One Jester Alone

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, / Creeps in this petty pace from day to day / To the last syllable of recorded time, / And all our yesterdays have lighted fools / The way to dusty death.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Disappointment...Part II

One night I was getting ready to go out with my girlfriend, Rose. I walked into my parents bedroom and looked in the mirror. On the bed, my father was lying down.
A couple of days before, he started having a pain in his abdomen. He went a herbalist who then gave him some "medicine" and sent him home. The herbal medicine worked for a day, and my father felt better. By the next day, however, the pain returned, stronger. He was doubled over with pain and stayed home from work. My mom made him some tea, and that helped a little as well, but the pain would return. He hurt and we didn't know why. He spent the day in bed, in pain, trying to sleep it off.
On the night of the third day, as I was getting ready to go out, he couldn't stand the pain any more. He saw me standing there, in front of the mirror. "Take me to the doctor, please," he asked me.
I was caught off guard a bit. "I can't. I'm going out with Rose," I responded.
"What?"
"I'm going out with Rose." The second time I said it something in my head clicked, but it was too late.
"Oh," he said.
"Let me call her, I'll take you."
"No, no. It's okay, go."
What an idiot. My father was asking for help, and all I could of was that I would miss my date. He'd been hurting for three days and I would rather go on a date than take him to see a doctor.
Still off balance, I walked out of the bedroom and went on my date. I came home hours later to learn the doctor had sent him to the emergency room fearing a ruptured appendix. They kept him in observation overnight, while they (the doctor and hospital staff, I mean) finished up the tests to make sure it was the appendix that was causing my father so much pain. (My aunt, who had taken him to see the doctor, told my sister, who then relayed the information to me, that he had actually fainted in the waiting room from the pain.) The following morning he was operated.
The rest of the family, Rose and I went to visit him and we joked about how he'd just delivered twins, but I felt like so much shit. He could have died had he waited a few minutes more. The appendix was pretty much about to burst and he would have died, but I had to go on my date that night.
I tried my best to help him during his convalescence, driving him to the doctors, translating what he couldn't understand. I did everything he asked, but nothing would ever take that night back. I didn't cry when I realized what I'd almost done to my father, who some time ago had hugged me and said it was okay. I was too overwhelmed...too full of guilt.
To this minute I still think how young, stupid and selfish I was...
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Disappointment...Part I

A huge weight I carry on my shoulder, is that at one point I failed my father. I mean I really and truly failed him. Every time I think about it I feel so small. I see how selfish I was, how stupid and young, but mostly selfish.
My father was a horrible husband, though a good father to me and my sister. Not that the failings of him as a husband didn't spill into the part of him that was a father, but overall, I feel he was a good father.
Once, while I was still in high school, he pulled me aside and said, "Let's go outside and talk for a bit." His serious tone had a touch of concern and it worried me. So I walked out with him to the steps outside our section of the apartment complex. He pulled out a piece of paper I recognized as my report card and looked at me with sad, knowing eyes. "Why are you not going to class? You've been absent from every class at least ten times. For every class it's a different number, but you've been missing a lot of classes."
I thought he would yell at me at that point, start pushing me around, maybe even a slap to the face. He just stood there, and I could feel the disappointment in his voice. I could read in the slackness of his posture. And I was completely speechless. I felt dumb, felt caught being dumb. And here was my father, not angry but disappointed.
I couldn't help it, I started crying. It was the first time I had cried in front of him probably since I was eight years old. They were shameful tears because I had disappointed my father. Feeling ever more ashamed because he had thought to keep the report card with its varied numbers of absences from my mother who, no doubt, would have been disappointed as well.
"You're mother is buying you a car this weekend," he said truthfully, "and THIS is how you repay her? By not going to school? You're better than this."
My tears wouldn't stop coming, and he reached out and grabbed my shoulder and said, "Look, it's okay. Just promise me you'll start going to class."
I nodded with the warm, salty tears rolling down my face, some going into my open mouth. And he hugged me. Hugged me and said it was all right.
"I'm not going to tell your mom, okay?"
I nodded again. And we stood there a couple of minutes, with me wiping my face and he with a hand on my shoulder.

