Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
This is my favorite poem of all time. I can't remember where I found it or when, but I knew I loved the words, the images and the seamless flow from stanza to stanza. Ironically, it took me years to truly understand exactly what the poem means. At first glance, it reads as a sweet and passionate love poem. The final stanza has the reader thinking "awwww." But when carefully examined, you see there is more to this poem that meets the eye. Yes, it is a love poem. But it details a special, sacred kind of love. This is not puppy love or a crush or infatuation or lust. This is 100% genuine love. 
Neruda begins by telling his beloved he does not love her as if she were a beautiful gem or crystal rock. He loves her as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret between body and soul. Between body and soul? That is a deep rooted place. This love isn't hailed from the treetops or embellished with material declarations. It is a private and secret love. 
Neruda loves what he can't see but knows exists. The plant that never blooms but carries within itself the light of hidden flowers. Mystery. The scent of these hidden flowers lives within him. He and his love are integrated, combined, together, within each other. 
True love is unselfish. ("Love does not boast...etc"). If you are really, truly in love with someone, you tell them you love them for the sole reason of letting them hear the words fall from your lips. You do not tell them to hear the words back. You do not say it for a reaction. You state the fact and are content with that. This third stanza encapsulates what true love feels like. When you love someone without knowing how or when or from where. You know it comes from deep inside you but you love them with ALL of you so it is hard to pinpoint a place. You know it is love but you don't know why. There is not ONE reason. You just DO. You love without complexities and pride. This is the only way you know how to love. 
The final stanza brings the message home. That two people are so in love they become one. The cliche is "Two become one" and we hear it in poems and songs and stories and in movies. But Neruda puts this cliche into the most elegant words. "Than this: where I does not exist, nor you. So close that your hand on my chest is my hand. So close that your eyes close as I fall asleep." I feel this is the type of phenomenon that occurs with elderly couples who have been together for decades. This could happen with new love too, but like a petulant child, love begins immature and grows wise over time. 
Such a beautiful poem. It takes careful thought and analysis to truly appreciate how hard Pablo Neruda can hit home when it comes to true and unselfish love. 
Until next time... 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Adventures in Online Retail Therapy

I didn't wake up distraught. I was in a somewhat tired mood, still recovering from a social hangover from endless and fun interaction this weekend. Yet last night I bought a "Haters Gonna Hate" t-shirt and a "YOLO" trucker hat. That must have been when it started.

For today I dropped a healthy sum at Urban Outfitters and then received my annual employee evaluation. It was decent but it did not live up to my overachieving standards, thus I was disappointed with my review score. Channeling this disappointment, I purchased my beloved Ray-Ban Wayfarers that I've been eyeing all summer. All I had to do was sign up for an e-mail list for Amazon Shoes and I got a 20% coupon to use which knocked my Ray-Bans down a lot. Two years ago I purchased Ray-Ban Aviators from an online deal site. I got the pricey spectacles for a mere $55. My Wayfarers cost me $63 with free shipping. That is a deal.

Now I sit here, mildly sated yet still upset about my review. I'm a little concerned about that credit card debt I just racked up in a mere 24 hours. However, I'm excited that now I have a parade of purchases to look forward to. There is something to be said for coming home and finding a package on your doorstep with your name on the front. This "high" should last at least two weeks since I ordered so many items.

I don't typically resort to retail therapy in an effort to cope with my emotions, but somehow I feel this shopping spree was validated.

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

25 Year Old Wisdom

7 Things That Will Inevitably Happen To You:

1. Friends will stop being your friends for no reason. They will legit just drop off the face of the earth without a farewell and you'll struggle for awhile to hold them close. Eventually you will come to accept the fact that your friendship is over, with no rhyme or reason and you will move on to make new friends. As Macklemore says "You'll meet people whose paths intersect but you don't know how long you'll walk with them."

2. You will fall in love with "the wrong person" and begin to question whether or not they are really that "wrong" after all. The whole situation will come out of nowhere. It will seem improbable. Then you'll find yourself immersed in a love affair with someone who regardless how long they stay with you, will change your life.

3. You will compare yourself to your friends, because thanks to social media you know more about them then you ever wanted to know. There will be a point where if female you will feel pressured to get married and pop out children. If you're male, you'll be striving to land that perfect job so you can buy a nice car and find a woman to take care of. You will reach a point where you either cave into the pressure or defy these "social media norms" and live your own life the way you want to.

4. You will procrastinate on your ambitions. You will think "I have my whole life for that" without realizing life can change in an instant. That novel, song, painting, dance group, book club, invention...that you've been putting off will need to take precedence in your life to become a reality. You're not immortal and your talents may shift and change as you grow older.

5. Your mentors, parents, favorite teachers will get older and retire and this will SCARE you. You'll realize the older people you love have crossed the mountain peak of life and are now headed on the downhill slide. You'll see your parents forget things. You'll see them wince when they get out of a chair. You'll see your favorite high school teacher retire. People around you will age, and it will make you nervous but you will eventually accept it.

6. It will take forever to pay off your student loan debt. Especially if you went for a Masters Degree. Keep telling yourself it was worth it, because in truth, it was. My grandmother always used to say, "No one can take your education away from you."

