Down The Writing Bliss

It’s empty stares all over again. Your hollow eyes take leave as the breaking dots of every word in every dictionary chain themselves to your neck, and you caress the markings because masochism is creativity. So you plead to your ears: “anything that doesn’t wreck me,” and your ears, sensitive and selective, cast your words away.

What is your destination? What are you left with?

Weights of words that nestle themselves on your left shoulder, taking refuge in the back of your neck, straining every last nerve with the possibility of an idea, or at least an ending.

The words string themselves to your hair, adorning your face with every little failure at eloquence, or just basic wording.

The letters, they weld themselves to your skin, reiterating every thought of self-doubt that takes the midnight train to your mind with black circles and favourite lyrics as side-notes.

Writing is a parade of self-mockery you’re the stunt-double in.

Writing is the bruises you photograph for memory.

Writing is your skin inside out.

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Down The Writing Bliss

2:47

8:00 AM

“Good morning, Prime Minister.”

“Good morning- yes, I suppose,” the Prime Minister replied groggily. He hadn’t had his coffee yet, and Ali, ever the perceptive one, knew it.

“Here’s your coffee, sir, with a drop of my most luscious spit. It’s a special day, after all.”

The Prime Minister scowled like a 6-year-old disappointed with his Happy Meal toy. He declined the cup of coffee Ali offered with a plastic smile and said “no, thank you. I guess I’ll have to go this one sober,” and to the Grand Hall he headed.

10:00 AM

“I’m terribly sorry, Your Excellency. That wasn’t what I meant to convey at all. I hadn’t had my coffee, you see,” he giggled nearvously. “How about we forget all about this while having breakfast in my son-in-law’s estate. It’s absolutely marvelous; it’s located-” His Excellency bothered no more. The PM had nothing to blame but his own inability to stomach spit.

“Ali!” called the PM. No answer. “Ali!” No answer. “Ali!” with some serious intonation going in there. Nothing. “Goddammit, this Ali thinks he’s too invaluable to the State.”

“Yes, sir?” emerged Ali suddenly in the hallway. “You seem terribly stressed. We can’t have that, now, can we?” said Ali in an overly-affectionate manner. “Now here’s your presentation for the Cabinet. Everything you need is in there including your disloyalty. Remember: You are a Conservative. You care about this state more than anything. Or anyone. You are a heartless bastard.” He handed the PM the folder and went along leaving the PM no room for comment or reaction.

1:00 PM

The PM was heard shouting through the doors of the Cabinet: “No! You don’t understand! I am a Conservative! I care about this state more than anything or anyone! I’m a heartless bastard!”

1:15 PM

Ali extended an ashtray to the PM who’s denied his identity as chief of state for half an hour and went to smoke in the kitchen.

“Why are you such a sour bitch, Ali?”

“Tsk, tsk, tsk. A Prime Minister is always corteous in his manner of speaking. You should say something more like ‘why are you resentful of me, Ali?’ to which I will not answer because I think you’re too intelligent for that. But nevermind that, your luncheon with the Foreign Minister is in 15 minutes. You don’t really want to show him how much of a sad sod you really are. He loves his gloating.”

1:48 PM

“I have to say, I’m embarassed and sad about the incident at the Cabinet this morning,” said the Foreign Minister. “It might as well ruin the respectable image of our party.”

“Oh, shut it, you sad sod. The party is fine, you just love your gloating.”

2:00 PM

“What sort of devil-bred, shit-fed day is this?!” shouted the Prime Minister into the head-rest of the carseat in front of him. “It’s all Ali’s fault! I’ll show the bastard! He’ll know that that termination of service he got was a blessing! That filthy, poisonous bastard!”

2: 45 PM

“Ali! You little prick! Ali!” yelled the PM once he arrived.

“Here, sir. How may I help you?” replied Ali coldly.

“Help me? Oh, no, thank you. I’ve seen what your help could do, you bastard. I just want to let you know that you will wish you took that termination gracefully, you will-”

“Just a moment, sir,” Ali cut him dismissively. “I just need to send this email.”

The PM looked at him flabbergasted. “What sort of breed are you?”

“The most excellent breed fit for your most excellent self, sir. Oh, wait, no. I am too excellent for you. Have a good day and life, sir. This is my cue.”

2:47 PM

The PM’s phone rings, he picks up. “Yes, dear?”

“I’ve seen everything. Her? Huh. I thought you had better taste. Asshole.”

And at 2:47 PM, the PM was no more.

2:47

War

I know it’s restless; the way every breath comes and goes. How it all depends on whether your heart is willing to obey, or give away. But that’s all I know, and maybe I don’t know it all that well.

 

My dear, I am out of place here; out of place to talk to you, to speak of you, to even claim my insignificant tie to you, but it’s around my neck, choking the words out of me. It is not a matter of deprecating myself, – as most of these things go –  it is rather a matter of evangelising you and seeing you ridiculously play all of it down with your sly smile.

