• When Freedom Is A Place In Time

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    When Freedom Is A Place In Time

    As published in the Japanese magazine
    BEEAST

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As long as we care…

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Thoughts following the events in Sainte-Foy

It feels awfully more painful for me to write a message like this one… Not because madness came violently ripping life at home, but because it gets harder and harder for me to look around without sounding hopelessly cynical or disconnected…

It’s as if the world, more than the reality in which it seems to revolve around or grow in, was getting blurrier and blurrier. As if every time we were forced to look outside our own lives, we had to helplessly witness another bright color disappearing before our very eyes, suddenly unblinded, if only for a brief moment, by the despicable horrors that frightfully seem to be coming closer and closer to what we thought was our safe haven of existence.

It feels awfully more painful for me to muse about hope and love and peace as “terror” keeps inviting itself at the table of communion, bringing with it its abominable darkness, as if such a dreadful evilness was challenging everything that I am, everything that I believe in, everything that defines the compassion I turned into actions, forcing me to look deeper and deeper every time, to take a look at myself. But everything inside of me would rather keep looking the other way in order to deny myself the sole existence of such hatred, to rebuke it all, to keep living, as if… as if what…? Sometimes, I’m just too confused to even be able to lie to myself… “Everything will be ok”, I keep whispering. But how do I know? I keep wondering. Is it ok to be confused? I don’t know.

Since the Charlie Hebdo atrocities, the multiplications of abhorring hateful tragedies, their associated images and videos, what disgusted me the most remains the high level of apathetic nonsense we keep hearing in the different public tribunes. “Experts”, “specialists”, “observers” and “commentators” feed the flow of every possible easy and generic bullshit seconds only after the news are out. This morning, the garbage I heard was beyond intelligence from both sides of the political and social spectrum. I was disgusted. People advertising their books, their conferences, their services… no compassion, no empathy, no sympathy, no grace, not only from the tip of their lips as they advertised themselves. It made me so sick. I was just too repulsed by such lack of sensitivity to fake it through the day. It was beyond imagination. And since Donald Trump has been elected President, God knows the degree of insanity we have heard from all possible sides, from depicting women as sexual objects to be grabbed to walls, refugees bans, assassination jokes, all the way to publicly talking about bombing the white house. The political and social rhetoric is now too monstrously depraved of sense to simply be seen as ridiculously pathetic anymore; it’s hideous.

In fact, after the horrific events that occurred in Istanbul on New Year’s eve, I promised myself to stop writing about those tragedies. When words aren’t enough to share the true dimension of my feelings, I would rather leave others who still have enough strength to do it. But after receiving so many messages from friends from all over the world, from different cultures, religions and social, economic and political spheres of life, I realized even more that it’s not my weakness, nor my confusion or my doubts that I should fear, but silence… The true serum to everything that leads to or feeds bitterness, sorrow and hate remains our desires to keep inviting, to keep welcoming as we are, to keep taking chances…

As I’m writing, I’m still as confused as before, if not more. I still feel powerless, disgusted by it all. But it’s what a dear friend from Morocco recently wrote to me that keeps vibrating in my heart today. “It’s ok to be discouraged, to be confused or even scared. We all are. Love, peace, the world… nothing’s a lost cause as long as we care. As long as we care, there will always be hope, my friend. Keep walking your path and remember, when you are discouraged and want to give up, that there are people like me who do care about you.”

And as I keep whispering “everything will be ok” and keep wondering “how do I know?”, I guess, after all, that it’s because I’m one of the millions who does care that I know it will be ok. Thank you for your messages and for welcoming me. My family, my loved ones and I are safe. It might seem like the world gets more and more into the bleakness of black and white, but I know that the colors I thought were lost were safely held in your generous and sharing hands, my dear brothers, sisters, and loved ones… Let’s keep shining!!!

