Monday, November 09, 2009

Of Time and Other Things

"The stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore,
And Yesterday, or Centuries before?"

Emily Dickenson

It's been a couple of years now, and I can think of nothing to write about in his memory. The daunting pain of loss and suffering now dwells deep inside the dark caves of my forgetting. And the resentment I once held towards my self-created image of an apathetic God has died slowly over the past two years. It's time to make amends with myself and with him… To write about Life, and contradict the thoughts of Death that poisoned my mind for far too long. But before I do that, I need to stop for a while and ponder the passage of Time, to write about those fleeting seconds that leave us behind helpless as we age. Of the Past, the Present and the Future, of Love, Life and Death, this is what They had to say.

-- 0 --

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up--for you the flag is flung--for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths--for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

-- 1 --

After a hundred years
Nobody knows the Place
Agony that enacted there
Motionless as Peace

-- 2 --

‘In headaches and in worry
Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
To-morrow or to-day.

‘O plunge your hands in water,
Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
And wonder what you’ve missed.

-- 3 --

O where are you going? Stay with me here!
Were the vows you swore deceiving, deceiving?
No, I promised to love you, dear,
But I must be leaving.

-- 4 --

But in the importance and noise of to-morrow
When the brokers are roaring like beasts on the floor of the Bourse,
And the poor have the sufferings to which they are fairly accustomed,
And each in the cell of himself is almost convinced of his freedom,
A few thousand will think of this day
As one thinks of a day when one did something slightly unusual.

What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.

-- 5 --

Can't repeat the past? He cried incredulously "Why, of course you can!
He looked around him wildly, as if the past were lurking here in the shadow of his house, just out of reach of his hand.

-- 6 --

You must remember this
A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh.
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by.

-- 7 --

So tell me now and I won't ask again
Will you still love me tomorrow?

-- 8 --

Please love me now for now is all the time there may be

-- 9 --

After all... tomorrow is another day

I have nothing to write but quotes; poems, songs, films… I have nothing inside me but echoes from the past! The sea carries them to my ears, like cannon balls from a ghost ship, like thunder from a faraway storm, like You moaning in my dreams. The flickering starlight is suddenly disturbed by a rising half-moon, its weak orange light, a bit shaky behind the clouds, is barely enough to guide the foamy waves to my shore. What words does this sugary coated darkness bring me from spirits that perished within? What words will come out of that longing for the unknown? What Words will endure this painful desire and survive the long journey!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


“He was always late on principle, his principle being that punctuality is the thief of time”
Oscar Wilde - The Picture of Dorian Gray

I’ve always failed to understand the amount of effort some people exert in their futile attempts to bring some order into their chaotic lives. That amazingly stubborn determination to organize, to schedule, to plan… To me, defying the pure randomness of existence always seemed nothing but sheer madness. Still, after all that I’ve seen, I can now state with some confidence: Maybe God doesn’t really play dice with our lives the way he plays with the Universe, but I can hear a devilish laughter escaping him every now and then, as he flips high the coin we so foolishly call destiny, without even bothering to break its fall.

I’ve been suffering from a weird illness lately; for months I haven’t been able to write anything. My mind has created barriers to stop the emancipation of my thoughts, to cut off what I once thought an endless stream of words pouring out of my head. Usually they call this a “Writer’s Block”. But since I still lack the courage to define myself as a writer, or as any other profession for that matter, let me just call it by what it truly is “Sobriety”.

Sobriety… That horrible state of mind where the darkest of thoughts simply linger in your head. They settle in, slowly, and gain territory over your sanity. You can feel them creeping up the lines of your veins, lurking in the unknown abysses of your mind or leaning heavily against the walls of your skull, that rotten heap of weed that needs to be flushed, and there’s nothing better than wine to do it.

