they say tomorrow might be the waves i cannot see
the sheer anticipation of what might have been
we’ve grown so old from heartbreaks so young a dream
we’re so vast a universe but no words to swarm in
this existence hurts my skin it hurts more everytime it doesn’t bleed
here in this dark place everything is shameful and unforgiven but
there’s a rabbit hole down here and there’s you and i and the world disappears we need to be somewhere else
but here we are, bloated up
and shrunk down into an instagram post
Last time you see someone and you don’t
know it will be the last time.
And all that
you know now, if only you’d known then.
But you didn’t know, and now it’s too late.
And you tell yourself, “How could I have
known, I could not have known.
You tell yourself…
Missing Mom, Joyce Carol Oates
There was the story of a central California widow who had fought to have her recently dead husband exhumed, pleading her case that before he had died he had swallowed her diamond ring in some sort of spite and that she wanted this jewel returned. But in the end she confessed that she had not slept for many many weeks and that she had been spending her nights lying on his grave, trying to speak to him, and that all she really wanted was just to be able to see his face one more time.
Life After God, Douglas Coupland
I dream you still. And there I will be.
You don’t know my name. This is the past. And us is just a butterfly effect that didn’t happen. We are apart and at peace, just as before your eyes met mine, before our hands brushed and our words hushed. Before our secrets born into judging eyes. This is before everything.
And I am telling you this so you will search for me no more.
“I Want These Dreams Inside of Me”, When I My Own Daughter
When I look into your eyes, I realise I came from a long journey across time, before yours nor mine. I knew this from recurring dreams. They’re so vivid that when I wake up, my arms my feet my body’s broken, sore and tired. These dreams are more than just a realm in my subconscious, they’re real.
In my dreams, I have your eyes, your smile, and everything’s new under the sun. In my dreams I am lost looking for something, anything feels like a mother. In my dreams, I too am abandoned, unwanted. In my dreams, I am you.
When I Look Into Your Eyes, When I My Own Daughter
these stories, they come to me in dreams the first time I fell asleep since they told me you’ve fallen into flatline
I dream you
sometimes in colours, green and oranges, purples and blues, and not bleak nor dark, we are not in the shadows
in these dreams, our children they’re born. they’re not sucked to death, they’re not stillborn nor bled away
they live and we give
names to their innocent loving faces
the eldest has my eyes, her brother has your smile
in these dreams we’re not bitter
we’re not numb from pain
in these dreams you are standing tall
little daughter dances on your devoted steadfast feet
her brother clung to your arms, his head rests on your secure and sturdy shoulder.
he’s falling into another dream.
in these dreams, I dance with you under the chuppah
and you recite a long vow, a song we used to hum
before we went to sleep
On birthdays that are wiser,
The inward life tells us that we are multiple not single, and that our one existence is really countless existences holding hands like those cut-out paper dolls, but unlike the dolls never coming to an end. When we say, ‘I have been here before,’ perhaps we mean, ‘I am here now,’ but in another life, another time, doing something else. Our lives could be stacked together like plates on a waiter’s hand. Only the top one is showing, but the rest are there and by mistake we discover them.
Sexing the Cherry, Jeanette Winterson
And then I felt sad because I realized that once people are broken in certain ways, they can’t ever be fixed, and this is something nobody ever tells you when you are young and it never fails to surprise you as you grow older as you see the people in your life break one by one. You wonder when your turn is going to be, or if it’s already happened.
Life After God, Douglas Coupland
drips on honeydew holy water new
icy breeze colourful rainbow rain, rain on me
don’t bite the bliss on an empty stomach
but ignore ignore, red flags or compliance
so wobbly a place you barely stand
filled with cracks you’re bound for heartbreaks
here we are and here i am
you go be you, i’ll stay and pretend
a friend that is not till the end
a ship that is slowly sinking
quietly drift drift like the wind softly
gone and forgotten, i’ll be
a ring on your plate when i cooked you
eggs, our years apart summarised into one morning
of jars and jars, bottled up feelings
of you looking into me, looking into something
of me saying things without a sound
our lives in suspended compartments
bubbles of cliches against time voices people
it is kind, it is patient and it is all you need but
it doesn’t conquer all, it’s never the answer
my love for you, insincere and vague.
