Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pass/fail



Trust does not necessarily have to be tested to know if it is true.



Writing


At times, most times, inspiration comes out of nowhere, at the wrong time and at the wrong place.
That is why writing always feels so right.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

No shortcuts



Where I want to go
There are no shortcuts on the road
I cannot run a red light
At times, I am even forced 
To take a few steps back.

Where I want to go
A dream place I already saw
The way is tedious and hard
The destination always seems so far.

Where I want to go
There are directions to follow
And though I might take longer
I am sure to make it on my own.

Where I want to go
There are no shortcuts
So many traps and holes
Yet each step and misstep
Still bring me closer to my goal. 



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The sofa scene


Have you been
Waiting long

Forgive me
Still in the queue

Do no worry
Nothing is wrong

At long last
I go up the stairs

Where are you
In this temple of ours

It is so dark in here
But there your crescent eyes

Sitting on a sofa
I rush on top of you

Both stunned 
At the gesture 

Yet you carry on
Hug me as if we knew

You were determined
And I was sure

In unison, howling
I want you. 



Thursday, November 29, 2012

Separate



There was a time 
I was able to separate
Had the skill in every state
In which
I could kiss and tell
Whether it was heartfelt.

There was a time 
I could differentiate
Some were for fun
And others fate
Detached from emotion
Not all meant deep affection.

Then you came along
Neither for the thrill
Nor for the long haul
And it had been a while
Since I had that much
Fun and Confusion.

Doubted my head
Once I realized
That our kisses
Were heating up
With the unsaid
Was it fun or fate.

No longer could I separate
My heart had to migrate
Impossible to tell apart
Our kisses had to have a heart

And I was certain again

What a stellar feeling
To feel again, like a human being.



Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turtle



Small changes are always big steps:
It does not mean that things move slowly
That they will not have better and long-lasting impact.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Maybe we have to argue


Maybe we have to argue
Let our ugly side ensue
To test whether or not
We are really that glued.

Maybe it is necessary
To check the natural nasty
If we are when petty things occur
A presage for stormier weather.

Maybe it is for our sake
Raise our voice in conflict
See if we are strong enough
When life is more than tough.

Because when times are good
Our friendship is much valued

We are as lovely
As we will ever be
An unbreakable link
And no ship to sink.

But it is when times are rough
That persuades if love is enough

We are divine
When times are fine
But our ability to sort things out
Will see if we will ever fall out.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hold my hand



Hold my hand
Show me the way
Through the crowd
And right to your cloud

A labyrinth of people
A throng of obstacles
I cannot advance
Unless I follow your glance

Do not let me go
Nor break the flow
My heart is on my sleeve
That your fingertips perceive

One thing leads to another
And we will not tumble over
As long as I will hang on to
The paradise that binds us two.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

BERLIN



Berlin
Lets me be

Have it all
And agrees

Granting
All my quirks

All bits of me;

Berlin
Trains me

Inspirits my soul

To be loyal
Become faithful

To my
Nature.

The pace
Sets the tone
The hours
Are long

I am one
At extremes
And I am
Prime
in Berlin.

Every street
Has a story
Each corner
Its deep music

I leave my own trace
This unrivaled city
I embrace
Here, I belong, Berlin
 Morning till dawn.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Anticipate


Sometimes it is what we anticipate
The memories we already create
It is so brilliant before it happens
Certain of a tragedy in the end.

Sometimes it is emotions that saunter
The imaginative mind that wanders
Nurturing different expectations
Feeding the soul with specific visions.

Maybe it is the moments that precede
The dreams and the hopes that are still unclear
That will determine the growth of the seed

Maybe it is the joyous thought or pain
That will make a situation that way
Because are we ever shocked if it rains? 





Sunday, October 28, 2012

This is goodbye


This is what it comes down to
Bubble-wrapped memories, 
The last couple of years
Hoarded in bags and boxes too. 


As they take away the last one
I stare at the now empty rooms,
Fragments of my life I vacuum
And the knot in my heart tightens.


Moments flash before my eyes
Day after day, home is smiles and sighs,
People and dinners I welcomed
Even bad times, and there were some.


This is it, this is goodbye
The next chapter of life to untie,
A little pinch as I am about to let go
But it is time to open other windows. 


I remove my name from the mailbox
Fully aware that it is the final task,
I close the door to the past
Getting new keys for new locks.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

All-in-one


We want the gadget
That does it all
Connects us at all times
Protected from a fall.
From now on,
No one is out of reach
In our free time
It even has the ability to teach:
The quote of the day
News incoming 
Throughout the day
Pop-ups in a constant state
Do not have to check
It is the notifications alert
That we set.
Why look any further
Carry in our pockets
One or two things heavier
It also works as a camera,
A map if we get lost
A game center when we are bored.
This lovely little package
Wrapped in multifunctional;
Nothing it cannot offer
That one that gives us all --
Is it not
Precisely what we want
An ideal all-in-one? 

The gadget that does it all
That has made everything
So accessible;
We want the same in people
Someone that has it all
The ideal all-in-one
Trying to materialize
The perfect person.
Answering our needs
The looks that we fancy
Mind-boggling
But still entertaining
And put on silent 
When it is inconvenient
Then expected
To succeed
Continually.

But where is the fun
In the easier version
Who needs perfection
When there is
A specialized version?
The one
That may not have all things
But does that one thing
In excellent condition.
A camera
That takes
Professional ones
An intellect
That sprinkles
The conversation
A stereo
That plays music
In high-definition
A sensible soul
 That spreads
His recollections.
To be ideal
Is to simplify
To simplify
is not ideal --
So rather look for
Someone special
Than an all-in-one. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

DOLCE FAR NIENTE


Some days are good
Some days are better
Here indulging for hours
In this heaven of food

Wine keeps pouring
Our words sweeten it
Pleasuring the spirit
And bothered by nothing

With every single sip
And mouthful delight
Renewing the relationship
Each time we take a bite

Some days we survive
Some days we twist the knife
At this table here to revive
The flavors of our life.






Thursday, October 4, 2012

Street art



The city talks to me
Leaves me messages
I am here to revel in
Certain tags on a wall
A quote on the lamppost
Someone said it before
So I will not miss anything at all.

