silence

Silence

When all that’s left is silence,
there is nothing you can do
but to endure the cacophony of voices in your head
at two in the morning
in the middle of that cold dark room.
One tiny voice tries to scream
to keep the sanity inside that head
but the million other voices
seem to think otherwise.

When all that’s left is silence,
your senses seem more alive.
You can feel the darkness creeping in to your soul
freezing everything inside of you
as its claws touch your heart.
And even though the heart pumps more blood
to keep you warm as a sign of protest,
the darkness wins and you fall in to the cold pit
especially made for you.

When all that’s left is silence,
you begin to lose sight of the light.
You become trapped in an abyss
where not a single sign of hope is visible.
And no matter how you cry,
how you howl or scream or shout,
nothing will answer you back from all your whining.
Nothing at all, even your echo will be afraid
to reverberate within the emptiness.

When all that’s left is silence,
the past slowly walks in and fills the emptiness
with all of those moments, those memories
that you have been trying to erase with utmost effort.
Yet here they are, endlessly haunting you
and trying to bring back the excruciating pain
from the wounds you thought already healed.
Tears roll down your cheeks quietly because you already know
that crying out loud makes no difference.

When all that’s left is silence,
you suddenly find yourself bare and unarmed
in a duel against the scariest of foes.
It is ‘You of the Now’ against ‘You of the Then’
fighting for the right to be the ‘You of Tomorrow’.
Opening old wounds, creating new ones,
not realizing that neither one comes out unscathed.
In the end, the ‘You of Tomorrow’ will similarly be
scarred and scared of living.

When all that’s left is silence,
there’s nothing left to hold on to
as if every one you love has left you behind
empty, frozen, and unimaginably broken.
You hear voices screaming your name along with words
that make you doubt yourself even more.
All you are left with is a small piece of self-worth
that you keep in your pocket to push you forward
yet swiftly vanishes on the palm of your hands.

When all that’s left is silence,
you’d feel numb and beat and sore
from fighting your inner demons within the edges of your mind
as they burn your soul until it leaves you behind.
As always you find yourself alone and cold,
up against the things that scare you the most.
You even wonder what keeps you fighting,
you question yourself how you win each match
and end up facing a new day to live.

When all that’s left is silence,
you try your hardest to calm yourself down
so that sleep can finally embrace you
and tuck you under your warm blanket.
Only to be interrupted a few deep breaths later
as the sunlight creeps through the window sill
shedding light once again to your once cold dark room.
You open your tired eyes and reach out for your mask
trying to hide yesternight’s battle scars.

When all that’s left is silence,
you ask yourself, ‘What else can I do?’,
thinking that there’s no purpose to be in this world.
At the end of each day you find yourself
in the same state, so detached from reality.
Routinely putting your mask on and off
and continually fighting your inner foes,
you ultimately conclude that maybe it’s time
to finally succumb to the quiet.

fickle-rain-drought

As Fickle as Rain in a Drought

Sometimes, all it takes is one touch.

From the moment their hands merge with yours, it is not just your skins that meet each other. There are times this kind of touch reaches your heart, touches your soul. They undress you and leave you so exposed that you show them the magnificent view of the universe inside you. It transcends the physical and reaches the depths of the spiritual. You bare all of yourselves to each other without a care in the world, confident that you have found a better and far more wonderful world in each other. How amazing to imagine that with just one touch it brings two souls to a state of euphoria so intense that it transcends boundaries of the self. It can keep you in a high so immense that a once broken self feels so whole again as two souls merge into one.

Yet all it takes is a word, or a lack thereof, to bring you back to the reality that there are things that just do not last. With one word, a world crumbles or a universe explodes. Add a few more and they are like a rain of arrows bringing down a liberated soul from achieving full freedom. But sometimes silence brings a far worse devastation to the heart. It is like a thief in the night, patiently waiting for you to fall asleep before taking away those which you hold dear. It draws you close and embraces you while stabbing you slowly, gracefully, then you realize it is all too late; that as you shed a few tears, you have shed more blood feeling almost no pain.

