Particular Moments

More Stars than There are

Tag: non-fiction

Bruised Knuckles & Intangible Things

“Hey man, how long have you been here?”

“Oh hey, you mean…here?”


“Since noon?”

“Oh no no, I meant, the area. I was wondering how long you have trained.”

“Well, haha, uh, I’ve been around town for several years, but I’ve barely started doing this. Recreational.”

“Really?? I watched you some, you don’t look like you’re new to this at all.”

“Beginner’s luck; I guess anyone could look good doing this.”

“Dude…quit downplaying, you’ve got a tremendous punch. The bag’s flying all over the place.”

“Oh I mean, I just do this for fun.”

“You are powerful, but when you throw your punches, you’ve got no guard—ever thought about more professional training?”

“Not really…I just haven’t been looking.”

“Hey, you’re welcome to train at the boxing gym I go to. Just tell them Neil sent you here, and they’ll let you in for free.”

“Thanks, I’ll try to swing by when there’s a chance.”




It would have been nice to equip yourself with more proper techniques, but you never did found your way to that gym. The whole thing started out more as an escape than anything else. You’re not too entirely fascinated with learning the most efficient ways to take down another man, perhaps to even fatally wound him.  It could be useful, but there’s always another time for that.

You only wanted to feel the intimate aches of your own flesh and bones.

In the earlier days, when you’d been less conditioned, you’d take off the wraps, and the four protruding notches at the end of each fist would be scarlet red, numb, and coarse—their finer skin covers scraped into a sandpaper-like texture. Then the next morning, they’d be purple, nearly transparent, staining the native color of their once undamaged skin; they agonized your senses upon contact with anything remotely firm. And then there were your busted wrists—must have been the straining of their ligaments, which led to more severe consequences: you were banned from simple tasks such as turning door knobs and holding on to shopping bags, among countless other things that required turning of the wrists. For months on end, your wrists were barely more than useless.

In the earlier days, in was easy to achieve what you wanted out of it. A tangible hurt, the kind that overpowered everything else you had felt. It was a solution, a desperate but effective measure. It pained constantly and brought forth inconveniences, but it felt good, absolutely, to be outwardly broken.

But the body, the body is too perfectly efficient. It adapts, hardens in response to former abuses and injuries. Time after time, it took longer, and more, to leave yourself wounded, until one day, no matter how vicious your lefts pounded and how sharp your rights bit, you were to walk away with nothing but sweat, fatigue, and exhaustive breaths to catch.

You wanted to, but ultimately desired not to project, translating your needs into the swollen face and cracked ribs of another man. You cannot step into a ring of any kind and spar with another; it’d be too tempting to turn him into the outlet that was once yourself. There are other ways to drown out the intangible hurts.



Dare Not

Say “Thank you so much for your understanding,” or “You are so nice!”—for my extension of kindness and empathy arises mostly from insufferable personal defects.

I like being the helping hand; doing so grants me an alternate sense of purpose, which I mainly deploy to escape from my own fatal flaws and obstacles.

My obligate alliance with an often-times unconditional compassion is rooted, like an oxymoron, in absolute cruelty. Prior to witnessing the finer and more praiseworthy virtues in all, instincts drive me to instead, first explore each and everyone’s deepest vulnerabilities and darkest fears. The innate knack for understanding how to scar a human beyond the point of his/her recovery, is all mine. It is due to my fear of these racing, caustically detrimental insights, that I strive to behave in the other polar-extreme.

As if a sponge, my essence and motivation lie largely external—intrinsic incentives do not nearly invoke the same type of joy in me:

Allow me into your life, love, so I would finally have a reason to improve myself—count on me, so I could help myself to be of most efficient and useful help to you.

This is my constant mentality. No needs from those around me, and I become stagnant and putrid, an cesspool of all lamentable human qualities.

I hate but need and crave to be used. Give me the illusion of being exclusively needed; give me the eventual misery of being exploited. I love it all. I love it all because otherwise I have no excuse to live—the greatest gift of all, most days is but a joke.

