at (departures)

piles of tissue in the cigarette trays,
at (departures)
a condemned but bittersweet word,
is (departures)
yet the fifteen minute unloading couldn’t be shorter,
for (departures)
goodbyes, farewell, take cares drift
with (departures).

but don’t forget to meet me,
i’ll be waiting
at (arrivals).


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It was barely a slight glance, yet my heart rushed in a wild frenzy.

Oh the grace with which she held herself; the elegant posture she had perfected through years of toil. A trot filled with confidence. A step that seeped ambition. I traced the smooth curves of her slim body with a voracious eye. It was sleek indeed, a smooth line accentuated by a deep black. My uneven steps and hunched back were a disgrace. She possessed an air that demanded the attention of every living being.

I longed to approach her, but it was preposterous for the plebeian I was to even exist in such a royal presence. Yet I cared not. In face of this sin I was to commit, I gathered all the flimsy courage within my puny existence and took a step towards her.

Suddenly, her “majesty” turned her head. And our eyes met.

I sucked in my breath, and felt a bead of sweat trickle down. This simple mistake I made flashed pictures of my prostrating figure in remorse. Unfortunately, I had not the strength to make this movement. Why had I disrupted her peace?

But her stare was not of condescension. Meeting her gaze was a profound moment. It was a simple look that questioned my existence, a simple look that pierced deep into my soul and spat at my lustful desires.  The longer our eyes were fixed, the more my current love affair was challenged. Luckily, I still had hints of lingering courage from my first motion.

And took another step forward.

Her overwhelming sweet scent engulfed my senses. A scent of adventure and mystery. There was nothing I could do but gawk at this unmoving goddess.

Then another step.

Alas, this was a regretful step. She turned away scornfully at my advances and pounced away. Obviously, she had more demanding events to attend to than temporarily please an inferior man. After staying rooted in my position to collect my thoughts, I sighed and continued my way home.

Indeed, cats are the most magnificent creatures.

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the demons are whispering, enticing

scrapes of claws echo the vacant halls

bend the screws and don’t hide the scars

each stitch is a memory, y’know?


twisted thoughts, a convoluted grin

shattered locks litter the corners

knock on the entrance to the abyss

too bad, there’s no door


pain is only skin deep, keep digging

lit cigarettes illuminate the lobby

enthralled in the ecstasy

doesn’t everyone want it, to contain this madness?


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3:59 am

Automatically, my eyes flew open. Without a hint of grogginess, I sat up and turned to my left where the clock flashed 4:00. I climbed out of bed to grab the marker sitting on my chaotic table and added another tally on the mirror.

“Day 356. Congratulations insomnia, you’ve conquered a year of sleepless nights.” I groaned wryly. Well, might as well go pee.

As a habit, I picked up my keys and a light cardigan, and left the house. Furtively of course, mom’s a monster when she’s sleep deprived. Then I made my way to the park two blocks away.

It has been exactly 1 year since this began, and exactly 1 year since I started leaving the house again (other than for class). No matter how long I’ve slept, my body would immediately jolt awake at exactly 4:00 am. In case you’re wondering, daylight savings does not apply here. Through numerous experiments, there’s only one (painless) method to put me back to sleep. Sleeping pills, abstaining from caffeine, getting tipsy none worked. Only one method.

– a walk in the park.

That’s right, my circadian rhythm was overruled by a medically illogical solution. Simply (rather, strangely), a ten minute break in the deserted park just before the break of dawn, is the sole method for my body to succumb to rest. Sighing, I gave into this peculiar malady and continued my 6 minutes and 43 second stroll to the swing set.

Then again, this time of day eventually became my favorite hour. I took a deep breath, filling my lungs with the crisp, summer air. If not for this bizarre sleeping habit, I wouldn’t be able to treasure the tranquility associated with the dead of night.

It was a time after the wolves, but before the birds.

It was a time where only the sound of a passing cricket could be heard.

It was a chilling, yet serene silence.

The moon floated in the sky, preparing to descend, but not yet, as it continued to shine dutifully. I breathed in again appreciating the coolness and breathed out. A sweet mix of pine and evergreen wafted by as I inhaled again. I had arrived at the park.

Coming regularly, the park was as familiar as my own house, probably even more so. The quickest way to the solitary swing set was not by the paved path, but rather, diverging from it and navigating through the trees. It was all too familiar. Not long after, I reached the clearing but…

On that swing set made for two, there sat an unexpected visitor. Unexpected, as this was the first time I had seen someone (excluding me of course) out at 4 in the morning. I stood frozen, wordlessly analyzing the figure who disrupted my moment of solitude. Was this man dangerous? Should I go home before he noticed me? I remained there and quietly inspected this person.

– but I was overwhelmed with a sense of familiarity. Tracing the silhouette, I felt secure. In fact, I should approach him. Gathering up my courage, I slowly made my way to the seat beside him.

“Hello,” he said without turning to look at me, “or should I say ‘Good morning’?” he continued while chuckling to himself.

“Erm. Sure,” I replied awkwardly, and turned curiously to look at the stranger.

– it was the new transfer student!

… Sorry, I was kidding. Life isn’t cliche like that.

It was an anonymous, (but rather attractive) young man who I had never seen before in this small neighborhood. A sudden pain throbbed in the back of my head. Someone I’ve never met before? Then what was that feeling of nostalgia?

“… Please don’t look at me like that,” he whispered, turning a pained expression to me.

“… Sorry, I’m just a bit… Confused…” I replied and quickly looked down in embarrassment.

“It’s okay,” he laughed again, “I’d expect you wouldn’t want to remember me after what happened last year.”

