There’s a paint brush

in the fold of a twenty

dollar bill and a

paintbrush before the

first. The twenty is

pressed under the steel

coffee maker; the coffee

maker is next to a candle

my student gave me; it smells

like wood and pine. All these

objects sit on a glass desk.

Nena Linda

Visions of silk blue
Sandals . Palm leaves
darkest green smooth
as wax silk smooth
leaves blue moon darkest
night. jungle nights,
stars, eyes, white as
bright, as stars, staring
at me through the palm leaves

nena. ven mi                                                like a panther
alma, mi vida.                                   black body rippling
el me dice,                             running soft fur clutching
nena linda                                     skin and sheets our
mi corazón                           silk brown bodies run in
mi sangre                                the jungle at night time

                                                                         reina de
mi vida
acércate
ven linda
mi amor
mi princesa
quédate con
migo mi vida
nena linda
te quiero
para siempre

Womanhood

To cherish and hold, wrap my arms around your warm shoulders, cradle your head to my shoulder, caress your hair shhhhh
“Baby”
Hold you to my chest,
“Baby”

Angry words. thorns and bristles. stinging stones. They will only irritate but never penetrate my skin

Child, I love you, and I mean you and only you, every you, whenever you, whole and true, pieces and all. I will bend down and pick up every piece and sweep the glass dust

Even though you’ll never be whole again I will put you together—all of this does not lessen me or weaken me or exhaust me

Play and pick at my insecurities
That is the price I pay to cry and laugh freely
I gladly pay

 

 

Girl, Burning

She saw her own figure dancing in the flames

Arms raised behind her head, elbows pointed to the sky

Chin slowly pulled by the Devil’s string

She arched as if time didn’t exist.

Her forearms gentle suspended, resting in gravity

She raises them as one would course their limbs through water, heavy

But here there is nothing but air:

Who would have known that which gave life consumes it that much quicker?

 

She peers closer to see her own eyes gouged by the flames, pouring out the cavities like magicians’ scarves.

She touches her own cheeks and feels no wet, just flushed heat, her throat

Closing smoke curling, rising.

She touches her throat and longing for sound, opens her mouth but

Instead, a billow of ash vomits forth, her ribs heave and pushes out the sooty air

She touches her breast and closes her eyes; she holds herself and the Devil

calls her name LOOK AT ME!

She watches her own dancing figure in the flames

Helicopter

Chopchopchop
Fwipfwipfwip
Fwapfwapfwap

Landing the elite for a large price
You too! can ascent, pulled
from your spine.

Master of all,
Monster Bird,
blades chopchopchop the air

No guns here, just
a tour of the Statue of
Liberty.

Bambi

Gazelle, brown hair,

let me touch you.

Timid beast,

child of the yellow grass,

nostrils flare.

warm-air snorts.

ears flicker forward.

Trust me.

I outstretch my hand–

BAMBI, you are my

love.

Plato: Euthyphro

Euthyphro takes his father to court for killing a man. Socrates is not jealous of his position. Euthyphro judges the law to be above paternal love or obligation. They argue what is pious and impious.

Socrates begs Euthyphro for generalization: “Remember that I did not ask you to give me two or three examples of piety, but to explain the general idea which makes all pious things to be pious….tell me wh at is the nature of this idea, and then I shall have a standard to which I may look.” (41)

It is pious to pursue justice.

Plato: Lysis

Lysis: Old man wishes he was young again. A man Hippothales, feels slighted by not acquiring the attention of a popular young man. Socrates says that he will show Hippothales how to talk to young popular men. “I may perhaps be able to show you how to converse with him, instead of singing and reciting in the fashion of which you are accused.” (7) Socrates insists:

“If he slips away from you, the more you have praised him, the more ridiculous you will look at having lost this fairest and best of blessings; and therefore the wise lover does not praise his beloved until he has won him, because he is afraid of accidents. There is also another danger: the fair, when any one praises or magnifies them, are filled with the spirit of pride and vainglory. Do you not agree with me?” (6)

Then, Socrates makes brief statements about “lover” and “beloved in confusing terms that are grammatically and semantically outdated.

