All posts by jvarina

I'm trying to take pictures of God; He's everywhere and we've done such a fantastic job of not seeing him. If you're here then look closely, and you'll find something about yourself in these images.

I

I am in love with you.

 

You, a thousand pieces of luminous turquoise strung together by a crimson thread.

I,  a smattering of cosmic dust and consciousness with a spirit to rival the shooting stars.

We met in the orchid, casting seeds of passion as our bodies cultivated our beings.

It was here where I first found me, lodged somewhere between the darkness of your irises, and it here where I plan to discover the truth.

 

You, the world’s greatest mystery yet simple enough for a babe to solve.

I, a byproduct of bloody razorblades and plastic capsules that dared to face the depression during school days.

We met by the fountain of youth, stealing sips from the pool of passion.

It was here where I first lost me, adrift within riptides and black holes and empty liquor bottles, and it is here where I decided my fate.

 

You, the queen of the sandcastles, the kiss of a mother with the lips of a one-winged angel.

I, the comet that warps through time, snatching moments from the moon.

We met where heaven kisses the horizon, praying that our hands would always find a way back to each other.

Bodies now decomposing as souls are set free to share the clouds laying amidst the blue bed sheets.

It is here where I raised my hand to God.

 

It is here where you and I became we.

 

We, the hurricane and the eye.

We, the desert and the crystal oasis.

We, the anguish and the acceptance.

It is here, within this very brief instant of infinity, where the universe decided that we’d be destined,

Fated to tango along with the rhythm of the spring breeze.

 

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The Poet and the People

Excerpt From New Notebook

“The Poet and the People” 5/13/17

“The poet cannot be afraid of the people” – Pablo Neruda, Memoirs pg. 81

What is the relation between the poet at the people? A poet a weaver of tales and truths, a stanza and soliloquy serenading individual, a wizard of words, an artist and a creator; they invoke the power of words (written and spoken) to express some principle or experience. They rely on the understood, yet mysterious, magic of rhythm and emotion to tell a story. Even now, my words happen to conjure flighty images within the imagination of my own mind. Why though? For whom do I craft these words in such a way? Is it solely for me? If that were honest, then I am truly a selfish individual to hold such statements in, refusing to share with others.

These ideas, these sentences full of power, suffering, passion, and intellect germinated from my mind and yet, as a poet, I feel compelled to share. With The People. The people, or those who aren’t necessarily able to weave a story in a similar manner (entertaining, informative, possessive, and emotional). Those individuals who march through life following only a few pursuits,  spending a fleeting second within their own subconscious. They are everywhere, and there is no escape from the people. They are the collective. And they can be intimidating.

Both strangers and dear friends can be the people; one day their search for truth will bring them to the poet’s path. What happens then when these two fundamentally different groups intercept each other at the crossroads? Classifying myself as the poet, I will speak from my experiences (solely my own opinions). I was too, at an earlier point in my life, one of the people…before coming to know my own personal truth.

When assuming the role of a poet, as a poet should do at all times if considered as such-both by the world and self-one exists in a reality separate from the people. A poet creates a world: they form the foundation, decorate it with their favorite foliages, and even destroy some aspects of their previous world-the realm of the people. Once this world has been established and validated by the poet, they have two options: to grant entry to others, or keep their gates closed.

If one chooses the latter option then they have little fear for their world will not be tainted by outsiders; it will remain pure, completely untouched by the opinions, criticism, laughs, or cries from something other than the poet. There are those who relish in this isolation-there is nothing like having an escape from reality that is positive and progressive. However, they are also selfish and this directly conflicts with the nature of the poet.

“It is the business of the poet to communicate to others the pleasures and enthusiasm arising out of these images…within their own mind.” – Percy Blythe Shelley

The poet is tasked with communicating emotions to others- the “others” being The People. To live up to the title of poet, a being must be willing to extend entry to their world to the others. There are additional steps to take, but this is the initial one. A true poet (if there is such thing) will not only invite an individual, they will also impress their reality, their world, their universal truth, upon them. This is the duty of the poet.

