Spotted under the Jungle Gym

The boy sat underneath the jungle gym, then stood, then kneeled, then crouched, then stood again.  A tuft of black hair spilled through the back of his baseball cap, which he was wearing backwards.  His navy, low-top Chuck Taylors were untied. The sitting, standing, kneeling, and crouching repeated four more times.  And then he saw me watching him.

I was standing behind a hickory tree and didn’t think he could or would turn in my direction, but he had.  The boy didn’t seem too bothered by my gaze since he returned to his posturings.  The longer he knew I was still watching him, the more exaggerated his movements and huffing and puffing grew.  Was he performing?  Was he letting off steam?  He couldn’t have been older than a fifth-grader, so what could he possibly have to vent?  Daddy won’t buy me a puppy, mommy keeps changing her mind, daddy never leaves the house unless it’s for work, mommy is nicer to strangers than me, daddy has no friends.

Such evaluations would suggest a very perceptive child, and yet, how much of those utterances are indicative of a fast-developing mind vs. an ability to mimic linguistic stimuli? I stepped away from the tree and approach the jungle gym.  The boy turned as he heard my feet shuffling through fallen leaves.

“Why are you watching me?”
“Why are you in a park by yourself?”

“I asked you first.”
“You look upset.”

“I’m not upset, I”m just tired.”
“You’re ten years-old, how could you be tired?”

“I’ve seen my future, it’s not pretty.”
“What you call not-pretty, someone else could call very pretty.”

The boy lowered his chin and exhaled like I’m the child.

“I grow up to be a killer.”
“How do you know?”

“Because I saw it.”
“Did you see your face?  Were you watching yourself do it or was it like a first-person shooter video game and you knew it was you?”

“I saw it…I saw my face.”
“Do you want to be a killer?”

“Nobody wants to be a killer.”
“But do you?”

“I hope not.”

The boy flicked his glance up and with the clearest, crystal green eyes, he pleaded for me to help him so that he would never have to find out.  I put my hands on his shoulders and squeezed.  He let out a breath that smelled like pine and jasmine.  I walked back up the hill and out of the park.

When I checked the news the next morning, I saw several headlines about a tree below the jungle gym where there wasn’t supposed to be one.  Nobody thought to remove it. Twelve years later, after the park had undergone several changes in perimeter scope and terrain reshaping, a thunderstorm swept through the area.  When the skies cleared again, and the neighborhood was cleaning up tree branches and leaves, power crews and tree removers found the bodies of a mother, a father, and a little boy in a baseball cap underneath a fallen tree.  They had been crushed.

One more act of intervention that leads into irony and I’ll have my interventionist license revoked. Humans have no idea how hard it is to make their damn universe work.


When Night Comes Too Early and Leaves Too Soon

“You can stop now.”
“But he’s not come yet.”

“You’ve been at it for forty-five minutes.  He’s not coming.”
“And you know?”

“Did you see him at the party?  He’s been waiting for this moment for all his life…much longer than Phil Collins.”
“But he’s leaving everything behind…even his goat.”

“Well, he was never one to get too attached to anything, except for maybe his goat; he’ll probably want photo updates every couple of weeks.”
“So, this is it?  You can’t even convince him to stay at least until the harvest?”

Oh my Ishtar, have you forgotten everything in those five months you spent on the mainland?”
“Maybe…a little.”

“Put your arms down, girl. He’s been alive for 335 years already and is about to reach the point where he’s going to age twenty-five years for every revolution the the earth makes around the sun.  You live to be even half his age and things start to lose meaning and value beyond a week — a month tops.”
“So, what now?  What do I do with all of his clothes, plates, rapiers, and this goat?”

“I will take the rapiers, you can do what you want with the clothes and plates, and the goat can eat the weeds on the old abbey’s grounds.”
“What’s going to happen to him?”

“Nobody knows.  Maybe nothing.  Maybe he’ll be turned into a planet or a spectre.  Or, he could possess the body of a horse.  He’s always liked horses.  Remember Raleighnea?  She always loved horses and after she left, there were reports of horses that wandered up and down the coast just like she used to do.”
“Why does nobody know for sure?”

“Oh, some people know, they have to, they just keep silent.”
“How do you know?”

“Because I’m one of them.”


Il Pleut et Il Fait Du Vent

Ever since I was a child, I had never liked thunder.  It was too loud.  I didn’t mind the grumbling, the growling, but the clapping and cackling sort always sent me under a desk.  In a way, I felt as though the sound could turn me inside out.  I found myself witness to a sudden thunderstorm this afternoon.

I was looking for sandals when I heard the rain batter the roof.  I looked up to the front doors and saw the rain falling down in diagonal columns.  I went outside and filmed a bit of it.  I stayed outside and heard clapping thunder a few times — I did not feel like my insides were being turned outward, I did not squirm at the sound of this sudden downpour.  Rather, I thought about what  Black Elk said about thunder as well as the role of “thunder beings” in Sioux folklore in general.

The wind stopped a few minutes later, the rain lessened soon thereafter.

I did not find any sandals.

Undoubtedly Who Yellow

Today’s post is brought to you by more Chinese pop music (Taiwanese by way of Singapore).

Tanya Chua is the singer.  I was listening to some of her music and felt like sharing two of them.  There are things I read in English and I feel like my heart and soul are being trampled upon or ignited or revived.  There are things I hear and read in Chinese and it’s as if I can finally put words to ideas I always known but was reluctant to admit/accept or that I hadn’t contemplated.  The stoic wants to be sappy, the sap wants to be still, the still wants to be silly, the silly wants to be sensual. The sensual wants to be seen, the seen wants to be serene, the serene wants to be satiated.

