from the heart in exile

Whenever I’m about to embark upon a journey, or enter a new stage in my life, I unconsciously (or maybe consciously) seek out art that’s able to describe what I’m feeling. I remember hearing The XX two years ago (I mean, three years ago, my, how time flies), and it hooked me right from the intro. Oddly enough, Intro is my favourite out of the eleven songs from their debut album, xx.

So, I’m headed to California for a much needed vacay. It’s been a long few years. I know everyone says that, but it’s true! Haha. I’m off for a week in Cali, which will culminate at Coachella. I’ve been trying to listen to musicians that will be playing during the festival (The XX won’t be one of them, unfortunately), and I put some examples at the bottom of this post. (Although, I’ve been listening to The Black Keys and Florence + the Machine for years, M. Ward is new for me.) I’m stoked to add new music to my listening reportoire.

Tonight’s the last night for the first weekend of festivities. I bet the festival-goers don’t want to leave, which I think will be the case for me. I hope they’re having the time of their lives. I really can’t wait to be a part of this magical musical experience! And I can’t wait to see what California has in store for me.

Here I go! But first, what to pack…

The Word, Tony Hoagland

Down near the bottom
of the crossed-out list
of things you have to do today,

between “green thread”
and “broccoli” you find
that you have penciled “sunlight.”

Resting on the page, the word
is as beautiful, it touches you
as if you had a friend

and sunlight were a present
he had sent you from some place distant
as this morning — to cheer you up,

and to remind you that,
among your duties, pleasure
is a thing,

that also needs accomplishing
Do you remember?
that time and light are kinds

of love, and love
is no less practical
than a coffee grinder

or a safe spare tire?
Tomorrow you may be utterly
without a clue

but today you get a telegram,
from the heart in exile
proclaiming that the kingdom

still exists,
the king and queen alive,
still speaking to their children,

— to anyone among them
who can find the time,
to sit out in the sun and listen.

(poem from The Wondering Minstrel‘s blog)

I want to live another thousand years

Recently, I applied to teach English in Indonesia, and now I’m thinking about interning in Africa–Malawi or Ghana, to be specific. Here is one of my favourite poems from Indonesia:

Me, Chairil Anwar

When my time comes
No one’s going to cry for me,
And you won’t, either

The hell with all those tears!

I’m a wild beast
Driven out of the herd

Bullets may pierce my skin
But I’ll keep coming,

Carrying forward my wounds and my pain
Attacking
Attacking
Until suffering disappears

And I won’t give a damn

I want to live another thousand years

(translated by Burton Raffel)

Anwar, Chairil. “Me.” The Poetry of Our World: An International Anthology of Contemporary Poetry. Ed. Jeffrey Paine et al. New York: HarperCollins, 2000. 427.