Wait, what happened last year? I attempted to ask, but the words stuck in my throat. Great, even my conscious mind is against me. A lengthy silence followed. After a long struggle, I finally produced sound out of my mouth.

“Why 4 o’clock in the morning?” I blurted unintelligibly. He simply stared into the distance, as if I had never spoken at all. And the silence continued again.

Then a slight squeaking sound broke the lull as he swung up and down the swing set.

“It’s a time after the wolves, but before the birds isn’t it?” he finally answered with a mischievous grin dancing at the ends of his lips.

“… Who are you…?” I asked sharply.

“Your long lost half-brother that was separated from birth,” he replied cheerfully while climbing higher into the night sky.

“At least think of something believable,” I retorted as he continued to laugh.

“A forgotten childhood friend that disappeared and suddenly came back?” he tried again.

“More believable, but impossible. I was home schooled until grade 12.” I rebutted with a sigh.

“Then…” he mumbled as he decelerated, “someone that deserved to be forgotten,” as he slowed to a stop, “and doesn’t deserve forgiveness?” he finished without looking at me.

“I…. I don’t get it…” I tried to catch his glance but he refused to face me.

“It’s better that way,” he rose from his spot, “I should have never came back anyways,” and began to walk off.

“Wait!” I called out, “Why did you come then…. If you think you shouldn’t have came?” Frozen on that spot, he turned to face me.

“I just… Wanted to see how you were doing. To make sure you were…. Okay…” a forlorn stare pierced the night, “Don’t worry, this is the last time you’ll see me. I won’t break my promise with you ever again.”

His lonely figure strode quickly through the park, the somber moonlight his sole companion. The dark drifted back to its frigid stillness. A single tear rolled down my cheek. Part of me wanted to pursue this fleeting enigma, yet my body rejected the idea. I wanted to know, but at the same time, I didn’t. My chaotic state was draining, so I slowly returned home.

I never woke up at 4:00 am anymore. In fact, following that encounter, I slept like a brick. I also decided not to pursue the incident, letting that man’s identity stay a secret. Did I feel regret? Maybe. But there’s honestly no point in grieving over the past.

“Good morning dear,” my mother called as I walked into the kitchen, “how do pancakes sound?”

“Great!” I grinned, while sipping my daily dose of caffeine.

“Oh by the way,” she continued while flipping pancakes, “I heard Cedric came back last week.”

“Who’s Cedric?” I asked uninterested. More importantly, my brow furrowed as I scrolled through thirty-eight unread emails about a group project.

“Your ex…? Well, never mind if you don’t want to talk about it.” I froze mid-sip in revelation, nearly gagging on scalding hot coffee.

“Is he still here?” I hastily demanded.

“Hmm… I think so… From what I’ve heard, he’s back for a week or two… Since when did you ca-”


But I had already left the house with my keys and a light cardigan.


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the jazz trio

The soft jazz floated through the room as he silently watched from the entrance of the room. The pianist’s hands danced gracefully across the keyboard of the Steinway grand. Each note enticed the other two on stage to follow suit, providing the melody with each piece. Although the lighting was dim, the man could see the pianist flash a grin as the pace of the song picked up. As if in a state of ecstasy. What a reckless man, he thought. A part of him wished he could experience this sense of euphoria as well, but sighed internal at this vague dream.

The man furtively chose the seat in the corner as his dwelling for the night, and lightly placed his fedora on the table. As he did so, a waitress approached his table.

“What can I get you sir?”

“… Scotch. On the rocks.” and she left quickly with his order. The young lady could not hide her delight that the man was not another drunkard, or another dirty businessman with hopes of cheating on his wife. Yet this man could not help but frown as to why an adolescent such as her was working in a place like this.

He turned his attention back onto the stage as he light a cigarette. The bassist nodded his head to the beat with his eyes closed, letting the music course. His double bass was slightly taller than the player, but his presence overshadowed his physical height. He quickly ran his fingers across the strings. Each pluck reverberated a deep, sensuous sound. The sound was faint to the untrained ear, but was a key member in the trio that brought harmony to the airy piano. It was as if the bass was pulling the piano back from attempting to drift away, thus letting the mundane enjoy the music. With a puff, the man also closed his eyes and savored the sounds.

“Here you go, sir!” the waitress came back with his drink.

“Thank you,” he simply replied with a nod. The poor waitress could not help but flutter at the elegance of this man, and hurriedly turned around to serve the other customers.

As he loosened his tie, he heard the melody of the current piece reach its climax. The drummer was infected with the pianist’s smile as he swayed his head to the quick melody. And then was his solo. He pounded away at the drum kit, each clash of the symbol echoing lightly, each hit of the drum reflecting his passion for this percussion instrument. Every strike was calculated through dedication and hours of practice, but also carried hints of excitement, almost to obsession. His fervor gradually heightened, but the cool bass dragged him back to reality.

The man could feel his adrenaline racing with the band, his heartbeat matching  the ¾ time.

As he sipped from his glass he noticed a woman halfway across the room staring at him intensely. She was slim, but not unhealthy. Her curves accentuated only by her tight dress, slightly flaring near her heels. Her long, wavy hair reaching the small of her back. The man did not want any trouble, and simply wanted to relish the night, so he turned his gaze away. Obviously, the lady was slightly agitated at his simple rejection. But she refused to back down. She drew nearer to the bar, and took a seat that was unobstructed from his line of view. After ordering a cup of red wine, she seductively flipped her black hair onto the other shoulder and continued to stare at the man calmly smoking his second cigarette.
Alas, the man was not interested and got up to leave. He put two bills on the table, and plopped his fedora on. He left the room with a cigarette still light on his lips and half a shot left in the glass.


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