When Freedom Is A Place In Time

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As published in the Japanese magazine BEEAST

“I am now convinced that Tangier is a place where the past and the present exist simultaneously in proportionate degree, where a very much alive today is given an added depth of reality by the presence of an equally alive yesterday. In Tangier the past is a physical reality as perceptible as the sunlight.” – Paul Bowles – 1958 – The Worlds Of Tangier

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There are moments in life that are so incredibly significant, so deeply impacting, so purely real and genuine, that we can barely grasp their true nature, that we can’t truly capture their essence, as they seem to be so completely remote from the tangible laws of what we call “reality”, of all the elements we need to define into words not only to make sense out of them, but in order to believe in their authenticity so as to reassure our logical perspective from the emotional realm of our complete affective uncertainty, so as to build a new layer of life upon such significant moments, as if defining the wonders we can’t truly understand had the ability to make them true, tangible enough to acknowledge their existence and therefore their transforming effect on us. Well, that’s how I can describe what I have experienced during my passage in Tangier; a dazzling reverberation of self.


Exile From Myself

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As published in the Japanese magazine BEEAST

“If you want to be happy, be” – Tolstoy

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I’m presently in Morocco, only 2 days in what is scheduled for me to be an 8-week residency in the utterly inspiring city of Tangier. I’m having a glass of red wine on the upper roof terrace of the Dar Nour, a magnificent guest house I right now live in, a place I already call home. In the middle of the kasbah of Tangier, I face the warm North African sun that generously offers a last display of its bright and vivid lights before slowly setting in a poetic fading evening motion. The wind gently caresses the welcoming surface of my face, fresh breeze from the sea, reflecting the pure blue of the sky, mirror of world, that steadily dances only a few steps from where I stand. The perfect scenery reveals the attractive charms of Spain, inviting me over and over through the sounds of the ocean… Too beautiful to deny, too delicate to refuse, too desirable to withhold.

Once More

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In answer to the Nice attacks

“Once more”… While hate keeps spreading terror and horror on the persistent monstrosity that defines its path, it is hard to envision the day where such atrocities will be but a painful memory of a time deprived of love and color. 

“Once more”… While the world divides itself upon slogans and their dichotomy, that the terror induced by images becomes a fight of audience ratings led by mass media and that the term “matter” become the reflection of a political campaign that prioritizes their agenda of cultural antagonism.  

“Once more”… We are hit, we are knocked down, we are stripped down, we are being divided, radicalized and isolated, we are afraid… but most of all, we are dehumanized.

“Once more”… Once too many times. Always unbearable, unacceptable, this fatalistic expression haunts us… “What can I do? Is there really something to be done?” 

However “once more” has the ability to remind us that, despite a deep sorrow, we are still standing, wobbling and fragile, but united in front of this tenebrous breach of hate. 

“Once more”… May we have the courage to remain in the light while facing the dark shame that is hate, may we believe that through our faith in life and love we will win over apathy, animosity and malice. 

“Once more”… As hard as it may be to resist to our own darkness and to becoming a shadow of sorts, may we have faith that one day, beyond the horizon of our deepest beliefs in humanity, we will see the expression “once more” become the reflection of a day where we will be able to gather and celebrate, free from the anxiety born from the fear of “the other”. And this day will be a magnificent one, on which we will be able to build, all together, no exception. 

So today, I must resolve to offer you my thoughts, my prayers… My brothers, sisters, friends and loved ones, while I know that my words cannot ease your suffering, or even comfort you, I can only express my most sincere and unconditional love to you… While different, it is this love that unites us and that will be able to build us up… “once more”. 

– Alex 

Free Motions of Praise and Ascend

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As published in the Japanese magazine BEEAST

“Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression.”
– Isaac Bashevis Singer

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I left Montreal as dawn was slowly taking the shape of the bright and magnificent colors of a day that quietly whispers its lights through the faded darkness of the remaining shades of a night, from purple, to blue and orange. This luminous canvas made of lively shades turns the horizon into a comforting velvet sky, another miracle of sorts, spectacular display of splendors so radiantly alive that you know how blessed you are to witness them all, to lose yourself into them and to wish you had enough faith to suspend time from moving, from changing so fast, hoping images would stand still, contemplative as I was, if only for a few seconds.

