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Aphorism And What Have you

“Memory is a crazy woman that hoards colored rags and throws away food.”

“Those who believe it is all right to tell little white lies soon grow color blind.”

The above quotes are both from Austin O’Malley.

Hard as I try I can’t understand what the first quote means. The second I have an inkling. Perhaps it wants to say that be careful telling harmless lies because if you practice it often enough sooner or later it will make you a bonafide liar. Or something like that. But the first I have no idea. I googled it several times but no one out there can give me anything. Like me, they seem to be baffled. 

Care to try anyone?

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Dead Toad Scrolls

We tend to see ourselves through other people’s eyes. We respond to how other people actually treat us as well as to an imaginary audience of people who we presume are judging us. Even living in total isolation of other people, I would construct a sense of personal identity based upon how I thought other people would evaluate me if they could only see me now.

The road to self-improvement does not begin with the realization of other people’s scorn. Personal salvation commences with the determined excavation and displacement of a crusty layer of self-denial, which defense mechanism camouflaged my intensifying sense of self-repugnance for how I acted in this earthly life.

Enforced seclusion from society and personal introspection are not the product of brilliant intellectual insight or a calculated election. Escape was necessary when reality proved too harsh.

Self-examination requires time alone spent in thoughtful study. We naturally fear aloneness, which reluctance can stifle attaining self-knowledge. In her 1942 memoir titled ‘West with the Night,. Beryl Marham spoke eloquently why we must overcome our fear of aloneness and conduct a search for our inner authenticity. “You can live a lifetime and, at the end of it, know more about other people than you know about yourself. You learn to watch other people, but you never watch yourself because you strive against loneliness. If you read a book, or shuffle a deck of cards, or care for a dog, you are avoiding yourself. The abhorrence of loneliness is as natural as wanting to live at all. If it were otherwise, men would never have bothered to make the alphabet, nor to have fashioned words out of what were only animal sounds, nor to have crossed continents – each man to see what the other looked like.

We are conscious beings always experimenting with the mystery of becoming our ultimate manifestation.

If we cleaved ourselves in half to examine our daily mind chatter under a microscope, who amongst us would daringly display the sediment of their innermost thoughts for public consumption? A tattler’s tale reporting the silted musings resembling my tarnished soul is probably the most typical scorecard. Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), an English novelist and poet declared, “If all hearts were open and all desires known – as they would be if people showed their souls – how many gapings, sighings, clenched fists, knotted brows, broad grins, and red eyes should we see in the market place!” My unsavory report card is indistinguishable from the blemished masses. Etched into the end zone of my life playing field are the horrors of gluttony, greed, failure, and humiliation. Recognition of my sinful life led directly to a rash act of despondency. Commission of a ream of sins is a reflection of my weak character. Guilt from leading a sinful life, not a strong character, manufactured the overwhelming despair that caused me to seek absolution. The willingness to grade myself as less than a satisfactory human being might be my only hope of ever achieving spiritual salvation.

A self-concept is fluid; it is composed of numerous ongoing self-assessments forming an awareness of a person’s physical and mental attributes. Our perception of self comes from our interaction with all of nature and is especially dependent upon social interactions with parents, siblings, spouses, children, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and other acquaintances. Self-identity includes an understanding of a person’s personality attributes, knowledge of their skills and abilities, taking stock of their values and religious affiliations, and tallying their choices for occupation and hobbies. Identity is a mixture of our resilience and our energy; it is the product of our aggressiveness and meekness. We forge an identity with the arms we bear to protect our territory and by the gentleness that we exhibit towards other people. Identity is weaved from sunshine and shadows. It derives from good and evil conduct; it encompasses a sense of love, wonder, and loss.

A person without a crystalline sense of self lives a mythless existence; they lack a definitive path to follow in life. Deprived of a solid sense of self, dispossessed of a connection to the past, destitute of a grounding sense in the present, a person leads a leaden and aimless existence.

None of us remains invulnerable to the demands of our physical survival or stands aloof and insusceptible to the shaping influences of society. We live in a social world and the prevailing cultural norms affect each of us.

