Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cut and Paste

Last night, 
I made a collage for 
an art history class.
This morning,
I was cutting it to 
glue onto a bitácora,
a journal of notes and thoughts
used to track one's progress in 
some of the classes here.

as I cut it 
while listening to
a lecture about Frida Kahlo,
I noticed some of the pieces
I had glued on were 

a little bit 
I mean, 
thinking of all that I had done 
to collect these images 
and cut them 
and rip them 
and glue them 
and move them
and re-glue them
and so on and so forth
I had 
borrowing glue
from someone
to put the pieces back on, 
but then I stopped.
 to me
was the nature
of every
ever made.
. . .
I can paste all of these 
little bits and pieces
 and segments of 
color and 
people and 
places and 
newspapers, magazines,
they may be,
all together
into a

i can 
show it off 
and ponder it,
and value all of those 
possible subconscious meanings 
within those combined histories that it holds,
and when I am done observing it
I can store it in a book, that will act as a
guardian clam for this pearl I made, to open up 
when I remember it at some point in the future.

but every collage I have made has come unglued
at some point when I'm not looking, 
from right when I am gluing down
the each to piece the week it 
spends in a notebook,
to the years it spends
in another.

some pieces stick together more than others,
some fall off almost immediately
some rip, some tear 
some move around
when you aren't looking
into something else.

That is what is beautiful about collages
As much glue as I may put on the back of a magazine clipping,
it will only maintain that placement and color and unique location 
for the time I notice it.  
Eventually, all of the pieces start to fall off, blow into the wind,
get forgotten in the bottoms of backpacks and dust pans,
some held onto for a very long time. 

This is what studying abroad has been for me.
With 9 days left , I am beginning to see the family
and friends and places and habits I had pasted all around me 
flutter in the wind of time, to soon be released from this work that
I currently call my life and blow miles and years away to exist
somewhere that I am not and may be never will be. 

I am infinitely thankful
for my chance to be
placed within
these transient
collages of those
I have met, to be stored
back in the dusty file cabinets
of the memories of one's life, to 
dilapidate over time within the 
never ending abundance of
life time experiences. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

El Proceso de Memoria

I went to my swimming class today.
Every thursday from eleven to twelve,
I swim back and forth

over and

over and

over and

over and

I start out by swimming eight front-stroke.
After that I usually do six breast-stroke.

And during the entire time,
I breathe in.
my head goes under.
I breathe out,
my head comes up.

And there is this constant rhythm of
in and out, up and down,
both in my self and my surroundings.
A constant cycle of
"how many laps do I have left?"
"am I at the half way point yet?"
"how many have I done?"
"I think I've got this rhythm and mindset figured out...."
"No, I don't."

and simultaneously
I sometimes think about people,
places and events from the past,
and I use it to push myself forward.

This is usually when I look under.

And then when I bring my head up, there is this sense of immediate existence,
a simpleness of purely being and moving through space.
A constant mix of memory and self-awareness.

In this normal rhythm of most strokes,
there is one that stands out to me:
the back-stroke.

I have been thinking about it a lot.
It is different than all of the others,
in that you are going backwards
in many different senses.

Your face is above the water,
you are completely drawn into the sky
as your entire body propels you forward through the water.

As you are going backwards the entire time, you are simultaneously moving forward.

This is the process of memory.

Every event we go through,
every face we see,
that is stored in our memory is
as much a part of our past as it is our present,
one way or another.

They are behind us, but they drive us forward at the same time.

This constant cycle we go through in
interlacing and
collaging and
our memories,

constantly moving forwards and backwards at the same time,
swimming in the present and looking into the sky of our minds
as we propel ourselves into the future.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

and that her flowers may grow again

I just 
got to talk with my grandma tonight. 

She made 
a paper bag apple pie for my boyfriend.