Then, there can be no fear in the poet when it comes to engaging and interacting with the people, and yet, fear inherently exists within the poet (and within all of us). It’s buried in the depths of our being, pollinating thoughts, and manifesting when the words escape-whether liberation was granted from a ballpoint pen or a lubricated tongue. It is fear that will cause a poet to become selfish, and close their gates-preventing any entry into the eternal Eden within us.

There is an external factor that one must be cautious of when dealing with the people, because they are intimidating. Not as intimidating as the internal struggle of inspiration and suffering in relation to the creation of art, but a fear factor that stems from the “Unknown”. The “Unknown” is the entity that exists in our lives, and it will always exist as long as we do. It applies to people, that’s why people are so unpredictable; no matter how well we believe we know them, there is a percentage of uncertainty that rattles the spirit of the poet.

Imagine the child who is having a birthday party. They are excited to share this moment with others, but to do so they must send out invitations. Now, the invitations may be to their party, but the words originate from elsewhere-even though they say exactly what the host wants them to say. In contrast, the poet has no “real” control over their words (or ideas) that synaptically spark into their head.

First, they must make sure the invitation is correct. It has to list the truth surrounding the party; the poet must modify and complete their poems before sharing them. Then, the people to invite must be identified. Who will I give these invitations to? Who will read these lines? Who will listen to my cries, will anybody listen to my cries, is it even worth crying anymore if there is nobody to listen? These are the questions that will plague the mind of the poet (at least me) before they are introduced to their “party people”. Lastly, and possibly the most terrifying, the child must host the party. On the day of the performance, a poet will be asked to open their home to those who responded to the invitation. Bumblebee yellow balloons floating above freshly iced cupcakes, and there are snow-white streamers that catch the eyes of those who are not already mesmerized by the candle flames flickering on the cake. The world of the child will be filled with others; and together, just like the host and their guests, the poet and the people will have an experience. They will share sensations that spark individual thoughts within each of them.

The poet must not only be the commander of another’s experience, but also allow the people to dictate their diction. This dual duty is where fear strikes because of unpredictability. Some may not want an experience, they may want a different one, maybe they expected a majestic world and you offered them a frigid one where you shouldered your grief, or there is the possibility that they enjoy your world so much that they decide to stay for awhile. The best option, personally, is if the people try to make their own world after being invited to the poet’s world.

What is my greatest fear as a poet: the fear that my words will lack the impression of inspiration. But, to conquer that fear, I am dedicating my life to the crafting of a world, no, a universe where all receive an invitation, because I can no longer be afraid of my people.

Learnin’

I’m learning what love is, and I’m realizing how little I know. Love

stretches far beyond the heart or any flutter of butterfly wings. It

Is an action full of truth, silence,

And infinity. Maybe I’ve had the formula

Wrong, trying to add pieces that didn’t

Make our equations equal, leaving one side

With more than the other. No, I’m learning

That love is a one-way street in

Manhattan, a road that you and your partner

Must learn to navigate together. They cannot be

Half a person, they can only be whole

If they plan to experience the true love that

We were told about before bedtime. That piece

Of God can only be found after removing

The layers the world smothered our spirits

with, each unraveling, leading to a new

Identity. In order to love someone, you must love yourself

You must accept you scarred knees,  your mistakes that

Only your moist pillow knows, and the way your arms want to

Twirl when the sun kisses your face. Without knowing

These things for yourself, and what they mean, then

How do you expect to discover and define them

In another? Love begins with the self, before it

Can be substituted into someone else’s game. I am

Learning that the next time love decides to

Knock on my door, I should not let her

Into my home; instead, I’ll pack my essentials in

A small bag and leave this place behind,

Taking a journey together, because love is not a

Destination, it is a starting point.

Close Quarter Confession

Entry Date: October 11th, 2017

I’m sky high.

And by sky high, I merely meant that I am currently sitting in seat 34D (the last seat on the right side, near the lavatory) on this Delta airplane. An Asian (I believe Chinese based on the language-I studied Mandarin in college) woman is fast asleep next to me while her son watches Pepper Pig on an iPad. There’s a sense of isolation in this position, but do not mistake it for loneliness. I desire this solitude. It makes the traveling…less hectic; and, I am blessed with the ability to decipher my thoughts-this is an added plus when one is at the beginning of something.

