Life wavers between confusions for me. I’ve tried soft and hard to maintain distant from emotions in this platform, not out of purity or privacy, but because I’m a very difficult transmitter. There are little truths to me, but one is that of terrorising conveyance, that of emotion as a motor of erosion. I’m a guy that — for better or for worse— was built out of isolation, out of solitude. My strive to read, to write, to view and rejoice, is no less than a reach for company beyond that creeping confusion. If, for lifetimes, I could learn and apply literary knowledge, I could perhaps understand the stem of my misery. But it seems to have deepened instead.
At nineteen, I received the diagnosis of dysthymia, which is a condemning illness for any sane mind. To believe that my continuity in this world would be paved with sadness, inexplicable sadness, original sadness. It is woven into me, it composes me. What I’ve found in books, I’ve since deconstructed. I can understand the higher concepts of ancient philosophy, I can oppose them or agree to them. I can understand the glare and appeal of modern Art, I can destroy it or breathe it. The dooming realisation is just, why? Why must I write poetry and not live it? Why have I built such high towers of mind, but no ladders to exit?
My conception of these worlds— if there is such a thing — is all but the one I’ve been given. I shall live perpetually in confusion, and so shall all of us. There isn’t much haunting me in that regard. But… the separation, the ridges and crevasses erupting between my distance to ground, that cruel sensation of loneliness that is no less than overwhelming. I’m not alone in this world, but rather, I’m just lonely. I don’t know why. I can’t see why, and I cannot escape it. I’m often washed away by this sensation, inasmuch as there isn’t any bigger plague in my young life. I don’t want to be lonely, and I would trade every inch of my leeching knowledge if it meant stripping this conceptual isolation.
Living purely in the mind is a false creation. From poetry to prose, paint to oil, reel to motion, all but a distraction conjured out of that necessity to exit. I write this because I must, otherwise, I wouldn’t endure. And as the gap widens, reality keeps requesting more and more fuel, more of you, more of me and all of us. It consumes our mind and its realms, it eats our flesh and throws us into a void of penance. The gap widens—the isolation grows—and I start deflating the forecasts, forced to lose a hope that I never had, pulled from realms I never got to fully taste. I’ve since missed the mark on so much, almost as if I wasn’t designed to exist, but rather, to self-sabotage to a point where it becomes its own Art, its own craft and disposition. The more exasperated I become, the wider the gap, and Cascans descent into silence becomes my own, Johnnys poems become my path, and my essence and integral identity in this world seems to be dust, fainting into space, warping with static colours. Reality, now, seems not too keen on my consumption, but rather, on my ability to consume myself. The act of simply being, today and any other day, seems to simply… not be enough.
I’m dipping my toes into confessional poetry. I’m awful at it, but is it quite fun.
One of the proses found in True-Ultra.
Ships That Dare
Yet, my skin does not bleed light once cut, my memory is not a sea filled with vessels hauling treasure, and I can’t see past sky-rim. Those ships—I see them set sail and pass, wreck and sink, cast onto fiery cascades, and I see myself in them, drowning and burning.
I know how it ends; I’ve seen it before;
Comes with day, engraved by ancient lore:
They leave, and I stay.
I stay in this mental illusion of a small port-village, where the sound of seagulls preludes the daylight, but distant and faintly echoed. Where the windows radiate with the blue-hue of gentle waves, and onlookers are statically sighting the sea, waiting endlessly for a ship that will never arrive, a day that will never come.
These days held by the belly, broken and shattered in every street and any corner, are the simplest notes sang by those seagulls. The lightness of serenity—that white sand. The heaviness of doubt—that ravaging ocean. Everything fitting as if it inspired a painting, in an harmony only captured by timelessness. Everything existing, breathing and seeing directly from my body, all aligned perfectly where they previously couldn’t fit.
That very unity of aesthetic space and sensorial emotion, a painting of words and concepts, is far beyond my abilities to encapsulate. As those ships pass, I stay, and the village grows ever-so static, slowing the motions, and the harder I try to encapsulate that mirage, the stronger it presses to bevel my mind, turning a timeless figure into a limited reality.
The further my descent, the clearer I can see the origin of my constructions, and trace it back to single day crystallised within my memory:
As a child, I was crowned as the clumsiest infant born on the year of ninety-five. I would climb every tree, most commonly fig-trees, cherry-trees and loquat-trees, being of immortal beauty dotting the spaces between decayed buildings, dripping age from their roof-tiles. I would climb them and quickly fall, so much so that I broke my forehead three times, and still have the three scars of my infant adventures paving my face. (Not sure why, I would always fall on my forehead)
Any toy brought to my hands would be quickly destroyed, and wouldn’t last hours, the same hands decorated with wounds and bandaids from breaking so many falls.
