#about giving up

When you say it like that, you make it so believable.

– And Even If Love Was Lost, Unknown Chapter –

When you say it like that, you make it so believable, I say.

I can still remember the scenery.

The sky is blue, the sunlight passes through you, and the faint shadow of summer leaves

make me think that for a moment, perhaps time had stood still

for us, for the youth within us and the youth outside of us.

The world is still young.

When you say it like that, you make it so believable, I say.

Your voice’s timbering on the canal of my ears.

The sweet sound of the rain on the tin roof.

I sit inside the house and look out –

the baked earth evaporates into these small fragments of the things I’d lost.

And in this country, you already know that the rain never stops.

On and on, the sweet sound of the rain on the tin roof

has been timbering on the canal of my ears.

When you say it like that, you make it so believable.

That we will have another life.

That we will have time to make up for it, no matter what it is.

That we will have lives.

The world is still young and honey, perhaps we were not made for it.

We were not made to last – no human is.

We were not made to stand still while time is moving on

and trampling all over us.

We were not made to endure the pains and the sufferings.

But on that very night – on the night that separation filled the air,

on the night that the rain ran the air until morning,

on the night where the songs kept playing on repeat,

on the night we learned to lean on a fragile shoulder,

when you say that we will be passing through,

that you will be here, and I will be here,

and for a thousand years,

the waves will not erase what has been carving on the sand –

Your vigor, and the night is still young.

Honey, when you say it like that –

you make it so believable.

In A Coffee Shop

I drank a cup of coffee

to outgrow my madness and sadness;

Never know whence they come

nor when they’ll leave.

You ask me, What’s wrong

with a little sadness?

And I say, Honey, if the human condition

means the sadness will never leave or let me be,

I refuse to be a human

or half a human.

I heard the trees’ conversation: Love is in the air.

It’s hard to believe in them though, when you see they can’t even keep

their leaves.

I look out the window of the coffee shop.

It seems the people all have their place to be,

A place to call home.

What do you consider a home? You say,

and I wanted to make a remarkable answer

to sweep you off your feet.

But your nimble fingers on the straw

and your red lipstick print fading out on it

keeps me from thinking seriously about any matter at all.

I don’t know, I say, What is a home to you anyway?

The bustling street outside keeps you occupied

and my question is thrown away in an ocean

of noise. Of life. Of you and me, being nowhere near each other

than the start of this conversation.

Will you still be here, I say, when your lipstick completely fades out?

What nonsense, you say, Of course I will be here:

After all, I just need to retouch my lipstick.

And I feel like crying then, No, it’s not like that.

But amidst the slow drizzling outside the coffee shop windows,

I find myself to always be a constant nonsense.

Never mind that, I smile, wiping off your lipstick, Put it on again,

and let’s stay for another minute.

Because you will never understand

the loneliness of being human, and it will be fine

to stay another minute

while your lips are still red.

Podcast: Charles Bukowski – The Last Night of the Earth

Transcription:

That we were perishable, perhaps didn’t occur to

Him

Or

That greater gods might be

Watching.

begging, Charles Bukowski

One can never have enough of Charles Bukowski’s books on the shelves, just as one might live in oblivion never knowing that we are perishable.

Hi, and welcome back to the Radio of Resistance. I never seem to be capable of sticking to my posting schedule. Forgive me for I am, as you are, perishable, and I take that notion liberally.

That we were perishable. There is much to talk about it. There is nothing to talk about it. For the longest of time, we have taken that fact for granted, although we do not know what to do with it. Should we place it down on this baked earth after the rain and walk away? Or should we just bring it with us on the journey, constantly looking at it, keep being reminded about how we will never become anything greater than who we are?

That we were perishable. Take a moment to think about it. Like the beggar in a video I mentioned in the last couple episodes, we are all in a rat’s race, and Charles Bukowski knows where the race ends.

