writing

Onion Bulbs, Balloons and Sparkles

People I appreciate the most are those with complex inner worlds. Their mind is both cozy and scary destination where strong connections are being made, surfaces are reflective and the air is fresh. There are so many layers that a visitor can peel off slowly like holding a huge onion bulb.

Inner worlds mean stimulating thoughts, exciting ideas and bright eyes. Meeting someone for the first time, talking and looking them in the eyes, it’s easy – there is something unpredictable going on in the back, I caught the infamous twinkle, a spark in the eye. Literally and figuratively. It’s nice, we’re cool. Even though it sounds banal, the twinkle eyed folks are not very common (or are just not easy to find in typical environment), and the experts are not exactly predicting a sparkly future.

The arch-enemy of the spark is not just dullness of the mind, to be politically correct, oh no, I’ve seen many brittle minds being suffocated by the haze of an inflated ego. Self obsession can start subtly, we are all spending too much time in our heads over-analyzing unimportant events instead of building our own cities and countries, but once it spreads on other vital organs, it’s probably too late. Metastasis. The haze is addicting and the sense of judgement is fragile. Even the good, altruistic deeds now get projected into puzzle pieces that want to turn everything  about the person into something remarkable.

There are two platforms – the foggy, disproportionately big headed ego dances on the first one, and everything beneath is a stale waltz of the common folk.

When ego reaches its last stage and the head gets so inflated that the person can’t carry it around anymore, the body rejects the head and the amount of air makes it float away. It may be forever.

Next time you see a body looking, hearing and tasting its surroundings with its limbs, don’t be scared or feel sorry for it, it’s not a tragedy. Even a beaten up body is more useful than the most beautiful balloon head, the only problem we may need to worry about is the atmosphere being  cluttered with too many of those skipping up and down and bumping into each other. We could be encountering a new form of global warming.

 

Self Portrait 2012 by Morbido13

Source: deviantart

 

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The Dada Method

It’s been a while since I wanted to do this, I used to do it when I was a kid. With books. Everyone was angry when they found out, of course.

How to make a dadaist poem? Just do what Tristan Tzara, the inventor of dadaism says:

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That’s exactly what I did, I found last weeks newspaper laying around, chose the first short article I saw at the bottom of the page in the news section and this is the result (not sure how I feel about the comment how the poem is supposed to be like me). The headline is added afterwards, it wasn’t created by random words I was mixing up. Of course the original was in Croatian since I used local newspaper, but I tried to keep it literal while translating.

 

School Break

formation of the Kentucky attacker

the state

because of the shooting Twitter reacted

the reasons are fought down

celebrities in the middle

shooting published shooting state

one federal governor wounded

it came tested middle

claimed

about rarity but in detention

school is to be more schools

real didn’t

agency published to school

across the police is

person one killed

the police governs them

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How to Kick Yourself in the Ass and Other Important Advice

In most cases I think being nice to people is the only possible way of being. The fact that I’m, just like everyone else, surrounded by rude, pushy, generally just very self obsessed humans doesn’t stop me from holding up the wall of niceness throughout the day. That wall isn’t built because I’m an amazing person, it comes from selfish reason. It’ s almost like self preservation even though I feel it damages me more and more in a subtle, but visible way.

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I think it’s selfish because I don’t feel good when others don’t, especially if  something I may have said or done made them uncomfortable. I’m thinking of small stuff that happens in daily interactions with neighbors, colleagues, people you meet during the day, but don’t know them or you just don’t share a deeper connection.

Before writing this I spent a good 10 minutes unconsciously damaging the skin around my finger nails just thinking about situations when a person was being insulted, humiliated or just failing at something and me trying to smooth things up, calm people down or trying to give a humorous tone to an awkward situation. Again, I do it to protect myself from feeling anxious, hurt or most likely trying to hide from the horrible agony of second hand embarrassment. I invented cringe before it existed, I must have cringed at bad jokes and disgusting pick up lines on TV as soon as I could make sense of the words I was hearing. Or maybe even sooner, I was born in a floating balloon of cringiness that is too powerful to break down.

