Sunday, March 29, 2015

Finish writing one book, start another. It's all I can do to be alive.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Old Artist on the Train

The hairs of his thick white mustache bristled back and forth with each swivel of his head, and he made many, stealing far too many glances at his subject while the thick black marker trapped between his fingers skated across the page of his hand-held notebook. With each scan of his muse, flickers of youth swam behind his eyes as the spirit of past artisans guided his hand without the slight tremble of his bones.
In a moment, he pushed his rectangular glasses up the bridge of his nose, held together only by the thinnest copper wire, and reveled in his work, but only for a moment; there were other subjects on the train, he saw. In fact, everyone was his subject, including the young beauty next to him.
With a straightening of his black newsboy cap and a lick of his lips, his marker was off once again, racing across the page while the old man drew the likeness of his neighbor. She, like the old man's other neighbors, looked on curiously, trying to restrain their childlike grins and excitement at the notion of an artist amongst them.
In another few seconds, the drawing was finished, and he tore it out of his notebook and handed it to the beauty. She smiled, brushing the stray blond hair from her face that poked out from under her winter hat, and thanked the man.
"Is a, is a motion," he said in his broken English, motioning to how he drew her. "Is a, how I see through my eyes, is a concept. Ah, look."
In a second he was drawing again, squinting his eyes towards a passenger in the distance. The other woman next to him, someone who was trying too hard to hide their obvious fascination, smirked wider than she intended. He finished the drawing and smiled, spreading the hairs of his mustache into a comb.
"Is instant concept. In my studio, in Romania, is many drawings, many paintings, I see people, person, and imagine how they look inside, as people, not as person. Are you artist?"
"I guess," said the girl with a shy grin. She clutched the drawing in between her mittened fingers. The old man shook his head in a quick jitter and pulled on the end of his worn out black leather jacket.
"No no, artist is or is not, but there, eh, there many people who artists but, don't see it! Ah, don't see it! All people artists if they like, just need to search for, eh, eh, inspiration! Ha!" His eyes darted to another subject, and like a well-practiced horse, his hand was off to the races, moving across his small piece of paper before the beauty could realize it. There were times that he paused in his movements to take in the subject, or when his hand would move across the paper freely without his eyes tracing its path, but at every moment, he was captivated by his subject.
"All people artists, all people art," he said, turning the page. "You see this?" he asked the beauty, pointing to the drawing he gave her. She nodded.
"It is how your face is not, but it makes your painting more natural. Ah, ah, the, ah, bone in the face, it is not true to the person, yes? How you see yourself, yes? Only if your bones matched you!" He chuckled, but his eye caught yet another subject, and with rapt attention, he took to the page once again.
The beauty watched in glee as this man made no other attention towards anything but his subject, a young man whose youth was spiraling down the drain of his late-night coffee-addled job. The gentle lines underneath his eyes, like waves of skin, belied the hardened edges of his fingers where, even decades earlier, one might have found the artist dabbling away with a pen and a notebook.
"It is the, the ah, the pain, the tired, in him. He is tired," he said, pushing his glasses up and pointing to the drawing. "It is not how he wants to be, but, ah, how he has made himself."
He flipped the page yet again.
"It is how, ah, he is, ah, in, in prison, in his eyes."
The beauty's smile flickered, and her eyes darted briefly to the subject. The smallest bit of empathy betrayed her gaze, and perhaps she understood, at least underneath the simplicity of the moment, the emotion that the artist saw.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I looked in the mirror the other day

I didn't know what I saw. There I was, and yet, there I wasn't. It was a person who resembled the man I would eventually look like with a few years of age and a haircut, but there he was, staring right back at me with the very same blue eyes I was using to stare at him. He was older than I expected, finally looking his age rather than lagging a few years behind, with a trimmed beard that had no bald patches, a hair cut, and a few more creases on the forehead.
I remember how, at the beginning of college, my beard couldn't even come in full. My hair was long and unbridled and sat on the head of someone with a face of an incompetent cherub. Now...
Was this really how I looked to other people? Old? I feel, I felt young, vital, excited about comic books and writing and science fiction, and this person, this elder me who had absolutely no right to abscond with my youth, was supposed to represent that. When I looked at him, I didn't see me. Maybe this is normal, given that we all age and change how we look. I recently read a story about someone's grandfather, who said that aging is a lot like staying in the shower too long: the water starts out hot and feels great, but as time goes on, it cools and becomes more uncomfortable. Some people leave the shower, some stay, but in the end, we all shower together. (Just don't use my body wash.)
In 10 years, will I look once more in the mirror and remark upon how much better I looked at 24? And then in 20 years, will I say the same for 34?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Christmas, and a Short, Worthless Story

As I walked back from Target today after buying new socks (first time in perhaps five years; if you wish to imagine what my previous pairs of socks looked like, try to imagine tan swiss cheese shaped like a sock), I strolled through the park near my apartment as I typically do.

In the center of said park is a gazebo, elevated off the ground to about a prepubescent teenager's height. In said gazebo was a large man swinging his arms as someone is wont to do while warming up for some type of exercise. All that was remarkable of him was the fact that he was bald and, as previously stated, large.

However, a sight of red caught my eye. If you, my dearest informed reader, did not already know, red is one of the colors that automatically attracts our eyes. The deeper, the better (that's what she said, most of the time, at least). There are a few evolutionary explanations for this, mostly to do with chimpanzee buttocks, but I digress.

The rouge came from a man's boxer briefs. Why did I see the red of a gentleman's boxer briefs, you ask? Well, there's probably a very good explanation for that, but I certainly don't have it. All I can describe was what I saw: a man, jeans around his knees, palms pressed against the elevated wall of the gazebo, staring into the gazebo at the large stretching man in some strange adoration.

