Monthly Archives: March 2015

Uncanny

Every morning changes

The context.

Today I did not hear my name in the rain

As if the sky itself were

Out of words, numb, amnesiac

 

Stopping at a dark, watery junction

I think I hear the neon lights whisper

Some pink and orange nostalgia, blink, what?

There was a rooster crow

From the garden where I used to play

(in the rain?)

 

Wait,

Did you

Say something?

 

My eyes lurch from scene to scene

Never present long enough to sense

The familiar, or forgotten

On these streets

 

In the gray days we’ve been

Batting at each other

With kitten claws, butterfly paws.

I always think that

It’s uncanny

That you are right there, in front of me

And I don’t even know

Your name.

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Letting go

It is a strange place to be meeting, at twenty. In many ways, we still have the hearts of children. Yet adulthood is hurtling itself at us – in another 10 years and we’ll be pigeonholed into little flats, with our little clones, or a perhaps a couple of cats, or both. We meet on the runway, passing each other by as we take flight, leaving only traces.

In this way, everything was breaking up in front of me. I began to notice it, in text messages that fell flat, letters so full of fluid verbosity that the most important things were not conveyed, in those moments, side by side, talking ad nauseam about the tiresome details of student life, and you suddenly remember that once, we actually liked to sit and look at the sky. I was losing things that were very important to me, not knowing if I would get them back.

When did words begin to fail? There ought to be so much more to say – like the fact that I’m sorry. Sorry I was never a good listener to you, sorry that the most important things happened right in front of my eyes and I never noticed, sorry that I couldn’t be there in the most crucial moments. And also, those secrets – that to me your happiness is really more important than my own, that I sometimes think I understand more than I dare to convey, that in the deepest part of me my wish is really just to make you feel that you’re okay.

There is such a weight of words that passes into silence, ever reaching second. All that love allows and does not allow. Life is about letting go, so a friend said to me. Perhaps I begin to understand.

Time will not show mercy. Already we are taking flight, soon we will land. Already twenty, soon forty, and then eighty. Very soon, in the blink of an eye, all this will be over. And you hope that by that time you would have said what you needed to say. But even if you haven’t, the loss will lie where it falls. We are all leaving, anyway.

Imagine you are on your death bed. And you are told that right now, you can visit ten friends, just for a short while, and for the last time. Who would you pick? Where would you meet? Would you like to call her name one last time as you rush past each other on a busy street? Would you like to find him in a secluded house in a deep forest, sitting in a corner of a room, waiting for you? What would you say? Would you say what has been on your heart all this while? Or would you speak as though you had endless tomorrows? Or would you just sit, side by side and say nothing at all?

Who would leave first? Would you get up, and smile, and say you must be going now? Or would you be left behind as she walks out the door, rushes past you, steps into the train – goodbye, it was nice seeing you. And then your eyes blur for the last time.

How very quickly, we pass each other by. So hold close to what is important to you, until the very end.

 

This is what it is.

Freshly bathed and powdered, I lay myself across the bed sheets, feeling myself being stretched out across the mindless minutes, spread out like a fabric, like the denim skirt lying across my legs. Warmth from the morning’s run pulses under my cheeks. I’m catching a breather before hitting the books. My arms and legs lie where they fall, worn out from four runs in the past four days. The room is cool and comfortable. I think to myself – perhaps this is all there is.

Blank spaces – how difficult they can be. Days with no motive, no structure. Weeks with no people with whom you feel contented, surrounded. The space stretches before me and around me.

Some things could be better. But things are as they are. It’s not alright. But it is the way it is. Wondering about whys and whats and until whens will only worsen my inner restlessness. It’s time I just got myself moving.

Perhaps this is all there is.

A place like this.

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This life, and the comfortlessness of it.

Gray light seeped into the room, and a familiar confusion prodded me awake, like a question turning and forming within me. I closed my eyes again, snoozing uneasily for another 2 hours. So much for wanting to wake up early to prepare for class. I ought to feel guilty, but I can no longer count the number of weeks since I last touched my books – a few more wasted hours doesn’t make much of a difference.

My thoughts shifted slowly within me, like a restless mob getting ready to riot. I dressed, powdering my face and pinning back my hair in the cool darkness of the room. The days have been terribly warm, the sun as searing and relentless as my thoughts. It’s been making me wish I could hide in my cold, dark room and not emerge for a long time.

It’s been a nightmarish sort of week, falling in and out of obsessive thinking, my mind always panicked, driven by strange irrational fears. Work doesn’t get done, I can’t read, can’t draw. At night I sit in disgust and hopelessness, contemplating my condition, sometimes with tears, sometimes entering into intense imaginative episodes to distract myself from the turmoil, not feeling quite human anymore.

