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Cackles.From.A.Mad.Duck

'Who am I' she asks : A creative explosion of paradoxical remarks the student replied.

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Imagination

Bend

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If it’s indeed true that the outset of our thoughts
brings about real life consequences, such as told
being the law of attraction, then it must be true.
My thoughts would have brought you here. A slight bend
away ago you may have passed me by, but if it’s indeed true
of the infinite ongoing parallels of time and reality,
this crevice in randomized time was the beginning of
your realization in my life.

Restless

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Those nights seem infinite, when you’re feeling
restless. Missing out on all the universal signs, you’d think
it’d be more clear cut. The night is impassive to your search, it says
a change is to come by confused winds.
Dispelled by the morning light; have you found it yet?
What you were looking for.

Post-Humorous Breakups

So I ended my poetic triumph by claiming :
“If you do not want my love, then take steady with no affection at all!”
Denying at any rate the childishness of this scheme. I warn you not to expose me. It is an assault on my senses.

To ask to consider a proper proposal of a communion, a compromise, a well laid defeat  – well sir, I only come with a single mind, no better or worse for your fanfare. Fortunately for me, no such tug-a-war of strife or vexing mechanism of human indecision bothers me to such degree of high entity. I am as ridiculous as proportions tends to go, with no intention of withdrawing my forces. “Selfish to the very end, Miss Scarlett O’Hara!” Then so it be dear friend, and let me make a remarkable mark on this world. A boot to the end.

And that is my plan thus far. No, it has not gone too far, but I know within these short, stamped sentences, were the precise moments when you fell in love with me.

** I found this as one of my drafts from some months ago last year. Funny to read your own words and scarcely recognize where you could have gotten them from. I somewhat laugh and admire my overdone belligerence. Having drowned myself steadily in red wine and old comedic Chinese movies, I’d say this self-denial stage of post-break up is heaving itself along.


 

“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a tellar but for want of an understanding ear.”- Stephen King

 

 

The Aftermath Of Language

I always get a sense of aftershock from reading a book to its end. If comparable, it feels sort of like an internal shell shocked soldier returning from war. Is that what they mean when they say reading develops your empathy? Like taking your mind to a different dimension and living different lives.

It doesn’t matter any who, apart from the deft switch such a thought takes turns into darker corners of your mind. I’m not trying to be poetic. It’s just hard to describe sometimes.

I realized suddenly today while walking around the city that I do not want to be stared at. Now whether or not people are really staring is objective – they also say we all suffer a huge case of narcissism – so we’ll just let that be. But whenever I do happen to catch the odd glance from an old man, or the apparent perplexed stare of a non-descriptive guy, I feel the instinct to remain invisible.

Of course, my face remains eternally blank to this gesture. It’s all on the inside.

So maybe reading a book titled ” A boy who could see demons ” until 2am in the morning isn’t psychologically recommended. Most certainly if your imagination is going to go rampant like mine. But I still invariably catch myself hesitant in approaching the windowsill, even to turn on the bedside lamp. Maybe I’m still the little girl that’s afraid of the dark.

Another sad confession of sorts is that, earlier this evening, while I was so strolling about in the city, I had the greatest inspiration to write something great. Or so we would tell ourselves always. Us writers knows. But I tell you I did. And it was resemblance to the recent Wally Lamb book I picked out. The way the characters’ dialogue into their thoughts showed no noticeable care to whether their jagged pieces of language made sense to their audience. They were their own world. And it had been stunning in my mind – the running lyrics of a folk fantasy, the deterioration of intellectual psyche, the possible reflection of whether the things I have weathered beneath my benign facial features actual might still bother me.

Sometimes the odd thought flits across the mind, something remnant of bad self esteem, or an evil sense of self portrayal. Once again, however, these mortal English words seem not enough to enlighten the visceral state of these comments. Nonetheless, it is only within a few blocks that I am crossing another intersection and I wondered to myself, What was that thought again? I’m..bad? No..there’s no discernible argument. It isn’t a plausible statement. And I really did scold myself in my head of this while remaining intact the impenetrable fortress of a callous upfront.

I wonder if people can see these flitting thoughts come across my face. Maybe the slightest hardness in my jaw when I tilt my face upwards in defiance against the mystical powers in my mind. I had noticed a young man glance side ways while we passed. Had I appeared haughty in that moment that he so turned away?

