Saturday, 21 June 2014

To My Mother

Dearest corpse that once was my mother,

"Do not stand at my grave and weep", Mary Elizabeth Frye said, "I am not there." So you might wonder why I bend over your marble epitaph and tell you stories. In fact, I could ask myself along with you, why do I bend over your buried debris in desperate monologues and inner wails?

I talk to your pictures. The pictures that decorate each of the four walls in my room. The picture-frame on the TV,then the biggest frame on top of my bookshelf, the two others on the opposite wall and again the other two facing my bed. Your miniature selves watch over me. They seem to listen and they do not fade. Their materia will die a long time after I do. The cells cannot be corrupted; the smile depicted on them unchangeable, untouched, unweathered by time.

So again, why do I stand at your grave and weep? Where else could I go and listen to your silence?
What else bonds us but pain and memories?
Move on now, they say, those who are still cradled their mother's warm bosoms.

Have I betrayed you, Mother, because I am smiling? And not only that: smiling at her?
Is it hypocrisy, betrayal or simple stupidity that I believe my pacifism could make it better?
That maybe it is what you would have wanted? To see him happy again in freshly-washed clothes, sitting at a rich dinner table, beamed at by her?

On our way home in the new car, she sat in the co-driver seat that you have been so eager to sit in once everything would be okay. She sat in it and my heart wept. She reaped what you sowed. She is there where you wanted to be, where you should have been, where you and only you deserve to be after all the blood, sweat and tears.

"Love's golden arrow at her should have fled
and not Death's ebon dart to strike her dead"

I did not cry much these days, Mother. Even while looking at your pictures. The pain has numbed me, it lies so deep, it can no longer be expressed. Entangled around my organs like ivy, it strangulates my core. But I couldn't weep for a long time. The day I wept, it was because of a really simple thing and I don't know if you could understand. But let me tell you. I was rearranging my bookshelf on which I had little accessories as well. Absent-minded I was shuffling through all the stuff until I held two objects in my hand: two little purple plushies - one is a bear holding a heart and the other a little cute doll. I looked at them. Held them in my hand, twisted them and turned them and neglected memories flooded my brain. Little things that are not easily recalled unless their memory is triggered as it then did. I saw you shopping and every time coming home with a little gift for me because that is just who you are. Little dolls and plushies, keychains and Chips, random things of which you think: "Let me buy this for her, she will love it." And until now, I have rarely seen a mother do that. In fact, I cannot recall any mother who does that. Every mother buys her daughter gifts: clothes or perfume. You did that too. But you would always think of me, symbolically expressing your love at the tiniest occasions, always in quest of my happiness, always in quest of seeing me beam at you.

But now you are gone and gone are the little things. Little things that make a huge difference. Gone are the three phone calls per day that I used to shrug at but that I now miss hellishly, now that I have known their true value. Gone is the endless nagging about having to clean the house every day because cleanliness is important. I used to laugh and wonder why it had to be a task performed every day. And again, I did not know that you did it as a proof of love. I knew your knees hurt hellishly, I often told you to stop cleaning every day but you wouldn't listen. It was more important for you to be the flawless mother you are. I knew it at that time too, surely, but now I feel it. I feel it through its absence. I go downstairs, where she resides, and the floor is covered with a thin layer of dust.

You have missed all the times you have lived for your whole life, all the times you have stayed up late, all the nights you could not sleep because you were too worried about me. You missed my graduation, the day I got my driving license and many ceremonies where I was honored with prizes for my efforts, efforts that were in fact yours as well, efforts of a lifetime of suffering. I promised you that when I would become a teacher and get a driving license, I would drive you around, have dinner with you and take walks at beautiful places with you. I wanted to buy you gifts and clothes and travel with you. All these things that could never repay your motherliness, your flawless motherliness, your almost divine motherliness. But of course a drop of clean water in the polluted sea is better than nothing. and in fact, I knew that my success and happiness would be all that you asked of life as a repayment.

Here I am, Mother. The seed of your pain. I did not fail you. I promised you that, remember?
Look here; all I did was in your memory. All the times I resisted was in your memory. All the times I thought of giving up, your guardian presence of your absence elevated me.
I haven't betrayed you, do you believe me?
Can you hear me?
I wish I could have just one minute with you again... to see your radiant smile that everyone is remembering you for. To see your proud expression, to see your hands hold mine, those hands I miss, brown-flecked and with blue veins popping out here and there. Oh so tender, motherly hands that are raw from work and strain. Motherly hands that made me who I am. You have implanted in me independence and strength, kindness and honesty. I could not ask for more.

