Sunday, 26 December 2010

The Picture

But though they are gone, the night is full of them; robbed of colour, blank of windows, they exit more ponderously, give out what the frank daylight fails to transmit- the trouble and suspense of things conglomerated there in the darkness.
- Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

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Elie found an old picture of her mother while taking a stroll in a wood.

The art of wandering is mainly to seek for the astonishment of winding up in an unknown destination. To wander in a familiar place, on the other hand, is to contrive yourself a complexity with which it foretells a even more astonishing outcome. Elie took a stroll in a wood of the vicinity, an upset girl searching aimlessly for merriment.

Some writers come across their rebellious phase in their early developments. Others' extend to the day of their death, to whose scatter-brained relatives' dedication of a rather deadpan elegy might even induce some hollering rage from under the soil. Elie had a rather awful Christmas so she compensated it by a desultory walk in the wood- that sounds fairly practical for sure. But then her usual doggedness was obvious. Instead of resorting her angst to some excusable assails at wild lives, she coaxed the nature to spawn surprises. For the nature, with the sight of those trembling weeds manifested their apparent shock, it was the bittersweet tantalization before their final moment.

It is beyond moral discipline when one pries into the other's private affair so persistently that the action almost mirrors that of a mouse snooping for its bolthole. It better be satisfied once it settles fuzzily in its hideout, or with its perseverance the wall will soon be collapsed. A good story is made veritably good with its proper distance to the readers. The stimulus of mystery incites the readers' inquiring-eyes into where it is parasitized. It also sets tingles to the writer's pen which at times probes ruthlessly into that poor victim. All of you idiots spear the heart of the story and devour it greedily nonetheless thus it was some elixir!

There goes without saying the story's reluctance to unfold some personal subtleties of Elie's mother, her time with Elie, her maternal relationship with Elie, her role in Elie's family, her personality, the cause of her death, her death. It can only be revealed that the funeral was held not far from Elie's house. A small gathering of about thirty, consisted mostly of their extended family. The whole ceremony went as swiftly and serenely as that very day- no wind blew, no birds sang, nor any tears shed. Only the irregular throbs of Elie's heart was audible, and the sound was only privileged to her ears.

Scenes switched forward to the present day and Elie stood holding her mother's picture in the middle of a well-familiar wood. Tentatively Elie stood twisted the picture in her sweated palms. The earth, a roaring silence. It is believed that some people are so discreet that even their subsequent reactions or emotions require considerable time to deliberate about. Elie was no prude but she was neither the one who would easily compromise to abrupt overflow of sentiments. To save her from such an awkward quandary in which she could feel all invisible eyes fixating at her, how she wished the picture would turn into a mere block of ice, and melted unaware.

If the theory of the readers constantly being dismissed as outsiders is intenably sound, then it can also apply to the relationship between Elie and the picture. Although the picture cast her mother as its heroine, it gave no lights of welcoming when first picked up by Elie. It creaked with complaints in Elie's hands, and even if it was being laid gently, its demanding address to the wind made them suspected of a dangerous liaison.

Elie found it hard to muster up her courage just to take a look at the picture, although through glances an outline of the story behind was roughly made. Her mother was presumably in her early twenties. Beautiful as a flora, effortlessly won many hearts of men in town but powerless to challenge her parents' authority. Most probably her mother was made to sit in front of the cameraman, the only man in her life that really delved into her mind. Killed her and cooped her up in a frame peremptorily, with a single click.

But how strangely the picture dominated the presence of Elie, and rippled her emotions into tumbles. The power of the practically-lifeless, the immobile- like currents under some tumultuous waves. Elie still stood there, wooden-eyed, indecisive of her next step. For most spectators, this scene has almost got on their tethers end and the possibility of the ending to be inexplicably parodied is what they dread the most. Elie heard their worries, their indignation, but the residue of her astonishment had yet known to simmer down. Instead, it made Elie to turn her head and browse everything around her offhandedly. Trees, red dirt, sprouts, trees, weeds, barks, trees, trees, weeds...

