a naked purge – to have a long word with oneself

Sometimes a journey makes itself necessary” ^
It’s on a whim, or in search of greener pastures, or to help bring oneself back to life

You go on for months, or years, not tilting your head up and down,
or turning your gut inside out,
or spiralling your eye balls round and round into focus,

They’re completely out of focus, there’s drop marks and finger prints and dust particles on their
surface, and sand that somehow got inside,

and a broken shutter that opens all the way and burns your brains
time after time,

Your feet have branched through the ground, right where you’ve been standing this whole time
- thinking,

Thinking the thoughts with no end, thoughts that loop round and round and do nothing but
give way to nastier mutations of themselves,

Your legs are covered in leaves, tiny ones you have neglected to shave off,

you have neglected to look at you from head to toe:
the muffled goddess of passion and saturation.

you’ve been tied up, you have been dragged in all directions, stretched too thin into more belly
fat – yes, you’ve learned to love your curves so long as they don’t surpass that term,

You’ve neglected you and everything it stands for,

everything it’s endured,
everything it’s survived,

 and, as comfortable as the elephant has become,


that includes the anxiety you’ve half ass lived your life –
okay, the obvious,
ripe-with-opportunity,
low-hanging-fruit-filled,
everyone-else-thinks-you’ll-be-awesome-at-it parts of your life in avoidance -
in denial.

and you know -deep down- not itching to mingle or brown nose and climb executives is no
excuse to stir clear of their guts altogether.

You’ve secretly blamed the whole thing on the parent-induced diaspora that suddenly dragged
you from your popular, witty-level articulate, proud self into the mute, broken-tongued days
you had not asked for.

The nasty teenage years that were stripped of everything you had come to know.

and it goes without saying you never learned it was okay to be less than perfect, that just made
no sense. Imperfection didn’t deserve a chance. it did not count if it took time.

So you deliberately kept to yourself, giving just enough to get by, not applying yourself but to
those things that brought ‘home’ back, and things only got more skewed with time, as others
excelled – and adapted – and got ahead – and could no longer be told apart from the crowd,
while you stood there, growing stranger by the day – you thought so anyways,

and -at the risk of stating the obvious, or divulging the least expected-
your family dynamics did not help.

Others flipped colors and shapes and sizes blurring right in as you held on tightly and stuck out
like an odd unsuspecting prey shot over and over.

you got left behind with ‘home’ wrapped around you like the blanket you snuggle in year round,

And there would have been nothing wrong with that if mixing and performing and being fast
and high and loud like a dirty butterfly wasn’t something you one day woke up to realize you’ve 
been hungry for all along. a hollow wound in disguise, that vague, constant throbbing like one
of your limbs was cut off, dragging you to the ground, years and years behind.

There would have been nothing wrong with that if you were indeed a true ‘introvert’;
going by the assortment of labels you were convinced your world had to reduce down to, that
is.

You refused to see you as the half-winged butterfly. You were simply ‘introverted’ and those
damn business-minded bastards couldn’t make you feel inferior about it -
except for they did.

So being the ordinary, non-hero that you were, you gave in to the pressure; you stumbled into
the exclusive world of wolves serving the bigger, better wolves. You got back in touch with the
elite in your past, and pretended to mingle with the elite in your present and decided your
salvation lied in mastering their endless, shiny sophistications.

So, you over-compensated and over-accomplished arbitrary things, good things, things others
admired, things that put you ahead of others, sometimes way ahead -

things far from the meaning you itched for night and day. and that’s how you woke up back on
square one, not a gram more sophisticated than your raw, clumsy old self.

then you took up art school, which brought a pulse or two to your dried up veins- though part
time. this took you closer, it felt so anyways, to your calling.

That chronic sense of longing for which you had no real explanation. The sound got closer as
you leaped from one setback to the next, one nerve-racking exposure to another, it was like
torture, only liberating and pleasurable.
One with a vivid, if not visible, end in sight,

one that just felt right!
Unstoried, eventful months went by.

Then, in time, you wound up at this exact point in time, the moment you once dreaded
dreaming of. 

It emerged from a carefully coincidental chain reaction that went off when Sound got cancelled
last minute, throwing you into your only other option besides skipping the term:
Creative Writing.

There it stood, peaking out of the pile of fears and self-doubts.

Writing lifted you off your feet; that you knew well; the thought of it happening anywhere
outside of your shell, that terrified your guts.

