Chandler Collins Blog: Japan and “The Curse of the Traveler”

Wherever I go, I’m always there. When I’m in Tokyo shut away in my dorm room, I’m still just sitting in a room. As many traveling salesman and consultants can attest, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, sitting in a room is always as interesting as just sitting in a room. If I had to condense what I’ve learned living here into one thing, this would be it – I’m always going to be wherever I go and my life is only as interesting as what I do with it, not where my body happens to travel.

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Chandler Collins Blog: D.C. Metro [Poem]

Bodies swaying in a rhythmic dance
listening to metallic shrieks
as wheels protest their perpetual motion.
matted hair with an acid rain drizzle
shrouds a face devoid of expression.

Did i miss the warning sign –
“smiling prohibited”
as i rushed from the world above
into this grotto filled with rolling metal slugs
and those rotting inside.


Chandler Collins Blog: on dreaming [poem]

dreams don’t slip away
they run.
like those nihonjin marathon boys
with their taut parchment skin
marinated in effort and
stretched over whippet bones
as they run towards the brink of extinction
away from millennia of accumulated shame
from the spectre of burakumin
the outcast, gaijin
cast as “fool”
in his non-stop play
“all the world’s [his] stage”

i want to run
to the brink of extinguishing
and i would
if only i could
find a spark
then surely i would.


Chandler Collins Blog: poem

the stark light of day
pales in comparison
to the warm glow
of the past
where i can get lost
in the alcoves of memory
and drunk off of
retold stories and oral histories
fading to purity over time –
rocks smoothed
by a powerful river

Chandler Collins Blog: first-year

i was told i’d yearn
for the purple shadows
melting onto the lawn

i was told that four years
would go by in four minutes
unless i hold on

clutching the reigns of time
dragged along at its heels
i yelp to slow down – unanswered

as i sit under the elms
bathed in moonlit grey
i’m silenced

four is not enough
each little infinity
a piecemeal heaven

“oh thomas, please let me stay here”
we beg to Your many shrines
and to Your geometric altar of brick

Your greatest legacy –
a rectangle of grass –
penned in by america’s future

You respond;
in the eye of the hurricane
the silence is deafening

Chandler Collins Blog: L’appel du Vide

In those sacred rides —
Myself and the universe
Packed in one tiny car
I beg to get hit
By a truck
And die quickly
And painfully
And poetically

So I could write
Cracking on the windshield
Entangling me
And I
A defenseless insect
Left to be devoured”

But that truck never comes
And I go on
Fluttering down the highway

Chandler Collins Blog: WaHo

In certain half-deserted lots
A yellow beacon shines
Calling near-drunkards
Yearning for rest
Filling their gaping maws
With oiled substitutes
Smothered covered and capped

Birds with broken wings
Roost on the pews
Of the greasy altar

Beached fish
Seek the lighthouse
Tossed and battered onto the rocks

“Bring me your tired huddled masses”
She beckons
And they come to her syrupy call

Chandler Collins Blog: Our Mobile Future

What will the future look like? Judging from my own research, the future will allow for more freedom while also forcing people to define themselves independently of their roots. The trends suggest that humanity will grow increasingly connected through loose ties. People look to become more individualistic and more mobile while many of the Western world’s foundational structures will be drastically altered.

My generation, the oft-hated Millenials, has grown up in a time of constant change. America has seen a drastic shift towards free-agent work as well as a cultural shift towards a society rooted in creativity. Our economy is moving “from an older corporate-centered system defined by large companies to a more people-driven one”. As our economy shifts towards the individual, society grows increasingly mobile. Shigehiro Oishi, one of my proffesors, has explored this growing residential mobility and has found that increasingly mobile, “rootless” people are more ego-centric and that in a residentially mobile, modern society “individuals come first and… society comes second”. On the extreme end of the “rootlessness” spectrum, extremely mobile people whose lives are “in the transit lounge” such as Pico Iyer find difficulty without a set societal hierarchy. They may find that their constantly shifting environment makes it difficult to tell who their true self is when they’re constantly performing the role of ‘foreigner’. Iyer encapsulates this problem when he writes “I have a wardrobe of selves from which to choose”. Read more »

Chandler Collins Blog: Living in the Prism

I was told I’d grow to long for the growing purple shadows on the Lawn and that I’d find a 2nd family and that by Christmas I’d be calling this place home. As I reach the halfway point of my first semester here I begin to reflect on if these promises would hold true. I’m happy to report that they have. I lay on the perfectly kept grass of the lawn and see that this place is a prism. Thousands of disparate beams follow their trajectory and are refracted through this place and sent out in a new direction. I see a small girl, chasing after dancing leaves as her parents slowly trudge along behind. The mother, her left hand cocked against her hip for support, lilting under the weight held inside her stomach. As the girl grows tired, her father swings her up and places her on her shoulders. She raises her arms and gives a yelp – a battle cry of a tiny warrior riding her chariot.

I see a couple that doesn’t yet know they are. They toss a football under the elms.

I lay in the middle. I sit in the prism watching the beams bounce around me and change shape. A cold wind blows and snaps me out of my musings. Thankfully the wind reminds me to take a trip out of my mind every now and then.

Breathe. Breathe. I live in my mind too much. It’s cozy in there and I can rearrange memories and can pick and choose what version of reality to inhabit.

I think I love this place, but I don’t know if I’m actually in love with it or in love with the idea of it. I’ve always had a problem that. Why do I write this? I’m not sure. I like to think of this musings as mental milestones – relics of how I approached life in a certain time period.

Chandler Collins Blog: Endless Summer

The sun has been stripped of its brilliance
Dismantled, repackaged and sold to the hungry
Gaping maws perched atop lukewarm bodies

Endless winters have found their ends
We bear our flames and hide from the cold
For our gods have abandoned us

Erect statues of dethroned kings
Preside over their own legacies
As they grumble for a new taste of blood

I come from a patchwork quilt
Stitched together by national loyalties
Quartered by concrete veins

Caravans of iron chariots
Smuggling their green gold
To desolate islands of consumption

My home is a cloud of nostalgia
Filled by unconscious ignorance

A crowded stage
Brimming with manufactured authenticism
Yearning for an author to weave them together
Into a cohesive arc.

all posts »

21Japan and “The Curse of the Traveler”
20D.C. Metro [Poem]
26on dreaming [poem]
16L’appel du Vide

31Our Mobile Future
19Living in the Prism
7Endless Summer
7On Finding a Home

17Accepting Rejection
15on journaling
9on necessity
7on originality
5eating an elephant
5On Direction
5Living a fifth-life crisis