Every step in life is a testing ground. Some active and perceptive people never stop blossoming regardless of what experience they encounter while other people seem to wilt with the slightest provocation.

The human mind is the artist of our mutable state of inwardness. External action signals to other people our inner composition. We control our present state of happiness. Each personal action taken or not undertaken subtlety or profoundly alters whom we were, influences whom we now are, and amends who we might become. Our shifting self-image controls our present state of personal happiness.

A strict self-image demonstrates a predisposition to maintain a rigid explanation and definition of a person. Our self-image becomes self-perpetuating because of the tendency of the mind to exhibit partiality regarding what we attend to and preference in what we are prepared to accept as true about the world and ourselves.

― Kilroy J. Oldster

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Trip Down Memory Lane

I was so excited when I came across this image.

It catapulted me back to that one summer day many years ago when I was driving a Porsche, his Porsche, and his hand slowly crept up along my thigh. 

I could not do anything. 

I could hardly let go of the wheel so, I said:

“Yeah baby, a little bit higher.”

Suddenly, he withdrew his hand and didn’t utter a single word anymore for the rest of the journey.

He dropped me off at the village church and I never saw him again.

27 years old, blond blue-eyed and an only son of a wealthy factory owner.

No regrets though. Besides, I’m not into blond.

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Color Blind

What if one day we wake up in a world without color?

Would it change our perception of everything?

Would we see people from all walks of life equals?

Could we resurrect respect and appreciate more?

Could it make us more tolerant friendly and forgiving?

Would our lives be more simple and joyful?

They say

When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls.

Is it true?

I remember one rule of design.

If you want to know what’s wrong about a room (inside or outside) photograph them in black and white.

BUT

C. JoyBell C. said:

We are all equal in the fact that we are all different. We are all the same in the fact that we will never be the same. We are united by the reality that all colors and all cultures are distinct & individual. We are harmonious in the reality that we are all held to this earth by the same gravity. We don’t share blood, but we share the air that keeps us alive. I will not blind myself and say that my black brother is not different from me. I will not blind myself and say that my brown sister is not different from me. But my black brother is he as much as I am me. But my brown sister is she as much as I am me.

The downfall of the attempts of governments and leaders to unite mankind is found in this- in the wrong message that we should see everyone as the same. This is the root of the failure of harmony. Because the truth is, we should not all see everyone as the same! We are not the same! We are made in different colors and we have different cultures. We are all different! But the key to this door is to look at these differences, respect these differences, learn from and about these differences, and grow in and with these differences. We are all different. We are not the same. But that’s beautiful. And that’s okay. In the quest for unity and peace, we cannot blind ourselves and expect to be all the same. Because in this, we all have an underlying belief that everyone should be the same as us at some point. We are not on a journey to become the same or to be the same. But we are on a journey to see that in all of our differences, that is what makes us beautiful as a human race, and if we are ever to grow, we ought to learn and always learn some more.

It is when we think we can act like God, that all respect is lost, and I think this is the downfall of peace. We lie if we say we do not see color and culture and difference. We fool ourselves and cheat ourselves when we say that all of us are the same. We should not want to be the same as others and we should not want others to be the same as us. Rather, we ought to glory and shine in all of our differences, flaunting them fabulously for all to see! It is never a conformity that we need! We need not to conform! What we need is to burst out into all these beautiful colors!

What do you think?

Me personally, like Mark Rothko when it comes to humans

I’m not an abstractionist. I’m not interested in the relationship of color or form or anything else. I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on.

Wherever of the spectrum you’re in, I hope you’ll do what’s right. Not only for yourself but for everyone concerned.

Till next time.

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The World We Live In

“Believe nothing you hear and only one half that you see.” 
― Edgar Allan Poe

Yeah, don’t take anything at face value. In this life, you never know…

And according to my son, you can’t even trust your own mind-mine at least- because it could play tricks on you too. Not everything you see and hear is real. And lately, it could apply to almost anything. From what your children or partner is telling you to gossiping neighbors to false news, not to mention what your government is leading you to believe.

What is still real lately.