I keep my eyes wide open
Skimming in every direction
Daily surmise is that this art
Sent to me from there above.

The street is the canvas
Human behavior, the brush
And only the very few
Are smart enough to be imbued.

My city is adorned
Embraces me on wintry days
And enlightens
When it is only shadows that strays
Artists keep pointing out to me
It is because of what is left behind
That wonderful Z├╝rich still bewilders me.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Background music



You have to speak louder
I can barely hear you
Come here,
Come a little closer.

You tilt your head
And as I feel your breath on me
I am about to lose my head.

Flushed, I nod and shudder
While gazing at your lips
And swiftly,
The background music just whispers.

The choice of your words
Love the sound of your voice;
The most enthralling noise I have ever heard.



Sunday, September 30, 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Young heart


(PART I)

My heart aged quickly
Much faster
Than my face lets to see.
Pumped with deceit
By things and many
Stabbed and asked to heal
Perpetually.
If there is such a power
As to completely recover
A lesson I never learned;
Because regardless
Of how well it survived,
The finishing line
A heart in pieces
Already from the start.
Back to square one
The heart has won
Matured a couple of years
A thousand with every tear.
The heart grows older
Each time it starts over
Getting wrinkles
That no night cream
Can meddle;
I move with a cane
Taken the ability
To love without restrain.

(PART II)

But every time
I am done
I bethink myself of
The time I was young
When I believed
Without seeing
When I knew
Only by imagining.
With every life experience
The heart has catered
Faith
Always seems
To pull me back in
And this ancient heart
Runs back to that route
On the verge of innocence
When the heart's skin
Was still so thin;
Not hardened
Nor overshadowed
And eyes still sparkling.
I do not mind getting older
As long as I get wiser
And the lesson
Withstanding alone;
With every heartache
A heart doubling its age
The heart that still tries
This heart that is willing
To always begin a new life
Is twelve years old again.
And when my body
Will slow down
And my hair
Is no longer brown
I will love as long as I live
Leaving behind what outlives;
For nothing is as hard
Nothing more enriching
Than staying young at heart.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

One instant



Sitting opposite me
Scarce meters away
But what an army
Standing in the way

The tram curves
The mirror of a smirk
A flustered one I observe
And gone are all my irks

Here where all descend
I will be the next
We have just one instant
To find a pretext

I make my way home
Why nothing else, I exhale
Suddenly I turn to stone
As I hear you blurt out hey



Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Schizophrenic



You have been so schizophrenic
Your mood more than erratic
One moment, I am burning under the sun
The next, contemplating why I am frozen 
Even in one day
You go a thousand ways 
Can you not just sit tight
No matter what you decide
Plan to stick around
 Not continuously on a rebound
How wearisome to keep up with
A mind that changes every minute
Oblivious on what to expect
 Terrified to end with regrets
When all I am asking
Is if I need better preparing
Because it is alright if there is a storm
But pretty please, I must have you perform. 




Sunday, September 9, 2012

Just like that


And all of a sudden
I am twenty-two again
Transported to a time
When I had no idea
What I was doing
Incessantly figuring out
Where my life was going.
In that state of in-between
It was only in the time being
Prompt to recreate
Get myself to think straight
And once I was ready
I would leave this phase
Desist from meandering
Find a way back to the race.
Never would I have imagined
Just like that
A mundane monday night
The second I caught you
You glancing at me
I knew on the spot
That nothing will ever be
The same again for me.
Complex enough as it were
You had to mess with my scheme
Had to worm your way into
My heart, thinking for two.
Long I had thought
How jarring it was
The worst timing of all
A year to take care of myself
And I did not comprehend
How any of this could help.
But that special spot you held
Now looking back
In hindsight
Glad I took the chance
You were probably the best thing
That could ever happen
You loved me at my worst
Already then saw in me
What I always wanted to be.
Fast-forward to the present
Five years later
Five years of rigor
Meanwhile
Creating the me
The one you were certain
I was one day going to be
Now on other sides
Living parallel lives
Just like that, life happens
Another one is your wife.
 But there are occasions
The present is put on pause
Just like that
The past is back on track
Neither bitter nor morose
Just a star in the cosmos.
In love there is no timing
It is a plan of no free will
A moment never-ending
We shared nothing but the truth
We came to love each other
Like we were destined
To shortly change one another.
Today I am just relieved
To know that I also meant
Something to you
That at one point in time
I was also everything to you.
It is only after
Once the story is over
That you figure out
All absolute things
Anything in life at all
Has its reasons
Because it takes only a second
Just like that, that life happens
And the gratitude
That it even happened at all.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Aim to please





The key moment in any relationship is when you stop being the best version of yourself; and start being yourself.



Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The could have been



Today I walked past the house
The one of my dreams
The one that could have been ours.
It was always my first choice
But fate decided otherwise
Just another dream I had to toss.

Now other people are living there
Here goggling from across the street
I caught sight of their love and chairs.
They have made it their own
Coming back to it each night
The beautiful house they now call home.

I came to realize that I mourned
How hard it is to let go 
Of something that was never yours.
Although in my heart of hearts
I once wished to call you mine
All I am always left with is hurt. 

Today I walked past the house
The only one I dream of
The one that could have been ours.
In another lifetime perhaps
What belongs to me shall find me
And destiny will not have set any traps.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Hors saison



Autumn has a way
Of slowly creeping in
Though summer days
Are far from being over.
There is that turning point
Wearing a jacket off season
Cozying up around the fire
When the sky becomes so low.
Seasons are already changing
Not ever having set a date
It is a dawdling process
But no one wishes to notice.
               What a strange sensation
Like opening a door
That was never really closed
The beginning of something
That should not have even started again.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

R & R



If time really heals                                                                     She tried all the tricks
Then why does she still                                U+2192.svg                            Fought being lovesick
Feel the same way                                                                     Yet never deciphered
She did on that day.                                                                   How to recover.


                                                                                                               U+2193.svg
 


If everything is fated                                                                  Maybe she is not meant to
Also when we are destined                           U+2190.svg                     Because she belongs to you
To misconnect and suffer                                                          And she cannot replace 
And hope to one night rekindle.                                                One occupying all the space.






