three books this month:

Midnight in Mexico – Alfredo Corchado
A Bright Moon for Fools – Jasper Gibson
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

         Also, I started getting into philosophy, for my own curiosity (and to keep my brain thinking). March looks uncertain but promising.

Note to self: Write more poetry.

Footnotes: The Great Gatsby

bfz5ovh9ecolxdr1f3j00fka2.534x800x1      What can I say about The Great Gatsby that hasn’t already been insightfully discussed? It’s one of those books that are mandatory to read in school. The school walls know more on the subject than any being, and if you listen carefully you can hear them whisper the knowledge of the past, adding to the well-known conversation in literature class.

      The Great Gatsby was a book that linearly loomed in my room for years. I read it once mindlessly in high school. I tried to read it again for my own enjoyment, but I never got half way or half way of half way. It’s a slim beast, and I mean that in a positive manner. If you wanted to, you can read Gatsby in one sitting, but Gatsby is too great of a book to be skim through.

      It tells the story of Jay Gatsby, through the eyes of Nick Carraway, and his love and his obsession for a girl he dated for a month five years back, Daisy Buchanan.

      Simplistically, The Great Gatsby is a love story, but it is also entails the dangers of chasing the American Dream or rather the wrong dream, and notes the lack of empathy from the aristocracy. It takes place in New York during the Jazz Age an age where “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” as the New York Times noted. To F. Scott Fitzgerald, that was the American Dream in the 1920s.

      Fitzgerald was a poet I see that now. He wrote beautifully. He wrote about the ugly inners of the rich, but describes them as lovely diamonds. Look at the way he painted Daisy’s voice, “I looked back at my Cousin, who began to ask me questions in her low, thrilling voice. It was the kind of voice that the ear follows up and down, as if each speech is an arrangement of notes that will never be played again. Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth, but there was an excitement in her voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget: a singing compulsion, a whispered “Listen,” a promise that she had done gay, exciting things just a while since and that there were gay, exciting things hovering in the next hour.” In this way, you fall in love with a character’s façade that masks their immoral personality.

      I lovingly envy the way Fitzgerald wrote. If I could, I would copy The Great Gatsby word per word in my notebook. The words easily roll off the tongue from the beginning of the novel, “In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.” Listen to it. It’s poetry but not in the form that a poet writes a poem, it’s lyricism.

      As I reflect on the emotions Gatsby has encompassed me in, I ask myself is the American Dream now so different from the American Dream back then? The answer, I think, is no. We are all trying to get a little more drunk and little more richer. Enough is never enough. For Gatsby it wasn’t enough for Daisy to just love him, but she had to say she never loved Tom. For Tom one women isn’t enough. As Nick says the closer we get to our dream the further away they seem, but that doesn’t matter cause, “tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther,” and maybe one day we will be satisfied.

Downtown Boys.

I want to share something with you. A band to be more exact. I recently stumbled upon Downtown Boys, as I was casually listening to my daily podcast.

Downtown Boys is a “Bi bilingual political dance sax punk party from Providence,” as they would have it. Which isn’t wrong. Their is music up beat, fast-pace, and the sound of the sax adds a ska vide to it all; switching between english and spanish lyrics, disclosing Victoria Ruiz, the lead vocalist, Latin roots. Their music tackles social and political issues from women’s rights to race to capitalism.

I’m not one to critique music and I never will; props to those who can, I guess.

I wanted to share them with you to give you an insight into the music I listen to, but mostly to show them off to the world. A band like this needs to be heard, and the message they are trying to convey, by more people.