Be nice to keep things going without unnecessary trouble even if the lady at the bank is giving you shit. You’ll see here now and probably never again. Fake a smile or two, trow in a wink if you’re feel like it, it confuses people and gives you enough time to escape and let them think. Maybe. If not, still, you win by the score Universe is tracking.

This doesn’t mean I am against a good argument and heated discussion. I’m all about that, actually I’m not into people agreeing with me completely on every single subject because I can’t learn or improve myself from being around those people. Again, the selfishness is my hidden charm.

The lack of lashing out at people has its downsides because I seem to directly inhale all of the negative and passive aggressive energy I get thrown at and carry it around in my gut like a ticking time bomb until I can’t do it anymore and the only wish is to disembowel myself samurai style. The results of the bomb finally exploding is me being offensive and mean towards the people I love for a short period of time and then being incredibly mad at myself for much longer period.

Luckily, the explosion doesn’t kill me but makes me wait until my limbs are ready to grow again, learning how to crawl first and then getting up to walk slowly, rebuilding the fragile brain and body connections from scratch while replacing all the negative with clarity and hugs. Lots of hugs.

Final step means saving the energy for future battles because it is certain that they never stop completely. It’s much easier when you’re aware that all of this is bullshit with a casual ticks of fun – that’s what I meant by clarity.

 

P.S. Today is Virginia Woolf’s birthday, it’s time to celebrate so grab your balloon.

 

 

 

Sunday Clichés

Ideally, Sundays should be all about:

  • sleeping in without feeling guilty for avoiding responsibilities
  • breakfast + coffee in bed
  • staying in bed for as long as possible
  • cuddles and kisses
  • showering is optional (depends on how wild your Saturday night was)
  • brushing your teeth isn’t optional, but feel free to take your time
  • deliberately missed phone calls
  • writing haiku poetry inspired by random objects in the room
  • fluffy socks
  • watching this movie

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  • online food orders
  • inventing new wor(l)ds
  • being quiet
  • being too loud
  • more coffee
  • screenplay ideas
  • finishing a scrapbbook
  • firmly deciding about painting over that wall even though you know it’s not going to happen
  • laughing about it
  • raindrops on the window that will all be gone by Monday
  • uninstalling Pinterest from your phone
  • the dogs taking themselves for a walk
  • movie soundtracks
  • serial killers/real life crime documentaries
  • convincing everyone Lana del Rey is one of the greatest living artists
  • having too long conversations about which numbers are male or female
  • the same thing with colors
  • and geometrical objects
  • exploring Marina Abramović’s career phases
  • crying a bit because you’re not Marina, feeling better afterwards because you’re at peace with yourself
  • finally watch the rest of Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson
  • going to bed early because you never really left it in the first place

 

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Pucker Up Babe, Winter Is Coming

When it’s good, it’s easy. Everything feels smooth, makes sense and gives an impression of stability, like it will last forever. Then comes the bitter comedown when feelings hit back in the opposite direction, a knockdown is inevitable. A fucked up defense mechanism panics, it turns all mind and bodily functions into a battery saving mode, limiting my willingness for social interaction to a minimum. It’s not the lack of willingness actually, it has more to do with the ability to function like an adult and not like a spoiled, wrangling baby.

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All of this is nothing but a shitty way of myself trying to explain my actions to no one other than myself which is a contradiction since I’m afraid I’m not the most objective observer right now, or ever. It’s all fun and games but when the ‘elephant day’ comes –  the feeling of the biggest elephant casually sitting on my chest,  changing positions just a bit so I can catch a glimpse of air to keep me conscious – that’s when  I feel the need to catch up with what’s new on Button Poetry, a community led by awesome, talented and brave people sharing the talent and joy of expressing, playing with words rolling down their swift tongues.

Performance poetry, what an honest beauty! Raw, direct, clumsy, but genuine to its core. Everything I want to be. The cathartic feeling of recognizing the lines of your stupid face in those verses is naturally amusing, sometimes scary, oh but it’s much more than that!  Even the stories of people whose life paths don’t really cross with ours bring an abundance of inspiration (in a lack of a better word because my word treasure box is restricted and dull at the moment).