But two things are concretely salvageable within the dialogue:

  1. That the common notion of “birds of a feather flock together” or in his terms “like goes with like” is false in the sense that there needs to be completion rather than complement. He enlists the following: “The try desires the moist, the cold the hot, the bitter the sweet, the sharp the blunt, the voice the full, and the full the void, and so of all other things.” (20-21) He argues that “opposite is the food of the opposite, whereas like receives nothing from like.”
  2. There is such thing as good, evil, and not good or evil. Health is good, disease is evil and the body is neutral.

Boredom

I attempted, felt prompted to define boredom. The description given, especially the continuing of nothingnness made me recall “Nausea”. In fact, it was not boredom but anxiety that was the continuation of nothingness. It produces angst! It produced a special suffering. I wouldn’t consider this real imprint of horror, angst, existential crush and dissociation. Boredom, I would consider this impression quite active. This untraceable worry and immersion into nothingness is not boredom.

Boredom is commonly understood as lack of activity or action. Most would say that the subject is bored when they are not DOING something. But I argue rather that boredom is when the subject is not ACTED UPON; that is what causes boredom.I argue that it is the external not internal force that determines boredom. Internal force is insufficient to determine boredom. Why? Because it is insufficiently challenging, perhaps because it is already known. I’m not sure.

What is this exterior force that determines boredom? Is it not desirable? Do we not appreciate that which separates us from the angst of existence?

Infinite Value

It might be argued that I am trying to talk about the thing itself, that in attempting to attain purity. Maybe I am. I like specificity and I believe in one thing contrasting another, to an extent. While there may not be a definitive beginning or end–in this way, things take on an infiinte quality (and we can perhaps say that things which are infinite have no and all value, and if all things have no beginning or end, all things are infinite. If all infinite things have no and all meaning, all things have no/all meaning.

I’ll choose concrete things to illustrate this idea, as most people are bound to turn to seemingly concrete things such as buildings and chairs for examples of permanence. Buildings are easier to explain. Everyone knows that buildings are erected and demolished and buildings only last between these two states (decisions really) for the meantime, yes building has a beginning or end but 1. not many have access to that knowledge and 2. the building is not destroyed but transformed.

In meantime, a building has a beginning and end but it would be ridiculous to determine its duration ahead of time (“We will construct this building to stand 2 years and 20 days). While we’ve been analyzing its physical alpha and omega, we haven’t yet discussed its internal alpha and omega. Meaning, buildings typically serve a purpose to live, to work, to exhibit, to park, to please aesthetically (but is this not then, sculpture? I digress) and who can say for certain when the interior will begin/end permanently– think of butcher shops converted into restaurants for instances, homes turned into museums, warehouses into clubs. As such, buildings are infinite things and therefore have no/all value.

Chairs are more difficult because they are not so fluid. It c an also be said that its beginning and end is marked by construction and destruction. Similarly, its construction rarely has its end in mind. The only addition I’ll note is its movement. Its ease of movement is worthy of remarking upon in the curious sense that people draw chairs farther or close to accommodate intimacy. Or, we can observe that chairs are used to stand upon for reaching high things. So while the primary function is to sit, we can’t se we won’t need to stand on it, and we can’t say that if we’ll be entertaining two or three guests at a time… in this senses, the chair is infinite and again, it has no/all value/meaning.

 

Lolita

Is a haunting tale that crept into my siesta and grabbed hold of my heart. Playing with the borderline of reality and dreamland, the emotion lingered and tore me slowly, patiently, and gently. I had experienced waking up, both the feeling of fear and sadness.

Frankly, the plot is pointless to follow. Reported speech–liberally drenched in fantasy—makes it difficult for to really understand the gravity of any given event. Some slight details are exaggerated; some great events are offhandedly casual. Perhaps this is an element of beauty, as we entertain the possibility that we are within a deranged mind, in which values are mixed and skewed. Morality takes a different form through the narrator’s account.

The most beautiful part of this story is its writing. I admire any writer that maintains a strong friendship with punctuation and syntax. Nabokov paints with words. His word choice is of the highest grade, if not a bit effusive.

Some kitsch remarks above the novel: its repetition of the color blue and its frequent use of French is eye-roll worthy. I won’t bother with the basely symbolism of colors but without it, we wouldn’t get the full impressions of manic obsession which brings about unapologetic and revealing characterization. Secondly, there is a sufficient amount of French with no translation (in the advent of online translators this is no issue). Comprehension commentary aside, it reminds the reader of a different time where knowledge was self-contained and not as easily accessible and a great deal of detail would have been omitted if one was not able to speak French.

