Live from the Piedmont Rose Garden Part II

My life is so chaotic right now that I welcome the cliché of fully bloomed roses. I take in each one as I sit on the steps of a brick waterfall. The shadows of a small exotic tree intersect with mine own and I’m ok with that as well. My muse is the same muse of many thousand other writers and that’s alright too. My mind lifted a few moments ago. It was racing down the runway at a very high-speed and then it got off the ground. It isn’t flying yet but for a very quick moment it was in the air.

 

Fall is upon us and the roses are still quite lovely. Even the dying roses possess a striking regality. People still smell them, the honeybees patronize them, and they provide the perfect contrast for their resilient freshly bloomed relatives. While here amongst the roses in Piedmont, a town that a person as dark as myself is welcome to visit but is strongly discouraged from buying property in, I almost forgot about what brought me here in the first place.

 

In the ghetto from whence I come from people tend to die several years before their actual death and not a living thing around them actually cares. No one values the life of the man himself, no one stops to admire the drug-addicted woman who has stolen from her mother to get high. In the ghetto a person enjoys no serenity in the presence of the dead. So I have temporarily escaped my circumstance to be amongst these flowers—these petaled things that I only find to be pretty because a dozen poets told me they were.  I have come to these stairs to sit down because I have grown weary of standing and fighting. The romantics created an image that I believe is real. Even when I can’t see it I still believe it. I believe that flowers are more perfect than people could ever be and then I ponder whether or not William Wordsworth would shake my hand. Would Mary Shelley give me a hug, would Blake? Do they know that I’m here? Do they care?

 

-YB

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Running

February 13, 2012

I’m an avid runner. On average I run about 5-6 times a week. I hit trails, run around Lake Merritt, or spend about an hour on the treadmill. Running is so second nature to me that it wasn’t until very recently that I began to ask myself what exactly am I running from. I mean of course I’m trying to stay in shape and speed up my metabolism a little, which at the age of 30 seems to want to stand still. But I feel like it’s deeper than that.

For example I write to express feelings that are impossible for me to verbalize and I box to blow off steam, however, my reasons for running 5-8 miles a day is something that I don’t have a complete answer to. Perhaps it’s a mixture of both. After all I do blow of a lot of steam when my feet are rhythmically pounding the pavement and I am outwardly expressing my desire to reach the finish line, but really why am I so compelled to run. I’m not training for a marathon and I’m not a slave.

Often times I’ll tell myself that I’m going to spend a whole day writing and the next thing I know I’m on some trail deep in the hills hoping local coyotes don’t smell my sweat and decide to attack me. I don’t know. It’s kind of bizarre. It’s like when I’m running with my I-pod blasting I feel like I’m floating through my own self-contrived galaxy.  It’s definitely a form of escapism; yet I wonder why I need to escape so often. Like this one story I’m working on. It’s very personal but instead of sitting down and cranking it out as soon as I look at it I put on my sweat pants and my sneakers and head out. Lately I’ve been feeling like a shot fighter who sees his opponent’s mistakes but can’t capitalize on them by letting his hands go and throwing a punch. I fear that I’ve become too guarded to be an effective writer. Instead of molding my issues into art I just want them to go away. It’s like I really want peace but I’m no longer willing to fight for it, or in my case I’m no longer willing to write for it. So I run.

When I was a boy I was led to believe that only the most cowardly of men publicly display their emotions. Now that I am a man I feel like a coward for not being able to express what makes me human.

I need to stop running.

-YB