Cross My Heart and Hope to Write


Saturday, September 29, 2012

When We're Born We Forget And When We Die We Remember

A few years ago, on Christmas Eve, my family engaged a discussion on the nature of the afterlife. My uncle memorably suggested, "I believe, when we're born we forget... and when we die, we remember." Though perhaps not an entirely unique proposition, the nature of what it means to be alive (or even Being itself) and what it means to cease existence has been the pensive essay of nearly every great mind and man alike.

I have always been struck by the strange kinship between things in this world. Everything - from the tiniest cell to the tallest mountain - seems to possess a token of being traceable to me. As if we equally share in this existence. Indeed, it seems undeniably so. In relation to our observation, the web of the spider appears quaint against the anatomy of the bicycle, with little explanation as to why.

But from what do we come and whereto do we go? We are each constructed from atoms concocted in the hearts of nubile stars that emerged millions of years after the Big Bang, or so the accepted theory goes. We are, therefore, recycled. In this regard, ourselves, the web, and the bicycle are equals. And what becomes of the us once the atoms fall away, to become other things all together? May the memories of a stone or an insect somehow find their way, however subtly, into our minds? Do the emotions of a long-since moldered tree contribute to your overall disposition? How many lives do you suppose exist inside you?

Perhaps, when everything is said and done, we each revert to a primordial spiritual gumbo from which all that is has its emergence. Not in a physical sense, but a transcendent one, in which all that may be comprehended resides - all truths, all knowledge, all understanding. Perhaps that is what it truly means to remember.      

When We're Born We Forget And When We Die We Remember 

This here flesh
This touch I've here received
Why do I feel as though I've awoken
From an endless sleep?
The world is filled with something dull
A light
Not quite as bright
My eyes are having trouble adjusting
To these curious sights  
Deja vu
Is that you I'm feeling?
New faces I've never seen
Yet I could have sworn I passed you
In an endless dream

Subscribe to the YouTube channel and Like my videos!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Abstract Surrealism

Art is really quite strange when you think about it. We go to places to look at synthetic pictures created with color to gain a broader understanding of ourselves and the world. The question, "Why do you enjoy art?" is not very easy to answer. Why? Perhaps it transcends our understanding and touches a part of us even we can readily access. Heidegger thought that all art was really poetry because it spoke to us. Perhaps in a language no one understands.

Aesthetic of the Unbounded

There is an art to everything. People who are the most skilled in their craft - from carpentry to fishing, deli clerks to plumbers, taxi drivers to pilots - have mastered a technique that ensures their dominance of the discipline. To a certain extent, I think it requires constant pushing: Pushing yourself to explore more, to try new things, and to better yourself. The creation of a piece of art is as much a development of the piece as the artist. There is a journey involved, communication, and deciphering of the message contained within. The art must speak to us, its creator and its audience, and ironically does not speak to everyone the same.

Some love a piece of art for reasons they cannot explain. One person understands for one reason, another for another. No matter what is on the canvas, in the sculpture, in the notes, on the walls and ramparts, or in the performance, it is blank and meaningless without someone to observe it. Yet, what is it precisely if no one can agree on what they see?

