Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Oscar Meets and Alien

Oscar has a fascination for scurrying creatures. His absolute enthusiasm for squirrels jolting up telephone powers causes him loose the ability to process any information except 'squirrel, squirrel!' Squirrels are his absolute favorite of scurrying creatures, but he has also shown fascination for other furry scurriers. There are a couple of neighborhood cats who like to dart across the street and into blackberry bushes. These cats also hold a high place in his mind. At night time, we see raccoons, who do a kind of lumbering scurry, into the bushes or the drainage ditch. He wants to go explore the drainage ditch so he can meet the raccoons. I say no! He also has a fascination in dogs that do more a scurry, bark-bark, dash back and forth in front of their yards as we pass by. He sees them and perks his ears and whimpers. He wants to be friends, even though most of these dogs see him as foe. Flying creatures he has shown less fascination for although he has barked at ducks and tried to chase a couple of crows before. Mostly he leaves them to chirp and fly in peace.

But what about Aliens? While taking a late night stroll, Oscar and I saw this creature emerge from the shadows. Eyes glowing with supernatural eeriness, he skulked past us. Oscar was quite interested. But he hesitated. Chasing an alien might be dangerous. The alien slunk away, back into the darkness. Oscar missed his chance.

The next day on his first walk of the day, Oscar looked toward where the alien had been. The alien had left no trace behind, except for maybe a few stray strands of orange fur. He was somewhere else now, probably curled in a sunspot, with the sun making his whiskers glow. His yellow eyes were closed and his tail occasionally twitched. Later he would wake up and lick his paws and fur before another adventure in the murky night, tricking hapless dogs into thinking he was something even mightier and more mysterious than he already was. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Quarter-Life Poem: Ten


Everyone gathered in small circles
their furrowed brows almost
pressing against each other
at the party, they whispered breathy stories
about the end of the world
each one of them certain
they saw the way the world would end
in a childhood dream
but no one agreeing on how we
will loose everything we've ever known.

The people on the outside of the circle
did not want to hear.
Those stories were
already wriggling into their minds
leaking shadows on every passing thought
So they hid
Under the table or in the broom closet
in the cupboard above the sink.
They pressed their sweaty palms against their ears
so they could only hear
the muffled echos of conversation.

In the living room, people were just as restless
they took sweet and bitter gulps of cocktails
and listened to creaking and crackling records
by people who died before they were born.

One man in a bow tie demanded liberation.
He unlatched the door to the bird cage
and released a flock of tropical birds.

There were ten of them
They flew in swooping circles around the room
Stretching their tense unused wing muscles
and despite years of disuse
they remembered perfectly how to fly
they dreamt of flight every night.
As people talked
tiny feathers fluttered from above
and landed on rosy cheeks and soft shoulders.

Someone, protesting the stale air
opened a window
letting the fresh air in
and the ten little birds out.

The birds had never met winter before
and the next morning the neighbor found
their fragile frozen bodies
lying rigid in the snow
ten iridescent specks against the bland shimmer of white.

In ten years, no one remembered
attending the party
except one man
who woke up the next morning in a cupboard
He stumbled to the front door
and saw that his shoes had vanished.
They were somewhere else on some other man's feet.
he walked home through the snow with bare feet
thinking the whole time about sunshine and blueberries.

When he got to the house he shared with his first wife
she was sprawled on the couch
flushed and sweaty with the flu
draped in a ratty pink bathrobe
the TV buzzing blankly in front of her
"Where were you?'
she asked,
"I was wondering
where you were
the entire night."
He stared in her direction
at a hollow spot just above her head
and thought, with a shiver,
of all the things he wanted to do before he died
but at that moment, the only thing he felt like doing
was laying down in the snow
to watch the remaining
birds fly south. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

L'écran D'argent

I have been on a French movie kick lately! French is a language I tried to learn in high school but any retention of what I learned was an utter failure. I've since tried again through listening to audio tapes, but again, failed. It is a very pretty language, and two failures doesn't mean I am doomed forever, so who knows, I may still learn. I just heard about this lawyer who failed the BAR exam 99 times before he passed. He has the sort of 'never-give-up' spirit that is hard not to admire! It would be awesome to watch a french movie with out subtitles and know what is going on, but for now I am happy with the subtitles.

