year gone by, a thick oil flow

close up from: dig down dig up, 2004 by helgi hjaltalins ejolfsdorfs

a year has run off through my fingers, like thick oil flow.

i tried to grasp withering and passing thoughts, brilliant at the peaks yet so quick to perish.  i thought of many things and a few of them has left themselves as hard, dormant seeds in my mind, waiting for time- to spring up, break through the thick husk, to grow, to carry on.  somewhere along the line, i have lost a few things and i wonder what other things i may have lost and just never realized. or have not realized yet.

i have wiped peoples' tears and i shed a few, trying to contain the little wells of sorrows that sprung up from the bottom of my heart- but they overflowed. gracing down my face, onto the void, where all sorrowful thoughts go.  perhaps waiting to be covered with dust, to be dried up.  i have put away things then opened boxes that has been forgotten, rediscovering the quiet yet vivid thoughts that waited patiently in the silence, for a human touch.

i looked up for the fragments of life that i desperately wanted for no particular reasons, in the vast sea of internet, unbounded vast plains and skies of my dear friends' hearts.  and a few i have picked up from the street, lost yet vivid among the shuffling busy feet.  i kept them dear to my heart, in the back pocket of my pants, often forgetting to get these small reminders out from the perils of washing machines.  a year that was jagged, perhaps difficult.

a year that flowed like oil.

i wished perhaps that it would be nicer if it flew away like a small bird. a chirp, a spring, then the only thing that remains is the lone tree branch, gently resonating from the sudden departure of the wee bird, no longer there to be seen.

happy anniversary to my wee brother gabe, on the day he has left us to stay forever young.  a small circle around the sun, said the earth- 'i have done this so many times.'  i also have done it many times, like a child in the playground, holding out a stick, going round and round, making lopsided circles on the dirt ground, till it gets silly enough to fall over and laugh.

those lopsided circles are just like the year ring on the trees, life changed, pressed and kept close to heart.  though the circles on dirt will disappear under the busy feet of the children, returning, then leaving, replaced by another generation of young ones, the tree rings will survive long after the tree has lived and died.  for the others to trace, with bare fingers. legacy.

even the silent genius of charlie chaplin sang with his heart- not with words, not with his gestures, but with a small melody, encouraging all of us to carry on with a bit of emptiness in our hearts- and yes, sky is still there. i will keep my head up, your heart carried in mine.  at all days.  even when it aches.  happy one year anniversary, wee brother.

smile through your heart is aching
smile even though it's breaking
when there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
if you smile through your fear and sorrow
smile and may be tomorrow
you will see the sun come shining through for you...
(from smile; text by john turner and geoffrey parsons, music by charlie chaplin)


draining of the dam

i was going to look up to see why the city feels funny this evening.  well, then i realized exactly why- it's another full moon.  with weather like today- we had hail, flurry, slit, rain at 45' angle, sunshine, everything, it is impossible not to look up when everything suddenly look crisp clear.  yep, it's rather cold for april as well.  egg moon for the april.  this year, it falls on tomorrow.

last year, it fell on 28 april 2010.

on that egg moon of 2010, i was waiting for you, gabe.  in kelowna. in a bizarre hotel room where everything looked slick yet it clearly wasnt up to the class it wanted to be. like the wall that looks okay until you realize something isnt at the right angle or something. the wall that's been repainted from another batch of paint. your friends were quietly talking amongst themselves and mike dropped into the conversation. i was probably writing.  desperately.

356 days ago.

identification.  i met you in a complete silence on 28th. as everyone withdrew and left me and you alone, i said a few things to you. but i didnt shed any tears. there wasnt any.  i was building a dam.  to hold my thoughts. emotions. i pulled in all strength i could possibly gather, and i wondered if i will crack and i will crumble. but then who would take care of you? of us?  i was mad busy trying to find a priest so mom could be at peace knowing that you had a religious rite.  doing the very best we could, to send you with most care possible.

on 29th, we found a priest so he can wish you a good trip back to dust.  and i sent you off. i signed the papers. and they came and got you. took you to the fire, where you became free again.

free, even of gravity.