I’m writing again, horribly, like I used to do so long ago! Oh how long ago does it seem to me now… You’ve slipped away, like a dream, through my fingers. And now I have to write you again, from the very beginning, to own you again, completely, to feel you, Again, taking shape inside my head before I pick up my pen and turn that ugly sickness inside me into beauty, the same thing God tried to do with his bitter loneliness. But this time it will be different; I’ve run out of books to read, songs to hear and films to watch! I have to find you here, on this earth, in what they so ironically call a Real Life! I will travel everywhere to find your lost traces. I will search for you in every city that I visit; in the faces of strangers who pass me in the street with utter indifference, in the tired eyes of my travel companions after long sleepless nights inside train wagons as colorless as prison cells, in the laughter of that little child as her mother tickles her to take her mind off the strange surroundings and that buzzing sound that can drive anyone into madness. I’ll wait for you, on old bridges where young lovers exchange hurried kisses over ancient rivers passing through majestic cities, surrounded by ice capped gigantic mountains and endless forests with giant trees that extend as far as the horizon, hiding underneath their thick branches secrets of our childhood’s most precious fantasies about marvelous creatures and incredible fairy tales. I’ll pick up your scent, in roses and water lilies, in tulips and violets and edelweiss, in that French “parfum léger” a woman just throws over her bare shoulders like an exotic shawl that shatters my glass memory into pieces as I brush by her side on my out of that sad violin concerto. I’ll follow your shadow at night, through tiled narrow passages between gloomy houses and churches, where the sound of your tapping feet accompanied by the melodies of that old guitarist in a distant café calls the moon down for a short dance that will stretch on till the early hours of dawn, when the cold morning breeze sneaks in carrying the smell of bread fresh out of bakeries to remind you of the passage of time, that the night is being swept away to other distant corners of the universe and you should give the moon some time to rest.

I’ll write again, differently, without titles or quotes, without those long hours I used to spend to shape my words into phrases that aligned so perfectly to draw your image. Because Life comes at you all of a sudden, and all at once; a chaotic revolution that should never be slowed, should never be put in order, should never be analyzed, should never be understood. I’ll write real cities this time, with real walls and real streets and real houses, where real people make silly mundane love at night, and wake up lazily in the morning to go to their silly mundane jobs where they can waste their time pondering their silly mundane Lives. I’m back again! I’m writing again! And this is just the beginning…

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Three Lines... Ok, maybe a little bit more!

I feel a little bit like Zorba! I want to eat cherries, a whole bunch of them. I'll keep swallowing them, a hundred at a time, until my stomach explodes and I vomit out my Addiction. But after that, I have to eat some more; just to get rid of my Fear of Addiction...

Struggling once again with my thoughts, wandering the mists of the in-between... I'm so sick of compromises and half solutions... The fight must be settled and my role must be set; A God Poet or a Preying Wolf, it makes no difference whatsoever; what mystical shape my fictitious Life will take.

The hell with Freud and his damn insecurities...

Saturday, January 31, 2009


It’s 4 a.m. and my eyes are still wide open. I’ve been falling asleep and waking up at very odd hours lately, odd enough that my sister started calling me a “Vampire”… Actually, come to think of it, perhaps it was something else in my weird behaviour of late that earned me that nickname. Anyway, I just finished watching “Good Morning Vietnam”, an amazing movie with a pure genius dramatic performance by a young “Robin Williams”. Still, I can’t truly say I enjoyed the past hour or so of my life more than the meaningless ones that already passed in a long eventless day.

A trailer for a movie or a new series passes on the T.V. screen in front of me, accompanied by a song: “Stuck in Reverse”! I love the perfect timing of Divine Irony; that’s just what I needed to hear at this hour. Oh God!!! Have I really become sensitive to the point where some stupid lyrics can disturb me so easily? Or is it just that I’m getting sick of his ill sense of humour? The same humour that changed the words of one of my favourite songs! I know it might sound a bit crazy but I heard it a thousand times before and I’m a 100 percent sure it was: “… And if I told you that I love you”, and then it changed. The same day I saw your words; love suddenly became something of the past.

Now I can say it with certainty: I’ve finally come full circle, and I’m right back where I started almost a year ago. I’m back to staring blankly at my friends in our little gatherings, totally indifferent to anything they have to say. I’m back to avoiding everyone, turning down invitations, not answering phone calls, and running away quickly when I hesitantly pay some social duty to a friend or a relative. Yes, I’m back to the point where the shortcomings of my fellow mortals are driving me insane, specially now as I find traces of the same maladies inside me. I can’t stand them any longer; lies, hypocrisy, shallow thoughts. I’m drowning in a swamp of ugly imperfections and my hands are paralyzed by a lingering depression from the past. More than a year has passed, a million moments with a million faces, images and people, spread over that narrow space of 12 months or so, and the only one I felt truly connected to was none other than my dead father. I’m back! Once again I’m phrasing your thoughts with my words, sacrificing meaning to make the images more colourful. That timeless trade-off between clarity and beauty, the one I’m doomed to make for the rest of my days.