Sunday, August 26, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Unedited


There are so many ways now
To add glitter and sparkle
More sunlight where it is missing
Enhance the skin tone when it is fading.

You need not be an expert now
At the simple click of a touch
Your smile will light up like a flame
Putting your moment in a pristine frame.

Is it not customary now
You can make it much prettier
Turning the humdrum into classy
 Creating a billion-dollar memory. 



Yet not all things call for modifying now
The instant itself could be magical enough
If your shot had it all mimicked 
Why polish when it is already perfect. 

Take a picture with your heart now
Art imitates life and not the other way around
Capturing the sensation that cannot be jaded
Memories, unlike photos, will not be edited.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Spokesperson



Maybe it is because of our failures, and not our success that we become experts.



Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New sights, same eyes. Same sights, new eyes.


A couple of weeks ago, I came across a status update on Facebook that caught my attention immediately. It was a friend who asked: "Why do you travel?" A very simple and straightforward question at first thought, one must agree, but I could not stop lingering on it much, much longer -- long after my news feed got bombarded with new pictures, YouTube videos, jokes, daily inspirational quotes and usual caboodle. 

The reason why I remained stuck on that forthright question is because I am aware that the answers are ubiquitous. All of them which I would undoubtedly also give myself. For starters, I suppose the main reason why we travel is because we are creatures doted with insane curiosity. There is something out there, beyond the borders of home, beyond our notorious little bubble; and it is with exhilaration that we (wish to) wander off and discover. And with cheaper and better traveling facilities nowadays, many of us are likely to grab that opportunity more often -- even more abruptly than we used to. We seek to get familiar with other nations and people - we hunger after their customs, arts and culinary specialities, we have a thirst for their wondrous sights and we look forward to retrace the footsteps of their history. We rise early and go to bed late, spending the day feeding our spirit with the most possible. And for those of us who despise the typical tourist attractions, we do our very best to do as the locals do. Getting cultured is at our fingertips: we want to come back home happy, but also with the thought that we have learned something different and new. Places and people leave unique prints and memories. Moreover, getting to know the 'other' also enables us to know ourselves better. 
Of course many of us also travel with the sole purpose of taking a break from the stressful routine and putting our everyday responsibilities on hold - and evidently, it is generally a place that guarantees sunshine and relaxation: the beach is always the perfect destination to ensure those requirements. Another reason why we travel is plainly to get away, not necessarily from our job or hassles, but because we just yearn to experience something else -- and get-away weekends have been invented to fight that urge. The mere fact of meeting different people, having coffee at another place and walking foreign streets become somewhat essential to our sanity. An obvious motive for traveling as well is because we do so with a specific mission: for work, personal interests or pleasures, visiting relatives and friends, our homecoming, etc. Finally, it is indisputable that traveling has the ultimate ability to uplift the soul and broaden the mind. By traveling, we grasp just how big the world is -- how much it has to offer, how much it can influence us. Being reminded that there is something bigger than our town, bigger than our life, bigger than ourselves will always manage to give us  new perspectives. Like Jeff Goins claims, "traveling will change you like little else can" (http://convergemagazine.com/featured/travel-young/). Without any doubt, one single voyage can encompass all these justifications.

For all that, we recognize that those different levels of traveling -- no matter the budget, the destination or the length of the trip --  have one striking thing in common: something different. The curiosity for it, the search for it, the longing for it and finally seeing, tasting, smelling, hearing and touching it. Naturally also loving it. Because in all sincerity, it is no news that the routine can patently get to us and affect our happiness -- or unhappiness for that matter. And venturing to someplace different, even just for a little while, is frankly a rapid antidote. The majority of us may get back home a little sad -- but still with a smile that cannot be wiped off easily. Like putting gas in the engine, traveling recharges us and we go back to our 'same' pattern rejuvenated. 

This observation suddenly made me realize why this status update kept me bemused long after I read it. Because deep down, I am persuaded that the ruling reason why we travel is because of just that: we constantly look for, crave for and finally have to sense something different. We thrive on change and taking a trip somewhere is one of the easiest ways to attain it. It proves that there is movement, more specifically, it confirms that there is growth or development. When we travel, we are promptly fascinated by our new surroundings. Charmed or intrigued by the unfamiliar tastes, sounds and sights; we perceive things from a different angle -- not only because we get to visit other landmarks, but it is as if we are also given another set of eyes.
Respectively, when we are at home, it is clearly more dubious that we regard our town as compellingly as we would whilst away. It does not matter where one lives - whether it is a city as momentous as London or Tokyo, a paradisal place such as the Maldives or Bali or our quiet province of Cavite or Wallis. Perhaps because we know it like the back of our hand? Because we have seen it all already? Because it, ultimately, simply belongs to our 'ordinary'?

Right there and then, I identified the exact reason why we should travel -- the reason why I travel. In particular, I know exactly what I have acquired from traveling. I have noticed how eager we are when it comes to exploring other places -- making such an effort to open our eyes, stomachs as well as hearts: visiting museums and the theatre, enjoying the culture, meeting people and so on and so forth. In comparison, once we are at home, we kind of just sit back and tell ourselves that these things are not really for us, because we are the 'locals'. In this regard, I ask myself whether the people from Paris still get their breath taken away by the view of the Eiffel Tower, like travelers would be. I wonder if the inhabitants of New Orleans get enchanted by all that jazz up to this time, like visiting music lovers would be. I muse on whether the locals in Tioman get the goosebumps when they jump into their waterfalls, as tourists would usually get them. The thing is, if the answer is 'no', 'not that often' or 'we hardly ever notice anymore' -- then that is definitely a critical point. Once again, it does not matter where we come from because every place, every home -- anywhere on the face of the Earth -- has 'something' to offer. But, true to form, when we get to spot it every single day, regardless of how alluring it is, we are no longer captivated since it does not offer anything different. Furthermore, how can we feel rejuvenated if we deal with the same on a day-to-day basis?  Yes, that is the critical moment when our hometown -- and everyday life -- slowly begins to bore, ache or scare us.