I watched two Jean-Luc Goddard movies recently, both with similar endings: Breathless and Vivre Sa Vie. Both films also had a similar contemplative feeling and enchanting yet tragic characters.

Breathless was about the strange relationship between a casual couple, one who held a secret from the other that could lead to his demise! What I liked about his movies is while it's plot could be summed up explaining it is a crime capor, it is really a character study and a relationship study. Plus, it is so pretty to look at! But in the end, it is also really sad. All the characters seem unmoored and drifting through the world alone even when together.

Vivre Sa Vie has a plot that we hear a lot, although maybe it wasn't as prevalent back in the 60's when it was made. It is a story of a young woman who finds herself on the brink of poverty and remedies her situation by becoming a prostitute. But then, she and one of her John's fall in love and she attempts to leave the lifestyle to be with him. This movie like Breathless is so much more about the character than the plot itself. Anna Karina who plays the main character Nana is charismatic and tragic to watch. It is difficult not to feel empathy for her and her struggles. What made Vivre Sa Vie particularly beautiful is the way it was told: Through little connected vignettes.

Another french movie I watched recently is 'Umbrellas of Cherbourg.' This movie was visually beautiful, full of colors and interesting sets and awesome sixties fashion. For being a movie that had such a cheerful color pallet it was an incredibly sad story, partly because of its nontraditional movie ending.

The movie's dialogue is completely in song from declarations of love to the most casual chit chat. This is another indicator of cheerfulness, happy endings, and romanticized movie world. I am going to get into spoilers here, so don't go further if you don't want to be spoiled...

The story is about two people in love, Genevieve and Guy. Right before Guy is enlisted to fight in the Algerian war, Genevieve gets pregnant. But watching these two love birds, there is no way you believe anything except that if these two crazy kids in love can't make it, nobody can! But that is the thing, they don't make it! At least not as a couple. Another man, a wealthy slightly older man, falls in love with Genevieve while she is several months pregnant. Genevieve's mother wants her to marry this rich gentlemen. In the beginning of the movie, Genevieve has great notions of true love and tells her mother she is going to marry guy. But later on after Guy has been gone (for not even a year!) she tells her mother she can feel that her great passion is not what it once was. With the rich man in love with her, she has to make a decision to abandon her love for Guy and instead opt for a future with more certain conveniences and safety. Since she is expecting a child, she has to think about practical matters. Or she can wait for the father of her child who she once loved deeply but now is not as certain about, and if she stayed with him, her future would be uncertain. She ends up going for the rich guy, breaking not just Guy's heart but all of our hearts because who doesn't want to root for true love. But at the same time, the viewers can understand Genevieve decision. It wasn't made lightly. But it was made practically.

The saddest part of the movie is that what we like to perceive as true love built on destiny does not prevail. But in the end, the characters are not miserable. The two ex-love birds meet again on a snowy night. Genevieve is now a fancy lady with a little daughter. She seems sad when confronted with all she lost when she sees Guy again. But she does not seem like her life is sad. And Guy seems very happy with his life, his wife and child. And because of this, the movie should be a happy movie but it is not. No one likes their notions of true love dispelled! But in the end, there is a hope for us all that reality has its own sets of peace and happiness even if it did not turn out like a fairy tale. This movie was a really beautiful and poignant story that sticks with you after viewing it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Oscar Meets a Goose

I met the goose way before I met Oscar. The goose lives a couple of blocks from me and spends all of his time in his fenced off yard. The first time I met the goose, he came running at me full speed, wings spread, head tilted forward, honking and hissing. I thought to myself, 'that is the Mue Mue of the goose world.' Mue Mue is my fearless, grumpy, wild cat!