One of the most successful performance poet is this Amazon queen warrior named Sabrina Benaim whose videos keep punching me in the face, making my nose bleed and my stomach ache. 

Not to mention the different types of awe I’m feeling, firstly because of the incredible amount of courage it takes to rip your old wounds open in front of thousands of people, the non given fucks concurring the hell out of insecurities and fear of being mocked for your weaknesses. Because,  you know, we’a re all so cool, independent and distant hiding behind memes, hashtags, sarcasm or whatever cringy shit you choose to get high on. More than 6 million views on her most popular video performance makes me think how I would rather get physically naked and do back flips on stage in front of that amount of people.

But like me and the Ancient Greeks together concluded, it’s all about reaching the sense of being reborn, brushing the dirt off your shoulders and moving on. I wish I could do any of those,  the back flips and public poetry. Maybe even combine them.

 

Btw, if you want to buy me a perfect Christmas gift, look no further, thanks: depression & other magic tricks

Bloody Mary

Thinking about the future

makes my anxiety vomit all over the place

it’s the morning sickness

little, nasty anxiety babies are born

by caesarean section

because she can’t afford fucking up her figure

no, no, there’s a long way to go

a prominent, high ranked career of life management

and public alienations

being the boss

of dingy cubicles placed in a fancy tower

that has no doors

where neurons go to die

and everyone pretends to work

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to be continued, but it really won’t

Surprise Me!

I’m in love with stories that surprise me. Whether it’s a short story, a newspaper column, anecdote or a movie, doesn’t matter as long as there’s a plot turn that makes me question my own reality. It’s also irrelevant if the surprise is positive or negative, subtle or loud, realistic or pure science fiction – just hit me with it, expand my mind just  bit beyond the borders of a mold it is currently in.

Watching a predictable drama or Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy can be both fun and cathartic every once in a while, but when it comes to movies, the unusual genre hybrids are what keeps this love going strong.

I’ve already heard impressions about Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ unusual ways of coming up with stories before I watched one of his films and naturally developed my share of expectations. I knew I would encounter something atypical and was very much looking forward to that.

The first one I watched was The Lobster, a 2015 dystopian drama probably taking somewhere in the near future. I already wrote a piece about that one so I don’t want to repeat myself, I just wanted to stress out how it exceeded my expectations. I was baffled, impressed and entertained in a unique way. It met all my ‘surprise me’ wishes and put Lanthimos on the list of foreign directors I keep yapping about to my friends, pulling their arm and saying: But trust me, it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before! TRUST MEEE, go watch it! Read the reviews,  here’s the trailer link, did you watch it? Did you like it? Did you? Isn’t it funny when you realize why the film is named Lobster, is it? Can you imagine this happening to us one day?

And so on.

At the moment I’m impatiently awaiting The Killing of a Sacred Deer, the latest Lanthimos’ work so today I decided the time has come to go back in time and watch 2009 critically acclaimed film Dogtooth. Of course I didn’t expect it to have anything to do with The Lobster, but the cold, sterile atmosphere crept on me right from the beginning and that’s when I was able to recognize a similarity. The feeling of alienation and characters pronouncing the dialogue like reading school textbook lines in a bad play while  turning absurd statements into logical conclusions are shared in both movies.

That is where the comparison ends and the weirdest plot I have ever seen begins (and I’ve seen Martyrs, thank you for asking).

Three teenagers live with their controlling parents, completely separated from the real world. By that I don’t mean they go straight back home from school to do their homework, they never leave home and are literally unaware of other people or anything that’s going on in the world (assuming that it really is our world), the only one who leaves the property is the father who works in some kind of factory. The children (two sisters and a brother) are told they can leave home on the day their ‘dogtooth’ falls out.

They are coming up with endurance games to keep themselves busy, have gathering ‘parties’ by watching old family videotapes that they already know by heart or listening to their grandpa singing. A little spoiler alert – the man they think is their grandpa is actually Frank Sinatra singing Fly Me To The Moon. Those poor kids.

