Yeti. The Lamp.


And thus they follow blindly, not knowing what lies beyond.

A Lacking Semblance.

Longing, acquisition, and dissatisfaction. Regardless of our direction, our purpose, or our intentions, the course that our lives take will invariably assume this form at some point or another. We were taught at an early age—through the vast gallimaufry of our teachers’ lectures—that there is one attainable goal in life; one proverbial dream: our career goal. Be it a businessman, an artist, a doctor, a lawyer, or what have you, once obtained, it will result in a pure and unadulterated satisfaction in life…or so we were told. We were taught at an early age, that once we obtain our goal, all the things we wish to extract from our brief time on this planet will come to us. We were misled.

I, much like you, attended grade school for twelve years and upon completion I received nothing more than a pat on the back and a piece of eloquently designed parchment. I was told throughout my twelve years of grade school that the high school I attended mattered. I was told that the college I chose to attend mattered. Throughout my four years as an undergraduate, I was told that the major I chose to study mattered. And once I received the degree I worked ever so hard for, they told me that the job I chose mattered. Our teachers, our mentors, our tutors, and our guides inculcated that these things mattered, and achieving that career goal was the zenith of our happiness.

Well, one day, we will get that job, and as we lean back in our office chair, we will realize that we are not happy. We have slaved from our blissfully naïve formative years until the present. We were told that upon getting that degree and getting that job, we would be happy. All the things we wanted in our lives will come to us, but somehow it is nowhere to be found. It depresses us to know that the indentured servitude will not end there. We will serve, and serve, and serve until the very shackles of our employment sleep with us eternally. The thought of our dissatisfaction will ruminate in our minds and culminate in an irascible existence. We will come to the conclusion that our teachers, our mentors, our tutors, and our guides—the ones who swore to teach us truthfully—broke their word.

We slaved through our entire lives, baited along the way with promises of happier, better futures. We were told to try, and try, and try—to constantly reach a higher plateau of achievement. And it translates into all facets of our lives. We long for so many things in life: we want the best cars, the most glamorous jewelry, the largest houses, and swollen bank accounts to sleep on. We finally acquire these things and for some reason—a reason that eludes our grasp—something is amiss. Upon our acquisitions, we will realize it was not enough and we will beg for more. Somehow we fool ourselves into thinking that indulging in these things would ameliorate the void of dissatisfaction in our lives. Indeed it was all a cruel ruse.

Somewhere along the way, we forgot something. A big something. A lacking semblance of our lives that we really should not be able to live without, but somehow managed to. The enjoyment of simply living.

Alan Watts once said,

“In music, one does not make the end of a composition the point of the composition. If that were so, the best composers would be those who played faster. And there would be composers who wrote only finales…”

With music as his simulacra, Watts evinces to us that life is not about waiting for the end, but rather, life is about enjoying its duration. The values of the so-called “teachings” we have acquired over the years have been unfocused. The plethora of lectures we have listened to throughout our entire lives has been fixated on our studies, our achievements, and our goals. And although these things are quite important, they are not the focal points of our lives. It should not be.

That is not to say that our education and our jobs are not important, however. Our education is the single most important tool at our disposal throughout our lives. The need for education is a ubiquitous element of our existence and it will affect us in everything that we say, think, or do. Having a stable and good paying job is the basis of a comfortable life; it is a necessity for existence. But the distinction that our teachers have failed to make here is that “comfortable” is not “happiness”. And so I earnestly implore you: focus your attention to happiness, because you have comfort. The best paying jobs and the highest forms of education grant you more comfort, but it does not award you with happiness.

What makes us happy will vary greatly among us but the result will be the same. Personally, what makes me happy—and this is in the literal sense, not just the proverbial—is my friends, my family, my health, and the wellbeing of each. I strive to surround myself with my love ones, and I strive to add people to that group. Meeting new people and building friendships with them is among the most thrilling experiences in my life, and I’m thrilled to meet each and every person I come in contact with. You know who you are.