An Invitation For Rebirth

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As published in the Japanese magazine BEEAST

Lebanese-American artist, poet, and writer Khalil Gibran said “We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them”.  Do we?  Maybe we do… Do I? Maybe I do.

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I’ve been greatly awaiting spring to unfold its wonders, this year more than any time before, I guess. Maybe it’s because I haven’t seen much light since I came back from Japan last November. Everything goes so fast, too fast for me to truly see, if only as a by-standing witness trying to capture a furtive view of the magnificent seasonal colors I’m in. Maybe I’ve lost perspective of time, musing about the everlasting essence of the invisible. Meditating about long-gone ghosts, sorrows inevitably grow in you. Just like chasing shadows, if you’re ready to become one with these long-gone ghosts a little more every time you go running after missing pieces of memories, illusions inevitably catch on to you… until you lose yourself.

Therefore, when days feel like old photographs slowly losing their brightness through the over-exposed nights spent looking for a place to lay down, when comforting images we tend to secretly kneel before and reminiscence of joyful past whispers become all we have to feel alive, is it the reflection of our own impermanent nature that makes every single morning an even more precious moment to breathe into? As we fade away, as we disappear a little more every day, as we fight to keep a right balance between what is and what you dream of becoming, I now believe that every dawn is a gift, an invitation for rebirth, an open door to new beginnings.

As The Light Keeps Shining On

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As published in the Japanese magazine BEEAST

March 2nd, 2016 – New York City

In my life, a simple gesture has often revealed itself as being something quite significant. So when Ben, bassist in Your Favorite Enemies and someone I consider my brother, offered me a writing book with a fabulously uplifting quote from Ernest Hemingway engraved in golden letters, I knew it was as special for him to give as it was for me to receive, Hemingway being not only one of my favorite authors, but the words themselves being profoundly significant for me. Ben knows I rarely allow myself to profoundly dwell into most of the adventures I myself invite brothers, sisters, friends and loved ones to not only share with me, but to live to the fullest. It’s while meditating over the nature of those words that I’m writing my very first column for BEEAST magazine, and it’s while contemplating my resolute decision to write as I feel, rather than how I want you to perceive me through words, that I’m opening up today.

I’ve been in studio for several weeks now, and I’m leaving for New York City in a few hours… and as sunrise awaits its invitation to expose its colors to what looks like a reluctant dawn, I’m pondering over those words over and over again:

“In order to write about life
first you must live it”
– Ernest Hemingway

If Love is the Answer to Hatred & Bombs…

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In answer to the Brussels attacks

A message to brothers, sisters, friends, neighbors and loved ones

I woke up this morning by the most violent of all alarms; stupor.

My old enemy was back, hitting at me with his favorite weapons; powerlessness, incomprehension, anger. Bleakness, as if everything had become black and white for a moment, in a flash of total emotional abnegation. I asked myself: “Is that the permanent state of the world we now live in?”. Fear.

I feel terribly worried for my Belgium brothers, sisters, friends and loved ones who are missing. I am compassionately kneeling with those who are devastatingly heartbroken and openly inviting those who are ragingly looking for the same measure of pain to be served to the monsters who brutally ripped away lives in only one name; their own.

And I thought about writing. But what words can I write, what words should I share? Terror, as the life it destroyed, has corrupted every one of those commiserative words into redundant empty shells that vibrate like the echoes of our own voices whispered in the wilderness of our confusion. What else do I have to offer but words? Every time, every single time, I’m asking myself the very same question: “What can I do?”. “If only there was something to be done”, I thought.

Today’s tragedy turned empathetic words into some recycled eulogy perfectly dressed and immaculately aligned for any horrible occasion, turned mourning silences into suspicious self-preservative hideouts for what looks like a personal denial in better tomorrows. Words are only heartless tonality without soul. I’ve learned a long time ago that a true heart cannot fake its distinctive nature, and even if my words might reflect how shaken up I am now, how helpless I might feel and tired I might be to fight the good fight, I’m not ready to abdicate. Not ready to stoically remain quiet or look the other way.

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