i do like rilke but

look, it’s only been a few posts and i’m already retreating to poetry and quotes to try and abstract my feelings. curiously different from how much i’ve been trying to verbalise them to myself the last few days but then i suppose this medium comes with many other associated risks. i have to keep working on it, and less on excuses on why i shy away from examining my own feelings. that was the entire reason i started a journal again…

in the trust that up high/ lie here together


“I absolutely agree. It’s interesting that it’s an experience of standing before a figure of a god, but in the 20th century. This god is broken, this god’s head isn’t there. The speaker tries to make a connection. Attempts to link himself to that source, even broken or lost, of authority, power, vision…

“Otherwise / the curved breast could not dazzle you so.” In Greek sculpture, there’s this line that goes underneath the abdominal muscles and down to the hips. (It doesn’t matter how many sit-ups you do, you can’t get this line.) He’s seeing that line as a smile. The stone otherwise—we keep hearing what it’s not. If it were this, actually broken, we couldn’t know what we do. The translucent cascade, the wild beast’s fur, the burst like a star, figure after figure, and what do these figures have in common? Well, not so much. Light in the case of the lamp and the star, and to some degree maybe the fruit—you can imagine the ripening fruit glowing. But it feels like the speaker here is groping to describe what’s in front of him. Trying to name this power, which is palpable, real, but perhaps essentially unsayable. When we confront a great work of art, a great work of the spirit, we feel something, but how difficult, how impossible it is to say what it is…

It’s very difficult to say rationally why the experience of beauty or spiritual power produces this strong sensation. The poem makes the leap for us that’s like the experience, I think, of seeing the work of art. The speaker tries to take it in, he thinks of all these figures to describe it, none of them quite do it, and then there’s the kind of immediacy of experience that’s similar to the Pound poem. Boom, the whole appears.”

Mark Doty, On ‘Archaic Torso of Apollo’


by Rainer Maria Rilke

I love the dark hours of my being.
My mind deepens into them.
There I can find, as in old letters,
the days of my life, already lived,
and held like a legend, and understood.
Then the knowing comes: I can open
to another life that’s wide and timeless.

So I am sometimes like a tree
rustling over a gravesite
and making real the dream
of the one its living roots

a dream once lost
among sorrows and songs.

my girl

“… you’re the kind of person that you know will always be okay, or fine in life, even without asking.”
“I want more than that. I’m going to be more than that.”

happy birthday to one of my favourite people; you teach me so much just being in my life. I’m looking forward to seeing how much you’ll teach others in the future too. I love you; I admire you; I want the world for you; I feel blessed for you every day.

new year’s resolutions

trying to be practical about resolutions this year: focusing on things I could actually get myself to do and that I might make demonstrable progress towards instead of, like, ‘stop procrastinating’- the timeliness of this post tells you as much about how committed i am to that goal, though i have been thinking about writing this ever since the year pushed over, probably. or ‘try harder’, which was last year’s resolution. still have no idea whether i achieved that or not: i’m leaning towards no, because i don’t think i felt the satisfaction that you get after working really hard at something and getting the result you wanted, only a curious sense of deflation in its place. i’m still wondering if that should be considered a conclusive sign of working hard, but that’s probably just me trying to rationalise my lack of effort. still though, i need to start focusing on other parts of my life that isn’t school. feel like i’ve been using school as a reason to justify not working on being a better person for way too long. life is larger than that; as should be my attention span.

1. cook more, at least one meal a week. that means conception, prep and execution- coming in 15 minutes before dinner to help mom stir-fry vegetables doesn’t count. extra points if it’s something new. as an absolute last resort, breakfast counts.

2. be more careful about other people’s feelings. talk in the car in the morning because you know mom feels uncomfortable and bored when it’s silent. tell her more about school and your life because she worries. mediate disputes or at least help to change the topic if you don’t want to get in the middle of it. ask everyone more questions. really want to hear the answer. stop thinking of and then dropping conversational threads because the moment has passed or you’re afraid to say it. it really doesn’t matter that much. if someone texts to talk don’t blow them off. send letters and do nice things for friends who are struggling. it doesn’t have to cure anything. it just has to remind them that you’re on their side. let ying jun tell you about whatever the fuck she wants and put on an interested face as she does it. it won’t fucking kill you. she’s twelve!! so many people are going to ignore what she has to say in the future. don’t be one of the first. those hurt the most. don’t let her become you. that’s the entire point of being older than anyone.

3. you KNOW what’s wrong with parasocial relationships. get past them. stop imagining what people you’ll never know are like and go talk to people that you actually could.

4. be more respectful. be more appreciative. greet people who are there in the room before you, don’t wait to be noticed. thank people for the work they do. leave comments on stuff you like.

5. write more. you end up considering more, processing more, and having more to look back on and think ‘wow, i wasn’t actually as stupid as i remember being when i was __.’

6. talk more to the people around you. find more things to talk to them about. consciously articulate your feelings more. it doesn’t necessarily have to be an exercise in self-involvedness- it can invite and encourage them to talk, because you’ve revealed yourself first. if you want people to share themselves with you, you have to share yourself as well. or alternatively: get better at recognising what those around you want from you.

7. be better than passive aggression and moodiness. let people know what’s going on and they’ll be so much more understanding about it.