Saturday, April 20, 2019

Weak Links To Loss

I know I can escape society for a while. My wife does not need to know where I am, and my boss can go a few days without having me solve every single issue that requires more than three brain cells. I can even escape my disease when I go numb, into oblivion. Yet, even in the stupor of deep drunkenness, even in between dreams, I’m still me. It's still me. 

This frequent intention to escape eventually caught up with me. I told myself and others that my left arm is only shaking lately because I banged it with the door of my car. I don't even own a car. And gradually, I'm losing ownership of my shell.

A deteriorating disease can be emotionally crippling, right up to the point where one internalizes the fact that we all suffer from the great sickness of life. Someone told me over a year ago that disease is manifestation of toxins invading the body at levels it is no longer able to process. If we remove all the toxins from ourselves, is it still us?

Today I went for a walk in the clean, even streets of Pasadena, California. It is more painful to be sad when everyone around is in such a sunny disposition. Adding to the grimness is the crushing feeling of inadequacy, of not belonging. One is not supposed to exist inside a day this gorgeous under the clouds of discontent.

Still, discontent is not a feeling as harrowing as disappointment, nor as primitive as fear. The last time I was fully wrapped in fear was after a dream I had very recently. I was on a plane, because apparently that's life now. The airplane was headed towards the top of a mountain with a military base on it. I could somehow see forward, as if in the passenger seat of a car. We kept rapidly approaching the base, while the pilot and copilot argued about last night's hockey game results. I warned them once again a few minutes later. The copilot asked me to relax and sit down, and told me that everything was under control. Until it wasn't only a bit later. We were just about to crash when they finally reacted, transitioning quite rapidly from calmed to panicked. The last fraction of a second before impact, everyone on the plane screamed and I woke up, sweating like I had a fever. The plane's crash noise morphed into the sound of two cars crashing down the street from my apartment. How did the mind know to be working on the airplane's crash 20 seconds prior, and have its crash coincide with the one of the cars on the street?

A recurrent nightmare involves the sense of loss; be it gravity, a loved one, or our life. Art's nature of irreplaceability often instills pain when lost. A broken mug can be pieced and glued together, but it can't rebecome what it once was. But, should we want it to?

Goodbye Notre Dame. Sunny Paris, France.

Friday, December 7, 2018

What is it good for?

The more I tried to look away, the more my eyes got pulled back to his face; his Dali-esque mustache, beard of ample facial coverage shaved three or four days ago, and pinching eyes that made me feel he wanted to remember every single one of my features. He got up from his seat at the bus and shaved me before I realized what was happening, asking me for $80 as payment. I said “No way!”. People on the bus yelled “You got scammed” loudly and repeatedly until the bus made its next stop. We both got off, as I needed a cash machine to be able to pay. However, I kept complaining throughout until I got to cash. His eyes turned sad. He said “Life is hard, pibe” with a thick Argentinean accent, then turned around and walked away. I chased him, because I still wanted to pay him. All I meant was that $80 felt unreasonably expensive. He walked too fast for me and into a small, dark, downstairs bar by a burned-red brick building.

Inside the obscure bar everyone looked strange, and too big. The air felt damped. I found myself walking around looking for the guy with the barber toolkit. After a few minutes, tired of looking for him, I stood by one of those chair-less high tables. A waiter came, and before I could hand-signal that I wanted nothing he said “someone bought this for you”. My first reaction was to refuse it, but fearing it could be a trick I said “bring one back to the person that sent it, on me” and slipped a crisp $20 into his shirt’s pocket.

I looked at my drink. It was mostly crushed ice. I remembered why I hate mojitos so much. I felt observed the same way the barber made me feel while on the bus. Someone was trying to scam me again. Still, I took a bite off the content of my Antarctica glass. A skinny, mid 60’s, ugly woman stood next to me. She said “hello, handsome” with a raspy voice, twirling with her drink. It was now clear who sent the glass of ice.

I took half a step back as the high table got suddenly full with people. Everyone wore brown, loose suits and white dirty shirts. I was grateful to get pushed away from the old lady by force of multitude. A guy dressed as a clown with huge, wide hair, bumped me from behind and gives me a wrinkled paper bag full of old, smelly candy. I take it with one hand and check for my wallet with the other one. The guy next to me saw this and said “you shouldn’t be so paranoid”. I immediately mistrust him. A second went by and I checked for my wallet again. It was gone. I looked around quickly, hoping for a miracle. I had been thinking about moving the wallet from back pocket to front pocket since coming into this bar. 

“Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!” – I screamumbled to myself over and over.

I ran to the back of the bar, where 5-6 people were all dressed as clowns. They all looked a little like my guy, but none of them was. Where the fuck is he?

How could I be so stupid? I had the good sense of putting the wallet in my front pocket, a worthless idea if unaccompanied by timely execution. I was now certain. It was all a scam.


Do you now see the island that you live in, the one that prevents you from drowning in the ocean of light? Did you see it, protecting you from blindness at the expense of your sanity? Have you witnessed the demise of your innocence?

I do. I did. I have.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Southern Poetry Stamps

May 19th, 2018

"La Poesia" cafe, one of the notable literary establishments in Buenos Aires, seemed full when I arrived. Then, a patron rose abruptly from his table and walked, leaving most of his coffee behind. He may have suddenly looked at his watch, or seen me come while wearing my emblematic resting jerk face. Either way, I got a table towards the back, right under the metallic stairs that ensured shoe dirt would fall directly upon the dark beer, Spanish ham and bread I ordered later.

Bill Maher said to his audience in his monologue last night that he's not "... sure what you're all so happy about. The world is falling apart." From a Hawaiian volcano, to yet another shooting in Texas, the North part of the globe keeps surprising to the downside. That's not the case of the South, but hardly because of a shortage of tragedy. Down here, tragedy is to be expected. Good news are viewed with suspicion. Everyone waits for the other shoe to drop even before the first one hints at doing so.

A big, fat man walked in wearing the shortest tie in town. Its thinner part is significantly longer than protocol dictates. But he seems like someone who did it on purpose. Perhaps it will distract people from his receding hairline... or his weight... or the penguin-like steps with which he made his way towards a coveted table near the window.

He kept talking to the woman he was with. For reasons I'm unaware of, he seemed to talk with poetic metric; his sentences rhymed. Eavesdropping in their conversation, I noticed that every other statement was constructed as a haiku poem. 5-7-5. 5-7-5. 5-7-5.

I can't hear them clearly anymore. The couple next to me, a music-type long-haired guy with a cast and a tattooed girl with a ringed nose, kept getting louder. They were having a political discussion. But they seemed to be mocking the first couple by speaking in rhymes.

Ten minutes later, they left and an older couple took their place at the table. They are also arguing, but about what they can and cannot eat on account of their weakened digestive systems. Their discussion moved to the aesthetic value of the cemetery door they passed on the way here. She rhymed once and smiled. She did it again 5 seconds later. Now they are both talking in rhymes. This can no longer be a coincidence.

Does hoping for poetry so badly make conversations sound that way? Perhaps there is a mental disease that makes people hear words in a distorted way. Maybe speaking in poetry represents a strain influenced by a combination of an emotional state, the particular alcohol consumed, and the surroundings.

Won't wait to find out
Time snuck up on me again
May beer always join

May 19th, 2018

Friday, February 23, 2018

Why not?

Happiness is overrated and reductive. Seriously, try experiencing some other emotions that remind you that you're human and not just a fucking robot.

Don't go to work today. Tell them you didn't feel like it this morning.

Don't ask people what they do. Ask them who they are, and what they wish they did.

Hang out with strippers. Play chess with bouncers. They may bitch slap if you beat them, but might give you some free cocaine to ease the pain. Same thing if you lose to them, but you will learn stuff.

Comedians are the best. Most of them drink too much. Just ask them for their opinions and you will never need to watch the news or go to church again.

Stroll into a store and ask which wine goes best with Fruity Pebbles cereal because milk is for babies and gives you gas.

Invite a friend over for an afternoon of popcorn and video games. Play and eat until your eyes and stomach hurt.

Who cares that you can't sing or dance?  It's a gift, not a competitive token.

Take a walk to nowhere. Smell some flowers. Get lost and ask strangers for directions.

Talk to a tree. People talk to cats, and YOU are crazy? Trees breathe, drink water, give you air, food, and stay humble. Cats give you allergies and bullshit. They think they are in this world to be served as kings.

Stay awake to the disinformation. Sources are everything. Walter Cronkite isn't here anymore.

