Sober

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“Overwhelmed as one would be, placed in my position.
Such a heavy burden now to be the One
Born to bear and bring to all the details of our ending,
To write it down for all the world to see.”
Rosetta Stoned

“Why can’t we not be sober?
I just want to start this over.
Why can’t we drink forever.
I just want to start things over.”
Sober

The ability to survive lies in the potential of creating a future in a lie.

I am old. I work seven days a week until the late hours of vampiric nights. I am Atlas but with sunken muscles and a blanket over my bones that hangs loosely, acid bubbles burning holes through it, tired tears seeping from it. The sky falls, long shadows dawning on sober faces and desperate gazes.

My wife Evelyn, back when I first married her, used to greet me in bed after a long day’s work. She’d tell me “my name means rebirth, so here, tonight, I kill you, and you get born again in the morning.” And that promised legend became a reality and a curse.

My wife Evelyn didn’t know that during the day I didn’t daydream about her.

My wife Evelyn never knew that I never dreamed about her, that when her hand touched me, it wasn’t her caress that I yearned for. But I was faithful, and for all that time, I held the sky above me and above her.

But such selfless blindness does not deserve a story.

My wife Evelyn, she sees a boy on the streets, through the windowpane, breaking a girl’s heart and blames the whole male sex for a heartbroken world. A boy becomes the boy.

“Leave him alone, he’s just trying to give himself meaning,” I tell her.

“Give meaning? By hurting that poor girls like her?” her eyes never leave the girl who’s stone-still on the sidewalk. As if that girl needs stares from a weathered woman with creepy eyes, glaring through a windowpane with inevitable disappointment; that old eagle-eye glare every generation gets from its elders, disappointment, awe, dismay. “If he has any sense of decency, he’ll come back to her and hold her hand, whisper in her ear, walk her home, anything. It’s not right to leave a girl like that on the street. If he has any dignity, any love, he’ll come back, just like you came back to me.” Her words, like shovels desecrating a grave in which the flesh of a corpse is yet to decompose.

“We all feed on tragedy,” I mumble, collapsing all the vowels on each other.

“Boys these days, they’re all corrupt,” the girl on the street is still stupefied under Evelyn’s gaze. “What is she to do now?”

“At least it’s not raining,” I cynically remark.

“I would’ve made you go invite her in if she had been crying under the rain.”

“You don’t even know if she’s been crying. Anyway, how would it seem if an old grumpy-looking, pathetically wrinkled old man had approached a young girl like her and invited her to his house? People don’t appreciate the same gestures anymore. Whatever I did twenty-seven years ago, I certainly would not have done today if I were that boy and you were this girl.”

“What is that supposed to mean? Do you regret coming back to me?”

“I think after twenty-seven years, it’s irrelevant whether or not I regret it. And, remember, you came back for me.” Wrong words make the wrong bells toll; wrong words make us travel in time to that evening when she came back to me.

She had come at the right moment, but she never knew it. She thought I had always been waiting for her to come back, a true heartbroken soul. She could have survived if she had not found me, and I knew it. She left me to prove something, and she failed.

“Look,” I say, moving towards the window pane, “she is not you, and will never be you. The boy is not me and will never be me. These are different circumstances and different times. If you want to know what I think, I’ll tell you. I’ll say it straight up, because it sure is more realistic then your nostalgic projection.”

Somehow she found me walking back home; street-lights were not lit and the few cars that passed by rendered the darkness around us visible, like a momentary flash of lightning that only exacerbates the intensity of night. We both saw familiar contours. She hugged me like a child reaching out to its parent, wanting to be picked up, supported. That embrace showed a crack, a crevice. And ever since, I’ve been finding a future in this lack.

I put my hand on her shoulder and speak calmly; there’s no need for conviction in my voice. Somehow she’ll know it’s true. Somehow she’ll know that she’s lived it. “This boy here has probably left this girl for another. Another girl he may not love as he loves this one in front of us. But the other girl, he needs her. The other girl, she needs him. And that works. But we’re just observers, trying to be omniscient of what is only seen, not even heard. The distance between us and the crying girl is an immense gap. We just know our stories. I just know mine. If I keep myself in that gap between her and me, I might fade like a sigh, nostalgic, barely moving, insignificant and inconclusive.”

She looks at me barely satisfied with my possibly-heartrending words. And I hug her even though I’m not sure she wants this. I feel the lack and know that because of it, me and her, we’re more than just the sum of our parts.

I grab Evelyn’s hand and we walk together to bed. I am old, but I am sober and it will be a good night.

