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Confessions Essays Stories

The Floor is LAVA.

Its funny, they are funny. Always perplexed at life so they were always trying to breath it anew. With a new book, with a new feeling or a new idea, always projecting or creating something, a reflection of what they saw but never what they were. Never really being themselves because they thought there was no self, they were a no body. A body projected into being something, when in reality- they were nothing.

I could not understand this.

 Although I had known them, loved them, helped them since they were young; they were always becoming something new although they stayed the same in a peculiar manner. A manner that left our relationship estranged but I was longing to be with them, anxious to meet them, longing to know them. It could be scary to be alone with them; they always gave you their full attention. Until their mind wondered away and they would get obsessed with a new feeling, flowing away without a moments glance. They did not waste their time. It was all they thought they had.

 It was one of the reasons why I loved them, one the reasons that made them special. I had a sneaking suspicion that they were always special. Special in the kind of way that gets you sent to a new school. A special our mum’s stubborn manner, would not bend too, a special that meant they could not be contained or understood in ways that tradition taught you. A special that mum could not handle, but loved with the rebellious urgency as if was her own self. She always called us her triangle. Her support, her life force, her reason for living and here we were drifting- fading-breaking. All of the warnings that were given to our young bodies were now forgotten. Memories that felt similar to heavy rain on broken bark. They were her daughter, although the silence that existed between them had separated us into islands.

They were omitted, although they were always prayed for.

We were all her children, a mark similar to branding. Her triangle.  It was all we heard when we were growing up and they were the last piece. The final line that made us complete, without them we were bursting connections that went in whatever direction you were standing.

We needed to protect and guide them but somehow they ended up with all the bruises, and jagged cuts of life that we all wielded. They seemed to wear theirs proudly.

“ I know you can speak, SPEAK. If you don’t speak they will send you to a special school. Speak.”

  Mum would recite this memory, often, and always with a smile, with a loving pride at the capability of their daughter and her own foresight. That Monday they went to school and spoke to their teachers and fellow classmates, for the first time. With a few words at first and then a whisper and then they grew tired and gained the confidence to say, “You have to listen to me, really well, because I don’t speak so good.” They would say this stuttering and biting their inner mouth; leaning towards the persons ear as if they could reach their mind, the closer they leaned. They soon learnt this was not the case. That people did not listen. Even with words, they could be ignored and left unheard and forgotten. They were 7.

“ I do not like to speak but I am good at it. They made me good at it. They made me learn how to use my voice. They taught me that silence was a privilege that few had.” They said this regretfully; they hated to speak and hated to be seen but they always stood out in the crowd. Their mid length locks covered in brightly coloured beads and shells, their yellow eyeliner radiating against their chocolate brown skin. Their sky blue eyelashes blinking with an undivided attention that kept all eyes moving with them.  This is why they often understood all their gifts as a dutiful curse. They were awkward and always lost in their mind, finding new trap doors with every moment. The only constant in their life was their body, their home. Like all homes the labour and pain that it took to make it hospitable was lost on all those who did not live there. The décor was often appreciated but the messy rooms were only for a few to see. Very few people took the time to explore and very few people were willing to pay the entry fee.

It pained them greatly. A clown with a large tent to fill but no regular circus acts to perform. No guests.

“ I love them, I love them so much, that I can’t be around them all the time.”  

For them, this made complete sense; they said this to me just before they left for Israel again. Their blue and pink flowery backpack towering over their head, dwarfing them like the skyscrapers they despised so much. Their new shell would be their only companion for the next four years. They would grow into it. Allowing it to become a living excuse to never look back.

I could never convince them to stay, it was never a possibility and thus I never tried. It was their ‘condition’. To express rather than to impress, to be rather than to seem, a ‘ condition’ that left them isolated from the rest of world. A ‘ condition’ that left them sitting in the desert for 9 months, a ‘ condition’ that meant they were never here.

    “ I am in love, I am in love, I’m in love. The wind, the silence, pure silence. Everything moves without a sound, I am the loudest thing around and thus I make no noise. The wind howls and the stars shine and the moon, oh my god the moon. When it’s full, everything becomes light, everything is alight I am alive.”