Some said the boundary between fascination and boredom is never too difficult to tread over. It is the sweetness on your tongue which vanishes in a pace prevails that of you lingering on the flavour. It was partly with the aforesaid and partly with the pardonable fact that the sky was darkened. Elie decided to leave the wood, but first she must divest herself of this bundle. This picture, which mingled with her palm-sweats, had already entangled into a scruffy paper ball. The mixed feeling of both reluctant to throw away the picture and desperate to rid herself of it truly pestered Elie. How those two feelings from opposite poles could bring out the exact, heart-wrenching effect?

Not a second late. Elie eventually threw the picture away, but most unfortunately for the readers the story has yet to stop here. Like every crime story with the culprit trying to narrow-escape the red-handed scene, their groping for exit incurs some tugging-back. With every angle and every inch of the deformed picture trying anxiously to grasp Elie's hands, she shook it off in such a violence as if the picture was some fatal virus. The picture laid, at first tumbled somewhat but gained no further speed, back to its usual place. The crease of the picture encroached onto her mother's mouth. There with Elie's appalling eyes she saw her mother finally cracked into a smile. A smile that could live automatically on the face without any companies or embodiments of the other features. A smile that seemed more into the observer than the picture itself.

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Elie took a big gulp of the soup and it stuck in her throat like a bundle. She vowed she would never venture into the wood again.

Elie vowed that she would never venture into the wood again.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Frank Sinatra, "A Foggy Day"



* Frank Sinatra's songs are widely welcomed by any occasions. They are like puddings, with various different toppings.

Some become broody in their early teens,
I took it further by pining for a life as a hermit.
As my age progressed,
the hankering only got more severe instead of blurring away on a blotting paper.
How the social scene has steered to the vulgarity plays a crucial role in consolidating my dream.
It is as if the whole place was turned into a massive barhouse,
the most outlandish and unwelcomed ones belonged to those who steeled themselves on their sobriety.
The desperate measures those heartbroken ones took to leave their beloved home,

and transported themselves to another place where they still succumbed to supreme drunkenness.
Being hemmed in an overwhelming scale of grimness and solitude,
they sozzled.

I appreciate shirking the work of being a submissive recipient of news for a day or two,
but my equanimity can only withhold a short while before I pucker my nose again to snoop for fuzziness.
It is as if a furnace could never sustain its unlikely renovation into an icehouse.
It would squeak, or sometimes, implode with complaints.

The fire in my heart spurs me on;
it also terminates the surreptitious path to a flinching reclusive life.
The aforesaid is not some paragon for some self-edifying cause,
but a rather firm declaration:
that a cat can never exude her prowess,
until she catches a mouse and claim the victory.

Until then,
all the mice must watch their backs.

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"My tale is done. There runs a mouse: whoever catches her may make a great, great cap out of her fur."- Brothers Grimm, Hansel and Grethel

Saturday, 18 December 2010

T.Rex, "The Visit"



* Marc Bolan took a visit to one of his many dreams which was scattered with inexplicable patterns. Logic played the unwelcoming intruder.


I had a dream last night of the world turning into one of those settings in Harold Pinter's plays.
The world was practically normal; virtually silent with no other characters except myself.
The grave silence of the setting foregrounded the fastidiousness of one's ear.
The intermittent sound of a flushing toilet was acutely audible, interspersed with the throbs of my heart.
Suddenly a shadow fleeted through the window.
The queerest happened as I presumed the passing figure as a mere harmless passerby.
I, who is always suspicious of things, be it only a absentminded glance, succumbed to the mysteriousness in an enigma-rousing environment!

Then, like every other dream, my legs jellied.

Some spend the day muse about the most improbable,
or squander their doubts on trivialities.
The others seize their day permitting the hours slip through their fingers;
never panic too much even when the sky is a few stories lower.
Cast either of the two in my dream,
and make that passing figure an ominous assassin.
With or without notice,
both will be assailed

like a daisy being trampled in a wasteland.
The writer bears the sole witness.
Meticulously he details the process of the daisy's final moment on his notebook,
embellishes it with florid language and fantastical imagination.
He is at pains of saving the poor daisy's life,
the scene of her termination be the only prey on his mind.