Still, it was the eve of a historic inauguration. A few hours later, a man who ran an entire campaign on the simple idea of Change, was about to take the stage and ask millions of people who voted for that possibility to draw courage from their Past! To go back to the original creed of their so called founding fathers in order to meet the challenges of the Future. Change; a 2 hour discussion at a popular restaurant/café in downtown Amman, where modern people have modern talks in an environment that was built to falsely reassure them of their origins. Change; something I never believed in. Not even when I declared on my birthday that nothing can cheer me up except for the good people in Texas voting for it. Not even when I was acting smart and told you confidently that “It” was always good, right before you disappeared. I still don’t know what strange thought my phrase unearthed in your mind, what distant memory grabbed you like a hawk grabs a little bird and left you alone in a place unreachable to my pleading words. That optimistic possibility was something I couldn’t see in the painful look in your eyes, so I gazed away and gave the chance for silence to take dominion.

Yet Change and nothing else was on my mind as I left you behind and started walking, ascending slowly that yellowish pedestrian bridge that leads to the other side. Stretched before me was Tomorrow in the making, a grotesque image of modernization. Building cranes as far as the eye can see, crowned with their tiny red warning lights that scarred the beautiful night sky of Amman and added a sinister feel to its peaceful texture. Here, a distorted image of the Past meets a distorted image of the Future. Here, a local millionaire had to succumb, like us, to the basic laws of capitalism; losing an unfair battle to an international billionaire and bearing witness to the fulfillment of Marx’s prophecy about Capital’s ability to drive beyond all barriers. Here, globalized workers from all over the world, hard working and underpaid, joined efforts everyday to build the modern heart of our city; a soulless model of the western world. A western university, surrounded by western cafes and pubs where westernized students can meet after their westernized lectures come to an end. Western companies, where westernized employees spend their tasteless western 8-5, taking short westernized lunch breaks at western fast food restaurants, and leaving to spend their nights at western bars and night clubs where they can meet westernized strangers with hollow looks in their eyes as they fantasize about short westernized affairs before going back alone to their empty westernized apartments. Here the true victory of a sublimely empty Civilization will be final, as old cultures converge and give way to a new age, wiping out eternally-old values and traditions whose sole error was their failure in competing with Hollywood and MTV.

How fascinated I’ve become lately with this stupid city that I absolutely hate. Something has definitely changed during my aimless wandering in the old streets of Weibdeh and Jabal-Amman. I suddenly discovered real lives lurking inside those old houses with broken windows and cracked walls. And I was surprised to realize that certain parts of certain neighbourhoods could certainly pass as authentic. Foreigners and west-Ammanis don’t fall in this picture. Like me, they are mere trespassers who prey on the remnants of what someday could’ve became a true city. We are the ugly additions that cover a truly beautiful background. A middle aged man in his pajamas is walking with his 12 year old daughter to that small bakery whose windows have disappeared under years of dust. A young couple are walking home with their child; he decides to run ahead of them and a soft voice from behind chases after him and gently commands him to stop. A tired veteran selling lottery tickets is sitting on a half broken chair feeding a lonely cat. An old friend stops to chat for a few minutes before he continues on his way home, carrying bags from that tiny grocery store where every apple and every orange taste the way real apples and real oranges should taste. And then I pass along, with an IPod plugged to my ears, just another clone who enjoys the scenery, and loves to imagine the real lives behind those faces that pass him in the street, the same people he despised and had nothing in common with except the stupid chance that put them face to face on a cold winter night.