I began my journey to school, feeling numb, train-wrecked. I’m done contemplating. I’ve learnt more about myself than I care to know. There is no answer to my irrational fears. There is no benefit in being disgusted in the messiness of my mind. And all this overthinking – perhaps in a way, it was really just my subconscious method of trying to fill my emptiness.

Plodding along in the heat, hollow and numb, I finally felt my mind slow down to a more manageable pace. But I continued to carry a familiar unsettled feeling deep within me as I walked up the path towards my school. Comfortless, this world is just comfortless.

The day started kindly, with kind faces, gentle exchanges. In the later hours sometimes around my friends I felt chocked with neediness, but that feeling was moderated by some pleasurably normal conversations that made me feel more at home with myself. I gently restrained my inner restlessness, trying to learn to be okay. Sometimes the thought would hit me, while looking at all the unfamiliar faces – how normal everyone is! How focused, how functional, how sociable. What is a person like me doing in school?

It’s useless as a paperweight, I remember my friend saying, watching a perfectly round little pebble he’d picked up roll across the table. But that doesn’t make it of any less worth as a stone.

Not of any less worth, not of any less worth. In the evening I went running. The feeling of exertion, of having something stuck in my chest, something fighting you as you desperately try to press ahead – it was rather like the feeling of everyday life, intensified. Only today can continue into tomorrow, I repeated the words over and over in my head, trying to swat away the distracting thoughts flying in and out of my mind.

Pushing my bicycle towards the road, dripping with sweat, I looked over the canal to the dim colours of the sky and the warm lights starting to come on in the housing estates. I wonder if there’s a place for me, here in this comfortless city. I feel so stripped of wonder, bereft of feeling, craving the warmth and fondness I left behind in another city almost a year ago.

Back in the room, I stretch and play a song, defeated.You know better than I: Perhaps God has a plan, perhaps God has a plan. Perhaps somehow, I’ll find myself, find compromises where there are no answers, and perhaps even find out what it means to have a beautiful day, in a city like this.

words themselves cannot make for safe hands

Words themselves cannot make for safe hands
Some breaks thought cannot amend
Terrified minds see terrified skies
Wrong lights, wrong brain, rushing black time
Your hands touch fire everywhere
Eyes darting, heart racing, inside you’re dead
Stillborn thought grasped with cold, clammy hands
Bathroom tiles pooling with sweat and panic again
In the sweet, deep, virgin night,
Look up, mind empty, and like a human, finally, cry.

Drip

In the deep silk night you sit alone

Cold drops of time on the curve of your skin

You pull the sheets to your chest

Shaking ripe with cold

Hear the empty wine glass rolling,

Pendulum-like, on the wood floor –

That’s the sound of your mind

tiring with thought

Perhaps now, you’ll find a place inside

Where you can dream of seasides and autumn trees

And there, settle yourself and close everything

For a long, long time

Tokyo at night

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“Hello, goodbye and hello.

I met you, and now I say goodbye

Hello, goodbye and hello.

And then to this world without you, I’ll say hello”

“Hello, goodbye and hello. 

君に会って、今君にサヨナラ

Hello, goodbye and hello.

そして君のいないこの世界に hello”

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Our (delicious) Christmas cake!

From a postcard I sent from Tokyo:

FullSizeRender“It’s our last night in this messy little tatami room in Tokyo. It;s been a pretty hectic 5 days on Tokyo’s loud, cluttered streets, ‘a cacophony of mismatched colours and sound’*. Like most holidays, it has mainly been a crazy race, fighting the crowds and the clock to get to everywhere on our itinerary, interspersed by fleeting moments of whimsy and seemingly more frequent moments painfully awkward and mundane. I’m clumsy and blur and indecisive and my brother gets irritated a lot. I made my mum angry too. But sometimes we laugh about what we did during the day. Sometimes I don’t want to talk. I learn new words talking to Japanese people, but sometimes they get impatient. My feet get really sore from walking, but there are also moments where I suddenly feel alive in the cold night air and all the lights, these teeming streets”

[26/12/14]

*Borrowed this description from Nothing to Envy (even though the writer in that passage was describing South Korea)

Heartbeat

We’ll always be picking up the pieces
Caught wading through the wreckage
Violent colours, scattered thought
A train run off the tracks under a starlit sky
And someone’s child taken into the night
You smoke on the rubble, I dig deep. Ask –
Is there a way to eviscerate the body of its memory?
The nagging, clawing, teeth and bones in you
Something creeping silent beneath the surface
which has no name, but which suffuses your dreams
Where you run from your pursuer, numb
Over fire, the rails, the space only you know