Such and endless amount
Of paperwork to be done
Exam for this, test for that, sign here
Such tremendous future endeavours
And so much planning for the time ahead
All I want is a passport
To bus my way to you
There is a land that separates us,
lyrics of concrete jungle
ebony rivers of thought
that divide my here and your now
like toy soldiers barricading
a miniature city.
I cannot exist in your time,
and you cannot exist in mine.
The border guards have made sure of that.
The pages of my passport yellow in the sun
crawl away with the plastic bag insects
and wire spiders.
Once I dreamt we were painted on the
underbelly of an airplane.
We traded secrets with the wind and
swam through clouds that tried to mimic our storm.
We couldn't see any walls from there.
We couldn't see any borders.
It will take more than a ticket to travel to you.
The earth will slice through several solar dust breaths
and we will find and lose too many loved things
whose skeletons we keep on our shelves
to remind us of the shapes we can't adhere to.
Then, when our separate worlds quiet
when the tsunami of angst settles back into
his mother's salty arms
we will find a place
where we both
you. you should travel.
not to boast of your travels,
rather to explore and honour the beautiful world created for you.
you. you should travel,
not to get more stamps on your passport
rather to encounter towns, cultures, foods you have never dreamed of.
you should travel.
not to lose more money,
to be witness to the most beautiful moments
It's funny the things that catch our eye.
My boarding pass and passport are over checked
Admission letter four years old,
Father's death certificate,
My marriage certificate,
To prove I'm not a threat.
He waltzes through without a blink.
No boarding pass checked,
No passport in hand,
No red flags raised.
I'm sure it's illegal,
But they don't ask
Or maybe they won't.
I'm the one they check,
The one they search.
Are these your suitcases?
Unpack the suitcase
who packed the suitcase?
Each item scanned
Where was the suitcase after it was packed?
That had better be for good luck.
(more attention than the blarney stone)
Did anyone give you any gifts to bring?
Rush through check-in.
Second security check,
Go to line 3.
Unpack hand luggage,
Laptop, tablet, phone, chargers, data cables
Take off shoes,
Walk through metal detector,
Three swabs more for good measure,
Rush to gate
Finally in my seat.
He takes 15 minutes.
It's funny how his time 8-tuples,
When we travel together.
I may be his partner,
I may speak their language without the dreaded Mivtah*,
but I still don't belong.
It's funny the things that catch our eye.
I assume you may not know me, but I know you. Well, how else could I not know you when your story has been adapted into a book and a movie? You may not recognize the way you can reach me back, because you’re fictional. But I’d like to think you’re real, and that’s good enough for me.
I’ve been reading your letters, just like any other kids my age and some adults who are still intrigued by young adult fiction. You cried a lot for a boy. You were not ashamed of it, too, even when you were with your friends, Patrick and Sam. They seemed to be really nice people, and I learnt that what they did didn’t define them. The fact that they like to smoke and drink doesn’t make them bad people. I like that. And as always, eventually, people stop doing things but their personality stays strong. Who you are comes from inside.
Anyway, yes, you cried a lot for a boy. You were lucky to have friends that appreciate your tears. Sometimes, they would join you, but in cheers. You cheered along, too, but they weren’t yelps or shouts of joy but whimpers of happiness. Crying may seem weak and vulnerable, but I think you didn’t need to stop.
I would like to tell you a story, if I may. Well, how would you reply to my request of patience and lending both of your ears when you’re only inside our minds? However, Charlie, if you were ever alive, I think you would be a good listener. This reminds me of one of the lines in your letter, stating that you’re “a wallflower”. Anyway, now, let’s get to my story.
In a few months, I will be packing my bags then depart to your country, the United States. A few months ago, I was tested whether or not I was eligible to live in your country and represent my nation. I passed. Though I thought that my interview kind of sucked, I still passed. After being declared that I was qualified to go to the U. S., I was given a 27-page form I needed to fill. And so I did. The form consisted of student profile, student questionnaire, student’s letter to host family, parents questionnaire, interviewer’s report, medical records, academic records, a photo album, and a contract. I don’t know why, but this form seemed to weigh down on me, even though it shouldn’t feel tiring at all. I had the pleasure of writing my letter to my future host family, because I love writing, but somehow, I just didn’t like dealing with the official stuffs. But gradually, I put up with it and ended my misery.
Today, I gave the form to my counsellor. I was ready to feel satisfied. I was so ready because I had been feeling very pissed off of late, and my rage peaked when my mom forgot to print the photos I needed for the photo album for my future host family to see. My anger still haven’t soothed down, though. Which means I am really mad. Little did I know, after all that ice cream of strolls between the school building to the administration to get my academic records and car rides from home to the doctor to clarify my medical records, topped by an icing of stress due to the ignorance in putting the photos together, there was a cherry on top. I had to print another copy of the same form, photocopy my passport photo, get my dad to sign my form, and if all that was not enough, my counsellor poured down a chocolate syrup into my wombs. I needed to refill my medical records which would only mean going back to the doctor for several more times. I don’t want to exaggerate by saying the hundredth time, because I am already tired.
