Melancholic romance

An early spring morning

With a taste of soy milk latte

The crispy chilly air and the rays of sun

Smiles and Edith Piaf music

French brings back the old, the past, the adolescence

Romance,melancholy

Waiting and observing

Bonding with memories

The Portugese stage of my life,

Fado gives spirit

To the old communist blocks

First loves, first lessons, first embraces

First deceptions, first tears,first falls

The love of life, the life of love

Comes alive

On Greek island music now

Oh melancholic romance,

Thou art so sweet!

The need to disappear

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It gets heavy, bold,

And strong…

It weighs

As if your whole body

Breaks and dissipates,

Into the thin air.

There is this need

To disappear, to erase

Your identity, your memories.

You vomit your feelings

On the train tracks!

Spill your pain on liquid tar.

You want to become

nobody, a stranger

with no emotional package.

Take to the road

with no destination in mind.

A frontal body collision

Covers you in ice-cold sweat.

Brutally penetrated by hate,

By anger and disappointment

You feel fucking disgusted!

By love, by words, by ridiculous promises

A distorted body covered,

In flashes of

atrocious moments of silence.

Fighting against the windmills

You and Don Quijote,

Both smashed, crashed…

One mentally, the other bodily.

You are like:

An empty glass of whiskey,

full of rancour.

You  hate what you’ve become

A conglomerate of unspoken words,

unfulfilled expectations, painful emotions!

They all got stuck in your throat.

Last time, you swallowed,

your dry disillusion.

With no saliva.

There is this need to disappear

And remove the plaque of steel

From your smokey, dirty throat.

You’ve been coughing blood

Cuz this poisoned love

Fed your veins too long.

Violent convulsions

Attack your body

From head to toe.

There is this need to disappear

To cleanse your wretched guts

There is a need for wind

For sea and motorbikes

For nature and random drunken experiences

To occupy your mind, to make you  numb

To make you forget.

There is this need to disappear

So you can finally let go…

 

I wanted to describe my country in words…

But I can’t. There is so much rage and frustration inside of me that my words would be just foolish, full of hate and no smart insights. I could write a book analyzing the political situation of Romania, the sociocultural background of the country that influences the mentality of the people, but in the end I would sum up everything by saying that this country embarrasses the EU. The most adequate adjective for the country is corrupt. And don’t get me wrong…the geographical position, the natural environment, the long-lost hospitality of people and the dying traditional arts, crafts and customs were great. Things worth loving or liking in Romania disappear rapidly with each passing day. So, nowadays, I hate this country because I hate its people. Some might condemn me and say that I am not patriotic. A lot of people will probably consider me a shame to my own country because I had the courage to state that I hate it. But guess what? I don’t mind. I am a citizen of the world, a simple human being that does not care about its nationality. And ironically enough, I’ve been treated and welcomed better in other countries I’ve lived in. The fact that I was born in Romania does not mean I should be devoted to a place just because it happened to be my birthplace. I didn’t choose it and I am allowed to criticize it and feel the way I do about it.

However, I won’t get into soliloquies here and I will let pictures describe the grim situation. One more thing, why are things the way they are? Because what is rotten comes from people’s inside. The top men and women of the country, ‘le creme de le creme’ are fucking corrupt, thieves with no scruples, illiterates with no kindness or consciousness. Money and materialism rule this country. Everyone else is simply not courageous enough to stand up to what is wrong. Incessant complaints, but no action. People want a top-down change, but the reality is that this country needs brave people who will slowly affect and bring positive changes through bottom-up approaches.

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Soil pollution exactly near big villas. Ok, let’s say you don’t care about the environment, but not giving a shit about how horrible the landscape is just outside of your house? It’s literally visually disturbing.

Impossible…but well, people in Romania live in their own bubbles….an allien invasion or public whipping of school children might happen just outside their houses and they wouldn’t give a damn.

 

Massive illegal deforestation that has been going on since the 1989 revolution. Wakey wakey, who cares about the resources of the country, about the oxygen, the balance of humans and nature, the ongoing climate change? And yeah, I care more about trees, animals and nature because they are kind and never consume more than they need for their own sustenance.