I wake each day to a variety of emotions: frustration, happiness, contempt, anger, and excitement. But somehow, I never fail to realize that the aggregate of my life’s components is my happiness. Sometimes I walk outside in the morning and just observe my surroundings. I stare at the sky, the cars rushing by, the birdsong, and the crisp morning air, and I realize that life is not about the end but rather the enjoyment of its duration. Hey heyy world, emoboy’s stepped outside his room, ya’ll.

So back in the day, I was told throughout my formative years in grade school that the high school I attended mattered. It did not. I was told that the college I chose to attend mattered. It did not. I was told that the major I chose to study mattered. It did not. I was told that the job I held mattered. It did not. Our teachers, our mentors, our tutors, and our guides inculcated that these things mattered, but alas, it did not. It did not, and their words now hang as anathema in the closet filled with my trophies, awards, and certificates. They did not outwardly lie to us, they simply omitted a very important morsel of information that we needed to know.

Life is about living it, so please don’t forget it. Achieve those professional goals and always strive for more, as I am doing the same, but never make your job your life. There are many who told us that we should work towards the end goals of our lives, when we should have simply danced to the music.

A Dream, Macabre.

As I stand out on the beach,

oblivion at my feet,

a thousand empty boats,

all beyond my reach.

 

Their captains commandeer,

away from me, I fear,

And as they ride the wind,

they cast their shoulder’s grin.

 

The sun now steals the day,

and turns the sky to night.

My vision slowly fades,

Farewell, beloved sight.

 

They slowly drift away,

further out to sea,

they leave me, now alone,

not a single boat for me.

A abridged testament to you.

   There you are, seated pristinely in this bustling little café. If there is a god, tell him to lay his chisel to rest, for he has completed his magnum opus. There is a world of beauty that he has created, but everything before and everything after shall pale and wither in comparison to you.

     I am taken aback. Your beauty is ubiquitous. It permeates any room you grace. You burn darkness away with your radiance. The eyes of thousands aggregate to your image, although you are not aware of it. You ameliorate the lives of the wretched; you make life for them bearable. I know this just by glancing in your direction. The song of your voice, the flow of your dress, the flutter of your lashes—it infects the fibers of my body like a virus—the thought of you ruminates incessantly.

     I am but a man, the least bit graceful. A mortal who stumbles upon the laces of his shoe and dreams of space travel all the while. I am breathless. If even lions cower to your image, how can I ever hope to share oxygen—let alone a word—with you? My thoughts are so jumbled, they pour forth so sluggishly. The words that spell my desire to speak with you are brittle. They dance on my tongue, they hide behind my teeth and they fail to take form in my lungs. I even built for you a poem, but my words lacked eloquence and structure. So much so that I deemed them unworthy to be placed before you. A word, a line, a couplet, a stanza; I could not make sense of it at all. I am embarrassed just writing this. My cheeks reflect a blush so bright, I fear you might notice.

     An eon to you was a second for me, and as you saunter away, you with no name, my seventh heaven ends. Life returns to normal, in this bustling little café where you once sat.



At the Zenith of the World

The air was stained with the stench of burning brakes. The air was cold, biting and oddly comforting. Night had fallen hours before, as we made our way to the peak. A narrow path snaked its way towards the top and fades from our vision just before the suspected end. Awkward footing, loose soil, overgrown brush and limited vision, we tread carefully for fear of slipping. As the crest slowly made itself known to us a perplexing breath of relief rang in the night air.

Before we knew, we were upon our arrival at the very top, and we were met with a symphony of lights, a lavish bouquet of green life and a choir of silent air. The ancient sky embraced us, eager to meet its visitors for the night. Cold stares descended upon us from the stars above. As mortal creatures who come and go as we please, the immortal stars were filled with envy as they dimly shone—forced to shine until oblivion, anchored to their primordial thrones, cursed never to move an inch. With sad eyes, the moon greeted us warmly. It revealed only half of its face, seemingly ashamed or embarrassed of something. Perhaps it was just lonely—yearning for the touch and affection of another, as I was.

We sat, we talked, we laughed and reflected. Later, the night sky bid us a fond farewell; even the stars found the will to wave goodbye. The moon, ever lonely, draped its face in a veil of darkness, bitterly facing the reality of our departure.