That was a big disappointment, but not the one I started with. It just seemed appropriate to tell as well.
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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Si...vete

si, vete
a caso sere yo
aquel gran ser
que con unas palabras
parara los planetas
en sus orbitos ancianos

quien soy yo
para atrapar
el frio
y silencioso espacio

si, vete

quien soy yo
para parar la corriente
de el tiempo eternal

quien soy yo
para decirlo no
al destino

quien soy yo
si...vete
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I want the truth!

Sometimes I think we got too strung up on our own struggle to notice the struggle of others. Sometimes, the struggle is real and breaking you down. Still, I think, most times the struggle is imagined and enlarged to fit our view that we are not in control of what we do.

And you know what made me think of that? Some heart wrenching moment at home? An indescribable personal loss? A home tragedy finally unfolding it's climatic last act?

No. The death of a soldier in Iraq.

How sad is it when we say, "That sucks" and move quickly to other pressing matters like "How should I collate theses papers?"

We treat death as trivial. And, really, how much does the death of someone we don't know in a far off place affect us? Not much, I'd wager. And that's...just...sad.

That sucks...now, how should i collate these papers?
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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

One bil-lion dollars...

You know, I had forgotten how brilliant Emily Dickinson was until I saw this poem on a bus "Poetry In Motion" ad:

"I stepped from Plank to Plank"

I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my Feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch --
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

So beautiful and concise, and yet very deep and moving. I wish my poetry was half as good. I may have to re-read her poetry.

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Well, had my review at work today. It went rather well. A little extra money (raise!) always helps. Everything my boss said was good, except for constant tardiness; she did say I was improving on that front, though. So overall, a good performance review. Booyah!
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Saturday, July 09, 2005

Level 75 Dwarf Warlock

Lately I've been feeling so disconnected from everything. I mean everything. Don't get me wrong, I'm surrounded by loved ones almost constantly, but it all seems to be so distant. Almost like it's not my life I'm living.
And really it isn't. I mean, I didn't grow up thinking I'll drop out of college and become a records clerk. I didn't mean to stop working on my art. I didn't mean to do a lot of things I did.
But who is to blame? Me. The shit of it is, I'm not the only one who knows. Everyone feels I could do whatever the fuck I wanted to in life and all I feel is constrained by one thing or another. And really, it's just me feeling comfortable and not wanting to move beyond that.
Could I suck it up and go to college, struggle for a while and make it? Sure. But then I worry, what will happen to my mother. But, really, I think she'll be okay; I'm probably just using her as an excuse to do nothing.
A couple of nights ago, two of my closest friends talked to me about how lazing about has made my life what it is now. That just a little hard work could vastly improve it and that I have the means to give that hard work. Lazy: it's my excuse for everything.
"I've wasted my life."
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Oh, yeah. I just bought World of Warcraft, another game to get sucked into for months to come...
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Monday, June 13, 2005

They should'a never given ya niggas money!

This post by Random Penseur, reminded of something that happened to my friends and me. I don't really see how they're related, but here it is:

When I was in middle school, oh, about twelve years ago, my friends and I were some of the first students of Inner-City Arts. When first I became involved, ICA was providing a video workshop wherein the students, us, would create a short video film. There were no set guidelines, at first, as to what and how to make the short, only that we learn the entire process: from writing, to shooting, to editing and finally presenting. Half-way through the workshop, we were given a theme, but ended up creating shorts on loss after one of the students was gunned down in a one of those inner-city acts of random violence.

The videos were finished and eventually wound up on cable and free-access television channels. From what I know, they aired for at least a couple of years.

The next workshop was on theater, directed by Brian Brophy (who at the time I knew only from Star Trek as the heartless bastard that wanted to take Data apart). It was a total blast as he introduced us to a variety of theater games, basics and acting. (And I am wholly lacking in knowledge to elaborate, so there it is.) This workshop incited in a a core group of us to put on a theater production as part of a school assembly and, later, to workshop, write and perform our very own original stage performances. Hmm...now I'm getting side-tracked as this is a story for another post.

Well, after a couple of years of participating at the ICA workshops and having involved ourselves in the hectic lives of highschool students, we became the de facto alumi of ICA. As the organization was growing and needing more funding, we, the alumi, were called to become guest speakers at the fund-raising dinners. And, here, we finally come to the heart of this post.