 

Lovely view for any traveler who wants to relax near the river or in the forest. Ha ha, what a brilliant joke! But who cares? I mean, people go camping and they leave tons of garbage behind and throw plastic bottles and remains in the water. Isn’t it disheartening for them and other travelers? Gosh, and they judge Roma people for living and indulging in dirt. But are they better? Nope…And I won’t even mention the environmental aspect of the whole situation. Imagine how annoying it is for environmentalists to see  dumped plastic, which isn’t even biodegradable. How much more efficient would be to recycle all those poor plastic bottles!

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If you are not rich enough or you don’t have caring, ‘loaded’ relatives to pay for your hospitalization and treatment in a private hospital you will end up in a public hospital that looks like this. And let’s not talk about Bucharest or other big cities…they might have a few better hospitals, but the rest of the country is lucky enough to even have these shitholes. People get more and more sick under these disturbing circumstances by breathing unhealthy air and by being in an unsanitary environment where germs spread with the speed of light. And let’s add to these some grumpy nurses who act like they are the queens of the hospital and the patients are beggars. And doctors who never explain anything to you and dismiss any questions you might have.

 

How do old people fare? Not much better, they have ridiculously low pensions and struggle to survive by any means possible. These old people are the ones who vote and would even sell their souls (not to mention their political votes) for some extra cash or food.

P.S: Dead people and Romanian expats from all over the globe vote in Romania in their home cities!  I knew that Romanian people believe in spirits and ghosts, but to go as far as making them vote?

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Poor Roma people. Everyone complains that they are thieves by nature and that they should be exterminated (ha ha, of course there are a lot of wannabe Hitlers in Romania, they would enjoy an ethnic cleansing).

What a lot of human beings who live in Romania associate with Roma people: “They love and indulge in their shitty, dirty, full of garbage environments.” But no one actually takes into account the fact that society pushes these people into miserable slums and that they have no choice or opportunity to improve themselves and opt out of stealing, begging and rat-like living conditions. The areas where they live have no current electricity, water or heating, no sewage systems and cities nearby dump their trash next to the houses of these ‘guilty to be born in Roma communities’.

Hey, kids, you are the future of this country! That’s it if you make it past teenagehood without becoming drug addicts, homeless, construction workers, illiterate, part of illegal prostitution networks or tortured physically or psychologically by foster parents or in orphanages.

strazi-pamant-noroi-1-Copy03 Grigorescu (mare)autostrada

People love buying expensive cars that stand for their material wealth and social status in society. But when it comes to roads and highways….let me tell you that everyone should use off-road vehicles.

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paragina

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The arhitecture of the country is amazing, full of spirit and decaying day by day. We have more architects than buildings in despair. However, they don’t have jobs or work in boring projects or they migrate to China because those people build a lot. And our outstanding old buildings might collapse very soon. Preservation of heritage? That’s considered heretical in Romania.

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Can you believe that Bucharest, a city of approximately 1 870 000 inhabitants, is as crowded during peak hours in the metro as Shanghai, a city of 24 000 000 people? Hell, no. Not to mention the insalubrious conditions and falling down fragments of cement at train and metro stations.

This part hurts me the most and shows me how inhuman some people in Romania are. I really wish we had a police force that concentrated on protecting all animals at any cost. For example, bears’ paws are considered a delicacy and natural furs are paraded by stylish women with no principles. I won’t comment further because animals in this country have no rights. Their lives and freedom are in danger constantly. This country is a human jungle where both people and animals suffer alike.

Thoughts of wisdom

 

I love people’s diversity and their inner resources of wisdom. Hence, a few years ago I decided to collect the thoughts and ideas of my friends, of acquaintances and travellers I came into contact with. Unfortunately, I got caught up with other things and I stopped doing it. However, I promised myself I will collect fragments of wisdom again. Here’s what I got so far: 

 

” A poetic vision comes from observing a creative landscape, then act upon it. The key is to realize what the action will be, or will do to you and others. “  By Julien Pearly from France

 

” A man is but a product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes!” Adam Barnett citing Gandhi from Edinburgh

 

“I wish I was                                                                                                                                  

Where I was                                                                                                                                          

When I was wishing                                                                                                                            

To be here. ”                                                                                                                                          

