Notes for 2021
As if remembering old scenery in the dimensions of thickened time that has passed
As if hearing the cautious voice that warns of aching time in the near future
As if delicate and feeble light on my thigh tells me that is all it can give
As if my time points to a candlelight dying down now for hours
As if my body forgets how to do a simple task like using chopsticks
As if spicy snot passes through my throat giving me fair warning that it is only the beginning
As if I am about to drown in my own tears as they fill my sinuses with soreness
As if desolate hopelessness is clearer than ever after a nightmare that I do not remember
As if I am about to be broken down into crumbly pieces that can not hold their own weight
As if I am about to give up my body to winds I once withstood
As if I cannot speak about emotions when I am nothing but emotion
As if someone is watching from the other side of the riverbank while I burn to death
As if I am chasing a shadow that could be the end of my hope
As if an injured bird asks to let her in while I only choose to put my cheek to the window
As if my spine no longer holds up my head
As if numbness slowly poisons my wings
As if my legs feel prosthetic
As if I am no longer able to breathe my heart solidified with lead
As if I curl up my body and hide in a children’s play tent out of my own sorrow, my own fear, my own weakness, my own grief, my own memory.
As if I read out loud the letter I wrote to you, the letter I still believe I can deliver to you someday
As if I am waiting like an expectant mother
As if you were never born
There was a time when I lived in fear that my body was not protected by anything. I was afraid, ashamed, but most importantly, I had no place to hide or to go to. It was about a year or so that felt like a decade; I was sleeping-barely- on a couch with a heart of fear and hopelessness trapped in the breathless air of violence and frustration. When 8 years had passed since I managed to escape that horror, I took out and cut the blue skirt that I had bought at that time but had never worn. Every single time I close the blades of scissors, I let out a breath of relief that I had held for 8 years.
The Place of Ours
Home is a word that is intangible to me. When I want to ‘go home’, I think about the children’s tent in which I used to crumple myself to fit and fall asleep. It no longer stands physically but my body knows: when I’m in it, I will be apart from reality, I will be protected from the facts, I will be cuddled with the past and false-but still worth keeping- hope. I let it stand as is in my head, so when I want to go home, I can just close my eyes.
Watching From the Other Side
How much of the others’ pain can I feel when it’s not mine. The privilege of watching others’ pain requires profound emotional intelligence yet it can still exempt me from drowning in remorse or grievance simply because it is outside of my own body. When I was suffocating, I tried to soak in other people’s sympathy as much as possible. However, my expanding grief demanded more sympathy than I can possibly receive from others. A part of myself fell out of my body and just watched the pain from a distance. As if somebody’s watching a towering fire from the other side of the river, a part of me gave up being inside of the flames as it was too painful; and situated herself where she can stare at the burning with no urgency of saving. It was sympathy.
She is fine
My child gets away from me, she jumps in the car and starts driving. I should feel fearful, I should feel so scared of her getting into an accident, she may die, she may kill people. I don’t know what she is trying to do by driving, where she’s going, or what she wants. I do not fear anything. I wait. She hits three men on the street. She made the turn towards them. I run towards the car, not to the men she hit, I hold my child in my arms knowing that she is fine. I feel fine.
I see an art in a dark room. I actually don’t know if its an art. I was dragged into the room somehow, don’t remember by who or why. I’m just going to call the thing ‘art’. The art is trying to show me something, but I can’t tell what it is. The art is a box, big enough to fit a dozen bodies in. It looks so old, almost some kind of a relic. The top opens. I feel fear to look in. The shadows of figures in the room are watching me, waiting for me to look into the box. ‘I’m not going to look.’ Not because I am afraid of dead bodies or ghosts or... anything really. I just know there is something that I do not want to see in the box and maybe my heart will stop beating. Fear engulfs me and I look above instead. The wall where abstracted mountains-or just the profusion of green nature-are painted. This room is too dark! But the painting is also sunless. I just feel it is full of impasto, coarsely painted. My eyes are fixed on the painting but they imagine something else in an attempt to not think about the inside of the box. I never looked.