At times it felt like a much more censored and brutal version of  The Truman Show, but the rest of the story is far more original in making levels of absurd hitting the ceiling. I caught myself often getting annoyed by the characters – their way of talking, reacting to pain, following their animal instincts, general lack of empathy or any kind of usual reaction. But then again, there’s no place for normality in a story like this one so who can blame them? Their family dinner time taken out of the context sounds like a bad improvised sketch performed by not too intelligent amateur actors.

Oh and please remember that the cats are the most dangerous animals you can ever encounter and that zombies are small yellow flowers.

Confusion, sex, violence, incest, more violence, confusion and the open ending is how I would put it shortly. At the end of the day,  I’m glad I watched it but the feeling of having a 90 minute physical fight with this film is something I wouldn’t like to go through again.  I think I can finally say I watched something that was just too much for me to absorb or break down to pieces and analyze. But it sure did surprise me, disturbed me, but made me laugh at the most unusual moments, and like I said at the beginning, that’s the most important part.

 

Lightly, My Darling

It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly, child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly my darling.

Read it out loud, this beautiful excerpt may sound familiar, it is from the utopian novel called Island, told by even more beautiful mind of Aldous Huxley.

I know I need to read it once again because I think I would have much more use from it (if I may say so) now than I did 4 or 5 years ago. I think about all those books that I read a long time ago and it’s not that I didn’t enjoy them or understand them, it’s just that it may have been too soon.

One of our crazy high school teachers actually made some sense when he said that he agrees that making a bunch of 17-year-olds read Marcel Proust’s Combray in a short period and then expect them to identify with the novel’s main subject – the passing of time, is ridiculous. Proust was obsessed with destructive effect time has on people, events and relationship, an obsession worth having if you ask me now, but what the fuck does a kid in high school have to do with that? 

The only thing that happens after reading Proust when you’re that young is deciding you don’t want to have anything to do with his work ever again. Ten years later, I still remember how unbelievably confusing Combray was, even though I didn’t hate it as much as most of my peers. Ten years later, I haven’t yet decided it’s time to go back to it and continue reading the remaining six volumes, more than 4 000 pages aptly named In Search of Lost Time. I still have time to lose before I start feeling really bad about it, at least that’s what I’m counting on.

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Huxley’s Island on the other hand acts as a sedative, but not a mind numbing kind, it slows down time in an enlightening way. If you compare the cruel, frightening reality of Brave New World and Buddhist influences on Island – his last novel, it makes me happy that Huxley didn’t get more scared and worried as he got old and sick as if it’s somehow expected from an average modern mind’s point of view.

The key to being lucid and painfully aware of everything that is wrong (is dystopia our reality?) while making peace with your current state without feeling powerless or out of focus is of course not yet known to me, the path is, I believe, somewhere between Proust’s melancholia and fragility and Huxley’s spiritual philosophy, often enhanced by psychedelic drugs he started experimenting with in the 1950s.

A couple of days ago I learned what his last moments were like, which made me like him even more, not because of ‘wow, he’s so cool’ factor, but because I think it represents a great mind fully embracing everything that is happening. The decaying body does not equal a decaying mind.

On his deathbed, unable to speak due to advanced laryngeal cancer, Huxley made a written request to his wife Laura for “LSD, 100 µg, intramuscular”.

 

There are things known

and there are things

unknown,

and in between are

the doors of perception. 

 

 

Have you heard about….??

Do you ever discover something ( like a song, series, food recipe, piece of clothing, any kind of skill ) that everyone was fully aware of since the beginning of our time on Earth?

Yeah, me too.

Nevertheless, you keep proudly talking about it, share thoughts publicly and basically acting like you single – handedly discovered a new planet in our solar system.

Yup.

Love it.

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Just kidding with  Despacito actually, I was seriously obsessed with it for a couple of months during its ‘prime time fame’, learned it by heart, but now my ears are bleeding just like everyone else’s. My Spanish has improved by 0,005 %, though!

Poetry Nights and how they put everything back in perspective

Sometimes I love cancelled plans, ironically they come to me with a great feeling of adrenaline rush and countless opportunities. I am an introvert by default – it is evident from my need to catch a break for a day or two after spending a lot of time closely interacting with other people for a while. It doesn’t mean they are not dear to me, I just need a small escape gap to give me a chance to recharge my batteries, and then I’m ready to socialize again and be a happy, functional human woman.

