Tuesday, November 27, 2012

An Ode to the Beautiful Ones

As all people are.

Be careful with the hearts you intend to break. Your alibi is their misfortune, a tragedy in their lives whatever name you give it. Silence, it seems, does not always mean “yes,” because your silence, your stubborn refusal to dignify them with a response, a phrase or a word perhaps, at least a sigh, is torture even to the flesh made almost unfeeling by a decade or so of solitary nostalgia, to those who find temporary refuge in imagining what might have been but never was and never will be in this lifetime, and to those who are left with no choice but to continue their relentless pursuit of the impossible. For these people who find desperation in their waking hours instead of you in their arms, you are real and you are impossible all the same. The contradiction of you is unsettling, and it makes you a challenge, a Gordian knot uncut by Occam’s razor, a riddle that must be brought to its logical conclusion.

You must understand that there is no freedom in nursing a broken heart. Those enslaved by the memory of perhaps three thousand days without the sun, as with the absence of light in total darkness, can testify that rejection cripples and it cripples too bad, like blindness in a world where its own beauty is supposedly the only consolation for the tired and weary, they who realize that this beauty is entirely beyond them, an unreachable, untouchable, unknowable source of infinite happiness that is gracious only to those who are bold enough to replace their pride with guilty compassion. These people, the ones who stand to suffer at the incredulity of your indifference, they were ready for the wounds but never the scars. It is not the torment of everyday living that stupefies them, for anything in the present is transitory. Rather, it is the very thought of having to endure the shadows in the years to come that frightens them, the future contained in the past — and the past contained in the future, like a bone trapped in the sands of time — is the bane that does so.

There is no doubt: your beauty is your license to kill. You wield it like a sharp razor against the throat of the newborn. You thrust it like a blade against the helpless chests of all conscripts of war. Your indomitable drive for greatness injures emotions. But you must understand that it is plain error, if not arrogance, to immolate a clutter of broken hearts as you tread your way to your dream, which is the only thing that can humble you and those who closely resemble you: people who have plotted a grand life ahead of them, a scheme that considers everyone else as disposable appendages that can be severed at whatever convenient excuse. In life as in any struggle, your bid for immortality is precarious, so you sacrifice those who tail you as ransom for the price of your vain optimism. Without them, however, you are a nonentity. You are beautiful, and yet you will be nothing. You owe these martyrs the spectacle of the admiration that you now relish.

Posturing flawlessness as if it is your habit is not the best way to stifle the illusion of hope. To exact perfection for yourself, which is already as enchanting and as disarming as the mere thought of you, is to claim more casualties than you can count. Your intention betrays you. You harp on the idea of perfection, purity notwithstanding, and yet you find it repulsive to find people gravitating to what you are doing and who you want to become. You want others to love you for who you really are, but you fail to recognize that you want to be someone else in the first place, someone so calculating and precise, someone like a saint or a god, or maybe someone who is not wont to err. That is tragic. It is pointless to be a diamond and expect people to find nothing before them but a piece of rock unworthy of adulation. Perfection comes with a heavy bargain.

Be gentle with the hearts you intend to break. The people whose spirits you have ruined, they will grow old and die with the heaviest of hearts. The earth as we know it, the rubble and gravel six feet beneath it, is home to a million and more hopeless romantics buried with their unspoken frustrations that have forever become what they are — unspoken. They are victims of their own muteness, their silence having rewarded them with their demise. But perhaps, for at least once in their lives and under the furtive glances of strangers and friends alike, they secretly hoped that it was their hands you held, that it was your embrace giving them warmth on a cold and desolate evening when the world becomes a little less forgiving. As they have lost everything, they can only afford the cheap price of wishful thinking, paying with what little is left of their courage tucked deep in their hearts.

But above all, you will become a song on their lips, a song with neither verse nor chorus but a song nonetheless, an incomplete poem at the tip of their pens, an unfinished painting at the mercy of their fingers, a prosaic drivel on public walls, or a short breather for these exiles in a decaying city, a place where regret tastes like twenty shots of rum after the first three bottles of beer. You will be hated, but you will be hated because you are loved. Because deception demands to let obvious truths be what they are, for anything that is too apparent is rarely noticed, you go on with your life as though there are no songs to hear, no poems to read, no paintings to view, only you, all five feet and four inches of who you are in the eyes of your beholders. You will try to maintain your clout, and it will be a daily struggle with no end in sight. It will kill you as much as it will kill them.

So be careful, be gentle with the hearts you intend to break.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


…is a lie that makes life bearable.