But this is where I would like to disagree -- because there is a  cure against the pseudo-mundane, and it is at our fingertips, it does not automatically imply having the money, time or flair to go someplace else. Reality is, we do become such ideal tourists when we go traveling; and it is unfortunate how many of us are less willing, less enthusiastic to do the same with what is in front of us at home. Traveling to foreign lands does teach one how to appreciate tastes, sounds and sights more, mainly because they are so 'exciting and new'; but more importantly, the beauty of traveling lies in what one brings home as well.  In my case, I am sure that traveling has pushed me to see my home, my city, my life, my ordinary with the eyes of a traveler at all times. Continually exploring. Honestly, how many of us take the time to be tourists in our own town -- even just for a few moments? In our free time? In the routine? I still get excited by something marvelous I have noticed a million times before. I usually watch the sunset from the same site every evening but still, I have the impression to watch it anew. I attempt to be up-to-date with what my city has to offer -- because it is not only for its visitors but for its inhabitants as well. I love celebrating traditions as if it were the first time. And I adore roaming around town like I have never been touched by it before: still observant, still intrigued... still fascinated. I know, in my heart of hearts, that every single day writes a different story, even when we do the exact same thing. The secret is to see it. 

In the end, we travel because there is nothing more precious than obtaining the eyes of a traveler; the curious, gregarious, interested, appreciative eyes of a traveler. Then, what we secure outside, we have to apply on the inside, at home: life is a voyage in itself and fundamentally, we travel each and every day. In fact, I believe that the ordinary is the most extraordinary journey of all. Like the French author Marcel Proust gave grounds for: "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Act your age


The notion of age
Trickier than time,
We can never decide
On what is accurate
When it is early,
Or definitely too late.
We tend to feel older,
Older than our actual age.
As teenagers alone,
We could not wait,
Wait for that salient day
To be taken seriously
As mature as we ought to be.
I am not a child anymore, 
An exasperated sigh,
I make my own decisions now
I have learned all the know-how. 
But once we get older
The tables turn
And we are chasing the years
The years we spent acting older.
The wise still comment
Take full responsibility,
Deadpan honest,
You are not that young anymore
You got to think about the future.
And we ponder,
We reflect,
Reviewing the times 
We already felt too old
Though our blood was so young.
Recollecting those times
We were surely too young
To be behaving so old.
And you wonder, 
Puzzle over, 
When is that time
That timing that is right;
Because truthfully,
You are reluctant -
Is there ever a time
A time you managed
To act your own age?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A nice story


I would like to have
A nice story to tell
One that is jovial
And not one that ends
With a hero that fell.

I wish for once
The story could be nice
One that is abiding
Not purged in silence
With a heart broken again.

But it is all I ever share
Stories that are not well
And I wonder
When the tide will turn
If one day, it will be my turn.

Only so much I can bear
All I ever do is process
And I am not sure
Whether it will be my time
Have one I can make mine.

I am hoping for
This story to be my own
 The One that is nice
Not one that has to halt
With a pinch in the past. 

I daydream I will have
A nice story to tell
One that endures
And not one I can foresee
The One that I will never see
                                          The End. 


Sunday, August 5, 2012

After her




What makes a good boyfriend is how good an ex-boyfriend he also is.



Thursday, August 2, 2012

Benchmark



It must be rash
To compare and contrast
What should always be deemed
Unmatched and supreme.

But you raised the bar
Putting me behind bars 
A slave to your sound
Captive and spellbound.

All at my behest
Providing me with the best
How can it be topped
Relinquished or stopped.

Now you have set the tone
Your love is a class of its own
Nobody comes close
Foreign or heroes. 

Becoming my benchmark
Made it hopeless to embark
On any new adventure
My soul is already captured.

Prevail as my standard
My own version of Harvard
I will be awaiting your return
My heart will always be enamored. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Only a champion




Day in, day out on the mind
All comes down to competition
Result of years of preparation.

In those seconds of restlessness
When the body can take no more
Dream of a medal reassure.

Will to succeed is eminent
Breathes through each atom and cell
To have what only a winner can smell.


In the spirit of sportsmanship
Fair play is to be endeavored
The performance to be savored.

Now is everything you pursued
Aspiring in the end
To proudly sing the national anthem.

 A steep climb to that podium
Be the best that you can be
And have what only a champion can see.




Sunday, July 29, 2012

Laters, baby


A review of "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E. L. James.

"When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana's quiet beauty, wit and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too - but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey's singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success - his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family - Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey's secrets and explores her own desires." (Source: http://www.eljamesauthor.com/books/fifty-shades-of-grey)


After reading rave reviews and hearing so much about the novel "Fifty Shades of Grey" by British author E. L. James, the hype finally also caught up with me and I was really curious to discover what the fuss was all about behind this number #1 erotic bestseller. And though I am only on the first installment of the trilogy, I already wanted to share my two cents about it. 

I dare say that I am not adding anything new to the ballyhoo, "Fifty Shades of Grey" is quite the interesting read: it is sexy, entertaining, definitely all-consuming, graphic (to say the least) and overall, the novel still remains lighthearted (quite paradoxical when we consider that the story revolves around the heavy theme of BDSM). Funnily enough, I did have the strange impression I was committing some sort of sin turning page after page. In retrospect, I reckon that this is one of the reasons why people got so fascinated with this book to begin with - it brings one's naughty side to the surface. Unquestionably sensual, oh-so dangerously compelling but still, how reassuring it is to know that we can hide an incorrigible smirk behind closed doors -- or a book. On a side note, it has been discussed that "Fifty Shades" will soon be adapted  to film. I am eager to see how one will be able to block out that smile while watching it [Oh wait, it is dark in the cinemas...] 

Now coming to the theme of BDSM - Bondage and Discipline, Sadism and Masochism that is of course prominent in this novel, it got me into scrutinizing the subject further. I thought that the way this tendency was approached in the book was, to be completely honest, rather soft... softer than I would have imagined (pun intended). Maybe that is the thing about hyping something, expectations are hard to meet (pun intended). Kidding aside, it was beguiling to unearth how this rough subject would be tackled (pun intended, again [sorry I cannot seem to help myself]). Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele discuss the rules between the Dominant and the Submissive early on. The demands are written on paper but as the story unfolds, the reader, much to his disbelief, discovers that it becomes difficult to stick to the rules in their case. In passing, Ana never does sign the contract. Due to the mutual attachment that actually develops from the first moment they meet, the reader understands that their terms come closer to a compromise more than anything else. It is all a question of control, and Christian Grey might be the one in control in the bedroom, but Anastasia Steele surely also had it outside of it. The sense of power in sex, and in relationships, was carefully handled. In the end, perhaps it was a little too careful?