I’ve got a thing; I’ve got a thing resembling the defining feature of stereotypical introverts: heightened sensitivity to external stimuli. In this case, a personally predisposed concentration on all sentiments.

Rationality: to be a writer, one must successfully to become not one, but many—the causal relationship between the two skills is arguably and easily interchangeable. 

In public quarters, I feel the Many. The urges and frustrations and anticipations and ecstasies and passions and sorrows of all presence in sight—their so-called “vibes” and “energies,” like the very air which we all share, saturate the large, empty vessel within, and I become, without free-will, the Many. AND THEY CLASH AND BOUNCE FIERCELY IN MY CURSED CHEST TO ITS BRINK OF UNATTAINABLY BURSTING INTO CRIMSON PIECES.

Inspect my countenance: absent-minded, aloof, even pretentiously in bad taste—reality says I’m hiding, suppressing, desperately swallowing the Many, so I won’t collapse.

You must understand…human emotions, they are nothing but heavy. I feel my senses crushed dumb by such thick density—short circuiting the designed tolerances of my making, overheating and exhausting it towards the verge of being fried, beyond saving.  

Because of this, in the face of those desolate and needy and decrepit (even if seemingly), their dark stains I feel perfusing into my preferred blank sheet. Thus, out of a selfish need to rid of their emotional imprisonment over me—to temporarily erase the good troubled conscious,  I am urged into “goodwill” and “niceness,” dropping my task at hand, tending to the tragedy at their hands, and frequently in futile attempt, to put them, and me, at ease.



Conversations: The Framed Portrait

“Is that…a picture of Hannah?” Looking at the picture, framed and airbrushed—all too formal for its intended purpose, whatever it might have been—you felt uneasy.

“Yeah, man.” He replied in a-matter-of-fact way.

“That’s interesting…hmm, *hmmphh—–hahaha…..oh gosh, Bryan” there was something about the portrait, enclosed by a wooden frame, that struck you as hilariously bizarre.

“What, is it not okay for me to have a picture of my girlfriend?” He joked, impersonating the shrilling tone of a stereotypical prick; however, he was obviously annoyed.


Your girlfriend. I’d imagine she’s more than that. 


You threw a more probing humor at him, “So, what’s this, some kinda trophy? Like a proud declaration saying, ‘Oh YES, I’ve got her. Yep, kept my eyes ON the PRIZE…Now she’s all MINE.’ Does that kinda-sorta represent the mentality behind this gesture?”

Whenever you decide to interrogate someone, to avoid being socially unacceptable, you always present your questioning in a nasty, comedic manner. In this case, you did your best to furnish your line with Le American Southern Twang (momentously lyrical and intoxicatingly addictive of an accent to listen to and practice with).

“Whatever. Look, this is what people do when they are in serious relationships.”

“Really? I thought that’s what people do when their daughters graduate from high school and leave the nest for a couple of years. You know, the glamour shot; close-up portrait and stuff like that; for glorified remembrance.”

“You are over thinking it, _______(place name here). It’s just a picture, like I have framed photos of my family.”

“Well hey, you do whatever. I just really hope you are not trying to make her into a sister of some sort. That’d be crazier than all of my previous suspicions” you chuckled.

Bryan looked at you, in an irritated disdain, “Fuck you, _______.”


Christ, what a compulsive liar. Bryan, you and your self-righteous justifications—you lying, cheating fucktard. 




Ode to Fellow Aquarius

First curious glance,
A definite presence—
Not flauntingly
Vain, or
Cheaply lustrous,

But glaring
As ink
On Snowy,
Unsoiled canvas—

Every distinctive drop
Seeping, immutably
Solidifying onto
Untouched fibers
Of remembrance.

Never a dull
Persists with you—

Sprightly, animated,
Keen, and poignant;
Bottom of despair—
A Tragic

Oh yes,
I see
I know,

Out from
A concealed
Vase pours
Your tenuous

You dare
To love all
Earthly kin.

For the very multitude
That is

Fellow Aquarius,
I love,
And remain
A loyal audience
To you—

For this precisely,
I must learn
To once so often,
Love to Hate
You so.

