The color of regret is red.

I invested all I had in a single breath. What could I do when it didn’t blow the fire out? I know, full blown, what the failure of a life feels like.

I wonder which is harder: forgiving others or yourself?

I find the latter simply impossible. If I were you, I’d want to send me off too. So when it comes to flaccid passes and ineffectual glances, I get it. If there’s anything to look at, it’s the intrigue of a life in ruins. A steady 10-year long delusion that ended in an epic destruction. Towers fell and stones crumbled and sand turned our eyes to glass.

Did you ever notice “our” is just “your” without the why?

How simply we reduce to madness. To nothing. To ghosts. Who, in this modernity, believes in us?

There I go again. Splitting myself into pieces so I don’t have to be alone. A practice at least 20 years old. I turned the ugliness into art for others’ fascination. Maybe partly as a safeguard. So when I went stark mad, no-one would know.

It’s happening, I’m sure. The particles are breaking apart. My seams are threadbare and old. My bones are strained from the lack of muscle in my legs.

But. I have to carry on.

So, I continue with stars dancing around my eyes. Lightheaded, I sway from side to side. Miss the corner, cut it short. It’s like I’m four years old all over again. My head splits open along the same old seam. Like a zipper popping its streamlined design. Crimson rushes, gushes out, gets in my hair, my eyes. If you look close enough through the meaty mess, I think you can see the pearly white of my skull.

I stagger and fall over, reduced to hands and knees. I flounder, covered in my mistakes, misgivings. I lick my lips and am bit by the salty metallic taste of my own insides.

Still, I can’t stop. Nowhere safe to rest. I force myself back up. The fat in my underarms jiggle like jelly. Loose skin already striped with lines of age, sightly bluish grey.

I guess it’s better there’s no-one to see this pathetic show. This is how the end-game looks, huh? It came on sooner than I thought. Oh well. We had some fun before now, right?

It’s a vague and distant comfort if the answer is: yes. They were good times and we almost changed the world. You changed me – that’s for sure. I only fucked it up.

I know.

I’d say “I’m sorry” but it doesn’t count.

Too late.

Maybe in the next life, some part of me will come back and get it right. Maybe in another universe, I already did. If so, I can’t wait to hear the story. How good it felt to have given everything and gotten love back.

Somewhere it happens, right?

I hope.

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休みの日 [Holiday]

I am in a bad way.

My confidence level is zero. I have dragged myself around familiar spots all day and there is no relief. I wander unfamiliar streets in the cool breeze – no change. I break through my barriers and speak in unfamiliar words, giving life back to trapped tadpoles, giving boxes to unknown strangers. And yet? No light breaks on the darkness of my mood. No warmth in the frozen land of my heart.

Listen to the wind for maybe it has something new to say?

I tilt my ear in the direction of a gust and, looking up, see the moon is not quite full. “Not yet,” something seems to say. Not yet.

I am uncertain how much longer I can wait for change. I think this life might break me up into dust before I can glow all the way through. A trapped fire in a hearth that’s been closed against a horrid storm. There may not be enough fuel to make the water resting on top boil. No tea for two, three, four. No steaming food for you. Only wasted energy and a mess.

I have the same problems in Nihongo, but I articulate them like a bratty child. Here is a sample:

毎日私は長い時間日本語で考える。日本語の文章はとても難しいから。でも、毎日、同じ文を作って、同じ言葉を使って、同じ気持ちを持っといる。新しい言葉は早く忘れるから。新しい文章も。たくさん勉強しても、少し覚える。書き方はだんだん上手になるけど、話し方がせんせん違うよ。どうやって話し方が上手になる?

いつも俺は頑張っても、分からない。

たぶん日本語の本を読んで、毎日会話を聞いく。それから、上手になると思う。ても、チアンスは。。。ないと思う。

残念だ。しょうがない。

It is no longer fun or interesting. I think my heart is going to explode. I can’t breathe. I can’t move. Someone reach out a hand…god, please. I am going to drown.

So this is what “homesick” is? Welp, I have no medicine against it. Is it lethal, do you think?

へっ!何?もちろん?!(-_-)/~~~あああ。。。しょうがないよ。

今日の終わりごろ

[Today’s end]

My head is full of thoughts, questions, things I am sure and not sure of at the same time.

Everything today is in 英語。

Moments of 日本語 are the same as moments of 緑 (greenery). From the train, it speeds by in a vague green-colored blur. My eyes catch on a glint – the silver lining of rusted tracks. A smear of white inside bars of dried-blood red.

The window is covered in stickers and fingerprints of strangers. Millions of hands have been here, sweating, touching, reaching. The oil from my skin spreads across layers of patterns as I lean, waiting for my station to come.