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"Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:- Do I wake or sleep?"- John Keats, "Ode to a Nightingale"

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Antony and the Johnsons, "Thank You For Your Love"




* Overload compliments will make the singer eventually reach into a crescendo of gobbledygook.


Victor Hugo once said that complimenting someone is like giving her a kiss on the veil.
Smug and flattered she might be,
but the kiss is merely stained on the veil, that damnable membrane.

Somebody has told you to rub those compliments into bundles of snowballs
and throw them all away when the monsoon came.
But your eyes are glazed over by the glistening beauty of the snowballs,
therefore you keep them, after much deliberation, and rather witness them inundating your corner.

Or people begin to complain to you that they can no longer see your face,
for the veil has lost its transparency with smears of kisses.
Little did they know, neither could you see clearly of your way.

Hold back your tears.
You should never let loose a drop.
Until you climb up that pinnacle,
and let the insurmountable altitude trigger your lachrymal gland-
you caress that little diamond drop gently in your cupped hands.

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"Maxine honey, whoever told you that you look good in tight pants was not a sincere friend of yours."- Tennessee Williams, The Night of the Iguana

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Johnny Cash, "Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound"




* Johnny Cash's rendition of Tom Paxton's classic is hemmed in with grits and veils of smoke.


My train of thoughts always goes thus when journeying:
the nervousness propels the churn of my stomach growling for inexplicable hunger.
The mixed feelings of excitement and premature homesickness trigger multitudes of music notes in my ears.
Numerous music notes, play incessantly and intermittently, rush to and fro, like flies in net.
The melody blurs out with the increase of its speed.
As a result they all turn into awkward glossolalias,
the alien language I speak in some alien lands.

I love a journey without an end:
the prolong of one's expectation,
the expectation one relishes- I suspect it to be the only moment that is truly of one's own, the time one can truly relax.
I love a journey without a destination:
it is a reasonable excuse to shirk one's daily responsibilities and take upon adventures,
small scaled notwithstanding, life itself can be adventurous anyway.
And more expectations yet to come.

Because where you will land in might be none but a disappointment,
a disappointment that deteriorates your weary body,
a disappointment that makes you stare back several times and notice the unnoticeable:
the fly, the traces of smog, the red dirt on the bench, the candy-wrapper which hampers your way.
So you long for another journey.
That is how fickle lovers do:
they live in expectations,
they live without destination.

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"Dull sublunary lovers' love
(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
Those things which elemented it."- John Donne, "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning"

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Joanna Newsom, "Easy"




* Joanna Newsom sounds like an enigmatic robin trapped in the webs of a harp.


His mistress rubbed his forehead gently, fingers drenched with oil balm.
His exhausted body planked down before her like a long-rooted tree under defeat.
The sound of humming mantras swerved with the smoke of a burnt-out candle.
"Just lay down and relax, my lord," he heard her said, "just take it easy."
His eyes blurred.

She took an odyssey to a foreign land with a rumbling hope of meeting her long-lost father,
but hope dusted away.
Loitering aimlessly on a street packed with esoteric hurly-burly,
she tried to put up the easy-breeziness by forcing down the mingled, nondescript feeling
While stomach still churned.

Dismissing love before disillusioning the pain without love,
the thought tumbled in her head along with the punishment of her imprudence.
Drawing up the curtains unconventional for a heavy nightfall,
she perched on the sill and waited patiently for the lights to come.

Trouble, weariness, loneliness, dejection,
we all loathe you and jerk you off like disease.
You scrape through the sky with traces of your lilting waltz resembling the aeroplane clouds,
under the eyes of the wary you seek for the next person to spawn on.
The world of idiotic easiness, you sneer.

