Mantra

You deserve to feel fulfillment and joy.

You will find motivation, a center, hope.

You will get through this and you will be better.

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Priorities

Setting: Savannah

A herd of wildebeest. To the east, a band of lionesses crouching.

To the west, a pack of salivating hyenas.

Gnu #1: we need to make a break for it, as far away from the lions as possible.

Gnu#2: I think the hyenas are a bigger concern.

Gnu#1: the lions will kill us.

Gnu#2: yes, but think of what the hyenas will do to us after we’re dead.

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Ice Age

Do you know, I looked around back when it was all fresh, and I just couldn’t find any resources for grieving uncles. A Facebook support group, yes. Some resources for grieving nieces and nephews. Not vice versa.

Throughout this whole process, I am constantly made to question the legitimacy of my hurt.

My grief is only an excuse, an uncle shouldn’t be so attached to his mourning… People love to tell me what’s wrong with me, but hate talking to me about Gali. She’s irrelevant. An abstraction.

In their mind, I’m sure it makes sense. There’s nothing to be done about her death, so why bother fixating on it? I, unfortunately, have a historian’s heart.

Something very wrong happened in the world last January. There were so many people at the Shiva, at the cemetery. But now I’m alone, and I can’t even reach out to my brother, my sister-in-law, because what is my petty hurt compared to theirs?

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Cataclysm

I used to be under the juvenile impression that a meteor literally killed all of the dinosaurs.

Of course this is not the case on several accounts, least of which is that dinosaurs are very much alive today, even as they no longer resemble the scaled titans I collected on my bedroom floor.

No. A meteor did not kill the dinosaurs. It was merely a catalyst for their cataclysm (how’s that for a tongue-twister?). The resulting dust clouds played a bigger part in their demise. But then again, where are the clouds without the hard, explosive impact of meteor and Earth?

“We’re in the hospital. Gali’s not doing well.” The asteroid is pushing into the atmosphere, splintering. I am glued to the phone throughout the morning. I can’t do anything but look up at the sky, at this terrible object bearing down on me in an inevitable trajectory.

I can’t do anything to alleviate this but wait for what I know will happen. How can you prepare for your five year-old niece’s sudden death? Anna, bless her soul, is telling me how advanced the field of medicine is. All I see is celestial collision.

Knowing it’s coming doesn’t mean you’re prepared. I’m going through the motions: I’m reading words off of a Post-It, I’m carrying the pall (rather a gurney, with her body covered by navy velvet), I’m shoveling dirt over her body. Meanwhile dust is rising, obscuring the sun.

What happens in this perpetual individual winter is that your default is to be the worst version of yourself, which for me I suppose means being who I was when I was regularly updating this blog. It means that the good in you shines through for moments at a time and becomes hard to maintain.

Repeatedly I am made to question the significance of one little body colliding with the Earth. As if I am merely hitching a ride on a tragedy to fall back on bad habits. But where are the clouds without the rock?

The dinosaurs aren’t dead. The dinosaurs aren’t dead. Most are. The dinosaurs aren’t dead. They adapted.

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Babylon

Man is not meant to be built a tower
Babylon is the story of Nimrud, or Derrida
Of how he crumbled into infinite meanings
Man is not meant to be built a tower
But he is
And must
And cannot but

I don’t truly know what it means to move on. Things do not seem to drown in the river, they keep floating beside me, or somewhat lagging behind, and sometimes surpass me and seem to lead the stern of my ferry.

Some things almost fade from view, but they are still there, and even if it comes to pass that I don’t see them anymore, I know with absolute certainty that I will recognize them at the very moment I see them once more.

I am 27 years old. That’s 14 years, now. Fourteen, thirteen, twelve. I know I must ramble about it, every now and then, because family tells me to move on. I don’t truly know what it means to move on.

I live under no illusion that the things that happened to me in my past, shameful, mundane, had no impact on who I am today. Otherwise I would not have talked about them so much. But what comforts me is the thought that I can choose how to build anew the ruins, and I know now that a building is a verb in the present progressive. It must be maintained and renegotiated.

And I know that if I do not let bile out, once in a while, I will not be able to sleep and my waking hours will be consumed with the thought of it. In a sense, it is the constant living-through-again that allows me to choose how integrate the memory into my structure, rather than let it become a latent crack in my foundation. It is better this way.

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Kill Claudio

I remember first seeing you. You weren’t much larger than I, only coming into your growth spurt, and you were lonely- lonelier even than I. We were not friends, I- having this clique, with the playdough Lucifer who hated you for no good reason, and scorned everyone else.

We tried, after I broke off with them, but it wasn’t until later that we became friends in earnest. Though, for the life of me, I can’t recall exactly when. High school? Army? After I was discharged?

I remember a lot of other things, though: poetry workshops, a book that’ll never come out and a play that will never see stage. And later, even as it was hard sharing that meager cave of an apartment, I remember cookery and good times with good people, and jogging.

It was good, it is over.

It sucks, and it sounds so final and over-dramatic. I want you to know it isn’t as bad as all that. I’m sure we’ll see each other, every lunar eclipse or so, and I’m sure it’ll be pleasant, as it always is.

And if there’s anything I’d want you to take away from all this, is that this end has very little to do with either of us.

I’ll be seeing you.

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Black Flag

Sir

Sometimes

Sir

Sir

Sometimes

A soldier cannot be

Made a bullet

Like in the magazines

A kid cannot be

Like

Sir

Sir

Some orders

Have a black flag atop

I remember the

Beach

A black flag

Is worse than surrender

I am out of line,

I will fall back into formation

Fire!

They don’t say

“Fired” anymore

You are now

Made to leave

Please don’t make me

Follow through

On that order

Sir

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