French-kiss a stranger. Have an educated opinion. Disagree with people. 

Draw something, even if you're shit. You might never become an artist, but doesn't it just feel nice to do something without validation?

Smoke a cigarette, smoke some weed, drink green tea, and drink beer... as long you made that choice.

You might need to smile for your freedom one day. Have some practice. 

Stop watching the news and go outside, even if "going outside" means doing so in your mind. What does the world look like to you?

Love and learn to let go of love. Just try. It works. And it doesn't, but that's okay.

Try something, man. Stop following everything and everyone. Stop worshiping human beings who don't give a fuck about you.

Live your life, man. Split your last $100 with a homeless person and have a conversation. Maybe then you will realize that the idea of happiness they have sold us our entire life is a trap that will have us living in fear more than hope.

Imagination is powerful. Create your own world and live in it.

Don't be afraid.

You are going to die.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Brief accounts of the inner self - Oaxaca

San Jose del Pacifico is a small town south of Oaxaca, in Mexico. Getting here is quite the journey. Almost four hours drive from Oaxaca city, most of the route is going up and down the mountains. The views are as beautiful as they are dizzying. This is not a journey for anyone suffering from vertigo, not for the faint of heart.

Vertigo cam, in fact, result from exposure to heights; but also the consumption of substances that alter the cognitive ability of the brain. The latter can be frightening and disorienting for the occasional participant of artificially induced experiences, like the ones elicited by the consumption of psilocybe-containing mushrooms.

Depiction of an ancient mushroom ceremony

Intake with a small red apple, in the afternoon takes place.

5:55 pm - Ingestion of Psilocybe Caerulescens, locally known as "Derrumbes" took place on a rainy afternoon, accompanied with a small red apple to manage the disgusting earthy taste. On their own, it's like putting muddy dried celery and banana skin on your mouth. The aftertaste is just as bad, if not worse.

6:09 - Because the ingestion was solid units of the mushroom, the vision already started to become blurry. The process is slow, but more noticeable with each passing unit of time.

6:13 - Auditive ability improves, with increased capacity to isolate sounds and overall perception of distant sounds. Blurring vision process stabilizes.

6:24 - Slight chills start to take place on the neck and back. Legs start to feel week, uncoordinated. Future walking will be compromised very soon. Oxygen feels scarcer. Deeper breathing is now in order.

6:28 - Sudden shaking starts. Vision blurred further. Strange metallic taste surrounds the mouth and starts expanding to the nose. The senses start to melt, with the nose growing taste buds and sounds starting to smell.

6:38 - Nausea takes over. It's now impossible to shake it off.

6:40 - Some fluid starts to drop from the nose. The body is confused. The disorienting feeling that started with the senses has expanded to the mind and is taking over.

Ability to continue journaling the experience is greatly diminished after this. The remaining entries are added in a disorderly fashion, and depart from the objective, chronological coverage up until now. It is now time to enter the house of the mushroom.

The house of the mushroom

Undeserving. Unworthy. Funny how clouding the body can often clarify the mind and open the soul.

Just live, man.

Maybe I brought the rain to your life. Maybe you liked it a little bit. Maybe you still miss it, sometimes.

Come back to NY! Come to LA! See you in Mexico! Yet, here I am, hiding from myself, escaping what you call reality. That's why I'm so patient with people that do this to me.

Praise! A lifetime of seeking one bottle after the next, stepping on anyone in the process. 

Storms everywhere I go. They I leave, and they flood.

It took me a while and a lot of courage to finally turn the page.

I'm supposed to be the charmer, but I've had some pretty incredibly affectionate things said to me by the women I was supposed to conquer. It's disarming, and against the rules. 

How full can the stomach be, and still feel?

How much of your past defines you, how much just breaks you?

I guess I always admired funghi's ability to bring beauty out of some of the most vile of things. I mean, how cool is it that the word goes from "fungus" to "funghi" to denote the plural?

Somos los que nos rehusamos a echar raíces donde nacimos los que luego luchamos más duro para enraizarnos a lo que queremos.

Always wondering "what do I need?", when we should be also asking "to do what?!".

They grow in the dark? Yes! And see what they make of it.

Mosquero, one of the most recognized mushrooms

Original sketches. There is no hope of capturing everything that transpired those six hours, an eternity of sorts.