Reflected

Poem/song lyrics at the bottom of the post, as usual.

We’re about a month into my summer holiday and I’ve managed to read 4 books out of the 23-book goal I set myself. I’m not sure whether to be disappointed that I’m only on 4, considering I read so much as a kid and teen, or to be proud of myself for managing to finish 4 after not having read for pleasure all year, and having struggled to read for pleasure for the past five or so. Whatever the case, I’m happily whittling away at the stack piled on my desk.

My writing goals are being neglected slightly more than my reading goals yet I’ve managed to write some song lyrics the other day so even though my progress is sloooooooooow I’m not wholly unproductive so I’m not going to be hard on myself for it.

In fact, now is one of the first moments in years where I feel perfectly at ease. My conscience is clear, even though I’m in the middle of a fight with a close friend; my health is not great but I’m making a real effort to change it; money will always be an issue but if I continue working the way I do without overspending then I should be fine; I’m looking forward to the end of August, where a week of partying with other students awaits, even though I’m not much of a party animal; the weather is wonderful, between 25 and 32 degrees Celsius, so I’m enjoying feeling warm; and I’m overall just doing well. I’m happy.

And I hope you’re all feeling good too. Whether you chose to go easy on yourself when you made that mistake or decided to enjoy a moment, even when the world was falling apart around you, I hope you have at least this moment of peace and happiness.

I guess my own happiness stems from confidence. Since I graduated, my confidence in myself has steadily returned. It’s now reached a peak that I haven’t seen before, as far as I can remember. It feels really good to have faith in myself and value myself the way I value others. I’m at ease because I know that not everything is my fault, because my time and peace of mind are as valuable as the next person’s, no matter what society wants me to think. And I feel hopeful for the future. We’re in a right mess but it’s not too late to make changes. I’m back to my optimistic self and it feels great.

So without further ado, enjoy the song lyrics I wrote. I don’t know whether you’ll automatically hear the melody I heard in my head while writing it, the melody I hear each time I recite this piece, out loud or in my head, but I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Reflected

I see stars
What’s in your eyes?
I see mine
Reflected

All these stars
Shining bright
They’re in your eyes
Reflect it

When you see me
When I’m not around
Look out

When you dream big
And you dare to
Take the dive

I see stars
What’s in your eyes?
I see mine
Reflected

Please be kind
Read my mind
And see stars
Reflected

There’s more to this than meets the eye, the eye with stars, the eye inside
There is more in this world right behind the stars, behind your eyes
There is more, open your eyes, and see the stars, reflect them

They’re reflected
In ways connected
We’re affected

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Do you want titles or updates?

Ever since my summer holidays started I’ve been swamped with work so I haven’t been writing much but I have been writing, so enjoy the fruits of my labour. To celebrate this random Wednesday, I have two poems for you. Enjoy.

[They’re both untitled, hence the non-title of this post.]

Untitled 07-07-2018

Lifeless in this universe
I float among the stars
Know up from down
Not time nor space
Were ever so entwined
Around my form
Existing in peace
I am

Untitled 05-07-2018

Under the sun
Knelt a little boy
Aged about five or six
With porcelain skin
And big green eyes
Its rays enveloped him
Unlike the rest of us
Gently, tenderly
While tears crashed into the grass
Beneath his feet
Where a single flower
Was crushed drop by little drop
Springing back up
As if weightless
Only to be weighed down
Once more
Under the weight of the world
In that little boy’s eyes
While his mother descended
And heaps of earth fell
Among the flowers
Ripped from their roots
As he’d been ripped from her
The grass under his fingers
Deceptively soft
He rips them all out
As if it’ll release him
From that big smile
Hiding cruel eyes
Under the guise of a father
Who soon would return
Clad in black
Like a dutiful spouse
Or the grim reaper

I graduated!

I don’t think I’ve shared the news yet but I graduated! I finally did it. It took six attempts spread over three years but I can finally say I have a Bachelor in the Arts. Naturally I’ll be putting myself through more of this next year since I applied for a Master’s programme too. Let’s hope that one will go more smoothly.

More good news: since my schedule now cleared up (aside from work) I finally have time and energy to write again so hopefully there will be more regular updates, though I promise nothing.

