Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Creative Writing Workshop 1 : A "Lost" Experience

So here I was feeling like a high school kid suddenly daunted by being assigned a phrase and three words: "Early Spring", "Tempted", "Dangling" and "Lost". Our task was to write creatively for 10-15 minutes using those words and phrases in our prose. Writing poetry was also an option.

I wasn't used to on-the-spot assignments outside of English exams. I attributed my anxiety to those past  high-school experiences. Even in college, we got to know to some of the material ahead of any exam. My own writing for pleasure usually included things that inspired me rather than assigned to me. My most productive literary musings were produced during the dark hours of insomnia rather than Friday afternoon and an impending happy hour beer after a long week. I certainly wasn't used to writing under the gun of time. But I was excited about my first creative-writing workshop. Despite being exited, anxiety momentarily filled me with dread as a blank sheet of writing paper and a pen stared back at me. However, age, inspiration, imagination, life experience and a willingness to share my despair in the form of poetry and prose took over from the momentary despair. I surprisingly found that the task in hand was relatively easy...

The rambling of my 10-15 minute hand-written blurb that includes three of the four words assigned in the workshop started ended up with a sad appraisal of how I thought about the past twenty years of my life. One of the things I have learned from writing is that it can be a stark insight into an unknown world within us. It is one that only becomes visual when we apply the written word to our innermost thoughts.

My work began:

I woke up one early spring morning with an alarming thought. Had I really slept through the seasons of my life? This morning was the dawn of a new experience -- an experience I'd never felt before. Where was I? And why all of a sudden in a very familiar environment did I feel lost?

I got up and looked in the mirror, but the reflection glaring back at me wasn't me. Somehow, I got lost on the way. I had been in a deep sleep for twenty years. What had I been doing and missing? I had been missing me... Yes, me. Somewhere, a part of me died. Most importantly, where was I and where was I going? Then it dawned on me. The early spring morning of my life had arrived.

Time dangles like Damocles' Sword above our heads. My awakening on the early spring morning was to know never to get lost again and to keep the dangling sword of time in sight, overhead and ahead...

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Closing Doors

her internal door slammed shut inside
after such a crushing surprise
she wanted to just run and hide
but sat staring crying inside

things weren't suppose to end this way
staring back at what the words say
"I owe you much it's fair to say.
I just can't love you, I'm afraid"

how can she go out and play
when she felt she just died today
she'll bury her hurt deep inside
they'll be moments to sit and cry

how she dances the night away
a few smiles keeps the pain at bay
she hides it well from the outside
only a few more hours to hide

she arrives home safely at long last
feelings brew behind an iron mask
as suppressed tears release inside
she feels as dark as the night outside

an iron door locks her love within 
she'll never be the same again
residing in her living hell
hopefully time will break the spell

Closed Door by Adrenoverse
Closed Door by Adrenoverse

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Jewel and the Beast

A more distant and challenging beast that I had ever encountered laid in wait. She beckoned to me with her peak adorned with white lace, and green trimming around her base as well as a promise of a sight of her jewel that she reveals only once a century. The tall looming beast took my breath away. My senses were heightened once more.

I start to climb. She is gentle and graces me with warm encouraging breezes luring me with scenes unseen by those who are not seduced by her beauty. Her gift of a tiny oasis complete with spring and a dozen bright butterflies greet me. I pause for a while to reflect on this tiny slice of life isolated from the barren, but beautiful scape. I move on leaving this tiny island of life behind.

The gentle turns and twists in her trail grow vague and misleading. Her trail becomes more camouflaged with the rest of the scape and confusing the higher I climb. I've seen this game before. Ah yes: tread carefully with this new beast. The trail seems to disappear. I stop and look around her desolate landscape and notice how nothing sings, flies, or cries. I search for a patten in the strewn rocks and flakes up the moraine, but all I see is more of the same. I'm slightly unnerved and feel mildly threatened. She calms me with a little red flag. Ah ha! Now the game is on!

I scramble towards the red marker; small rocks, and stones sliding beneath my feet. The trail appears once more. I must watch her more carefully and go easier on her back. Her stoney trail to her jewel develops tighter and sharper turns. I'm developing an eye for her moves, but remain cautious sensing that she will present me with more challenges if I get too sure. And I was right.

The path falters and stops. I hear her gently rumble, but her warning quietens to a gentle whisper. Is she teasing me again? I hear desolate places can play tricks with deprived senses. It had been four to five hours since I had any contact with another person. It dawned on me that this was the longest time that I'd ever been without another human being around me. I found that invigorating, but also slightly unnerving. My senses were heightened as I viewed my surrounds much more carefully. The whispers grew louder, I stopped to listen, but couldn't make out words... I continued convinced that I was heading towards the voices rather than away. They must be on the trail.

