La Vie

La Vie, c’est le chemin
Rien de plus, rien de moins
Ni mauvaise, ni bien
C’est un début, et une fin

Chaque moment est un croisement
Le choix est à vous
Une infinité de tournants
À chacun son coût

On devient ce qu’on fait
Et ce qu’on fait importe peu
On joue seuls, on crée les règles
De notre propre jeu

Mais ils disent ‘Et le bonheur?
Ne serait-ce qu’un leurre
Et qu’en est-il du malheur?
Nieriez-vous la réalité de vos pleurs?’

Certes pas, ces choses existent
Celui qui pleure a choisi d’être triste
Celui qui est content a choisi le rire
Il a crée lui même son meilleur, et son pire

Dans le coeur il y’a toujours cette petite voix
Qui ne parlera seulement qu’à toi
Tu peux mentir aux autres sur ce qu’elle te dira
Mais l’ignorer te ruinera

Elle sera ton compas
Elle seule te guidera
Elle seule te sauvera
Et ta victoire en sera le résultat

Mais la victoire n’engendra pas le bonheur
Celui-ci se cueille, comme on cueille une fleur
Gardez les yeux ouverts, elles seront sur le chemin
Sachez en profiter, ni vous ni elles ne seront là demain

La joie éternelle est réservée aux saints
Et nous ne sommes que de pauvres êtres humains
Notre bonheur s’arrache et ne dure que deux secondes
Un battement de coeur contenant toute la beauté du monde


Stop the (word)presses

Check out this new story I’ve written, it’s a suspenseful descent into madness, or something like that. Inspired by recent readings of Poe, with a twist of Borges, Alliteration Weekly describes it as ‘A passionate piece, perfectly produced and palatable to the pickiest purveyors of prose’

Po' Sho

Po’ Sho

This’ll be the realest shit I ever wrote

How about a little non-fiction, for a change.

Those who are familiar with both me and my style of writing know that, of course, I inject my stories with my own experiences, thoughts, personality, even. My soul goes into this shit, to sound poetic. Now, it follows that, since my stories are generally laced with a dark humor, and the devil is probably the most frequently recurring character, and my protagonists generally have an unhappy ending awaiting them (spoiler alert), there is something inside of me that isn’t quite right, that I lack this inner peace that makes life pleasant and, it must be said, bearable.

This is all true. I am unknown to almost everyone, and especially to myself. This is why I am deciding to take action. I am choosing a different path. I am renouncing my worldly possessions and signing up for monk school.

Okay, that was a joke. Just because this is real talk doesn’t mean we can’t have fun with this. I should temper the above statement: my soul is choosing a different path. I’ve seen the devil inside of me, I know what he looks like, what his weapons are, and what to expect from him in this upcoming struggle. Quite simply, I am renouncing this path of misery I somewhat half-mindedly stumbled on to. The path I am choosing certainly will start out laced with misery as well, and, as this is not my first attempt at what spiritual leaders refer to as ‘getting one’s shit together’, I am fully cognizant of this both on an intellectual and experiential level. But even the misery will be different.

Ephemeral, of course, and, intrinsically, an investment. It will be the sharp kind. The craving kind, that begs for the easy remedy and raises hell until it’s either satisfied or fades away. It will be anger for depriving myself of what, in and of themselves, are some of life’s small pleasures, as opposed to angst for continuing to stall the inevitable and ruining both the quality and the quantity of time I have on this earth. It will be embarrassment, for saying something dumb, or appearing foolish, versus regret, for having stayed quiet and immobile. It will be soreness, from being active, and pushing myself towards new frontiers, versus numbness, from doing dick-all and watching other people make the most out of their lives. And it will be rage, from my own failures, versus envy, from watching other people’s attempts.

I’m choosing the most basic form of self-preservation over these so-called relaxants which poison the body and drain the wallet. I’m quitting cigarettes.