By Cristina Grigore from Pitesti

 

“Words I spill on paper,                                                                                                                        

Ideas trapped in blue ink.                                                                                                                    

My thoughts are fireflies in flight;                                                                                                      

They lose their light when                                                                                                                  

With clumsy hands                                                                                                                              

I catch them.”                                                                                                                                          

By Ana from Brazil

 

“If you give a warm enough rope to hang itself it’ll turn around and bite the hand that feeds it.”  By Ivan Rochford from Ireland 

 

“O ramurica pe o stea –                                                                                                                    

 uite, a incoltit luna!                                                                                                                              

Cine scutura mugurii                                                                                                                          

lucitori noaptea pe cer?                                                                                                                    

A intunecat un gnom noaptea!                                                                                                         

Si ce a facut gnomitza?”                

By Elena Daniela Smoke from Pitesti

 

“A smile and a pleasant turn of phrase.                                                                                          

Take pleasure in the mine of life. Happiness is a choice” Anonymous

 

“If we are attached to smaller joy, then it is impossible to attain bigger joy.” By Tashi from Tibet

 

“Words are not enough to describe reality” By Lawrence Pedregosa from the Philippines 

 

“No smart quotes from me, my mind, thoughts, ideas change with every encounter.”      By Ahmed Ismail from Egypt

 

“El medio es la actitud.” By Carlos Brown from Canary Islands 

 

“It’s safer to believe in religion than not to believe. If at the end of time it’s proven that there is no religion , I guess we have nothing to lose.” By Immanuel from Nigeria

 

 “Life short                                                                                                                                              

suffering tall                                                                                                                                          

 plenty of water                                                                                                                                      

 no fish                                                                                                                                                    

no fish at all.

“By Kokothett from Myanmar 

 

“In summer the trees are full                                                                                                              

In winter they are bare                                                                                                                      

No leaf falls in the wrong place.”                                                                                                    

By Stan from Ireland            

 

“It’s interesting to see how a combination of different perspectives can enrich or change someone’s outlook on life.” By Jeroen from Leuven

 

“Knowledge opens several doors, but you close the one you want to open. That will make the difference in your life. Which one is the right door? Nobody knows. Just make sure the way to happiness doesn’t become harder.” By David from Czeck Republic 

 

“Confused? At loss at what to do? Don’t worry, you’re only human. Happiness is a state of mind.” By Florian Piron from Belgium

 

“All the small things matter!” By Julio Rodriguez from Ecuador 

 

“Travel to unknown places will be nourishment for your soul. It’s about learning to leave friends behind , but gain so many new friends on the way.” By Lukas from Lausanne

 

“Every action should bring you more freedom!” By Sebastien from Lausanne

 

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For now!

 

 

 

 

At the Movies

 

Chamomile is my cup of tea

Old notes, the purple lilies of the field

The dusty, rigid, oak tree chairs

The spirit of the past, dim lights

And oldies music set the scene.

The sounds of life, a child’s energy

Blonde heads and quiet dreams

All captured in the room

In the entirety of its sea

Across the stage of hopes and screens

There is a writer

Creation and impression,

Spontaneous intention.

Last winter’s cold day, the coming of spring

There is a stranger caught in my string.

Timid glances and loud laughs

Our nervous moves on Milli Vanilli are delirious

Chamomile is my cup of tea!

His is syrup from the pine tree.

Have you ever been at the movies?

Borderline

 

Foggy-Day

 

Strong, black coffee on a frosty November day,

The thrills of the birds transform bricks into clay

An amalgam of broken emotions fly and they may

Yesterday I begged disillusion to stay!

Imaginary thoughts trapped in a box

Spin with fervor and hunt like a fox.

Desirous to impose a reality of their own,

Suppress the world as it is known.

But despair not, you lost soul

You tossed and you turned until you found coal.

And misty indifference veiled the magic at dusk

The empty contents struck as poison in a flask!