Translations by yours truly.


The habit of loneliness becomes natural
I walk on the big street, the entire night glorious with cars head lights
All that is left is flickering memories, they no longer clamor so much,
but it doesn’t mean I’m liberated.

I still undoubtedly look back,
Love is not accidental, it’s gone through so much preparation
It allows us to love so wildly, half tender, half sad, sigh, a brief encounter.
I still undoubtedly associate,
Separating isn’t inevitable; since self-respect is injured,
that’s why one is so sad and can’t forget.

(To me) How much talking
(To me) How many dreams
(To me) Right now, still haven’t said
(To you) How many nights
(To you) How many years still
(To you) Until I can be liberated


The me right now is still in regards to love full of doubt,
There’s no right or wrong, I still don’t want to offer a commitment
I sustain the silence, walk by myself through emptiness and loneliness, they accompany me.
I pretend to be carefree, actually I’m weak; there are too many excuses and in the end no results.

Whoever allows me to feel understands me the most, our eyes interlock and there’s no need for words.
He just holds me tightly and lets me experience that he loves me so much.
Whoever allows me to feel doesn’t need to hide anymore; past heartache from now on will be submerged.
He just holds me tightly and lets me experience how much he loves me,
and lets me believe that he loves, loves me.

The future me, being alone isn’t so bad,
Ice cold hands thrust into pockets are considered warm.
The sun rises, the sun sets, they’re pretty much the same; if someone were with me, passing the days would be much better.
The sky sparkles for me; using too many excuses, what am I rejecting?


Her English is very good.

That Generational Moment

Some things never change.

Entitlement, deceit, rejection, prejudice, paranoia, possessiveness, self-loathing, greed, narcissism.

Other things have narcolepsy and amnesia and require constant monitoring.

Appreciation, trust, conscientiousness, acceptance, satisfaction, hospitality, and humility.

The tools, toys, and texts with which people use and consume to shape and inform their realities change from decade to decade depending on industrial capacity and retail trends, but aren’t the intentions the same?  Make it through the day, see another sunrise, have another piece of cake; open one’s eyes, walk again, speak again, see again, hear again, taste again, feel again, love again.

Believe in love again. I’m not referring to romantic love — the socially constructed marketing campaign to sell one-size-fits-all monogamy*.  I’m talking about kinship with life manifested through other humans, other animals, other living beings — vertebrates and invertebrates alike.

Do you remember the first time you connected to the internet on DSL or a cable modem and didn’t have to wait on dial-up?  Do you remember when you went out with your friends on a Friday night or Saturday day, you told your parents you’d be back by a certain time and they’d (have to) trust and believe that you would?  And, depending on what kind of kid you were, if you were going to be late beyond an understandable time frame, you would call them?

Do you remember the first time you had a refrigerator?  The first time you used a cordless phone so that you could talk to your friend about Dungeons and Dragons and not have to deal with your siblings’ disdain?  Do you remember when you first got into a traffic accident or waited at the mall for more than two hours and nobody came to get you?  How much anxiety did you feel compared to annoyance?  Were you really relieved when a stranger came by to help or the police or when someone you knew finally came to get you?  Or were you just really pissed off that your brother forgot to pick you up because he lost track of time while playing basketball?

Do you remember when the power went out and you had the sunlight to keep reading, writing, or playing a board game?  Do you remember when the power went out and you didn’t have to race to unplug a dozen electronic devices?

Do you remember the first person who was kind to you in a new environment?  The first person who talked to you when you knew no one? Do you remember when they stopped being kind to you and stopped talking to you for no observable reason?  Some things never change.  It doesn’t matter what clothes you wear or what music is popular or what kind of transportation you take.  There are places everyone finds at one time or another.  Whatever gets you through the day will never be as dependable as the surprise of a friendly face or inevitability of its departure.

* The idea of romantic love is warm and may serve to be the beacon in one’s life.  But, it isn’t one-size-fits all.  Nevermind the argument of whether or not homo sapiens are monogamous on a reproductive level.  Positive regard for another human being shouldn’t be limited to one person forever.  And for some, it isn’t.  So long as positive regard and erotic or lustful regard do not sit at the same table, then there are no limits to expressing positive regard.  N’est-ce pas?

I grew up wanting nothing to do with romantic love because I didn’t think it was real.  I’m still not sure it’s real.  I do know erotic love is real, metaphysical love is real.  Just because the positive regard you have for someone else makes you walk into furniture or smile idiotically, or do things that astound you whenever they’re around, it doesn’t mean you need more than that.  If this person shares the same level or flavor of regard for you, then all the better.  Wielding and feeding it is sometimes a whole other matter, though, if you can do so, because you want to and are able to, then do it.  Maybe this kind of joy is harder to sustain because it’s inherently transitory and evanescent.  It doesn’t want to be bound by law and order.  It wants space to breathe, space to fly, but also the knowledge that it will have a landing pad whenever it needs rest.  Wherever it needs rest.

I want to be my own landing pad, I want to be my own (mis)adventure — true, true on the whole — but I can’t do it by myself all the time.  Still, I’m not silly enough to believe that one person, the same person would be with me until the day my soul decides I’ve learned all I can from this life and it’s ready to move on to another.  What does it even mean to be with someone anymore?  Do I want a roommate who works from home or do I want a co-conspirator with whom I can partake in the delights in this life? Someone who speaks all of my dialects and pulses at a complementary frequency to my wavelength? I do not want a roommate who works from home.  I challenge the universe to prove me wrong; I challenge the universe to obliterate my perspective.