30th, it was an interception at the airport. i hid you underneath my jacket when the plane took off and landed. i was determined that i wasnt going to put you under the seats! night of 30th, your friends sprinkled by.  to say they are sorry.  your best buddy didnt know how he was going to get through your funeral.  but we all did. on mayday, just like that, you were lowered, with chunks of our hearts.

and day after day, night after night, the dam collects thoughts about you. of you. regarding you.
and luckily, there are enough 'outs,' like blood-letting. and like a patient who believes in blood letting and hence benefiting from the placebo, i keep draining the dam periodically, so i wont burst.

yep. webcam on highway 97 on okanagan connector.
this is what i found today. the point you rolled off. i didnt go to see it so i cant be entirely sure, but i bet there's only one 'connector,' as the rcmp officer said, that kills regularly.  it looks dangerous. trecherous. curvy deadly roads of inner b.c.  but that doesnt really matter anymore to me.  perhaps it was your time to go.  i will probably look at that webcam periodically.  i love you and you are always in my heart. wee brother.

a year ago on 18 april, i had no idea what was going to happen.  even the egg moon was a bit far away.  but it is here now. and it brought flood of thoughts.  like an egg, another symbol of life and life's mysteries.  well, i suppose if i ask a jew, they will say that is is also a symbol of sacrifice and loss, sitting on the seder plate.  egg, from the outside, often holds answers to great expectations- is it alive? shall we wait? how or what would come out of it?

your memories and your presence keep evolving in my mind. an unrestful, but playful little fish brother in the small dam in my heart.  like the life that exists in that delicate shell.

i love you wee bro.


rainy day wriggly thought


as soon as rain touches the ground and we see puddles,
there they come, wiggly icky worms.
mostly moving in straight direction, to where- i wonder?
leisurely strolls on the ground, only when the sun isnt out,
perhaps a bit surprised about the air above the dirt-

on the pavements, sidewalks, 
nothing rushes them or worries them.
just little water drops (enormous for them!),
gliding down their round body.
glistening with the bits of life-giving water,
my little wee bro used to pick them up,


then hold it in both hands, cupped, a child's treasure,
and he would simply say:
oh it's so pretty. look.

with no eyes, no danger foreseen-
no pedestrians, no bicycles, not even cars.
without being chased by the visual madness of the rainy day,
as everyone holds up another limb with stretched effort against the rain,
often swaying hopelessly against the gutsy wind,
worms continue, 
slow stroll, 
skin embraced by the gentled, muted light of the rainy day.

i pick my foot up, one at a time,
carefully placing it on the ground,
avoiding these naive worms.

and unlike me, who is a bit rushed, always, on a rainy day,
along with their slow friends-
the snails and slugs,
along with forgotten thoughts of 
not-so-slow, red vested robins and brown spotted chickadees,
the worms are out,
on a rainy day.
squiggles on the plain pavement.


reflections: dennis bautiasta


11 months and 11 days

hello wee bro! hope you are chillin'well while monkey's been burning 12 hours days. well, i know, i should be better organized but i do have to say that some family chores ate up some serious hours as well this week.  me and dad finally made an appointment at the cemetery to order your grave monument.  never i thought i would be taking the york transit bus on a freezing cold day to meet dad at the cemetery to discuss the 'aesthetics' (they say) or 'costs' (as i say) haha.  but that's what needed to happen. did you know that you cant even really just walk into the cemetery for these things? there has been line ups, i was told. crazy. i never knew. correction. i never have thought about.