What is coffee?

coffee

 

An aromatic, bitter strong drink with a distinctive taste that forces your body and mind to come to life.  A dark brown beverage that marks the start of a new day. A liquid that takes our taste buds by surprise and gives us a boost of energy in the morning. A mildly sweet drink that envelops us in humble pleasure. Precious fine coffee crystals that delight our smell sense. An essential product that has been, is and will be exchanged all over the globe for profit. The nectar of the gods that only high-class nobles had access to in the Europe of the Middle Ages. Odoriferous coffee beans produced at high altitudes (arabica)  and at lower altitudes  (robusta). A vital part of breakfast. An indispensable part of work and business culture. A symbol of high-class. Everlasting pride for coffee connoisseurs.

What is coffee? A means and an excuse to socialize, to spend hours talking over a cup of coffee. A magical beverage served when you visit a friend’s or acquaintance’s house and you lose track of time exchanging news and information. Something that gives you a reason to gossip forever. In Turkey, Greece and Romania coffee is closely related to foreseeing the future. Coffee is a way of passing time and taking guesses in what might happen to you in the next few days, weeks or months. Fortune-telling in coffee cups marked my childhood. It was something magical, mysterious and somehow hopeful. This cultural custom drew me in until I felt completely absorbed by the world of coffee. I was swirling in a whirlwind heading to the bottom of the cup where the gate to stories and future predictions stood. The coffee cup had agency, had a power of its own, had the ability to tell you what you hoped it might happen. How did this happen?

I remember that ever since I was 4 or 5, old enough to understand what happened around me, I was granted permission to participate at my grandmother’s get-togethers with her neighborhood friends. They would come over to our flat and sit at the kitchen table over cups of homemade coffee and small plates of rose jam. After finding their sits at the table these ladies started discussing the newest happenings of our small city, family business/ problems and future opportunities. This group of ladies, together with my grandma, functioned as an unwritten daily newspaper of our small city or the daily news radio show. As a child I was delighted to be allowed to listen to and to be included in adults’ talks. For them I was only the cameo of the movie, but I felt like the director granted me the main part. It made me feel important and I was hoping to grow up as soon as possible to comprehend even more those mysterious things they were talking about. As a child my curiosity had no boundaries and I devoured all the tittle-tattle they passed around. The conversations smelled like freshly ground coffee and tasted like sweet, pink roses. Once in a while I received permission from my grandmother to have a few sips of coffee. On those occasions, when the ladies’ had finished their coffee they told me to spin one of the cups, to turn it upside down and then to put it on a small plate. Afterwards, I left the cup there for the coffee grounds to dry up. It came as a surprise that a few minutes later these chatterers proceeded to interpret the symbols and images that appeared inside the porcelain cups. They were fortune-telling. This act felt mysterious to me. One of my grandmother’s friends was always especially good at doing this. She was a true storyteller and captivated the attention of the audience not only with her carefully selected words, but also with her imposing figure. She was a 1.8 m tall lady, with a heavy and strong body who used to read magazines about paranormal activities. and allowed me to do so to. I was a sucker for the occult and for mysterious, unexplainable phenomena. She was also the one who took delight in summarizing for me the books of Alexandre Dumas , Jules Verne and Victor Hugo. Thus, she inflicted on me an ardent desire to read, a passion for books and a wish to grow up faster in order to be capable to grasp the meaning of those books. She used to tend to me when my parents were away for work and I have to say she did a superb job. She opened me up to the world around me and fed me curiosity. The curiosity to read, to know more, to learn, to explore the universe, to listen to people’s stories and to write my own, to become an intellectual and to keep evolving. She made amazing brownies too and used green coloured lipsticks that turned red when applied on the lips.

I loved her and I never got to say goodbye before she passed away. But thanks to her, coffee became my best friend. Aid when reading and assistance when writing. A special artefact that inspires me and acts as a referee at social encounters. A beverage that hides a story at the bottom of the porcelain cup (snakes, tigers, owls, figures of men and women, bees, waterfalls that signify wealth, money, danger, betrayal, good luck, future trips, arrival of love). Coffee is a friend. A cup of coffee is, for me, full of my grandmother’s friend’s spirit. A cup of coffee is a flawless confidant to intellectual affairs. It gives an intense flavour to special books, to important life journeys, to changes, to philosophical movies, to artsy museum exhibitions, to late mornings, to good friends, to lovers, to affluent writers and famous historical figures, to choices, to travels, to my perfumes and lipsticks, to my kisses and to crossroads.