7. You will eventually be persuaded to join civic groups like neighborhood councils, city coalitions, cleanup, renovation, revitalization groups. It is called adulthood. Do your part.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Thought for the Evening

When I'm not sure what to say or how to say things, I rely on someone else. Here is Sara Bareilles:

1000 Times

Back of the room
Looking at you
Counting the steps
Between us

A hundred and five
Little blades in a line
From your skin to mine
And I feel it

Eyes on the ground
But I can't look up now
Don't wanna give it away
My secret

In another life,
My teeth and tongue
Would speak aloud what until now
I've only sung

Cause I would die to make you mine
Bleed me dry each and every time
I don't mind, no I don't mind it
I would come back 1000 times

You can make me wait forever
Push me away and tell me never
I don't mind, no I don't mind it
I would come back 1000 times
(Hey Hey)

Kiss me goodnight
Like a good friend might
I'll do the same
But won't mean it

Cause love is a cage
These words on a page
Carry the pain
They don't free it

In another life
I wouldn't need to
Console myself
As I resign to release you

Cause I would die to make you mine
Bleed me dry each and every time
I don't mind, no I don't mind it
I would come back 1000 times

You can make me wait forever
Push me away and tell me never
I don't mind, no I don't mind it
I would come back 1000 times

Again again
I let it go, let it go
Cover my mouth
Don't let a single word slip out

Wouldn't wanna tell you, no
Tell you, no
Nothing could be worse
Than the risk of
Losing what I don't have now

And we could buy the minute, though
Is it so bad if I wanna cry out

That I would die to make you mine
Bleed me dry almost every time
But I don't mind, no I don't mind it
I would come back 1000 times

Make me wait forever
Push me away and tell me never
I don't mind, no I don't mind it
I would come back 1000 times
I would come back 1000 times (Hey yeah)
I would come back 1000 times

Until next time.....

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Little Bit of Blah

The Fourth of July was like any other 4th with the exception of its ending. I went down to the Parkway for the typical festivities, retrieved some free WaWa beverages and proceeded to go home to my air conditioning to make adult beverages. Around 6 I headed down to the concerts and fireworks. I was pretty excited to see J. Cole, Ne-Yo, Hunter Hayes and the Roots. I parked my behind on a curb right in front of the jumbotron. I didn't want to head down towards the stage because the seating area is really blocked off, you can't see anything and I tried to win seats this year and that failed. My spot was nice except for after about 2.5 hours sitting on a curb in shorts, adjusting into every position imaginable, my butt hurt and I was sweating everywhere.

Alas, the concert ended and I made my way to the middle of the Parkway to watch the fireworks. As I stepped over some girl's outstretched legs, someone yelled "Hey!" Turns out, a friend from college who graduated the year before me was attending the fireworks as well and she recognized me! I was really glad to see her and we caught up for a few minutes before the fireworks started.

The show was spectacular until I heard screaming coming from my right. I looked over and saw the crowd of people screaming and running towards me. "He's got a gun! He's got a gun!" someone yelled in a panic.

I was in the dead center of the Parkway. Oddly enough I was calm. I knew I had to move because I'd risk getting trampled if I stayed put. The "threat" was the last thing on my mind. As I turned to seek an open area to the left of the Parkway, I power walked through debris and checked for people on the ground. The whole time I kept saying in my head "Don't fall. Don't fall. Don't trip. Don't fall." If I did either of these things, I'd surely be injured. I made it to the side of the Parkway without incident. People were running and crying everywhere. I found a woman bent over trying to stand up. I put my hand on her back and tried to stay with her to see if I could help her up. As I moved to the front of her, another wave of panicked people came rushing towards us and I had to move. I wasn't able to help her as she fell down again.

The Parkway was littered with coolers, chairs, bottles, shoes, pretty much everything imaginable. I meandered closer to the Art Museum so I could watch the Grand Finale of the fireworks. As they ended I made my way home, fortunate enough to run into my friend from college and her group. She was fine, we hugged and said we were happy to see each other and catch up.

The scene on my way home was something out of a movie. People crying. Mother's crying hysterically because they had lost their kid in the fray. Children crying because they lost their mothers. People's nerves shattered. Police and fire trucks everywhere. I never cried, I never panicked and I was never worried about getting shot or blown to bits. I'm glad I stayed calm in the face of panic, but I worry my response wasn't as "flight" as it should be. Am I that desensitized to violence in Philadelphia?

Friday came and went, a quiet day at work with limited staff, for smart people called out to have a four day weekend. Then it was the weekend.

I've been having trouble sleeping lately. I've been real lethargic and just, unwilling to move about. I spent a lot of time eating and watching Netflix this weekend. I even skipped kickboxing on Saturday which is very much not like me. I'm so tired but I can't seem to sleep, yet on Saturday and Sunday I got out of bed around noon and 1pm. I'm dreading the week ahead as well.

So it has been a bit of a blah weekend. I'm hoping the week will be better but it won't. I have to haul ass to accomplish some tasks before I leave for a brief vacation to the Shore next weekend. Oh well, such is life.

Until next time....

What if I'm not a Writer?

I've mentioned this before. My first book I ever wrote was a few chapters long. Each page was a new chapter. I was in second or third ...