Without further ado, the text (not a poem, though inspired by Dylan Thomas’ work):

Under the night sky

When she was little, her father promised her she would be happy as long as she could see the stars in the sky. It explained why she was a night owl now, at twenty-six. Daytime made her restless, jittery, the way coffee was supposed to but never quite could. She breathed in, then out. In, out. A steady rhythm meant to calm her frantic heart. It didn’t work; it never did. She wasn’t sure why she still tried. It was obviously pointless, yet the routinized exercise brought her a peace of mind otherwise lost. And that counted for something, right? Back when she was in high school she could only dream of achieving her current state, the way she was always with her head in the sky. It was safe in her fantasy world, away from the dangers of reality. Like Alice, she escaped the world for a few hours to recover from existing. It was too hard otherwise.

There wasn’t anything particularly challenging about her life. Her parents were alive and well somewhere in Utah, chasing their own dreams. She wasn’t ill, at least not physically, and usually felt pretty energised. Even her job was average, earning her the median income without too much effort. She had hobbies to occupy her and friends to be around, even when she felt most lonely. Life was good.

So why did she feel so trapped?

There was no escaping the routine, the boredom of a passionless life. There was no joy in working, no joy in gossiping about sex and love. There was no fulfilment when she filed piles of paperwork no one would ever look at again. She was stuck. Where was her escape?

First she turned to the bottle. The brown liquid called her name and begged to be consumed, yet when she did she felt utterly hopeless. Where was the relief she so craved? Where was the euphoria the ad promised?

Then she turned to men, and later women, because who cares anyway. The sound of bodies clashing together filled her with disgust, mixing with the white liquid released inside her. It felt icky and she hated it but what could she do? Where was the pleasure her friends had promised her? Fingers, nipples, tongues, each skilled in its own way yet unable to fill that void.

Drugs were the obvious next choice but after sniffing sugar as a kid she’d vowed never to snort cocaine in her life. If it was half as painful it’d be too much. Other drugs simply weren’t as appealing. Smoking a plant? Chewing up what looked like common home insulation? No thanks. So what was left?

She turned to the only place she could, her only comfort: the night sky. What she saw didn’t change her, nor did it enlighten her in any way. But she felt less lonely, and wasn’t that enough? As time chipped away at her body, her soul was expanding. Soon, she’d encompass the entire universe. When that happened, they’d all be free. Locked in her prison but unaware of their predicament, that was the life they were destined to lead. It was her choice, but they never knew. When they spit their words, sharpened their fists, they decided. They moulded and shaped, kneaded until she was her, finally. The sky would help her, she knew it.

That evening she returned to the top of the world in an effort to get closer to the stars. Thousands of lightyears apart yet so close to touch. She was small, and they were too. Finally, it was time. She reached, hoping she’d graze the surface. When her knees hit the pavement she was already dead. The leaves stirred and twirled around her, landing on her pale form. They say death is ugly, dehumanising, but she was beautiful. Her death was art and we were onlookers, there to push her over the edge and jump with her. My hand on her throat enough to soothe my sorrows. Her pleading eyes, averted. She was the sky and we killed it. Atlas shrugged and it all crumbled. Our indifference, her passion. We were free but locked inside her prison. But at least we decided. Where was her choice?

Missed connection

My deadline is the day after tomorrow and I still have to rewrite my draft but here I am, trying to properly space and punctuate this poem. Just imagine how it was before, a big chuck of text without any punctuation or capitalisation. Honestly, I liked it that way. But I know I’ve put you all through poor legibility before so I wanted to at least attempt to make it a bit easier. I don’t think I lost too much of the original this way. I didn’t delete anything, or add any words. It’s just the raw feelings I poured on the page when I wasn’t doing well. I’m not doing too well now either but I’m too busy to think these days so it’s okay, I’m surviving. Not thinking equals not feeling, in my case, so I’m okay. I meant to update earlier this month but I didn’t think I had anything ready. Then I decided to wait until after this stress but I realised you can’t really put everything on hold to focus on one thing. It’s why I got myself a new job (I wait tables) and it’s why you’re able to read these words. Enjoy. (I use 4 different you’s throughout the thing but interpret it whichever way you’d like.)

