The world is sick, but my smile is intact.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Don't blame it on John Lennon.
Don't blame it on Tsukuba.
Don't blame it on the weather.
Don't blame it on my thesis.
Don't blame it on my lack of inspiration.
Don't blame it on a broken heart.
You'll find me again soon—just not here.
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Silence, like a blank paper, gives way to a faint trace of whispers. My swift steps into the station. I'm boarding the victory train—an escape from nonexistence. Her music is coming with me, diving into the white, digging hope out of the void. Looking for you. Her watercolor voice paints a deep turquoise river for me to follow, and we glide under the light traversing the brush-like branches. She's drawing an enormous stone bridge that could've held carriages and white wigs if it weren't a product of this now that she's talking about. A now long gone. She speaks of towns whose names I am bound not to remember, empty stations waiting for no one. Her voice is placing houses on the mountains, and I'd swear it's just a painting if I didn't see cars moving in the distance. You promised you would buy me Arabian sweets. You promised you would take me shopping for cheese. She sings about these promises—about a hand in the dark walking me through an impossible tunnel, about the blue sky and the tree against the window. She sings about a russet hill touching the horizon, and about you forgetting my name. I'm expectant. I wonder how you look like standing on the platform—but I cannot find out. I've listened to this song so many times, yet it always runs too short. In hopes for a faint glimpse of your face I play it over and over. Return to point zero. Dashing into the station. I'm riding that train forever: we will never meet again.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
The Right Things
some people have congregated
around the right books
hands holding chins
the solidity of characters
the sharp social criticism
the fine storytelling skills
the themes of life and death and love
some others are pondering
about the right album
slowly bobbing heads
huge earphones like a toreador's hat
applauding how it
departs from earlier tradition
experiments with different genres
achieves a new sound
deserves its place
among this year's revelations.
on a crossroad
surrounded by water
and headless rice stalks
completely incapable of
daring to conjecture what could be
the right afternoon light.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Tsukuba: Here Be Monsters
Ever since 1973 small tumors have been sprouting at an alarming speed amidst a large patch of untamed green, and every summer an army of vines and bushes fights these lumps to no avail like weakened T-cells at the height of an incurable syndrome. They try in vain to engulf these rotten gray crusts, the external symptom of an inexplicable disease. The origin: a parasite species, Homo sapiens. Diagnosis: progress. Some call it the future.
As seen by the very parasites that inhabit it, Tsukuba—or at least its southern half—is a promise taken from a sci-fi movie. It is here where it becomes apparent that the Triumph of Humankind has reached an apex, and to prove it, rockets and research facilities have been planted here and there, hiding the old rice fields. After all, it was here were the world was supposed to witness how the future would look like—one year before Challenger came down burning like a cautionary tale from the future itself. However, in spite of the shortcomings of evolution, this side of the city decided to remain eternally hopeful. They do not know they are invading this land, for their improvement on the landscape is all they know about the role of humans in time and space. The hordes of children learning to walk across the parks and malls on Sundays are proof of this faith in what has already been accomplished. But of course, they would not venture into the north side of the city.
If Michael Ende’s crumbling Fantasia and the Nothing were to be recreated somewhere in real life, northern Tsukuba would be an ideal candidate. It is home to a university famous for its record amounts of students precipitating from tall buildings every year, as if it were fashionable not only to talk about rain but also to emulate it. A glance into its dorms can make the cheeriest of students forget at once the very purpose of life. Far from every possible source of entertainment, they constitute the last frontier in this territory. The thick forests and mountains of junk surrounding them remind both visitors and residents that Tsukuba is a city on the edge of the world, the last hope if there ever was any. For someone whose home is originally located at the other side of the Pacific or the Eurasian continent, this is the place where old maps should never have removed the “here be monsters” sign. Those who live in this unfortunate zone are reminded every day of their condition of pathogens to nature, having to compete for scraps of space with giant spiders, cockroaches, stray cats and mold. They are the eternal colonizers of a post-apocalyptic backyard where all the unfulfilled dreams of the south were left to rot under the scorching summer sun. There is a particle accelerator somewhere around to remind the miserable dwellers of the north that not all is bad and the future’s still here, but if the south is a tribute to 2001: A Space Odyssey, the north is more of a mixture between Mad Max and Blade Runner. Watch out for the kibble.
This city was supposed to be a perfect plan. Every street, every building, every park, everything was part of an intricate web of urban harmony projected by some of the most skillful architects in the country. Hadn’t Brasilia been built this way too? An oasis of civilization emerging from the savage jungle. And yet people keep hanging themselves in desperation for its deadly lack of chaos. Apparently human beings still need their dose of spontaneity in order to survive. But spontaneity how, if the streets are empty save for the occasional student on a bicycle. Everybody’s locked up, trying to escape from the sight of this wreckage, even if children pop up every weekend as though part of a Huxleyan entertainment program. The future, clean as we may want it to be, degenerates into hopelessness when isolated from real life. Whoever dreamed of this place certainly thought of the future, but probably of a future after the extinction of the human race.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I am alone, in spite of love,
In spite of all I take and give—
In spite of all your tenderness,
Sometimes I am not glad to live.
I am alone, as though I stood
On the highest peak of the tired gray world,
About me only swirling snow,
Above me, endless space unfurled;
With earth hidden and heaven hidden,
And only my own spirit's pride
To keep me from the peace of those
Who are not lonely, having died.