Now you are out there livin’... in the deep.

We expect a lot from each other, and it’s in that expectation of perfection that our arguments are born. We don’t understand each other. We look at each other with that tired look of the world on our shoulders, mountains climbed behind, oceans to swim ahead.

We are so different that despite all outside efforts to combine us, we can never become one. Yet a string so strong holds us together, we find it hard to leave that kitchen we share. We use the place to cook ideas, but what happens when our passions boil out of proportion? Someone inevitably gets burnt.

We are human.

This work is full of conflicts. This place is full of conflicts. But more importantly, we are full of conflicts from within.

Life keeps tumbling your heart in circles
till you... Let go.
Till you shed your pride, and you climb to heaven,
and you throw yourself off.
Now you're out there spinning...
In the deep.

And that’s how it flows. That’s how we flow… until the better us are born.

Image credit: SendMeAngels


I’ll come in August,
He declares
Each sound reflected
In a rain pool
Of endless summer

Words get trapped
In maze of thoughts
Blended with dreams
Diluted quickly
By the real

June’s proving busy
She reflects
Trying to mask
The notes of fear that July
Will last forever

Drops of moist
On fingertips
Tension within
Knowing that August ends too soon
And then?

Listening to Pretty Wings by Maxwell


You give me an injection of care, a dose just big enough to last a day. But like any other drug, the one you are giving me can be unsafe. You give too much sometimes, deliberately or not; you overdose me. “You sleep babe. I arrived safe,” my phone is beeping through the wall of mosquito netting. I can’t sleep. My mind is high on you, and this overdose gives me cravings. I’m dreading the withdrawal that is looming from around the corner. I’d rather not have any, than have so much and lose it all. And then an old saying comes to mind. “Don’t think about it being over. Be happy while it lasts.”

Image credit: Eliara

How do you start a story that never ends

If only I could tell you the truth, I’d tell you how much I miss you. I’d tell you how much it hurts to suppress that thought. I’d tell you how my chest is about to explode all too often from the tension within. I’d tell you how I eat on the go and work late hours, till I pass out of fatigue, not allotting my mind a single free minute to think of us. I’d tell you how understanding of our work and the future we are trying to build, not for ourselves but for others, prevents me from ever letting myself anything but a quick gentle thought of you. It passes like a light breeze on a hot afternoon, that thought, tickling my forehead one minute, gone and forgotten under the unbearable sun a minute later.

I miss you, my friend. I don’t regret making the mistakes I have made. I don’t regret taking the path I have taken. You warned me it would be hard, and sometimes it drains me of ability to feel. But even in my weak moments, you insist on showing me the way. And so I keep walking. Never toward you, always side by side. Always toward the same goal that is so much bigger than us.

Image credit: m0thyyku


My world is falling apart.

I am in a new place, surrounded by new people, but they are not taking bricks out of my walls. My world is falling apart for different reasons. I am surrounded by laughter and phone buzz and road bumps as I fly though the day, and this busyness is making me happy. It’s when my head touches the pillow and the thoughts of work finally slip away, one by one, that I feel the drops burning my cheeks. I feel lost. I feel taken advantage of. I feel lonely in this cheerful crowd. Those nights, I wonder if I can ever be truly happy. What’s wrong with me? Will I ever find a place where I belong, heart, body and soul? Will I ever again meet the people who’ll appreciate me for who I am; not what I can do, whom I know or what I have to give?

Dear home, can you help me find you?

Ms. Undecided

There are Mr.Tall & Mr. Cool. They are both tall and cool, but Mr. Tall is taller, and Mr. Cool is cooler. Sorry, I am having fun here. I guess I could say her heart is spit in two, but she’s not sure if any of this is deep all the way to the heart. Her mind said it was too busy to process new drama.

She misses Mr. Tall, thinking about him every now and then. He messed up (they all do sooner or later), but apparently not enough to cross out the good parts. He drops her a line every now and then to remind her of his existence. It’s interesting that he always drops her a line when she starts thinking about him. I guess saying there is a cosmic connection of some sort would equal to her believing in fairies. But it’s good to fool yourself sometimes; it makes for sweeter dreams at night, you know.