Over a cup of coffee I started listening to Ayn Rand’s audiobook ‘Atlas Shrugged’. As a child I used to listen to immortal stories series on radio cassettes.Those fantastic stories fascinated me and accompanied my afternoon naps. When I rediscovered the habit of listening to stories I was over the moon. I had some problems sleeping and I made audiobooks my sound sleep medicine. So what impression did Atlas Shrugged leave on me? What struck me about it? The spirit of Atlas Shrugged and how I felt when I listened to it. In general and in real life I believe that economic monopolies are to be condemned and I am all for the equality of chances for small and big producers alike. Thus, I understand the side of the opposition against Hank Rearden and Dagny Taggart, but I also feel for them, for their support of reason and efficiency. There is something outrageous in how they are being sabotaged. My heart goes to support them and I am on the side of reason this time. The stance of exaggerated postmodernism of industrialists, the scientists’ group, the government and even part of the philosophers in Atlas Shrugged represents yet another failure of society to reach an equilibrium. Combating Dagny’s and Hank’s cold, austere personalities and their feverish chase for profits are not justified if pursued through unjust and equally shameful and unscrupulous means. In the end all that sticks whenever I finish listening to whole passages of Atlas Shrugged is that I feel for Dagny Taggart’s and Hank Rearden’s struggles against the coalition formed to ensure their failure.

However, what strikes me the most in this book is the accentuated question : ‘Who is John Galt’?  A ghost, an unknown man trapped in the world of legends, a supposedly important affluent man who found the lost town of Atlantis, a mockery, an unresolved question, an unsolvable issue, but also a symbol of unprecedented power.

Coffee and the question ‘Who is John Galt’ helped me advance in life through hardships, through political changes, through the realization that I only have agency on myself and my life (sometimes not even that), that I am the size of an ant in the world and that I might not even be able to arrange my own life, let alone helping others. At the same time hearing and assimilating  the question “Who is John Galt’ gives me a sense of pleasure, makes me feel like I can lose myself in the absurdly gigantic world that surrounds us and in the vast array of choices we are given. It can make me disappear and live my life in my own imagination, in books and glasses of wine, in coffee cups filled and enjoyed in cottages in the middle of the forest. Atlas Shrugged reinforces my belief that nothing matters anyways (except how you make yourself feel) before you die. Hence, no matter how disappointed you are with life and what happens in your reality you can always escape for a while like John Galt and you can let absurd legends and stories form around your character. In the end you can get reborn from your own ashes and become a successful business ( like the John Galt railway line). For a while, at least. Then it’s time for another book or perhaps a movie?

Coffee and movies. My favourite movie director, Woody Allen, possesses the mind of a genius. I love the way he regards life and the way he treats it in his movies. His quotes and sentences are like a bitter-sweet muffin to me, pure delight and amazing sarcasm. His humourous dark comedies touch the insides of my soul and mind. I identify with what he created in his movies. His dramatic comedies sweeten loss and pain by transforming them into the witty  and amusing absurdities of life. These add page after page to the albums of our existence called experiences.

So let me take a quote of his and share my thoughts on it: “I am not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” Let’s put this in a simple way. No one desires to end her or his life in painful ways. If we were given a choice in advance we will all opt for dying in our sleep or when we are unconscious. If we are masters of our own lives, why can’t we be the monarchs of our own deaths? I am with Woody Allen on this and I think that the best way of dying is without feeling it and without realizing it.Why is this so?  Because no matter how many times I meditate, I read Buddhist books or want to believe in an afterlife  I am still afraid and cannot conceive the moment when my spirit and my whole being will cease existing. I cannot cope with the reality of death and its implications. I can accept it, but I cannot stop being afraid of it. I think you are never really ready to die, unless you are a monk or an illuminated being (and I am pretty sure that even they have some unresolved issues related to death somewhere deep in their subconscious). I remember talking to an old person and asking her how she perceives death. She said that no one is ever ready to die because they have a desire to keep living, experiencing and seeing the changes that happen around the world. Can we really say at any point in our life that we are ready to pass on, that we can let go of all our loved ones, that we renunciate feeling, thinking, experiencing and that we have no traces of curiosity left for what another day of life might bring to us?