To see
her smiling with caring company,

one to
chat with,
share stories with,
joke with,
laugh with,
tell her
l i f e 

a  n  y  
o  n  e,



have felt lonely here,

but she,


s  h  e .......... s  h  e
l      i      v      e     s
a l l     a   l   o   n  e, 
h  o  l  d  i  n  g   all
O           F
t        h          i        s
 care      love  wisdom
warmth  advice   pain
joy   concern   beauty
longing  anger  candy 
a             n             d 
television with Oprah
Ellen        Degeneres, 
Doctor                 Phil
and    the  local  news
cigarette           smoke 
decaffeinated     coffee
darkness and yellowing
ceiling                    tiles
stacks and stacks and stacks
and piles and piles and piles and piles
and boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes
and folders and files and folders and files and folders and files
of newspaper articles, magazines, photographs, recipes, taxes, rags,
all of these things that constitute who she must be, what world she must exist in
because no one really comes to see her, and what else does she have to work with to 
construct a social life, to understand what life is at this point, to have lived her life all of the
way up to this point, falling in love, moving across the country for him, getting pregnant and having
children, having him leave you for another woman that you have had to see at family reunions for years
now, trying to get things together on her own, going to school and giving up, trying so hard to get back to where she was at one point, turning herself inside-out and upside-down to care for alcoholic lovers that picked away at her,
bit by
b i t    b y
b     i     t           b        y
b        i               t                 b                  y
b                      i                    t                                  b                            y
b                                             i                               t                                               b                                y    
b                                                                                i                                                                               t

until she couldn't recognize herself anymore, and all of that love she had poured out of herself had been snatched as she gave it, and lit on fire to burn down 


 she had planted in her garden

 to maybe 
one day 
sit down and smell 
with someone that just loved her
 and enjoy the sunshine outside and laugh with

but no ones stops to look at her garden now. It has
all been burnt down and all of the smoke from her cigarettes
choke out all of the hopeful seeds to grow a new life she had planted within it.

so she goes out at night time by herself 
when no one is around that she must smile for
and cries into the thirsty soil of her life, 
hoping and praying that 
someone will come 

and that 
her flowers may
 grow again.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

All of this.

The most frustrating thing I have come across in life is the copious, vibrant and beautiful tapestries that my mind creates with the possibilities of living. They are always filled with the fluid, electric colors; these mystic individuals I have constructed in my mind look over their shoulders back at me, with eyes screaming at me to come on, to leave everything behind and enjoy and experience all that I can. I get so exhilarated and with all of the strength within me, I jump, so hard, so high, but then my body is slammed back to the ground so hard. Bruises all over my ribs, my hips, my arms and legs, my head crashing against the cold, wet stone floor that I exist in. And none of this room would be wet if it wasn't for my breathing so hard within the anticipation of  breaking this self affixed chain to fly out of here.  The walls get wet from the condensation of my breath, I sit here in the dark, with mold growing on my shoes from lack of usage. And I feel like I'm dying most of the time.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I dropped the ball. I fucked up, whatever your terminology is for it, I did it. Most frustrating of all is that this always happens when I feel as though I finally have things figured out. Just when I get to this stride that feels like progress is being made, out from the ground come rocks, ice, sticks, garbage and whatever else to stop me. It's just that sometimes when I get into the swing of things that are progress, my mind flies infinitely inward and upward. All around within my world and without it. When problems arise, it's so hard to even think about the roots of them, because my mind is perched up at the top branch of the tree all of the time, constantly reaching more and more toward the Sun, away from all that is reality.

I missed my planned graduation date. As I was busy flying around somewhere else, the graduation deadline approached faster than I could return. If you've ever ran after a bus, you know how this feels. That glorious time-saving opportunity can come and go as it pleases, but it doesn't wait for you. You'll run after it, but it won't see you, and after about a minute of running for your life, you give up because there is no way in hell that you will be catching up with it. So then, you sit sulking in your own stupidity and sluggishness, thinking "if I just wouldn't have....." bitter at first, then sad, and then you just are. You just wait. What more can you do? So, I'll be graduating a semester later. A curse and a blessing, as is everything. 

I've looked and thought about other guys while I am in a relationship. Yes, I know this isn't ideal, but it happened and happens sometimes. It's not something I am proud of, but it is something that comes form my fear of being trapped and controlled and always looking for an escape route when things aren't going as planned in my relationship. Do I act on these thoughts? No. It is my mind taking me to this other, safer, more comfortable place than the present. I tell my boyfriend about all of it because I am honest, but then we stay up talking until five in the morning talking about it. I do a lot to hurt him simultaneously always being honest. I am not a liar and never have been. Just, when one is honest with oneself, any illusions of progress can quickly be destroyed. But I keep trying. I am honest and I make bad decisions a alot.