I’m choosing to expand my horizons and clear my mind of the mud it’s been dragged through from years of marijuana smoking.

I’m choosing to dedicate time to creating, rather than consuming.

I’m choosing to build my own happiness, rather than looking for ‘the one’ who’s going to do this for me.

I’m choosing to reconnect with my friends, those who accepted me and loved me, and stayed loyal to me, even in spite my various moods, and whose encouragement enabled me to maintain a modicum of focus.

I’m choosing action.

I’m doing this, not because I have to. No one is around to force me to get my house in order; those days are over, and will never come back. I’m doing this, not because I want to deprive myself of things I enjoy. I’m doing this because, in spite of what may have been implied before, I love myself, and I love my life. I believe in my worth, and I must stop being my own jailer. I want to give myself the tools, and the chance, to make the most out of it. I want to be a warrior, not one of what Teddy Roosevelt called ‘the timid men who know neither victory nor defeat.’

I don’t expect to get there in a month, or even in a year, really. I don’t really know when, or if, I will get to the point where I will be able to say and believe that I’ve got my shit together. But I know one thing: the longer I wait to start, the longer it’ll be before I’ll find out.

Now, these are but words on paper, the likes of which some of you might’ve heard me say before, and the likes of which I’ve actually written down many times. There’s nothing magical going on today, on the before-before-last day of this year, which makes me think this time will be different than the others. But, like Rocky said, ‘it ain’t about how hard you can hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.’

Because I think it will help me as I stumble and bumble through this latest of attempts at self-realization, I’m going to keep track of the ups and downs, the ebb and flow of these new seas I’m about to sail towards. Thankfully, these blogs are free, and I’m putting one together, for the benefit of both me and my throng of loyal reader’s benefit. If you’ve got any input, comments, or encouragements, and especially if you’re an ex-smoker with suggestions, kindly holla at a playa.

This’ll be the realest shit I ever wrote.


Un miroir qui déforme, un lac agité
Certains traits exagérés
D’importants, effacés
Une image trompeuse qui m’est renvoyée

C’est dans leur faiblesse que je le vois
Leur théâtre, qui est aussi le mien
J’aimerais me rendre, éviter le combat
Mais ma jeunesse exige que je le mène à bien

Je résous, je me dois de m’abstenir
Malgré les invectives de mon propre délire
Je m’imposerai mon propre jeu
Ce serait trop facile de devenir l’un d’eux

The catch

The Catch

This is what I trained for, and I was glad to be lining up at this moment. The general barks his orders, and we get in formation. Down by a score with enough time to launch one play. I take my position on the far left, face to face once more with the enemy, they against whom my squad and I had fought so valiantly. They were expecting a total assault, they are stacked deep. I was expecting a miracle.

The ball is snapped, our war machine snaps into action. The alacrity with which I take off from the line surprises me almost as much as the man who thought he could cover me. I’m clear and free, I’ve flanked them. The captain reads my mind, this one’s for me. The flat-footed defenders are reorienting themselves, converging on my position. But the package is already on its way.

Everything is slow, now. Dead slow. I can count the rotations on that spiral, and anticipate the angle at which I’ll have to turn, the jump I’ll have to make to evade capture.  My hands go up. The ball and I will meet at the appointed spot, the delivery is almost flawless.

I hear my comrades rushing to my aid, pushing themselves, anxious to be present at the point of decision. My hands make contact with the ball, its spinning motion comes to an abrupt stop. The opening tones of a rising chorus of joy reach my ears. The pace is frame by frame. I still have a millisecond to make this turn.

The ball slides an inch too far, my hands clamp through the air, and onto each other. The momentum is unstoppable now. The roar gets louder. My success is tentative, the die is not yet cast. The ball has evaded my grasp, and collides with my chest. The angle is favorable, the play is still alive.

