I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
Write, for instance: “The night is full of stars,
and the stars, blue, shiver in the distance.”
The night wind whirls in the sky and sings.
I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.
On nights like this, I held her in my arms.
I kissed her so many times under the infinite sky.
She loved me, sometimes I loved her.
How could I not have loved her large, still eyes?
I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
To think I don’t have her. To feel that I’ve lost her.
To hear the immense night, more immense without her.
And the poem falls to the soul as dew to grass.
What does it matter that my love couldn’t keep her.
The night is full of stars and she is not with me.
That’s all. Far away, someone sings. Far away.
My soul is lost without her.
As if to bring her near, my eyes search for her.
My heart searches for her and she is not with me.
The same night that whitens the same trees.
We, we who were, we are the same no longer.
I no longer love her, true, but how much I loved her.
My voice searched the wind to touch her ear.
Someone else’s. She will be someone else’s. As she once
belonged to my kisses.
Her voice, her light body. Her infinite eyes.
I no longer love her, true, but perhaps I love her.
Love is so short and oblivion so long.
Because on nights like this I held her in my arms,
my soul is lost without her.
Although this may be the last pain she causes me,
and this may be the last poem I write for her.
traumatic experiences tend to linger in every aspect of your life. the complex relationships that you have with every person in your world is marked with the unique space between you two as well as the little echoes of every other interaction you’ve ever had, the lack of or the presence of similarities to other relationships/friendships/what-have-you, and a new balance of energies that you have to negotiate between. the subtleties of human relations keeps me up all night. i don’t rest very easily, no no no. the logical side of me says that i shouldn’t beat myself over the head because of things that i am not yet ready or comfortable to do because of my history of being touched violently, or the ways in which old familial scripts of leaving and that thick blood of heaviness have stayed at my side for so long. i’ve messed up a lot of good things over the past few years because of old ties that i haven’t had the time to properly get over, and it’s getting old. it’s getting awfully old. i’m angry at myself at this strange, foundational fear i have of getting close to other human beings in a way that brings together the physical, emotional, and intellectual aspects. a well-balanced something. i’m not used to things that aren’t heavy and difficult. i’m not used to easiness, and it’s draining. it’s so awfully draining. i remember earlier this year, sometime in may, was the first time that i fought back for my body, learned how to say no. kicked this boy in the stomach because he was getting his hands on me no matter how much i told him to stop, and when he called me a mean bitch i yelled back. “i am one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet. just don’t you fuck with me.” when i was a kid i was a very spitfire little girl, was moved around enough that i never became attached to anything, knew how to take care of myself in a very instinctual way. never asked for anything but somewhere along the path of growing up, when i moved from the safe haven of my grandpa’s home into the ‘real world,’ i guess, things became muddied. everything that marked my heaviness, marked the weight of me, happened very quickly and all at once and for a long, long span of my time. it made me soft, made me scared to say no, made people hungry for the heart of me, made me disconnect in a very unhealthy and damaging way. everyone has their reasons. the stories that shape them. the scripts that they can reenact by heart because it’s so formative to their dialogue, to their way of being. i’ve felt awfully transparent lately, and because of that i need to pull away, need to be on my own for a while. my comfort in strangers, in this site as a platform for my little heart-talks, the way i’m more at ease by myself where there’s wind chimes and open skies and the barista making coffee as my only person i talk to in a day stems very deeply from escapist tendencies, makes new york a good home for me in a way. as a child i spent a lot of time on my own because humans wanted too much, were greedy, made everything very heavy, when all i wanted to do was freeze bowls full of water and flowers, follow baby deer through the woods, pick honeysuckles and get my hands dirty with mud and sticky rice. i fought a lot as a kid. cried a lot. was very, incredibly sensitive to the energies of other people. as a child that sensitivity was incredibly overwhelming, and was absolutely terrifying. i wasn’t properly equipped with the language or the means to justify my madness, to allow myself the freedom to simply be, without what other people wanted of me. for a while, as a coping mechanism to the stress of existing among other humans, i lost that sensitivity. i became incredibly monotone. i became very internal. people saw me kindly, saw me warm and loving, but i was full of this seeping, spilly dark thing that made me small, six feet under my own skin. it scared me. depression was an ugly and comforting friend, and it made my world lackluster, and that was perhaps the worst thing that it did. made me lose the colors. it was so awful, and i thought it would never end, but it did, and oh god am i glad. because i’m here now, and although i still feel things very deeply, and although the baby blues are always around the corner, i’m at peace with that hue. everything is no longer desaturated. every color moves me so deeply. everything, everything, all of it. i relate more to the child of me these days. the fiery little knock-kneed crooked teeth child, the sing-song of a girl, gallop-tongued and full of life and my body, yes my body i feel it now. i spent this entire past year moving into myself again, reclaiming my territory, opening myself up to the ebbs and the flows. the world moves through me gently, and as if to make up for all the years that i have lost, everything is fucking brilliant. my hands burn into everything. everything burns into me. i’m moved so deeply by absolutely everything. the world has opened up its jaws for me again and i’m sitting on the tongue of things, laughing, feeling like a gift in the mouth of the gift horse. i’ve met people who i feel truly see me, who don’t give me the same heaviness of old scripts, who don’t make me feel as if they need me, as if their lives depend on my support. i’ve met people whose energies i crave because they create new colors, because they heal me and give me home and hope, with so much mutual respect and adoration, and i’ve never had this before. this easiness. this space. that openness. oh god. i am a different person than i was a year ago, two years ago, and it terrifies me. i’m looking at this new country, all this new, shining light, and i’m still holding onto my old familiarities because i’m used to them, because the hurt was real and painful and it was embedded into my flesh and i don’t know how to take it out of me. i’m looking at this new space before me, and i don’t know the name for it, don’t know the name for this moving forward. it’s like i’m slipping in this space between two languages. and the air is whistling past me. and i long to know where this humming is coming from but i am too afraid to follow it. and i’m rocking back and forth on my feet and trying to step out of the shade into some warmer sun, and i’m trying so hard and everything is right at the edge of my skin, and i’m rearranging my skirt, holding my heart still against my chest, and i’m here, right now, taking a deep breath. and i’ll jump. i know i have to. i’ll jump start and run forward. but for now i’m in this moment before the break. before i drop the blanket and close my eyes and fall. and i may be standing here for a while, but i think that i deserve it. there is this uncertainty, and it’s terrifying. this line has been running through me like a forest fire for days: “everything i want is on the other side of fear.” and i’ll get there. i will. i’ll get there. i fucking know it.
to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.
In the essay “Le vent á Djemila" (‘The Wind at Djemila"), he reminds his reader of the influence of the Greeks and Romans who "face their destiny … by embracing death." As for himself, "it doesn’t please me to believe that death leads to another life. For me it is a closed door. I’m not saying it is not a step that has to be taken: but it is a horrible and dirty adventure. An “adventure” made more palatable facing the sea and the dazzling sky, for in this landscape death is not divorced from everyday reality, not mystified as in other (e.g. European) cultures. It is merely closure to a series of gestures in the face of overwhelming (but “tender”) indifference.
Because I had decided to run the other way, my detachment opened her to me and her melancholy tumbled out in mysterious bits. Happiness, sorrow, and abuse were mixed up like vegetables in a soup — the broth, her essence from moment to moment. Yet I was held not so much by her tragedy as by a single gesture — the way she knitted her long hair, sheets upon sheets of fine caramel webs, with two fingers and tossed it back from her face. It was a gentle, careless motion, the way I supposed she pushed the sadness back from her brown eyes.