November Her

Running her long, refined fingers past your hair—the smoothness of her skin made it feel thinner than you’d like to have remembered. Standing before you, silent, her belly leveled with your helplessly down-tilted and slumberous head, she emanated waves of almost intangible, lulling warmth that was all the more irresistibly unsettling.

“…go to sleep.” Tiresome, you slowly seized her by the wrist, too spent to look up and into her face.

The night was dark, and it had rendered everything dim. Even the small lamp in the living room corner seemed somnolent, unwilling to illuminate expressions.

“But you are the one who actually needs it” she said, quietly, as she gently broke away from your refusing hand.

It didn’t occur to you before how firmly your drunken hands had clasped around her well-intended reach—you were blindly hurting her and her kind caressing. How could you have been so in over your head, so much so, that you failed to tend to the her, right then so close, the her whom you adored like no other?

“I’m fine, and uhhhum, strong. I’m a trooper, remember?” You let out a slight chuckle, stubbornly clinging to your light-hearted and nonchalant shtick.

That was the kind of humor you exercised, to her and yourself, to kick anything you dared not to confront under the carpet, and to lead conversations to their desired dead ends.

In truth, in that particular moment, as you sat on the sofa, leaning forward and struggled to prop up your sinking head from falling under, you felt more worn and vulnerable than ever—one nudge from her crafty hands and you’d been side ways like a dead log.


Are men really, deep down, all helplessly prideful and self-contradicting creatures? 


“Even a trooper needs some comfort” moving your futile hands away, she let her hand run through your hair once more, allowing it to rest by the base of your neck.


That’s the way she was, able to discern all your boyish pretense with such ease; yet she did so while having managed to acknowledge it—humoring you without sacrificing the authenticity of her own ideals. She knew, that you knew that she knew, in the face of her, you were forever powerless. Even then, in spite of the occasions when you grew indelicate, she never took the convenience of jabbing at places you were the most tender.

For she was all-powerful, and kind like that, like the way she is.

What Do You Have In The Garden?

“You really love your plant, don’t you?”

“It’s my best friend. Always happy, no questions. It’s like me, you see? No roots.” Chuckles, innocent and sheepish.




Hesitant, after days of neglect, you decide to set foot on the back porch; it’s been too long since you last checked on the tomatoes, cucumbers, and the flowers in their distinctive pots.

They have been left to the worst of this year’s blistering sun, as you have left the corresponding portions of yourself to catch dust. Oh, what have you done to these garden greens (among other colors)? You have abandoned them on your way to a mindless degeneration, and let them wither into each of their own desiccated hues.


Beautiful. We live as we die, alone. 

How cruel. But a glint of true.

Don’t deny it. Accept, so then you can hope again.


Objectively speaking, these damn plants aren’t where they belong anyways. It’s not your damn fault that these damn plants cannot survive a damn week without any nurture. Either way they’d die on you. This backyard is…Simply. Not. Their. Natural. Habitat.

To be truly good, one must occasionally acknowledge his/her innate evils—the best detectives often think like the worst criminals. You like an occasional expression of viciousness, for it is brutal, malignant, yet nakedly human and therefore true.

Spill all the bad blood as you wish, but know your place.


Then again (return to your angels, please; every night, before bed, do it), phew…are these things not just like you?

They do not recall a place to go—their home lies right where you desire to place them—everywhere, anywhere, and nowhere. The fluidity of their comfort allows limits that extend beyond the confinement of any particular pot; all they require are the essential nourishments of life; you simply need to heed to them, here and there.

They are the seeds you sowed, now you take responsibility and look after them, for they are none but the very extensions of you. 


In your recollection, how much you know of her perfectly coincides with the only conversation you’ve ever had together, in which she did the talking while you performed the juvenile, intimidated yes’s and nods.

Great grandmother was lying in her death bed when she directly spoke to you for the first and very last time.

No, no Hollywood death scenes where the person passing on gets to squeeze in a few sensationalized words before they drop dead. Father and I had to return to town, where he held a job as a university lecturer. The students couldn’t have taken long before their study in plant sciences became a farce at the hands of substitute teachers.  She passed away roughly a month and half later.