Quotes I particularly enjoyed:

Select Cafe

It is cold and lightly drizzling. Vignesh offers three places: “There’s Jack’s Wife Frieda, Grey Dog, and a little up the street is Fondue, which doesn’t serve fondue,” he said. We were standing just next to JWF. So rationally I thought of my options: a place i’ve been to right here that’s pretty good, a place i’ve been to over there, or a new place that may or may not be good.” We ended up at Fondue. Actually, it’s name is Cafe Select but they haven’t bothered to change the name over the door: why?  Was it to inspire dialogue to friends by word of mouth? The world may never know

We checked JWF but the wait was 15 minutes and we were (I was) starving. Another charm about Fondue that I forgot to mention was that it was a gratuity included restaurant. Tip is already calculated into prices; extra tip is welcomed but unnecessary. We were trying to figure out the cuisine type by its menu which offers rosti (swiss hash browns) but also helloumi. The food is slightly overpriced but it’s good and the ambiance is better. The waiter was good but the hostess had questionable judgment.

Empty, Vig and I (okay, just I ) requested the corner table. (I like corners!) She said no, it’s for a party of three. A. the table could never fit three and B. there was no one there and plenty of seating in the back. “Fine, can we sit in the other corner?” I requested. I’d have to clean it, she responded.  The table that was dirty was not the corner table; the corner table was clean and unused. Whatever, and I let it go.

Food was good. Soup of the day was tomato and basil oil. Ordered the rosti. Secretly desired the coconut milk cereal bowl full of chia seed coconut and fruit. Viggy ordered the kale salad with the poached eggs, pine nuts, avocado, and bacon. Coffee was good too.

The atmosphere I would say is the highlight. The lighting is perfect: If you get the chance, sit in the window bar facing the back of the restaurant. The person you are sitting in front of will be the focus of your eye, and with the background light out of focus, the effect is stunning. Truly there is no better way to describe the effect other than magical. It is truly a sight/experience to be felt. Decor is luxurious but tasteful, splendid without being gaudy. It has a foreign touch without being kitsch. Strong recommend but a caution on the service. Wouldn’t frequent here.

 

Macaron Cafe

Macaron Cafe is a little place near me that I often feel semi-guilty (not really) going to so often. In New York there are so many incredible places, I want to go somewhere new every time. But it’s just SO close I can’t help it.  To boot, it has one of the best macaroons around town, especially on the east. What’s so fun about this store is that it’s got a long selection of tastiness. Just when you think you’ve seen plenty of macaroons over the glass counter, you realize said counter goes around the room! Little gems of coconut, earl grey, and many others are just around the corner. The front displays its constantly updated items (they had matcha & chestnut a few weeks back, pumpkin cinnamon too, and now their newest addition is strawberry smoothie.)

Perfect for a gift or a small treat for yourself, there’s definitely occasion to have a taste here. The macaroons are perfectly wispy, light, and properly flaky. After having failed miserably to make them on my own, I have a new found respect for macaroon makers. At Macaron cafe, they’ve got it down. The creams inside vary by flavor and day. I once bit into an espresso macaroon and thought the filling was so airy that it was closer to a mousse than a paste. The coconut was a bit stickier and had some flakes rolled onto its side. Flavors vary from rich nutella to light rose petal, chocolate raspberry to honey lavender.

The decor is a bit overwhelmingly pink but in a charming way. A retro feel, the furniture is white and the light glows pink all around. Theres great natural light at the front window (where there’s a bar), marble tables and black chairs.

Staff is mostly Latin, from Colombia and Peru and service is warm and friendly. The clients are happy and frequently engage them in chit chat—a testament to how they make one feel like home— waitresses are respectful and efficient, though by no way appearing to be rushed.

They serve food here too: healthy (and not so healthy) breakfasts, salads, and sandwiches. I’m a light eater so to me, it’s a proper meal. However, they don’t have anything heavy if you’re planning on having something more filling. There’s a soup/sandwich combo for lunch (french onion and any half sandwich). Thoroughly enjoyable meal whenever I do come here to have a quick eat, but I still would come here mostly for the coffee and macaroons. Most people come here dressed from work but there’s an atmosphere where laptop work could be done. Wifi is available. Frequently come here due to proximity but if a quick dessert treat is what you’re a’fixing for, it’s worth a trip.

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