More than the erotic tone of the novel, I guess the romantic in all of us also reads hope in the passionate affair between Grey and Steele. Like the female protagonist also experiences, there are  a few instances in the story where the relationship shifts back and forth from being merely physical to being perfectly cute.  It is in fact heartwarming, but like Ana also constantly questions, it leads the reader to even more confusion. On one side, it is sexual -- primal passion at its best. Later, the reader cannot help but be even more smitten with Christian Grey when he is playful and sweet. Once more, the sex scenes seem purely carnal but then again, it is never only about sex, is it? Neither for Steele nor for Grey.

What I was really taken with in this book was the subject of virginity. For Miss Steele, her physical (and amorous) one and for Mr. Grey, the many 'firsts' he also gets to experience with the young woman. I think the attraction between the two is a surprise for both of them -- and like every other virgin, physical and/or emotional, they have absolutely no idea how to deal with feelings and whatnot. In a way, I do believe that not only Steele falls madly in love with Grey -- but, not written in so many words, and especially not using the word love, Mr. Grey deeply cares and loves her too. Although skillful in the department of (kinky) sex, Christian is obviously even more a virgin than Ana in the department of romance. This twist to the story was probably my favorite part about it. The thing about sex, and love, is that, in the end -- isn't the heart always inexperienced with someone new

Finally, I could not really decide on whether I liked Miss Steele or not. At times, she exasperated me with her alternate behavior and sentiments. Then, I felt sympathetic because the bewilderment must have surely been overwhelming and overpowering. But I devilishly enjoyed Ana's reference to her inner goddess and  subconscious. That was fun. I am also convinced that a lot of inner voices speak in, let us say, such situations. Christian Grey, like he clearly is to Ana, is an enigma. The reader can visualize this disarming and charismatic man. Furthermore, I was sure that he would not remain a one-dimensional character and his transformation in the course of the novel, which equals just a few weeks in 'real' time, is a pleasure to read. It makes you wonder whether people can change. On a narrative level, it was a very easy read. However, I have to comment on the many repetitions that occur. It is a delightful tactic, I agree -- but sometimes, wasn't  it slightly overused?

All in all, I now grasp what the whole fuss is all about and it is fun to read; perhaps not literary brilliance but certainly worth it, and I am keen on reading the next two installments of "Fifty Shades".  Laters, baby. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A heart that listens


A heart that listens when not asked
Your gift to me as I unmask
The sordid details no one likes
Those that leave a scar on the psych.

You cannot continue as if
The soul did not shake like a leaf
To the revelation just made
How you see me after I strayed.

Though you stay quiet in exil
You hurry back after a while
Ask my vile heart to listen
It can be fixed what is broken.

The way you look at me, the same
Cannot grasp why you're not in flames
You insist I will understand
What love can endure when it's grand.





Thursday, July 19, 2012

Trust salon


Like any full-blooded woman, I have a thing about my hair and every day is a gratifying -- and at times wearisome -- ritual. Admittedly, it is complicated to describe what is the obsession right there; because I am convinced that it is more than wanting to look nice - or even just presentable (isn't a bad hair day, quintessentially, an all-embracing problem?). But known fact is that I put a tremendous amount of effort, time and one must confess - money - into caring for them. Yes, my hair is quite valuable to me because... well, I genuinely, absolutely love them. As simple as that. Consequently, I consider the occasional salon time a well-sought after, worked-hard-for, hopefully well-deserved me-time. And I reckon that this kind of feel-good factor should always be made a priority in life; as it surely does not come as often as we would like, or let ourselves indulge. And in a fast-paced society such as ours, it is imperative to unwind from time to time. For me, something as ordinary as going to the salon preciously provides that.

I have been going to the same one for many years now. I adore my parlor, and each time I enter is, once more, a treasured time to relish and relax. Unquestionably, the reason why I am a loyal customer is because my hairdresser has the ability to answer to all my desires. I trust him: he knows my hair by the inch and recognizes precisely what they need. And when I ask for more than a straightforward trim, I am glad that he gives me his honest opinion on whether that idiosyncratic cut or treatment sees me fit. In addition, when he suggests something new, I usually agree and put my hair -- and  trust -- in his hands. True to form, I have never once left the salon disappointed.    

So, much to my discontentment, my eyes saw red when I discovered that my favorite hairdresser left the parlor as well as town. Saddened, it really felt like the end of an era: though we only met one or two times every couple of months, I grew very fond of him. As trite as this might sound, I believe that you build some sort of relationship with your hairdresser over time; and that tie is essential to your well-being. Sincerely, if a person manages to make you feel good about your hair or yourself -- especially on days when you need it the most -- then that is one constant, dependable, healthy relationship you must value and be grateful for... even if, ironically, you generally know nothing more about him/her outside that specific context.  How strange, and divine, it is to have someone you hardly know contribute to a dose of your happiness... I will miss him, more importantly, I will miss his excellent services. 

In desperate need of a new hairstyle, I went into a state of panic once I realized that my faithful friend had already gone and I did not take any measures into finding a new one. I was acquainted with the other hairdressers at the parlor, but after also observing them while I was getting my hair done all those years, none of them quite fit my criteria. So I searched the Internet for new salons, asked friends and visited those forums for a recommendation. I also walked around town, in the process finding out that hair parlors invade the city (in passing, it is funny how I never really payed attention before).  It took me a while to take a decision because I was so picky. And even though I saw one that could be suitable to my taste, I continued having misgivings and would not take the next step. Can I really trust this hairdresser?, I repeated, I mean, I'm trusting him with my hair -- and he might make a complete mess! Plus, it is not as if I can hide them if it goes awry. My companion stopped me right there and then, insisting, Well, you will not know if you can trust him unless you try. Right, of course he was right.