You suddenly endure the pain induced by something that once gave you happiness; just as Icarus’ wings were burnt by the heat of the sun to push him away from that wonderful feeling of reaching something magnificent yet incredibly fatal. As you fall back to the ground broken into a million pieces, you ask your innocent self how this could happen when all you wanted was just to grab that one thing that you thought could bring you bliss.

But just like the sun, not everything bright and warm is wonderful. Not everything wonderful could provide the happiness we deserve. The things we desire, those we constantly ask for, come as often as the rain during a long and seemingly endless drought. In the end all we have to do is accept that some things are not meant to stay.

Sometimes, all it takes is one touch; one touch to force the universe inside of you to explode and show its grandeur to someone else who becomes your world until eventually it starts to lose its glow; your soul gently dying as they shut their eyes, turn their backs and slowly walk further away.

hide-and-seek

Hide And Seek

I looked for you on your bed
but on it you were not
Neither hidden under the blanket
nor hugging the pillow you like a lot

I searched for you outside
under the moon and the stars
Yet even though the sun has risen
all I found were passing cars

I tried to look for you one time
at your favorite coffee shop
It was busy as usual, but then
your familiar face I found not

I passed by that little park
where you and I used to meet
But only to find our favorite bench
lonely and bare like my feet

I sat on the bench, tired and flustered
and watched the setting of the sun
As I waited for you to pick me up
and to another place we will run

I saw the moon smiling brightly at me
and the stars, in the night sky, dancing
Eyes started flooding — a waterfall!
On my cheeks, tears were rolling

I looked for you on your bed
but on it you still were not
Outside the door you were standing
and said sorry for forgetting to knock

It is tiring to play this game
Seems like you are always hiding
But what is really amusing is that
for you, I end up always seeking

taking-flight

Taking Flight

In the middle of that seemingly endless road — his jeans tattered, shoes worn out and shirt drenched in sweat — Hope stopped and let out a heavy sigh. His knees have given up on him as they fell to the ground. All energy seemed to have left him as he let his back uncomfortably touch the ground. He raised his right hand to reach for the red sky as the sun started to set. He turned his head sideways and gazed at his flat tire, and then chuckled. Surprisingly, he found himself smiling despite the dawning of weariness and nightfall. Hope found it funny that he can manage a smile and a chuckle in the midst of this sticky situation. He simply didn’t care.

As the sky turned into a deep blue, Hope stood up and sat on the trunk of his car. He stared upon the vastness of the heavens, then a chuckle broke the silence of the night. Funny how the stars suddenly become abundant when he already stopped trying to hunt for them. Life really has a funny way of playing tricks on you. Minutes passed, and as if Life hasn’t played enough tricks on him, clouds hugged each other and cried over the wide empty highway where Hope sat still. As the drops of rain trickled down his face, he felt relieved that he need not hide his own tears which started welling up in his eyes. The rain, he thought, was a blessing in disguise.

By the sound of an approaching car, Hope opened his eyes and greeted the morning sun with a yawn. He woke up feeling new and fresh. It was unusual for this to happen. Maybe he needs to cry himself to sleep more often, he thought to himself jokingly. As Hope unmounted his car, he felt a little spark of excitement as the once empty highway was now bustling with cars. A few stopped to check on him and offer him help. This time, however, he did not refuse. Amity pulled Hope’s car along as they travelled to the next city so that he can have it fixed — while also trying to replenish all the energy he exhausted.

It was amazing, Hope thought, to have another person help him. During his ride with Amity he felt differently — something vastly distinct compared to what he felt during his joyride with Bliss — but a wonderful feeling nonetheless. While in the city, he began his plans for recovery starting from his body all drained of energy until his clothes all worn out and battered. After his moment of relaxation he found a place to get his car fixed. As he waited, he stayed a few more days to explore the city.

Hope had witnessed a series of sunrises and sunsets as he explored the city and experienced all its wonders. After wandering around with no certain destination, he finally decided that it is time to leave. He grabbed his keys, started his engine and stepped on the gas pedal. As he was driving a few meters out of the city boundary, he heard some faint engine sounds from behind. In a matter of seconds he found himself driving along with Amity.

