Monthly Archives: March 2013

photoHow does one transition from one notebook to another?

Strange that this particular switch came at an emotional transition point in my life.

My last notebook was my first dedicated notebook. I’d kept journals before, but this was a bigger, all-purpose notebook in which all of my work, both professional and personal, was brainstormed and executed. I used it for studying Korean as well. And doodling, of course.

I once left my bag at a restaurant; my notebook was in it. I left a bar in a panic and ran back to the restaurant. It was closed, but the bag—and the notebook—were safe and sound on a chair behind the counter. I felt uneasy, guilty, anxious, separated from my notebook like that, and my friend and I had to call it a night because I was kind of an emotional wreck.

That night when I returned home, I scribbled on the wall of my bedside bookcase. I consoled myself by imagining that Notebook was taking a much-deserved vacation. After all, it had served me so faithfully and it should be free to take time off from me when it should so desire.

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His stare, the clarity of his eyes shining through, is burned into my memory. The steady, concentrated gaze ensnared me; his whole being and energy seemed to pour from those eyes, and I froze, self-aware and mesmerized, small under the magnifying glass of a much greater person.

With such men, you tumble down the rabbit hole of their single-minded tunnel vision because you trust and feel safe in their confidence and absolute surety that you should be together. And so you fall, and you scrape your knees, and you fall again. You’re bleeding, but you don’t feel any pain. You keep on running beside him.

You float gently in the naiveté of his answers, his childlike inability to describe just what he feels in the face of something astonishing and never before experienced. You play pretend every time you meet, in places where it’s forbidden, because pretend is so much better than real. You venture into smoky, black forests and confront the scary monsters you locked up when you were a kid, because how could anything hurt you when you’re with him?

And so you keep on discovering and conquering like two brave warriors until you reach a crossroads and you don’t know why but you know you have to part. There, you recognize each other’s vulnerabilities and see them not as weak, unattractive, frightful things, but something to protect. Something precious. And for that, if nothing else, you love him.


Harry was a funny man. His jokes were the corniest of them all, but he was so adorable at making them that you had to laugh. He didn’t do it to please anyone; he did it because it made him happy. He loved chuckling at himself.

I loved Harry. I don’t know why, really; he was often unreliable, forgetful, and moody. If you happened to catch him in one of his spells, everything turned grey, starting from the distance between the two of you and seeping into the air, out the door, around the block, until pretty soon, you were submerged in the pool of sadness he had created. And there was no getting out of it. You just had to meet him another day.


The last time I saw Harry, he looked good. He was as lighthearted and curious as ever, and as the night went on, we changed our plans on every whim, as we always did. The clink of brimming glasses. The ringing of the car bells, the candle lights, yellow bulbs, and disco rays reflecting off bottles and cigarette cases. My hand reached for a cig; the tobacco crumbled into a fine dust between my thumb and forefinger, and he took it from me.

There was a bus to the club district waiting outside the bar, but we hopped into a taxi instead. We resisted the temptations of the night and the city and escaped to better places.

Somewhere better than this place—that’s what we always sought. And seekers find each other, Jamie would say. But I didn’t find Harry so much as run into him, at full speed. We were just two kids looking for fun. And we didn’t care about anything else.


first time waking up in the morning in i don’t even know how long and it feels good, like i have a secret, and it’s still dim in my room and i’m still in my pajamas and i don’t have to be out for another three hours

I’ve been getting physical therapy for neck problems, and every treatment I’ve received since February has been therapeutic and refreshing. Except today’s.

The head chiropractor gave me a thorough consultation the day I was referred to him by the clinic’s doctor. It’s hard to find a good chiropractor, but he felt trustworthy and the prices seemed standard. So after some thought and financial assistance from my brother, I started treatment there.

I was very fortunate that the head chiropractor took me in as one of his long-term patients, because he is talented and treats me with the utmost care and attention each time. You could say he spoils me; when he’s not busy, he gives me extra treatments that normally cost more.

But today, I didn’t receive the usual friendly welcome. The clinic was packed and one chiropractor was “in the weeds”; he had three patients waiting for physical therapy, and both stations were occupied. Extra services (electrotherapy, ultrasound therapy, sling exercise) were being given to patients left and right to buy time for the stations where actual hands-on therapy takes place.

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fingers curl around the glass
wet with liquor sweat

eyes glow
caught in a rapture

into the spaces between
his fingers

yellow snakes
and tangle on the wall

I miss the perfection
of his lips
locked layered with mine

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A work in progress, possibly a seed for something bigger

She quivers and pops like a bead of water in a hot pan.

He cannot contain himself, his energies pouring forth without restraint.

She stops talking and wonders about the missing tiles, stacks of fingerprints, rugs of moth wings. How soft they feel under her feet…

He tells her tales of teenage adventures, mishaps and conquests, run-ins with the law.

She listens and learns, knitting together an idea of him inside her mind, a colorful spectacle, to store and ponder on in solitude.

He sees the whole story in his mind—beginning, middle, and end—and his delivery is deliberately paced, building suspense and teasing.

She asks question after question at each dramatic pause. He is patient, she is not. Frustrated, she quivers and tries to hide.

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Exactly two weeks ago, I wrote this:

67 applications, 10 interviews, 9 hours of testing, 3 rejections, and 2 offers later, I finally have a job.

Often discouraging and sometimes insulting, this job search has been a merciless test of my resolve and patience. Over the past five weeks, I’ve been judged, criticized, disrespected, manipulated, and lied to, but none of it matters anymore because after all of that, I’ve landed my first choice job.

After today’s final interview at that job, I was promised that good news would be delivered to me within the day. I had dinner in my neighborhood, talked to my best friend, and came home. Once I was in my apartment, all the tension dissolved and I cried. It had been so hard.

And then I stopped writing because I knew there was still a chance that I might not get the job. But I also knew the Vice President wouldn’t make such a promise lightly, so I kept my hopes up and stopped looking for more jobs (mostly out of sheer exhaustion, not confidence). I waited all afternoon and evening that day for the promised email, but 8 o’clock rolled around and it still hadn’t come and I had to leave for a date. Throughout the date, I checked my phone every time it vibrated. Still no email. I kept the above writing in my drafts and waited some more. A lot more.

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