So good to see you once again
I thought that you were hiding from me.
And you thought that I had run away.
Chasing a trail of smoke and reason.
Third eye

Inanna_1_by_GeirrodVanDyke

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Incommunicable

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I have weights on my bed. I can’t sleep without weights on my legs. A simple condition.

I’m holding on to every thread of sanity as you sway in front of me without proclaiming a purpose. I want to know you for who you are. I want to know why you’re here. I want to know what is making you sway in front of me with your smiling face, your wavy hair and your moving hands.

The tail that passes by the edge of the door does not alarm me. Everything I see, I see through Nyx, and her profession is erasure. I turn my head moments too late so as to make my vision dubious, was what I saw real? Was it reality under erasure?

Your meaning is elusive and I cannot help but torment myself with all the possibilities which your presence manifests. That is all I can do, torment myself with the passivity of inaction. An action would make me a transparent fool. I am not afraid of humility. I am just afraid of your reaction.

Everything starts with a promise. Being born starts with the promise of eventually dying. Meeting someone, starting a friendship seals the promise of future mourning. All acquaintances have a trace of a farewell. One must always go before the other.

You come closer and then you recede. You write me letters, but then erase. You move your lips without making a sound. You teaser of princes.

When I met her, she told me that her son is in a coma. That’s the first thing she said.

You move like the shadow of smoke. You touch me with your formless invisible hand.

“My son is in a coma.”

You fiery daemon, iridescent like an aurora. Look at yourself melt like a weak piece of wax, only to defy the laws which command me and reformulate your body, straighter than before, more dazzling, more perfect.

“Since when?” The place was brightly lit by an opening in the ceiling, and slowly, as dusk neared, the hall became dimmer and dimmer.

“Since as far as I can remember.” She seemed worried about the departure of the sun.

“It must be hard,” I said, stopping for a moment, hesitating before I asked the question, “where is the father?”

You unnatural virgin, your legs spread wide like the red sea, yet redness is all I see; there is no shore, I need no shore. I want to camp between your legs so that they’ll engulf me, choke me and kill me, mercilessly.

“There is no father, one of those things that just happen without you knowing how. One of those things that you just know will happen to you, as if destined, and there is nothing you can do about it.” She looked through her bag, took out a phone and checked the time. “What do you do for a living?”

You vile temptress. Look at my shaking hands. I clench my fists as if to threaten you, but I’m losing control. I must seize you before the morning, for the dew will destroy you and the light will sear your waxed columns.

“I’m an impresario.” I said, trying to impress her, hoping that I pronounced it right, praying that she didn’t know what it means.

“What’s that?”

But no. You are not to be had. You must remain a distant temptation, a boundary which my arousal shan’t cross. Fierce tyrant, know of what I withhold by this promise.

“I manage plays, help produce them. I’m the person who realizes dramaturgy.”

I arise and you stop moving. Your eyes don’t look at my trembling body anymore. You heard turns and looks abaft to the other end, where my father and his wife sit, judging my movement, entertained by the magnificent spectacle you are performing. He would sacrifice his own son for a night of enjoyment. He would sacrifice me to uphold his sovereignty.

She looks through the opening in the ceiling. “In the distance, I can hear the stars sing to me like sirens, telling me to come and enfold them with the black hue of my existence.” She walks to the centre of the hall, directly beneath the opening. “Do you want to see how I do it? Do you want to see things my way? Impresario?” I nodded.

But I refuse to be sacrificed you wretched servile soul. Stop dancing and come to me, let me put my hands around your neck and choke you. Let me feel the veins of your neck protrude, fighting my grip. Let me sense your pulse plead for a trace of mercy with its irregular beat. You are mine, even at a distance. You are mine. Become the vessel with which I sail away from my father’s kingdom. I will mount you and he will immediately be absent. We can make this happen.

I was immediately pulled towards the opening, and before I could catch a breath to scream, we were both floating weightlessly, so close to distant stars, seeing nebulas in the distance and Earth, lit by rampant civilizations, looking like an ember amidst the darkness which surrounds it.

“You can never sleep here,” she says, “my son would never sleep here. You can never sleep without weight. You need to be pushed down to sleep. But my son is lulled. My son sustains the subsistence.”

Stop erasing and write me unto you. Approach me and with your coming, bring a symbol of commitment. A ring, a piece of cloth, or just your integument. I will shear your hair and change your appearance.

But then I find myself awake, weighed down by heavy pillows and a heavy duvet. Everything starts with a promise, and I was her son, the impresario of dreams. I awoke and killed her with my awakening.