Heck, you can even trust pictures anymore. Phones can alter image beyond recognition. They are equipped nowadays with beautifying technologies your eyes automatically become bigger, your face longer and your skin fairer and smoother. They can erase the passing of years with one touch and gives you glow on par with that of innocent fully rested breastfeed satisfied babies.

Scary.

I wonder if Poe was aware that time that his thoughts would and could resonate down the centuries. Never the quote more applicable than the current state of the societies all over the world. Nothing is real anymore. Except the global warming and senseless violence in the name of this or that God for the sake of money and power. What else.

Where do we go from here?

Down the drain in record time. Because there is no way back. It’s too late. We can’t save the planet anymore. We can’t save us. Humanity has fallen victim to their own genius and an unquenchable thirst for progress, unquenchable appetite for destruction and unquenchable desire and hunger for more.

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In The Sea

“Ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper. Down deep, the fish are more powerful and more pure. They’re huge and abstract. And they’re very beautiful.”

― David Lynch

Does the above quote applicable also when looking/hunting/choosing for a potential partner? I heard it before, so many fish in the ocean and to quote a fifteen-year-old boy who thought he knew better he said: She’s not the only pussy walking around. He was, by the way, referring to me, angry because his own brother and first cousin were on the clinch for my attention. But if I read him correctly, he got an adolescent crush on me and probably angry at himself. Those were the days.

Down deep, the fish are more powerful and more pure. Oh, I thought the higher you go up on the social ladder the poorer it gets when it comes to attitude and manners. But then again, Lynch was talking about ideas, not people.

But ideas come from people, and I believe that in order to have depth on anything, the source got to have layers, multiple layers. And layers come from life experience, years of experience. The harder the life you lead, the more colorful and complex the layers become. No wonder most if not all geniuses were tortured souls. All great art comes from pain they say, and history is there to prove it, There is no need to mention names, we all know who they are. The Myth of the Tortured Artist, remember? They say it’s not a myth. Art is a reflection of humanity, and humanity’s greatest virtue is its ability to overcome adversity. Suffering gives insight they claim. What tortured them is what made them great. I can only agree. I write better when I am unhappy and can’t sleep.

Experience and the ability to feel and to know where those feelings are coming from give art authenticity in my opinion. It’s your soul that is out there, no one had been through what you have been through, your stories are solely your own, unique in every way. Your craft is an expression of your personal journey and the bumpier the road, the greater is the experience the deeper is the source of inspiration.

I have lived a thousand lives. No exaggeration. I could write about a million things others could only imagine about. My history and my experience lend truth to my voice as opposed to someone who is writing fictional situations. They say in every book someone writes, there is always a piece of autobiography in it and I believe that. We draw characters and places from our own personal experience. It doesn’t matter if we are writing fiction or not, we based personages and situations on people we know and places we’ve been. There is always a piece of truth in every lie they say. I believe that too. Where else we could get our inspiration but from life itself, right?

With a little bit of imagination or lots of it, we can make ordinary extraordinary and simple to wonderful. All we need is to catch some big fish, and in order to do that; we have to explore bigger and deeper seas and risk drowning. Sink or swim people.

Till next time.

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365 Blank Pages

Brad Paisley said:

Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.

Fair enough.

But how to do it?

One subject they never teach in any school is how to cope with life.

They never teach us how to be a wife, a mother or how to keep a relationship alive and functioning properly and how to get over heartaches and traumatic experience. They never tell us what to do when everything is falling apart and you have nowhere to go and no one to turn to. In short, for all those mostly unnecessary things they instilled in our heads, they never prepare us for real life and what lies ahead when we’re lucky enough to survive childhood with or without scratches.

In school, they never teach us even the basic on how to deal with obstacles and hurdles of growing up and being an adult.  Worse still, there is no school on this planet one could apply to if one wishes to be educated about life. We have to learn it on our own stumbling and falling.

Good for building a character you might say. That which does not kill us makes us stronger. Wrong! Friedrich Nietzsche. What doesn’t kill us makes us crazy or at the very least, paranoid if not bitter, vindictive even. Once we are burned, we show the scars one way or the other. It will manifest in whatever aspect of character we are lacking strength and influence our choices and decision makings in the future. Those who made the same mistakes over and over again are terrified of leaving familiar water. The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t, right?

