Achilles Superstar

He sat at the table writing on the back of her hand, nodding with chopsticks sticking out of his mouth. Achilles Superstar. Rice bowl lunch, clouds. Is that so? Is that–so. Hey, New Found Lost Cause, he sat at the table writing on the back of her hand, nodding nodding nodding. New found lost cause. The chopsticks, leftover from the rice bowl he ate for lunch. Achilles: Superstar. Clouds in the back of your mind, is that so? Glory glory glory, chopsticks drumsticks on the table, kleos. Drumsticks chopping up the back room back-of-the-room table. Drumsticks, chopsticks, blood nebula, wine shopping list. “You’re usage of Blood without saying Blood is perfection.” Ah kill eez superstar, wine shopping list, without You, You & Me, clouds in the back of your mind, kleos, kaleh. Pens drums chopsticks, pens to the dirt, kleos, kaleh Superstar Spin spinning. Out of control.

New happenings are afoot! (with a bit of a personal update)

Indeed, new happenings are afoot! Well, maybe like one or two.

It all began with me deciding to revamp the look of my blog, which I think will be a positive change to help visually emphasize the creative writing personality this blog has been developing for some time now. I’m a fan of the new font style. Nice, large, bookish font. I’m sort of a bit nerdy on fonts.

However, in my theme-changing process, I noticed the forlorn category previously known as “Musically Minded,” now known as “Music Library.”

I haven’t written much on music, just for the sake of itself, in a long time. And that kind of makes me sad, because that was how I started learning to love writing (you write about things you love and in high school I would have died on train tracks for music, I loved it so much). But you know how college can take hold of your life and shake it like a dog with a new rope toy? Like, it’s really entertaining and exciting at first, but as “the fun” keeps going on, everything just gets kind of torn-up, grimy, worn-out, and sad?…yeah I’m still talking about college…learning Life at the speed of light does things to you…

Now that I’m OUT of college (perhaps “survived” is a better word?), I’m learning “how to Life Without School,” which is a lot of learning how to invest my time in THINGS I ACTUALLY HAVE TIME FOR. Sorry, I get kind of excited thinking about all the time I have now (you guys, I no longer feel like a plastic water bottle that’s 2/3 empty and twisted out of shape, it’s so COOL). And yes, I’m still working on the “full-time-job” thing, how did you figure?

But until my time starts to get used up by more and more responsibilities I’ll inevitably take on again, I’ve been investing my freedom in writing a lot–which has mostly been working on a poetic story project, (which I’ve been tagging under the working title “Summertime in the Orion Nebula,” for those of you who have been reading) which I’m excited and scared about it but mostly excited. However, I’ve also decided I need to write about music again, starting with re-introducing “Song of the Day” posts into my life. And I’m shooting for every Friday starting today. AKA, you’ll want to stay posted for later ;) .

By the way, thanks to all the new people that keep showing up to (apparently) read my stuff. It’s encouraging.

Stay hardcore, my lovers.

Saline (pt. X)

The first time I dropped in on a wave, really dropped in, I finally knew what it felt like to be in my rightful place in the world. The timing, paddling, pop-up, and steering had culminated into that ever-desired perfect glide. For a few seconds, I spread royal wings and flew. For a few seconds, the sky rolled back to show how it was made of something as beautiful as an abalone shell.

* *

The painting is titled “Theology,” I said. One hundred eyes passed over the piece, consuming its wild blue spilling and plunging. Now they awaited my defense and explanation. 

The correlation is simple, this idea of Sublimity in the character of God; One experienced as powerful, infinite, mighty, and ultimate. Yet when we experience this, we are somehow allowed to live, often leaving full of something like love or respect. The same experience is manifest when I am in the ocean, delighting in its power without it killing me–hence the “theology” of the crashing wave.

* *

It is an important moment in life when you realize that the calmest part of the ocean is the water directly beneath the wave. It is like finally realizing that to dance in the arms of another person, you have to stop struggling to lead your way. It is a moment of enlightenment in which you realize to keep from drowning, you must go underwater. No matter how the white water roars, if you duck below the plummets of the break, there you will find peace. Finally, you must learn to listen to the sea, for it will tell you when it’s safe to return to breathing again.