I will hold your tongue with my hand and stroke it with a sharp dagger. It’ll bleed and you will utter the words I want to hear stained with blood. I will never send you back to his highness, the tyrant sultan.

A promise fulfilled: one must always go before the other. A promise broken: never wake up.

"I am Disappointed. Disillusioned. Disenchanted. Dis-enthralled. Dis-entranced," says the asinine impresario before he absconds. And they all hear me, but they don’t know me. They all know it. Nyx is dead.

So I approach you. I come towards you with intent. I get a hold of your wavering wrist and pull you towards me. But I was naïve to think that I could. Your dancing body vanishes and I hold nothing but a perplexed clenched fist.

The alacrity, the emulous spirit departs. The subsistence is no longer sustained. An abeyance awakes the audience, but it’s too late, there is no chance for amelioration or superficial decoration; there is nothing to ameliorate, there is nothing to decorate. Surviving is the other name of mourning. I am awake and Nyx is dead. The subsistence is no longer sustained. One must always go before the other.

When The World Was Young

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I fell in a dream and hurt myself, but I did not wake. I lucidly dreamt for hours on end.

The good old times, when we were youthful, when the world was young and the sun was soft on our skin…

Ariadne approaches me with her solemn gaze and looks at my feet. Move, she tells me. From that one word I know that the time has come for a stern sequence of events to occur. Ariadne tells me that we can no longer do as we please. The journey which has always been a single step must finally end. Ariadne stops and turns her back on me. Grapes fall from the rough sky, roaring like timid tigers in front of a threat. Upon hitting the ground, the grapes turn to dry raisins. Ariadne goes away, taking silent steps into the past, into the time when we felt high in the deepest valley; she treads with embracing steps on dreams and memories of the time when the world was young.

Uncontrollable and volatile, random and wild, the once-untamed spirit now tells me to abandon all hope of defying the world around me with unpredictable footsteps. She walks away while battering a gong with her wooden hand. The sharp sound echoes throughout the landscape.

Cynthia comes driving through, the car disintegrating as gears change. Black smoke fumes from the exhaust. Beside her sits Braidy, her long hair disappearing under the seat. They come out of the car and their feet elongate as if they’ve just mounted their wooden stilt legs. They look towards the evening sky and tell me, the way is high, but your eyes have always been on the ground. They never look down, but keep on going higher and higher.  Their legs quake, but their tall bodies remain as steady as thick tree trunks effortlessly blocking the wind passing between two mountains. Ripe avocados rain and smash and splatter on the ground; a maestro mounts an imaginary helm and conducts a symphony. The girls sing to the tune, It’s time to get rid of interpretations and believe facts.

Chaotic and open-minded, once causing havoc and controversy with word-play and mind-boggling ambiguity, they now tell me to accept the facts I come across. Their legs shake as they are engrossed in the soils of time, digging deep into the time when the world was young. Suddenly the stilts fall and the two girls jump on hidden trapeze hung in the sky; arrogantly catching on to nothingness and aerially flipping around in perfect circles, a trapeze appearing wherever they want it to appear. The fascism of imagination controls my mind with imagined facts which can only exist if believed in. They wail and scream and giggle and titter high up in the sky. Imagination will not spare me.

Night-time sheaths the hot rays of the sun and veils the eyes with its humid arrival. Fallen leaves crack and break beneath the feet of someone approaching. I close my eyes trying to find a place to hide, yet promising myself a searing pain. Fear projects itself on eyelids as Selene, who I promised to sleep without closing my eyes. She looks at me with contempt for having broken my promise. You betrayed our beginning, she says. She shines a bright light and forces me to open my eyes again, only to see her in front of me, wearing a white glowing robe adorned with half-moons.

She takes out a large mirror effortlessly from her wooden chariot. Look, her voice commands. I look into the mirror but I see no eyes, no mouth, no nose; I see no face, but the back of my head, looking at the mirror which Selene holds, only to look at it again, and again, eternally and abysmally. You have fought monsters and now you become one like them. She places me in the dark abyss which language cannot describe, which my mind cannot ever reach its end. I keep on staring at the image of myself staring at the image of myself infinitely repeating. But in each repetition, the only difference is Selene’s eyes that slightly become jovial with every repetition. And now I know that they belong to the time when the world was young.

Ariadne stands in front of me with her wooden arm; Cynthia and Braidy with their wooden legs; Selene with her wooden chariot, raisins on the ground and split avocados on the ground. They smile at me, telling me to move on, to lose, accept the credo of death, to suspend growth, to stop development and continuously repeat everything over and over again. But I won’t let it drag me down.