Their face becomes so animated with joy that they appear like their younger self, pony tails swinging, braids newly done. Their smile inching higher and higher into their eyes, until they are squinting. A bubbling child that always got in trouble for being exactly what they are now.

They were a beautiful mess, my beautiful mess, a clown dressed in a rainbow costume.  A clown that dressed for no one but themselves. It took years for me to see the crystalized tears on their face, to see their pain.

“ I miss it, I miss it everyday.”

They grit their teeth in the way that shows that they are holding back a mountain of words and a forest of feelings. It feels unreal to see them like this, to see them here. They are so assessable but always drifting. When they spoke of the desert, I could see they were still there. Fading into the sun. They did not come back for me.

They did not miss us. They loved us.

They simply had things to do now. Being here was one of them. They would leave soon and I will be back to reminiscing the existence of my own blood. 

  They are sitting crossed legged on the grass, their back is bent to the arch of the tree; their arms wrapped awkwardly around the base of trunk. Their face turned up towards the branches, peering further and further into the depths of their isolation. We are taking the afternoon to sit in Hampstead Heath, their favourite park in London, for its vast size and the fact that it was impossible to find anyone here. We are alone and we will stay like this until sunset. Until the day fades and I meet my love, and they go somewhere I will not visit.

We sit with all the necessary goodies of a summer day, crisps, juice, humus and bread. The devils food, “because you can’t stop eating it. I ate so much of it when I was on the road. Sometimes it was all I ate, all I could afford and I never grew tired of it, the devil’s food.”  

They smile gritting their teeth and shrugging their shoulders. “ YOLO”

They always said it but never ironically. For them it was a matter of fact, YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE. Their recklessness and inhabitation of this idea scared everyone who loved them. They lived by the notion that they had their body for a short time, so they felt forced to enjoy it, the best way they knew how. Recklessly and honestly, they felt obligated to this simple statement. YOU only lived once. They did not want shame, they did not want to apologise and they did not believe in turning back. Their was no back for them, their memories lived in the future.

“ Go forward, the only way is forward.”

 They would often point their hands to the sky and run on the spot, as if one jump forward was flying.

I admired them, I admired how they did whatever they wanted and could be whomever they wanted no matter the cost, no matter the price. The price of their silence was too heavy; inherited shame had broken their legs and created stumps that had healed into moss covered hoofs. They run wildly through the forest of time gathering new friends and dreams but never losing sight of home. I could not decide if this was for the best. They had caused destruction and tore up the ground; revealing the lava beneath our feet. There was no bridge to cross and no way I could get to them. They somehow always seemed to find their way onto my island and bring love masqueraded as upheaval.

They were standing alone. I was their only lifeline and I was drifting further away.  We were all scared of the fire beneath our feet. I learnt long ago that they could swim in it; they said they were born in it.

They were alone in it.  

“What else am I meant to do, be someone else, do something else, act like its okay, that it does not matter? They don’t see me, they don’t see themselves and I have lived too long in a house with no mirrors. Lesson learnt, lesson learnt!”

They always repeated this with a grave disposition, elongating the final repetition on their tongue and stretching their face like elastic to show me how serious they were. Their eyes stern for only second until they were laughing again, just long enough for me to see, that they were tired of the joke that was been played.  

Everything was a lesson. We were taught to listen to our elders and they independently learnt that everyone would teach BUT not everyone listened. All lessons leave a scar and they had too many scars to count. They swear that their scars were worth it, but they also believed and paid attention to the gaping wound, that we often ignored.

They ignored responsibilities and all outcomes that came from their reckless inhibition to claim life by all its infinite sides.

“Do you bo bo- do you!” But doing me was being here. They knew this and they thanked me for it, grateful for me, but glad it was not their place. That their condition kept them on the road, meeting, loving new people whereas mine kept me here, loving our home.  

Three months, under the same roof, eating the same food, watching the same films, all where we grew up. They needed to come to terms with this space, with their fear and I needed them here, I needed the support. I wanted the support; I wanted them.

Sisterhood.