That we were perishable, or that greater gods might be watching. I enjoy the hidden notion behind the regular, smaller, decapitalized “g” in all of Charles Bukowski’s poems, just as much as I enjoyed the “G-d” in Leonard Cohen’s. In a moment’s notice, the notion that greater gods might be watching does not seem that horrendous or filled with guilt. After all, aren’t the greater gods the same as the mortal men on the last night of Earth? And though you choose to worship them, though to you they are “G-d,” one of these days, the fact will catch to you that they will die along with the humans they created. Or not created, depends on your religion.

Whatever you believe in, that is your one true God.

In “The Last Night of the Earth,” Charles Bukowski spoonfeeds us the mortality of men. The best of us and more often than not, the worst of us. The masks we wear and the masks we tear down, depends on the weather and depends on who is in our hearts.

Each person is only given so many

Evenings

And each wasted evening is

A gross violation against the

Natural course of

Your only

Life;

The Last night of the Earth, Charles Bukowski

It’s not a surprise to know Charles Bukowski spent most of his living life staying at home. I suspect if we could, we will also choose to spent our life not wasting our limited evenings. I wonder who among us will have enough power to determine which will be the wasted evenings and which will be the not-wasted ones. We don’t need amazing ones, thank you, just simply the not-wasted ones.

I remember Ed Sheeran’s song, “Supermarket Flower.” A life’s been loved is a life that’s been lived. And just like that, the memories of my mother and my sister flood into my mind like the torrent of rain in that far away evening when I waited before the school gate for my mother to pick me up. One of these nights, undoubtedly, it will be my mother’s last night of the the Earth. One of these nights, these memories might be burnt down to ashes, and as the ashes flow out to the ocean, as my mother wants to, I will remember these not-wasted evenings.


The evenings she took me to the supermarket on her motorcycle. No matter how tired she was, she never once forgot that task.

Or the evenings where she cooked dinner and I stood besides her, listening to her homemade recipes, her stories that day, and what happened to the stupid cat that kept begging her for cuddles.

Or even the sadder evenings, where we sat in silence. My mother at the head of the bed and me by the foot of the bed, simply staring at the empty spaces in the room. A hollow void inside our hearts keep bleeding out words of hate and revenge.

Thinking back on those not-wasted evenings, I realize one thing: that putting things against time, the notion of right and wrong is frivolous. Whimsy, even. Like a little child’s crying because he couldn’t get his favorite toys.

The more we spend time on Earth, the more we realize how meaningless right and wrong are. What could be done has been done. What we think could not be done, has also been done. And the wars will properly outlive us all, just as our right to disagree.


Within that small hemisphere, what could right and wrong possibly mean to us?

The Radio of Resistance is dearly in need of your love to survive. If you feel generous and want to support the podcast, you can donate via https://paypal.me/bipolarpsyche. You don’t know how much it means to me and how appreciative it is, even if it’s just a $1 donation. If you want to reach out, my email is always open at tpdinh@tasteofsmallthings.com. Any donations above $15 will receive a free complimentary tarot reading session. For updates on my other works, which include novels and poems, you can follow me on Instagram at bipolar_psyche, or my Facebook page, The Bipolar Psyche’s Books. Additionally, I am selling merch, which includes T-shirt, hoodies, and mugs at https://thebipolarpsychestee.com

I read the news about Beirut, and I am reminded of a verse in The Carpenters’s song.

Bless the beasts and the children, for in this world they have no voice, they have no choice.

Bless the beasts and the children, for the world can never be, the world they see.

Bless the beasts and the children, the carpenters

I saw the face of the children, covered in blood and wounds and the wars’ gruesome death, and I thought to myself, What is the right and wrong in the event? And had they seen the children’s faces – the same ones that I see, that they see, on the street, laughing, running, living – would they do it again?

I had seen the faces of the Vietnam soldiers dying in the war, their corpses hanging from a tree or dismembered. I had also seen the face of the U.S. soldiers after the war, broken and void of any semblance of a smile. Their eyes vacant with hollow souls of the death.

After the war, you are not the same person you thought you could still maintain. And if luck is not on your side, you are not even a person. What, then, could be so valuable for the winning sides and the losing sides to grip so firmly on the attrition wars and pile corpses upon corpses? And do they know which corpses belong to which sides? In death’s eyes, we are all on the same side.

