life’s too short (but it’s enough)

life's too short
but it's fulfilling enough
like getting lost in your mind
while your feet sit buried in the sandbox
in the backyard,
the thought of flying away on a turtle
because you learned turtles hatch from eggs
in the sand was somehow magical
so you wonder why
the sandbox now has beetles and holes and millipedes...

life's too short
but it's meaningful enough
to know that you can suffer the saddest sad
a blue-soaked towel sagging under heavy eyes
stealing heat from your armpits and ribs
that you can turn around, fill with sand
and shape into
statues and castles and bridges away from here,
collapsing as you step off,
feet on new land

life's too short
because snowflakes, dance recitals, and moons
don't last nearly long enough,
and christmas only happens once a year,
but even as the snail leaves its shell
after it is gone,
you can still hold the ocean to your ear.

Looking at the stars

“Looking at the stars always makes me dream, as simply as I dream over the black dots representing towns and villages on a map.

Why, I ask myself, shouldn’t the shining dots of the sky be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France?

Just as we take a train to get to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to reach a star. We cannot get to a star while we are alive any more than we can take the train when we are dead. So to me it seems possible that cholera, tuberculosis and cancer are the celestial means of locomotion. Just as steamboats, buses and railways are the terrestrial means.

To die quietly of old age would be to go there on foot.”

— Vincent Van Gogh, as quoted in Roger Ebert’s memoir Life Itself.

Innter turmoil and the struggles of mind

An open mic night at Gallagher's Cafe in Port Moody, BC

Maybe it’s my own hang-up, but I haven’t played a live show for half a year. The buzzing world of a musician appears to constantly take the form of a life forever on the go. And maybe that scares me.

There’s a critic with my voice that lives in my head and he constantly reminds me how doubtful he is that I can make a career out of this thing called music. He lobbies evidence that my best moments are always in my bedroom, unrecorded and raw. And when I sit down to put pen to paper and write lines to a song, he so sourly grins as I forget just what I sang.

This world craves the musician who can stand boldly and authentically, delivering the gratification to those in sorrow. Or maybe it’s all in my head. But when I think about it on a day like today, the time away from the stage just seems to grow. A passion for playing music and singing from my heart seems to be overshadowed by the upkeep of daily practice. A fire that once sustained me, at times, now has me working to sustain it.

My vision of a “successful” artist is so warped. I sit down with a feeling that I want to translate into chords and then suddenly I’m contemplating having to deal with fame. No one who understands fame wishes it upon themself. And so I put my future on hold for another ten minutes, distracting myself with video games.

Inner turmoil has a funny way of manifesting. A loss of focus, absenteeism, an out-of-character outburst…all of these are simply cries for help. And I’m not really that twisted inside. I can sit in one spot and meditate; I come to class; I don’t even punch my pillow anymore. But sometimes, especially in winter, there is this apathy that I like to imagine is death’s silent hand in the balance of life. A moment of freefall over the crest of a hill in a car, about to hit ground. An animal at its end, accepts fate’s nudge.

There is a wish I have, to rise from my shell and slip away from my crumpled body; fly into the dark wintry night. Free from the burdens of flesh, the necessities and troubles of life. And into the cold, sit forever in the snow counting the stars.