Apocalypse

When writing, some may purposefully and at times, unconsciously refrain from the use of “I” and I fit into this category. In the interest of absolute truth and avoiding feelings of vulnerability, it’s easier for me to refer to myself in the second person. This time around, I decided to go with the former.

The influx of memories dig themselves out of the dirt of my mind; scraping and crawling their way to my earth’s surface like resurrected zombies in a B horror movie. I recoil in fear while I stubbornly refuse to relinquish myself to the past that won’t rest. That’s the thing about memories, you remember them— no matter how hard you try not to. I go about my day in the highest of spirits, completely disconnected, aloof and suddenly I’m struck with an awakening as if I’m rising from slumber to the aroma of fresh, brewed coffee or perhaps that is the wrong analogy here. Maybe I’m rising from a deep, peaceful sleep to a thunderous alarm that won’t turn off no matter how many times I “thought” I shut it off; but as it turns out, I accidentally hit the snooze button.  This intrusion is without warning. I’m hit with a piercing veil of emotion that takes me over completely and sweeps me up like a tornado.

I want to revisit the face that burns my eyes but I can already feel myself free falling backward into a black hole. Fragments of myself unraveling like a thread that continues to break off a garment’s stitching. I’ve tried to perfect the mastery of self-restraint and escapism and so, having to face the disheartening; works my automatic reflex to retreat, deny and ignore. This becomes more difficult as reality sets in on the glass house I’ve tried so hard to turn to steel. One memory often brings forth another before I know it, I’m walking down the lane I made every effort to bypass. Memories flood out of my medial temporal lobe just as a swarm of zombies would in unison when one is least expecting it but as seen in most films, there’s always that one that leads the pack to make an appearance first. All it takes is one memory for the others to resurge and as we’ve all witnessed on the silver screen, you’re usually left with two choices- you can face the music or run.

Into the unknown

Life can change in an instant and you find yourself feeling as if you’re suddenly part of a parallel universe. I’m alien to feelings of serendipitous opportunity that appear as predetermined courses of fate. Luck and kismet circumstances are foreign to me, yet I still find myself5892802537_1cc5d7d827_b.jpg walking the tightrope to keep a balance between deep seated dreamy, euphoria and grief stricken heavy-heartedness, borne from a part of my new reality that I cannot change. The hardest lesson I’m coming to grasp is that I cannot control the wheels of fate for everyone. So while, I’m learning to be happy and appreciate the blessings bestowed upon me, there’s other pieces of my heart still experiencing the darkest parts of a nightmare that is on the other side of my new found reality. Feeling as if I am closer to the freewill brings feelings of fear as I can’t bear the thought to fall before the finish line.

existence_band_logo__too_by_aiozo-d52em1d.pngThe shadow of the unknown is pressed up against the walls of my heart waiting to grab hold. I run and push back the nightmare that lurks in the back of my mind, I glance back every now and again and indulge disparagingly because I know I cannot forget, but I must remember to not allow the atoms and neurons of the unchangeable energy to destroy me. You want to look away and leave the scene of destruction because it hurts to look, but you can’t help to turn your head. There are sad fragments that make me happy, hearing one cried in enjoyment after they finish finished reading a book I gave them as a gift. I can feel my heart fill like a helium balloon, full of love knowing that I could make them happy. This helps me grasp onto any connection that makes me feel closer to what feels lost now, but knowing why they read it, I can feel my balloon pop as not knowing when their own free will be returned leaves me with a questioning that only time can answer. Suddenly my ambivalence slides down the slippery slopes of uncertainty.

 

Pythagorean’s theorem

What has found its way onto this page is a record of my memories, those that engrave my mind and sear my heart upon recollection.  Maybe I shouldn’t have waited this long to write this. I always thought I would have more “time” with him, something we all tend to take advantage of…a lesson I’m coming to learn the hard way.

The better part of me (independent, free thinking and determined) and who I have become is a result of his direct influence.  He is a handsome man, tall and strong in build with large eyes that hold the color that are still a mystery to geneticists. Hazel eyes are a mixture of two or three colors and can look different due to tone and variation on each person, but on my father they appear like two, giant, shiny, amber prism gemstones changing hues in different angles that can pierce your soul if you stared at them long enough. Passing years never seemed to diminish the glowing aura and charisma, he seemed to project. He has a resilience that both inspires and intimidates. My father has worked almost every day of my childhood life—some weekends included. He did his best to support my family and provide me with everything a child could ask for. My father made few demands of those around him and acted as the anchor to keep my family afloat.