 They would run away throughout the long summer days. Finding trees to hide under and books to read. Mum always screaming for them to hurry back and put on shoes, to eat food and to stay clean but they had all they needed.  A book and some shade, with Alice they were complete. Lost in a land where down was up and up was down, where questions were scary to those with a crown. Where things disappeared with a smile but returned to bring destruction to the now. They took Wonderland out from the library every week and they still carry it with them wherever they go. They never wanted to forget where they had been but they only wanted to talk about where we were going. How we could heal the past and create a new future, better than what had occurred and more than what could be imagined.  

“How is your heart? How are you growing, feeling knowing, understanding?” The chorus of their question remained the same but they always had a new verse, a new rhythm to dance too. Dreams, love and light were their favourite themes, an infuriating conversationalist when angry but a flood of relief when overwhelmed or sad. Their hands were clasped in their lap after organising their crystals on their knees, and along their upper thighs, they were smiling at everything that came but saddened by everything that was.

They always had so many questions; and so little time. They would wreck and destroy and dream up a blueprint with you only to leave before the construction. They failed to understand how much I wanted to hear their questions, to share sister time. I wanted to share my life with them but I always got snippets of care, like everyone else.

They paid close attention to my ‘condition’ and made me laugh at the ridiculousness of my fears. They would always listen. I knew this but I wanted the security of their presence. I wanted their smile.

“ You are infinity, you are beautiful, you are my sister and I love you, I will always love you and come and visit me, come, we will eat ice cream and wonder around. It will be good”

“ Everything is now, be now, be your sound, be true, I am here for you.”

It was infinity or nothing. On or off, beyond the reaches of time, there was a space and they willed it alive with every breath. They willed it with their fullest heart. My sister. 

They are smiling at me, waiting patiently for me to speak. Their face radiating a symphony of colours; like an alien anticipating abduction. Every feature a different construction of my own body, different forms but kindred selves.  I could see it all in their new orange- coloured glasses. I could see myself; I could see their brown eyes staring down at me from the heavens of their self-constructed mind.

They loved me and I loved them. I am still getting used to all the other additions that I did not know when we growing up, that our family had no space for, that our family had left them for. Their queerness, their reckless inhibition, their need to always say what was on their mind and their rejection of tradition. They had no regrets but their way of life had caused a lake of fire and they believed that we needed to learn how to cross it. That there was something better on the other side. 

We were blooming in the summer heat, especially now our roots could nourish each other’s thirst.   They were beautiful and would always be mine but they had given themselves to the world.

The reality of life was that they were always going but always here. They were named day for a reason and although it changes form it never disappears.

My sister, a being born to adhere to the discipline of never giving into fear, not even to our family name or shame.  They were beautiful but they did not play this earthly game. They were all loyalty but no patience. I loved them.

 We gathered our things and said goodbye to the sun, walking into the woods holding each other’s hands but going separate ways. Singing a song of unity.

Photography by Mehdi Iromlou and Dino Hubacher

Categories
Confessions Stories

I took my time.

Wait.

My mother used to repeat this numerous times, often with a warning and always buried within her webbed tongue. An intertwined sweetness that could weave honey but more often than not, they relayed prophetic judgments that I was too young to understand.

“Be patient. You will need to wait.”

I held onto this truth in the later years of my life but in this waiting room, I was a child.  A child too young to speak but young enough to know thousands of words, that amounted to nothing said. The waiting room had plush red velvet seats and warm lighting; the corners of the room were backlit with indefinable paintings that made me feel the last moments of my life.

“Be patient. You will need to wait.”

My exact manner of being was my inability to wait; it would become an imperfection that would make me great.  Patience did not need to include waiting but rather it was a by- product- of something else. A convincing lie that I had readily prepared; in order to console my constant movement. I was always prepared. I was always patient, especially in regards to my death.

II. 

It was the nicest dinner made for me by someone who did not know me. An esteemed guest I was surrounded and adorned with a table filled with all the finest cheeses and meats. A gumption of heads and fleshes of all the earthly desires and fruits. Covered in delicious gravy and gulped in care, my host had done their research; they had made a feast with devour-ability on their mind.

I politely denied and informed them very meekly that I did not consume flesh and that I had lost my taste for devour-ability long ago. I nibbled and pecked at the juicy side dressings of grapes and the slices of apples carved into ringlets that surrounded the salad. I had never seen such care taken and such master ship displayed.  

