Inspiration, Thoughts

brown beans

Brown beans crackle and whirr beneath the plastic head of the coffee grinder.
It’s as if they’re lost in the waves of a dance, or the stinging staccato of an argument.

There’s something so seductive about that, y’know.

 

 

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Art, Inspiration, Thoughts

The Life of Death

Here’s a really moving video I saw on Vimeo. I thought I’d add something slightly different to my blog for a change. Enjoy 😉

The Life of Death from Marsha Onderstijn on Vimeo.

 

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poetry, Thoughts

ferment : the memoir of a rat

Recently my therapist challenged me. I mentioned a host of different scenarios where I’d either caused myself or others heartache. To be honest…it went a bit further than that. I spoke to her about those dark and slimy parts of our personality we want no one to hear about. To give you an example, it’s the type of acts you bow your head in shame while you admit it.

She proceeded to challenge me, and asked me “When you do such and such, what do you feel?” I mentioned a variety of different awkward feelings. She then pushed me again, a little harder this time, and I blurted out “It makes me feel like a rat.” She loved the image. Later on in the session, she mentioned that I should write a poem about it. I shrugged my shoulders rather reluctantly, and said something along the lines of “Yeah, I should do it sometime.”

Every time I was challenged to write about a nuance that unsettled (and sometimes even frightened me) I resisted. Well, this evening I managed to conquer that one irrational voice. Partially sparred to get away from everything (after an altercation at work), I rode down to the beach this evening. I sat on a tiny wooden bench under a few trees, and proceeded to dig into the dark corners of my psyche. The place that few dare to go. The place where I find the rat.

ferment : the memoir of a rat

a rat that crawls through
a network of garbage
he crawls between ropes
of a salient psyche
he does not see
his skewed face
in the stagnant gruel
he wades through

an integrated person can
read the conditions
peel off conclusions
engulf his mind
with symbols and strings

but he is a rat – he waits

for the crowd
to absorb his chuckle
so he can slip into
the folds of their narcissism

he wears cheap jokes
as course as solitude
and lithe as a glove

he scampers along
a network of memories
cardboard pardons
cracked opinions that
are best when boxed away
in the sordid alley
of the unconscious

it stretches too far
for
tender fingers to touch
for
maternal mutters to goad
or
internal traffic to narrate

all he knows are the
brutal black bags
gathering a sense of things
they shiver
their cold bodies coalesce

silver street lamps
carve chapters into skin
into veins of decay
where a rat chooses to live
survive
swivel
plunder
boil
and wrestle
cerebral wires
binding his bones to
an oily existence

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Thoughts

a mind that twitches

These are the events.
I gobbled up my supper, and then lay on the sofa dozing off while my kid sister’s computer games involuntarily squawked through the cushioned speakers. Soon enough I had fallen, into a early evening cathartic coma. I don’t know what exactly woke me, but I remember stumbling into an awake position while my thoughts rippled and washed through me. I tried to peel the dream-induced drunkenness from my head by wandering the house for a few brief moments. I considered going upstairs, but then I told myself it’d just be another night of falling asleep in front of the half-finished movie. I needed to clear my thoughts. I needed to take a ride.

So I decided to swing a sturdy leg over my motorcycle and allow the cool evening breeze to whisk my thoughts around for some time. I thought of visiting an obscure garage a few kilometers away. They sold good chocolate, and it would give me the rider’s excuse of weave through the pock-marked suburbs, buy some time. I wanted this ride to take as long as possible.

The good news is…it did. I drifted at a lazy pace (at times), through the silent houses and down empty roads. There is one hill I always go down at night, without holding onto the handle bars. It sounds extremely dangerous, although it’s some advice a seasoned biker once gave me. Every now and again you should get used to the weight of you own bike, and be able to maneuver it without relying of the handlebars. This is for a practical reason, because most people panic in ‘close calls’. When this happens generally the handlebars swivel too quickly, you embrace the Tarmac too lovingly, and you bones crunch with applause (worse case, of course). So I entered the top of the hill with my bike doing about 40-50 km/h and I gracefully, eased around the bend, pushing my weight to the right while my hands rested on the fuel tank. I glided towards the bottom of the hill and then eventually I stood up with my hands out stretched, as if greeting the stars and evening air as my audience.