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"Everybody has problems, but the thing is not to make a problem about your Problem."- Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol

Friday, 26 November 2010

Double Identity(Part IV)

But I did see him! And her! In the mirror! He greeted her, in a pleasantly robotic manner. She showered him with much-belated condolences and inquiries- for his health, for his mood, for his living condition(wouldn't that wench just browse the house herself?) and for the weather!? Ha, the weather! He replied absolutely nothing saved that of a constant bow-head and idiotic smile. She was crushed by his idiocy and reticence, and also the fail attempt to display her notorious ardency(Hypocrisy!Idiocy!) Complete noises. He crooked his head somewhat, still keeping that idiotic smile which feigned a pure form of innocence. She was also notorious for her low boredom threshold; she lost the patience to coming to terms of his indisposition so she knocked the table with her knuckles, hoping the loud sound would psych up the numb soul. The escapade worked, for he held his head askew as a dying fish struggling in a net and let out a shriek. A shriek I wished I had never heard unless I was born in hell.

For years I have tried desperately to stop him from making any further scene. I bolted the door, I kept my activities as sedentary as possible, I even tied myself on a chair once I sensed signs of his uncontrollable excitement. But all of those measures still proved to be tragically abortive. You thought the world was the same. You thought you two were of a kind. You thought you could dominate the world, which unarguably included yourself. And things would eventually smooth out in the end, as written in the scenarios.

People have been afraid of me. They claimed to see me wandering around the proximity, like a waif. Gulping down the river greedily at dawn, fawning on dead creatures as vultures when night fell. It was that idiotic smile that frightened them the most. The veiled artlessness which folded up extreme viciousness. So in dribs and drabs people began to eschew me. I had a wrong illusion that world was rumbustious enough to accept people like us, well at least, people like my other half.

So my story ends with me and my alias living happily ever after? Apology, my readers, but I don't think I can ever put up with him, nor can I shake off my intermittent desire to end his life. And end mine. But it can never be that offhanded. I used to be made sit through the grueling family union dinner by my mother. You know that hackneyed process, of people trying to put their fingers into your pie yet water you down all at once. The label of a social inept, the manifestation of social snobbery, all weigh down on me. You feel the repulsion yet the obligation makes you stick to your chair, dealing with those bestial, blood-sucking bastards. The feeling is sort of miserable though, unless you have no souls.

(The End.)

Double Identity(Part III)

The climax of my story finally reached, and I warn you my readers, there are not many pages left till the end of my story, but more empty pages yet to come for my restless, ceaseless life. I confess to you that I did, from time to time, think about destroying both of us. I suspected it be the best way to stem that fetid evil. It was beyond horrific when one day it came to your disillusion that the practice of exorcising the evil spirits must be done at the expense of your own self. You and your own self, to be more precise. Or to say, the evil spawns in you, in that reflection of you in the mirror.

Then one day came was the neighbor who used to drop by with baskets of tomatoes when my mother was still alive. It must had been an eventful day, for the frail wooden door hadn't heard its knocks for years. As I stood up and was ready to make my way to the door, all in a style of complete insouciance since now the curiosity of how my alias would react overrode the astonishment of my unwelcomed guest.

Now, if I ended the story here and deemed it a cliffhanger, I wouldn't be more grateful, for what that wide-eyed evil did next was extremely hideous. Hideous! He started as well, much to my contentment, when he heard the door knocks. Contrary to my presumption though, he triggered up and within a few steps, there he landed beside the door, as swiftly as a hare. My neighbor's characteristic, jingling laughs swarmed into the room, the next thing I knew. Once I saw the downy leg of hers poising on the threshold, noted that the conventional dressing code was not prevalently adoptable in this area, hence the permission for dresses which were short enough to reveal one's legs, not to mention unshaved legs.

Once I saw her downy leg poising on the threshold, I jerked my head with such violence that the neck has been pretty swollen till now. Much to my bewilderment and disgust, I saw not a single flesh and blood standing before me. The door was well-shut. Little spots of swiveling shadows only belonged to those importunate flies hovering on an unfinished cake.

(to be continued...)