This episode promptly got me into thinking about trust because fundamentally, the reason why you will (eventually) become a loyal customer is because you (grow to, have to, must) trust the hairdresser. You trust him/her with a part of yourself, something that is more or less of substantial value to you, something that you know will stand out - and whether you ever took notice of it beforehand or not, hair says a lot about who you are deep down. Thus, finding a hairdresser that you trust is, ultimately, letting him have a piece of you in his hands. Certainly, trusting somebody is allowing him/her to have a piece of you in their hands...

It applies to all our relationships, doesn't it?

Trust is a main, if not the main, element on which any fruitful relationship relies on. It is a notion that is so central to the blossoming (and mere survival) of relationships - and as Professor Robert C. Solomon once wrote, "trust [should be] built step by step, commitment by commitment, on every level." Without it, none of us could actually function properly. Hereof, when you get to ponder on the relationships in your life, principally with those whom you trust with all your heart, you grasp how sacred that kind of tie is... and whether you ever took notice of it beforehand or not, the numbers are usually not that high. Because trusting another party is indeed hair-raising, it comes with a lot of uncertainties. Like putting your trust -- and hair -- in the hands of your faithful hairdresser, pining your faith on somebody implies trusting him/her with a part of yourself, something that is more or less of substantial value to you, something that you know will stand out -- and what you wholeheartedly share with someone is, ultimately, letting him/her have a piece of you. It is a present to the privileged, no doubt; but it is scary, it is unequivocally terrifying. Reality is that, once you grow older, many turn more suspicious on whom to trust because of letdowns, bad experiences and broken promises. And all will confirm that a damaged trust is incredibly difficult to fix -- or even save. But if you are blessed enough to forge a loyal connection to another individual, then that is definitely God at work. As Walter Anderson underlines, "we're never so vulnerable than when we trust someone - but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy."

In general, the people you trust the most are longtime -- lifetime  -- friends, lovers, co-workers and loved-ones, with whom you have good times and survive trials. They praise you in your heyday and lift you up when you have shortcomings. They know you by the inch; and love you anyway. Once more, if you are fortunate enough to have that constant, dependable, healthy relationship; then you must continuously value that person and be ever grateful for your bond. But the thing about something as cherished -- and yet as hard to find -- as someone you can truthfully trust, you are likely to keep it safe in your bubble and stick to the familiar ones, those whom you know you can count on.
Of course it is not at all a terrible thing but, all of a sudden, this peculiar observation got me into questioning when was the last time any of us got to blindly trust someone new? In this case, people you have good vibes with, yet that are still very much close to being strangers: whether you got to meet them at university, at work, at a gathering, through a friend, etc. The beauty of the universe is that people will keep on coming into our lives. Many whom will matter, many who are (un)fortunately just passing by. Consequently, I couldn't help but wonder how and when do you really know if a person -- anyone really -- is... point blank, trustworthy. More than sharing a presumably cosmic connection, is it testing him/her?  Is it time that will be defining?  Especially since it is common knowledge that it takes years to build that kind of unmitigated trust. Let us be honest, it is a grueling process to put your confidence into somebody new. Not necessarily because you are shaded with distrust to begin with (though disappointment does that to you); but because trusting someone will always be such a high-risked act. The risk to feel utterly exposed, the risk to have your trust taken for granted, the risk to have rotten judgment, the risk to get your heart torn apart. So you resist, you are picky.

It is normal to have reservations, it is expected to be wary -- in particular when it comes to trusting one with something that is so golden to you: your story, your failures, your past, your dreams, yourself. And rightfully, you are less than keen to give that information to an acquaintance. And it is at that precise moment that my companion's advice quickly came in handy. Like recently being forced to find a new hairdresser, it is true that nobody and nothing will ever guarantee if you can trust someone with your hair --  excuse me, your life until you actually try. In hindsight, the people you (grow to, have to, must) trust blindly had their beginnings too, didn't they? And the only way you will ever get "a history" is because you have learned to trust them in time. But it all begins with that turning point. Take a leap of faith. Take the next step. Because though there might be negative outcomes that you cannot possibly foresee, and truth be told, not each person in your surrounding will deserve something so valuable; yes, even so, you shall not refuse the other remarkable, wonderful risk that come along putting your trust into another party: the merit of forging new, meaningful bonds. The start of something... magnificent. New friend. New confidant. New relationship. Trust is the core element of any fruitful, exceptional, long-lasting tie. Once you try, once you trust; you love. And people who will treasure it will matter. And how divine it is to have someone contribute to a dose of your happiness... So when if you see the chance: you must never close your doors, or heart, to that God-given gift.  Let your hair down, who knows, promise yourself it will be worth the risk.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Number One


Certainly, expectations are a crucial factor in life. Whether it is what we await from the film we are about to watch or that special holiday we had been planning for ages; on a small or larger scale, we all have them and what happens deep inside til the defining moment is a universal feeling. When it comes to having expectations, the thrill manifests itself in different forms as various body parts react to it: the eyes sparkle, the heart is racing, the stomach cannot stop rumbling and/or there is uncontrollable tingling in our legs. Sometimes, we are so excited that even falling asleep becomes a difficult option. Matter-of-factly, looking forward to something can have gargantuan consequences on the body as well as the psyche.

Most times, the expectations we have from things, events or people that are of great importance to us are extremely high. We cannot wait to test the new Apple product and consequently, we are even willing to queue all night long in front of the store to be the first to buy it. It is going to be the best gadget ever! Our favorite band is in town and we finally got the opportunity to see them live. It is going to be the best concert ever! We have been organizing the fairy tale wedding for months and the big day has come. It is going to be the best day ever! Indeed, we have a subliminal tendency to set the bar way above average, in particular when the subject matter or person is close to our heart: what we envision is magic, what we thrive on is perfection, the result has to mean something and every second of it be worth remembering - even documenting with a status update, pictures or a journal entry. In this regard, many assume that having great(er) expectations can have a debilitating effect because what we will receive can never quite live up to what we had in mind and more often than not, we end up somewhat disappointed. Even more so when things do not go according to plan at all. In addition, it is argued that having no expectations at all is a better way of approaching life because it leaves a spot for surprises - the best ones.