 

It is quite silly of me to dare and compare –even call- my minimal war, existential or otherwise, a war then be so blatant about it and compare it to yours. But, you see, I am my own standard, and to make you see, I have to clear my eyes of whatever debris I got into them.

 

My dear, if I pretend to know how much of a task it is to breathe, it is only because I spear my chest with every terror I’ve thrown in the trenches of my subconscious when I thought no one was watching. How are your bullets disrupting your breath? Is it too difficult to call out my name? Did you give them names yet? I wouldn’t have thought so. You’re only silly to please your mother. What about her? Does she still remember how easily you smiled? How hardly you laughed?

 

My dear, if I compare my war to yours, it is only to show you your holiness. Every word I dare and express is a spoonful of my flesh. Every silent and resilient fibre of resistance, they scooped out of you in flesh. Every wrong I’ve done anyone is a burden on my heart. Every right you’ve done anyone was returned to you in splinters and gunpowder along your stream. Every battle I’ve fought, I’ve lost. The only one you’ve fought, you barely scraped through.

 

I still remember your voice waking me up to pray in the dawn, and how I marvelled at the beauty of your voice in recital. Those nights in the village and the smell of your mother’s headscarf as you tugged it away from my hands and ran away. Do you think you can run away from me again, or do your two bullets hold you down now?

War

Speak

I speak of you, as a late night fantasy strewn between the beams. I speak of you as I speak of nothing else; permanent, granted, given and let loose. I speak, and you speak of us together, never intertwined.

And it’s good, it’s really good. It borders on the sublime but never reaches it, and we both like it there; on edge, never submerged. You and I, we keep our heads high, speaking of what we’ve been and what we’ll be, but we’d never dare tread the what we are. We know that it’s not a what, it’s a where. I know I’m half upon your smiles, a quarter in your grunts, and a quarter lost in between. And I know you don’t know where you are, but I speak of you to me, to half of your smiles, a quarter of your grunts, and the rest that’s lost in between.

Speak

Skin

“Skin by skin, my next of kin, out of the ground we sprout and begin.”

Not a day had passed without little Jerry hearing those words. To him they were the call for supper, albeit wiser and more conscious. With every handful of beans his older brother, Dylan, gave him, he heard those words, and with everyday those words grew stronger, more determined, more bitter and resilient. Yet every time did Dylan grit his teeth and stare into his little brother’s eyes while handing him the beans, every time he nearly choked to deliver those words, the words lost their meaning on their way to little Jerry. “But what does that mean, Dylan?” he’d wonder, and every time, Dylan would squeeze his hands in answer. All little Jerry knew is that Dylan’s words were more important than the handful of beans he received every evening.

 

“Skin by skin, my next of kin, out of the ground we sprout and begin,” chants little Jerry. It’s true that he doesn’t fully, or even partially, grasp the idea or the origin of this line, but what his older brother says goes, and in the end, it’s a good rhyme.

And so does the chant repeat itself day after day, bringing the answer to the hymn closer, even closer than Jerry’s estimations. “Skin by skin, my next of kin, out of the ground we sprout and begin,” and he receives the beans, but his brother’s hand lingers on.

 

“Dylan?”

 

Dylan doesn’t answer. Holding Jerry’s hand, he stretches his fingers so he can take one bean. Slowly, Dylan peels the skin of the bean, halving it to reveal the two adjoining cloves; “skin by skin,” he holds the identical cloves up for his brother to see; “my next of kin,” then he puts the bean back together and buries it in the dirt; “out of the ground we sprout and begin.” And without an another word, he leaves for another shift in the fields.

 

Jerry couldn’t sit still; everything changed. It was like the dust was washed out of his almond-shaped, brown eyes. He felt like he received the answer to the world, if not to himself.  His brother finally made sense, his bitterness was now strength, and the resilience became godliness.  Yet it was all so confusing to little Jerry; like 3 trains chasing each other in his head and he was on a fourth train trying to get in the game. Night couldn’t come sooner. Dylan couldn’t come sooner. Answers couldn’t come sooner.

 

Alas, they did. Right from the moment Dylan’s semi-bloody feet touched their rug, Jerry attacked his brother with inquiries. Question after question, remark after remark, and a full faulty analysis of Dylan’s words did Jerry rain down upon his brother.

 

“My brother,” Dylan cut him short, and Jerry fell to immediate silence, “I hoped I wouldn’t have to be so clear about this, but you got me in a position where I have to be. My brother, do you remember the bean I showed you earlier? You are that bean. I am that been. All of us are; you, me, our landlord, all the white, rich people with their money, and all of us black folks with our… beans. We’re like them –no, no, we are them, but they don’t like that. They tell themselves it’s not true, but you know, they are beans, just like us. Everyone will tell you something else or other, don’t listen. It is not a life to be lived when you’re something other than a bean. My brother, I have chanted that line to you everyday, and today, I want you to chant it to yourself. I want you to sprout. To begin.”