What a time it was, when moments of joy ran through us like broken shards of glass, bleeding sweet ecstasy; when we chewed each other like boxes of chocolate and were never afraid to refuse a bitter piece; when delight was sustainable; when we’d hold on to each other in times of trouble like small children hanging on to their mothers. I won’t leave that.

The time when the world was young, when a mistake created a fun memory, and the spirit of lightness made us laugh at tragic plays and tragic wakes.

I wake. Hazel eyes look at me astounded. I never thought I’d see your face like it used to be, she tells me and pours me a glass of seasoned wine; I laugh.

Victims of the Immutable Order: A Testimony

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I wonder what she’s doing right now. I wonder where she is.

In that home which trenches itself in the ground facing wide and long fields of wheat, bordered with cypress trees, lilies, but…

I’ve been counting the years and the months and the days. It’s an obsession. Three years, one month and fourteen days. I dream of myself walking up an arid hill, walking towards a door seen at the top of the hill. Every day makes it steeper.

She hates me.

…I told them everything, but they couldn’t understand anything. I faltered when I shouldn’t have. I gave in to reason. But there wasn’t any time for me to make things right. The absence of any kind of certainty made me a basket case of doubt. But that was in the past. Now she’s gone.

She went before. She’s gone again. Indefinitely. It was an immutable order which she found a way out of, only to be dragged back in, slamming her head on the crux of its foundation: family. She took a bad hit. Fatally, she bled.

Faint by precision, but strong by imagination. The memory of the best first night ever. The memory which I always add to by use of imagination. Sometimes I wonder if anything we remember is not just a simple fantasy. Every time I reach the same conclusion: we are the plaything of memory.

The worst last night ever. She looked at me with eyes beyond the threshold of despair; beyond patience and perseverance. She looked at me with eyes too shocked to be disappointed. Her lower lip wibbled as it did many times before, but this time she could not restrain the storm of incessant wailing. She was taken.

I know why she doesn’t call. I know why she no longer talks to me. She definitely hates me.

If only I could: squeeze her hand; whisper in her ear; look into her crystal blue eye; look at her; count the freckles on her face; feel the pulse on her wrist; hold her close; relish the mundane with her.

If only I could take back a mere hour of my life to give years for hers.

The best first night ever. After weeks of wanting to be a stranger, she was my opportunity. After years of being trampled over, I was her opportunity. We immediately exchanged hearts and permitted the other to dance and sleep with it. Purge me and read me. And so we did. And my heart read aloud, I am. Her heart screamed, thank you for not stomping over me.

We cleansed each other, naked, beneath the shower head, inside the bath. We were like leeches stuck on each other, forming a closed circuit; she sucked so I could feed. The water was hot and the humid air cooled our hearts down as we sucked each other dry.

Nostalgia gives birth to regret and remorse.

She hates me. I sold her out because I thought I would be helping her. I listened to all the others who had failed her before. The evil sly roué who told me to open my eyes and then forced me to see things through his eye; the pernicious viper who silenced me and spoke and told me to listen to her voice. I listened and I saw, but it was trickery. And I failed her. I let them take me away.

I cannot be sorry. Everything has bled into this; the borders of blame are all mixed up. But she is the angel that fell.

The best first night ever. We walked through darkened streets and alleys until the early hours of the morning. We drank energy drinks mixed with vodka. We sat on long winding stairs and watched couples trying to be intimate under the eye of the public cats and bats. And we tried it too. We were not afraid. We did not care. Intimacy empties a crowded room when it’s real. No one matters. We believed in love. I don’t anymore because I don’t believe in myself, but for a period of time, love was the answer. We readily tried to understand each other. We shared Frankfurtian views and loved our music. We enjoyed charades and paraded our skills on the street. We loved each other the way we like to be loved.

The street is the home for youths in love, where lovers grow, become sick and die. The rare public benches act as couches. The people eating inside restaurants act as pay-per-view TV programs. The stray cats as pets. The shitting pigeons, the church bells, the propagated prayer as annoying reminders of what awaits when we go back in.

But to survive on the streets, you have to make a promise of loyalty, a vow of devotion. And the promise you take until the end of you; a promise which I broke; a promise which she kept.

…and the skies turned grey.

The door at the top of the hill will never be open. What lies on the other side is imagination. My climb up the hill is an inevitably destructive fantasy. We’re still the same, inventing myths to feed our limited humanity: I can’t bring her back.