Abstract Surrealism

The sooty black walls matched the ceiling and the floor such that they appeared to meld into one another. Indeed, even the chair he sat upon was the same sooty black, sutured to the floor immovably as if it had grown straight out of it. The man seated upon it wore a pair of itchy pajamas that harmonized in texture and tinge the stygian decor. His bare feet sat upon the floor in somber quietude as he reached up with his age laden hand to scratch his lengthy beard. His graying hair had knotted into a vast dreadlock after such an expansive time spent without cleansing. His eyelids seemed disobliging to blink as his crystalline pupils dilated, the sclera stretched into focus, his gaze wild and unwavering. He perpetually cried to keep his eyes lubricated, his tears absorbed within his gnarled, straggly whiskers. He steadfastly replaced his hand atop the other on his lap, both folded over in polite endurance. His knees were clasped together, his back hunched as he rested his elbows on his thighs, pondering the painting that hung upon the wall in front of him.
Held in an equally darkened frame was a picture whose vibrant colors shone through the poorly lit space. Its cascade of intoxicating blues, enrapturing reds and tumultuous yellows threw the observer’s mind into a swoon. All manner of color was present, from orange to chartreuse, azure to brown; from glaucous to pearl, and pink to rust; from gold to byzantium, and green to taupe. They were thrown together into a massive garbled image, portraying neither shape nor substance. There were no straight lines, neither were there distinct squiggles nor decipherable swirls. There were no dots or tartan; there was no sequence to it at all. No one brush stroke seemed to lead to anything, as if conducted by a lifeless hand. The paint was applied thickly and heartily, the canvas all but lost beneath. The coat itself appeared painstakingly puzzling as the paint wasn’t oil or acrylic. It wasn’t watercolor or charcoal either. It wasn’t exactly pencil or ink, or pastel, or even crayon. The image was an amalgamation of mediums, a bastard of shape and a miscarriage of pattern.
The botched adulteration seemed constructed for no particular purpose, its message or subject lost beneath its crooning, bombastic tones. Its glossy finish sat is stark contrast to the dull texture of the ramparts, roof and rug; its vivid demeanor beamed through the unquenched ambience, glowing as if constructed of dismantled pluperfect light.
The man sat meticulously analyzing the essence of the painting, the room too small for him to wander away. He searched feverishly through the exhilarating parade of shades to discover some tangible explanation for its existence. Elapsing time had claimed his youth, scarring his fleshy chrysalis with age, and in that time, he had seen many things captured in that arcane, exotic picture.
Sometimes he imagined there to be a great battle taking place with many fallen men, foils lodged in their breasts, clashing, shield to shield, as a hulking citadel reined over them in the background. Trebuchets were erected amongst them as men encrusted with armor rode upon their ochre horses. Sometimes the men wielded muskets and pistols, the air choked with the white smoke of black powder, as canons stationed on framing hills delivered their packages to the enemy below. Trundling over heaping bodies, their bayonets thrust forward in defense, the men struggled to survive as lumps of earth rained down upon their forage caps. He would see the surface of an ocean, vacant aside from a single, bobbing brig, the seamen upon the deck frozen as they attempted to secure the sails, the makings of a storm looming in the distance. 
Occasionally the drama of war was not to be found at all. Sometimes the man would see only a peaceful landscape: A snowcapped mountain mirrored in the reflective surface of a lake, the leaves of the surrounding forest stained vermillion as nubile deer sipped from the cool water; or a vast plain coated in snow, steam rising from the chimney of a lonesome log cabin as some unnamed inhabitant within lit a fire to keep warm; or maybe it was spring, teetering upon the cusp of summer, butterflies fluttering past and landing on the petals of a motley plot of flowers, competing with bees and humming birds to get a taste.
He would discover fantastical scenes as elephants balanced on upturned champagne flutes and children played hopscotch into the eye of a black hole. From classical portraits of ambiguous dignitaries whose faces metamorphosed to the bold fonts and caricatures of pop art, a specimen of every genre he had found encased within. Yet he could not decide what it was that the painting was meant to convey, what exactly it was it was designed to portray.
In gazing, he would become overwhelmed with fervent emotion: Be it utmost sorrow to inescapable happiness; anger, nostalgia, fear or contemplation. He would weep, he would laugh, he would shout, but he could never definitively divulge the meaning of the work. He had forgotten everything else but that wane task; he could not recall who he was or where it was he came from. Indeed, he could not even make the effort anymore. The trappings of his preoccupation had consumed him, forbidding him to transcend that moment, neither to consider the past nor to dread the future. All he had was that painting to wonder, his eyes transfixed upon its face, bathing and battling the bleating hues with his anxious, ceaseless stare. And there he sat, eternally pondering the painting, never overcoming its imprisonment.
Then, suddenly, his eyes were widened beyond their usual maw as he lurched forward in his chair, his bones cracking as his formerly genuflected body erected. His emaciated legs carried him toward the flourishing canvas while a smile crept up the corner of his mouth. Drawing near to the article in exuberant realization, so close his nose threatened to scratch the surface, he gasped beatifically.     

Subscribe to the YouTube channel, TheSvenB0

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Last Leaf In Autumn

Autumn has always struck me as a uniquely bitter season. All the other seasons seem to seep into one another, gradually transforming into the next, but not autumn. Autumn is very sudden. There is always a day when you realize summer is over and autumn has arrived. It strikes with a chill or a smell. Though perhaps cliche, it is like a sickness onto death. A change of color marks the coming gloom; the shedding of beauty to make way for bony, pale anatomy. One last hurrah. The flame of a dying Phoenix before the ash. 

Autumn is humbling and appears spooky even without the commercial bunkum. The wind changes its flavor, while animals thicken their skin. I think autumn is the most beautiful season because it allows us to reflect on the revelry of summer and prepare for the uncertainty of winter. It is a time of thankfulness, of appreciation, of maturity, and reflection.  

It is a gift of forgetfulness so that we may savor the sweetness of the memory. 