Eight of the nine 411 stalked off into the dark earth, fading from the vision of our celestial hosts. As quickly as we came, we left.

The Bridge.

It took some time for me to learn,

that every bridge I build will burn.

If I refuse to give it time,

or forget the bridge was mine.

 

They’re whittled down by blades of age,

and beaten by the gusts of contempt.

Rot away from storms of hate,

and give under misunderstanding’s weight.

 

From end to end they bend and creak,

when built in haste, they stand so weak.

They’ll find their chance to crack and break,

when their foundation starts to quake.

 

As I look to prospective land,

A place to lend my building hand,

I look back and see our bridge,

Which sits in flames, embers amidst.

 

I once was worried, once concerned.

But now I don’t mind if you burn.

The world is lit from light you emit.

As I build bridges on land deemed fit.

Some of us are just lucky.

Some of us are just lucky. Some of us have a plethora of stressors to attend to; others have not a worry or care in the world. Some of us have got bills up the ass—debts left and right—while for others, financial issues are alien affairs. Some of us live from paycheck to paycheck; hell, some of us don’t even get paychecks. Some of us have a future that is in plain view, while others saunter in nebulous waters, searching for a glimpse of clarity. Some of us come from broken homes and others from nuclear families. Some of us just can’t get our shit together and wallow in trivial affairs, while others just seem to always be on top of things. Some of us have all the self –confidence in the world and others can’t help but compare and contrast.

Some of us have a thirst for knowledge and immerse ourselves in books, charts, articles and writings. Others don’t care for it at all. Some of us are imbued with determination and achievement, still others enjoy life as a storm: unpredictable and spontaneous. Some of us are fascinated with observation and reflection, while others would rather be observed.

We have quirks, abnormalities, traits and habits that collaboratively come together to make us who we are. We can be annoying yet bearable. We can be aggravating yet comforting. We can be excessive yet lacking. We can be unsettling yet soothing. We can be philosophical and deep, peering into space and time to ponder the complexities of the human condition. We can get down and make a fucking party out of nothing; straight up hood attitude. No matter what the situation, we are always down.

Some of us like to live life as quick as possible, and some of us like to live at a snail’s pace. On second thought, we prefer a smooth blend of the two and enjoy it over ice or as a shot. Some of us lead peregrine lives and others stick for life. Perhaps some of us will fall away. Will we be forever? No one can say but we’ll deal with it when the time comes. Albeit there are people in life who can’t find a friend to lean on, in our case we’ve got an entire family. But hey, some of us are just lucky.

Union.

It’s bad. It’s horrible. America, the home of the Big Mac, Hummer and an ICEE cup so large you need handles, is a dying animal. In this day and age, women are obsessed about how far their boobs walk ahead of them and men are infatuated with having a dick that drags on the ground when they walk. We’re going south quick but as long as we’re laden with brand name clothing and sleep on beds of cash, we couldn’t care less. Spend your life wasting away in affluence; when you’re old and scared of death, head to your local church, drop money in the collection basket and thank your lucky star that the priest likes money.

We’ve been living and breathing a dormant disease called Affluenza for years but we’ve never taken the time to notice it. From the time we shared toys with other children in kindergarten to the moment we nabbed our diploma, we’ve had it. From the time we buy our first house to the time we see our children married off, we’ll have it. Until you find yourself six feet under the ground pushing up daisies you’ll have it and even then you have to be lowered in a 270 pound box made of fine oak and rosewood—all the while dressed in your best suit.

Affluenza’s been sitting in the back of our lungs, dwelling in our hearts and growing in our brains for years and after biding its time of slow growth and culmination, it’s finally making its grand appearance. Over consumption is the name of the game and we, America, are leading the rest of the world by leaps and bounds. One-hundred and twenty dollars for a pair of shoes that took 3 dollars to make? Go for it. Two-hundred and fifty dollars for a coat to keep you warm in the bitter 60 degree Orange County winters? EVEN BETTER.