There was, however, a fabled and worthy nemesis in that forsaken village, one whose victory was far too common: the brambles. If I was to fall on a trench—which I did often—it would be in the only dug-up segment that, by stroke of luck, housed bramble-thorns. If I was to jump over the sheep gates at my grandmothers, I would always mystically land over a shrub of those nefarious berry-bushes. They won so many times that I started seeing the thorns as friends—always at my side. Anytime I see a thorn-bush today, I like to touch the spikes lightly, just to remember the pain they brought me and how quickly it would pass. The pains of today, those don’t leave so quickly. As an adult, I now begin to pray for those thorns, instead of present pains that sting much harder, much deeper.
Every-time she treated my wounds, my grandmother would say, joyful and smiling:
-“If you weren’t born, my son, you would have been invented.”
I would answer with the mischief of a plotting young devil—a boy with evil on his eyes, but sweet evil, very childish and with no ill-intent, but just to relish the feeling of sharpening my tongue:
-“They should instead invent a thornless bramble.”
She would laugh, I would smile, we were happy. While those small droplets of blood sprouted from my scarred legs, and from the high-noon light of our harsh Sun reflecting that scarlet onto my skin, we were happy.
But the vibrating lines of melancholia and nostalgia aren’t sufficient to perpetuate that day. There was a sentiment of humanity that forced itself into my memory, akin to branding iron or an inked needle. The constant reduction our mind imparts suddenly suspended, and worry became a bubble outside my reach.
I can trace my life ever since those days, I can replicate it imaginatively as it elapses, every new-facing direction becomes a transition of colours. I am suddenly a motion-picture of myself, constantly distilling moments that have passed and synthesising their essence into different shapes. I become the artist, shifting through lenses, walking along worlds, gatekeeping those illusions, creating realities that can bend beyond those ships, sailing and wrecking.
My realities and memories collapse into one fused singularity—which I call a composition—my emotions and beliefs hover from the silence between syllables—which I call a poem.
A little while back (I seem to start all my posts with this phrase), I started writing a book of actual fiction, as in, not poetry, called Brass Towers. With less and less time on my hands, and still trying to finish the various projects of poetry I have ongoing, this one got a bit lost, but I still have some hope it might see light of day. Here goes a rough-cut excerpt that I like, considering I don’t have nearly as much experience with prose as I do with poetry:
(A reminder, this is a character in the work, and not actually me writing about myself, although… it’s probably both)
As I lay my head against the bed-frame, I hope for better days. Some hope for those, others hope for better nights, and along those plaguing and exhausting hours of sleepless thought: we hope. As human misery goes, we hate hoping as much as we require it, since it fuels our glimpses of those better days, because hoping is somehow less painful than anything else we could be doing. We hope for days when we won’t need to hope anymore, in that sickly irony of circular thought, and those better days have knocked our wooden doors thousands of times over, banged, even. They scream to be claimed, but we are busy at the moment, we are busy hoping that they will come. We are addicted to hope, and in such woven spheres of contemplation, even knowing how much hope can hurt and how much misery it can bring, we keep hoping… for days that aren’t as miserable, for days that never come.
If only, perhaps, the sciences of the mind or arts of the psyche could provide a more easing method of withstanding life and its barrage of variables, we could stop the cycle of hope, and we could once-and-for-all close that wretched box Pandora opened so long ago, or even erase our understanding of human inadequacies and undo Eve’s apple eating habit. But closing a box or un-eating an apple are far too mundane to syphon our hope, no, they are insufficient. We yearn tragedy, great loves tossed into the claws of cruel oceans, even greater minds felled by their own ambitions, high spiritual connections with concepts that have far evaded our reductive minds, all grandeur, all splendour and garish displays of agony, because we already have hope to give and sell, but a fictional character only translates fully into our reality when it becomes hopeless, because hopelessness takes the highest courage, and because it is the most tangible thing we could never be.
With my head still laid upon the bed-frame, I look back: my childish years, filled to the brim with hope hidden between rays of sunlight, I hoped pine cones would fall so I could harvest the seeds and eat them, I hoped my words could convince Felicity to join me into the endless quest of fantasy awaiting beyond those pines. My adolescence, stacked with confusion and hopes for lesser confusion, a deep yearn for better days in adulthood, those that we produce, direct and act inside our minds, running so smoothly and beautifully, with liberty as the soundtrack and hope… always there, writing the screenplay. Now, an adult, nothing runs as smoothly as I’d hoped, Felicity never joined me behind those pines of magical wonder, she instead moved to Delaware. And as fate would have it, the pine cones were barren and seedless. I still hope for all the same themes under different guises, all a match of semantics duelling within ones mind. Felicity was my hope of love, which I never felt; pine cones were my hope for luck, which I never had; and life beyond the pines was my hope to escape, which I never did.
I still hope for all those things, all those days, as much as I miss them, and between missing hope as it was and hoping for it to cease, there is little of me left, and even that little me seems to be annoyingly hopeful.
A crucible of sincerity, vulnerability and late hours can create some of the most painful compositions.