Beneath all of this, I just feel so detached and disappointed in my time here. I wonder if all I have done has had or will have any real significance to it. All of these times I feel like I am getting somewhere, I keep falling back. I try to establish healthy, productive habits, but they tend to be fleeting moments of beautiful insight as soon as I grasp at them. 

Images swim around on the surface of
 my mind's sea in this golden sunlight that
reflects off of their transient existences
 into the future held in my eyes
friends and 
films and 
music and 
traveling and
loving and
learning and
comfortable breakfasts and
moments of insight with
art, love, and food-making



with a

purpose unfaltering

mountain tops that
have been waiting for
me since I have been here.

And within all of this
I am

never never


But then reality hits and I am in a valley looking up at clouds, not mountain tops, trash thrown all around me and that light I had seen within me has disappeared and I am left there walking up a muddy hill in the dark, realizing that I had arrived there at some point as I had psychosomatically descended 




f e l l 

a   n  d

f    e    l    l

a        n        d

f            e            l           l  .

                            \                                                                                                         /
                              \                                                                                                     /
                                \                                                                                                 /
                                  \                                                                                             /
                                    \                                                                                         /
                                      \                                                                                     /
                                        \                                                                                 /
                                          \                                                                             /
                                            \                                                                         /

 to this point. and I always do.

Sometimes I just wish the sides of the valley would flip over into sides of a mountain.

But such is life.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Así Es.

  "That's that." "And so is life." 
 Loose translations of "Así es."

    In being here, Costa Rica, for I think to be beyond the half way point of my stay, I came upon some sort of a revelation. Being assigned a short film project for my filmmaking class, there was lots of going through old footage I have taken in my time here. At first, I had planned to make it about my dark past with an ex, my present confronting problems within myself and loving others whole-heartedly and opening myself up to life, and the last, how I would conquer this in the future.

       However, it has proved quite difficult to attempt to structure the future using videos when all that they are and will be are captured fragments of the past. Over time, video has served me well as a manner of processing events and memories; inserting my present emotions, and allowing me to braid them together with music I have made to establish this core pattern to my work in combining real life experiences with all of the tangled strings of thought and emotion that exist within me.

       So, I had realized in sorting through the past that I had not opened up and allowed myself to experience all that there is, here and there, me and us. It's interesting how much video can simultaneously fool one and reveal to one at the same time. Being here, going through the daily motions of waking up, eating breakfast, going to school, eating lunch, walking home, eating dinner, falling asleep while doing homework, repeating-- I have seen the briskness in which life walks as one ages. When I was just a couple years ago, I wouldn't have thought of anything like this, but coming to college, making bad decisions, getting hurt, standing back up on my own feet, staying late for classes, spending time with friends, working, applying for scholarships, traveling, studying abroad-- all of this adds up and the pace of experiences in my life has increased exponentially. As it is a great thing, sometimes I have forgotten to or been scared of partaking in all of the opportunities around me.

      The realization that I came to is that if I wanted to, I could just stay in Heredia, Costa Rica my whole time here, go to classes, go home, go to sleep, wake up and repeat; close myself off from possible friends because I may label them as "bad people" when I don't even really know them--thinking this whole time that I should structure the world around me, not let in any bad influences. But I've come to understand that if one shuts out any bad from coming into their lives, he or she is also shutting out countless moments of deep, meaningful interaction with oneself, others, and their environment- and at the end of the day, life is what it will be. We can't control it as much as we think we can; either exhaust ourselves from resisting the waves or ride on top of them to somewhere new within and without ourselves.

Así es.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

La Fiesta

Today, we are having a party for my host dad, Bernal, and there are all kinds of friends and family here. I just feel so awkward, and am sitting in my room alone. I am so nervous, drinking a cocktail in my room alone. When I have gone out to talk to people, they really don't want to talk very long, so I end up just standing there like an awkward guy. :( I want so bad to talk to people but it is so hard! I hate this. . . .