Double Identity(Part II)

You were always certain that those preternaturals did exist, although in your life you might not have the privilege to witness them within a nail's distance. You knew they would exist, although your mother had been trying desperately to wean you from those 'ominous mumbo-jumbos.' You read them in havoc-wreaking stories by Allan Poe; they were all fairly familiar to you: ears on walls, cat in walls. You sneered, dismissed them at times but still, you had to admit that they did give shivers down your spine. It's like a tribal statue, looming, standing stock-still before you. It has preoccupied your mind for ages to remove the statue, for it triggers unnecessary fear. But every time when you happen to glance at its eyes, red-beaded, infernal perhaps, in a shimmering way, your plan of dispelling the statue freezes up.

So I lived with him for days without taking any measures or extending my shocks. I lived with him, that phantamagoric image of mine. He was there while I was toiling with my daily chores. The chores weren't too tedious though, I only swept off the dusts on my books, a well-organized library of them; never too bothered to scrape off the fungi climbing on my walls, for they give out a titillating smell which made the termination relatively difficult to perform, hard to put into words.

He was also there, every meal, thrice a day, made me have penitence of even swallowing the smallest morsel of food. This conjured up my childhood memory of swashbuckling in my backyard and even before my mother came scolding me, I could feel the moon kept its severe vigilance. The moon itself didn't have eyes, of course, but I was sure it never dropped its stare.

Things stayed unchanged for days. I was kept under rigid vigilance(or hostage) by that wooden phantom, whose eyes were two completely arid allotments in where torrents were impossible to awake the sprout of rod. But the innocence was there, the wicked innocence which exempted him from the profound understanding of the viciousness behind this hideous shenanigan and my intractable hatred. Yes, the case had become pretty ominous instead. The mysteriousness had worn off over time once you took into account that it was even madder not to believe.

I'd always suspected the wood behind my hut to be something more than what it deceived me- with trees and trees and myriads of trees. My mother, when she was alive of course, used to warn me of not straying near any distance of the wood. She wouldn't acknowledge enchantment, sadly, for the atheist's mind was always doggedly scientific. But I knew something must reside there. Something I might never witness, but took advantage of the ripened time to seep into my dull life, to weave itself into my fruitless storyline, and cast its necromancy on me.

(to be continued...)

Double Identity(Part I)

Now if you're sitting comfortably, I'll tell you my own story. That thing came unexpectedly. One morning, a slightly unordinary day it was, the sun-frazzled day when I saw three instead of two albatrosses perching languidly on a tree.

On this serene morning when even the paperboy was self-conscious of making scratching noise with his bicycle, that thing encroached upon me. Like a disease and stealthily it was, it slid in from under the door and mounted up my body, a pace resembled that of a fox hovering around its prey.

Despite the intricate process of my transformation, the consequence was unarguably simple. That is, I was split into half.

It was such a pity. It certainly was. I would rather have my own replica: someone doing a send-up of me so we can laugh, talk, whisper our secrets together, like my twin brother as to say. That is presumably what people will commonly assume when they are informed of me 'splitting into half,' but no! One must understand that I do fancy companions. Although the old maxim attest to the attributions of a good company, I do find a large horde of chatty larks more tiresome than delightful.

I was born an only and not long after, a single child. Life had been bitterly lonely, especially since my ever-dutiful mother had passed away, I had cloistered myself in a dinky cottage hut, like every rabbit burrow you will read in a whimsical fairytale which you expect some furry gnomes to pop up and wave.

For short, I accept one or two friends who share my idiosyncrasies, who can put up with my volatile temper. I accept friends but not him.

I would love to make my story more novel, more esoteric, if I were a writer, bestowed with ingenious yarn-spinning talent. I personally relish upon Dylan Thomas and Emily Dickinson, with short stories I prefer Allan Poe and Borges. But once I got an opportunity to be a writer, an honest one I would see me as, and besides, my story itself was too explicit to be obscured. When the scenery is already denuded of colours, why bragging about it? Sheer hypocrisy! Idiocy!