A new chapter began this week, and it started with a DM (yes, a direct message). How can something so simple, and partially ridiculed by society, start a revolution in me? Because, I had to take the risk, and create an opportunity that was previously nonexistent. When that message left my device it didn’t matter if it landed in the inbox (it did), or if they didn’t respond (they did).

What mattered then, and still does now is that I will waste no time being a content observer, not when my dream is to be a director. A director does witness, but only does so to devise their next action-either born from strategic intent, or sheer improvisation. This I wish I could say I knew already, but I only realized it this past Sunday, when I watched my script come to life on a screen.

Peninsulas & Pyres

Foresight has informed me of my foundation; it is built upon opportunities, risks, tactics, faith, fear (and the conquering of it), and so much more.

I feel as if I’m a missing member of this Asian family, for they are steadily drifting toward my seat; but, they are at peace so I will not disturb them. On this voyage to my new life, I am alone, and in this aloneness, I will learn who I am. Maybe I will discover that I am like one of the dull faced drones who previously occupied the boarding area. This creativity and talent could be a fluke, a momentary spark in the darkness that showed signs of blossoming into a blaze, only to die when the ventilation blew too hard. I may very well die, and I quote the great Billy Crystal “one of those New York deaths where nobody notices for weeks until the smell starts to seep through.”

This is a possibility that this reality materializes but, luckily, this isn’t my only option. No, there are countless others, one for each word that my pen writes. And, this is the reality I dare to choose… A realm solely made for the manifestation of whatever dreams I dare to dream. Yes, I am not only a dreamer (ahem, Pisces), but a do-er as well; and though I live for a challenge, there is nothing like conquering a task that was given by the self. I accepted long ago that my spirit is a seeker. It desires to chase. What it desires, honestly, depends on the day of the week. Why be confined to one choice anyways?

I have talked quite lengthily about my next adventure, however, I must now address the actions that are required for it. Truthfully…I don’t know the next step after arrival. And this may, possibly, be the ideal answer for anyone in my position; the act of leaving the specifics of each step to the self that encounters it. Technically, there is nothing one can do now to bring a reality into fruition, and yet they can do everything as well. Confused? I know, that’s how I feel as this mother and son cuddle, now encroaching in my chair space-bubble-aura-thing.

I wish to turn on the light-there is no window at this seat-however, I, again, do not wish to disturb them. Irony at its finest, because seconds ago my flash nearly blinded us (I failed to take a picture of the distance, or centimeters, between our shoulders). It’s fitting that I am writing in the dark, the physical manifestation of “Unknown.”

 

Moments over Minnesota

I, much like the rest of humanity, am unaware of what to expect out of this life. This has been learned, along with the idea that expectations are arbitrary anchors; they ground us on abstract shores, creating the delusion that our vessels are steadily rocking with the seagulls rather than descending into the briny blackwater. I can’t preach to you as if I’m immune to them; they still do appear in my mind, but their appearance does not signify acceptance.Just like the child who recently stirred in his mother’s lap, I am young and naive; however, I am aware of the power of choice. This is what separates me from the anchor, and depart from the comforting (or complacent) seaside cottage. I will not be bound to the rusted chains of a dying reality, instead I will shed the expectation before embarking on each experience. Without the imaginary safety net for insurance, I will be granted two options: sink or swim.

By eliminating the “what if” factor of setting expectations, and tolerating the tension associated with the presence of the “Unknown”…maybe, just maybe, I can prepare my soul for the next voyage. Without expectations present, action is now the required force to create a reality, a result, or a byproduct of a risk. Action is required if I wish to best the “Unknown”; if I wish to best the darkness within. No longer are the days of silent observation, from this day onward, I will be the director that I’ve dreamed of becoming.

A self portrait taken in the lavatory. I had to wake up the family to get to the bathroom though 😦

Flight Plan

The sky yawned this morning.