Like most of us, I enjoy being around people I like and who I’m comfortable with, talking is of course the main part of the deal so a healthy cocktail of chit-chattery, gossip, simple topics mixed with something new or more challenging is always the unintentional goal. One of the parts of being a social being in general is no matter how long you know someone, if your relationship is solid, you’ll always manage to discover new subjects, learn something and finally, get excited about things you didn’t even know they excite you.

So, cancelled plans. This week is the best time to be alive for all of us chronic cancellation and postponing loving assholes. It is the middle of a summer, the time when I usually turn into someone who is not a very good person, someone who doesn’t have the greatest conversation starters or any creative ideas whatsoever, someone who will talk about mosquito bites and suicide 90 per cent of the time. I would most likely team up with your grandma and present everyone with the data about the horrible effects of sun exposure and how you should, if possible, avoid it throughout the day. Going to the beach happens only from 6 to 7 AM or after 7 PM, there’s no in between. Literally. I will even casually throw in the word ‘cancer’ just to keep the party going, totally unaware how I’m being a bit of a hypocrite since I used to smoke a pack  a cigarettes a day and no one could say a word about it.

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Back to cancelled plans. The past couple of days the heatwave made everyone act like me. They are postponing work, public events – no open movie projections, even some theater plays got cancelled! Since nothing is going on, all we hear in the ‘news’ is: extreme temperatures, the worst summer ever, hell on earth… I read a title that went like this: Our readers experiences: ‘I went to the store today and died’. The whole article consists of random statements delivered by anonymous Croatian citizens (a.k.a. invented by the author) worrying about how to survive the heatwave. My absolute favourite comes from a brave female reader from Zagreb:

I drink water and pee all day, I can’t eat and I usually love to eat. If I put my clothes on, I’m hot. If I take it off, I get sticky. And the worst part of it all – the coffee doesn’t taste good.

What do I do when plans get cancelled and I’m lying naked in a pool of blood sweat next to the ventilator, but don’t want my brain to go into a complete shutdown? I read poetry – no matter if it’s going back to old gems or accidentally discovering new authors, it’s the best cure. Tonight I’m once again hanging out with my queen, Sylvia Plath.

One of her poems that leaves the greatest impression is called Mushrooms and although I didn’t pay much attention to it because of the title that seemed bleak (seriously?), became important to me right after I read it for the first time.

Mushrooms

Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.

Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.

Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,

Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,

Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We

Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking

Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!

We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot’s in the door.

Sylvia Plath, The Colossus and Other Poems (1960)

 

When I read it now, I could swear that this poem is precisely what first inspired Margaret Atwood to write The Handmaid’s Tale, just look at the last verse. Sylvia Plath is an icon of feminism, a real one, not just a ‘one line pony’ as I like to call them nowadays. She lived in the 50’s and was, in a way, forced into accepting a role of a simple housewife, go after society’s rules, although her mind was way beyond that ever since she was a young girl.

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If I Could Just See You From Up Here by Norman Duenas

This is a poem about oppression and how it will not last forever. I don’t think it’s necessary to limit to the equal female rights problem only when oppression is not just gender based problem (what an understatement in lack of a better word), it is everywhere, it is evident, hidden, sometimes comes in layers, sometimes directly in your face. Oppression is the word I would use to describe what Plath was fearing the most during her young and later adult years, the fear of not being able to express herself and live freely without having to answer to anyone’s expectations deteriorated the state of her mental health leading her towards the tragic ending.

Mushrooms speaks to everyone who has ever felt isolated, misunderstood, underestimated or ignored and although it comes in a depressive tone, it is actually a positive, hopeful poem.  It provokes the thoughts of a revolution that will help restore the balance between the greedy oppressor and the underdog. It is in deed a revolution, but not the roaring, powerful kind, it is subtle and quiet, it comes on its tiptoes while you think everyone on the planet is asleep. Nothing is sure except that in the morning the sun will rise and deliver a surprise on its rays.

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We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.