Thursday, September 17, 2009

my life should’ve been a music video

and me, the star—not for the fame, but for the sublime self-expression.

from the visuals, archetypal symbols that emanate from primal, word-elusive truths, to the poetry of lyrics more resonating than the most profound of prose, to the music that carries and lifts like pythian vapors, inspiring the imagination toward ultimate, eternal meaning.

ever the theology major, I'm in search of redemptive transcendence and nothing like music and it's media approximate the aesthetic religious quest—how ascending crecendos and climaxes imitate (if they don't match) the liberative transcendence sought in religious reflection.

"music is God's gift to man, the only art of heaven given to earth, the only art of earth we take to heaven." - walter landor

Saturday, September 12, 2009

play it again, Jesus

there’s a feeling that I’ll never get this right
and a feeling that redemption’s not for me
as the Word says, as the teachers say
as I believe

caught up in the thrill and the tang
in the adventure and the mundane
of all the things that damn a man

I remember what it feels like to be strong
and I want to play it again

play it again, Jesus

Sunday, August 9, 2009

car on the fritz and I'm losing my wits

my trusty red jeep is less trusty these days. following a little 1am stranded-ness on the side of the road, I drove my car from home to the mechanic's. in third gear. the whole way--during rush hour on the freeway. well, at least I learned that I'm pretty adept at managing to not stall when going from 0 to drive in third gear. I should get an award.

there were calls to co-workers, family, mechanics, and dentists (appointment rescheduling). there were estimates (two, varying by $600--both more than what the car's worth). there were requests for leave from work. then, the research fun began--how does cash for clunkers work? how does one buy a new car and not get ripped off?

but no new car now (it seems that buying a second house is bad time for dear child to need a new car and asking dutiful parents to buy a new car in order to generate a hand-me-down). and no repairs--why sink any money into my little red deathtrap? jeep is working for now only because it suspects that otherwise I'll junk him (only time I personify my car).

it's all such a mess. fml.

in happier news, new music elevates my mood and a dessert. recent downloads: kabul sh*t and get better and gives you hell. and Mika's new EP. as for the dessert, I'm making this for a co-worker's sendoff potluck.

*UPDATE* the jeep was clunkered! new car bought. new car given to father. father's old car was given to me. I'm now the proud owner of a 99 Camry, with AC (no more shirtless driving like a hillbilly) and with power locks/windows. I froze my hands numb the first day just because I could.

Monday, August 3, 2009

mentality bunkered

i hated myself long before you knew my name.

there's no slander you could say
that wasn't already a self-reproach
no indictment you could level
that hasn't yet been heard in the court of my mind


but fuck it all. you don't think about me, do you? you never did. you won't. and yet i've worked so hard to preempt your every accusation. i wasted time and energy learning to play games I don't even like. i lost myself aquiring weapons for a battle that will never come.

thank the gods i found some precious things in my journeys. thank the gods that i now celebrate some of the things i once hid. and thank you, my ghostly antagonist: your specter loomed and it sharpened me; it shaped me. you changed me for the better--so much so that you're dissipating before my eyes.

i'm walking away now. now I live for my friends and for me.

Friday, July 24, 2009

on the ones called friends

let's say the bar is set at "adequate," and most are disappointing me.

and the spite and the loneliness and the shame return.

on the noises sounding in my head: why am I so bad at life? why haven't/can't I attract awesome people in my life? am I pushing people away? where do I need to try harder? do I need to be more proactive? I think the genial aloofness MO isn't paying dividends. do I have unrealistic expectations? do other people get lonely? how did I get this far in life without ever having a proper best friend?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

a return to blogging

Weekly, dear reader, I get on myself about updating this blog so infrequently. Please, humor me as I survey thoughts rolling around my head when I think a bit about what I should be writing.

I get excited about things. I have ideas for blogs. I know I have a few blogs posts in me. In fact, I need to have a few blog posts in me—it’s integral to my self-concept that I’m a person with interesting things to say and write, that after reading books and articles and engaging other minds I’m able to synthesize others’ thoughts with my own and better approach life and discover its truths (particularly the ones impinging on my life). “Be an interesting person,” I tell myself.

Integral to being an interesting person is being a creative one, evolving the mind into greater levels of understanding, of knowing. And this is where writing is so important—a synthesis happens there, in a Word document or Notepad file, where connections are made and sentences are given life that could never be midwifed on the fly in conversation. Written words prefer the complex, the nuanced, the balanced: ideas are named and supported with a detail and attention that are rarely found extemporaneously. There are certainly many who possess the gift of verbal profundity—have you ever read a transcribed response to an interviewer’s question and been gob-smacked by the eloquence? --Not something I can emulate. I prefer the Susan Sontag approach: I read once that Sontag, a popular intellectual, said that she was of rather average intelligence but that in her writing she could rewrite and rewrite, slowly edging up her intelligence. I find hope and motivation in the “edging up.”

So, some blogs that I should give some hours to:

Perhaps, one about death? Ryan’s death, my aging grandmother, my insecurity about my eternal salvation, overstaying brow furrows, and reading How We Die—all fodder for my reflections on the end of life. I bought As I Lay Dying—perhaps death will get its due after I read that.