For one of these fund-raisers, we were all invited, as was now customary, to appear and enjoy the festivities. We wore our best clothes, put on the best faces possible and were looking forward to a fun get-together with our former, though still respected, mentors.

On the way there, we realized not one of us had brought the invitation. And, really, why would we needed? Were we not the original alumi of ICA? Everyone there knew us. So, having pacified our concerns and full of cocky airs, we continued to the fund-raising dinner.

We got to the place, and remembered how ICA had started in a bungalow on the campus of an elementary school and was now residing in its very own arts complex. We got out of the car and casually walked to the gate, now as familiar to us as the elementary was before. As we were about to walk in, a guard stopped us.

"Do you have an invitation?"

"No, we forgot it, but Bob knows us. He should be expecting us."

"He's not here. I'm sorry I can't let you in without an invitation," he says letting the well-dressed (rich-dressed) in without a hassle.

"Why don't you ask them for an invitation?"

"Oh...I know them."

"You know them? All of them?"

"Yeah."

"Look, just get Bob or Beth, we're former students. They'll vouch for us."

"I'm sorry, I can't do that."

And here, we were just about to punch the guard but decided instead, so as not to ruin ICA's night, to leave. As we were leaving we hear, "Hey, guys! Hey! Where are you going?"

Jesse, a nice guy who has worked for ICA since they moved to the complex and who knows us well, is standing at the other side of the gate with a perplexed, incredulous look on his face.

"The guard here won't let us in because he forgot our invitation."

"What? They're alumi! Let them in!"

"Oh...I'm sorry, I didn't know."

Well, we got in. We had dinner. We had a good time, but we were keenly aware that we had been profiled by the guard at the gate. There we were, four poor, urban, young latinos, amid a sea of rich, sub-urban, older white people and WE were denied entrance. WE were found unfit.

On the way out, at the event's conclusion, the guard decided to apologize.

"Hey, I'm sorry--"

"Fuck you. Stay away."

And that was it. To this day, this one episode is vivid in our minds. As clear as the proverbial yesterday...
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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

You kill my teacher!

A couple of weeks ago I had this dream:After many months away from Jiu-Jitsu, I decided to return to the dojo to resumemy training. Since I had been going to the gym in the intervening months, I wasin pretty good shape, but no where near where the other students were. Still, itwas enough to keep up, I felt. I enter the dojo and change into the gi and sit on the training mats while the class waits for the instructor to start the class.As I'm sitting there, I become extremely self conscious of how overweight I am andstart panicking, thinking I won't be able to make it past the warm-up exercises.Lost in thought, I start staring into space and then find myself staring out thewindow and across the street. I'm snapped out of my daze by the realization thatthere's another dojo across the street.In contrast to the dojo I train in, this other dojo looks more like a Supercuts;geared towards the Hollywood-hip trend followers. It has a modern architecturalstyle with lots of angles and glass walls. Along it's front is a neon sign proudlyclaiming it's "Grand Opening" to the empty street below.As I'm staring at it, Marcus comes up to me and says it belongs to a former student/ teacher of the center. Apparently there was a big argument over how to run theclasses and the student / teacher took off. (I don't remember his name, though in my dream I did.)And that was it. I was really mad at the guy...I felt like he'd betrayed me. Weird....
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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Um...

Jack, where's yer blog?
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Thank you, may I have another?

Mmm-mmm, I feel good. Going to the gym, and gone down to a slimmer 205 pounds. Slowly but surely, people. I think I'm in the best shape I've been in in years. Including those months of Jiu-Jitsu. I have a slight swagger now. Not that I really deserve it, I still have a ways to go, but still, I swagger.
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Well, on the way home from the gym today some punk kid yelled at me to pay attention as I was crossing the street. Hmm...the light was green, so I started crossing the street. Last I heard, pedestrians still have the right of way. See, he was mad I was stopping traffic from turning into the street I was crossing. How that is something I need to watch out for, I don't know. Damned punk kids now-a-days.
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Okay, here are the very late picures of vegas I was going to post weeks ago. I'm sorry, but I haven't cut them down so they may take a while to load.










Hope you all like 'em.

Until next post.

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