As they drove forward to the limits of the never-ending road, they have experienced a lot of amazing things Hope never thought he would be able to do. They have shared with each other stories about their journeys and made new memories along the way. One fine day, while taking a break from their long drive, Amity told Hope some plans of going somewhere far away that the only way to get there is by travelling through the sky. Amity invited him to come if he wanted. Hope suddenly felt like his mind jumped off a cliff, free falling. The idea sounds exhilirating and fun, but something was holding him back. There was fear in his heart — the fear of stepping out of his comfort zone and going wherever the winds or waves may take him. After that crossroad incident he has become too afraid to trust once again. Hope is afraid of being left alone once more.

Hope’s worried expression slowly vanished as he saw the smiling face of Amity. It was as bright as the sun shining from the sky enveloping his heart in a warm embrace. His lips curved upward without him knowing. Suddenly it hit him, it is time to leave the past behind and start a new journey. The uncertainty of what’s beyond may be scary, but Hope has decided to go for a free fall so he can unfurl his wings and learn how to fly.

gwangju-fave-cafe

Turning Korean

When friends and family tell me I look like a Korean now, I do not think they are serious. But recently I have been mistaken for a Korean by Koreans. So I guess it is kind of true.

-Exhibit A-

Last weekend after partying until late, I was going back to my dorm and a Korean from the same building was walking behind me. As I was about to put in my password to open the door, he warned me about entering the dorm after curfew. He was speaking in Korean so fast I only understood a few things. I said it was okay, and that my Korean is not so well. He was about to enter his room (which was at the first floor in front of the elevator) while I was waiting for the elevator when he tried speaking in English saying he was sorry because he thought I was Korean. But really, I was quite grateful for his concern.

-Exhibit B-

Just this afternoon during my walk around the city, there were these Koreans who were promoting some sort of event/product at the underpass. The guy nearest to the stairs where I was walking approached me and started talking in Korean about whatever they were doing. I did not quite understand what he said because of the noise. I just told him that I was not Korean and I could not speak really well. His friends seemed to understand what happened as they all chuckled and started saying some English words.

Today, before I went back to the dorm, I stopped by my favorite café downtown and had a short talk with the cashier as I was ordering. She was speaking a little bit quickly so it took me quite some time to answer her questions. When she asked me what my major was, I told her I’m still studying Korean. I explained that this was the reason why I cannot speak well, but she said my Korean sounded good. That time, I was already thinking of ending the conversation but her compliment gave me a confidence boost so we talked a bit more about why I was alone today and what my friends were doing. It was a really short talk but it made me realize something. After one semester of learning basic language, I am now more confident when it comes to speaking with the locals as opposed to my first few weeks here. My listening and reading skills also improved. Hopefully, this confidence boost will help me push myself further come the next semester.

I find it amusing that after three months of staying here, locals think I am also a Korean. Quite flattering perhaps, but it also puts a bit more pressure on me to learn the language faster. Sure, I have to go out more and practice what I have learned so far. But just for a bit, I am going to enjoy the few days of vacation and fall in love more deeply with Korea. 😉

Dying In A Womb

A community, an organization or an institution serves as sort of a home during adulthood. It teaches us about culture, financial independence, socializing, ethics and morality. Somehow, it molds us into who we become as a person.

This community also serves as a guide. It assists us in discovering the world beyond it and how we can cope, adapt and adjust when the time for us to step out there and stretch our lives further comes.

But wherever there is light, there is shadow. In our community, we can never find ultimate peace. We also learn that the world works both ways, a balance of good and evil should always exist. It may also teach us — either intentionally, unintentionally or both — that danger lurks in every corner waiting for the perfect time to strike.

Fear is forever instilled in our genes. We will never escape its clutches. We sometimes find ourselves playing with knives thinking everything is in our control until we cut ourselves and see blood gushing out from the wound.

Slowly we realize that the world is a sick place. We become scared of what our future has in store for us. What we must learn is to face our own fears in order to properly adapt with the way the world works. This is the reality we may ignore but can never run away from. It will eat us up alive if we let our guard down.

This is our world. It nurtures. It tortures. Living in it is like dying in a womb.

Flat Tire

Side by side on a wide almost empty highway, Hope and Bliss drove together once more. Their engines started awkwardly upon leaving the crossroad where they met, but now they drive slowly but more comfortably with each other.