mom's been quite anxious about getting your 'name card,' she really wanted to have one done by your first anniversary.  and well, it'll be a little late, as it's been 11 months and 11 days (coincidence.  you know i like symmetry eh?) and it will take approx. 8 wks to be delivered and mounted.  sorry, we really tried to do it as fast as we can; heck, if we left it to you to do it, it wouldve still be on your desk! haha.  anyways, she'll be counting the 56 days now. oops. now 55 days. they said they will call us to let us know once it arrives.

these things are bloody expensive? since you were a dandy, i 'decided' that you wont have any of those cheesy roses or huge face of mother mary on your thingy.  btw, you will be sharing a double tag with granny. yep. granny on your left and you on her right. mom/dad will be on the plot beside you.  so anyhows, we decided on the most plain one (even that still have to have a cross!) but you do get a granite base (mom wanted to give you a bit of pizazz). with grand total of 3500! haha. did you know that it is expensive to die? apparently it's because brass is expensive. i wonder then why they casts with the expensive metals. anyways. it's a business i suppose.

i bought a small bouquet of flowers; i had to kinda fight for it.  there's a dude who sells flowers in front of the subway. he had one left and me and the other dude reached for it almost at the same time. he asked who it is for- and i said it's for my mom/dad, so that they can drop it off for you tomorrow on the ground. he quietly withdrew his hands and wished me a good evening.

so after signing the big bill, we went to look for you; though row 10 plot 31 wasnt the easiest to find, as land markers were very small and mostly covered with growing grass.

dad looked for you. it's the first time ive seen him in the cemetery without other family members, especially mom.  i thought he looked 'cold' (it was blister cold yesterday) and lonely.  he's not the big man he used to be.  and he carefully looked on ground, trying to figure out the plot system.  and then he looked away from me and said:

'i cant find him-'

he continued to look, trying to approximate where you are. i walked on waterlogged earth to find the markers. and yes, we found you.

'dad, here he is.'
'are you sure?'
'i found the ground markers.'

you wouldve seen us, dropping you some daisies.  a man dropping teeny weeny daisies for his wee son.  and a monkey with empty hands, shivering from the unkind april drizzle and wind.

as we drove away, i asked him how he felt. he simply said '- it's a loss. wasteful loss.'

'he was straightening out himself, well-on track for last couple years.  i think he was heading to the right direction with right kind of energy.  but that doesnt matter. how wasteful.'

i suppose we wouldve paid that money for grave markers at some point for someone in the family. but as he said, what a loss. even wasteful.  we'll see you once your fancy bronze things come.  or no, probably on your anniversary.  as of today, it's 11 months and 11 days that youve been away from us. from me.  you make me feel as if a corner of my heart has crumbled, like a very old book, where pages literally disintegrate when touched.


whirlwind of april

i remember looking at the calendar, thinking: hmm what is google going to do this year for april fool's gag?

well, funny enough i still havent found out, though i hear in the wind that they were trying to encourage people to use 'slow' internet to save the bandwidth or something, haha.  but seriously, it's already 4th of april- where did the time go?  it's been rather busy though- last week, i was busy playing the hero, rescuing a concert from cancellation- a pianist had an injury and so i was called in on monday to play on thursday. it makes me feel a bit silly that now i can actually say 'yeah, i will do it'- couple years ago, i wouldve been shivering at the very thought.

and then couple other things- recording, playing, editing, general freelancing and the logistics housework that comes with it.  i feel like saying 'no' to some things yet i know that i have open summer coming up so i may as well enjoy it i suppose!  and with this newly built 'wealth'  (a very small scale), i even went and opened up a savings account.  i figure since it costs 'me' to withdraw money from it, even if i put in 20 bucks every week, it will be something.  we'll see how it goes.  as long as i dont dip into it, i think it'll be alright!

and yes, april showers are here, for may flowers, supposedly.  but to get there, there are couple more things i need to.  there was that negotiation again with my old church, about playing for easter vigil and sunday service.  the challenge is that because i was working there as a kiddie, it's almost impossible to be treated as a professional with a naughty degree.  the pay isnt enough really and vigil service lasts eternity.  the first reading of the seven talks about the creation of the world and i swear it feels as if it does take a whole week to just go through that. and then there's all kinds of blessing. of oil. candles. water. children. bees.