Snuggie: we can’t take the blanket off for 4 seconds to pick up the remote, so we put sleeves in them? Shamwow: Wow, what a sham (had to get that out of my system). Would it hurt to wring a normal towel once or twice when you clean the table? It doesn’t even absorb that water that well. Fuck you, Vince Shlomi.

Oh, but sure, you’re certainly not part of this culture. Don’t worry about it; I’m just informing you of the disease that seems to have infected everyone but you. People the world around work for a daily wage that’s equivalent to what you spent on that grande Chai latte you got this morning. Children in impoverished countries walk the streets in tattered clothes; they wade barefoot in garbage looking for morsels of food to eat; they play in dirt laced with razor blades and heroine needles just to pass the horrible day by—they’ll do anything to try and forget about the murmuring bellows of hunger resonating from their swollen bellies. Here we are in America where a Double Cheeseburger is a dollar (actually, $1.29 now) and water is practically free. I can reach my arm outside my front door and I bet you I could touch a Taco Bell. Soooooo believe me when I say I’d help those poor children, but I have an early day ahead of me tomorrow so I’ll have to pass this time.

We’ve fucked things up. I’ve fucked things up. We’ve been around for way too long. We’ve been around for so long, they’ve already made a remake of Knight Rider and they’re planning to remake the A-motherfucking-TEAM. You think Ted Danson wants to reprise his role John Becker?

With bated breath and stunna shades, we sit idly by and pray for plagues. If anyone’s getting nuked, it’s the United States. Could something be arranged where I have my own personal nuke? Affluenza’s hit me hard and, you see, I think I’m gonna need a little more lovin’ to clear my system out. The quakes are just the beginning, nephew. I hope the San Andreas swallows us whole. I hope to God that Perez Hilton dies in a horrible chemical fire.

A Fitting Element.

I awoke today with a somewhat insatiable but suppressible urge to write—suppressed it was until now. I was in a bad mood; I had no reasons or motives to justify it and I had seemingly no urge to stop it. It just felt like fire sitting in my lungs and no way to quench it. Suddenly I got to thinking: Friends. There may be no thesis in this. Sorry. Aimless.

I thought about all the friends that came in and out of my life from as far back in my memory as I can reach. I thought about my first friend in elementary who lived near me and was the only one who ever enjoyed capturing spiders with me in the backyard. I remember my first crush and how she called always called me Jacky Chan because I would throw out karate moves and because, well, I was Asian. I thought about my first friend in middle school that helped me get adjusted when I left all the friends I knew and started anew in another strange and alien school. I thought about the girl that gave me my first kiss (it was a mess) and how to do it correctly. I thought about the gentlemen that I met in high school that are now my dear friends who express affection for each other by playing music that we love. I remember the man that shared my name, and how we used to kick up firestorms around the campus just because we had nothing better to do. I thought of the friends that I’ve lost (in a literal sense) throughout the years, be it from drugs, accidents or themselves. I thought of all the people in between, how some of them have fallen from sight, and how some of them I still communicate with. I though about the friends I have now and how honored I am to have them.

And after all of this, I can only sit here and thank you. I want to see you all again. I want to see how you’ve grown, how you’ve changed, and how you’ve rolled with the punches that life has given you.

You’re looking for a thesis; you’re thinking, “What’s the point of writing this letter?” Sorry, there isn’t one. If you were looking for a thesis, again, may I remind you that your search will be fruitless so you might as well press “back” or “x” the window altogether.

With my personality, it’s impossible to have everyone like you. I’m sure there’s someone out there who doesn’t think I’m the greatest person in the world—our friendship just wasn’t meant to be. Just know that I see the light that resides in you and that you’ll never find an enemy in me.
In these obscure hours of the night, I find it’s difficult to write coherently so I apologize if this letter is just a nebulous cloud of words and phrases strung together. Bananas.

My heart is in another place (figuratively speaking of course), in someone else’s hands and I have no idea what they’ll do with it (but in my mind, I sincerely hope that they’ll keep it). I just can’t organize my thoughts at the moment. No inkling why.