Fate passed them by so fast causing turmoil on their joyride. Hope suddenly stopped bewildered as if he got into a crash. Bliss stopped and helped him get to the shoulder. They found out that Hope got a flat tire. It made Hope sad because he just recently used his spare tire. Now he cannot go on. Bliss started her engines and zoomed out of sight. Hope thought that maybe she has gone to look for help. He stayed there in the wide empty highway waiting for her to come back.

Minutes turned to hours and hours turned to days. He has been endlessly counting the stars at night and dreaming of rain during the day. One time he cried out her name but she never answered, not even a soul was in sight. A few more days passed, someone drove by and saw Hope listening to his stereo trying to look cool under the heat of the midday sun. Prudence stepped out of his car and asked if he was in any trouble. Hope responded that he was just waiting for someone to come back, he did not need any help. Prudence kept him company for a while and talked about their adventures from the past. But the time for him to leave had come, and so Hope was alone once more.

He has witnessed many sunsets and sunrises as he waited for Bliss’s return. Seldom, he sees cars passing him by, some stop to offer him help but he turns them down and they leave him be.

One night, as Hope was again counting the stars in an empty night sky, a familiar engine sound filled the emptiness of the highway. He looked around and saw a big car pulling up the shoulder near his car. Storge came down and, unlike everyone else who saw Hope, asked what he was doing and if she can join in. Hope told her he was trying to hunt for stars. Storge thought it would be fun to do something weird for a change — seeing that the night sky was empty as if the stars were intentionally hiding — and insisted she join in the fun. Hope thought it was okay and so they gazed upon the empty sky and tried their hardest to look for stars.

Storge started to tell Hope of stories about crossroads and other places she had been to. He thought she was retelling his own story because of the similarities they have. After Storge’s story, he told her about his. Silence has dawned upon them after Hope has said his piece. Storge stood up and went to her car. Hope asked where she was off to. All she said to him was that maybe their stories are similar, but there might also be a chance that their endings would be different. Hope looked at her as she smiled softly and then zoomed out of sight.

The sun is peeking through the horizon, it is about to wake. Hope stared balnkly at his flat tire as he tried to absorb the words Storge left. Slowly, he paced toward his car and touched the trunk cover. He took a deep breath then started pushing his car forward. He pushed harder and harder and a while later his car started moving forward.

No more time for counting stars in an empty night sky. No more voice to call out for Bliss to return. Hope was empty and lost, he was all dried up. As the last words of Storge sank deeper and deeper to his mind and slowly dripped to his heart, he began to feel numb. Now, all his mind could ever think of is to push the car forward to wherever he may find help all on his own.

Reviewing Reviews

I like reading reviews. But I’m pretty sure I don’t rely on them as much as I do on my own criteria (which I am still trying to figure out what, but we’ll get there) for deciding over buying a book or watching a movie or eating at a restaurant.

The digital era has opened the doors to a giant pool of information where almost everyone everywhere can dive in. Hence, a lot of blogs and sites have become flooded with clicks and visits because of the readily available content they provide.

If one wants to know something about a book s/he learned or heard about recently from a friend or neighbor, s/he can easily turn the computer on and google it out then a healthy amount of links will be shown to her/him talking all about that book. Same goes for food, movies, television shows and even people.

Reviews, or critiques as some may call them, somehow help us in deciding whether we should get/buy things or not. They give us a hint or a sneak peek of what to expect over something we are interested in which has already been seen or experienced by someone else. We might not know who the person behind the review is but we do allow them to sway our sense of judgment, even just a little bit.

As I mentioned earlier, I do not rely very much on reviews when I want to sense or experience something new. But I believe reviews give some third-person human experience of the thing we are interested in that’s why we tend to believe them somehow even if we don’t know the reviewer personally. Perhaps that is also the reason why I read them and still decide against them sometimes.

Whether we like it or not, we still let reviews sway our mind at times when deciding over things. It doesn’t make us less of a person nor does it mean that we are easily swayed by people we do not know. I think it just tells us that our decision-making is usually based on other people’s human experience of something interesting that we have not yet experienced ourselves.