Of course, all I did was put on my poker face for security, even though my mom yelled at me for not telling her sooner about the correct way to fill my medical records. To be honest, that is all I do. Put on a face of a clear expression of unclear emotion. I felt really stupid for not listening intently to my counsellor when we first met. I felt so stupid, I felt like I already wasted my opportunity. My opportunity to be myself to the fullest extent. My opportunity to feel what is unfelt. My opportunity to meet people I have not encountered. My first opportunity to really go.
But of course, that is not true. I just need to do what needs to be done and I’m all good. But I can’t help feeling like a failure. And I have been stifling more cries than I have ever been in my entire life. I wanted to cry when my brother left. All I did was covered my mouth with the bottom tip of my t-shirt and tried to catch myself when I fell. This time, I wanted to cry because I had never been so ignorant in following instructions. I don’t just tell myself this everyday, I am fully aware that I am observant. I see things people don’t. I feel things that people would dismiss. I listen to unspoken thoughts rather than what has been stated. I really like this part of myself. I feel like this is something that makes me me, and when I don’t do well on something simple like this, something has got to be wrong.
The first thing that came up to mind when I was faced with my mistakes was, “So this is my karma.”
I am a strong believer in karma, Charlie. I bet you know what it is. It’s the punishment you get after doing something bad. Nobody seems to know this, but I’m a bad person. I am. I have a bad habit of judging people; of collecting prejudices to make myself feel good; of being good even when I don’t want to; of not making the best of things; of lying, lying, and lying; of constantly hiding even when I have the chance to fully display myself out there; of being a burden to my parents and friends; of being vague about my faith; of not having a voice. I feel weak, but I won’t say I’m a weakling because I won’t make it become me, although all I want to do is to cry all the time because unlike you, I have no idea how to do that.
All I know right now is when I can feel there’s water in my eyes, I blink to dry them out. When my lips seem to turn upside down, I give them a rubdown so that they would look nice and pretty again. I don’t know how to cry, Charlie, I really don’t. I can already see myself next week at school, making an excuse to the toilet, or having lunch with friends and while having a good laugh I find myself crying, and I wouldn’t be able to distinguish my happiness and my melancholy. Neither would my friends.
I’m sorry for making it really long for you to read. I could just make it into several sentences, like, “Didn’t correctly fill out my form. Feeling like a failure. I don’t know how to express myself.” But knowing that you really like reading books as much as I do, I think you would appreciate my effort in writing my story as detailed as possible. I hope you enjoy it, too, no matter how miserable it seems when it really shouldn’t be. But then again, I wouldn’t be telling you a story.
During my inconsolable moment, I decided to make a list of things to remember when I’m an adult. In my mind, I wrote the first one down. I said to myself, “Remember the feeling of holding back.” I muttered the line aloud inside again and again, so that it would feel natural for me when I see someone in a situation like mine. As much as I hate that feeling, I need to be reminded so that others won’t be as miserable as I was. It seems pretty selfish of me, to see other people smile so that I can join them, but if you think again, it’s also for their own good.
The second one is to be sensitive, because it’s the only way you can understand anyone, especially your kids. I feel like people should not forget the fact that others of their kind is others of their kind. They’re not only their fellow citizens, they’re not only what they do for a living, they’re not doctors, or lawyers, or engineers, or archeologists. They are human. The basic form of every occupation. And they have feelings, just like we do. Sometimes we are blocked by the boundary of professionalism that we forget who they really are. There is not a day where we’re not divided based on jobs, religions, races, nationalities, and the list keeps going. But in the end, what we are is not based on those factions. We’re just mortals.
I would tell you more about the four other things I’ve listed, but I don’t want to keep you from doing what you’re supposed to do now. I think there are more things to be listed, too, when my days have moved on. But the four other things I’ve written down are, “Keep in mind Alesso’s quote, that you’re not gonna get any younger”, “Make ‘Listening to Sigur Rós’ a routine”, “Always eat your breakfast”, and “Remember the feeling of being a teenager, because most parents have already forgotten”. I thought that I would erase the last one because it is pretty similar to the second one, but I guess it has a different understanding. I’m sorry for keeping you from doing your job for awhile, whatever it is you are doing now. But I do hope you turn out well.
If you do reach the end, Charlie, now is the time that I thank you for reading this from the beginning to the end. I don’t get listened to much actually, so I think it is very kind of you for having finished reading every word. Anyway, I need to get busy printing my form again. I hope to recognize you in one of the souls I will be meeting one day.
A neatly put together mess,
from a girl who blends like a chameleon.
Princess stickers on the locker door
add a little character.
Pencils that have fallen into the abyss.
A scarf left over from a chilly January morning,
hangs on the hook inside,
beside a jacket for the ride home.
An unreturned Big Purple chills in the corner,
as the bevy of small reading books
An uneaten poptart still in the wrapper,
full notebooks of carefully taken notes,
and a career passport
to sum up how little she did in High School.
The locker filled with the little things,
on the corner,
out in the open for everyone to see,
belongs to me.
Ever had the feeling of being trapped in a glass box
with the air slowly running out, with every breath?
In sun, rain, snow and storm, the box gets dark or warm
but what you can do always remains the same.