There, I will do the same things I do every day. Revisiting the same places, seeing the same faces. In a sea of 130 million ants, I get to know the look of the ones in my borough, even though we have nothing to do with each other. I wonder how that affects our consciousness. I have no good gauge to judge such things.

In a room with people I live amongst, we get close enough to almost touch. I wonder if the space between us vibrates your stings like it does mine. I stir and shift. For half a drunken second, our eyes meet without reason. Is this the beginning or the end of something? Or is it just another random moment in a meaningless string of many?

I wake and think of those I used to touch. The ones who knew (know?) me most. The ones who don’t say phrases like, “You have to admit that men and women are different.” The ones who kept me when I had lost my way. The ones I long to have back again.

But stars in lanterns, as we know, eventually burn out. And stars aren’t made of hardwood, so the ash they leave behind is useless to us. Only a memento of the light we used to know.

Nothing more doing.

I find myself missing that light in this long dark night. Craving the warmth of it as we laid, elbow to elbow on our backs, staring up at the splatter of stars making the arms of our galaxy. Did we know, at the time, our lines were separating?

I wish these silver lined tracks ran in circles back to you. I wish they could tie my multifarious sides into one thing. One life.

But I know they lead into the heart of a place you have never been and will not go. So, I go alone and hope to find others with a similar heart.

How does it look? Well, for one: the stranger I hoped to know got up mid-conversation and walked out. So, it doesn’t look too good ney?

I am, on my back, splayed out as if the world delivered me a hard hit. Straight to the face. And bloodied, I sit down in the grass. Look up. There is no-one to talk to but the stars.

Do you think they can make out a call for help?

No, probably not.

電車を乗るとき、いい気持だと思う。

[The time I ride the train gives a good feeling, I think]

An urban heart brought me without strings to the city of cities. The glowing, polluted and beautiful metropolis where two sides of everything crash, headlong, into one another. I have been tailored over 31 years to enjoy being caught in the middle.

Love grows like a bud, understanding forcing its way up through the mud of contextless confusion. I feel I am approaching everything. Riding hands free on the express train toward the heart of myself. Pink, white, green tips of branches from long-standing trees reach out to me. Under their trunks are the roots of history, sentience, memory. Each sentinel is a story waiting to be told.

The patterns of words become maps on my tongue. I can read and write before I speak, and this does not feel backwards. The lines of graphite and ink on white are a comfort to me. I see design and repetition in the numbers of stroke order. In the sharp edges buildings and flashing lights make. The curves of shadows around the bend of a wall against the river. I see kanji everywhere and I understand it on an intuitive level better than these intangible roman letters.

Every morning is a half hour commute.
The tracks of the train are well planned and get me where I’m headed fast. Though I have an innate sense that I will have to find a new home to do the work I want. But like the avenues of blossom-dusted trees, I am rooted here. Rooted to the times I have passed through. To faces I have touched. To names I recall. There is no need to set fire to any them. If I should, on what strength will I weather the storms of this world?

Each seed cast from my hand is a place I will come again. A semi-nomad has many homes and I was born from a motion-born blood. The energy of the air stimulates my cells to change. I am a creature of imagination, full of potential not yet realized. The set-up is still in progress. I am still riding, legs strained, keeping balance, waiting for my station to come.

寂しいとき、どうしたの?

[What to do in loneliness.]

I watch the train driver lean out the window as we pass the station, hand on the emergency break. There are blue lights that you can stand in at the ends of stations, almost ultraviolet in their subtle comfort. When we pass the platform, the conductor closes the window and removes the key that would allow the train to stop suddenly. When we come to the next station, even ones we glance through on the express, the conductor has been trained to lean out and watch the tracks.

The light, I noticed, is sometimes switched on for rainy days, too. Such a subtle and quiet prevention plan. One, I assume, most people don’t even know exists.

I stand in the blue light every time I wait at the station when the sun has gone down. I find the coming home alone is the hardest. I think my ears must still unconsciously listen for you at the door, in the other room. I think my mind is waiting for your coming in. My heart trying to justify in terms of logic and reason why it hasn’t happened yet.

It is a mean, hard-pressed, and lasting habit with barbs hooked into every late-night though, every half-woken moment, every sudden start from a nightmare or a dream. I had not even known it needed breaking until just yesterday.

But, how does one leave off a thing never consciously done?

Perhaps, by consciously doing something else. A behavioural cut-up until the torn-up, shorn-off feelings fade. Until habits do not directly contradict reality.

How long is that? Three days? Weeks? Years? A lifetime?

Do I have enough time left alive to place anything in the hole of you?

It’s worth a try.

Maybe I should make myself a blue, almost ultraviolet light and lay in it at night.