But I had to leave the city that morning. Every damn corner was haunted with your memories; your shadow was resting under every tree and your smile was mocking me behind every window. I had to stop myself several times a day from running behind perfect strangers who were wearing your scarf, or your coat or your hairstyle. But worst of all, your scent kept following me around wherever I went, intoxicating, reminding me how rotten everything else in this city was becoming. So I rode the bus that morning to run away from you, but, ironically as always, it followed the same path you once offered me as a gift, the most amazing of all gifts. Gazing through the windows, I could see misery manifesting itself along the road. Those large pine trees seemed pale and exhausted as they stood guard at the borders of the desert. Their figures slightly bent, imitating those of their neighbouring humans, almost apologetic for their sad existence. Not fully built houses, that were never meant to be completed, were scattered sparsely on both sides, like tiny spots of rash on the hills. At first there were hardly any people in that vicinity, and living there seemed to provide the perfect Isolation every one of us seeks at some point or another in his life; a place where your shouts are unheard and your spasms of madness pass unnoticed. But later on, people and houses and markets appeared out of nowhere, they suddenly emerged from the ground and barely had time to shake off the dirt that still covered them from head to toe. Entrenched they were in their misery, so certain it will endure every passing flood or hurricane, the same way it survived every single governmental plan and UN project. Only the Roman Olive trees were different, they stood there proudly with their thick stems, mutated from years and years of suffering, older than Time itself. They gazed back at you, daring and challenging, telling you that you don’t belong in here, telling you to go back to the realm of imagination whose gates you just crossed, warning you that you’ve entered another world, and that you might get really hurt in this land of reality. But It was a wonderful day after all; I planted new olive trees with my own bare hands that were going numb after endless hours of meaningless typing on the keyboard, and they bled with joy in the process. Then I sat down to rest under a great oak tree that was relentlessly shedding off its own sons and daughters, generously covering its surroundings with its shade and its acorns. A beautiful voice descended from a mosque in a nearby mountain, calling people to the noon prayer: “Allaho Akbar”, a reassuring message that everything is possible. Here, faith is a very simple matter, when the seeds are planted there’s nothing left to do but to pray to the unseen powers of the universe. God will always exist outside the fake world of finance, HR and marketing, outside our casual discussions, our casual drinks and our casual beliefs, and his presence is not just a comforting luxury or a social decoration, it’s a true necessity.

A Final Chapter.

For days I’ve been struggling with these thoughts, unable to finish them. There was something missing as usual, something essential; that invisible link between Today and Tomorrow, a path to follow and a destination to reach: The cure for my eternal apathy. I slept that night, a very long and troubled sleep, with your voice ringing in my ears: “You need to move on”, and me still wondering: “Where to, Love?” and “What for?” Then the answer formulated itself in a dream: I saw myself at my old school, rebuilt into a huge house that I was living in. At first I was at a stupid business meeting in the living room, with some colleagues from work, then someone happened to mention the death of my father and I started crying uncontrollably. They tried to calm me down but I decided to run away, the same thing I did 19 years ago on my second day of school when I ran away and walked the entire distance home, except this time I was already there, so I just hid in the toilets outside. But my plan failed, the toilets had doors on all sides, and I couldn’t close any of them. A short while later, my brother and a close friend found me there and took me back in. I slept again that night, inside my old school, and woke up to the sound of dripping water. I started walking around the unfamiliar rooms in the house, discovering leaking water faucets hanging everywhere, out of every wall and ceiling, with their water drops perfectly synchronized. Then I heard sounds coming from the kitchen, an unmistakable metallic jingle of tableware. I found my way in the darkness, and I tried to open the kitchen door but someone was standing behind it, blocking my path and causing all the noise,

“Who’s there?” I asked,
“It’s your father” the voice behind the door replied. “What are you doing up at this hour, Go back to sleep!” he ordered.
“But father, you’re a ghost, you can’t be here!” I answered confidently.

At that point, the voice behind the door disappeared. I opened the door and walked into the kitchen, no one was inside. Through the window I could see the lawn outside, my old school’s playground, then the earth opened up and started swallowing the grass and everything else it could swallow before I woke up.

Rising up right before dawn, I went to the kitchen for a glass of water. Outside, the wind was blowing through a pair of black pants that my neighbour left out to dry, and dark gray clouds were racing towards an unknown destination in the sky. A few minutes later, light started to sneak in slowly from the east, and the black pants surprisingly became a purple towel, clarity was adding colours this time! Then suddenly dawn erupted as pink tides that covered the entire morning sky to signal the beginning of a new day. There were many broken things around the house that had to be repaired, there was a whole new life ahead of me to be built and there was a world on the verge of sinking that needed to be saved. Maybe Change is possible after all.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


It’s that distant memory of heaven, still alive in your head. Shadows dancing to the angels’ harps, and tiny little birds flying down from their colorful nests to drink crystal pure water out of God’s own hands. It’s the childish image of perfection you thought you’ve outgrown, the peaceful hours of sleep you once thought were lost. It’s knowing that happiness is yours, not to be stolen or tampered with. And being watched over, not scrutinized, by divine eyes whose sole purpose is to guard your peace.

It’s the first time you ever tasted chocolate. That immense sensation of sinful pleasure rushes through your veins and clears your mind of all its stupid thoughts. It’s Adam, after the first bite, still unaware of the future that awaited him. It’s being and nothingness, all at once, and wishing you could stay there forever.