(God damn it, I forgot a title.)

Mis-connection, missed connection

find you, find me

lost and all alone

you are big and i am small

climbed great heights, fell so deep

what is life if not this endless torment

when and why and also how

you and me

i don’t even know

where are you when i need you most

now that you’re happy and all alright i’m left to crumble alone

i lifted you up so where are you now, now that i am in need of lifting

i don’t think i lost out; i didn’t miss you

so what did i gain?

i can’t understand you

the way you think is foreign to me

are you okay?

what’s wrong with us? thank you for trying, for loving,

for being there, my rock

though you disappeared when it was crucial you would stay

i was all alone without you, without anyone

what was i to do? how did i survive?

i missed you so much; don’t ever leave again

you, you confuse me so

unlike your first impression, such depth, such beauty, friend, i care

thank you

i can’t believe you’re gone

i’m back in denial

stage one of grieving, as if it happened only yesterday

so alone, so sad all by yourself

i wish i could’ve been there, made you smile one last time

your last moment unhappy, it breaks my heart

how can you be gone?

why didn’t you take me with you?

i’m left behind in this scary world i don’t understand

how am i to survive without you? without me?

there is no future; there is no past; the present is it

how long must i hold on?

what is my prize?

will i see you again? will i be able to hold you close?

so soft and warm

i long for it, for you

why must it be so?

you were so far away but this is so much worse

i keep talking to you as if you’re still here, as if you can hear me

i know you can’t. i’m not even speaking out loud

it’s all in my head, everything’s in my head

when will my brain ever shut up? there’s so much going on, thoughts going full speed, never a moment’s rest

was this what you felt too?

you were sensitive and so am i. is that why i still cry when i think of you? when i hear your voice that will never produce new sounds?

everything’s been said

you left behind so much, least of all me

nothing but memories

the world wasn’t meant for us; there’s nothing here that will remain a thousand years from now. there is no meaning, no purpose, no nothing

just us

and now me alone.

what do i do?

Pretty Face

Hi guys, as usual you can find a poem at the end of the post.

I’ve been so swamped with work I’m not allowing myself to write. It’s not writer’s block, nor am I stuck because I’m out of practice; I’m just unable to produce anything because of the looming deadlines and the stress related to those. Probably also the stress unrelated to those deadlines. Life’s hectic.

As such, anything I upload will be old. I’m honestly not 100% sure about this poem, whether it’s any good or if it even makes sense at all, so if you have any thoughts, please leave a comment. I could use some feedback (on all of my work, always, but now in particular).

As for good news, I’ve recently figured out my level in Korean, which is intermediate. Whether this means B1 or B2 I don’t know (though I suspect B1) but I’m happy to have at least some clarity. It’s just enough to keep me motivated. There are days when I think learning Korean is the most difficult thing I’ve ever endeavoured and there are days that I think it’s actually not so bad. I’m still not sure which it is.

For any of you who are also confused about their level, this is how I did it: I went through the TTMIK grammar lessons and realised 1-4 were easy, 5-6 were doable, and 7-9 were challenging; I had a cursory look at all the grammar on keytokorean and realised I knew 90% of their lower intermediate but only about 10-20% of their intermediate and upper intermediate sections; I checked TTMIK’s iyagi for beginners series and realised it was very easy; I received the ebook version of Real Life Conversations in Korean for beginners for the Blonote review in an earlier post and found most of it quite easy; and finally I noticed my listening skills have improved quite a bit by listening to Korean music (kpop, hiphop, punk, etc) and watching dramas, films, and variety shows.

But what really helped was watching one of TTMIK’s advanced lessons (election, praises, working) while downloading it to check the sound because I realised I understood most of it. It felt so goooooooood. Maybe it’s weird that I get such a kick out of learning new things, whether they are languages or other skills, but I don’t see the harm in it and I’m eager to continue this journey of self-improvement.