She is talking to Mr. Cool. He’s a master of masking emotions, so she practices that skill as well. She gave up a while ago trying to guess what he feels and why. He’s different, and she likes different. She doesn’t like being teased for no reason though. I don’t think he knows whether or not he has a good reason. There’s physical attraction, but anything beyond that is foggy. They are like two kids in a sandbox, building castles grain by grain, afraid to destroy the structure by throwing in too much sand at once.

Mr. Cool has no idea Mr. Tall can steal her from under his nose. Mr. Tall has no idea she saved a spot for him in the sandbox. Unless he gets the cosmic vibe too, which would be his pass to the weird club. But hey, she likes different.

Neither of them bothers me as much, however, as Ms. Undecided. And it’s not her ridiculous name that worries me. It’s her inability to live without the tall and the cool types in her life. It’s her failure to reinforce the foundation before building more unstable structures that look good today, but will crush her tomorrow. Dig deeper, Ms. Undecided. Dig inside of you to find what you are looking for.

Image credit: m0thyyku
Listening to Life is Real by Ayo

The great below

Sometimes memories come out of nowhere. In a pure world, certain ones would have been marked with guilt. In real life, there's often no sorry close enough to reach for. Then again, maybe it's better to stay pure of fake regrets.

A night like this pulls me out onto a dim porch, makes a spark in the darkness and points to the concrete jungle below. That's when the thoughts of him come knocking into my forehead. I don't know why and where they come from. I don't seek them, I swear. I don't want to lose the one I have in my life. I don't want to distance a close friend either. Sometimes I only have to picture the faces of those two to stop thinking these thoughts.

But there is something about him that I can not forget. It could be that contagious laughter at his own joke. It could be his sweet embrace. Or it could be the look that I felt on my cheek while deep into some random story, to turn around and meet his eyes. I still feel that look in a dream here and there, snuggling between our vibrant conversations or cutting into the silence that had no tension in it.

So is it OK to still have these thoughts every now and then? Sometimes I think, no, because the stakes are too high. And sometimes I think, yes, because I'm alive.

Image credit: kubica
Listening to Marley's Concrete Jungle

The clouds reflected in my eyes

The ripples run into the sun
And your smile blends with the clouds
that flutter by me
As I sit on the edge of a dream
What do I see? What do I see?

Why do I write so much when I'm sad, and so little when happy? Am I incapable of describing happiness? Am I afraid to spook it with clumsy words? Or am I too busy being happy, to write?

I saw a Russian movie the other day and this dialog got stuck in my head.

Katia: "I admire how you can always joke... I can't do that when I am sad."
Lena: "Are you ever sad? Aren't you the happy one?"
Katia: "So what, I am sad very often. See, happiness is a state; one moment it's there and the next one it's gone. So when it's there, you always expect it to disappear any moment, and that makes you sad."
Lena: "So... according to you, when there is no happiness, you can laugh all you want?"
Katia: "Well, when you have nothing to lose, why would you be sad?"
Lena: "That's an interesting way to look at it."

I think I feel Katia on this. I am holding on to that fragile emotion, trying not to blink, afraid that when I open my eyes again it won't be there. People notice it. He notices it. He says the clouds are reflected in my eyes, and I can't hide them by looking away. He shines along on the days I shine. What am so I afraid of? Why can't I trust him completely? Why can't I chase away the thought that all happiness is fleeting? I hope it's a matter of time... I hope one day I can run faster than those clouds, leaving them where they belong - in the past.

And here comes the morning sun
I wonder if my dream will really come
As I site on the edge of a dream
That's what I see! That's what I see!

Listening to Minnie Riperton's The Edge of a Dream

If I were a boy...

I would notice the tune we both like and tell her it would be our song

I would leave a note on her pillow to remind her she's special

I would find that one word to boost her confidence

I would give her my trust, her freedom

I would listen... always

I wouldn't be too proud to call her if I wanted to hear her voice

I wouldn't forget the things she's passionate about

I wouldn't hide my feelings if I had them

I wouldn't endanger her trust

I wouldn't hurt her intentionally... ever

Sometimes I wonder, is it asking too much? Or do they know us so little?

Listening to Beyonce

Where do you live, Peter?

