Ikigai (Japanese): A reason to get up in the morning, a reason to live.

It can be anything really. Nothing big needs to be had, just, at least, have something. For example: feeding your kids. Okay, maybe that’s jumping the gun. If you’re here, and you don’t know how to get there, maybe you don’t have kids. Maybe you never will. That’s fine. So if you don’t have someone else to provide for, why not, choose yourself? That’s too hard for you? Okay, what about saving up for a new…car or phone, or that interesting book that you know you’ll never read, but will keep your desk warm. Anything really. Something that can make you more than just the letters sprawled out in your name. Really, nothing big needs to be had, just anything. Something. Everyone needs something. Otherwise, can you really say you’re living? I mean, sure you can, but there’s a difference between living and being alive. And there’s a difference between being happy from the thought of going from today to tomorrow and being happy from forgetting that today eventually becomes tomorrow. Unless you really want to live mechanically, ticking away with rusted gears, until oil stops fueling you, then don’t have anything, but when you decide to find something, life will always be there waiting.



Curhat(Indonesian): To share one’s story, the pouring of one’s heart, a casual act of opening up.

“And so, there we were, on the edge of knowing what a life together would be like, and you know what?”


“That’s when he starts talking about some lady he’d been eyeing ever since we got out of the store!”

Was there something on her face?


Was she… Wearing some strange outfit, or talking to herself, or is he a medium? Maybe she was possessed by the ghost of her grandmother, or father, or, just a ghost. Maybe he was worried that she’d be sucked into –

“I called to give you a story.”

It doesn’t sound like it’s going to be pleasant.

“It isn’t.”

Well, if it’s going to be like that, then I’m going to try my best to lighten the mood. I don’t want to sit here and give you a pity party.

“That’s not what I’m asking for.”

Well if it’s not, then let’s have some fun.


What? Not serious enough for you? If he’s going to be eyeing other women when he’s got you, then you’ve got to lighten up too. If he’s not serious, then why should you?

“That’s…something I figured you’d come up with.”

I’m not sure what kind of impression you have of me.

“Well, you’re the type of person I’d call.”

Fair enough. So, it was a ghost right?

“How do you think it died?”


Quincena(Spanish): A period of 15 days, usually attributed to wage payments.

“I’ll see you in a fortnight and a bit.”

That sure is a mouthful, isn’t there a better way to word that? I mean, who even uses fortnight anymore?

“I’m sure someone out there does. It’s convenient, right?”

A fortnight is fourteen days. Which is also two weeks. I’d wager most people don’t know what a fortnight is.

            “But isn’t that something we’ve all encountered before? I mean, it’s Shakespearean, right? That’s like, mandatory reading.”

Mandatory if you went to school. If you say two weeks, and you don’t know what a week is, then I’d have trouble speaking to you. Isn’t that just the natural go-to? Why start with fortnight?

             “But doesn’t saying fortnight just sound –”

Pretentious? Yeah, it does.

            “Not pretentious, just, a bit better than ‘I’ll see you in two weeks’, doesn’t roll off the tongue.”

I’ll see you in a fortnight and a bit doesn’t either.

“Well, I don’t want to be factually inaccurate and say two weeks when in fact its fifteen days.”

Who cares.

             “You should. You were late today because I said we were meeting again at noon. You didn’t know what noon actually meant and –”

Okay buddy, I get it. We’re meeting in a fortnight and a bit. Happy?



Meriggiare (Italian): Resting in the shade on a very hot day

My body trudged in the sludge that formed as my feet transfixed into the earth. The sun wrapped around my skin in waves as if it had always belonged there. Even if I did turn into a pool, no one would take notice. A pool of blood soaked bones with too many dreams to hold would be swept into the sewers, mixing with the mold beneath. The cicadas rung loud in my ears. They always do, reminding me to feel as if the weight of the world was on my shoulders, as if it was just like any other day. The city bathes in streams of light cutting through the sky, a man half blind from the reflection on his phone, another burning his skin to show his yearning of self indulged worth to women who glow in the warmth that showers their touch. Glass becomes dangerous, any shine capable of burning eyes. Protecting the eyes does no good as the winds come to scorch skin. The only solace comes in the quiet whispers that follow the wind. The whispers lead to a pocket of exposed tubes and steel garters. The high rise scrapes the rays, leaving a touch of dark.


Duende (Spanish): The mysterious power that a work of art can have over a person.

In a swirl at the moon;  with the twirls of a skirt, you swung with the trills of the notes that floated on lit candles and whitened drapes flowing in chords. In a crescendo at the base of a mountain; with the snowy blanket falling over our heads as you hummed in bursts of four beats drinking red wine and overcooked steak. That was my mistake. In a forte at the eye of the storm; with the sharpened winds draping your arms in light brushes, tiny pricks lifting your hairs, your eyes nearly falling into black. The song ends and we’re sitting at our tables, drinking red wine with food that no one would die for. The next song comes on, we’re back at the moon.


