life

When All Else Fails, Write Shit

I sat alone on Sunday afternoon and tried to work the words “cieno,” (mud/mire) “guadaña,” (scythe) and “amago” (feint or tricky gesture or can someone please come up with a better translation?) into a “poem.” My greatest regret in life is having thrown out the tiny camo notebook I used to hide under my pillow in grade school. In its pages I wrote poems dramatically lacking in depth and technique–in other words, not much has changed. I’m writing in Spanish lately not because I am trying to improve, but because I find comfort in my ignorance: I sense that the writing is trash but I don’t know that I’ll ever be entirely sure why.

The park in the photo above is in Suanzes. I suppose it’s the sort of neighborhood you move to after having children but, as with most things, I actually have no idea. Incidentally, it is a great place to go when you feel that you cannot physically endure one more gulp of city exhaust. I presume that much has been written about the price of metropolitan life and that many a human within Madrid’s gates has  begged for some gaddamn peace and quiet. I never thought that I would count myself among their number, but lo and behold…

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What Can I Offer Your Company? All Of The Answers.

It’s that time of the year again. The time when “Make a LinkedIn” ends up on my to-do list twelve times a month.

“Hey Seo, your cards are fucked up.”

Tarot cards, when not in use, are to be wrapped in silk (outside energy contaminates them). Sam gifted me a deck on Halloween to complement my “costume:” purple hair, dress, and nose-ring. I have not once wrapped these cards and countless are the times I have re-dealt them until their message pleased me. This story, for example, is always acceptable:

“In the past, you spent a lot of time alone; this time was very beneficial for you and forms the foundation of your current happiness. Now you are going to get involved in a lot of projects and create a bunch of stuff. If you can own your emotions and your desires, you will be really successful.”

Any mention of disappointment or deception is promptly dismissed. I believe in divination the way I believe in socializing on Sundays: cuando conviene.

If you’re looking for answers, though, allow me to read your leaves.

Sometime during the next eight to twelve months:

  • You will look back and be surprised by the person you have been at some point during the last decade.
  • You will feel embarrassed by at least one of the choices you’ve made, artistic or otherwise.
  • You will feel desperate between one and three times and one of those times may feel like the first and worst time it has ever happened to anyone.
  • You will feel that you are not up-to-task at a new job and then later discover that you are and it’s fine and you should really just calm the eff down.
  • You will stub a toe.
  • You will eat a quesadilla.
  • You will throw a dirty look at a stranger on the subway and won’t feel bad about it.
  • You will evaluate and re-evaluate your plans between one and one million times.
  • You will have an upsetting interaction with a medical professional.
  • You will learn something about yourself at precisely the moment when you are comfortable enough to believe that there are no surprises left.

That being said… if you remain open to the absurdity of your existence, there will also be nights and entire weeks when you will feel like shouting love-songs at your own exquisite web of mistakes.

Neva forget it,

Seo

This Week in Sleep Deprivation

The past thirty days have been all intersecting worlds, spacing out, losing my center, loving it, living for it, trying to “do it all” and inevitably failing (/succeeding?) when my personality morphs into its most confusing form: drunk old man with a terrible habit of pacing.

On Wednesday, I caught up on sleep: thirteen hours of dream-filled bullshit, my empty apartment littered with wine glasses drunk by people from my pueblo, my clothes on the floor, hanging from door-handles, sleeves dipped into half-drunk jars of water.

In the morning, I got a message from my roommate.

“How do you feel? Better?”
“I feel like Lana del Rey.”

See:

 

See also:
I’m always behind on pop culture. If you see some girl on the subway looking equal parts wasted and overly-empowered, it’s me listening to Lust for Life for the first time.

What do you do when your lust for life brings you dangerously close to psychosis, Lana?

Plz advise,

Seo

“Nowadays, all these girls are singing about their encounters and their dresses.”

When my mother says “encounters” she is referring, of course, to sex. When she says “dresses” she is likely thinking about that Selena Gomez song that wouldn’t stop playing some two or three summers ago.

“People have always sung about that, though…”

“Yeah but today it’s stupid: ‘he’s so tall and handsome as hell,’” she gestures at the radio, “what the hell is that shit?”

She’s complaining about Taylor Swift now, whose song “Wildest Dreams” is playing in the car.

Whether I think Taylor’s art is revolutionary or enriching is irrelevant because creating music that underwhelms me—creating anything, really—is still way more than most people do. I’m not proud to admit it but I once sobbed in a Bed Bath & Beyond parking lot when the song “You Belong with Me” came on the radio. Then, dry heaves and all, I leaned on my steering wheel and started laughing (because first “heartbreaks” are fucking hilarious). It was a time when listening to anything other than pop trash probably would have made me roll off my roof.

Even so, you won’t find me arguing for the lyrical ingenuity or emotional depth of lines like “I can feel my heart, it’s beating in my chest.”

I skip the explanation and agree with my mother: “RIGHT? Like, what happened to Etta James? Let’s talk about ‘Damn Your Eyes.’ I mean, DAAAAAMMMMMNN!”

 

Now there’s an angry, lusty love that I can understand.

Be careful with ya eyes,

Seo

Follow Your Heart and You’ll Always Feel Delirious

I love you under the rain and under the clouds and after midnight on Tuesday nights. I love you at lunchtime and on Sunday mornings before the hung-over crawl out from under their bed-sheets. I love you even and sometimes especially when I don’t, forgiving you your excessive escalators and stale Saturday winds.

I ignored you when we met. Skinny from silliness and afraid of everything, you were too wild for me, full of chatter. Five years later I hauled my suitcase up the stairs in Tirso de Molina. There was a light rain falling. Men were shouting and selling: paragua, paragua, paragua! I was lost but didn’t care. I would remember this moment for many months, especially while listening to shitty guided meditations. We stayed in a one room studio in Arganzuela. For three nights a madwoman banged trashcans and howled “Arabian Nights” beneath the window.

In August you were deserted. Queens with pencil-thin eyebrows smoked in doorways and danced chotis and I couldn’t stop smiling. The metro back was empty but for one sleeping woman. I looked up at the ceiling in my airport hotel and wondered what was wrong with me.

In September I had a bed and nowhere to rest my head. Waking up to you made me happier than I’d been for a long time. Sure I was lonely but I was also awake. Friends and strangers came and went. Gran Vía was a trap. I stumbled through January. Some nights the windows shook.

Last March, J asked what was wrong with me: why did I have to walk so far if the metro was right in front of us? It must have been one of those early Spring days, still cold enough for a coat, everybody falling in love. It took me seventy-five minutes to get home and I listened to Nino Bravo most of the way. Here he is, singing his way down the Paseo del Prado:


And there I was, trying real hard not to spread my arms out and sing right along with him. Maybe I should have. I’m here now only because I decided to honor impulse, after all. One year later and many are the afternoons that I still feel like singing up and down your hills.

Happy anniversary, Madrid.

Love,

Seo