“Second to the right, and straight on till morning… I'll teach you to jump on the wind's back, and away we go.”

I feel like Wendy right now. You are my Peter Pan, the boy who decided to never grow up. You make faces at me. “Do I look like a ghost?” I giggle and close my eyes, pretending to be scared. You plunge forward at once, trying to pull me after you, off the window overlooking this troubled world. Let’s take a flight, you say, and see where the wind takes us. Let’s see what beauty we can create. You have to trust me, you say. My hand will be here for you when you need it.

I hesitate with one foot floating in the air, another unable to let go of my safe haven. I would love to jump after you, my dreamer, but I am so afraid. What if one day you let go? Will I fall through the darkness, into the world unknown to me? Will I look around and see a crowd of strangers in whose eyes the reflection of war is still flickering? Will I make my way home, up that window, and cry myself to sleep until I have no tears left in me? Or will I stay and carry on the fragile work of peace we have started? Will I be strong enough to one day take that flight on my own?

But you already have, you say, rolling your eyes.

Never this far, I note, sticking out my tongue to taste the rain drops.

You will never grow up either, you say.

I take a deep breath and push the bricks away with the tips of my toes, falling upward.

In my heart, I know I can let go of your hand and do this on my own. But it would be so good to know that someone is there to lean on when I grow weary. After all, it’s not the Neverland we are heading to.

Image credit: Frixin

It could have been home

“I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth.”
– Steve Mcqueen

I look 33 floors down, at the blinking city lights, savoring the picture for only a moment before jumping back into reality. There it goes. My eyes were flying. My mind was locked in a box. Everything in the waking life is relative.

Stare at something for a long enough time, your eyes open wide, and the edges will start disappearing. Multiple lines will keep blending into one, until the central objects become an indistinguishable mass. Absorb the brightness of the light till it hurts, and through the watery eyes you’ll see the all-engulfing light, the brightest one with the darkest intentions. Start blinking however, and blink a lot, and the surrounding world will slowly start regaining its shape, its objects popping up abruptly, reclaiming their existence.

I look at the city skyline on the horizon, stopping for a moment on the lingering monsters of brick and steel. I follow several twisted snakes of light, the highways cutting this giant into pieces, marking the neighborhood limits, creating the safe and the not so safe zones. A sensitive poet calls them arteries every now and then, deceived by the constant movement inside; but they bring death rather than life, killing the surroundings they cut into, once and for all.

I blink even harder as I look closer, now just a couple of blocks away from the building, down the bridge covered in graffiti and the badly lit road beneath. My eyes wonder half a block to the right and I see a gas station, a police car, some oily spots on the ground and an empty street. A lonely figure slowly approaches the building and disappears in the alley. It’s 2 a.m. and I am thinking that the guy riding a bike in an empty parking lot below, making circle after circle, belongs here so much more than I do.

Image Credit: mademan033
Listening to NPR :)


10:30 a.m.

“Was it 110 or 111?” You ask, taking the backpack off my shoulder, stretching your arm in front of me, saving my life once again from the madness of traffic. I keep forgetting that they arrive from the opposite side here.

“It’s 111,” I say, unable to conceal a smile. “You almost remembered.”

A screeching noise behind us announces a 111 coming to a stop just a moment later. I try to say good bye, but the man hanging out of the door grabs my things and rushes me in. They don’t wait here. I jump inside, waving at you.

“Call me when you get home!” you shout.

I don’t think this one even came to a complete stop. I was rushed. I couldn’t have said a proper bye... Or could I? I should have waited for the next one. I should have hugged you. For one long hour, you will be thinking that I am ungrateful. But then I will get home and call you, and you will know that I care.

8 a.m.

I wake up and hear you breathing. A quick thought rushes through my head. Will you be different today? How will you act now that the music, friends and sambucas are gone? I turn your way and see you blink a little, as if trying to see me better, you eyelids heavy from the sleep. You roll closer and get your feet entangled in mine. No, you are not different, I tell myself as I lay my head on your arm.

“You will be late to...” I whisper.

“Don’t worry about it,” you interrupt me. So I stop worrying. Now it’s just you and me and a little bit of sunlight peeking through the window. I smile as I recall shopping for blinds with you last weekend, failing to find them.

