We shone just as we were

Indio, California (19 April 2012)

Indio, California (19 April 2012)

California
Nokyoung Xayasane

Do you remember
our car ride
through California?
The sun and wind,
those ten days.
All of it.

No road
could hold us.
I didn’t care
for roadmaps,
and neither
did you.
We existed
in this
closed box,
headed on
a journey
of no return.
The wind
and air
and sky
all around us.

We shone
just as we were,
didn’t we?
You saw me
just as I was.
I loved you,
boy,
I loved you,
didn’t I?

We drove along
the streets
of Los Angeles
in our rented car.
Remember,
I didn’t want
a roadmap
and you never
cared for them.
We rented a hotel room
in West Hollywood.
The room was lit
by a single
bare bulb,
the sheets
were thin
and itched,
the carpet
was threadbare
and worn.
We threw
the sheets up,
and hurried
beneath them.
We were
never so close.

At night,
we met a man at a bar
who told us
we must go
to Venice beach.
We did.
We shared fish tacos
on the boardwalk.
We ran
along the beach,
the seagulls
glittering in the sky,
the sand endless,
our laughter
effortless and wide and clear.
We shone
just as we were.

Later,
the deserts of Indio
opened up for us.
You in your rolled up jeans,
me alongside
in high-waisted shorts
and an oversized hat.
There were
endless throngs
of beautiful people
in sunglasses,
white fringe,
expounding on cleanses,
contemplating yoga stances,
bare-breasted women
and musicians
tongue kissing on stage.

The music
began,
the stages
flooded
with lights.
You looked at me
and I felt
the world
beginning
and beginning
again and again.

The sun scorched our
bodies brown,
we glistened
with the midday
heat,
the music
never ends.
It never stops.
We danced
and danced
and danced.
We smoked
with strangers,
we laughed
until we cried,
we kissed
until we were sore.

When night fell
our second wind rose.
I heard
the music
pick up again.
I was
who I always
wanted to be,
there with you.
You were rain
drenching
the cracked desert
earth.
We were
who we
always
hoped to be.

I love you,
I said.
I’m glad you exist,
you said.
And the world
kept beginning.

(1 March 2016)

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)