Viet Thanh Nguyen, a Vietnamese author who inspired me and other budding Vietnamese authors, had put it in a simple statement, The poor people never choose the war. The children in the Beirut aftermath covered in blood and dust never choose the war. The mothers and fathers grieving on the breaking ground for the smallest cries of their children surely do not choose the war.

I often wonder in my spare time on the last nights of Earth. Who choose the war? What is in their mind? What do they want to achieve? And why is there a right to turn the right to disagree into something larger? Something like death and corpses hanging from a tree and dismembered comrades.

Counting on one hand, I see the Rwanda Genocide, and recently, the Rohinga ethnic cleansing, I wonder about what we have learned from history. I thought spending thousands of years indulging ourselves in the blood bath of the enemy story, the us versus them story, and the human story, we can finally let go of the mindset of winning and losing. The saying often goes, The winners take it all, or to put it in this, The winners are the one writing the history.

Then, what did the winners actually learn? To be on the right side of history? To be the one worshipped and adored? And on the road leading to the right side of history, do they see the tears on the motherless children and childless parents? Do they hear the cry of their comrades and their enemies, just barely breathing, barely human, barely existing on the edge of their conscience?

“you come here to win, don’t

You?”

“I come here not to

Lose.”

The flashing of the odds, charles bukowski

It is so important to win. It is ingrained in our DNA. It’s the fight-or-flight system, the run for your life system, the get rich or die trying system. It is so, so very important to us that we forget sometimes, “not to lose” is enough. On Charles Bukowski’s racetrack, when 20 years are being lost after three days, it is just as important not to lose.

I say, I know that you’re there,

So don’t be

Sad.

Then I put him back,

But he’s singing a little

In there, I haven’t quite let him

Die

And we sleep together like

That

With our

Secret pact

And it’s nice enough to

Make a man

Weep, but I don’t

Weep, do

You?

The Blue Bird, Charles Bukowski

I often wonder, when the winners go to sleep, where will they end up? And did they kill the blue birds? Did they quiet the birds down, strangle them, and kill them softly the way they kill the dreams they had once when they were a child?

I recently had the honor to read Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s short story on a man’s melancholy with a river in Tokyo, his hometown. The melancholy growing inside a man’s heart that is nice enough to make a man weep. And in contrast to Bukowski, who quiet down the blue birds and sleep beside them in a secret pact, Akutagawa turns that sadness into the shape of the river, the smell of it , the sound of it, the breeze across it in the spring’s cherry blossom storms, the snow piling up on both sides of the riverbank in the cold winter that only the large cities have.

Despite the differences in the approach to the term “melancholy,” the meaning within Charles Bukowski’s blue birds and Akutagawa’s river sadness stay the same.

The thing is, when will the melancholy ever leave?

It sure follows Charles Bukowski to his sleepless night, singing his favorite classical music with its sweet dreary voice. And it sure follow Akutagawa to his suicide later on, as the cherry blossom petals were storming Tokyo with its vibrant and festive beauty by the riverside.

It’s like one of The National’s song, Sorrow found me when I was young.

I know of a man. Sorrow also found him when he was young. He lived in Tokyo all his life, and he was thirty years old. I wonder if he lived near Akutagawa’s river, or if he had something that resembled Akutagwa’s river. His own pills of melancholy. His own version of a sadness that will never leave. A wooden porch. A tilted old roof. An alley filled with old candy stores. Whatever that had stuck with him throughout his childhood and turned into his heart when he reached adulthood.

He told me many stories. The stories when he was bullied as a child. The stories when he couldn’t get any job as an adult. The stories that he hated living on a job from day to day. And the stories about how he would commit suicide later on in life if he had the opportunity.