* *

Noah arrived by my side and with his classic bemused half-grin and complimentary fist-pound. Kick-ass were his first words. Others had offered similar congratulations. But he followed to say something more striking in clarity. Good job capturing the calm water right under the wave. A lot of people forget that part, he said. I looked back at the painting. The effect had been unintentional, but now that he pointed it out, I saw it. And I realized it was something I had known about all along. 

Saline (pt. IX)

There was a lull in the swell.

Look! Dolphins. I lifted my hand dripping with saltwater to point out the dorsal fin tips peeking out of the watery blanket, not many yards from where Jordan and I drifted.

My brother is an extrovert. He laid belly-down on his surfboard and started paddling toward the grey-skinned mammals. I began to follow. There was an exciting fearful tension of wanting to get close and stay far away at the same time. I am an introvert. 

We paddled close enough to hear the sputtering sound of blowhole exhalations. I wondered if they could sense us, what they regarded of Jordan and I. wondered what their underwater world looked like. I regarded them as creature cousins, physically categorized as cetaceans, yet connected to us by a mix of sibling DNA and spirit capacity. 

The scene made me think of a book I had read when I was young, Island of the Blue Dolphins. I barely remember much about it except that there was a tribal girl left to fend for herself on an island, and a lot of imagery of sun-bleached whale bones. 

The dolphin brothers seemed unthreatened by our presence. Their smooth grey backs passed by us calmly, the same way the humpback whale swam by my uncle’s boat when we were giving my grandpa’s dust back to the sea. The way he said goodbye with his whale tail waving in the sky, slowly, nonchalantly.

* *

Is coming up for air by works or by faith? I was baptized by my own volition in the ocean. An overcast day off of Santa Cruz. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They said getting baptized was like dying and coming back to life. I wonder if it is regarded as literal by some people, similar to the Catholic Transubstantiation. It makes me wish Pastor Chad would have held me under longer so I could remember what dying felt like. Seems that I have been baptized many times since then, with the countless times of getting tossed by rough close-outs, under and back up again, like a soggy ragdoll. That’s when I really knew what resurrection felt like, when I could come back up to breathe again. But maybe that’s by works, not faith, so it wasn’t supposed to count?

Is coming up for air by works or by faith? Someone had asked the same question to Dr. Culp during his lecture. 

Well, technically, breathing itself is αργος, so what do you think? he said, smiling.

* *

Tonight was the night, and the painting was dry just in time. It was carried by four arms and four legs into the meeting hall, to the back wall, in preparation for the exhibition.

Saline (pt. VIII)

I was beginning to learn that some of the best times for surfing are when the sun has not been awake for long or when it’s not out at all. It was similar to the way I was beginning to learn that happiness is not a virtue. The waves are calmer in the morning, and they’re more smooth in a balmy winter fog, and they’re twice as magical as the climax of sunset is chased away by the moonlit twilight. 

This realization began when my dad and I were out in a sunless yet strangely warm tide. We were trying to feel alive while Grandpa John was dying in his bed back in the Beach House. A family of seals passed by, eyeing us, but not severely intrigued. Just swimming. We might have been trying to escape, but as we bobbed in the middle of a placid, engulfing mist, it seemed to wrap us up and tell us Stay, that the world had some peace in it worth living for. 

* *

We are not unlike ocean waves; each one is unique with varying tenacity, temperature, angle, and undertow. Each has a lifespan: a force beyond itself births its initial movement, it begins to swell, reaching its climax as it crests, turns to break in its fully-formed grandeur, closes upon itself, and finally disperses at the end of its course. Ultimately giving way for the next life cycle.

* *

Some days, I wondered if my balance and my arms would ever be strong enough. Willing, but weak. Willing, but a thorn ever in the flesh. 

A professor once told me that he believed he spent so many years in agonizing states of occupation to prepare himself for the handful of semesters he was finally able to teach the lessons he loved to students that he truly loved. 

* *

I had to keep This isn’t what it’ll look like, shutup until I’m finished clenched behind my teeth as passersby behind my back made their impressed remarks. I watched the sun and then the moon pass through the windows, favorite DVDs and mix CDs assisting the progression of time. When I stood up straight to wash my hands and brushes in the bathroom sink down the hall, blue tint saturated the water spiraling down the drain. I pumped the soap dispenser again.