Wait. Wait for its first sign beyond the bend in the road. Wait on the sidewalk but avoid the gutter. The narrow asphalt lanes, now empty of traffic, are split equally by a line, a demarcation forever caught in the middle for the benefit of those who meander closer to the precipice. As there is only the route to anywhere, nobody is supposed to confuse his sense of direction here, so wait alone. In this solitude, silence is inebriating, a balm for the badly wounded spirit. Wait beneath the wires and cables that have eased countless lost souls to a place where the stars are more visible, where the eyes find comfort by gazing at something that is never there, and where the grassy field is a sanctuary that recognizes no sorrow, a destination of refuge and exile away from the city clutter. The Sunday sunset begins to breach the dusk. Wait for the approach of the light from remote headlamps that struggle to shine their way to where you are, a spark that must necessarily intensify if it intends to move closer, to parry the dark and cleave through the extending shadows of nightfall hundreds of feet into the mountains. Breathe the mist before you. Expectations are high, the suspense almost unbearable. But the evening is young, and so are you. Wait to outgrow yourself. Wait for the stripe of light that will separate the past from the present and sever tomorrow from today. Wait it out. It will come.

While waiting, wedge your thoughts between now and never. Settle between here and there. The world is a fine place for indecision, which is why procrastination is practical, if not fashionable. For once, let the world take care of itself. It is more than a billion years older than your forebears. Never assume that someone so young will have to look after something so ancient. Without you, the world and its troubles can manage on their own. Do not beguile yourself with the consolation that you have inherited the responsibilities of those who have now gone to their graves. You are not the heir of these kings of abject misery. History is never kind to those who dwell on the shortcomings of the past, on bygone catastrophes left undone, which is why the future will never take the shape of an exhumed carcass. Thus it must be told: your task is to live. Your job is your life. No one else will belabor it for you. Start to think of yourself. 

Yesterday you were the sky, an infinite bed where the sun rolls and bleeds itself yellow to orange and all the colors that fade at the behest of the velvet night until the sun reclaims its throne on the eastern horizon. You are an immeasurable muteness enough to silence the world and stop it from its axis. Yours is the domain of the possible, its space the fury of a raging gale can never fill, not even the tempests summoned by the elements that descend upon mortals when life is already uncertain. Look up and trace your silver lining with your fingers. Host the clouds, these wayward and homeless creatures of the horizon, travelers that roam the heavens in their constant search for their reflection, vagabonds that whistle and grunt before they return to the earth by way of a trillion fragile raindrops. The birds surrender themselves to you, limited as they are by their capacity for flight. They cannot fly forever. No glide runs eternal. Even the sun must set. 

Today you are the ground, the lush terracotta in the hands of artisans, the bedrock shifting beneath the weight of a million footsteps. You are felt when you tremble. Fear and anxiety have long taken root in your heart, thrust deep where man is most vulnerable, uneasy in its nakedness, in its passing articulations and gestures of freedom, mindful of its predicament of standing at the mercy of its spectators. You are the hills and mountains that wall the virgin landscape against the advance of time and urban decay at the cost of isolation. You are beautiful, but you are an object of grace without having anyone to witness your glory. For you, perfection is a lonely business. You are waging a protracted war in the name of aesthetics with no casualty other than yourself for you are your own friend and foe. Above all, you are gravity. You pull back whoever wishes to escape, planting them back to their origins because things should fall in their place all the time. 

Tomorrow you will be yourself. November is April lost in December, a warm embrace on a cold and weary night, and yet you must appreciate the breeze. Without it, the warmth of a hug loses its meaning. In the interim, appreciate all. Like the wind that scatters the leaves and the clouds, like the whisper that grants voice to the seeds of the little arcane truths that you hold dear, the love that you have is a poem. It writes itself. It moves unseen. It declares itself before an unsuspecting audience. It cannot be contained in a chamber as volatile and violent as the human heart. These, because you are the union of the earth and the universe, periodically divorced by the pulse that gives life to you, a miracle born to a flesh destined to age without knowing why, a soul having found freedom beyond the placenta, nascent with tender feet that tread wherever innocence is yet to appropriate a name for itself. Your innocence is pure, calm as the full moon shedding its light on the summer shores, chaste like the petals dancing to the rhythm of the early monsoon. Unfortunately, age corrupts. 

Grow older. Wait and learn the erudition of sages four years or more into college, but let it not coalesce with the charm of your humility. To do otherwise is to live a life wrought with danger, a life built on appearances for the sake of having a face for a name, for a reputation that you only owe to yourself. A diploma is only as good as a passport for employment. Do not fool yourself. You are one in millions of graduates who have it, and a certificate — even a title, an appendage at the end or start of your name — will not make you more unique and brilliant than others. On the contrary, those who do not have it are not the strangers. Bared of its academic merit, it is a piece of paper no better than the one you use to wipe your ass with. A title is a word that does not create messiahs. There is more to school than earning grades and titles. There are lessons in the classroom and there are lessons in life, some readily present while others you have to wait. Life, they say, is the biggest school. It makes perfect sense. You only get to graduate by the time you are dead. Your graduation ceremony is your funeral, and you will be awarded with a death certificate, just like your forebears who thought that the world is a Gordian knot eager for Occam’s razor. 

The wait has ended. The bus has arrived, its headlights piercing through the thick black. Uncoil yourself from your reverie. The past is the present waiting to happen tomorrow, or so you would like to believe. Believe in nothing and take the ride home. Leave heavy thoughts behind. Travel light.