You suggest breakfast at that cozy coffee shop down the road. I get up and do my hair. You get up and do some quick cleaning. We meet in the doorway of your kitchen and share an orange. There is no tension between us, nothing superficial. Being around you is easy.

You order scrambled eggs and I get apple pie. You joke about the pie as you check your e-mails. I grab a newspaper and a minute later we are laughing at local politics. I don’t know why I remember these details so clearly, while I am supposed to remember another time and another company... I guess nothing is “supposed” to be, unless we make it be.

“Just drop me at the bus station downtown,” I say.

“What happened to the Junction?” You ask.

“The Junction is too far and you are late as it is.”

“No, I am not dropping you at the station; it is not the safest place. I wouldn’t want you alone downtown.”

I shut up and sit there feeling cared for as we are off to the Junction. You park and walk me across the street.

“Was it 110 or 111?”

Image credit: V3Nr3VeNG3

War Child (2008)

Three of us were in the room, watching this movie. I was holding my breath, trying hard not to cry. Then I threw a quick glance to my right and saw tears in my friend’s eyes. He’s not a softie by any means. He’s quite a man’s man, in case it draws a better picture of the situation, or the movie.

War Child is a documentary about the life of Emmanuel Jal, a hip hop artist in his late 20s, who at the age of 7 was given a gun bigger than him, and along with other child soldiers fought in the Second Sudanese Civil War between the North and the South. It is a journey that we follow through the musician’s eyes, starting with a struggle to make it through the desert with hundreds of other boys, only a dozen of whom survived, continuing to show an amazing recovery through the healing power of music, forgiving the people in his troubled past and visiting home after being gone for 18 years. A lot of Jal’s songs can be heard throughout War Child, and combined with the great directing and producing job that Karim Chrobog did here, the movie makes for a beautiful piece of art.

Besides the breathtaking sunsets in Southern Sudan, however, one can see a history lesson in War Child. It is easy to digest this type of history, because statistics is replaced with an example of one person who has seen every possible atrocity of that war, was made part of it and was trained to be a mindless killing machine. Whoever did that training failed though. The person that emerges after all the pain and losses is an optimistic young man, full of life, traveling the world to spread his story, and on top of that working to build a school in his hometown in Sudan.

Despite the sadness of the storyline, the musician’s unsuppressed optimism radiates through the screen, making you laugh. I did break down, however, during the part about Jal’s sister, Nyaruach. If he had been through hell, then her childhood was hell multiplied by two. I might have just felt more for her as a woman. But it’s not their past that defines these two amazing young people. It’s their ability to leave it behind, to forgive, and to use it as a means to help others.

“I believe I survived for a reason, to tell my story, to touch lives,” Jal is singing. The movie touched my life, and I think it will touch yours, too. I highly recommend it.

* * *

Emmanuel Jal’s book under the same title is hitting the stores in the United States this month, and in the UK in March. His music albums are Gua, Ceasefire and Warchild. Nyaruach’s first single, Gatluak, will be available on iTunes this month.


So you bought a gun

I glued myself to the wall, trying to walk as far from you as I could in the narrow hallway. Keep that thing away from me. You pressed the trigger. I didn't blink. It wasn't charged.

"Now I'm a true American," you said, laughing. The sad reality is that you are right. In fact, you couldn't fit in any better. First the big mortgaged house, now this gun.

"Why, why, why in the world," was all I could say.
"Just in case," you answered.

In case of what?! The crime rate in this place must be at 0.001 at most! Why would you want to join the ranks of Americans who think school shootings have nothing to do with guns sitting around in people's homes, waiting for that "just in case," which never comes unless you go out and ask for it?


Image credit: TrimiADV

So you think you are free

Lost sense of good
Frocefully taken
From prideless hands
Freedom deprived
Painfully twisted
Drained crisply dry
Of happy claps
They wipe the spill
Buoyancy leakage
Remains of it -
Museum filler
Drenched in the sweat
Convened by truth
It’s black and white
No in between
They touch the real
Try to handle it
Sometimes they do
Sometimes they weep

Wake up, world. Wake up to realize that your freedom dream is nothing but a delusion. I scan morning papers for the obituary of compassion. Survived by whom?
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