Litost (Czech): A feeling that synthesizes grief, sympathy, remorse and longing.

I saw her crying that night when her father died. She wouldn’t answer me. My touch faded into her space. My words fell flat onto her ears. Her eyes were a distant red. My step-sister would never come to forget him, and I barely knew him. I was hardly in the world when I was born. I was hardly in the world when everything around me seemed to change. I was hardly in the world when those that I should have sought close to me were further than the stars. My step-sister came into my life soon after. I met her first at the train station waiting for the 104 to come. Her smile beamed throughout the dim light of the afternoon station. She greeted me with all she had. Her bright hair flung behind her in her playful gait. Her warmth found me. Not long after my mother remarried, my father had died again. Pangs of daggers came onto me from every moment of living. But seeing my sister be so distraught, seeing her smile turn into contortions made me want to hold her. To lend her my warmth, the same warmth she lent me. I never knew my father, or my step-father, but I have an obligation now to be someone who can protect my family. I wish I knew my father, or my step-father, so I could at least have some way of knowing how I can do that.


Saudade (Portuguese): Melancholic longing or nostalgia for a person, place or thing far away.

My hands dip into the water as you float further from my finger tips frizzling in the short aftertaste of rain as it glides off the tip of my tongue, you find yourself waddling in short waves that emanate from the origin of my touch, and you graze the corner of the ocean with your short reach finding yourself in its embrace before I jump in after you, but you only continue to float further and further from my grasp that you seem to be a year away and that every step I take you retract five more years away until finally we’re at the end of our lives and it’s the world on fire and we’re finally within reach of our futile lives and yet you still retract and turn your head away looking into the sunset blaze of seven billion lives and you tell me that I’ll never be where you are again.


Fargin (Yiddish) To wholeheartedly appreciate the successes of others

I’m glad you’ve got it all together. I’m glad you’ve lived this long. I’m glad you’re here with me. I’m glad you can tell me all about your day. I’m glad that you can just take your taxes, laugh and pay. I’m glad that you don’t worry about student fees. I’m glad that you’ve found a nice community. I’m glad your friends love you. I’m glad you love your friends. I’m glad you’re eating well. I’m glad you haven’t made your way and fell. And if you do, I’m glad you can pick yourself up. I’m glad you can continue. I’m glad you can wave your hands and tell me hello. I’m glad you can wave your hands and tell me goodbye. I’m glad you’ve stopped crying. I’m glad you’ve stopped trying. You already have it all together, you’re already winning. I’m glad you’re here. I’m glad you’re glad. I’m glad you’ve held on so long. I’m glad you’re there, and I’m here. And I’ll be there, eventually. So when I do find you there, please be glad for me as well.


Shouganai (Japanese): When something is inevitable so why worry about it. It cannot be helped, nothing can be done about it.

You wake. You sleep. You laugh. You cry. You eat. You drink. You open. You close. You walk. You fall. You listen. You ignore. You know. You don’t. You study. You play. You mend. You break. You want. You need. You get. You lose. You remember. You forget. You enter. You leave. You change. You stay. You smile. You frown. You wave hello. You wave goodbye. You love. You hate. You work. You can’t. You cheer. You can’t. You blush. You can’t. You relax. You can’t. You breathe. You can’t. You talk. You can’t. You scream. You can’t. You run. You can’t. You inhale. You can’t. You inject. You can’t. You cut. You can’t. You jump. You can’t. You win. You lose. You live. You die. You see another day. You find another way. You know its futile. You know it takes time. You manage to strive. You find a light. You know no one else matters. You know your life is yours. You find the world through two words. You can.


Recalcitrant: Stubbornly resistant to authority or control

I’m a run-on sentence, which means that if I don’t create new words, I’ll eventually stop, but, grammatically, I’m the worst enemy of every high school teacher and the demise of every university student, and by all means, despite how tiring it might be to have a person read me with all of the haughtily placed punctuations to continue my existence, I am grateful that I can exist as an entity, after all, run-on sentences aren’t always the enemy to all literary mankind, no, there are many instances where a run-on sentence can be quite useful, for example, if one were to need to indicate a stream of consciousness then of course a run-on sentence would be used since a stream of consciousness is just that a stream of consciousness and nothing more nothing less it’s a collection of words and things that come together to try and string a cohesive thought and nothing less raw and more stringent can perfectly encapsulate what it is to be a human than the chaos and rush of a run-on sentence so much so that if I were to ever find myself in the bounds of a period I would hate it to the point or rebelling against the one who created me.