“Young, get on an airplane and fly overseas; go be with your mother” she said, gesturing with her feeble hand, raised and slowly moving through the air, mimicking motions of flight.

To an eight-year-old, an elderly lady so often silent and solemn was unmistakably a figure to be feared; her outwardly stoic dispositions exuded a demand for old fashioned, almost hierarchal respect, the kind that intimidated. But when her voice finally made its way to your ears, all your preconceived constructions of a harsh, strict old lady melted away.

She was stricken and sounded ancient, like the cracking of centuries-old, hollow branches. She was very sick and was on her way to an undoubtable decease, yet her words were clear as day, and infinitely warm—every single one of them spoken without a vestige of ambiguity, as if when she spoke to you, there wasn’t a second person in the world, and that all you had was her voice, which echoed and engrained itself permanently into your thoughts.

(be very, very careful of  what you say to children—their sponges pick up certain things that will travel with them for life)


Mother. The Voice on the other end of the telephone. Early kindergarten memories: her long, sage colored dress in the summer; her studying through piles of paper; her getting on a train one day and seemingly disappearing forever.

Why would I have wanted to be with her? 

Somehow, a few years later, what your Great grandma said manifested itself into a physical truth. Your memory is still blurry on the series of spontaneous events that abruptly led to it. It is only eerie because it was the last thing you had ever wanted.


Years of unexamined living, growing older, brushing off the ones who loved you, receiving hand-written letters and not having enough patience and perhaps compassion to deliver anything of equal value in return, have you not let your garden rot and become entangled with undesirable weeds?  Leaving all the good wells to run dry and the youthful flowers to die.

What an asshole. What would the old lady think of this—her well-intended prophecy having been fulfilled, but what has become of the seed she had sown? 


Father. Years later. Different university; different town—a long stretch from the where years before. Same occupation, a professor, or more humbly a teacher.

You see him most significantly as a gardener. He used to subtly praise them (he still does)—paraphrasing:

“Plants are reliable, given the proper nutrients and a suitable environment, they thrive—growing day and night to yield desired results—bearing fruits. They are efficient, unlike us humans, who rarely display signs of growth when our basic needs are satisfied.”

He used to squat next to his garden vegetables and study them, pruning them here and there, sometimes binding them to stick scaffolds to create order and induce upright extension. During crop season, he would visit them morning after morning, making sure they were well hydrated and in good development.

The old man smokes a pack a day; he used to (and sometimes still does) drink prolifically.  For how much he puts his body into harm’s way, you cannot help but to envy him—how he undeniably sees a very special dimension in life that which you are doomed to overlook—how, there seems to persist a subtle yet insurmountable passion in his life, something that you are in a constant failure to maintain.

He loves and nurtures his garden, and its constituents love him back, each year blooming and bearing desirables past their expected portions. Your father’s garden is one of miracles. Why can’t you be more like your father in that aspect?

Perhaps, it’s an age thing. It is the only way you would prefer to rationalize it.




“If you really love it, you should plant it in the middle of a park—so it can have roots.” 

*Face pauses. “Yeah.” 


Nocturnes: Part 1

So it is—stillness after the blitzkrieg storm, which came and left in such a hurry that its brutal force only inflicted minor destruction: scattered, small incidents here and there, uprooted trees with poor footings and torn paper houses with substandard foundations—only the flimsiest of things took their falls; maybe they should have been knocked over long ago.

You could only stand upright so long, solely relying on the erratic safety of pushed luck and not having anything substantial to hold your Ground.

Brief, succinct, but nonetheless terrifying; as she made her way, everything in her path shook just by the sheer immenseness of what she was capable of, not even by the severe and solemnness of her actual device.

This instance was only a casual regard, to remind those who had forgotten just how much they were at her absolute mercy. But realistically, merciful she was and is not, rather, she is impartial. The majority of whom she left unscathed, she did so—unintentionally; however, nor did she deliberately bring havoc to those who are now broken and petrified; they caught by the harsher angles of her passing draft simply by the fairness of the law of mass action: anybody could be it, but certainly not everybody, maybe.