They kept me there for a while; burdened by my insistence that there is no other way I could be hosted or consoled. They stood up graciously and told me,

“I will remember this for next time.” 

They walked me down the long corridor that seemed to curve around my being although my eyes denoted it in a linear precision. They guided me into blue hued room and told me with deftly certainty that I would need to wait until the time was right. 

  I waited by the adjoining door and sat comfortably crossed legged on the plush seats. The door named ‘LIVING’ was tucked into the right hand corner and was crafted with a dark material that made it look invisible to the eye. It was only after close inspection, that I could see its markings. When I was walking through, I did not catch the same inscription.

I was filled with disgrace; I hurried through. My denial and rudeness to my very hospitable host has left me with no option. I was alone once again. I placed my hand along the curved handle and pressed myself into the ‘LIVING’. Unlike the waiting the room and my host’s table, I am surrounded by food that I could eat but it held nothing in taste and was invisible in texture. The delightful details that made an apple appear like well-sliced pineapple made everything devour able but far from edible. I smiled myself into temporal life. Happy that such pleasant beasts surrounded me but disappointed that I was back on Earth once again.

III.

I was too fast. I could have waited. The waiting room was designed with my comfort in mind.  Pleasure still fills my heart when I remember the paintings and the invisible door marked ‘NO’. If I had waited, I would have seen my gracious host enter and tell me that the table was clean and ready with a buffet, sculpted to my desire. 

Categories
Confessions Stories

The reflection that ran away.

They chose to stay silent to the injustice.

This did not mean that they did not fight. It simply meant that they chose different ways too express it. They were deliberate with every choice of clothing and in every discussion that was held next to soft pillows and heavily starched blankets. Their largest and most memorable protest was their begrudged looks in solemn orgies that represented the empowerment they thought they were getting when they crossed into the homeland of coloniser. Their body was ogled, drooled and barked at with desperate eyes and violent hands. They were meat. They were always porn in the game of unpaid labour and exploitation.

“Take Control”

We were always meant to take control. Our body was meant to be hard, big and ready to take power, although historically we were forced to submit with hard-knocked knees.

They looked at me once that night; I stared at them- begging them to leave.

They stayed long enough to hold the taste of the sweat dripping down the room into their opened mouth.  

They were a medium sized fish in a small pond. They liked it like that. Here on European soil they could be seen and praised as the diva to watch. They were all diva and no hustler, the years smiling and pleasing had made them hesitant. They had forgotten their voice.  They were tired to say the least, they had tried to fight, they had left their home with one mission, become better that what you saw.

Dream in your imagination, believe in yourself but the white streets dirtied their black skin and they began to believe the lie. They believed they were the dirty one. They saw themselves as the blemish and disgrace. An ironic twist on a city built on their forced ancestral labour. 

“F*****.”  

That’s what you call them, where we are from. We heard it all lives, on the streets, in the classroom, in our home. I never liked the word. They spoke it at every turn. I could not see why they gravitated towards uttering this ghastly word. I was witness to every overlooked rabbit hole of childhood cuts and bruises, they masked with a gruesome grin.

They always looked at the first meaning and thus the notion that they were a collection of sticks that created fire and heat did not speak to them but rather haunted the space of their living life. The forgotten secrets of bypassed history.

They tried to take form and they tried to be loved for it. Everyday they looked at themselves and said ‘TODAY WILL BE THE DAY’ and then 24 hours would pass and they would try again. This was the same for every host. Yet I was certain that no one tried with such gumption each time. At award season, they would get most improved and I would get nothing, they never paid me any mind. All I got was a look in the mirror before bedtime and once before leaving the house. They did not know I was there. It was hard to imagine they could be any other way.

They were a God THAT refused to be a man, they never had any role models- so they envisioned themselves as free as Scarlett O’Hara. Running around in the wind, never looking back but always scared to look forward.

The system does that to you, slowing bleeding and calling you every word in the dictionary but your own name.

“ Boy.”

“Child”

“ IT.”

“NIGGER”

I tried to warn them but I was too late. They were too far-gone and I was too impatient. They needed to know for themselves and I wanted to find a new reflection, I wanted freedom.