So that day I ended up staring at him. Wry-smiled, head askew- that was what the mirror presented, with accuracy I guaranteed. I did suspect somewhat at first, but was too flabbergasted to touch the mirror. Wasn't because of my cat, whom I assumed sensed the differences too and was too eager to welcome our 'new guest,' screeched and pranced onto the mirror, and the whole escapade undoubtedly resulted in the cat's bleeding nose, wouldn't I resolve myself to take this occurrence as a rigid fact. You should always hold it to your belief that for some toiling decades of your existence in the world, something will deign to happen.

(to be continued...)

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Tim Buckley, "Love from Room 109 at the Islander (On Pacific Coast Highway)"



One's mental journey flows like streams.
They start out smoothly;
their surfaces glisten like transparent lids.
Sunshine be the first one to bid them farewell,
for it has the strong belief that the odyssey will definitely augur well.

So they flow,
with the illusion of meandering in a fairyland.

Then the streams run into pebbles,
freckled at first but permeated the next.
The waves therefore occur.
At times they can grow so strong that the initial pureness of the streams' colour is muddled.
The streams race at full tilt,
as troops of horses fleeing out of a conflagrant barn.

The aforesaid case should be diagnosed as some usual undulations human lives,
but their nosy friends can hardly care no straw of it.
They stir up the waves again;
verify the eternal delusion.

The streams are propelled into gushes.
Despite of how the others might consider them- to be mad,
their words can still be sane and genuine,
just like the notorious Septimus in Mrs. Dalloway.

But who will lend ears to them?
People are constantly seeking for balance,
but how the balance will exist if the world is already tipped over?

A polychromatic butterfly waltzes by,
doing somersaults,
swiftly.

The streams (or the gushes) do find their balance eventually.
When the grueling journey marks out in a sudden swoop of elevation,
the streams are home again,
with the sun welcoming them in balmy beams.

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"Truth fails not; but her outward forms that bear
The longest date do melt like frosty rime."- William Wordsworth, "Mutability"

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Judy Garland, "Me And My Shadow"



In his odes John Keats eulogizes the immediacy of emotions.
Pleasure, joy and melancholy go hands in hands,
and there is merely a translucent film blocking each compartment which enables the fairy of sentiments to skid liltingly in-between, gently tapping them with her sparkler.

It is both importunate and inexplicable,
of how instant a transformation can take place of a person's temperament.
In the blink of an eye she is both evil and angelic.
Wallowing merrily in the mud like a pig but the frill of her subtly-made dress reminds her of her extravagant past,
and she is duly aggravated.

You and your shadow.
You are fretted about it always tagging along you so you trample it,
with repugnance you trample.
But it is with little wonder of the impossibility of casting off your shadow,
so you learn to accept it and include it in your life,
even when it can be the major culprit for your incident of caught-red-handed.

Sometimes things are trapped in a web of intricacy that they can never be fully solved,
or fully explained,
so you convince yourself that the only resolution is to accept the fact.

Sounds like a mantra for the Lost Generation,
isn't it slightly sheepish to accept everything that comes in your face instead of taking resolute actions?
You are slightly baffled when the kid on your knees asks you this question, wide-eyed.
But the words flow out of your mouth, intuitively with no staccatos,
"and this is how we all live."

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"One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth forever."- Ecclesiastes

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Laurel Aitken, "Voodoo Woman"



My comfort zone shifts alot,
at times it is full of noise and brouhaha,
so I can hide among the crowd and disguise myself.
Now I opt for silence.
I guess that's how I conceptualize my forest,
it always welcomes me as a haven.

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"I can hardly talk what I already talk, so I don't want to branch out."- Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Nino Rota, "Suite"



To be a less highly-strung person,
you have to numb your soul and morph into a complete spaz
and let your train of thoughts shifts you away, to somewhere...
Besides, I'm still enjoying my life in a suite.
Being yourself is your extravagance.

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"It is often the most aimless and boring times that yields the most fertile material for fiction." - Marcel Proust