Sunday, November 6, 2011
My body is not a body. My body is a boat. There are no passengers. Only this engine roaring inside of me. This life I must make sure never stops. It trusts me. But I have to trust it back. I have to let myself understand why I am on this sea at all. I open the tiny door beneath me. Take a look inside. The engine is shiny and new, not the dirty overused thing excepted from a boat that has worked as much as I have, that has had its parts inspected and searched, broken down into a thousand little pieces, put back together again. Slowly, piece by piece. The will to live is not difficult to find when you can control your heart beat, when you can remember that there is more than just you in this world, that you are a boat yes, but this thing moving beneath you is the sea. It does not end. I open the tiny door. Take a look inside. The engine moves with a rhythm so sweet it almost makes me cry. I rock the engine gently back and forth, encouraging its movements with my own. Or maybe it is the sea holding its hands out, cradling us in its prayers, letting us understand how fluid we must be if we are to survive at all. And deep inside the waters I see that black thing. Perhaps it is a boat that sank long ago, skeletons and chipped golden teeth, the silver and gold bangles, the jewels and rubies of a better life, stuck inside its engines. People change their minds. People do not listen to you. The impossible thing is that someone will learn how to stay away from what is yours. The sea is black now and something wraps itself around me, sucks everything out from me. I open that tiny door. Take a look inside. There are tentacles wrapped tightly around my engine. It is a black thing now. It struggles, my engine. And then it no longer moves. I am no longer a boat, but a sunken treasure. I do not know how to save such things. I am tired of trying. I let her devour me, those black octopus legs. I will not ask for any more saviors. She does not dare look me in the eyes.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Thursday, July 7, 2011
But here's one from the novel I'm working on.
Before time- I am.
Before silence and the thought of sound- I am.
First there was the word, but before that there was love.
God fell in love with creation- and so he made us.
He created spring and trees
And crumpling leaves and a place to lay your head and love
the earth, and to love someone else, because love is not something
you keep for yourself.
The blossoms will walk in my shadow
And still tomorrow
Her face will look more and more like mine
And she will have my eyes and my hair
He will look at her and see me
And that is enough to let me
Rest my soul down and bear this burden no longer.
After everything dies
And everyone leaves this land
And everyone will try to remember
But will inevitably forget
And everything becomes backwards
Still, these two full moon eyes of mine- this love
Like how I imagine God felt when he birthed us into being-
Still after all this- I am.
Friday, April 29, 2011
My father. Auspicious, kind, gracious. Eternally pure. He does not have an elephant’s head and yet some say we look alike; the same confidence in our stride, I think. I was made from nothing; from the absolute emptiness that comes in between words and the beating of one’s heart. My conception nothing more than an idea arising in my mother’s mind. The mother goddess. The embodiment of the total energy of the universe and yet I had to come along to make sure she was protected while she bathed. Was there no one to hire for such services? Imagine, coming into this world. So much color and beauty, yes much sadness too, but there were mangoes to eat and sweet rice that could stick to the roof of my mouth, and there were rivers to swim in. And what do I find out is my purpose after all? What do I get to do? Guard the door while I bathe, Ganesha, make sure no one comes inside. Ganesha, you cannot fall asleep, someone will come inside while I bathe. Why can’t you just do what I ask of you? Many say I was enthusiastic about such a role, because that is what my mother insisted on telling people. But the truth is I wanted a life of my own, more of a purpose than making sure no one disturbed my mother while her fingers pruned and her naked body soaked in the tub. I wanted to swim with a mouth full of mangoes and sticky rice. Father was away at war or some battle. If you ask me though he was probably getting high and fooling around with that dark skinned woman with the long tongue I always heard my mother ranting about. Kali this and Kali that. Kali the almighty warrior. Kali who is black, who is time, who is death, who can outdance us all. How could I have known what my father looked like then, if the only thing in this life I had seen was my mother reaching for her towel and the view of the mountains from the doorway to the bathhouse? No one had even tried to disturb my mother since I had come to life, and when my father came finally and when he tried to make his way