I feel your presence, I feel your nagging speeches, your tender Goodnights and Good Lucks, your ever so gentle hand stroking my hair, your nightly kindness of getting up many times just because my bed sheet fell off me, your 3 o'clock nightmares, your beaming smiles whenever I told you about good marks, the sunlight in your face rendering your eyes blue-grey-green, the way you'd enthrall a whole room of strangers with your jokes and laughter, the way you would always give in to my pleads, accompany me, support me and never let me suffer; and if you did, you knew it was inevitably necessary. I know that now and all the tears I wept because I thought you were unjust are sighs of gratefulness now. I am sad, unbelievably grievous, I wail and I scream, I sob and try to strangle my cries. But if you, from wherever you are, see these horrid images of your little angel with fits of crying trembling on the floor, please forgive me: for I, until now and forever, cannot let go of your memory. I often smile at past incidents. I always involve you in my conversations. When others speak of their mothers, I don't look down anymore: I happily tell them about you. It is a paradox: I don't want you to become a memory, but when I weep alone I know that you are.
"She is not dead, she is just away", James Whiteomb Riley said. I tried to believe that but... my heart aches.
I try to reanimate you, resurrect you, make you alive again through stories, shared anecdotes and poems. But in the end, you will see me on the cold tiles again, sniffing and sobbing and I am sorry. I am sorry.

If this is a letter I could send to you, I wouldn't sign it with Yours Sincerely or Yours Truly: I am yours forever, infinitely, unimaginably indebted to you and immeasurably attached to your soul. Yes, your soul. Your body might have rotten but your soul will forever shine, your deeds forever resonate in this desolate void, your voice forever a soothing lullaby.
If this is a letter I could send to you, I would not sign it, nor write "goodbye". My letter to you is infinite, as my love.

I cannot say, and I will not say
That she is dead, she is just away!
With a Cheery Smile and a wave of the hand
She has wandered into an unknown land.
And left us dreaming how very fair
It needs must be since she lingers there.

And you - oh you, who the wildest yearn
For the old-time step and the glad return.
Think of her fairing on, as dear
In the love of there, as the love of here,
Think of her still as the same, I say.
she is not dead - she is just away.

- James Whiteomb Riley

Monday, 9 June 2014

Nocturnal Streams of Consciousness II: Dear Self.

But think about it, dear Self
When have you ever been the priority and not the option?

I am the rain that washes away rusty tears.
The lake on which your corpses float, swollen.
I am a forlorn Erato, maybe her long lost twin sister whom the great writers have forgotten.
Erato, muse of Oblivion and doleful poetry
I am the pale body floating downstream embracing Ophelia's flowers
Goodnight, Sweet Ladies, Goodnight!
Have some poppy, my dearest
Sink into a slumber to forget
that you will wake up to the Ninth Infernal Circle
Have some more poppy, my dearest
sink again, deeper, sink, sink.

But think about it, dear Self
it has never been your fault.

Yes, it has not. Have you not wondered why your feelings have turned to stone?
Entombed, they lie at your very core, granite, untouchable, intangible.

Yes. I feel safe. I feel sane. I feel like they cannot get to me. They cannot draw me in. They cannot lure me.
They cannot. They will not.
Hello? Is it me I'm looking for?

You will not lose yourself. I will not let that happen. I'd rather turn myself into stone than see you give in and hold me out for the daylight to rape me.

But think about it, dear Self
A facade this is and nothing more.
Because here I am, vomiting words of pain.
Whence do they emerge?
You are as vivid and livid and liquid as ever.
I cannot lie to myself.
I am alive, I feel and I am drawn in
and no poppy
and no slumber
and no facade can change the fact
that this blood-pumping organ


My First Spills of Ink for You

There it was again: the piercing feeling of someone creeping into her heart again, stealthily, through the backdoor, like ivy slowly growing over the wall. For a moment she felt as if she flew, the other as if she was falling. She had stopped expecting, indeed. But the gut-tearing excitement she felt was beyond her power. She felt its grip, resisted it but that only made her feel it even more intensely. She was trapped, watching the white wall being conquered by ivy, covered in ivy, consumed by ivy that spread and spread and spread.

Let's Ignite our Stars

A little Orion shines inside me
Fragments of it flow through every vein
But my marrow radiates melancholy
Yet, my eyes are dry and I dance
Who could ever see that the stars might go out in me at any moment?
And why would it matter?
I am done with waiting. I don't expect you to save me, darling.
I can save myself and you can save yourself. I am not your Manic Pixie Dream Girl and you are not my Manic Pixie Dream Boy. But I can promise to be there when your cocoon cracks and your wings start to flutter. I can promise to take flight with you and watch your eyes glitter with pride. I can promise to be myself and stay with you. But your own salvation is up to you. My own salvation is up to me, darling. Let us ignite our stars.