I see another flag of red..., only this time she is talking... I call. The figure in red stops... I see her and she waves and indicates where the trail resumes... This cunning, but majestic beast has placed yet another obstacle that stops me in my tracts. A boulder field looms ahead. I scrambled across the boulders keeping the red clad figure within my sights. Eventually, after a relatively easy scramble over the rocks and boulders, my savior showed me how the trail resumed meandering up the side of the moraine and along its ridge only a little steeper... I smiled as I watched her glide down and disappear like an apparition into the field of boulders that had obscured my view of this stark, but beautiful beast's writhing trail.

I felt relieved and grateful of my mystery traveler. I wondered how I ever would have found the trail without her. Going forward, the beast's trail was easier to follow and she rewarded me with spectacular panoramic views that made me feel on top of the world. I climbed a little more as I wanted to reach the pile of rocks neatly stacked indicating the trail. My breath was being taken away by her dizzy heights of about 9,000 ft and I still had another 1,500ft of climbing to see her jewel -- a once in a life-time sighting.  Breakfast was hours ago and it was more than time for refueling.  I found a comfortable spot for my lunch of trail-mix, mozzarella cheese stick, and a protein bar. I again pondered at the desolate landscape and the fact that now I truly was alone on the mountain. I had never been so isolated from other life. I felt privilege to experience that. I surveyed her desolate, but serene landscape again and felt at peace. I had no anxiety from the possibility of running into other less accommodating beasts like mountain lions or bears which kept me on edge below the timberline.

Lunch was over, and I looked forward to finally catching a glimpse of the once in a life-time sighting of her jewel. I felt honored and privileged that she would reveal all. I came across her first snow layer left discarded like a lace scarf she'd thrown off from her peak that now laid before me at my feet. There were a few more turns and twists to navigate. I was close. Many before me had not even been allowed here without a battle against her unforgiving elements. Finally, I reached a thicker whiter mass and looked across the glacial whiteness. There was her jewel... a small piece of aqua blue stood out among the whiteness -- I had reached the jewel named Helen Lake and was witness to the first time in 50 years of her showing off this gem - a small pool of water in this dessert of a mountain peak. I was close to this amazing jewel as I could possible go without risking falling into one of her possibly hidden crevasses never to be seen or heard of again. She tempted me with this sight, but I withdrew back down the trail promising her I'd be back to climb her peak next year.

Mount Shasta by Adrenoverse
Mount Shasta

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hidden views

From the high trails of an Island across the bay, a cityscape gleamed and sparkled in the haze of an early morning sun. Silver slithers shimmered from east to west from across the bay. White horses decorated with diamonds speckled the bay and sparkled as they bobbed up and down in their azure blue arena. Occasionally, a flair of color would help the white horses along their way. Thin wisps of early morning fairy-tail mist enveloped a small island castle like fingers hiding a secret. White wispy fingers reached out across the bay and crept under the red span of a bridge whose towers watched over the enchanted city. The city shone and glistened like a jewel in a crown as sunbeams bounced around glass towers piercing the blue. Alas, this enchanting surreal scene exists only in the eyes of a few.

Hidden behind those sparkles are boxes of burnt-out candles entrapped in a cage of age, loneliness and poverty. Their flames long extinguished, the candles remain boxed up and invisible, but other candles burn through the night. Twinkling champagne juxtaposes extinguished flames.

The silver slivers are snakes of black with holes in their back squished by heat and heavy machinery slugging lost candles from hilltops to dark boxes below.

Those beautiful white horses had the wind in their sails whilst lifeless candles hid behind screens unseen by horses, champagne and flames. The unlit candles remain in their dark box waiting, and waiting for a match to strike that will signify their dawn... Locked in their box, not seeing the sunrise or the sunset, they never know when it is day or night.

And so it was; way up high on that lonesome trail where everything seemed so still. The scene was just a screen forming a backdrop for what is rarely seen.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Past Reflections

There she was. I caught her gaze through the window of a darkened store on Polk Street. Her platinum blond hair and half-closed eyes gazed in a haze back at me. I stood mesmerized outside my favorite antique store which had closed for the day. I never noticed her before. Fascinated, I stared back at her through the window in wonderment and admiration for this young woman's beauty and charm. Her tousled hair had the look of someone riding in a vintage convertible along a 1950s California highway. Perhaps she had embarked on such a journey?