Btw, I recently found those little packets of gim/kim/ I used to get all the time when I was in Korea but which were seemingly impossible to come across here in the Netherlands. I was so pleased with myself and have since been recreating all my cheap student dishes. Last night for dinner I made rice with danmuji (that yellow Korean pickled radish), gim, and eggs sunny side up (but properly cooked through because I don’t like them runny), with a piece of salmon and some green beans because I can indulge occasionally, and it was so good. I’ve added sushi nori to my rice before but it just wasn’t the same because it lacked the seasoning or something, I don’t know. It’s great for sushi/kimbab though.

Anyway, without further ado, enjoy the poem. (Btw while proofreading it, Pretty Girl by Sugarcult started playing in my head, which makes no sense because they’re not really similar, aside from the ‘pretty’):

Pretty face

Pretty face, such a pretty face

Take one look in the mirror

Tell me what you see

Are you happy?

Are you free?

Those beautiful eyes

Do they speak of pain?

Do they speak of sorrow?

Have you suffered??

Tell me now

 

Oh what I wouldn’t give

To have that face

Even for a day

 

If I wore it

Would it change a thing?

Would I be happier?

Would I be worth it?

 

What are you hiding

Behind that pretty face of yours?

Let me, please

Walk in your shoes

Wear your face

That perfect jaw

Do they all swoon?

 

Your pretty face

If it were mine

Would it make a difference?

 

So broken, ever wounded

Is it just me?

 

Your fame, your riches

The attention that you get

Is it worth coveting

When I’m still me

Despite this pretty face?

 

In exchange, would you wear mine?

Would you spend a day

Living this life of mine?

 

That is my fear

My pretty face

Seeing it on you

Smiling, laughing, exuding joy

If you were me

Wore my pretty face

Would you be a better me?

A happier me?

Would it change a goddamn thing?

 

I am you, you are me

Will we ever be us?

 

So I don’t

I never take your face

Your pretty face

When it’s yours

You’re to blame

 

You’re you, I’m me

My misery my own

But never my fault

 

Be my safety blanket

This protective shield against change

It’s not me, it’s you

With your pretty face

Would it not be better

To simply kiss that pretty face?

 

The day I am worthy

I’ll be ready to wear your face

Knowing I’d smile

The way I saw you

When you wore my face

And I wore yours

 

That future day

If it ever comes

I’ll be a better me

So the need to be you

Walk a day in your shoes

Wear that pretty face

Will have disappeared

Like the kiss I left

When you weren’t looking

On that pretty face

That pretty face of yours

Forever mine

to be loved

to be missed.

Primula: it’s finally spring

Poem at the bottom of the post (see bold).

Yesterday we were blessed with 29 degrees (Celsius) and I spent the entire day at the park. I’d been so swamped with work, I needed to take a break and meet up with a friend, any friend, to relax and recharge. It was wonderful. Today it’s 27 degrees and I am taking advantage of it because it’s bound to get rainy and blegh again soon. Summer, hurry up.

Lovely weather has such an impact on me; rain and darkness always brings me down, whereas warmth and sunshine lift my mood and do wonders for my complexion. My mum’s exactly the same way so we rejoiced when we saw the prediction a few days ago. I literally screamed YESSSSSS at my TV for a full minute. Yes, literally.

To celebrate, have this poem I wrote a few weeks ago:

Primula

You’re beautiful
Like the primula
In early spring

Remember when we used to pluck them when we were little?

You’re sweet
Like the primula
In early spring

But a drop of their nectar was plenty to satisfy us.

You’re intoxicating
Like the primula
In early spring

Their scent carrying for miles, long after we left.

I’m grateful
For the primula
For returning every spring

Long after you’re gone they remain, reminding me of you.

I’m alone
But I’m happy
For I will follow you soon

We will both be scattered there, where our memories lie, nourishing the primula for springs to come.

I miss you

It appears I forgot to post this.

I miss you

I miss you
Would you miss me
Had we met once more or less?
Not a day goes by
That I don’t regret
Would you regret?
I miss you
Would you miss me
Had you known back then and there?
But it’s not enough
For that pain to pass
Would you have overcome?
I miss you
Would you miss me
Had you been here in my place?
But it’s me alone
Fighting the same fight
Would you please lend me your hand?
I miss you
Would you miss me
Had you not killed yourself?