I wish I can wonder what she’s doing; I wish I can wonder where she is. But I can’t because she’s not here. She is not. I am, but it is not my heart which proclaims it. I have become defined by her absence.

In Memoriam

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We are the plaything of memory.

My memory is a masquerade of historicism; A façade which designs events with superfluous lavish words and a timeline as intermitted as loving relationships. A simple subject-verb-object would do most of the times, but with ignorant use I sprinkle adjectives and adverbs to make my memory seem as unrealistic as a teenager’s wet dream.

I am the truth.

A voice, rough and screechy.

I am the truth.

I am emptied. I am darkness. In Memoriam and any sense of Self is gone.

Ahlan. The voice, from a past, a memory. Ahlan. The voice, the orator of departure. I am the Truth. The truth is in the past. The past is in the darkness. The darkness reduces me to oneness, and I am timeless and formless. I am nameless.

In one sweet moment you’ll be home. Just come give me a kiss.

That voice, from my past, my memory. Mammon.

Precious.

My old way. The low way. It is the only truth I have known. Should I cross the line?

Cross! Transgress! Break the Limit!

I am as good as dead. The orator of departure lures me. Why has he come?

I am the Truth, the only Truth in darkness.

My voice, in the present. An event. And I depart.

But I go round and round and Mammon laughs. My old ways are circular. And he speaks as he gives me a lecherous kiss.

I am the orator of departure, and I speak only of departure. So excuse my sudden departure, but it comes at a right time. Listen to the world shouting. A cacophony of angry voices, driven by a demonic will-to-power. Each culture, each nation, each country, each city, each individual is trying to give meaning to the world, and these meanings fight each other, producing that ever defining, albeit negative, factor: difference. But is there meaning? Is there purpose?

Forgive me for always surprising you. I just did not feel obliged to work according to your structured meta-narrative of how I should be, and in the case of surprises, of how I shouldn’t be. Your knowledge of me does not create me. I am my own creator. I jump off the peak instead of trotting miserably down the mountainside. I bend my knees and embrace freefall. In mid-air you never miss the ground. I surprised you while tried to wake you up. The awakening needs violence because you are stubborn, and you stubbornly stood in front of me whenever you felt lacking. You handcuffed your own hands and boiled your mind so that nothing could have touched it without experiencing your hotheadedness. You met me with ready-made attitudes. I stood like a riddle already cracked before I spoke. Ever since, you have filtered my words according to the algorithm which you think can decipher me; as you did so, you only saw the pre-conceived image you had of me, the dead portrait hung in your museum, without a voice. You felt superior as you stared at me, as if my existence was contingent with your pleased eye; as if I was only for you and because of you. So excuse me for suddenly departing. I had to before I became cemented as the prototype you think I am and make me to be.

The world was once a curious little thing. At some odd point, the questions of curiosity became a quest of passion, and the world personified stood in front of me as a silent person, yet telling me, confirming that it was a person I desired. On this quest I realized that the world personified (for clarity, a she) is a shore never to be known, an abyss never to end. But at the same time I felt Vertigo, a fear of falling coupled with a strange desire. I could never tell if I’d fall away from me.

But let her forgive my departure. She gave me no truth and I could not trust her as she suddenly proclaimed interest then took it away. I loved her. Let her forgive my departure. She wanted me only because I hated to let her down; but I needed someone to fight for me, to bolster my existence and respect my mind. She saw what she wanted to see, she loved what she wanted to love, but she never really saw or loved the rest of me. I love the world, but the hurt turned to hatred and when she took a wrong turn around the sun, I had to depart.

You have to depart. I only talk from your memory. I am part of you.

Texts have connections to the physical realm; Maybe forgetfulness should be an adaptive measure for preventing pain. But who said that evolution is something other than mere useless mutation.

We are the plaything of memory. Without memory there would be no guilt. Any act arising out of guilt becomes a duty. A deontological presence lacks passion. Mammon gives me a lecherous kiss again and holds me dearly. The gates of my hellish past open and welcome me with their bright orange light. But I see Nyx. She is terror made flesh: sublime and ethereal. She stands like a mother standing above her child’s cradle and looks at me with ostensible love.

I am the plaything of memory. And I am the architect which builds on it and designs it. But for now let me go to Nyx who can give me a dream independent of my reality, a dream of her own words, a fantasy of her own mind, a trace of darkness from her memories. A dream which permits me to be without being in the world.

Mammon departs. the truth is that there is no Truth, but there is a way forward; I am not stuck in the same circle.