I love animals. I try to befriend them wherever I go, especially if it is an animal I would not normally have the joy of a goose! Every time I passed by the goose, I would coo to him. I would say to him in a sweet voice "Hi there little goose." I would tell him in hushed tones "Everything is going to be okay." None of this worked. The goose continued his bombardment of hissing and honking whenever I was near.

I worried the goose would always see me as foe rather than friend. But then I got Oscar.

Oscar and I walked past the goose early on in out time together. I expected the goose to hiss and honk at Oscar, just as he had done to me. I expected the goose to bend his neck in the strange way he does, open his toothy beak and jolt his head toward Oscar. I expected the goose to splay his mighty wings, with feathers sticking out like bristles. I expected the goose to unleash his mighty avian wrath with more force than ever before now that a carnivore accompanied me.  And in turn, I expected Oscar to bark and pull on his leash as he jumped toward the goose.  I expected Oscar's eyes to widen with excitement as he lunged toward the goose.

But instead of hissing, the goose rambled over to us and looked at us with curiosity. And instead of barking, Ozzie seemed to have absolute zero interest in the normally-angry-but-now-strangely-calm goose.

Ever since that initial meeting between Oscar and the goose, the goose has been a perfect gentlemen whenever Ozzie and I passed by his home. None of my normal animal befriending tactics worked on the goose. All he needed to trust me was the approval of another animal by my side. 

Monday, April 9, 2018

Quarter Life Poems: City Monsters

City Monsters

She walks through bursts of fog
the dragons breath of a dreary morning
her jacket drags along the rain soaked sidewalk
and the mossy cloth soaks up
the stale rain water.
All around her, steam rises from the shimmering streets
back toward the sky and sun.

Alley cats emerge from their crooked corners
and follow her
their rough cat paws
press against the dirt and grime
of soiled city streets.

She walks past a chain link fence
crowned with metal thorns
The fence protects an abandoned lot
overgrown by flowering weeds-
silk blooms in pastel
petals the various shades of sunburn skin.

Among the flowers are three silver monsters
the size of hurricanes,
the size of a pea underneath a stack of mattresses.
They graze on buds and blossoms
like gleaming-eyed cows on hill tops
causally chewing on overgrown grass.

The alley cats see the monsters
their eyes grow round
their pupils expand like a sunrise
they hiss and spit
and their bony backs bristle with raised fur

The silver monsters shimmy over
their bodies oscillate like a lazy wave
they uncoil their long tongues
and flick them at the angry cats.

But the gray clouds return
and the rain falls again
the monsters slowly disappear
disintegrating like sugar
staining the collecting rain puddles
with a metallic shimmer.

The rain soaked cats move away
to protect other parts of the city
orange tabbys and toothy calico's
sprint off in different directions
and when the next threat arises
they will take deep breath
and inflate like swollen porcupines
finding something new to hiss at

The woman leans against the fence
only slightly relieved.
The only truly unbelievable thing she has ever seen
and it vanished as quickly as the falling rain. 

Friday, April 6, 2018

Golden Light

There are lots of different ways that the clouds and sun and the tilt of the earth can make the world look extra beautiful. An empty road with warehouses is suddenly a paradise of soft gold.

When the light is gold like this, it feels like something magical can happen. Like a bunch of fairies will swoop down form the telephone wires. If fairies were real, they wouldn't live in the industrial district, they'd live in nature somewhere. But maybe sometimes they would flutter over to cemented areas as long as the light was the right shade of gold.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

A Beautiful Friendship Between A Pig and A Kitten

I was in a car as a passenger, driving through downtown Burien when I spotted something delightful: A lady cuddling a baby brown pig. I am not sure if the person I was in the car with believed me when I recounted the adorable sight.

Many months later, I was in downtown Burien again, this time on foot. I went into a pet store when I discovered the most amazing and utterly adorable sight: A chunky pig cuddling with a kitten!

I'm pretty certain this kitten-cuddling pig is the grown up version of the pig I had seen earlier. 

The pig was a rescue pig that the pet store was trying to find a home for. The pet store owner fostered the pig. They found her a home, and I suppose she was separated from her kitten friend. Hopefully her kitten friend also found a home. Even better if they went on to live together forever!