Moirai

The world had come alive with light, the kind of brightness that causes you to squint like the first few moments of dawn after sleep. From the window, it appeared as if the streets she’d once known to be made of grey concrete were now made up of miniature specs of cassiterite gemstones causing the surface to reflect light creating an illuminating glow.

Nothing but Palm trees lined the painted house, and each townhome aligned near a small lake of water. The turquoise -coloured sky, evergreen leaves and scent of new penetrated the air, the fresh scent came in through the window as if to welcome her.

This was the only place where you can find a beach, go to the mountains and see a desert. She had quietly come to accept that the stream of unfortunate incidents that posed as roadblocks to her progress prior to her reaching this very moment but she never lost hope and she was finally here. She went to her closet and found each version of herself hung up neatly on a hanger. Each awaiting their turn to be used and worn. Who would she be today? It hardly seemed to matter, she had finally gotten to the point in her life where she was genuinely happy.

He must have woken up shortly after her, his hair falling in his eyes and his sheepish grin hiding behind his mass of curls. He looked out the window with the wonder of a child as he hurried to reach for his jeans and t-shirt. She decided on more of the same opting for jean shorts before they zipped out the door to go exploring. They walked amongst the houses lined side by side viewing the streets that seem to go on for miles until the smell of the sun, sand and salt water swirled up in the air as if it had come to meet them. Mountains seem to plunge into the sea along many of the sandy coves as waves crashed on shore. The natural beauty of her surroundings came at her senses all at once.

Traveling through her new home, she felt as if she was on touring all of earth’s beauty: deserts, oceans that span for miles, rocky coastlines and forests filled with towering redwoods out of a fairytale.  Then suddenly without warning she felt weightless as if she was flying and being vacuumed simultaneously, the light disappeared. She could only see darkness as if her eyes were closed shut. She felt herself falling downwards. Her body involuntarily erupting with a hypnagogic jerk. Her pajamas clung to her as if she sweated out a fever. Feeling disoriented, she struggled to open her eyes and it took her a few minutes to realize where she was.  The familiar dark curtains blocking out the only outlet of light in her room.

It must have been a dream, she thought as she wiped the sweat on her forehead. The feeling of the warm wind was still lingering with a scent of sea salt. She looked to her side and he awoke appearing startled for a moment as she looked at him drained of all color with a frown forming between her brows and said “I had the most realistic dream, the kind where you’re disappointed to wake up.” her voice trailing off with a overwhelming sense of strange certainty.

 

 

As in the lyrics of Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun: “No one sings like you anymore” R.I.P Chris Cornell 1964-2017.

The grunge era is often referred to as the mythical “The Golden Age” of music. This genre has continued to transcend across many generations gaining momentum among those of all ages.

Grunge is considered a sub-genre of “alternative rock” characterized by a slow starting melodic build up breaking into an “adrenaline”-fueled melting pot of moody distortion over throat scraping vocals. In the midst of the flannel button-up shirts, ripped jeans and long hair emerged a movement that gave the youth a voice. In the days when one can remember when MTV actually played music and one can turn on the radio to tune into K-Rock 92.3, alternative rock was at it’s peak.  Grunge had been working it’s way from the underground steadily into the mainstream until this once isolated subculture made it’s mark in rock history and in the hearts of billions of listeners globally.

Maybe my ears deceive me or perhaps I’m bias to my own generation as many have been in generations prior but there has always been something captivating about a culture that gave the middle finger to the widely accepted conforms and ideologies of fashion and social norms.

It goes without saying, every movement eventually loses it’s very individuality in the act of inspiring many others to mirror and reflect the same but at it’s core the message conveyed in every rift was without saying an act of non-conformity, an act of musical rebellion that has never strayed from losing the main focus-which should always be “The Music”—heavily borrowed from the stance of Punk Rock and the age of hippies, the music never faded into the background of exaggerated visuals of idealized unattainable perfection and needless social constructs that feed into the today’s popular notions of aesthetic trends. It was acceptable and even promoted to “be yourself” as in the words of one of our founding fathers of grunge–Kurt Cobain “Come as you are”…which is now unfound and extinct in the slew of Facebook and Instagram feeds that promote replicas of seemingly similar society clones.

The musical influences today fail to address the act of staying true to yourself. Instead there is a cataclysmic wave of seemingly similar sounding artists whose name you can’t remember past their first hit record. Is Rock dead? In the last few years, we have lost many iconic pioneers that have paved the way in my most favored era of rock. Chris Cornell, one of our many founding fathers of Grunge, has been found dead. Cornell was found in the bathroom of his MGM Grand hotel, with a strap around his neck.  He was 52.

Chris Cornell Soundgarden/Audioslave

2c633304.jpg In hearing the news, I found myself going through the many phases of mourning. The first of which…Denial.

State-of-Denial

Phase 1. Denial

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The first phase after hearing this unfortunate news is “Denial”….”It can’t be!”, “Is this a hoax?” “Why???” This phase includes feeling such as “feeling old” as all of your favorite musicians are turning up dead to wondering if there is a darker undertones at play here.

After lingering in this starter phase, we move onto the next phase which some of you may or may not be familiar with.

Phase 2. Investigation

Let the googling and youtub-ing begin. This phase encompasses everything from watching every news clip you can find to jumping down the conspiracy rabbit holes of the internet.

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Phase 3. Acceptance

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In this phase, you may find yourself listening to every old track you can find from your old favorites to singles you never favored much in the first place in an attempt to pay your respects to the your dearly departed musician.

I’m currently veering between phases 2 and 3.  Many of my favorite musicians have now gone into the abyss of the unknown. Starting with Kurt Cobain of Nirvana to Layne Staley of Alice in Chains.

Kurt Cobain- Nirvana (February 20, 1967 – April 5, 1994)fdd0225032b8c8128b8eaff9fa1d36bb.jpg

Layne Staley – Alice in Chains (August 22, 1967 – April 5, 2002)

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Scott Richard Weiland – Stone Temple Pilots/ Velvet Revolver (October 27, 1967 – December 3, 2015)

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& although this artist is not from the grunge era, Wayne Static deserves a mention.

Wayne Static – Static X (November 4, 1965 – November 1, 2014) I don’t think I need to mention how odd it is Wayne died within 3 days of his birthday?

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It is now with great sadness that I find myself once again stuck in a state of profound shocking despair in hearing the news of the untimely death of Chris Cornell of Soundgarden. He has joined a legion of many other talented musicians in a state of immortality that has become all too frequent in the passing years. This legendary frontman has paved the way for many artists and will be missed. Chris Cornell has now gone into the Black Hole Sun.

RIP.

(July 20, 1964 – May 17, 2017)

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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.