Of course, in every rule… you know the drill.

Observe and learn. The best way to learn is from the pros. Easier said than done. Watching people doesn’t always give us a heads up. We tend to think it will not happen to us till it happens. Same as getting old. The youth tend to shrugs off the myths about aging even though the proofs are staring them right on their faces, till it is their turn then suddenly myths become facts and by then it’s too late. You know what I’m talking about… We all been there, being young and thought we are immortal, smarter than our predecessors and a lot, a lot luckier forgetting we are all born terminal and living on borrowed time.

Ah, if we knew then what we know now.

If only they teach us survival skills in school. If only they prepare us for what is going to happen next. If only…

And the way I see it those modern conveniences and technologies don’t help. Today’s generation is accustomed to having what they want with one click and living in virtual realities. How can you expect them to survive in the real world?

Or maybe I’m just getting old and getting nostalgic for yesteryears when people still know how to cook a meal from scratch instead of letting it deliver on their doorstep. When people could function without the aid of a computer and can write a proper letter and send real Christmas cards instead of electronic ones.

Those were the days.

Let’s begin the 365 days by spending time with our loved ones minus the gadgets. Could we still do that?

I wonder if our loved ones want to spend time with us without the buffer of iphones, ipads, and what have you. Do we still have something meaningful to say to each other to begin with?

Somehow I doubt it.

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We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live

My son told me when I related to him what I’ve experienced when I was eight years old that whatever I believed I have seen that time wasn’t real. I protested of course. How could it not be real when I saw it with my own eyes? I wasn’t dreaming, I was wide awake and running for my life. I wasn’t hallucinating, never took drugs, not drunk either, no fever. It was supposed to be an ordinary day and I was running a simple errand and suddenly my world turned upside down.

It doesn’t matter he said. To me it was real but it doesn’t mean it really was. I never thought of it that way. There was and still is no doubt in my mind that it happened. No matter how bizarre the experience was, I never question my sanity or the authenticity of what I have witnessed. To me, it was as real as you and me and all the people that are walking o this planet. Even my son’s skepticism failed to shake my belief. I will carry that belief to my grave.

Suit yourself he said.

What about this one? I asked. And this? Same verdict. I was imagining things but convinced I wasn’t. What should I do that? What could possibly be the reason why I would imagine situations like that? Believe me, if I would fantasize anything it would be something very different, totally the opposite, like tête-à-tête with Rafael Nadal for instance. But no matter what I said to my son, I could not convince him, and vice versa, which made me think: Do we really___

Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live? 

Joan Didion said:

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live…We look for the sermon in the suicide, for the social or moral lesson in the murder of five. We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices. We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the “ideas” with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience.”

Do we really?

I know we learned and we have to turn a blind eye sometimes to what is happening around us in order to survive and protect our sanity. All that senseless violence, poverty, and political issues plus global warming and the declining quality of just about everything are enough to send anybody down the drain.

Those people who had been and still are in an abusive relationship would understand. I have been there done that. I know how it is to make excuses for someone and for yourself in order to keep whatever you want to keep intact. Hence the existence of the  Stockholm syndrome which funny enough I truly believe is possible based on my own experience.

So, what was the possible cause of my imagining things which for the sake of an argument let’s say I did, boredom? Trauma? Stress? Not applicable to the situations. I have never been bored when I was young. I wasn’t traumatized enough then and if_ it will not materialize at that moment. Stress? Unheard of in my generation. Besides, I believe stress is predominantly sickness of western societies in developed countries. We have enough outlets and too resourceful to be stressed. No wonder the globally accepted image of a paradise is a sun-drenched beach with one single leaning coconut tree. Says enough, don’t you think so?

How about you?

Do you believe we deceive ourselves by conjuring up stories to avoid facing the truth? Do we really seek refuge in fantasy to protect our sanity and keep going? Is it a part of our survival skills/ instinct? Inborn? Learned? Taught?  Inherit knowledge? Tradition? Education?