I digress. They’re a great set of people, my friends. Guys I play music with when we can, people that accompany me in class, people that help my shifts go by quicker, someone who punches me incessantly (I take it as a form of affection) and people that I just run into at school, work, home, or the coffee shop down the street. I love them all. Don’t ask why bitches, just take it. Take it like a man. A buff man. A buff, burly man, with a rough beard and gruff hands. Table.
But with all the positive points to them, there are also the negatives that accompany them. With them, we find it difficult to agree with each other about many things, they don’t exactly pull their weight in something we swore we’d join efforts on, they’re sometimes quite unreliable when I’m in need of assistance, and they seemingly and incessantly shrug me aside and forget that I’m there beside them. It pains me deeply inside to see those flaws in them and it pains me deeper that I have to endure it. Albeit this fact is as true if not, truer than death or taxes, I also take the time to see the faults in me. Some have no solid figure in my eyes and some are pulling my legs together as I take a step.

I’m a liar. I say things I don’t mean. I stretch the truth. I change the truth. I say I don’t get angry at things when in fact I’m infuriated at them. I say that I can be there for someone constantly but inside I know that I can’t possibly be there for them all the time—I can only try. I’m a little unhappy with some aspects of my life but whenever the topic is brought up, I put on a smile, I wave, I nod, and I profess that I’m genuinely happy. I’m genuinely happy.

As much as it hurts, I love the imperfections that come with my friends. I can honestly say that I treasure it. I treasure it. I treasure it. An abrupt end to a selection of prose with no direction; a fitting end.

Razor Earth.

I awoke today only to be irritated with the stupidity exhibited by the majority of mainstream entertainment. My eyes opened, my breaths deepened, my body moves, my mind stirs. I gather the courage to stumble from bed and conduct the daily rigmarole of waking up. I sauntered to the living room, passed the television and saw it: an anomaly many call a “music video”.
As if the song (if it can even be called that) wasn’t annoying enough, the artist was even more annoying. His neck, hands and even teeth were adorned with gold and silver. His clothing had a price that matched a 40 acre land purchase and his shoes were about the same price as a peasant family needed to tend to the land. I know not who this person was, but by my conjectures, I venture to say that he was probably just another child of a nuclear home with claims of gang membership and lavish spending habits.
To the back of him: cars. He claims he drives all of them; apparently all at the same time because they were ALL there. To the left of him, the ocean, prancing around it like it was his. To the right of him, a palace of sorts, probably rented out for the day so he can shoot his music video, and in every crevasse conceivable by human standards, a woman.
Oh the women. It pains me to see that some women are so willing to dance around in provocative clothing for men to gawk at, all for 3 minutes of airtime and probably a 137 dollar paycheck—if the gods smile upon them.
But wait there’s more! Just when I was about the walk away in disgust, I finally hit the meat on the bone: the lyrics. With women in both arms, caressing his upper obliques like he owned Fabio’s, he says, “Girl, I can make you happy.” Oh the irony! Apparently, to the hip hop community, the only way to please a woman is to thrust half naked ones in her face, overwhelm her with cars she’ll never ride, and have an open house…I should try that some time.
Thus I have been reminded of my spiteful adversary, David’s Goliath, Ransom’s Weston, chrisle’s MTV. MTV calls to mind the gullibility and stupidity of some of our nation’s youth. Rich kids talking behind each other’s backs about what they did at the New Years party, a preadolescent demon-spawn raising a firestorm because she couldn’t have 5 helicopters instead of 2 at her birthday party, and alas, music videos like the aforementioned.
It amazes me to see the things children are being force fed in this day and age. The worst part of this ordeal I was pelted in was the fact that I heard noise coming from not only the television, but my sister. She, a young one of 14 winters, was singing along to the song—was causing my kidneys to rupture—was causing my arteries to constrict.
We’re walking on razors, strewn across the earth, waiting to pierce the soles of our feet, and implant diseases to manifest within us and spread throughout, permeating all that is unbeknownst to us, all that we know, love, hate and appreciate.

For.

"For myself, for my friends, for my family, forever. I’ll take this to the bitter end." I’ve never heard anything sweeter in my entire life.