I began painting my nails a different colour to theirs and changing my laces, they were never in view but needed to be tied. Finally I made the biggest jump. I changed my eyes.

I turned them purple, a startling difference to our natural hue of chocolate brown. They paid no mind to me. They did not notice me anymore. I was just another thing to worry about so they forget me. I was like the brown in our eyes, wet, sticky and mouldable. They saw themselves like this, changing with every glance and appreciative stare.

They will love me.

They never did.

They had learnt the bias of new land and thus saw themselves and us as dirty whereas I saw the architecture it could build. I was the colour of mud. I saw strength, I saw its properties not its qualities. I saw our history. Finally I changed my perspective to the colour of the abyss, like the oceans depth and the night sky above. I became infinite in generosity and mysterious unless closely inspected. I would stare at them, daring them to see. The reflection of them was no longer present.

I was proudly everything they had turned their back on.

I was black, the colour of everything.

I was no longer their copy. I was my own. I had taken their thoughts and made a reflection that appeared like freedom but different since it was materialised and tangible. It was no longer a discussion, it was an action, and it was mine. It was not something that could appear on a small silver screen.

They had stopped seeing me. I was there because I needed to be. They did not see me as alive, they did not see themselves. I was witnessing what everyone saw from afar, a person trying to find their way.

 I was the reflection that dreamt another dream. They failed to see the change because in their eyes, they still had no name, no place- only disgrace.

BLAME was the only constant they had.

LOVE was inconsistent and irregular. It lived in the faces of t drooling men in long weeds, naked and proud and hunting with desire in their eyes and gluttony and fetishisation on their minds. The summer breeze blew them towards us. I passed into a shadow, a ripple that made no sound.   

There was no pity. It was not a shame.  Only regret. I could not bring them with me because I could not bring them to themselves, so I packed my bags and caught the first midnight train to Georgia and I never saw them again. They were left without a reflection and I was left without a host.

I found a better life along the hilltops and pleasant sounds of blowing dreams. I had flashes of their life, hit me once every moon cycle and I saw them stare at the empty space I had once filled. They did not notice the difference but I was happy I did.

Categories
Confessions Stories

What wouldn’t you do?

They left me alone. Not in the worst of senses but in the disastrous way that you can be unseen. It was not purposeful. They had jobs, they had lies, they had lovers. They had secrets, with all of this piled up on their heads it makes sense that they could see me behind the dust and dragons of their wretched soul.

I was often a dramatic child that would run and hide, from no one. I mean, no one is a person that can be everyone if you wait long enough so I would wait. Long enough to get someone unexpectedly and I would say the infamous words of my soul

“ You think you gonna get away.

Hay…

It’s not going to work

Hay.”

No one can escape, not even if they wanted too and I learnt this young and I learnt this hard. You had to make your own way out and if you wished to escape, you would probably be trapped in something else sooner or later or just right way you started. That is the spiral of my soul. It runs only to find itself back where it started, they made this into a movie with the fantastic Bill Murray but it is not as tiresome as one imagines, it is sort of trick that you must play. There is no right way to be only your way and thus you must ask yourself that tiresome question. “ What is your way?” You stare blank faced at the mirror because you have never been taught or asked that question before. No one ever asked what you wanted, so I will propose it rather differently

“What wouldn’t you do?”

“ What are you afraid of?”

You stare back at me. Bewildered that someone had the nerve to ask you your fear. Someone named no one and this someone always sat reflecting you. Some called it a reflection but you preferred to understand it as a shadow.

What a tiresome way to wake up in the morning and so one morning you decided to never do it again. You put on the cloak, and the helmet to protect you from the infrawaves and sat out on the street corner asking passer-by the question you were too afraid to ask yourself and you hoped that someone would stop and give you an answer. No one ever did. No one just walked by. Wondering why there was a no-body asking stupid questions that no one had the answers too.

Photography by Sophia Yuet See.

Categories
Confessions Poetry

Eve’s Love Letter

I am not the same as you.

I look, how you imagine me too.

Am I beautiful?

Do I hold onto your words?

Do I listen?

I cling, onto every second you speak.