It’s the perfect flow of seasons, the one described in fairy tales. The youthful freshness of dawn in Spring, followed by the blossoming brightness of Summer days. The sound of violins during the long hours of Autumn’s twilight, and the cozy Winter nights of fire, wine and purifying snow.

It’s that dream that transcends the ages. It’s you, a 10 year old running barefoot in the garden, climbing trees and searching for hidden treasures underneath them. It’s you again, 10 years later, with your feet trembling as you take her hand in yours and step on the dance floor. It’s you, another 10 years in time, watching that beautiful child as she opens her eyes and smiles once she sees you beside her bed.

It’s your destiny, that beautiful woman in a revealing black dress. Your constant wish of flying. Countries grow smaller, and borders are no longer visible. She’s in your arms and the earth is so far behind with all its ugliness. And soon enough you’ll be one with the stars.

God, I still feel that my words are so limited…

Friday, September 12, 2008

Cities -- 2

“Because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth.”

– One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez –

Other times it’s simply different…

…So it all ends, and you’re packing your stuff to leave. It’s raining heavily outside as the invisible hands of God squeeze the remaining drops out of the tired old clouds. You’re standing in the middle of the room in utter idleness, with music pouring in from the old cassette player near your bed, accompanied by Fairouz’ ironic song:

“They loved each other…They left each other”

That angelic voice fills the room with sadness and floods through the windows to follow its destiny. It quickly breaks its ties with your mundane existence and ascends to meet angelic ears up in heaven, increasing the rain’s intensity, and adding that crystalline texture to its heavy, lonesome drops.


But it was, after all, an End without a beginning. An entire story focused within a point, defying your attempts at rationalizing it. A single point hanging outside the course of your lifeline; like a candle stranded in the darkness of the desert. And we were running blindly towards it, being hurriedly rushed into it by a desire to get rid of what we couldn’t explain. An end that offered no paths to follow, no promised futures, only that simple overwhelming Inevitability; “Es muss Sein!” That’s just the way it had to be.


You close your bag and take one final look at your room before you leave, seeing for the first time that thin film of dust that covered everything in it; from ceiling to floor. And you start wondering how these tiny particles managed to accumulate over time without you ever noticing. You lift up your bag and realize it weighs much more than you remember, despite the fact that you had exactly the same stuff you were carrying when you first stepped into that room. But you knew that would happen. The perfect transformation of the light dreams you brought along into the heavy memories you packed as you were leaving. As a writer you knew that too well, you’ve seen it too many times; the burden added by your dark words on the white innocence of blank pages. You switch off the tiny table lamp beside your bed, putting an end to the unsteady and blurred flow of light through the enclosing layers of dirt. You wipe your fingers on the dark green raincoat you’re wearing; hoping the rain outside would wash off the tiny stain you just created. You step outside with your luggage, closing the door quickly behind you, as if you were afraid that the darkness locked inside could creep out to follow you, and then, you turn your head and simply walk away.


And it was those memories that first grabbed my attention, that “Sack of Bones” you dragged along; a mixture of guilt and nostalgia that contradicted with the alluring life force you radiated to draw in everyone else. Intrigued by the mystery, I wanted to relive your memories, to replicate every second and capture each moment, unaware that it was almost impossible for me to understand. But I had to try; I needed to make it happen. And as I compromised my shield of protective apathy, I discovered that my confused curiosity was slowly turning into something new and genuine, a feeling I never experienced before, and frankly: I was afraid.


You’re walking these streets one last time, on your way to the train station. Shocked by the way this city has come to resemble you over the past year, or perhaps it was the other way around. The continuous flow of rain magnifies the silence in the deserted streets, setting your thoughts free to roam beyond all boundaries. A fragment of an old song crosses your mind and you concentrate hard in order to remember the lyrics, but your memory is already shattered all over the place; and you have to settle for a few scattered words and a broken melody; “As sad as your days”. You close your eyes for a second and you’re overcome by the unmistakable smell of Jasmine, that fragile Eastern scent carries you away to a different time and a different place, and you have no choice but to give in to reminiscing.