And it is all these nonsense thoughts that I had groped towards even showering at 9 am this morning. I had thought, sometimes, perhaps we love to keep reading just to hear the sound of the voice in our heads. Is it narcissism then? Except now, it sounds like spiraling insanity. But the entirety of the conversation is taken out of context because I have already forgotten and I wonder again if that’s what it means to read a book. To surface from fiction and seemingly shed the dead weight of all its characters turmoils, left with only a sense of nausea and nostalgia at once. More accurately, the loss sense of missing the whole big idea – the shebob people always talked about while they asked us to write out our thoughts against the title page in grade school before we ever got to reading the book. Like who the fuck cares.

Sometimes I shock myself with these volatile tendencies. Was I always this violent? Is it a closet temperament I have gotten a good noose on my whole life? My heels are still clicking against the pavement when my muscles inherently tense to the imaginary scene of kick boxing. Smashing. Bam. No, something more defiant than that. It is the sound of my harsh breath, the release of sweet tension and supposed endorphin at the expression of anger. The alternative high from settling exhaustion and pumping adrenaline. I crave the imaginary carnage, the shock…Dirty, bad, inhumane, taboo. I always find myself collapsing into a sob afterwards. Like I had emptied myself. Or maybe it’s a purge. That’s only sometimes – other times, all at once, I am fighting these imaginary bad guys and I sometimes stab them, or I shoot em. Sometimes I get stabbed instead and it splits down inside my head the time when I withhold the sobs or whether I scream with the brutality of the world’s end.

I catch myself standing in the subway station, growing beads of sweat across my entire face. I feel it. I am thirsty. My foundation presses heavily and I can just feel it sliding off my face as if I had put on a gallon rather than a respectable amount. God, I just want a nice iced drink. Except my stomach feels bloated and hard when I press up against it and I imagine a story where a 12 year old suspects her pregnancy.

I wonder if any of this is real. Or how real it could be. When I returned home tonight, I remembered how frightened I had gotten myself over the insane possibility that while my shadow passed through underneath the street’s trees, it would melt its black conscience and leave the walking body behind. I’d keep walking, but the essence of self would be trapped within the dark.

Scary shit, I’d say. My last thought tonight while I tentatively stalked around the house to turn off the lights one by one, retreating closer and closer to my bedroom had been the beginning of story telling. Had writers in the past try to defy these maddening scenarios as well? Was that where the first story began? Were they indicative of certain mania? A manifestation of sorts. My own first story told by was while gripped tightly between my grandmother’s arms and sheets. It was always predictable each night, but she spoke of a humble figure named God, and there were always evil deeds being done by the likes of humans. Or were they demons?

I had fallen asleep to that.

Older.

There’s something about sitting at a cafe after hours. It may be brightly lit or dimly luminescent, you can make it your own. I could imagine a crowded city coffee shop or just between you and I, a bluntly sparse residential space that might crave in its empty seats the warmth and bustle of human murmurs, but the chairs and tables seem to speak on their own all the same.

They tell you stories of people that have been there before. Ghosts of your own imagination that appear to be just one proper touch away to bring it about into sharpness when you look across the room to a certain couch. And when its dark outside on a windy evening, the apparently singular street lamp appear to illuminate the thin showers only for your sake to tell you that time is indeed passing by. With your hands cupped around your cooling tea, your eye sight dims and presses dryly against your pupil. It’s a sleepy, nonchalant thing. Against your companion you don’t really know anymore what you’re saying, so you pull words out of the window pane from what you can catch of its history and create your own. Just like that an hour and a half has gone by and the dinner in your stomach has settled. The crinkles of your clothes are no doubt pressed neatly against yourself to impress on your skin, just atop the thin layer of a day’s worth of the same count of time passing by in a different manner. A different matter altogether.

Coffee shops and lethargy does that. Sipping milk and tea with the scarcity of a cat lapping water out of its dish in the summer. Sweet, sweet laughter that hides the discontentment for the night has come to an end. So the parade packed up its bags and headed home, out the door where the European coffee shop owner carrying scars of crinkles in the canvas of his face like an old retro Mexican movie bowed slightly to bid you good night. Adieu. Thank you. You almost hear senorita, but I think that was just the coffee shop speaking again.