The Last Leaf In Autumn

I had found myself amid the rubble of a pallid forest
that had been shaved of its motley plumage.
Their proud and glorious manes lay as runners on the muddy floor;
their frail and coiled appendages did little to warm the air
as autumn gasps slithered unimpeded through them.  
The colors had all but forgotten this frozen hall
that I had worked the will to bird dog.
To this, I came upon a particular gosling of gloom:
Ruggedly profuse with tumors and twists;
the belly bent and the shoulders collapsed.
There upon a scanty digit hung a tattered leaf.
It batted and fidgeted in the autumn whisk. 
For dear life it hung,
its tiny will incessant,
its color of a cogent mustard 
with freckles and holes.
I winced in curious compassion
at this scarred and lifeless lock
flung out into the approaching cold.
I reached out my finger tip to touch it
as it swayed and danced in the torturous tide,
until its nurtured anchor was whittled down to sawdust
and sent it, lucid and inert,  
lolloping toward the ground.
My crestfallen hand fell with her,
tracing her roiling cascade,
until she met her siblings atop the blanketed grave,
to decay;
as if destined to decay.
I stood alone,
the sole witness to her fall, 
while a eulogy seemed appropriate,
but would not follow. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sticks & Stones

When we're children, I think we imagine ourselves as greater than we are. Our egocentrism prevents us from perceiving ourselves as mere and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Indeed, a "grand scheme" doesn't even exist in a childish mind. In many ways, we are unabridged and boundless, unshackled by apprehensions, doubts, regrets, and fears of failure. A pure state of being. There is a beauty in that a child is nothing - not yet. An unadulterated "Perhaps" whose potential is for a time suspended in "becoming." In the eyes of a child lie a glister of the divine.

I believe, to be a truly happy adult human being, you must embrace your childish nature. We never really lose our childhood as we age; it continues to influence us. Those who misplace their sense of curiosity and wonder succumb to a bitter, unremarkable existence. Be a kid again!  

Who knows, maybe that is the key to eternal youth.
Sticks & Stones

Tired child,
All the while
Put on trial
For having triumphed in taking a mile,
While testing his innocence.
Piled high
All the wilds -
Mildly unrest.
Caressed against my chest this child
Of my infinite regress.
To the point of no return
And filed:
End of story, yet the best,
Having lost the words from the beginning.
Has this boyish dream been fetched
To be wounded in the process?
Build in me this nest
For the best.
Lying here in bed
Wondering if I'm a man
Or God. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012


I've never quite understood infidelity. The rationale behind the act has always puzzled me. Sure, the pursuit of attraction is all well and good (and fun), but why engage in the act when you are already involved with someone? Perhaps it is the solace that someone is already there that gives the person the willingness to take a risk. Perhaps there is no real way of making sense of it - A complicated choice requires a complicated "situation". I find it ironic that in a culture that bastardizes such activities, it occurs rather often. 

Those who engage in such activities with members of a much younger age group seem... neurotic. The news feeds appeared littered with such accusations; clogged with incidences that feel as though they should be more remote. Why?

Why do people fall into these pitfalls? Why do they commit to such socially bastardized acts? Is it misguided ethics and neurotic morale or is society itself an accessory?


He reached out his hand to touch the girl's face,
He remembered,
As he drove home through the rain,
His hands clammily held the steering wheel.
Watching rivers wash away
The waste in the streets
Made him feel a little bit OK.
After a day spent like this,
To the call of abandoned bells,
Pruned skin and easy listening
Were worth the welts.
She was young.
She was lost.
She thought she had figured everything out.
Of epiphanies and tiffany glass,
And lips that pout.
Too bad, he thought,
Too bitter.
Though he stopped to reconsider.
Stubbornness had already claimed his head.
His sleeves were dripping,
As he took off his coat
And sat down at the foot of the bed.
Staring out into the yard, he thought
Why so shallow?
Why so sick?
She's only fourteen!
You should have known your sympathy would stick.
He closed his eyes:
Reaching out his sweating hand
He touched her lips,
While the other prickled her knee.
"How had it come to this?"
Muttering and stuttering;
Muddling with his feelings.
A mockery and a cursory;
A moment, misleading.
Her lips were soft,
He recalled.
His hand scurried up her leg,
But he ripped his eyes open again
And cast the replay away.
His throat could not be unclogged
With the taste he had swallowed,
And even the simplest gesture of laughing it off
Felt borrowed.
Such secrets aren't like you!
Shadows of ages lived and passed.
One who believed in once and only
Was going a little fast.
He rubbed his head, looking for a fever
Or smearing off her scent.
Dusk was settling in
And the afternoon had been spent:
In the backseat of a car
With golden hair and painted nails,
With costume jewelry and subject books,
Flashing lashes and dirty looks.
Flirty little girl:
Growing fast; sullied skin.
His body felt as though it eroded beneath the weight of a thousand sins.
Bashful biased blithe boy:
Growing conscious; feeling weak.
With her kiss she eased his disquiet and with his lips he complicated things.
Tomorrow was going to be a day few could survive
And only he would have such intolerable liberty.
His heart was sinking farther
And somehow he commanded it to;
Such attraction he thought he'd already found
When he married you.
He starred at her from across the table,
Thinking back to that afternoon -
The kiss that felt so surreal
And tasted nothing like you.
Mustn't dwell on it now. Deal with it later.
He contends,
Putting on an act as if nothing is out of place
As they share dinner with the kids.