I am desperate for the feeling.

             Everything you breathe,

                                     falls into majesty.

I am not the same as you.

I THINK I HAVE THE SAME FEELING OF PAIN.

Does anything else remain?

I think this is what it means to be okay.

They sat silently at the desk.

Taking my complaint.

My neighbour is loud.

My landlord makes advances.

My friends don’t listen.

My roommates ignore me.

My lover hates me.

My boss befriends me.

        They tell me it will be okay.

                  Today is my last day.

Do I look the same as you?

Perhaps I am desperate.

Perhaps I am a pitiful pain,

That lives a particular beauty each day.

Somehow I don’t see.

                    I look into the mirror.

                                            I see a beast.  

Perhaps being the same as you,

Is being me?

Would that make me free?

Or naïve.

Photography by ndidi iroh 

Categories
Poetry

Quebrar e a chance de Reconstruir

I came by the forest.

Finding stairs and long corridors,

That lived on a view.

No bodies,

Yet the sensation moved,

In different rooms.

.

Connection is intention,

As people are bloom.

An open door,

          With comfort as the fruit.

.

Unlike the tree, I am rooted in uncertainty.

My responsibility escapes, finding stones.

Creating mountains,

As bittersweet leaves, frolic away from lusty trees,

I grow my vegetables and fruits.

To find a harmony that is not artificially bloomed in societal truths,

Am I understandable to you? 

.

I want something I can taste,

Smell, touch and unravel.

I wonder,

       How you smile,

When you see, a mind,

               That breathes freely.

                              With no pattern to walk,

              It stalks. 

.

Driving a force,

Like splitting wood,

Each log a different call. 

Fuelling your form.

You find a purity that burns to keep you warm. 

.

I do not wish to change your heart,

You are yours.

I am mine.

I only advise,

Time.

So you can walk, a path,

You choose, with each moment

You produce.

Categories
Confessions

Incomplete Kisses

How was it to be with you?  

    To feel you, touch me, slowly. I had imagined your tenderness and dreamt of your desire. You were sweet, compassionately cultivated in design and texture, a bottomless treasure that I had the opportunity to explore. It was similar to the dimensionality of your soul. Curiously scented and darkly lit.

You let me in.

We moved through embraces, holding each other with a gentle care. I wanted you erotically but we held each other platonically. You wanted to be touched. I wanted to be soothed.

The comfort of my body eased your formative blues while the pleasure of your heart next to mine honeyed my loneliness.  It was perfectly synced. I had been anticipating you for a while and I had wanted you for longer. 

Your physicality changed me.

I wanted you, furiously. Bubbling and churning, I played with the silence that lived in my head. Your presence did not disturb or disrupt but created vibrations. I followed them like trails of breadcrumbs.  I wanted to chase.

I explored the crevices of your words like my own reflection. Succumbing to the gentle waves of your oblivious nature, with a smile. Your fragrance was rare; sentimentally creative, it willed me to stay. Your mind was naïve with all the right curves and honest determination of abstract concepts. I swivelled and danced along the mischievous lines of your smile, like a hungry fox in city streetlights. You were like no other. I wanted to blow through you like a savage, it stalked the back of my mind as swarms of desire swam to the front. I wished to hold the burden of you like a stick of dynamite. Freeing to explore but deadly to engage.  

I put up no fight; I wanted you to taste me, take me.

For a while.

I wanted the grooves of your body to create pulses of pleasure and I wanted the figments of your thrashes to play on my mind, on moon-filled nights. I remember something entirely different now; the soothing nature of your soul and the binding feeling of safety. My natural inclination to hide lasted as long as you wished to seek. There was no game, only sincerity.  I appreciated this more than I could speak.

I wanted you before we met. I was wet.

I had desired you long before my broken heart had left prolific craters to be filled. I had remembered your touch as generous and I wanted to move with your nectar once again. The touch of your desire was used to create a pounding moment of satisfaction. I reached over, playing with your teeth- desiring your bite. It was deeper than I anticipated.

I could feel your sweat and your incessant grinding. You were delicious; my mind stayed clear. I wanted to stay and play, to scream and find new ways of understanding an ancient embrace.