There was nothing sharp or angular about her features. Her features were small, soft and rounded like that of an innocent child.  I wanted to stay and ask her all kinds of questions, but I had to leave. I wanted to tell her how much she reminded me of a friend who had similar looks and style and whose life also ended in tragedy at a similar age. The timeless, but vintage beauty of this woman looked on at me through the window. She seemed aware yet vulnerable. She could walk the modern streets of Paris, London, New York or indeed San Francisco, and still not look out of place.  I left, but with a promise to myself that I would be back. I returned a few days later, but alas, she was gone -- and the frame containing her image was gone. Wherever Marilyn Monroe is hanging, I hope she is gazing through that window of time reflecting on the past with no regrets.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Not Me

Sitting in an office 9-5
following deadlines

not me

why me?
it doesn't have to be
why think it of me
because you want it to be

for appearance
(well may be a wax)

not me

brown bag lunches
fake breaks

not me

climb dizzy heights
up a corporate ladder
lose your footing
half-way up

not me

feet firmly bound
to the ground
stress free
with autonomy

that's me

wine sun
beers and cheers
chat and relax

that's me

so heed of my plea
listen to me
leave me be
to be me

Thursday, May 29, 2014


heat, sun,
a balmy breeze
caressing arms with no sleeves
flowing dresses
lady writing in a straw hat
man reading
laptops open
laptops closed
tables adorned with beers
sometimes coffee
heads down
forward, focused
heads up
a face pensive waiting for a friend

necks crane forward
scrutinizing screens
drained heads on one side figuring out what it all means...
hands animated

heads nodding uncomplaining
different color heads of hair
no one stares
who cares?

tattoos, glances, trances,
interesting stances eliciting ladies glances
they hide behind dark frames where they look discreetly in vain
buses pullup right outside
how do they feel as they watch us inside
outside having fun in the sun
the straw hat looks up; she smiles
what a style

Isaac Maimon "Cafe Paris 2010"

Isaac Maimon "Cafe Paris 2010"

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Night Highway

mind in the fast lane
no exit
what if there was?
where will it lead?
some place better?
doubt it
no sign of sleep
that's miles away
or did it pass?
past ex-lovers --
a desolate
long gone
lonesome place
now passing through
town of regrets
still no exit 
ah! a sign of hope
the opposite direction --
heading nowhere
where now?
running outta gas
slow down
the night is long
time stands still
the mind keeps going. 
a few hours away
a red line
a horizon
signifies dawn
as orange appears
with azure blue
the madness fades
until the next mad ride
along night highway
a highway to nowhere
that never ends


Tuesday, April 29, 2014


a field after rain
a face in pain

a light that says "go"
moss where a river flows

a jealous muse
a mix of yellow and the blues

a carpet where snow once lay
the beginning of a spring day

leaves shimmering in an evening sun
a glow of a cat's eyes when day is done

the fourth color in a rainbow
and of city signs that glow

Evergreen branches blowing to and fro
the color of life that ebbs and flows

Yosemite National Park - Karen Bayley-Ewell June 2013

Sunday, March 9, 2014

An Early Bloom

Oh poppy how alone you are!
petals nodding in response
I felt warm air from afar
February confidence!

I wondered where the others were!
a lone coyote stops to howl
it's time for them to allure
trots along the coastal trail

glowing shimmering in low sun
gold against old clearly seen
its new life not long begun
a little early for a spring scene

golden poppy don't you feel a slight chill?
petals quiver in the breeze
a little but mostly I'm still
warmth calms her petals with ease

Golden Poppy

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Night Run

I saw you running across the parking lot. You didn't hear me at first. I thought you were ignoring me. My heart sunk and I felt hurt. Maybe you didn't see me? Hear me, or even remember me? It had been so long. I ran to catch up with you in the morning sun. I was surprised at your pace. I called again. You turned -- and the smile returned that I remembered -- the one that melted my heart.

You were hot and sweaty. Clearly you'd been running for some time. I didn't care. We embraced once more. We held tight and resumed a night flight. We ran, and we ran, and talked and talked; I can't remember what about.

I don't know how many miles we ran. Such pleasure was immeasurable, but each mile felt as good as the last, regardless of how many passed. The run lasted the night. I thought I had died and gone to heaven, but still the moment was against a back drop of melancholy. I knew where we'd begun and that this run would end and that I would never be yours -- my friend. And indeed, the run ended.

A tear flowed onto my pillow.

It was time to get up. For once, getting up was easy for I was away from an unreal world that lies and deceives. A world that raises hopes to be no more -- like the sea disappearing along a shore.