It is a place I’ve never seen. So Bright, warm but cool, blue skies, pleasant air with almost a color of orange embracing everything. Everything is in peace. In a far distance, there are other people, working, cooking, maybe gardening. The brightest pink. It is pink that I have never seen before. “Hi Granpa” I can’t speak further. He is wearing the pink shirt, looking healthier than ever. He is looking into a lens that leads to nowhere it seems. So carefully. He gently taps on the bench and I sit next to him. We are under the shade. I start crying, I want to say something. Something like ‘I miss you, I am sorry, what are you looking into, where is this place, are you coming back’. He goes ‘shhhhh’, still looking into the tiny lens. He says, ‘ Stop crying, you shouldn’t be sad, there is nothing to be sad about’. I feel that he is actually looking at us through the lens. My family. Just people. Who are still in agony. I am sorry, see you later, I love you.
My mother is drowning. A giant wave engulfed her and her arms swing like wings in the ocean. She is drowning and she is going to die. Are you going to save her, father? Why are you watching or what are you watching? Please save her. I scream endlessly. She continues to drown. I did not jump into the water.
I am ready
There is a hole in my body and I can feel it. I seek for love that I can give, I seek for love that I can get. It is a struggle because there is a hole in my body that only I know, and It stops me from laughing, it stops me from being full, it stops me from loving anything. Maybe I can die. All of a sudden, all I can think of is death; and I bump into you. YOU. I realize that all this time I thought I would stop thinking of death if I ever meet ‘YOU’ again. I was wrong. I want to die immediately. You seem to know what is in my mind. You know what I am thinking and I can not stand it. I want to cry but I can’t even cry. I run away from your reach-your unsympathetic effort- thinking that I am ready.
A Bad Fruit
I am holding you, I can feel your weight, I can feel your movement, I don’t feel your warmth or breath, but we are both aware that you are in my arms. You are weak, you are in my arms because you can’t walk, but you feel okay to be in my arms. You are curious about the world. You stretch out your neck and try to see what is going on outside. I take you to the outside, we walk around the block. It’s getting dark and I worry about you. I’m going to get some fruit from the little corner grocery and go back inside the house. We walk into the store, I’m still holding you in my arms, you look around, you smell around. I see the old lady who’s watching me. I realize I don’t have enough money to buy any fruit from the store. She offers me a fruㄹit that I had never seen or tried before. She said it is going bad, and I can take it for a dollar. I taste it and it tastes like nothing. I don’t want the fruit. All this time in the store, she doesn’t see me holding you. She doesn’t see you. I realize that I am the only one who can see you, hold you, feel you. Oh you are dead, I realize. Right, you are dead already, and I am holding you, you are alive in my arms, but I know you are dead and no one else can see you. I hold you tighter and leave the store.
I wake up to a house full of people. I mean the house is gigantic. Multiple floors and so many rooms. People are loud and chaotic. It was a day nap I realize and I can feel my face is still puffy. My brain feels puffy. There are children and dogs too. I greet a few dogs, I walk around aimlessly in my home-wear. I’m neither concerned nor interested in what is going on or who these people are. In one corner, a guy is reading a story to a group of children. The story is too violent and I walk away.
I walk into a room and see a dead creature. It is not dead, it is dying. I care about this. I have no idea what kind of animal this is. its back is cut open and things look wrong.
This is the only thing I care about in this house. I am so mad at these people. Nobody is neither concerned nor interested in this process of losing a life or saving it. I am so mad, my hands are shaking, I try to put things back into its body. I am not sure if am doing the right thing.
You are being punished. in the water. You are pushed into the deepest, loudest part of the water. You are spinning, in pain, in airless pressure.
Do I save you? I'm going to. I am going to do my best to save your life. I thought I can’t swim but I'm swimming like a fish. The water is so murky It is so hard to find you, but I'm swimming. I'm using my four limbs to the most to find you and save your life. I once loved you. That is the only reason I'm swimming now. I pull you out of the water, from the filthy water. we are in the air. We are on the ground on our feet. I am chasing you, The distance between you and me is about 30 feet. I follow you around. You are keeping the distance. I lost you.
But I just saved your life.