Then you simply signed up on another one of your crazy urges, the ones that save and
subsequently destroy and ultimately save your sanity and sole combined.

You’re here because you came to class unprepared on March 26th and ended up borrowing the
Ann Carson journey quote^ instead of your own.
And because you suddenly felt like it was okay to let go.

You stopped being appropriate and diplomatic, it was worth the bare sensation that compared
to nothing else.

As if stripped into your naked soul,

leaving you out in the open,
vulnerable and whole,

Where you will end up next is beside the
point;
Not that you have a clue,

This journey simply needs to keep going. 


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decadent

The air is cool and crisp.

Strolling down the steep sidewalk, I wonder how much longer it will be till the excitement wears off.

The bits and pieces of the city as I know it breathe several blocks down, soaking peacefully in a fluffy fog wrapped over and around the street lights – the ones that aren’t yet turned off. The velvety hills breathe down my neck, promising more sun very soon. Remnants of the night mist sparkle over the pavement and under my dry boots.

It’s clear up here. The carefree stars shine through the indigo sky. No more clouds to blur my vision. Seeing the beauty from all the way up here is really a piece of cake.

Where have I been?

IMG_1851

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tied up

from every step
from every stomp

from every blow of the ride

choking in rain
soaking in mud

with scuffs on the side

from stinking,
and slipping

stretching or splitting
suffering and stuffed,

from
hopelessly stuck:

to
soaring softly,
in syrupy luck.

sticking above the infectious trees
sailing over the swarm of bees

from the sand to the fluff
or to silky from the rough

from the gravel and the gray
to the colors that play

to the spacious and the bright
from every brooding sight

from down under right to the top
only to be tied up.

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Response to readings from Marcus Youssef’s ‘Ali and Ali and the Axes of Evil’

Observing the heated debate in relation to pieces Marcus Youssef chose to share in his readings, I was intrigued by the multi-dimensionality and the complexity of the topic and found myself not ready to take a firm stance as I normally would in arguments. This made me give the topic more thought in the days that followed only to brainstorm several arguments in various, completely different directions.

I appreciated the argument on how crossing certain boundaries in relation to racial discrimination may simply reinforce that behaviour rather than offering constructive criticism or a solution. It is also understandable how racial jokes, taken out of context – or not – can be offensive or disrespectful especially when presented by someone other than the race being presented.

That said, many genres, within the present-day comedy, are known to be subversive and to cross borders in all fields and topics alike. They can be unconventional, bold and controversial.

To say that a comedy artist from a middle-eastern background can only present marginalization using material from his own race is in and of itself discriminatory. It re-introduces borders damaging the very essence of equity and inclusiveness. It is the manner in which racial humour is employed that needs to be tweaked or addressed ethically.

I think it is safe to say that the majority of our society members learn to abide by the popular tolerant and equitable principles the same way they follow the rules on the road or live within the confines of the law in general.

How intimately everyone relates to those principles, however, is what differentiates true tolerance and equity from silent and often times inconspicuous discrimination and hostility that exists to this day.

As someone who comes from an immigrant background and has experienced racial discrimination in personal and professional contexts alike, I believe it is this deeper connection that determines how genuinely we tolerate and respect each other, which will in turn dictate how effectively we will educate and prepare our children to deal with this issue in generations that follow – the key to eventually end discrimination – for real that is.

To me the human connection established through humor is like none other. Laughter is a universal emotion that tends to close otherwise very deep gaps and bring diverse audience on the same plane field. This is similar to what art in general is capable of accomplishing: to immerse its audience up-close in concepts and realities otherwise not internalized or genuinely appreciated.

I have experienced this personally on several occasions where a work of art and the context it exposes has transformed my level of appreciation on a concept from superficial to deep and resonating understanding.

I find humour the outlet to the strongest human emotions including dark and painful ones. This prompted me to google ‘dark humor’ for which I found the following definition:

“Contemporary definitions for black humor

noun

in literature and drama, combining the morbid and grotesque with humor and farce to give a disturbing effect and convey the absurdity and cruelty of life.”

 In the end I feel this On Edge Reading discussion presented a great learning opportunity for me to give this topic more thought, learn from everyone else’s perspectives and most importantly get to observe what one can expect if their work of art is not received as well as they would have hoped and how being prepared to back your work up is crucial in presenting it in the best light possible.

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