Picture : Words

I often wonder whether a single picture may triumph words in the long run of things. Like if I were to see a photo of your grandfather rather than read some form of text document he may have written, would I have gotten a better sense of his time?

If pictures were to transcribe a thousand words, then I suppose the fact that our memory ever so subtly reconstructs each time we relive an instant can compose of several million in a life time. That’s certainly a lot more environmentally friendly than text. But then what about the validity of the memory? That we so subconsciously and involuntarily change the way we perceive, like one would of an old font; suddenly find this sun bleached photo a quaint charm, though your mother at the time may have told you they had lived rather poorly. Could we be excused of that, or would it be that the subjects in the pictures would not mind if we were to square on a piece of rose colored glasses. So much so that they might come to believe it the same as well.

“Oh, it wasn’t so bad.”

This romantic fondness, we, or at least I come to find of bygone times makes me wonder if photos were taken at first to not only capture the first light, but to ultimately expose an unfathomable secret. That in a time of confusion we may call out to our cherished loved ones in these old photographs and ask them to guide us. Whereas while choked in anger, we might thin our lips and clamp back the wave of nausea instead. The precedent clarity vanished in the same sense as our present humanity. It only but takes a moment. A single photograph taken the same way 20 something years ago can evoke so much.

I came across some old photographs my mother took of the apartment building we used to IMAG0043live in in Hong Kong. It was a number of complex buildings built on top of a mall, and we carried our lives in a sort of maze open hallway, representing only another pinnacle in the sky defying gravity. Everyday we descended the elevators, and then the escalators into the mall and I remember the bright orange lights. The sales woman standing in front of McDonald’s with very long slender nails that I had wanted, but instead I took a pack of ketchup everyday.

When I was 14, I had my all girls sexual education and self defense class. Among other mental exercises, we were asked to think of a certain place in our mind. The instructor probably hadn’t meant it so, but I told my best friend that afternoon that I thought of the metal bars across my apartment door – very frequent there – and how it would slam shut in that blue lit hall way. At that moment, I cried because I feared abandonment, but I never recalled that while I grew up there. But funny I recall now again when I see a photograph I never really remembered seeing. I recall instead truthfully, and my sister and mother still recounts today, how much I loved to stay at home and play with my Barbies. But how would you have known with just a photograph?

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Like this one.

So deceivingly ominous, even to me now, but behind that door were my childhood memories. It was where you would have found a 5 year old self of me placing plastic barn yard animals on the living room floor while she waited impatiently for her Cinderella tape to rewind over and over again on the TV.

Which is why when I came across my father’s parents’ photo on my sister’s cabinet I was quite taken.

In fact, my grandmother was stunning in a refined, mature way. I admired the photographer for having blurred out the surroundings so that they stood emphasized. She sat in a cafe of sorts with her husband behind her. But the more I stared, the more I had wished the photograph were more clear in their environment. I had wished I would be able to take a peek into the time period they lived in. Like what were their glassware like?

I could already feel the imaginations begin of their life. How they had existed, from this one single photograph that is so orchestrated. I almost forget the real facts that my mother had told me. How much livelier and strict she was with her two sons. My father. How they mixed the fats of pork and chicken in their rice because they had no money to afford meat. How much of a meal that was to them. I almost forget all of that because without thinking, these thousands undeliverable words appear to renew themselves with the image of the photograph. And with each time these photos are reflected in my eyes, reversed upside down into my brain, it will trigger the composition of all the stories and words I have seen in my time and tell me a brand new one.

So would it have been better instead if my grandparents had written more letters. Not that I would truthfully be able to dissect any of it to this degree with my lacking Chinese, but would it have been better still? For the current me to use my type writer as a source of comfort in typing out pieces I believe carry a strange piece of me. Who knows if anyone will ever come across them again. But would those few thousands words suffice for them to surface a picture in their memories, the same way a photograph lures a story?

I find in the moment I configured to write this sort of redundant argument, I thought it funny to juxtapose the contradictory ideas. Well, I’ll just simply take a photograph of my words, I said. Would the black and white clarity of the crisp new photo fade and become grainy one day and take effect onto those old words further, to a point where my physical self can no longer manipulate my words to mean what I had meant. Is that better than than the delicate crinkle of yellowed pages? – Well, the writer in me digresses. But could you in fact, imagine the silly typist that decided against better judgement to play a fool’s game with a future generation like that?