However, the proverbial "expect the unexpected" not only seems like an impossible task [the phrase itself points out to expecting something - even if it is the unexpected]; but lowering one's standards and expectations is irrevocably a mistake. Sure, we can be slightly deceived when what was expected does not come close to the specific images that were running wild in our imagination; but the chance to have our expectations met - and especially exceeded - is far more satisfactory when we had high hopes to begin with. Even more so when we worked so hard to get to that point and feel like we deserve an award. For starters, does "it is so much better than what I imagined" sound eerily familiar? Hence, isn't that one of the most empowering feelings one can ever possess?

Expectations are conjugated in the future tense and unless we time travel, it is of course inconceivable to predict or assure any of it. But the thing is, no matter what our mindset is from the start i.e. having that high level of expectations or not, the most essential thing people tend to forget is that to finally get to live it, ultimately, will still be a foreign experience. That is the best thing about it: expecting, but still not knowing. Those with highly imaginative minds will not be kept from having their voice raise an octave higher; and lowering or having no expectations whatsoever does not make the X factor more intense or more prominent. Contrary to common knowledge, one who is easily disappointed did not necessarily have the highest of expectations and got shut down, but it is perhaps because s/he is just really keen on attaining that surprise factor, being blown away, being swept off his/her feet. In effect, this does not have much to do with what one had in mind... or not. That is the root of unreasonable deception. Those who "expect the unexpected" actually expect nothing less than the element of surprise, in the process forgetting that the future itself will still, always come as a surprise - no matter how clearly or blurry we envisioned it.  

Immediately, one can see that bringing one's expectations down a notch is not necessarily a better choice of approaching life since having a certain level of expectations never seemed to have deprived one from the WOW factor. But moreover, having high hopes i.e. having more or less a clear idea of the future is immaculately healthy. It shapes what we really look for or how we think things are supposed to be. If we are ready to define what our goals for the future are and expect that much from ourselves, someone or an event; believe that it is possible to get exactly what we want and/or deserve. Once more, the future equals being completely unpredictable and true to form, what we will receive (or not) may be different - but that should not promptly lead to changing the bar, lowering one's standards, settling. That is the root of unreasonable deception and people are likely to go that way when things do not happen right away. But one must simply learn limitations and take - give oneself - the time and possibilities to consider other options to get to the "same, same but different" final point. It is plausible -- what we put out there is what life is going to give back. Setting the bar high in life will eventually, unquestionably mold the path we know in our heart we are meant to pursue. Having high expectations is not only aiming for excellence, but more than anything, it is an attitude, a way of approaching things - and in the end, we must persist on being positive because that outlook will attract exactly what we are searching for - even better, more than often, we will get better than what we imagined. Conclusively, not having any sort of expectations means that one is willing to answer to... quite frankly, anything. And don't we want more out of life? 

The perquisite of having expectations is a universal feeling that we cannot dismiss - like anxiety or happiness. And like any intense sentiment, it is also very important to learn how to deal or live with it. Truth be told, we must not be so hard on ourselves when the universe throws curve balls at us and what we awaited is simply flushed down the drain. I have said it before and I will keep on saying it, the beautiful -- and also unnerving-- thing about the future is that we just cannot know until it occurs. But this fear of disappointment is not good enough a reason to ever lower one's standards and expectations. It is food to the soul to have them: we must think of  expectations as a prescription of what we strive for in life. In the end, we must believe -- we must know in our dearest of hearts -- that it is feasible to be magnets to what we desire, what we work for, what we deserve: we can aim for Number One... and we shall expect to get it. Let us just not forget to enjoy and take it all in when the expected becomes ours


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Rhetoric of Fear in the US: Debilitating?

I wrote this essay for one of my classes.

The rhetoric of fear is a dominating factor in American society. Rhetoric is the art of using language (OED) in order to inform, persuade and even motivate. In this case, it is fear that is channeled in different kinds of discourse. In the US, inducing this emotion is a widely spread tool that is detected in the media as well as in politics. For example, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his first inaugural address in 1933, is famously renowned for stating “the only thing we need to fear is fear itself” (whitehouse.gov). More recently, the rhetoric of fear was undoubtedly a prominent instrument in Bush’s speeches to get the public to support the ‘War on Terror’ after the 9/11 attacks (Marquit slates.com). On another note, the daily media coverage of different issues such as public order offenders, heath problems and the economy has also the power to trigger fear amongst Americans. In The Culture of Fear: Why America is Afraid of the Wrong Things?, author Barry Glassner affirms that three out of four people in the US feel more afraid today than they did twenty years ago. In this regard, this kind of rhetoric appears to be a ubiquitous phenomenon in America. Though many will argue that the rhetoric of fear is exaggerated and can lead people to adopt a paranoid behavior, it still remains a powerful and effective tool that has positive outcomes. In the light of the following arguments, it will be argued why the rhetoric of fear does not have a debilitating effect on America.

The rhetoric of fear is widely used in numerous media coverage. However, this type of discourse does not have a debilitating effect on America because many scares are unquestionably serious issues that deserve public attention. A case of robbery or a drug problem in a neighborhood is not a latent matter. Hence, it explains why the media turn to this rhetoric in order to inform and influence the behavior and actions of their audience. These are pressing problems that require careful consideration. American people must know what happens in their surroundings and in the rest of the country – which, of course, includes very serious fear-mongering stories such as assaults, rape, war, heath concerns, and so on and so forth. Accordingly, “it has a potential impact on their lives or the well-being of friends and family” (http://crimeinamerica.net). As an example, the media coverage of crime is conspicuous in the US. PhD Matthew Robinson notes that “from the very founding of the press in America, crime and criminal justice have held a prominent place in the media. […] Thus, crime and punishment are often on the forefront of Americans’ minds”. But this rhetoric of fear surely does not have debilitating impact on American citizens because it will force people to take charge, especially if one lives in a city where the crime rate is quite high like in Detroit, Michigan or St. Louis, Missouri (Flippin AARP). Consequently, Americans will rather choose to be on the safer side and therefore, take precaution: they become more sensitive about their environment and will secure their homes better. Thus, the rhetoric of fear in the media does not have a debilitating effect on America. 
A second example that reveals why the rhetoric of fear does not have a pernicious impact in media was the case of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in 2003. Even though the number of victims in the US was not striking (Sternberg USA Today), the media coverage on SARS was abundant and made people avoid Chinatowns all over North America (Watts). But, in an article written by Duncan Watts, it is explained that fear is a good thing in the case of epidemics: “it is almost certain that without […] the resulting avalanche of news stories about the disease, the situation could have been far worse than it is” (slates.com). In this regard, the rhetoric of fear does not have a harmful effect in America media because many scares are serious issues and also helps for prevention. 