seriously. though i love the idea of easter vigil (one of these days i am hoping perhaps i could go see a greek or russian orthodox service- since they tend to have much drama in their services), but this year, i will be at the organ bench, doing volunteering with small token of 'thanks' for the cab fare (as sunday, i will need to take a cab as subway doesnt run till 9am but rehearsal does).  i wasnt going to do it but then mom really wanted me to. and thinking how close it is to gabe's first anniv, i suppose there is no way to get out of it. sigh.

then it's been doing chores such as vacuuming the house, laundry, taking granny to the doctors (i really hope granny can have a pain-free bits till the end) and other sundry things.  oh yeah, there's also another stack of music to learn. ive been recording myself a track a day for about a week- then it just became impossible. im wanting to get back to it... may be next wk, when im done with another recital. haha. ya right. but it's a good thing to think of, continuous footages for myself, from myself.  and i like the fact i can send these bits of my day to minnow. he can see and hear monkey bits, all decoded from jumbles of zeros and ones. yay.

and i bit the bullet and bought a plane ticket for the summer, departing in june and getting back here to yyz in august. i have no idea what is going on with the citizenship stuff- i know i should stay put (and that's prob what they want) but i really do not want to put everything in life on hold because of that. though it may come back and bite me nasty on the ass *sincerely crossed fingers, wishing for the best.  my best buddy PO is going to come with me for about ten days to chill out in uk with us and minnow's quite excited- he's starting to work on the second bedroom to make it nice, and we can go visit the new media city and stuff.

and then there are fragmented thoughts for my friends- i havent seen them in so long it feels! they are all over the place yet they always pop up quite easily and readily in my mind on daily basis.  how nice it would be to let them know about it- even just a line: hey, i was passing by the school notice board and saw you on the juilliard prog poster! awesome! you look so pretty! haha. but so far it's been just  thoughts.  i feel that i owe mr bearcub a letter as well- i wonder when i am going to have the time to write one... and i want to drop a line to mr. bookbomber and the list goes on and on.  i just somehow wish that these important and lovely people do know that i love them dearly.  when may flower comes and school season is done, may be i will get to it then... lazy monkey! what a shame, ha.

it's like being thrown into the dryer with the rest of the laundry. one does get to keep oneself, but while it's tumbling along, it is hard to see what one really is (unless it's that one single red underwear that somehow got mixed in with the whites)- and until the cycle is finished, there's no point but to go along with the ride.  but luckily, i have so many people who keep in close tap with me- especially PO and minnow.  it's such a joy to open one's inbox every morning and find a piece of beautiful offering- a picture, sometimes music. often a song and a joke.  and when my silly old phone goes 'beep!' i somehow know who it is.  being connected through and through, how great is that!

so while i am a bit short of sleep and brain space, i am happy to share that i am well and happy, well-taken care of, thanks to PO and minnow. and also other lovely people- especially a bassoon playing bird lady, a pirate trumpet genius, bookbomber, the honest and brilliant piano technicians at school... it does not have to be often i suppose, the connection just needs be real.  another group of people i want to get in touch with is the brothers and sisters of community of st. john in princeville, illinois.  as church rituals and idea of renewal is coming close, especially with my brother's anniversary, i think of these joyful people in the middle of open plain, praising life (and god), and being good people.  i should write to fr. nathan.  not because of a religious obligation but because he have touched my heart so many times.

april is a good month so far. and i wish i would take the breather to express my thankfulness to appropriate people.  however, then i may not get anything done, haha! so here it is, a small wee notes from this monkey: thanks for being who you are, my dear friends.  and as e.e.cummings said: i carry your heart with me:

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)

i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)