It was Death I saw that day. That pure and paralyzing fear in your eyes showed me how stupid my fake detachment was. Life was real; I could see it behind your stupored gaze and hear it beyond your terror stricken voice. And for the first time, I felt real anger and hatred towards everything I couldn’t control; towards everything that kept you awake at night pondering choices you made, and wishing you were somewhere else. The merciless and vengeful eastern Gods became my true enemy, and I felt that I was another stupid knight tilting at windmills. But something in your trembling voice reassured me of victory, the hidden frailty of a defiant hope known only to a few, those lucky enough to have walked the abandoned streets of the East during cold winter nights, where the memory of Jasmine still fills the air with unspoken promises of a beautiful rebirth.


You stumbled upon it during one of your journeys; your visit there was unplanned and almost certainly unwanted. You still remember walking through its streets for the very first time, recognizing every corner with the drunken familiarity of a sleep walker. You were certain that you’ve never been there before, yet you knew by heart every step along your path. The colossal palaces were spreading their arms to welcome you, and the huge statues stared at you with friendly eyes. It took you some time to realize that you’ve seen it a million times before. It was that recurring dream you’ve had since birth, the one that always failed to leave a trace on your conscious memory. And as your initial bewilderment faded away, you knew that you've arrived at your city, you were finally home.


Lying in bed, so far away from you… Unable to sleep. I was suffering from the same Insomnia that kept Adam awake during his first lonely days in heaven, before God realized that his idea of perfection was simply flawed. The horrible aching in my muscles was just my body longing for yours, that prehistoric nocturnal yearning to hold you in my arms and feel your warmth beside me. I couldn’t close my eyes, because your image was alive and painful inside my head. My mind held nothing but visions of you: laughing, crying, dancing, sleeping… As if nothing else ever existed. You've occupied every single spot in my recollection, and I started to seriously question the details of my past Life, wondering over and over again; if I was alive before we met; how come you're haunting all my memories?. But the answer was simple: I must've been dead.


A couple of days after you settled in, you began to realize there were no adults to be found in this city; its inhabitants were all children. They were everywhere at their games, stopping only to watch as you passed by, still suspicious of your sudden arrival. It took them days to get used to your presence, and even longer for their curiosity to replace their fear as they got close enough to start a conversation. At first you were a bit surprised; the language they spoke was like nothing you’ve ever heard before. It was a beautiful mixture of lyrical notes that flowed visible out of their tiny little mouths, vanishing into thin air before you were able to capture them. Obviously, you couldn’t understand a word; but gradually and with unexpected patience the children taught you how to speak, how to draw colorful images with every syllable you uttered. And Satisfied with your progress, they decided to teach you some of their games, which you learned passionately but with limited success. Of course that didn't really matter, cause after a while you managed to convince yourself that you succeeded in becoming one of them.


Challenged by my silence and my ignorance, you decided to teach me everything. You wanted me to run and dance, to shout and sing all at the same time. And you were so insistent in your attempts that you finally broke my passive inclination for laziness. I became young again, regaining for a short period the amazing feeling of juvenile freshness that I lost among hours of useless thinking. You knocked down my Atlas’ burden of stupid worries about irrelevant wars in far off places. And with time, I had to give up the melancholic mask of a fake deity I was wearing; so I stopped blaming myself for the misery of the world, and finally: I was Free.


Something changed… You were sick for a while, and you decided to lock yourself up in your room for a few days so as not to infect them. But the children failed to understand that. Growing up, absorbed in the endless hours of their youthful games; they must’ve missed the ridiculous notion of illness. And when you came out, slightly changed by the gloomy air inside your dark room, they treated you as a complete stranger. They refused to talk to you and they wouldn’t let you in their games. Wherever you walked you could feel their accusing stares follow you around, penetrating your skull from every side, and shattering your brain like a storm of silent bullets.

By that time, dark clouds were gathering in the horizon. The children knew what that meant, they’ve seen it happen once before; another hurricane would strike their little town. They remembered with fresh agony their friends who drowned in the streams that flooded their city after days of continuous rain. But this time they were prepared, overnight, while you were asleep, they gathered their stuff and ran to the hills, abandoning their city.

You woke up to a shockingly perfect silence. The playful childish sounds you were used to no longer filled the streets. At first you panicked, you thought you were going deaf, but one look outside your window made you realize that the city was actually empty. You rushed outside to look for them, wishing they were just playing another one of their silly games, but you couldn’t find them anywhere. Frustrated and tired after long hours of futile search, you finally managed to find a trace of their footsteps near the eastern gates, and you knew by then that the worst had happened.