How would you have known though, in those thousand words that comes across your mind, that her first nickname at a job was by a 45 year old gay man who called her ‘Charlie Brown’. That my sister and I had crashed a mini remote controlled helicopter our father bought in the apartment lobby at night. I suppose he might have wished he had boys in that moment, and it makes me smile.

IMAG0086So many things I want to ask that girl because I don’t even know. And I might venture to say many people might not know themselves either. It’s like all these words and pictures were to only hold the promise to deliver but answers nothing.

Gosh, was I happy here? Arrogant? Being a smart turtle necked fool so that my current future self who holds these warm butterflies may hopes that I was indeed, because it just simply makes everything so much better that way. To just let yourself be charmed by another thousand words, when you have no more words to say. Perhaps, that is why we take photos. And we will write, when we can.

Moments in Time

Recently, I started to entertain myself into being a slop-shop of a photographer. I commented the other night to my mother how in our family drawers’ of secrets, there’s probably collectively a 7 foot stack of photo albums, the ones still here and the ones that have laid unopened for half a decade back in our home country. I realized at some point when I used to flip through those photos that there was almost always one person missing. Not absent, no, because surely enough he held the camera steady. He was generous in picking the scenery and making the woman, my mother, in the photos look great. If only amateurishly in her young uncertainty in life, evident in the strictness of her smooth face, the black pearled, almost-vacant eyes. Just a young couple.

“He never did like taking pictures himself.”

I suppose never again will there be such a person in our life today that would not have some form of photographic autobiography throughout their life – even downright to their day to day most likely. When I think too deeply into the issue, it seems too solemn to comment that the age-old scarcity of these old photographs will never be reproduced in any shape or form. I can print out a hundred stacks of album and still not resurrect the same sweetness of something belonging only to a past generation.

My father has been gone for 7 years now, and I do believe there is a certain bittersweetness of someone who does not have much of a visual past. Beguiling at most, but somehow I’d much prefer to hear from my mother’s memory of those days.

How did people before us capture their life? Or did they understand the universal law of nature’s evasiveness and simply learned to adore a natural beauty when they could come upon it and imprint in their minds something they can only try to explain to the next generation. Somehow, late nights were the time when my father would tell me stories of his past. All the unbelievable, lousy pranks him and his young friends had pulled. Throwing ink into their professor’s dorm room and blaming no one but the wind. Driving down a fresh highway at 210km/hr in a rickety old car. Their shared Golden Retriever that made his own run everyday and came back to permanently mark their apartment door to be let in. Sporadically in those stories, there may be a rare old photograph of rebellious young youths to put a face to the characters. As much as I thought I would naturally marvel at their environment first, you find you only need to look at their faces and it spoke to you more of any detail in their life than their clothing or to the backdrop of the photo. Man, they were alive.

So when I thought of all this, I thought of the reason why I would cry looking at those photos. The rarity of them seems so confounding. I’ll capture moments in time today, in which they will only ever exist in the loading memories of my phone, and I’ll never come to think about it. That is, until the day I switch to a new one. It isn’t even so much as taking photos of everywhere you go and what you do. My father had a certain touch in which though he hardly ever showed his face, you knew his presence. Subtle. As if he had charmed those days to be something worthwhile 50 years from now. Those are some moments that when I tell my future children, they may come up with their own imagination of the man he was. And when we pass along those same awkward faces, we all try to seam up our previous accord of them to the actual record. They then take on a humorous turn into a sort of dreamscape, being so easy to manipulate in our minds. Certainly, we will never be able to tap into each others mental images as we do to photography and just show you exactly how it was. It is precisely those fickle moments in time that never repeat quite the same.


“I have seized the light. I have arrested its flight.” – Louis Daguerre 1839

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Smoke Room

smoke room

 

 

 

 

 

 

He spoke
With a voice composed of
Coffee and cigarettes

Charmed.
Hellos.
Greetings.

He held out
A warm hand, so I
Took it, and ran into unsung blues
Of melting chocolate                                                                         .

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celeste lee cloud

writer & artist

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