Monday, April 12, 2010


Groggily I slip into into my icy cold shirt and steely shoes. My sweater's zipper comes zooming up with electric speed. I glance over the clock. Ten minutes late. 7am Traffic. Ugh. I settle into my front seat and the engine spurts to life. Another day of driving. Sigh.

I remember a time when music didn't mean too much to me. I could function without the melodies coming out of the stereo. The songs from my childhood were heartbreaking, glum, and bitter. I hated music.

Sitting in the car, my face was always towards the window, my mom would turn the volume dial to the highest possible auditory level. The music would dig relentlessly like a drill, deeper each time, to the center of my soul. The windows would shake and sigh as a sound waves would hit their shiny surface. The glass looked back with a glum reflection. The vibrations moved through my body and the glass without fail. I would shudder as the music lyrics seeped through the speakers. Only my eyes could escape the music.

On a bright early morning, as I drive past endless morning cars, my radio lies crooked. After an attempt to take the radio out, some strangers decidedly either failed to completely take out the box or they found the box of no use. My car is devoid of musical sound now. Many years later, music no longer makes my windows shudder. So not having a stereo makes me restless. It has been about a month now and the box face stays empty. My mind is full of thoughts now and imagination. My drives no longer consist of singing my favorite songs in the privacy of my own car, rather they give my mind time to think and imagine.

I drive past huge concrete legs that cross over my car. Suddenly, they grow hair and I race against then before they get me. Rows of palm trees line the sides of the highway, like soldiers standing incredibly erect, only swaying with the strongest of winds. Never breaking, only bending. Row after row, they all have the same expression. I drive alone along the highway, a termite among the hundreds. The face expression the same of every passing vehicle. Eyes ahead. Hands on wheel. Tuned out of what calamity lies ahead.

Then I arrive at my destination. I open my door, and I become myself again. Birds chirp and the sun's rays seep into my skin. The sun welcomes me once more to life. The traffic is gone. Now the stampede of students heads my way. Another day of school :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ernesto Con y "En Hora de la Tarde"

After visiting the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California, I came across a really - extremely - neat book. A book of poems. Ernesto Con, a Costa Rican Chinese, wrote some poems I was extremely happy to read. His verse is full of melancholy and nostalgia. Of course, he has poems full of joy too. I want to keep his book, but unfortunately I'll have to give it back. Among the many, "En Hora de la Tarde," is my favorite. It clearly reflects my current sentiments. Ahhhh, poets - and one who writes in Spanish too!?!?! That's rare. I love words. Especially Spanish ones. So a Spanish speaking/writing poet is an awesome combination. But, I can still dream right?

Sometimes I feel like I am missing out on my own culture. I rarely speak Spanish now - or rather I don't know many fluent Spanish speakers. The friends I do know, usually prefer English over Spanish. Admittedly, sometimes I choose to speak English instead. It's a habit. I rarely see my ama, who is the main person I speak my native tongue with at home. So, my goal is to listen to lots of Spanish songs. They are the best after all :] But most importantly, I must read.

I'll go back in my mom's cassette collection and break open my childhood memories. The dust might be caked on several of these memories. Some not so pleasant, but that's what I remember. It was a completely different life. My Spanish life. It's almost another vida, not my own.


"En horas de la tarde
Cuando empiezo a escribir,
me llega de las calles
una ansia de vivir.

Otras veces yo siento
una afán de llorar,
son lamentos que el viento
recoge en mi pesar.

Yo no se lo que busco
en este eterno andar;
vagando por el mundo
en pos de mi avatar

Mi espiritó gitano
me arrastra sin piedad
a través de pantanos;
de esta gris soledad"