After a few more turns and twists I came across that teeny garage. Decided against the Lindt chocolate after examining the somewhat sobering price-tag, and bought five strips of Licorice and a soft drink. I sat on the benches outside, taking the evening air, and the quiet that comes with it. Sometimes you needs to escape out of the house and just let your thoughts amble. The cool breeze, and patchy clouds watching me like sentient beings from above, it was beautiful.

Now why am I telling you all of this wonderful stuff? Simply because I have a mind that twitches. It’s restless. It keeps me up late into the evening, many nights in a row. Despite the obvious strain this puts on me, I’m slowly learning to handle it. It’s tough at times. A few minutes before I wrote this blog post I listened to all three movements of Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight’ piano concerto. Listening to the melodies, the turbulent emotion and the gentle harmonies wafting in, it felt like I was on some kind of drug for a few moments. Time seemed to morph into another type of entity, and it was just me and
Ludwig’s concerto trickling through my earphones.

Although it helped to calm me down slightly my mind is still in it’s twitching business. Hopefully by the time I’ve written up a new blog post, you will find me better rested.

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Thoughts

A voice you cannot ignore

These are the facts.

Over the last few months I’ve had a number of changes happen in my life. One of them being I moved house and got temporarily shacked up in my parents place (using my kid sister’s room, in the meantime while I look for a place), the second one being I’ve recently been promoted in my field. I’m no longer a salesman now, but an Apple technician.

So I’m with my parents and I’m supposed to be looking for a new place to stay, and I haven’t yet found one. Part of the reason is that my workload has doubled, which is a factor, however, you can never blame every situation down to a single factor. Bottomline I haven’t yet got off my ass and scoured the papers enough. Now that you’ve got all that in mind, allow me to set the scene for you…

This is what happened.
It was a Monday. I’d had the day off, and I spent it rather productively, gathering together parts to service my motorbike with. I was pleased. It was now around seven o’clock in the evening. The garage light’s luminescent hue covered me. I sat on the tarmac, my hands buried in the engine, wrestling sparkplugs among other things.

Both my little sisters bounced around with curious little faces, wanting to see what I was up to, and why I was taking so long on a seemingly innocous piece of steel. The one is 9 and the other is 4. The older one got distracted by something inside. This is when Skyla continued to speak to me.

 

Jonna-fin.
“Yes Skyla.”
When are you moving out?
She stared at me, her glasses glinting in the garage light.
“I don’t know Skyla. Well, it’s as soon as I find a place I guess.”
Oh… She paused. Lost in thought for a few seconds, her small silhouette spilled over the black skin of the tar.

Jonna-fin.
“Hmmm?”
Jonna-fin, I really want my room back.
If my heart had been made up of cello strings at that point. She had just taken a finger, and earnestly plucked up very hard.
I looked away to avoid eye-contact, to bury the shame I felt throbbing inside me.
“I know Skylee, I’m busy looking for a place. I don’t have the money this month. But I’m going to move out soon.”

There are some voices you cannot ignore. There is no such thing as sincere as a few words from a child’s mouth. I was deeply moved by that. Looking back I’m really glad that she was honest enough with me. I’ve been wanting my own space and freedom for a while now.

More importantly though, I’ll make sure I give my ‘lil sis her room back. It’s the very least I could do.

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Thoughts

It tweets while you sleep

My eyelids were twitching. Not in the way when someone tells a lie. While I attempted to sleep the other night it felt like they were clicking along like a typewriter, recording the dreams. It was odd. I had something similar happen to me some years back. I’d listen to music almost constantly through out the day. At night in an attempt to calm my mind down, I would imagine a giant iPod in my head. I’d give this massive click wheel a spin, and whatever artist it landed on…I’d start playing through one of their songs in my head. I use to test myself to measure the accuracy. Perhaps there was a band I would be afraid of? Nope. Never a hesitation.

The other night I had clicking eyelids. I need to learn to manage information in smaller chunks. The eyelid culprit was Twitter. I’ve had a blog for a while, and explore other nooks and nuances on the web, but never this type of…uh…what do you call it? Micro-blogging I guess.

140 characters to say as much as you want, whenever you want, as often as you want. It’s endless, and because it’s all text-based any number of Internet URLs, pictures, YouTube videos, and so forth can be shared. Yes it’s my foot in the door of social networking, since I’ve been on a diet or sorts. (A while ago I cut all contact to social networks.) It gave me time to look and see how I promote myself.