電車で書く日記 ー Entry from the train

I tricked myself into missing you. I had even written about it. It went like this:

Was there any way to know for certain how long we would have to connect? No, there never is. No telling. Only guessing.

I guessed you’d be unavailable for good. I didn’t know you’d be gone. I’d say I miss you, but that phrase means nothing. More accurate is: I miss the chance of you. But without that, I think I’m better off.

You were a distant star I saw through a high-powered telescope. A formation, far away, still undergoing progress. Developing into a system with orbital rings and gravity. I saw you at the start, but you drifted away from me. A rate by which I might gauge your distance.

Thousands of light years at the nearest.

I did it, not for real reasons, I think. Only to see what it would feel like when I leave. It felt exactly as expected. I was down, sore of heart, knowing somehow I had missed out.

Turns out you are still around. Just as unavailable, but not as tangibly so. Less physically, more emotionally. You bodily still pass in and out of my space. Occupy the lounge in your quiet silent way. In shadows, you hardly make a shape. Maybe no-one notices.

But I do.

Do you want to know?
I have the nerve now to tell you.
Will it change anything?
No.

Because ghosts don’t touch. We only phase in and out of reality. We pass each other on the brink of world lines and soul strings. You are a creature much of the same make-up as me. I know my kind. Outlier of one sort or another. Protective, shelled from the outside, cold as hell.

The question I have is are you a formless goo on the inside too?
I could tell if I could form a thought or a sound. If my own cells hadn’t turned my heart to gel. I don’t even know how I’m still alive. I should have died. Or…wait. Did I? Is this what death feels like?

Of a kind.

I am getting holes burned in the sockets where my eyes once were. I look in the mirror and see, not blue-grey irises – but dimes of ash. Charcoal burned to its last bit.

Funny how, only months ago, I had believed in that. Charcoal as a means to change the world. As a means to grow. I realized only after it was too late that the only thing to do with Charcoal after you make it with careful attention and long stretches of time – is to burn it through, all the way until it’s spent. That’s the whole goddamn point.

You could be a fool. Save the scraps for you. Make pencil cores to draw your heart’s contents out. Bu sticks in the sand work just as well. And to not burn Charcoal is to waste the energy you first put in. A self-defeating act in and of itself. Throwing  effort to a weak wind. No point. Better to use what we have and not complain when it’s through.

I think I am burning through what I wanted of you.

In the end, with the ash we can make lye. And with some fat skimmed off our sides, we can make soap to wash our faces off. Our hands can be clean in the suds of what we’ve done.

Wait, what? We? Us?

Oop. No, I just mean “me”, “I”. There is no “you” to make the plurals out of any more.

「私」、「俺」。「たち」じゃないから、「あなた」がない。 でも。。。日本語でちょっと違うでしょう?

Funny… Nihongo doesn’t differentiate between one and many things. What does that mean? I think I am going to learn.

Indirect Translations (with help from natives)

きのうのばんはとても変な夢を見た。夢の中で日が沈んだから、人々はとても心配した。色々なことをするけど何もできない。ある子供は海にいた。海はとても寒くてから、子供は凍った。ある人は日をもでしたいけどできない。ある人は車を運転したいけどできない。ある人はほかの人を助けたいけどできない。何もできない。

俺はおきて、かわいになりましたよ。

I had a dream last night where the sun died. In the dream, everyone was worried. Lots of people tried to do lots of things, but nothing worked. A child fell in the ocean. It was so cold the child froze. Someone tried to fix the sun, make it go back up — but no, it would not work. Someone else tried to make a car work. Someone else tried to help the person trying to fix the sun. Nothing worked.

— Untranslated —

I was in the dream for a moment. I wanted to go to the store and buy all the warm things because I knew that you had figured out how bad it would get. People just didn’t know yet. I didn’t try to argue, but I wanted to protect what I could before it was too late.

I looked for you, but you would not come back to me.

I woke up, fell back asleep, and still — I was in this broken world, looking for you. I looked up at the sky to see if the broken sun was anywhere in sight. Instead, I saw the moon, a mere sliver but huge and close to the earth. And I thought, the moon too is almost through now.

I went on, wondering how long the badness would take to settle in. I went on looking for you. You did not come to me.

I already know the meaning of these things.

My sun is done, and my moon too. I have little light and little warmth to go by. We already knew how things would go. The science was already known. Others have plod along this road. And yet, my heart still looks for you.

Stupid me.

I will stop being sick as of today. I will go back, full-time, to my studies. And I will craft a tongue to make new sounds I had never known before now.

Then: 日、月、星 — we will see. Maybe I can fix the sky after all. Maybe I can touch new lines. Maybe, just maybe, I’m the one.

And if not?

「まだまだ」と言う。