I’ve often wondered where I’ve inherited my love for storytelling. Storytelling is one of the simplest forms of expression, being that stories are nothing more than an accumulation of personal and shared experiences. When it comes to captivating your audience and being a “good” story teller, you either have it or you don’t. For some people, like my father- this art form came naturally. He knows how to command and hold the attention of anyone he converses with. A skilled conversationalist, he didn’t simply recall an event — he’d often have the most detailed depiction of it through elaborate details and animated words that kept you wanting to hear more.

My earliest memory of my father was weekend trips to City Island. My Mom would dress up my sister and I in pastel dresses embroidered with flowers paired with ankle strapped, patent black shoes- so shiny you could see your own reflection–if you looked close enough. These outfits always marked for a special occasion. My hair would be combed into two pig tails with perfect, dark brown ringlet curls that framed my face like a doll. My father would drive us to the best restaurants near the Marina where he docked his boat “Smooth Operator” where we’d spend many summer weekends eating sandwiches and trying our hand at fishing. We often went out for seafood (my favorite), I’d get a Shirley temple with a cherry alongside my shrimp dinner while overlooking a view of the ocean and passing boats from afar. My Dad would somehow convince me there was alcohol in my drink; despite there not being any because I always tried to ask for a taste of his. I assumed early on that there was something I was missing out on when my parents ordered beverages which my sister and I alone seemed to be excluded from.

The summer air, sounds of clinking glasses and nearby table chatter filled me with a nervous excitement. The smell of my father’s cologne, the sound of his voice telling stories only my Mom seem to understand, their exchanged words drowning in sporadic laughter permeated the night. I’d smile as if I understood, too despite not knowing what was going on at all. I was happy enough to be present in the moment, watching their smiles with the occasional touch of his hand on hers. It was a world that I, through the binocular of my childhood years, watched and reached out with a small hand to touch as if attempting to hold-on to these moments forever.

We lived in a red, brick house in a borough of NYC in middle of a block with several other families. During the summer, I’d wait for my father to get out of work and there were a few times I ran after the wrong man who from the back I assumed was my father. Running back home disappointed and embarrassed as tears streamed down my face, searching for my father’s back in a crowd of passerby-ers returning home from rush hour, only to hear his car pull up in our driveway. Some days, he’d bring me miniature zip-lock bags of peppered shrimp from the Asian grocery or chocolates with cherries inside topped with a cream filing. My perspective of the world at waist level has never left me. Images of the past flash before my eyes, like a movie on the silver screen flickering up on an old, dusty projector, bits and pieces out of focus.

Obtaining my Father’s approval and acceptance was a common exercise amongst my siblings. We often rivaled each other for the coveted spot as his “favorite”- and each of us experienced a time in our lives where we felt we had fared the best before him. For me, that moment was in Autumn of 2013. I was in the midst of what I can clearly see now in retrospect as a “nervous breakdown”. I was scrawny, frozen over by confusion and a multitude of symptomatic neurosis like a doll slowly losing it’s stitching I waited for my Dad to put me back together again. One memory that stands out among the packed and away and purposely forgotten is moments before I was rolled into the hospital on a stretcher. The bright orange and fire red ambulance lights blared into my squinted eyes as mumbled voices asked me questions I could not barely comprehend. The first thought which struck my chest as a wooden pick would strike a vampire’s heart was when the one of the nurses said “Your Father is here” a sentence I could clearly understand out of all of the words which seemed suddenly foreign and hardly articulate. It was as if a lightening bolt hit my chest and I was suddenly ten years old all over again. I felt dizzy and could feel myself passing out, before I could see was a trail of brilliant colors from what I assume was the cars parked in the emergency parking lot. My father reclaimed my sanity when the dark abyss was ready to sweep me off to shore. The hardest thing is not being able to save someone who always saved you.

Our savior, idol and all nouns baring some definition to the highest point of authority- my father was the supreme figure in our lives. He had the ability to make us feel the most love or pain out of any single being in the span of our existence. The defining moment for me to begin writing more was upon my release from the hospital. I wrote my father a long, heartfelt email and he seemed awe-struck by my words. There was no better feeling in the universe than in that moment when I read his email back to me in response and approval. He knew I still had my “head on straight”. His encouragement echoed in my mind for days after that. The euphoric buzz I felt from his blessing kept me on cloud 9 for days. I hope that my words can heal and put a band-aide on the unsaid, unmentioned and forgotten pieces of my past that now looking back have caused me some of my happiest moments.