I listened to him, and I think of the authors that cannot survive melancholy. Like Hemingway and Kawabata. I thought about the heroic sides of living and the heroic side of dying. I thought about the blue nights in Tokyo when I had the chance to see a train station filled with people rushing towards nowhere, with food on one hand and a briefcase on the other. I thought about him. I wondered what can save a life. I thought that if I had known it, I would have stayed up with him all night, talking about Akutagwa’s river and Bukowski’s blue birds. I would have done anything to keep his blue birds singing, to have them sleeping besides him, to let them live.

The next morning, he did not reply to my text. I guess like all beautiful things, sorrow got him, too.

And what’s the moral of the story? I’m sorry, but I didn’t tell this story just to dissect it. There’s no morality in living and in dying. I just want to let you, and everyone out there, who has food on one hand and the briefcase on the other, to keep on living. Don’t kill your blue birds. Let them sing.

This is Thanh Dinh, and you are listening to the Radio of Resistance.

Since You’ve Been Gone

To M. and the memories we shared.

Since you’ve been gone,

I don’t even know if I’m outside more

or if I’m just staying inside and imagine that I’m still on the outside.

I visited the café at the corner – they’ve just opened;

the menus are all new and the chairs are made of old shaven wood

but all I can think about

is how you would enjoy the wooden decor and the hand-painted walls

and how we would talk on and on about how coconut milk is not

real milk.

Since you’ve been gone,

I don’t know if checking my emails each 5 seconds had, naturally,

grown to be my happiness;

or if I had simply let it become a part of my happiness, grudgingly.

I remember your habit of putting smileys at the end of each sentence,

how you always say I should treat myself better,

how you never care for an honorific at the beginning of the letter,

or how you just end the emails with a simple period

like the story of us.

Since you’ve been gone,

I adopted another cat.

No one in my house like him.

He suffered abuse and now he doesn’t know how to act around human:

Just like me.

I wonder if kindness will fix him up

because it surely didn’t fix me.

I don’t know if I should wait and see the final act of this theatrical story

or if I should just stand up and walk out.

Since you’ve been gone,

there is a lot of things I learn

but I couldn’t learn how to trust me,

or anyone else ever again.

A Rose for My Mother, Part III

I don’t know what to say to you, Mother,

to amend your sadness and sorrow.

Apologies and gratitude, Mother,

seems so useless and meaningless now.

The other day you told me the story about my sister –

who had struggled to survive Autism on her own and

failing at that, is now just passing through her life in a breeze

of nothingness and shallow graves.

You said when she was still a young infant child,

she never slept; so you had to hold her up in your arm and

sitting up all night, worrying that

maybe the ghost of the war will take your child away,

or the ghost of the dawn will take you away.

You said it was a miracle that you hadn’t gone insane then and I thought to myself,

Mother, after all these years, it is a miracle

that you hadn’t, even once, fallen down the spiral of depression and

the curse of mental illness.

I collapse on the floor, tears falling down one side of my face,

and the first thing I see

is always you, there with me.

Wake up, honey, wake up, honey.

I muster the strength.

I gather the courage.

I unbutton the bravery and

I bring down the savage.

But Mother, dearest Mother,

the apologies are getting boring and

the gratitude can’t even getting nearer to what you had done –

what you had sacrifice to keep your two children alive – and now

at the age of forty-five,

you don’t need no apologies nor gratitude.

You only need to be free.

And Mother, you don’t know how much I yearn to have the power to grant you that wish.

My First Poetry Collection Is Published!

I am SUPER excited to let you know that my first poetry collection, A Rose for My Mother is finally live on the Kindle store (Spoiler: A hard copy is on the way!). You can find it almost anywhere, from South America to the remotest island of Europe.

Due to the publishing of this collection, I will mark some of my poems (not all, don’t worry. I still love sharing my writing with you) on this WordPress site to private. Instead, you can still enjoy them with drawings and illustration on high-quality cream paper at only $9.99 on Amazon Kindle store 😆😆😆😆

Thank you so much for your support. Without you, I can never make it this far. I will leave the Amazon links to the US, UK, AU, and CA Kindle store down below. Please let me know if I forget to include your geographical location: I will proceed to do so asap!

US Store
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