The roar is deafening, and the enemy is closing in. I can’t evade capture, that door is no doubt closed. I hear the cavalry rushing forward, the sounds of collision make their way through the screams. The ball has left my orbit, but I get a hand on it. My momentum leaves me little control, and my chase leaves me exposed.

I’m hobbling, now, and the ball, seemingly with energy and will of its own, toys with me, allowing me to touch it, to graze it, but refusing me control. The crowd takes for granted that I’ve got this. Their screams resonate through my being, my success is their success. My heart sinks.

250 pounds of reality slams into me, a freight train carrying my deepest anxiety. The ball drops lightly to the ground a few yards away. The impact sends a wave through my skeleton, and the ground greets me with a suitable aftershock. I bounce back immediately, invigorated by the pain. My bones can ache all they like, it will not be enough.

The play is dead, and the infinite powerlessness seeps into my soul. Powerlessness towards what just happened, towards my failure. I want to run, I want to stretch my forces beyond their maximum, I want to exert any effort and bear any pain, I want to go back in time 10 seconds.

But time doesn’t work like that, no matter how loud I’ll scream. My miracle has slipped through my hands, and left me with mediocrity. With yet another lesson to be learned, with still more training to be had.

They say this is a team sport, but on this day, I’ve lost. No points are given for coming close, and no memories stored for having tried hard. This defeat will be another brick in my bag, another burden from which an infinite but powerless rage will stem. Defeat is mine, this day, with nothing else to do but learn and move on. I have but one trick left, and I employ it immediately. I no longer yearn for the last minute back: my mind’s eye is set, intently and passionately, on seven days from now. There will be others. There will be others.


Here’s a short story I’ve been working on, I hope you will enjoy it! And if you have any feedback, don’t be shy about leaving a comment!


Meant every word, in my letter to the President

An open letter to Bashar al-Assad

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing from a faraway nation called Canada, in which war is not really an issue. In practical terms, and most of us do not find urban warfare to be an influencing factor in our lives. I am also writing from the age of 24, and with the knowledge about the topic soon to be at hand provided by a collection of classes at an institution with a license, and assorted readings. I’m writing to you about that thing that’s been on your mind for the last two years: how you’re dealing with the war in the country you’re running.

It is now reported that upwards of 100,000 of your countrymen have died as a consequence of the war in Syria. Regardless of the number, it’s of an order of magnitude which is striking for this day and age. Your country is in a full-scale war with itself. At this point, you can certainly understand the logic of why people are, to put it mildly, not impressed with your results as a leader. A whole lot of people in your own country feel the same way, for that matter. And you can recognize that in almost every respect, you’re doing a poor job in managing the country.

The civil war you’ve been fighting for two years has decimated your country, and having repercussions beyond your border. In other words, the conflict between you and many groups of people is causing new conflicts, and damaging the lives of people not of your nation. And other strong countries might at some point bring yet more damage to the country.

In spite of this, it seems as though, at this point, you are still well in the game. Your forces are winning, and you are wearing the whole country down. Your army is, well, an army, and you can use it to launch large operations with virtual impunity. And you’ve got Putin mean-mugging the rest of the world from behind you, so people are thinking twice about beginning to think about doing something to you.

Everyone is suffering, and war is almost everywhere. Everyone can see how no one can stop you. In other words, you, personally, have made your point. You are a tough guy, and not to be fucked with. You will not give up, and will not be displaced without bringing everything down with you. You command an entire nation, and control it. Everyone can see that. So how about now that you, as a man, have lived situations very few men will ever live, quit while you’re ahead. While you are standing on top of the world, as the guy who everybody knows is a powerful man.

Make everybody see that in the end, you’re a swell guy. Put a little thought into it, of course. You might, as a leader, have some idea as to what would be good for a majority of your people. You come up with a plan that sounds good for everyone, and implement it. Move your people around, let the ones you don’t think are good go. Design and implement a new government, as you see fit, but with you out of it. By all means, invent a dope ceremonial title for yourself, while you’re at the top of your game. Live a perfect and comfortable life after that, with nobody coming in to bother you about things.