It drowsily rubbed away the darkness as the sun awakened.
Cotton pillows fluffed while the first rays of the day spread across the horizon.
From such a vast height one forgets that there is a world full of sleeping folk below, because we are the early bird.

The sky soaring albatross that beats its blackened wings against the wind, heading westward with hopes of sharing its feathers with those who have never known the joy of flight.

It’s 4AM, and We’re in Your Car…

We touch,

Like strangers underneath a mistletoe

A familiar scent fills my nose, and I remember everything: the passion we shared, the tears we shed, and I crave it all. I crave you, to feel your nails on my back. Delicately scrawling my skin, just enough to cause my hairs to raise.

How soft your lips each time I press them, your body touching mine.

I fail to realize how much I missed you until I’m about to let you go.

The walls begin to crumble and the sun peeks through the waking haze. The night has fled and our reality is steadily approaching. It hurts, we know what happens once we leave…

So we stay.

Fighting any form of tiredness or responsibility. Desperately latched to a moment unable to be shared any longer, our moment of truth.

Where for a brief instant, we are the constellations at the center of our galaxy.

You are mine, and I am yours.

I am trying to absorb every ounce of you that I can because, deep down, I know I won’t be able to take you with me. You hold onto my lips as if they were the teat of life. Don’t leave me, you whisper in my ear.

“I won’t.”

The lie leaves my lips as we depart from your car, at four in the morning.

Seasonal Suffering

A chill darkness runs between my toes

Soft mud ready to smother my ankles

Hands sore from clawing at the rocks

Lining the walls of this hole

The same hole I find myself in.

 

Have I ever left this place?

Was the sunlight in my face

Just a small ruse from the angels?

 

I kept my eyes toward God

While my black body tumbled

Spiraled down the tunnel

Losing enamel,

Breaking calcium,

Viscera

Seeping out of self-inflicted wounds.

 

Here I am again,

As if I was doomed

Imprisoned the like the hands

Of a grandfather clock

Seeking liberation from this cycle

Only to arrive back at step one,

Reminding me that

I don’t know how to break free.

 

The exits have been sealed

And my palms automatically latch

To the same ridges on the wall

But, deep down 

In the furnace,

My heart hopes

That it gives way

Either due to tears or sweat.

 

Can my back bare this burden,

Like Atlas,

While my face watches the

Last clouds of the day whisper goodbye

To the horizon I never truly witnessed?

 

When will the end come?

What will take the suffering away

And give rest to my frail bones?

P.E. Class

Excerpt from “Chapman’s Codex”

“P.E. Class” (Unknown)

Why is it that after centuries and millennia of intelligent life, humanity can still not answer any scientific inquiries regarding art?

Simple, art is the product of an essence.

When an individual has tapped into a wellspring of pure love (love for the soul, and life), then art will be created. It began with techniques being refined, individuals daring to perfect a craft, while, simultaneously, discovering the self that exists underneath both the logic and instinct. Art germinated from the universe that the soul occupies, and, just as we will never know the vastness of space, we must accept the reality that art will always yield unanswered questions.

That is the true beauty of it; humanity is incessantly seeking answers (hence the creation of science), and yet, there are some individuals brave enough to propose a question without punctuation. A sculpture with polished eyes, a watercolor painting of a London fishing wharf, a duet for a six stringed violin and piano; these are not simply creations, but conclusions. They are the final product of an artist’s mind, seeking a truth-maybe within themselves, within the world, or within the moment. It remains elusive, like the shimmering waves of an oasis, lost in a desert of dry bones, tyrannical heat, and endless grains of sand.

Art will inevitably save humanity from itself; without art, man would’ve died out centuries ago. However, now, the culture is depraved. Men and women are mere followers, and art has been tainted. It has degenerated, and instead of a select few providing us with their developed conclusions, we, as a society full of impatient students and consumers, have closed our hearts to them. We all wish to produce a magnum opus without the life lessons from The Master.

Art is not dying, however, it is suffering. Hanging onto it’s last breath as we attempt to exist without it. How foolish we really are.