- The question asked over and over.
- What not to say while someone is busy dying.
- Pain and its scale of ten.
- The moment I world taught me helplessness: 3 AM, running to the emergency room, an hour prior to the patient being wheeled in; ten hours prior to another patient dying; 3 hours before X and Y and Z would baselessly blame me for being human, not having enough limbs to see, secure the safety of X other patients in the ward congested, infested; indecision an ampule we forcefully inject on anyone but ourselves.
- The titles of books I have read to realize that no explanation will suffice for someone’s passing, permanent or otherwise.
- Patience. How it is the parent, spouse, child, or sibling by the bed, wiping a cold rag on someone’s burning skin.
- The weight and sleep lost running between wards, stitching sutures to close skulls and spines and that gaping hole in your heart- what it signifies and how it means so little in the span of all things we are meant to lose.
- Selfishness and its many faces. The bolus of potassium you so wanted to infuse instead of loosening the plug from the socket, one day at a time: slow as the solution meant to save her.
- The average amount of time it takes for someone to accept the loss of someone they love, calculated in dose per kilogram.
- All the unnecessary steps we undertake to convince ourselves we’ve done everything we can.
Long-ass (unpoetic) life update under the cut.
Dearly discarded, not so departed can of iced tea procured at price much to extravagant for her age and absence of income but it makes her feel better and what won’t she give to feel better?
Skeleton charm dangling from a village of others (ice cream, turtle, bottlecap, teacup, ring, Chinese cat) affixed to a corner of her mobile phone, reminiscent of a childhood spent seeing things in black and white, rewatching stop motion films; a rag doll jumping from atop a tower, prepared to reassemble, stitch up a torn body from cobblestoned depths all for the sake of love.
Camera that borders between categories of hand me down versus indefinitely borrowed versus But I need something for documentation as if saying such a thing repeatedly would make it true, would make her actually want to keep those memories despite the scratch on the device’s screen, despite the smile shot midway, the man who looks at the machine but not her, the click indicating the end.
Gloves tossed to the trash bin bearing infectious seed of patient previously interviewed, diagnosed with the desire to love infinitely, harboring germs alongside othersuch pains of human interaction; No need to identify the organism, said her superior, Just treat him and tell him to stop.
Blah blah blah blee blee making the most of free time.
Day 01: prompt- get the first line from someone else’s poem.
If only bodies weren’t so beautiful- said the waves to the shore moments before sipping all sand and ships into its bowels of seaweed and sirens sharpening their pearl teeth on stone, a song of desire stirring in their throats, tongues ready for the feast- a taste of human flesh following all those years spent scavenging for morsels of meat on skeletons; seashells shivering from the water’s embrace, insides all dried up, bearing nothing but fruits of dust; palm trees pulled into the deep like paintbrushes flung across a painting that failed to fly; limbs fighting against currents, fingers curling into claws, makeshift anchors grasping at nothing but the light slithering through folds of liquid and coral and fish, illuminating all things beautiful before they breathe their last: bubbles blooming from the bottom of the sea.
Got the first line from Dean Young’s Red Glove Thrown in Rosebush.
Day 02: Lie.
The World According To Water
I was born minutes after sunlight, a century
before nitrogen knew its name, bare
seconds short of the arrival
of valence electrons, light-
years prior to the discovery of the skeleton. I knew
the sun was my only friend – a plate broken, affixed
to the sky’s face; its hair all kelp and algae
constructed from heat, caressing the pores
of my waves- all that warmth led me to bleed
fish and fossil alike. At a young age I learned to speak
less. I yearned to play with the ground that grew
pterodactyls on its elbows, mammoths
from its fingernails. In that age gods were but balls
of mud yet to be made holy, yet to take
shape. I longed for the land yet it responded to my song
by splitting itself into continents, masses that crumbled
at the slightest touch. It called upon lightning
to ward me off. Lifting my body, I struck
a bargain with the sky- granted it the ability to breathe life
into man in exchange for an extra organ, wielding
rain and hurricanes, cloistering the soil
with clouds aching to pour, flood
the firmament with its love. I howled
and banshees were born. Elsewhere,
the advent of mankind: all meat and calcium, a net
of nerves and arteries – an atlas
of smallness, susceptible to virions
and the common cold, lives
so short that death loomed
as though an angel. They invented boats, breezing
through my skin, charted stories that could dance
down to my deepest trenches, driving whales mad and mute,
built cities with arms arching towards the sky; bred bombs
from windowless rooms – seeds that singed
everything in sight, shrapnel
brighter than supernovas,
so warm, bleeding
all fish into fossils.
00:00 – She wrote and wrote and sung to forget everything was about him.
For example, another excuse on why it wasn’t him who deserved to hear her sing: citing moment X as the tipping point in the nonexistent fulcrum of how they drove each other in circles & always to the same place (i.e., Home, His)- once the song on the radio stepped to 00:54 he should’ve kissed her-
Shifting beside her as the song slides to 01:25, chorus just about to begin, he stirs uneasily in their shared space, vehicle heading towards stars, splits the song despite the cushions of the night, silence, saying Wow. We have a soundtrack.
00:21 – The traffic tries to ease them in place, delays his departure by an extra minute but neither of them budge, seatbelts securing bodies in place.
02:34 – He asks what the dials on her radio mean and she answers by increasing the volume.
She meets his laughter with a smile and the tapping of fingers on the steering wheel. 01:42 and she repeats it in her head, It’s not you, it’s not you, it’s not you, and pretty soon the song is telling her exactly what she wanted, It’s not you-
The final refrain pulls through the song by 04:02, a few seconds before she pulls over and he leans, hand draped on her shoulders, presses his cheek to hers, mumbles some goodbye pressing at the edges of her heart-
-00:00 – Seatbelt fastened in place she watches his figure fade into the crowd. The radio flickers with slight static, another song plays and in front of her the stoplight turns green. Humming, she shifts gears, steps on the gas, moves.
This is going to be a quickie since I’m thisclose to having exams and my readings rival Borges’ Babylonian library (*insert panic and weeping and more coffee*) but hey, good news:
Many thanks to editors Rose Lemberg & Shweta Narayan.
(PS Kind of amusing that I spent a chunk of the day reviewing Neuro topics- Guillain-Barre, Peripheral Nerve Diseases, and Alzheimer’s)
So far: first concert I’ve gone to (crowds creep me out).
They’re my favorite band. It was a really great show and the set list- no words! I was just so happy. I’m weeping rainbows deep inside + my Stars playlist is on loop like whoa since the weekend. Opening acts Outerhope and Ciudad were nifty too!
Where + when: Metrotent, Metrowalk Feb 16, 2013.
And yes, we were lucky to be thisclose to the stage. All photographs taken by yours truly.