 

Little Jerry took this to heart. He became a believer in beans, but not for long. Not even for a whole day. Doubt crept into him and marred his belief by the time the sun shone. How can everyone be a bean when his most favorite bean gets sold against his will?

Skin

Fear

“You’re not serious.”

 

“I think my facial expressions adequately portray seriousness.”

 

“But look at it, it’s so…”

 

“Evil?”

 

He squinted at her. “Seriously?”

 

“Are you trying to break a record saying that word?”

 

“Very observant for someone basically petrified, if I may say.”

 

“You may not. Now, get me out of here.”

 

“Oh, for the sake of all that is lovely and wonderful, you’re being overly dramatic!”

 

“No, I am not,” she replied in such steady fury as if being propelled by Lucifer’s very trident.

 

“Alright, alright. Calm your wits down.”

 

“Oh, I plan to do precisely that. Have you any tranquilizers?”

 

“Good gracious, you’d think it death by disgrace awaiting you.”

 

“It is death, save by disgrace. It’s death that looks deep within your most intimate self and claws your spirit off, leaving you full of terror and at loss of breath,” her nostrils flared while she said so.

 

“Don’t you think your measurements of sense and feeling are a bit… You know, unorthodoxly proportioned?”

 

“So is your sense of incredulousness, I’d wager.”

 

By this point, she managed to pull herself and her companion a good twenty meters away. Hadn’t her companion suddenly halted, she would have gladly walked on further.

 

“Wait, wait. Where are we going again?” he said.

 

“Nowhere, merely walking about,” she replied in such a forced air of comfort that she would’ve lain right then and there to augment that sense of comfort she thought she held.

 

“Why don’t we go sit under that tree?” he told her, “we don’t want to walk all the way to the next city, now, do we?”

 

As they sat down under the willow tree, he kept eyeing her keenly, noticing how her fingers fidgeted, and how she couldn’t leave her ears in peace.

 

“If I may be so blunt—”

 

“You call it childhood trauma, the likes of you,” she cut him off, “I call it too many lost opportunities of reconciliation.”

 

“You speak as if they held any consciousness.”

 

“Don’t they? Anything capable of staring right into your soul, of turning your blood cold, isn’t it conscious? Oughtn’t you to fear it?”

 

“You must excuse me; I don’t harbor any irrational fears. No offense intended.”

 

“How come it’s perfectly alright to fear the dark or spiders? Why is it absolutely ridiculous for me to fear these wretched things?”

 

“If I do have an answer, which I don’t, I wouldn’t venture to disclose it and have you analyze it until you’ve turned us both deaf. I still want to have a pleasant afternoon, mind you.”

“Yes. Yes, I suppose you’re right.”

 

“I’m sorry, but, earlier, you said they were ‘evil’. You don’t mean evil as in satanic and ungodly, surely?”

 

“Oh, but I do mean so!” her intonation started to board on the hysterical, “I very much do. The damned things -excuse my language- but they are! They’re the very spawn of Satan which Hades itself couldn’t handle. Witches and warlocks swear by them, and when we die, they will trot on our graves, I tell you. If Beelzebub bred ancestry, you can very well be sure that they are this ancestry. They saunter with such ease because they know, oh, they do– they know they will be our demise. I fear them? I surely do. Because if you’re not sensible then I am. And I intend to keep my not-so-calm- at-the-moment wits about me, thank you very much.”

 

She finished her fervent rant with a flush of burgundy coloring her face. He, on the other hand, was sat staring at her, shocked at the amount of genuine fear that racked her body and soul. All he managed to utter was “cats? Seriously? Cats?”

 

With the slightest of glances she replied “I’m parched. Let’s walk back home.” She had no intention of bringing out the self-embarrassment brigade once more.

Fear

Woman

They call her a woman, I call her a force of nature, a magnitude of an eminent kindness. Her effervescence that lurked about her, smelling of  jasmine and oak. She wouldn’t be defined in any terms save for “she”. Because she is She, and no one else held a stronger claim to the name. She lived the pronoun and made it hers, she knew what a woman is with no books, no letters and no numbers. She shined down on those who would try to kill her glow, she taught them how to be once and again. She knew exactly how to bury herself deep within the membranes of our brains. She planted herself with her ridiculousness, her inexplicable fits, her not-so-naive-naivety, her threatening looks. She, an embodiment of all things out-worldly and reminiscent, knew how to be home for the homeless, and refuge for the faithless.

The Beatles say the love you take is equal to the love you make, but I don’t see how that’s possible with She. She was more divine than earthly love. Her love is one that angels seek, but never receive. In my words I seem bias, and I am; how can I not be when She is my foundation, my solid rock, my fortitude? I am bias because She is the one who made love and compassion subjects of learned practice, and I was her subject.

They say she’s dust now, and she is. She’s gold dust that would never find its way home, or maybe has found a new home.

Woman