Another reason why the rhetoric of fear does not have a harmful effect on American society is that it can bring people or a community together to cooperate towards finding immediate and long-term solutions in response to a threat. For instance, pedophilia and gang feuds are important problems in the US. Instead of evading the troublesome situation, it is likely that people have created or joined communities that attempt to solve these menacing matters. On this note, a healthy dose of fear has brought people together to address and contribute into resolving serious affairs. In Nashville, Tennessee, “parents, teachers and neighbors have begun efforts that range from programs in schools to neighborhood watch groups” (Schrade and Echegaray The Tennessean) in order to help children and young adults to stay out of gangs. Concerning anti-pedophilia movements, online communities and organizations were founded to fight this abominable crime. One of the missions of the “Crimes Against Children” program is to decrease “the vulnerability of children to sexual exploitation.” (FBI.com) In this respect, they offer “The National Sex Offender Public Website” (NSOPW), coordinated by the U.S. Department of Justice, which enables any citizen to track sex offenders in fifty states. A second example in the US that has volunteers moved to fight pedophilia is the Perverted-Justice Foundation; which has helped convict 550 sexual predators since 2004. Thus, the rhetoric of fear does not have a debilitating effect on American society. On the contrary, it is perhaps because of fear mongering that citizens also take matters in their own hand and help solving a significant problem by joining a community or organization.        

As argued in the previous arguments, the rhetoric of fear does not cripple American society because it is an effective tool to apprise people of serious issues that require their awareness and even cooperation. Another reason that shows why the rhetoric of fear does not have a debilitating effect on America is that it is a potent tool in preparation of a crisis situation.  Frank Furedi claims in his article “Epidemic of Fear” that safety has become “one of Western society’s fundamental values” (spikedonline.com). After 9/11, the safety of American people has become a core issue and mission. Government officials have taken different measures and have for instance incited people to report unusual behavior. This was the case in the Times Square bombing attempt in May 2010. Two street vendors noticed a suspicious vehicle and immediately alerted the NYPD. As journalist Mark Thomson claims, “one of the most unheralded victories in 9/11’s wake my be that the US […] succeeded in atomizing the terrorism threat.” Furthermore, concerning the full body X-Rays at the airports, a 2012 poll illustrates that Americans are prone to give up their liberty in exchange for better safety (Thommy, mcclatchydc.com). Once again, these measures are effective because safety is one of the nation’s major concerns. The threats of terrorist attacks is not an issue that should be taken lightly and it is better to be prepared in case of an emergency or crisis situation. Because of this, the rhetoric of fear does not have a harmful impact on America.

To conclude, one can assess in the light of these arguments that the rhetoric of fear does not necessarily have a debilitating effect on America. Its ubiquitous use has forced the American citizen to be very cautious and prepares him/her against serious threats.


SOURCES

Echegaray, Chris and Brad Schrade. “Fighting Gangs Takes Community Effort.” The Tenessean. 2 March 2010. Accessed 3 June 2012.  <http://www.tennessean.com/article/20100302/NEWS03/3020337/Fighting-gangs-takes-community-effort>

Flippin, Alexis. “The Five Most Dangerous Cities in the US.” AARP. 10 Feburary 2012. Accessed 4 June 2012. < http://www.aarp.org/travel/destinations/info-02-2012/five-most-dangerous-cities.html>

Furedy, Frank. “Epidemic of fear.” Spiked Online. 15 March 2002. Accessed 3 June 2012.

Glassner, Barry. The Culture of Fear, Why America is Afraid of the Wrong Things. New York: Basic Books, 1999.

Hardy, Victoria. “Fear in America.” American Chronicle. 25 February 2007. Accessed 4 June  2012. <http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/21245>

Marquit, Jean. “Rhetorical Use of Fear by the Bush Administration.” Yahoo. 8 October 2005. Accessed 4 June 2012. < http://voices.yahoo.com/rhetorical-fear-bush-administration-8370.html?cat=37>

Robinson, Matthew. “The Media: Crime and Criminal Justice in the News and Entertainment.” January 11 2011. Accessed 2 June 2012.  <http://www.pscj.appstate.edu/media/media_preface.pdf>

Sterberg, Steve. “Estimate of likely SARS cases in USA down to 35.” USA Today. 17 March 2012. Accessed 2 June 2012. < http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2003-04-17-sars-usat_x.htm>

Thomma, Steven. “Poll: Most Americans would trim liberty to be safer.” McClatchy Newspapers. 12 January 2012. Accessed June 4 2012.   <http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/01/12/82156/poll-most-americans-would-trim.html>

Thomson, Mark. “Attempted Bombing was Poorly Plotted, Experts Say.” Time. 4 May 2010. Accessed 4 June 2012. < http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/vc_majorthefts/cac>

Watts, Duncan. “ Outrbreak: In Epidemics, is Fear a Good Thing?” slate.com 30 April 2003. Accessed 3 June 2012.  <http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2003/04/outbreak.html>

Crime in America. “Does Local Television News Mislead The Public About Crime?” 17 March 2012. Accessed June 4 2012. < http://crimeinamerica.net/2010/03/17/does-local-television-news-mislead-the-public-about-crime/>

Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Crimes Against Children.” Accessed June 4 2012. <<http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/vc_majorthefts/cac>

The White House. “Franklin D. Roosevelt.” Accessed June 4 2012.  <http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/franklindroosevelt>

Oxford English Dictionary. “Rhetoric.” Accessed June 4 2012. <OED.com>