Have you just simply wanted to walk away or break free?
To travel the world taming Lion cubs and petting great white sharks?
To wake up to a sunrise in a Dutch farm and watch it set over the Mediterranean sea?
To teach children in Thailand or India?
To salsa on the streets of Mexico or be blinded by the lights in Dubai?
Have you ever wanted to be border-less?
To not be punished for being born in a country
where the sun is hot and people are poor?
Have you ever just wanted to work, get a place, pay taxes,
and not ignore the growling of your stomach
so your 5 pound takeaway stretches over 3 days
postponing the date to buy the next food stock?
Have you ever wanted to check your bank account
without having your fingers crossed, because
even though you know the exact balance
you hope by some miracle it will be more?
Have you prayed for immigration to back the hell off
leaving you to make a living without risking deportation?
Have you ever got tired of playing by the rules when
the Albanian Mafia and Walmart
makes more money per hour than what you'd make in a lifetime, or two?
With heart aches and emotional games, and
attending Sunday mass becoming more of a cliché,
with rejection and doors closed,
at the cost of owning a brown passport,
with your head spinning and back against the wall,
have you wondered what life wants from you at all?
To all the women being trafficked for sex,
and the children slaving away spinning Persian carpets,
tonight it's too cold to snow outside my glass box.
Inside, it's too sad to cry...
Dear Miss *,
We regret to inform you that unfortunately at this time we do not have space for you at our company.
Dear Miss *,
We regret to inform you that unfortunately at this time we cannot offer you a place with our company as you are under qualified.
Yours xx xxxxx
Dear Miss *,
Thank you for your application. We regret to inform you that you are over-qualified for the position.
Yours, xxxxxxx xxx
Dear Miss *,
I don’t think so love. This isn’t even a letter, this is my managerial position on you handing me your cv.
Cheers, bahbye now
Dear Miss *,
This isn’t really a letter either, but despite how un-pc this is, we can’t hire you due to your gender.
Thanks anyway, save your paper.
Dear Miss *,
Thank you for your application, unfortunately we had stronger applicants.
Yours, etc., aaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaa
Dear Miss *,
Thank you for your application. Unfortunately we are not hiring at the moment even though we had advertised the job you applied for.
Yours, xxxxxxxxx xxxxx
Dear Miss *,
We had left it between you and another applicant, and couldn’t decide so we flipped a coin, and she won. You’re a lovely girl though.
Yours, fffffff ffff fffff
Dear Miss *,
I refer to your claim for Jobseekers Benefit/Assistance at VVVVVV’s CCCCCC local office. Jobseekers Benefit/Assistance claims are subject to periodic review, consequently, I would appreciate if you would attend this office for interview on the 31/17/78 and bring the following :
1. Proof of Identity (i.e. Passport or Driving Licence or Long version of your Birth Certificate)
2. Proof of Residency (e.g. Letter from landlord/ Rent Book/ Lease/ Mortgage Receipt/ Letter from Parents + Household Bill)
3. Written Proof of recent job applications and replies.
4. Proof of job applications made through FAS
5. FAS courses applied for.
6. A copy of your Curriculum Vitae (CV): unemployed from
7. If your spouse/partner is an adult dependent on your claim, please bring his/her GNIB and Passport/Travel Documents.
Failure to respond to this letter may lead to suspension or disallowance of claim.
Close your eyes and let your mind read
Freeing yourself of all censorship is the need
The passport to the journey
The wealth you won't aquire with money
Let's go back through the singularity
Back when soul is all you shared with humanity
The instant you decided to live
You agreed to the pact, you were naive
The beauty of the reward appeased your fear
The avarice in you made success seam near
Hell seemed easy to avoid
No reason to be paranoid
Now inside the womb you are
Of your days you will be the star
And to survive to what you saw is now your instinct
Alas, impatience and insatiability will create conflict
You are now thrown into the world that you so wanted
But your hopes will appear to be too feral to be haunted
Your instinct tho will never tire
Until from this quest, you retire
Even if at times, the target is seen metaphysical
When every matter loses purity when political
When the pile of seconds is of its states the critical
When every fellow human turns out to be cynical
That's when you realize that everybody else has a radius of action
And when you are induced into it, little is know about the reaction
But time is erudite when it comes to that kind of interaction
It teaches that happy endings along a lifetime are just a fraction
How can this phase be real if love and sex are in it synonymes?
How can this span be tangible if nothing is exactly how it seems?
And hope will outlast everything when seeded into life
Hope that emerged from where abundance is rife
Now tell your eyes to open and think again...
Like many other Christians,
I’m living here on Earth temporarily;
ask to see my “spiritual green card” -
For my citizenship is with Christ’s eternity.
Being a stranger in a foreign land
makes me a heavenly ambassador,
serving a lifelong assignment
on a Godly pilgrimage as His sojourner.
Earth is not my final home -
For I strive to overcome temptations of Earth;
found in my identity with Christ
is the true measure of my worth.
For those who are unsure,
The Bible is my eternal passport
that provides my credentials
until I’m present in Heaven’s court.
Learn more about me and my poetry at:
By Joseph J. Breunig 3rd, © 2010, All rights reserved.