Am I to assume that there was going to be (or had been) some raunchy acts of gazebo-side sodomy? Do people warm up and stretch before outdoor sex? I mean, it would be a good precaution in colder weather; exerting oneself in lower temperatures always has the onus of stiff muscles, erect phallus excluded. Or included.

Regardless of pre-Christmas public fornication, I was simply glad to finally have new pairs of socks.

Happy Christmas.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mitch McConnell: The New Dr. No

Thanks to last election day's capture of the senate by Republicans (with a lot of gratitude going towards the record low voting numbers), Mitch McConnell, Kentucky republican and distant relative of Kermit the Frog, became senate majority leader. While there is still some time in the current session of congress, McConnell has already taken the time to object to two of President Obama's recent policy announcements: the first being net neutrality, the second being the recent announcement of a climate agreement between the world's two largest polluters, the USA and China.

McConnell was quick to criticize the two as both being a stifling presence to 'innovation,' without going into much detail as to what that actually means, specifically criticizing the climate deal as being a hindrance to creating jobs in the country.

Regardless of whether or not he's right or wrong, McConnell is not being magnanimous in victory; instead, he's actively demonstrating that the next two years will become an endless row of soundbites and pointed fingers accusing the other side of an inability to compromise, all in preparation for the 2016 presidential election.

This plays into what McConnell perceives as a national swing towards Republicans: what they perceive from the election is momentum that they're going to try to ride into 2016 and unify the government under a Republican banner. So, McConnell will continue to tout that he and republicans are actively working to pass bills, but the president's intransigence stops them from passing. And thus, under a republican government, there can be efficiency, action, etc.

To him, this will put Obama in a poor light, as the two houses of congress are finally working in tandem to pass laws for the country. It is a plan, in essence, to turn Obama into a political liability and force democrats to tread carefully around issues that Obama championed in his presidential terms, especially in 2016.

This, of course, discounts the other 2/3 of Americans who simply didn't vote in 2014.

From now until the next presidential/house election, it is up to democrats to organize and reach out not just to the party base, but to independents and moderates. McConnell's soundbite, lame-duck government can be turned on the republicans to show that, while bills have been moving from house to senate only to be vetoed by the president, it is the contents of the bills that are unreasonable.

For instance, one of the main rallying points for republicans this past election was the repeal of the ACA (colloquially known as Obamacare), something that may be feasible under a united republican government. That would certainly be a shame, however, because the ACA dropped the uninsured rate in America to impressive levels. The list of topics will likely grow, given that questions regarding financial regulation and climate change will be swelling in the upcoming years.

Unfortunately for all, voter apathy, as demonstrated in the previous election, is at an all-time high. Democrats brought out nostalgic favorite Bill Clinton to run trump speeches all around the country in support for candidates, though the only problem with that is that you won't get much more than core democrats on to see old Bill speak.

Going forward, democrats have to posture themselves with candidates who can be perceived as not being beholden to business interests, who are outspoken and confident, and who can be seen as energetic personalities. This encapsulated Obama in his 2008 run, and is the aura of Senator Liz Warren, a party favorite.

But this won't happen. At least, it's not likely. After the past 6 years, with revelations about the NSA, drone strikes, financial regulation, et al that have come to light, many might perceive both parties as being equally bad, or one as being less bad than the other. It's the least ideal situation in politics, but with all the insurmountable walls that third parties are forced to climb, it's the inevitable spiral of winner-take-all.

So, for the next 2 years, when Obama says yes, McConnell will say no. He'll say it so much, in fact, that he'll start to understand the word better than anyone else. Every curve, every crevice, every cliff, he will be able to navigate its walls blindfolded, because that will be his phrase of choice for every policy that Obama takes. Perhaps we should fear the day that he says 'yes.'

That's all for now, 
Das Flüg

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Flutter of Dead Leaves

It begins at conception as an afterthought,
something unthinkable in the wake of glory
Watching over all things,
waiting for its time.

It is the shadow, the shuffle in the corner of your eye,
forever reaching but never grasping.
It whispers to them in the beginning, 'here I am,'
and the race begins.

For years we run, not daring to stumble
while it chases us at every turn.
Should we stumble and lose our footing,
or make a mistake without purpose,
then we lose all before we ever envisioned.

We wonder if there is dignity or triumph
in losing so early, in never reaching the end,
but we must accept the loss, and continue on.

Some will give up, and say the race is
too difficult, too tiring, too exasperating on the mind and soul,
and they choose to lose because they know it is inevitable
and they can run no further.

A chosen few will run the race, run far
until their muscles are naught but sinews and
their bones are paper, and they will carry the wisdom
that those who quit long before possessed,
but this is only one end for them.

For they know the race was fruitless,
that there was no victory to be had,
that all they knew would be whispers in the wind
on the fluttering of dead leaves,
but they ran it regardless, and every step,
every last breath,
was made to matter.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Life

Working life is an experiment in itself. It's odd to say that I'm now part of the workforce, taking the train every day to an office where I sit for my 8 hours, do my work quietly, and go home. In exchange for my eight hours of time, I'm given money. Cause and effect, cause and effect.

It's a strange juxtaposition to where I was a year ago, doing work for a master's degree, or even a few months ago, where I was writing articles from home while desperately searching for some form of lucrative employment. And now here I am, finding my days taken up by the glorious repetition of wake up, run errands, go to work, come home, sleep, lather, rinse, and never stop lathering.

From having time infinitum to the time on my days off or the weekends. Is this adulthood? Because, if so, I object.