my experience

midnight

i thought of you today.

only one thought. so far.

i think i’m over you now.

it’s like you said

out of sight, out of mind.

you’ve been out of sight.

i only saw you once a few weeks ago and i’ve only thought of you

once.

or twice or three times since then.

all those feelings are gone now. those feelings, that came so easily

and naturally, were hard to let go of.

but it’s all gone now.

i guess we are back to normal.

back to thinking about ourselves and our place in this world

individually.

i was afraid you’d find someone else quickly.

now, i’m afraid that i will be alone for a long time.

i’m afraid because the thought of you kept me company,

but it’s leaving me soon.

the next time i see you, we will be acquaintances,

and our time

together

will be a thought long gone.

i will wonder years from now if

us

ever happened.

i will wonder if i had dreamt it all.

perhaps, that is for the best.

ashes to ashes.

dust to dust.

memories to dreams.

perhaps, one day i will dream of

you

and finally wake up.

i used to feel bad.

i still do. helpless even.

i feel guilty. overall, i am.

i can’t help it.

i’ve even grown numb to most things.

i turn  everything into duty.

i try to make myself feel bad.

guilty for not feeling worse about my sin.

if i could see what i was.

if i could see what sin really meant,

what it did, i’d quit.

if sin stuck to my lungs like tar,

i wouldn’t quit. i’d soon realize

that all my organs were black,

that my very being was entirely covered by sin.

and i’d keep it like a bad habit.

i’d keep it because it’s all i’ve ever known.

i’ve never seen what my insides are supposed to look like.

i don’t know i’m supposed to be red on the inside.

i don’t know what red is. all i see is black.

black isn’t black to me. it’s the only thing.

there’s something in me that goes off like an alarm but i switch that off.

i ignore it because there can’t be anything else.

what am i?

and what is this lack of guilt i feel?

why do i feel the need to feel bad?

if i feel bad enough maybe i’ll see something other than black.

maybe i’ll realize what black is. maybe i’ll hate it.

but i won’t.

i’ll keep trying to feel bad because i’ve never felt good.

and until i do, i won’t see how bad i am. i won’t know what bad i am.

show me my colors, Lord.

show me my true colors.

i wrote this a year ago and didn’t know it was finished until now.

i used to worry a lot. i still do. sometimes. when i have nothing else to do, which is more often than not, but i don’t like to worry. no one likes to worry, but we end up doing it anyway because… maybe we do like it.

right now, i have a lot of time to think. during the day, i’m stamping envelopes. from 9 to 5 i’m stamping envelopes, sealing them with a noisy machine that is 90% accurate, the other 10% i lick. i don’t mind the taste of envelopes, what i can’t stand is the taste of everything else.

i haven’t felt this joyless in a while. i’m still going to church, i still believe in God, actually our relationship has taken a turn for the better, no thanks to me. but everything else includes the cheese pizza i have now grown to love rather than the complications pepperoni and sausage bring to my palette and arteries. it includes watching movies which i used to love, but now i can’t help but overanalyze every little detail and wonder what the metaphor is behind the character’s obsession with obsessions. it even includes how i don’t find supermodels attractive anymore. i know, disturbing considering that i’m a healthy male of 25. makes no sense.

i don’t know why i feel this way.

rather, i don’t know why i don’t feel any way.

i just feel like nothing.

my experience with art

art exists because we exist.

do we create art or does art create itself.

seems like an age old debate

where

only one answer can be

right.

my experience with growing older

i will always have exactly one year to get my age right.

i feel like i’m just getting into the groove of being 26.

i’m turning 27 soon.

i hope the learning curve isn’t too drastic

or else i may regress to acting like a 26 year old

again.

my experience with honesty

"you’re a good guy."

"no. i’m not. i’m really not."

i’ve never been good at receiving compliments, but then again i’ve never met anyone who was really good at it.

whenever someone shoots a compliment my way, i do my best to deflect it. most of the time, i deny them. that’s not true of me. no, really. i assure you, good sir and/or madam, you are quite mistaken.

i not only deny compliments, but i paint myself in the most unflattering of lights possible.

if i were forced to stand naked on a public stage and ridiculed, i would join in with the crowd. with every jeer or insult, i would amplify each one by subjecting myself to further degradation. i would grab the flab of my stomach and shake my head in disgust, agreeing with the crowd’s disapproval.

but with every jab, i claim to do it in the name and virtue of honesty.

i pride myself on it. but to be truly honest, i am being dishonest.

every single self-deprecating comment directed at me by me is done in the name of self-preservation. every “honest” evaluation is a piece of armor i’m putting on to protect the very thing i am supposed to be making vulnerable.

i build up walls around me because i’m afraid of not living up to the standards those compliments set me up for. 

i just don’t want to let anyone down.

my experience with alone

i’ve never been happier to see my dad than when i was in elementary school. 

my mother had started working, so there was no one at home waiting for me, so i had to stay after school at the day care program with strangers.

it was ok. they gave us fruit snacks.

and they would unleash us outside where the baseball diamond and playground was. kids would run around, play kickball, or read. 

i didn’t really know any of the kids at the after school day care program, so i usually settled at a spot against the brick building. i’d sit and watch kids play. i’d pray for rain so we could go back inside, but mostly i waited for my dad to come pick me up. 

it never crossed my mind to go and play with the other kids. i figured they were doing alright without me even though i wasn’t. 

so i’d stand against the brick wall and kick at it with my heels until i saw my dad walking towards me. i’d run to him and hug him. he probably thought i really loved him. 

i was just glad to see a familiar face. 

my experience with marriage

my mother always makes it a point to mention how little she thought of my father when she first met him.

they had met through a mutual friend and according to my mother, he was “head over heels” for her and she didn’t give him a second thought.

the story goes that when my father found out she didn’t like him, he went on a sobbing and drinking binge.

however, before he left for America, he called her and asked if they could meet. she said yes. when they met, my father told her that he was going to America. this caught her offguard.

mostly because this had nothing to do with her.

"so what?" she asked.

"i’m going to write you," my father said.

and with that, he was off to Guam, then Texas, Los Angeles, with a stop in Chicago, and finally settled in Virginia.

all the while, he wrote her.

apparently, he wrote well because she wrote back.

my mother said she was approaching the “age of marriage” and my father was in America, so he did what any love drunkard would do. he arranged for her to meet his mother in Korea.

when my grandmother met her hopeful daughter-in-law, she was sold. it was the smartest thing my father had ever done. naturally, he proposed.

"i’m coming to Korea in May. that’s when we’re getting married."

and so the date was set. 

and nearly 30 years passed until i heard my mother tell me how she felt about my father.

"i don’t love your father. when you and your sister get married, i’m moving to Korea. i can’t live with him."

they just had a fight. i was checking on my mother. she was lying down in my sister’s room watching a show on her tablet.

i went downstairs and told my father to apologize.

he refused, so i left. i got in my car and drove.

i was angry my mother didn’t love my father, angry he didn’t love her enough to apologize, angry i was a product of such a loveless union.

i was driving and along with my tears, i had rubbed out my right eye contact. my vision became lopsided, the blurriness in one eye affecting the other, so i was forced to turn around against my will and go back home.

i quickly went upstairs, passed by my mother and went to the bathroom. i ripped open a new lens and put it in.

as i was rushing away, my mother saw my face and asked if i had been crying. i ran down and went out the door. i got in my car again and drove away quietly, staring at the road, each eye unaffected by the other.