May We Meet Again, Ming

/ Saturday, September 30, 2017 /
In peace, may you leave the shore.
In love, may you find the next.
Safe passage on your travels until our final journey to the ground.
May we meet again. *

*Lifted from The 100 TV series


/ Friday, September 29, 2017 /
I've been depriving myself of poetry and fiction lately,  and I need a bolus of both stat ( I'm even using medical jargon agh!) to fuel me into writing about branding, design thinking, valuable design outcomes, biohacking,  and DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness, oh wait why am I still explaining myself in my own blog) So today, I'm going to revel in all things poetry and prose. 

First off, we have Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch. I've read it last 2015 (or was it last year?), and I'd like to have what Donna Tartt is having for breakfast every day because it might be her secret sauce. Ha! She is a literary G-O-D-D-E-S-S. I stumbled upon her first novel The Secret History years ago and it left me by turns awestruck and gutted when I finished the book. The Goldfinch is no different. 

Here are some of my favorites:

"A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don’t get to choose our own hearts. We can’t make ourselves want what’s good for us or what’s good for other people. We don’t get to choose the people we are.” 

"That life—whatever else it is—is short. That fate is cruel but maybe not random. That Nature (meaning Death) always wins but that doesn’t mean we have to bow and grovel to it. That maybe even if we’re not always so glad to be here, it’s our task to immerse ourselves anyway: wade straight through it, right through the cesspool, while keeping eyes and hearts open. And in the midst of our dying, as we rise from the organic and sink back ignominiously into the organic, it is a glory and a privilege to love what Death doesn’t touch. For if disaster and oblivion have followed this painting down through time—so too has love. Insofar as it is immortal (and it is) I have a small, bright, immutable part in that immortality. It exists; and it keeps on existing. And I add my own love to the history of people who have loved beautiful things, and looked out for them, and pulled them from the fire, and sought them when they were lost, and tried to preserve them and save them while passing them along literally from hand to hand, singing out brilliantly from the wreck of time to the next generation of lovers, and the next.” 

“Sometimes we want what we want even if we know it’s going to kill us.”

“And the flavor of Pippa's kiss--bittersweet and strange--stayed with me all the way back uptown, swaying and sleepy as I sailed home on the bus, melting with sorrow and loveliness, a starry ache that lifted me up above the windswept city like a kite: my head in the rainclouds, my heart in the sky.” 

“Beauty is rarely soft or consolatory. Quite the contrary. Genuine beauty is always quite alarming.” 

And here's another favorite by Dorianne Laux:

You called it screwing, what we did nights
on the rug in front of the mirror, draped
over the edge of a hotel bed, on balconies
overlooking the dark hearts of fir trees

or a city of flickering lights. You'd
whisper that word into my ear
as if it were a thing you could taste---
a sliver of fish, a swirl of chocolate

on the tongue. I knew only
the rough exuberant consonant
of fucking, and this soft s and hard c
was a new sound---querulous, slow,

like the long moments of leaving
between thrusts. I don't know what
to make of it, now that you're gone. I think
of metal eating wood. Delicate filaments

quivering inside a bulb of thin glass.
Harsh light. Corks easing up through
the wet necks of wine bottles. A silver lid
sealed tight on a jar of skinned plums.

I see two blue dragonflies hovering, end
to end, above a pond, as if twisting
the iridescence deep into each other's
body, abdomens writing, spiraling

into the wing-beaten air. And your voice
comes back to me through the trees, this word
for what we couldn't help but do
to each other---a thin cry, unwinding. 


/ Saturday, September 16, 2017 /

The last time we talked, he called me Miss Plain Jane. He might as well have told me that I was boring. I would have taken offense at the thought five years ago, but I have learned recently to simply let things go. It made my heart and head hurt a little though.

It was the same day that he told me about his plans.

Finally, he had plans.

He wants to marry his new girl, have kids with her, and leave the country. Almost everyone I know is thinking of leaving and you might want to consider it too, he said.

I haven’t heard from him since then.

I can’t remember the last words we told each other after that late-night conversation over cheap beer. However, I can still recall how the lines and wrinkles around his eyes are getting more pronounced. Perhaps it’s a sign that he spent much of his twenties laughing and smiling with his eyes. I guess it was just another proof of a life spent in building wonderful memories.

I wonder if one of those memories, a sliver at least, has to do with days spent with me.

Because there are times when you wish that you were once someone’s happy thought.


The last time we talked, he commented about my indecisiveness.  He might as well have told me that I was a dawdler and living the starving artist stereotype.  I would have taken offense but I knew too well that there's no use arguing with him.

It was the same day that he told me that he’s starting to learn beekeeping.

Finally, he had plans.

I will retire early to have my own bee farm, he said.  He intends to patch things up with his ex and propose to her next year.  Maybe they’ll have kids. Maybe they won’t. Yet he was fairly certain about the bees and the decision to get back with her.

I can’t remember how we ended up talking the whole day that windy Wednesday over ramen. I recall, however,  about how he spoke about his plans. There was a hint of calm assuredness in it.

I wish I would have been more confident and calm and decisive as him. But the forks in the path now are harder to define and gotten more complicated. It won’t be the same.

I’ve thought about his last few words in an email to me for a long time, trying to gauge the certainty in between the lines, and now I know —he was confused as I was.

His words stung a bit.

I haven’t heard from him since then.

Because there are times when you wish that you were once someone’s confident decision.


The last time we talked, he was there with me in the flesh but his mind was off somewhere else. He was thinking of her and their plans together.

Finally, they had a plan.

I haven't heard from him since then.
Because there are times when you wish that you were once someone’s daydream.

*This blog is back from the dead (for now).

Neverwhere is now somewhere only we know. ..

/ Monday, September 19, 2016 /

You know that bit where Alice was roused from sleep by her sister in the final chapter of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland ? 

This final blog post is what this is about. 

“The price we paid for the volumes of ourselves that we suffocated in the dark.” 
― Nicole KraussGreat House

- Kai
I usually say, in the end, okay, it’s love and it’s work — what else could there possibly be? -- Maira Kalman


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