Whatever which way, it isn’t healthy.

Or is it?

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All That Money Can’t Buy

“I want something else. I’m not even sure what to call it anymore except I know it feels roomy and it’s drenched in sunlight and it’s weightless and I know it’s not cheap. Probably not even real.“ – Mark Z. Danielewski

My best friend said to me once that the love/set up/relationship I was looking for doesn’t exist. Not in this world, she said. She is the same person who told me that I am the only one she knows that can come and go as she pleases and stands where she wants. Needless to say that I don’t believe her, not on all counts. To me, there is always a limit. Nobody has total freedom.

True, in some aspects I was more privileged than most but in other ways, not. Still is. I think the only difference is unlike some, I don’t need another person to feel complete and I will never validate/define myself through others. Both of my husbands, past and present claim that I don’t need anyone and D. said that I am the only one he knows that is sure of what she wants and who she is. I don’t believe that either. I think he is thinking of his own mother who is so indecisive she is in danger of losing her credibility if it is not already so. I don’t say he is wrong. What I’m saying is he made me sound like someone who is on the edge of extinction. There must be still a lot of us out there. I cannot be the only one left.

If the quote above exists and it is, it means there is a person behind the saying who feels exactly the same way as I do- dreaming of a place where finally everything would make sense and the pieces of the puzzle will finally fall into place. I would not say a place where I belong because I never feel I need to belong to something or someone. My brain doesn’t work that way. Like it never crosses my mind to look for love or be in love because there are lots of more interesting ventures I could think of than complicating your life by tying a liability around your leg but to each his own and what floats your boat, right?

Strange phrases coming from someone who is twice married and had lots of flings on the side, but I never said I would be a nun (though once upon a time that was one of my childhood dream/fantasy) I just happened to not believe in looking over your shoulders chasing/waiting for the love of your life and being depressed because you are single. I believe in enjoying life and seizing every moment –carpe omnia– and opportunities to live instead of waiting for love to happen because I can tell you this if it meant to be, it meant to be. None of my (mis)adventures I planned. They just happened. All the people I’ve met happened to be there, in the right place but at the wrong time.  Grateful though for the diversion. Without them, I don’t know where I am today. Probably in jail or in a loony bin.

I know it’s not cheap. This phrase from the above quote I disagree. In my experience most of the things that matter are free. But then again, if he was not talking about the monetary value of such places then I am with him on this one. Because again in my experience, the price of “where you belong”  or “what you believe in” is sky high. I’ve been there done that. I managed to lose just about everything for the sake of freedom and I’m not even free.

It’s drenched in sunlight. I find this one interesting. Like I find the general globally accepted picture of paradise is a sun-soaked beach with a single leaning over coconut tree interesting. I bet people who live in such settings think differently. I was one of them (though I managed to escape from “paradise” a long time ago) till of late, I’m beginning to think perhaps the one behind the iconic image is right after all. Again, those who inhabit such places might disagree because perhaps their picture of paradise is the land of milk and honey where I happened to live. What an irony. I have the privilege of having experienced both sides of the coin and I can tell you this much, no matter what your definition of paradise is, it is none of the two.

I wonder if there are people who are dreaming of places where it’s not drenched in sunlight, gloomy, dark and cold and for free in all the meaning of the word. I guess my dream destination comes close; my fantasy is to move to UK, to a chocolate box little cottage in the country complete with the definition of a cottage garden and a cute bubbling brook nearby. I love the country. I remember coming there for the first time, it was raining cats and dogs and it was indeed cold but I love it. I love every drop of rain on everything and I love the feeling the place gave me. It was akin to coming home at last. I visited a castle and instinctively, I know where and for what everything is. It felt familiar as if I had already lived in such a setting. If I believe in reincarnation I would probably go along that line but I don’t so I put it to coincidence instead.

Another dream of mine is to own a mobile home and tour around UK and Ireland and go visit those wondrous places like Peak/Lake District, Powys, Cumbria, Dorset, Cornwall, Devon and everything that has a shire attached to the name. Perhaps next year, it will finally come true.

How about you?

What is your idea of paradise?