And then, you can organize something nice, something that would at least halt the deaths of hundreds of people every day. Now, you could set up an election, and allow people to form parties and march in the streets when they feel like it, but that method is really only effective in countries where most people don’t really care about politics that much. Elections can take a little work, too, and have been known to be disregarded in places.. Maybe appoint a government instead, choose a structure, name people, give them titles, make friendly speeches. And since you’re already doing it, and going to be taking it easy afterwards, make sure to put some effort into it. Create something that you think will be nice for a lot of people. Like for example, bring your army back into its bases and let those guys take it easy. Let people go back and live in the places where they were living before all this. It would be implied that they would have to be in fact living there, as in, going to work and generally just doing their thing, rather than going around causing trouble. Most people, I think, would go back to living peaceful lives if they were allowed to do so. Some would not, because war is their business, but most would. The men of war would continue doing their thing, but everyone would know now that it’s them, not you. You’re not doing anything but laying low and not killing anybody. if you did this, you’d see who the other fanatics were for real, and then all the stress that’s on you would then be on them.

And with you taking it easy all the while.Sit in a room and watch a few movies, with nothing else on your mind. Take the family biking. You could write a book, about how you were such a great leader, who proved his strength. Maybe learn an instrument. Publishers would offer you deals, MTV might even offer you a reality show about dictating. Stress free, knowing that your reputation is sealed forever. With an act of magnanimity that is pretty much unknown through history: the man who knew when to stop.

Another appreciated concession would be food: you could bring food to the people in your country that are hungry, and they might appreciate it. They’d almost definitely eat it. I think it’s safe to say that food goes a long way in making people happy, and also keeping them alive. So with food and not being murdered for the majority of people, everyone would be able to catch their breath a little, including you.

In terms of execution, since you’re large and in charge, all you’d have to do is order it. However, there might be other obstacles to doing it. Like maybe some family legacy-type preoccupations, and wanting to reconcile all kinds of issues. Being of Lebanese descent, I can imagine that your family might be weighing loudly on your decisions. There might even be some parental issues with you, on a personal level. That’s your business, though you should know that on that level your business looks a lot like everyone else’s business.

In other words, if you’re doing this because your father never came to your soccer games, or because your brothers used to call you Bitch-Ar when you were kids, then you need to be honest about it to yourself, then maybe do some growing up. At your age, and with what everyone’s seen that you’ve accomplished, you should be the one calling the shots. And you are, so why not just take them with you?

Use a little force if you have to, but get everyone out there, where they can take it easy. They’ll get used to it, because you’ll tell them to. Isn’t it what’s best for your family? Peaceful living, with a historic family name? If you did that which we’ve been discussing, some would hail you as magnanimous. I’m relatively certain the leaders of the West would call you all sorts of glorious things at this point, given that they’re being made to look like fools in the media by your actions.. By now, if you were to resign and add two or three ‘democracy’s to your next speech, your smartphone would explode from all the texts from Obama and ‘em inviting you to their parties. Trust me, you’d be the belle of the ball.

You stood up to the entire West and dared them to act militarily, and no one did. Your mark has been printed on Syria and its history. You concluded what your father started. You stood to defend your government until you realized you needed to walk away for the good of humanity. Tell it any way you want it. It’s a classic and well-liked story: the guy whom everyone used to hate turned out to do the right thing. That’s how people will see it, now and for a long time: of sound body and mind, and altruistically, you did the right thing. And before you left, you made legitimately beneficial and just decisions. A comparison could’ve been made with King Solomon, if you hadn’t already cut the baby.

In the end, like all of us, you’re going to die. The only difference is, most of our names won’t be recorded in this fable called history. Yours will, and you have some time to choose in what light.


Chris Chakra

P.S. When I’m feeling blue, I give myself a nice clean shave.

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