One could only wonder, where do the Others hide? The bugs, birds, and rodents—you know, they are with us too. Where were they as the wind began to roar and the ground became progressively moistened then inconveniently soaked? Where did they go and how do they always return?

Could it be that even the mysterious and the all encompassing cannot halt the seemingly inexhaustible forces of life? Where were you amidst the storm? Did you have solid roofings over your head? If so, did it falsely convince you of your sure footings?

Safe Distance Greeting

You know of a person—a friend of a friend.

In fact, you are on friendly terms with a particular family: a household of two, husband and wife, each of whom you share a friendship with; the two friendships are separate but equal.

You are not sure which one of the two you are closer to, but that is not the point; you have not socialized with these early-thirty lovebirds for almost 3 years; by now they’d be mid-thirty birds of the kind unknown to you.

You like to imagine (and hope) that their once apparent affection for one another has not waned.

It is not a long brewing grudge that bore itself out of conflicts, instead, it just is. “What happened? Life happened.” That’s one way of explaining it, in what “they” say (do people really say that?).

A few weeks ago, in a public space that hosts extensive foot traffic, you recognized the back of the husband a few feet ahead of your steps on the sidewalk.

His particular build: broad shoulders on a 5’10, stocky torso; the larger size of his head; the black, dull shimmer of his mid-length hair. It was him with his unmistakeable gait—clumsy, but relaxed, yet heavy.

Right there and then, you abruptly tuned down your pace; it’s been too long and you were too tired to go through the typical jabber of the catching-up talk. You have come to realize that people are better off catching up while engaged in less talkative activities, or at least you have learned that you are better off that way, personally. So you made no plans to catch up, physically nor personally.

It’s like the phone call that progressively gets more intolerable to make; so you eventually wind up not making it at all.

But this was different—you knew sure as hell that your presence couldn’t make a difference in their lives. You are not the saint whose words are divine. And they certainly do not require help from you in any shape, way, or form.

Then again, who knows, you could have been the tiny cog in the great clock work of the grand scheme of things that made all the difference to them. You decide to not think about that.

There was something new and peculiar about the picture: aside him, holding onto his left hand, was a little person. She waddled with a funny sway, taking two extra steps for every step the giant next to her took.

She wore the a magenta raincoat that sharply contrasted his dark navy, more form fitting sweater. Maybe it’s the attire, or it could simply be the power of innocence and youth—shining pure and exuberant juxtaposed to anything.

Three years and they were already a family of three: with a new person you had never seen before. It’s shocking because it felt as if you fast-forwarded, past the parts where she was pregnant and her daughter was born and how she went from being bald, crawling on all fours to standing upright, almost half a whole person.

You followed them a short distance, keeping just enough of a gap so you could blend in with the other pedestrians.

Something made the little one turn her head. She looked back and she landed her eyes on you.

You smile and wave, subtly mischievous so she’d find it humorous—so she could trust this stranger she had never met once in her life.

Her face giggled without making a sound. She turned back around; her hair shone just like her dad’s, but it was smooth, silky, and long—must have come from the mother.

Out of curiosity, as they ambled on, she would turn around to look again and again, and each time you made a different face to entertain her.

You wanted her to trust you, to portray yourself as an adult who wasn’t so full of intent and lies and sharp corners.

After a short while, the Dad began to notice the difference in his Daughter’s behavior. She turned all the while holding on to his hand, and every time stopping briefly then managing to catch up again by clinching harder onto his big, powerful hand. To her, it was a lever of security.

“What are you looking at?” The father asked, look down on her, but not back at you.

Before she had time to point and explain, you quickly turned to your back, and proceeded in the opposite direction.

You hastened your steps, walking in between and in front of every other person you passed on the street, so the Dad would give up on identifying the back figure of the stranger who was quickly melting into the background.

You escaped without having to confront him; you felt strange, isolated, but all the more relieved.

This was your catch-up greeting, a silent and half facetious hello to the little one.