Why the sudden revelation with twitter? I heard about this service in the early 2000s. I shrugged it off and thought, well it’s just like having a dedicated Facebook status site, right? Maybe, but I find comfort in the fact you have a certain amount of anonymity. You can post a tweet (140 characters to say something profound), and that’s it. There is no ‘like’ button. Hooray! You won’t find lazy urchins pressing one button to say you did a reasonable job, and then bugger off.

Maybe it’s because I write incessantly that this has grabbed me. However, I always like to find a meaning behind my online ramblings. Today I’ll leave you this pearl of wisdom. Set aside time for social networking. You won’t want to get the same twitching eyelid syndrome, it’s not fun. Plus, it scares the ghosts away.

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Selling uncomfortable silence

Apart from the dull hiss of pop music oozing through the speakers at work, and the regimental stare from my half-used coffee cup…nothing else is happening. I feel that when you leave something long enough in one place, it begins to stare. It’s almost as if you forgot it was there, and now it’s silence is baring down on your neck. Most people ignore the character that forms around your office implements. Most people ignore most things.

 

It’s sobering to see how most people amble along without looking carefully at the things they are saying. At the moment I’m a salesman. Plenty of times I see people remarking “I bet they sell like hot cakes.” Now, this is where I stop and pause. Have you ever gone to the bakery and asked for a hot cake? In fact have you met someone who has come out of the bakery raving about there hot cake they just bought. I’ve seen people queue outside a store for the latest Harry Potter book…never for a hot cake. They must be somewhere since everyone is talking about them.

 

Very rarely do we stop to examine the  words we’re using. Why is that? Perhaps it’s exhausting. I suppose the real reason is it will in turn make us start to question who we are. The minute you start to question yourself and your own motives, things become a little scary. Are we a product of what we talk about? Words are vehicles that help us make friends, get through school, get through our first job interview, loose friends, lie to our colleagues and betray others.

 

I’m a salesman, and talking is part of my day. When someone inquires about a product I naturally question their needs, then once I get a feel for them I continue onto my general sales pitch. I have to be careful, sometimes I’ll side with one product over the other if I feel it’s going to win over the customer. Words are the tool I use to earn money, the more persuasive the more I sell…the more money I make.

 

Tonight I did feel a sting of regret though I must be honest. Every odd night I see the last minute customer who rush breathless to our doors once we have closed them. There was a middle-aged man who rushed to our doors tonight. He was dressed in a mediocre way. A signal I always look out for which tells me (most of the time) how much money the customer is willing to spend.

 

He explained to me (through tremendous gulps of air) that he was leaving the country tomorrow morning and desperately needed our one adapter we sold. Like many other people before him I turned him down, explaining that the shopping centre would fine us, if we continued to trade after hours. I saw the pain and desperation in his face, the look like life was about to fade away into a plughole. I felt like a snob. Selfish. I was a young working class kid, who wanted to get home after the long day and didn’t care a thing about him.

 

That is most likely a better way of looking in on yourself. Like many other uncomfortable feelings, I tucked it under the carpet that stores other dirty memories.

 

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hunting for foibles

This morning as sit in my humble apartment with thrown-together furniture. I begin to think it’s time I went for a drive. Not a normal drive to get things done. I’m not on my way somewhere (say for example, to buy groceries) and the drive is the process in between me and my destination. Today I’m on more of an adventurous exploit. I consider myself an urban explorer. My motorcycle as my battle-scarred sword wading through the leaves of trial and mystery.

I’m on a mission to look for second-hand, antique, worn-out, dusty stores. The kind of places where they still sell creased vinyls and you spot the withered chain-smoking lady who grins at you for the first minute, and then ploughs back into her Mills & Boon. Some stores are in neat, clean, radio-friendly malls. They have crisp advertisements that bounce into your field of view, coupled with cheshire-induced salesmen who greet you at the door.

I want the opposite. I need an adventure. I want to be weaving through three suburbs before I find my burnout bookstore. Perhaps half my problem is I’m a poet looking for a sense of personality in the architecture, rather than a marketed allure of value.

Yesterday I found such a secondhand bookstore, to be honest. The shelves were only half the width of the size of the books and as a result the books kept falling off the shelf (every odd hour). The labels read Mystery, Crime, or Action and were written and stuck there probably a decade ago. The ink have taken it’s toll on the paper and began to explore other avenues and veins in the paper, giving the edges of each word a barbed look.