Oh, how long have you gazed upon that eastern road! Those unexplainable white snow flakes sprinkled across the hot brown tiles that paved the way to the haunted mansion uphill. For months you wondered about the secrets hidden behind its huge black walls, but every time you tried to ascend that path, you were dissuaded by a heavy sadness that slowed your steps and released dark thoughts inside your mind. Terrified by the hurricane, the children fled their city and took refuge in that mansion, unaware that they would soon grow old and weary of the darkness it held, and that nothing awaited them inside but a sure and imminent Death. And as you stood there watching, you saw the last one of them entering the mansion. Within seconds black veils covered the huge windows to block any glimpse of the abandoned city, and huge black gates were closed on their sweet childish laughter that was still ringing in the city streets, and that won’t be heard again for a long time to come.


How fragile this stupid thing called love can be! Its strength cannot stand in the face of Time and Distance, it’s too weak to handle the forgotten shadows of the past and surely it is no match for disillusionment. And I had to put you through all of them, rejecting happiness by consciously torturing myself and wanting to wake you up. It was my own misdeed, but we both suffered the consequences of my stupidity. Sadly, it took me a long time to realize that nothing really mattered, that it was all pointless except for the few seconds I spent with you and that nothing else in the world could ever make me feel alive again. But it was too late…


You’ve arrived at the train station. Here your journey finally ends; you’re leaving without return. You’re setting alone on that broken wooden bench waiting for your train to arrive when it suddenly hits you, no train has ever stopped in that station. You start thinking fast; something was missing in the illogical sequence of events that led you here, and finally you realize it: You were not going anywhere. And looking back at the city you lived in for so long, you see it clearly for the first time, it was the one leaving you… An entire city with its houses, its buildings and its streets was silently moving away, leaving you behind with that frozen look of amazement on your face, unable to breathe.


And there I was once again, setting there all alone, staring blankly as you left. For a moment I couldn’t believe what just happened, but it was the only logical end; for I’ve lived through my hundred years of solitude, and it was stupid to think that I earned another opportunity on this earth.

Friday, August 08, 2008


If you wake up at a different time, in a different place, could you wake up as a different person?

– Fight Club 1999 –

The alarm from my cell phone goes off, resonating in my chaotic little room in that small youth hostel in La Recoleta and ending yet another night of weird dreams. I’ve been having vivid dreams of my father lately, so real and intense that I woke up each time looking for him and it took me a few minutes to realize that my Life has taken me far beyond his existence, both in space and in time.

Thursday morning, 7 am in BA, that means it’s already 1 pm back home. Time for a lunch break, and three more hours to waste at work before another lazy unplanned weekend. A weekend that could still dazzle you with the small variations introduced by chance on that endlessly repetitive theme of places and faces that add up to draw the outline for what you reluctantly call a Life.

Here in Argentina it meant I had two more hours before class. 6 hours of Latin American history and political science theories before my roommates and I start planning our weekend trip to the Cataratas Del Iguazú (That miraculous natural wonder on the borders with Brazil and Paraguay). A 27 year old Swiss-Italian (Studying music at Columbia), a 21 year old from Michigan (I still have no idea what she was studying) and I, were planning to rent a car and drive all the way from gloomy Buenos Aires to the sunny Northern tip.

But, there was something wrong, something missing as usual. That feeling of absolute numbness didn’t leave me for a second. A once in a lifetime trip to an exotic place thousands of miles away was to me as interesting as an eventless boring day at work. There was “Not an ounce of excitement” in me as I agreed to the plan, and acted thrilled about the car we rented, the wine we packed along, and the incredibly cheap hostel room we reserved.

Again, I was lying to myself with that myth of perfection I created to explain millions of dissatisfying moments and experiences. Acting as if I expected more out of this Life, when in fact I asked it for nothing. I’ve heard them all, every single label that comes to your mind: Unsocial, definitely; I held nothing but contempt for those tiny little clones that infested my world with their stupidity. An Alien, sure, why not; it only meant I was more advanced than the rest. Weird, hell, yes; I was simply unique. Detached, totally; it gave me a much better understanding of my surroundings. Emotionless, maybe; still, that contradicted with the uncertainty and the confusion I felt so often. Indifferent, sometimes; other times I was surprised by how much I truly cared. Judgmental, Racist, Sexist, Condescending, Immoral, Disrespectful, Arrogant; you can call me whatever you like, just fuck off and let me be, or not, I don’t really care.

A different person? Not really, it’s always the same old me…