Later that day, I took to the hills. Like an old time cine movie, I replayed the dream over a five mile run. You were beside my side again. Only this time, no tears, just a fond memory flowed. "Miles" can be recaptured anywhere and anytime. An unreal world, but a creation of mine. An action replay of a love sublime forever captured until the end of my time.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Sharpen the Knife

Sharpen the knife to cut the atmosphere
      cut some slack for someone most dear

Sharpen the knife in case of attack
      before a blade finds your back

Sharpen the knife as sharp as your tongue
     quick come-backs are so much fun

Sharpen the knife for a slice of pie
      before it catches another one's eye

Sharpen the knife and carve a good life
     a slice of variety will save much strife

Sharpen the knife to slay cutting remarks
      and leave them standing in the dark

Sharpen the knife for a quick clean cut
      because blunt knives hurt like fuck

Friday, January 10, 2014

Oh No, You Don't!

[This is an original piece that I wrote for illustrating the different decision making processes and the battles of the Id, ego and superego.Original Article - November 5, 2010 

The infamous boots

Oh yes you do! And so the fight between the Id and the Superego continues. Your battle of so-called inner voices in very urgent irrational decision making processes are what Sigmund Fraud, I mean Freud (Freudian slip intended) called our stages of sexual development. The “Id” is our impulse of want and needs instant gratification. The Id, according to Freud, is our basic instinct. However, the battles of our want and needs clearly extended beyond sexuality as I experienced last week when a local shoe store beckoned me with their tantalizing recession-proof “Sale” signs screaming claims of “up to 70% off” emblazoned across the store-front window. Seemingly, it was an offer that I didn’t want to refuse. Well at least that is what my Id told me, but according to Freud, my superego had other ideas which I really did not want to hear. The superego is our “inner parent.” The superego tells us “No!” when all we really want to hear is “Yes.” My superego tells me, “There is no point in looking because you can’t buy anyway...” Our superego is where we internalize our moral judgment based on how we are socialized and is responsible for the nagging guilt we sometimes feel. My Id disagrees and appeals to my latest boot fetish, “There are some good deals that have your name on them! They are yours and they’re on sale!” I enter with caution like a lamb to the slaughter amid rows of shoes and boots that indeed were up to 70% off. My ego so far keeps me in check. The ego is what Freud called the balancing force between the Id. Our ego keeps our Id and Superego in check -- on a good day of judgment. It is where we make decisions that we are aware of. It is the umpire between the fighting forces of Id and Superego that we experience in the throes of a shopping spree. The Id appeals to our basic instincts whereas the superego is our inner Nancy Reagan  that wants to “just say no.”

Meanwhile, I am lost among a sea of shag me shoes and fuck-me boots all in my size and color. In a fog of calculations of 40% off, 30% off signs, I spot a pair of four-inch heel thigh high fuck-me boots. I try them on and pull them over my thigh over the tight jeans I have on. Oh yeah! At this point, my Superego starts to scream, “You’ll never wear them! You’re wasting your money! You cannot justify this expense! You already have 2 pairs of black boots!” “But,” my Id ego weighs in, “these are different! These boots have your name on them. You need these boots! They make you feel like a whore! There is something empowering about that!” Goodness knows why, but actually there is something empowering about that. I am not trying to intellectualize here, but attempting to demonstrate the irrationality of the subconscious mind versus the rational mind. While the battle continues, my ego needs approval; vindication of the “wrong” that I am about to commit. I take out my iPhone and take a photo of me in them in a hooker-like stance in front of a mirror and post it to my Facebook profile with the caption, “I soooo want these boots! Should I get them?” Needless to say, my friends positively reinforced me with comments, like “Cor yeah!” and “Wear them when you next see me! lol” exclaimed some male friends. Girlfriends backed my “dilemma” with, “Go get ‘em girl! You deserve them!” I immediately had confirmation from very reliable sources that I should go ahead with said purchase. Needless to say I followed their sound recommendations. Ignoring my superego with the nagging chiding of, “How are you going to explain this to significant other at home?” I proceeded to the check out regardless of the unanswered question reverberating in my mind.

I ventured homeward bound up Powell Street amid tourist shoppers, feeling proud of my “deal” yet guilty at the same time. After all, I really couldn’t justify $70 when I already had two pair of black boots. My superego was starting to kick in too little too late. Later on that evening when I met a friend for cocktails, she admired my purchase, and I smiled. There are times when validation is worth every penny, no matter what the id, ego or superego says.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


one grey day as morning broke
a silent voice softly spoke
"it's time to wake from your sleep"
lost feelings started to seep

togetherness -- what a chore
how much time is really yours?
always ready to appease?
did you ever feel at ease?

journey on the back of time
intersected by love sublime
a sign pointed another way
you saw how you couldn't stay

oh why did you stay so long
when it all just seemed so wrong?
time is the only one who knows
it's just how the way life goes

a waterfall of time flew by
when a droplet caught your eye
loneliness was always there
so why do you so despair?

alone ain't such a bad thing
no questions that make your head spin
no more actions to explain
you are ready to soar again

Adrenoverse at Glazier Point, Yosemite NP, California