I stood around browsing the store. While I waited for the old man (who was there a few minutes before me) to finish his arduous story with the store clerk. I didn’t buy anything. I simply browsed to get a feel for the selection of titles there. Most of the time I inwardly judge a bookstore buy the amount of volumes of poetry they have…or whether they keep the cheap-easy pulp fiction. If they have decided to keep a spread of Picador and prize-winning titles, I become jealous of not being a sort of sprite that stalks the aisles and bathes in the unvarnished glow of ideas and accomplishments.

This place was more about the cheap-easy, regrettably. Before I discredit them they did have two Salman Rushdie, and around two dozen classics coupled with poetry. I’m a snob like that. I do realize avant-garde titles which make you think, don’t beckon the general public to tear them off the shelves. I think by now I have made peace with that.

I trust you’ll forgive me cutting this post sort, as I jump on that polished, mechanical-animal waiting for me outside; not to mention the oddities and misfits surviving their quaint existence.

 

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The banishment of inner vagrants

Change is imminent, even Death and Hotel Sex. What is far beyond the aforementioned is getting off your ass, which I have decided to do. There were a few recent events which involved me at my local pub pissing off many of the locals, due to the fact I was pretty drunk. I could have gone back the following night, to face the angry mob, and arrived back at work the next day with half a face and zero pride, but luckily I had friends to convince me otherwise.

 

I decided to take a personal stand about this. I’m giving up alcohol. Not in the beat-my-wife-harder-cos-I’m-sober kind of way. It’s more like a hiatus of sorts. I’ve given myself three months of sobriety to wade through. I’ve decided it’s time to make some changes. After all too many times conversations are started through a bubbly haze in my current watering hole.

 

In fact it’s time I cleaned up my body in general. Fortunately I not a smoker so my lungs are (for the most part) still healthy and happy, it’s my thinking that needs to change. I made this decision yesterday while I was functioning on a the amount of tranquilizers that gave me the presence of a Guru, and the speech of a half-out-the-bed brainiac.

 

If anything it’s far more efficient than a decision made after 5 liters of beer. It’s kind of scary to see that I’ve slowly seeped into the pub life, and the fact that drinking 3-4 times a week is the norm and kinda groovy. Everyone would like a few drinks in them before they ask someone on a date, crack a good joke, or just fool around in general.

 

It’s fucking difficult to catch those plethora of skills, and turn them around to face you. So I’m faced with a pretty daunting challenge now, local pub life and endless yammering is out of the question…so where to from here?

 

Tons of places really, I’ve already considered camping out at my local botanical gardens, with three volumes of poetry wedged into my arm pits. Maybe I’ll even wonder around the harbor, and fight off the conspiring seagulls and their allies. So I’m elated, frightened hesitant, and expectant of greater events, more interesting people that deserve investigation.

 

 

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Death of a Giant

Few people in my life deserve the title “Giant”, my current manager is one of them. The best way I can describe him, is a big, bouncy lovable, warm-hearted and mischievous guy. Of course he has a serious attitude and gets things done, where need be. When you’ve worked under a few people you start to realize that the more people climb out of there social veneer and show themselves to you, the more you appreciate them. Through out my life I’ve had a therapist, and one or two university lectures that have showed me there are giants out there.

By using the word Giant, I mean someone you can rely on and trust, and a mentor type figure whose shoulders you can stand on to see the world a bit better. Today I got told on a meeting that my current manager is leaving. I haven’t been this sad in a long time, he’ll always be in my thoughts, that BFG (Big Friendly Giant) that saw me grow from a nervous little kid, to a polished and confident sales person.

While a take time to look at him leaving, I also start to realize that perhaps it’s time I took a few notes out of his book. One day when I leave I want to bee seen like that. A Giant, a powerful force that can change people for the better, and sculpt an organization (and it’s people) into something of a legend.

Saying goodbye is a tough thing. In the meeting today, I actually felt my eyes trickle a few tears. It’s been a while since I cared and respected someone as much. Perhaps this will lead to greater things in the future? There is some disappointment, but also a lot of opportunity and excitement kicking in for what can still be gained.

I once remember sitting in a therapy-type session with my father. My father is a naturalist at heart, and he spotted a cycad outside in the garden. Most of it’s leaves were in blossom and sparkling in the sunlight, except for one which was tucked into itself (a bit like a centipede does when you touch unexpectedly). He simply remarked, “You may look like that small leaf now, but one day you’ll unravel and turn into that massive leaf soaking in the sunlight.”

 

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