through, I felt oddly excited and protective. This was my sole duty in life and there standing face to face with my father, although unknown to me, was my greatest test of all. Let me in, let me in, he demanded. No one goes in unless she approves, I said firmly. I stretched my hand out a bit preventing him from moving any further. And I wonder, thinking now about this, when I had my old head- the one I was born with, the one that somehow also came from a part of him that was busy flying around in the universe, if he looked in my eyes then and could see himself. One swing to the throat, and my head rolled onto the ground. For a few minutes my mind still worked, and I could understand what was happening around me. Mother storming out from the bath, her towel wrapped around her naked body. Water dripping into my eyes from the edge of her towel blurred my vision. She saw my head and shrieked. What have you done! What have you done! Our son’s head is on the floor! And father, well father did not want to disappoint his goddess. I could hear him explaining himself as I watched in the blurriness the metal bracelets on my mother’s ankles make a noise like a song. No god wants to disappoint his goddess. An agreement was made. The first animal my father saw would replace my head. And what am I thinking then? That eyes would soon shut and my body would have a new head, and I wondered would it still be me? I prayed for a clean and wise animal- with much aspirations and desire in this life to be something more than a doorman. An elephant walked past us then. An elephant. A magnificent creature if I have ever seen one. Its head was cut in a flash and merged together with my body. My old eyes shut as my new ones opened. And yes, still it was me.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
1. In my backyard there's a Hindu Temple. It's not really in my backyard but a fifteen minute drive from my parents' house through the canyons of Calabasas there's a Hindu temple. My dad and I drove up to it on Saturday and when we got out of the car it felt like we had made it to India. People bring jugs and jugs of milk, bananas, apples, to offer to Lord Shiva every Saturday. Milk is poured onto the statue of Shiva, thirty minutes worth of milk. Everyone's chanting, the only words I know are "om, shanti, shanti" so I say them loudly to make up for all the other words I don't know. I lift my hand in the air when the others do and grab the incense smoke and bring it towards my third eye. I put my dollar in the donation plate and drink the sacrificial milk they spoon into the palm of my hand. On the ride home my dad says, "That was a waste of milk, there are so many poor people in India who would love to drink that milk." Later that day my stomach hurts and I think it may have been the milk.
2. That night sitting on the patio of a restaurant bar in Venice with friends I haven't seen in a while. A few drunk men ask if they can put their beers down on our table. "It'll cost you $5," I say as a joke. They're young in an obnoxious way and one of them who looks like he has two black eyes or maybe just hasn't slept in a while, takes out a 5 dollar bill and throws it on the table. I explain it was a joke but my friend takes the money and they decide it's OK to join us and offer us some beers so we won't say anything. My friend makes a joke about him having to pay to talk with her. He takes a dollar out and throws it on the candle burning in the middle of our table. I try and rescue the dollar from the flame and blow it out but half of it's already gone. I ask him why, and he can't seem to think of a good reason or any reason at all.
Question: Was putting my dollar in that donation tray the same as my black-eyed friend burning his?
Friday, April 1, 2011
I love movies. My family didn't have money to go on luxury vacations to foreign lands when I was growing up, so the theater became our escape. We'd sneak our cheap, market bought candy inside, and laugh and cry and twist and turn in our seats, and when it was all over we felt that something had happened.
That's why when a movie comes along like The Fall, I want everyone to know about it. It's a 2006 film directed by the award-winning music video, commercial and film director Tarsem Singh, the genius also behind The Cell. It's a visually stunning film that weaves reality with the fantastical world of one man's imagination. Roy (Lee Pace), an injured and bed-ridden stunt man befriends five year old fellow hospital patient Alexandria (Catinca Uncaru) and begins to improvise an "epic tale of love and revenge" with The Indian, The Ex-Slave, The Explosive Expert, Charles Darwin and The Masked Bandit and their enemy Governor Odeus as the central figures. Roy uses his story in order to persuade Alexandria to bring him the pills that will end his life. The Fall will surprise you and stun you in all the right places and will remind you what movie magic and epic storytelling are really all about.
The Fall is available on DVD.