The Perfect Gift

When I was fresh from the boat and still feeling my way around here one of the things I learned was whenever you received a gift the giver expects you to open the package real time. I find it quite scary. In my country, we are not obliged to do the same, we can keep the present and open it privately in our own time which I personally prefer; in this manner, we could avoid an embarrassing situation in case the gift is not to our taste and spare the feelings of disappointment from both sides.

Opening a present from a live person was scary enough. There was always the chance that the gift might be so wrong, so completely not the kind of thing you liked, that you’d realize they didn’t really know you at all.”

― Carol Rifka Brunt

Over the years, I learned to fake enthusiasm and gratitude whenever I received a wrong gift, each time praying the giver will not see through the facade and hoping they are genuinely surprised and grateful when it is the other way around.

They say it is the thought that counts but like I said in one of my previous posts, believe you me, the theory about its- the -thoughts –that- counts- can only stretch so far.

What about you?

Which do you prefer?

Open what you get real-time or have a private moment to yourself to unfold spread and enjoy your present?

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Learn The Rules Like A Pro So You Can Break Them Like An Artist.

Describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty – describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember. If your everyday life seems poor, don’t blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator, there is no poverty and no poor, indifferent place. And even if you found yourself in some prison, whose walls let in none of the world’s sounds – wouldn’t you still have your childhood, that jewel beyond all price, that treasure house of memories? Turn your attention to it. Try to raise up the sunken feelings of this enormous past; your personality will grow stronger, your solitude will expand and become a place where you can live in the twilight, where the noise of other people passes by, far in the distance. – And if out of this turning-within, out of this immersion in your own world, poems come, then you will not think of asking anyone whether they are good or not. Nor will you try to interest magazines in these works: for you will see them as your dear natural possession, a piece of your life, a voice from it. A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it.”

― Rainer Maria Rilke

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It’s Only Words

Kahlil Gibran once said: “Some words pass through us quickly and vanish into the air; others burrow into our very flesh and change the way we think, speak and feel.” In my case, it is definitely true. Each time it happened, I am amazed to find out that even after all these years words still have the power to hurt me. I thought I have long past caring, that I don’t give a damn what other people think of me and in certain aspects I am but there are individuals who never lose the power to hurt us and those are mostly the ones who are closer to our hearts. They know which buttons to push and never run out of ammunition because they know us through and through and that gives them the advantage.

There are words also that when spoken will find its target dead center and pierce through. It took me years to know why. The words that hurt us the most are the ones that closer to the truth. Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you…unless you believe them. True isn’t it? It reminds me of something I’ve read somewhere, that words are like knives, it can only wound us if it hits home, otherwise, they are useless weapons. Criticism is just empty expression unless it’s true. Terms and names are just futile remarks till they hit the target and become a painful memory that replays in your mind, spiking a sense of remembered pain. Forever fresh, always potent.

It’s only words indeed.

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should i start riding the train?

I hate commuting
that’s why i live near my workplace
where i can just walk by the lake
or sometimes in the basement
where cars are parked –
the shortest path.
but when I do,
it takes me back
to the night i met you.
the night i remember
i just wanted to drink wine
so i passed by the familiar bar
in the basement.
i sat at one corner of the bar-
the bartender facing me
a stranger behind me
no one in my left side
and there you are in my right-
you’re murmuring something to me
while i was deep in my thoughts
i told you i was writing a poem about dying
but i doubt that you heard it
because you kept talking to me
and never stopped staring at me
until you asked me if i want
to go upstairs
i remember your blue eyes
begging me or have i mistaken
begging for seducing?
i did not answer.
but i found my dress on the floor
of an unfamiliar bedroom instead.
i forgot if it’s the red one, the orange one
or my favorite one.
i can’t keep track of which dress i wore
on those countless sleepless nights,
or did i even wear any?
because i can feel the white duvet
on my bare skin while thinking about
my unfinished poem
or did i even finish it?
if not, i want to write a poem about dying.
again. or
if it would mean i am still living.
or should i take the longest path?
or should i start riding the train?

Paula Bianca via Berlin ArtParasites

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