Perhaps, reflections on college, one year removed from graduation? —A favorite topic of discussion among my peers, for certain. I feel most compelled to write this one, to lend those recurring thoughts about college some form and style. At 23, I don’t feel quite the adult, surely not the adult I imagined post-college as an adolescent. “Where’s the career?” teenage Matt would ask me. In addition, I’m passionate about my theology education, about my socialization into a group of Christians who thought critically, academically, and faithfully—and I need to commit these passions (the loving and the critical) to text, especially if I’m planning on mission work or graduate study in theology (plus, my amorphous commitments are best suited to the 10 second answer people get when they ask me about my future—they need to be concretized before I make the decisions that set my life on years-long tracks).

Perhaps, one that’s a little more sweetness and light? I don’t want to believe that only my problems deserve ink, that I’m most prolific at bitching and moaning. Obviously, I exploit and manipulate conflict and the pangs of despair for creative gain. While not overtly drawing attention to myself by bragging about my successes or fortunate circumstances, I seem to have little compunction about doing the same for my failures and character disorders. It’s not a trait I appreciate in others: the belief that pain, ill fortune, and self-serving confessions make one interesting and deserving of attention or, worse, fawning sympathy. Though I’ve reined it in some I need to exorcise more of the sinful mechanisms of ingratiating and/or selfish and immature self-disclosure. Still, after that indictment I will, to be fair, say that nothing like loneliness, boredom, or guilt spurs me to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys as it is) in the interest of the rather human thing of seeking solutions and connections to others, of expressing the very real and persistent conflicts that animate my inferior approaches to myself, others, and God. I want to better person and I need to gear my writing toward that evolution into better person-hood.

Well, that’s it for now. Thank you for stopping by and return soon. I promise I’ll be updating this more frequently from now on.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

handhold out of reach

i want to write a letter
but only jagged thoughts,
half formed
rise to the top
they need more dressing,
they need legs
but i can't will the concentration

i'm invigorated by the ideas
but they are naked
not ready for show,
not ready for you
only ideas with soft bellies
exposed hides
ripe for spearing
you'd kill them
dismiss me

taciturn outside
tumult inside
i thrash for an anchor but fall resigned
the prose won't come
this is an autodidact's lament
none of this comes naturally to me
mine is an intellect of intention
born of personality, not nature
so much distress for so long
because I mistook potentialities for realities

so now I sow pitiful grappling hooks
and write shitty poetry

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I will win

you peevish, small man

to belittle me?
you fool!

my mind went blank
how I shook for a clever retort
a withering put-down
a riposte straight to your heart

but nothing.
humiliated, I despaired

but then!
I saw their eyes
and I angled to let them witness me
pity my resigned and downcast stare

you will lose!
the innocent is exalted
the guilty condemned

this slight will pass from your mind
but not from mine

the others will hate you
I will sow the seeds of your contempt
nurture the sproutlings of your censure
I will raise a smothering jungle!

enjoy the self-satisfaction of your affront
illusory highs will stalk your fated alienation!

I am dedicated

I will win

Monday, February 2, 2009

beautiful song

been looping this song for weeks. i love the lyrics--the biblical references, faith's language co-opted for romantic love. it makes me want to fall in (desirous) love, to feel love. experience that for someone.

video's a bit camp. sure, lennox is white-girl-soul-ing it up, but I had hoped that her music-videoed vocals would be ascending toward transcendence a little more reverently and conservatively instead of riding irridescent bands emanating from a silver catsuit-ed lennox. oh well.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


My former roommate, Ryan, whom I lived with during my sophomore year of college, was murdered the day after Christmas. Over a drink placed on a billiard table. Stabbed to death in a parking lot. 22 years old. Youthful and animated. Now recumbent, decaying.

For a few minutes after receiving the link to the news story ("Son of prominent I.E. pastor stabbed to death in Temecula bar fight Friday night") I could barely stand. There must have been anguish and blood and slipping away. And what of his embodiment so familiar to me? Lifeless? How? What?

My head was light, my utterances breathy, my face listless and mouth agape. Bending over, I clutched my legs—my insides were churning and I needed to recoup solidity. Though I didn't act on it, I felt a desire to crouch in a corner, perpendicular walls flanking my body. Then the mind finds a strain it can grasp—you think about how this is affecting you. Thoughts must be verbalized and responded to. And then you reach for your cell phone. And you start calling others.

Untimely death, like nothing else, leads to uneasy, yet deliberate reflection—but also these bouts of shocked head shaking and resignment. Unrelated thought streams are interrupted with an exhalation and a subdued declaration, "he's really dead." It confounds the mind. Repeatedly.

Mental energy is devoted to the usual time travel fantasies and the what-ifs of Byzantine cause and effect etiologies. You entertain visions of vigilante justice meted out brutally and mercilessly. And you think of his body—his hands and his face once supple and animated, now deteriorating. You vacillate between the indecorum of macabre posturing and the righteous defense of hard reality in lieu of white misty souls ascending to heaven. You think about his salvation. What happened to everything-him?

Physicalist Christian that I mostly am, there is no comfort for me in the pieties that "he is now with Jesus" or "receiving his reward." His embodied existence, i.e., his total personal existence, is over. There is no breath in his body. In my amateur estimation, "he" is awaiting resurrection and in the meantime the "he" that remains is a memory, a void in the context and relationships he shaped but from which he is now absent. Reality marches on, except, now, without the influence of his agency here or anywhere.

His ceased existence challenges my own and the ominous fact of non-breath is unsettling everything-me.