There’s a word I really hate. It’s a phony.- J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

It’s that time of the year where most began to voice their resolutions, plans and dreams for the new year. Many find, myself included, enthusiasm begins to fizzle out as soon as the stress of daily routines begin to rear their heads. My ardent quest* self improvement began several months ago, but only has begun to take shape in the last four or five months. You need to fail before you can succeed. In the interest of avoiding condescension and self righteousness, my pov is geared towards those that assert success is easily attained. With the birth of social media, many engage in self aggrandizing and curate towards the image of seemingly idealistic lives.

The truth is if you aren’t failing, then you are not challenging yourself enough. Failure strips away the inessential and helps us focus on what we are truly meant to go after. If you aren’t failing, you aren’t growing. Failure helps us perfect and is a part of the progress process of trial and error. Failing is one of the key ingredients that continue to push us to persevere. If I hadn’t failed at achieving the goal I set for myself last year, I wouldn’t have experienced the epiphany that set me in the right direction. I’m actually grateful for failing because only now in retrospect do I realize how many limits I would have unknowingly placed on my potential for new opportunities. One should remember to never allow pride’s gravitational pull of inertia to keep us pursuing things that no longer serve their purpose.

The problems which arise from pursuing an erroneous path can assist in redirecting our instincts and opening our eyes to our true destiny. Social media leads the us to believe that life should be a scene out of a movie where all the pieces of the puzzle fit together quickly and easily in a neat package that you can then advertise on your “Fakebook” profile page to gain admiration and praise.

This is not the real world. “Fakebook” is nothing more than a voyeuristic distraction away from the monotone and monotonous. Among the seemingly pseudo successful that fill your feed with endless annoying exaggerations. I know more than a handful that use social media venues as podiums to project and feed into an idealized image of themselves that do not truly exist. Many choose to embellish upon their realities for superficial self promotion.

“Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”
J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

I refuse to settle for something because it’s easier than working for what I really want. I will not portray a mirage of achievement to triumph in the eyes of on seers. I never scoff or naysay to those who confide their dreams to me. I’m usually conscientious and encouraging to those around me. But it’s been my observation, many never fail to skip a beat in dismissing and extinguishing the flames of my ideas only to hijack and recycle them later as their own. Those that consistently belittle your ambitions and attempt to poke holes in your plans only to repeat them back to you a short time later lack ingenuity. Contrary to popular belief, imitation is not the highest form of flattery. My patience wears thin with the overly critical who appear to be biased to their own contradictions. This past year has shown me what’s of great importance in my life. It’s aided me in identifying who no longer serves a purpose in my life and who is truly deserving of my company. Relationships that are purposely left to fade into a state of ambivalence are not worth my time and effort anymore.

Waves

The fuses are lit, the smoke begins to go gray.  The wings on your back begin to flutter you up into the sky, flickering and shooting you away. Off you go in a brilliant, burst of trailing blazing colours that begin to spark, twinkle and fade. Emotional pyrotechnics; self-sustained and felt limb by limb. Your body made of stars now and full up to the brim.

The exothermic chemical reactions ignite an electricity that lights up your sky. Slowly but surely enough- one by one, each twinkle begins to die. You feel the time-delay sequence working its way down from up high.

You fizzle out like a firecracker on the fourth of July.

Affliction

Adrenaline secretes glucose through my glands so I am able to walk through the fire and avoid the perturbation and all the while; the darkness remains to distill within me, boiling beneath the surface, overflowing waiting to erupt only to slowly burn me from the inside out.

Volatile emotions build up an unbridled volcano, pulsing in my veins through my blood pumping vascular organ, an infection stirring to push through waiting to attack my molecular structures. My immediate instinct is to escape. Coping mechanisms embedded in my DNA, stemming back centuries in human evolution. To quote Radiohead “I’m not here, This isn’t happening, I’m not here, I’m not here…”

The surge of adrenaline serves its purpose to avoid the pain that hides within the crevasse of my mind, attempting to stifle me, barricading me.  The parasympathetic nervous system begins to override my natural response and it’s not long before I find my bleeding heart at my feet, spilling and gushing blood like lava from my open wound.

Anomaly

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