skin to skin I could feel us
-the liquid beneath our feet,
trampling into endless vacuum,
bleak and emptied I barely
recognise your bald cry, a far sea
distant and I am no more
you have arrived into
a morning song
you trample here
and there and in between
for absence is what
you do best, to make
the heart grows fonder
isn’t your strength
you’d stay in bed for days
for tiny heartbreaks
when you speak
of love you never
even in silence
loving to the end
longing to be
you’re my star, my big big shining star, I met you
one night, I met you under the limelight
your oversized shirt and my boots a number too small, they hurt my feet I’ve been limping dancing my years away
if only I knew how to tell you how I long
to hold your hand, but your fingers show me you want nothing but to slip them into mine and be vulnerable
so I held my guard down for that one. minute.
you didn’t turn the lights on and sat in the dark with me and I turned sluggish swimming an ocean of pride,
where’s my life-jacket?
still I let you
I let you love
you’re something big and I am
nothing more than forgotten dew in
a windy morning, but you,
you are sunlight
you are a new day
you have that smile, that
held back smile and a twinkle
in the eye
that says that I am
more than what I show
and I feel that I am more
than I want to be
hello hello, you said hello
I said goodbye, I love you, goodbye
-hello, goodbye, I love you
from Letters to Lovers Lost, re-published just now.
Far beneath mother’s womb rests a story of a knight who one day, in a faraway future, will speak of the truth.
The dragons in knowing this had prepared him prior to my birth for a future quest to find mother. Ali would settle me in a little basket near the river, for I was unwanted as Moses. And when the bell church rang three times, the knight would kiss me and present me to mother.
The day came and after a long challenging journey, the knight found mother. Mother and the knight finally met and shared a long kiss. Secrets were dripping out of their mouths, pearls born into the longing sea.
The knight, then, upon seeing an abundance of affection in mother’s eyes, bargained for her love. Mother stepped back, wailing.
The dragons, having the ability to hear her from far-off distance, alert and awake, realised the knight had betrayed them. They ran amok, flying in a speed of light and took me away from mother.
So much wind I feel in my heart and I cannot in the slightest remember flying back the time father was long asleep. But I vividly remember that he was. He was there but he wasn’t, it’s the only thing I am familiar with. But I remember flying across the sky with no end in sight.
In Ali’s stories, the dragons brought me back to father’s side. He was fast asleep so they put me on Ali’s lap instead.
They told Ali to never speak of mother, ever again.
everybody wants a piece of that fame
you bring to the table
so they put you on a silver plate at first
but then they feel it’s too fancy for
a hollywood roadkill like you so
they move you to
a worn out wooden cutting board
slice you up real nice into tiny bits of pieces
each to their own but
you’re there for everyone, suit yourself!
chew you up real slow
saving every flavor splattered on
the walls of their mouths their gums they lick
their teeth and lips everytime they got
that fancy exposure
they swallow you and finger the rest
of your blood
on their knives
and I sit there watching
thinking if I should get
of that fame
but I am not
made for the public eye
I spill your tea on
this fame of yours
my brain, should you
know what I want, it’s
your crimson blood
I want that lush
I want that rush
when i you and you,
“Mirrors”, Letters to Sylvia, 2019
there was a time when
everything was everything and
we didn’t try to be anything
what do you carry around all day
besides a bucket of flowers
and heart full of promises of a new day?
here’s a tiny sting of guilt to share
there there, i’ve been there
nobody likes anybody in this town
forgive me i didn’t know better
Right before our parting, mother sat me down in a meadow. She apologetically held my hands then placed a flower crown on my hair.
She said, “Remember this, love, for time is a loop. You will come back for me.”
Little did she know, time was in denial.
So suddenly as I realised this, she turned into a montage of old photographs between flashing lights.
I saw her,
the staggering girl between
I saw her vague fingers inside
his feathered glory,
such indifferent beak cloud,
white rush oh there there
brute brute blood!
here’s burning roof and tower
the centre cannot hold,
things fall apart…
Phrases in W. B. Yeats’ poems “Leda and the Swan” and “The Second Coming”, in this part of my book, are rearranged in an attempt of deconstruction. WB Yeats poems are an integral and essential part of my book, When I, My Own Daughter, available here.
Photo Credit: Alessio Albi
She never counted me in.
In her stories it was always her that was lost (and found), but never me. I was always here and there, existed in static equilibrium, already defined, captured.
She was the one who decides where to go with her words. She was, to me, knowledge and ignorance, forgiveness and revenge, all in one.
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