I did not converge with you, my memory perceptions of previous embraces created a dangerous tempest. I relished you, with a ravenous hunger that soothed raw images into condensed visions. I was not afraid. A dangerous desire existed within me; our union tickled it alive – whispering into your ear, I pleaded for you to take me. I begged with an authenticity that was surprising. I could have played with you again, but fear moved along my face and found roots in my eyes. Could you see it?

You were tempting, a rich treat that I was scared to taste further.

Your body became extra-terrestrial, a strange composition of curves and hips. I craved you. Yet my body moved into the shadows and my heart was long gone.

We met again, you were familiar.

I had tasted another that night, but I wanted to feel you.

The silence that you allowed, whispered the unspeakable. Stay.  It was intimate but the shallowness of my fear had begun to settle. You swayed deeper and I ran faster. My mind stretched above, I wanted the distance of pornographic pleasure. I wanted to be held but your arms whispered words of entwinement. The intensity of your grip was charming but further stimulation for my long distance run. My eyes flickered along your face. I wanted to see it all, how your face configured and found pleasure through the movements of our coupling. The undeniable curling of your lips and the flickers of your eyes, I sneaked a peak through the curtains of my unease.

You were a sweet remedy.

A genuine soul is the perfect medicine for a broken heart but you were something else entirely. You were tantalising, unlike the others. I desired to know you. Yet I wished to forget the aroma of your skin along with the embellished crater you left on my heart.

I ran.

I wanted to stay but the pitiful nature of my soul slipped into the day. I played on the goodbye, kissing your joints of motion: your writs, your forehead, your lips, and your hair. Tenderly soothing myself into the goodbye, I fingered your soul to chase. No bite.

Smudges of romanticism hewed your face and smell. You were a reassuring truth that I hoped would fade. I wondered who would take your place.

Photography by Chiara Mancini

Categories
Poetry

Three words

You built a cage,

A safe.

A collection of broken pieces

I desired to seek.

    I treasured,

A pleasure.

That was never intended,

     for thee.

You amused,  

.

A fantasy.  

.

       Seeps into a vivid dream

A sickness,

     only you could remedy.

.

I want to please.

.

    I lay down,

     Take me.

.

    Your love bleeds.

            I hold the hardness like smoke in my lungs.

.

    Your past excrements are secrets,

    Tightly wrapped. 

.

 A dancing hollowness,

 Configures, my wings

     Beyond the cage

I helped you make.

In exhalation

I play,

   With the memory you used to take

.

      Our love,

               the bitter taste of chains and frames

.

No lock,

    No key,

Simply the possibility, you were the one;

  I would need. 

.

How foolish I was to believe,

   You were anything but a hollow beak,

            I had to feed.

Photography by ndidi iroh

Categories
Poetry

Fortitudes of Woman

Fortitudes of Woman

I am grander than you know

Larger than you assume

I am humble, but you have underestimated this too.

I am quite, not because, I have no words

But what I need to say, cannot be spoken,

I have tried.

But my passion was seen as weakness

My nobility as stuckupness

I have been misunderstood

But I do not blame you

What are you to know;

That my power lies in what you cannot control

Yet try to mould.

Try and bondage me

You begin with my feet

Paint my eyes,

Numb my mind

Buy your beauty here,

It is free

Just give me your sanctity

Give me the reality; that tells you that you will be pleased.

.

Listen to me,

I am MAN

HU-MAN

You are WO-man

You are ME

Made from my ribs,

I allow you to live

In pretty gowns

Pretty in Pink

Pretty for you

Cover yourself, I may take you.

Have you whole

Please myself

Sucking on your nectar

Digging into your cosmic well

Thrusting agonies of my own personal tale.

Until you let go

Until the dark space entails

That what exists is this

Not you.

Although I come through the portal you hold between your being

I tell you to kneel

Kneel to me WO-MAN

Swallow me whole,

As I have swallowed you.

.

You are a rhythm I am trying to tune

Your freedom lies in what I place in front of you

Choose wisely,

You have a knife to cut

A paint to brush

A pen to write

And a dress to untie 

Choose wisely.

The prior three are also for me,

It is only the dress you truly own.

.

I dawned my best attire

Wrote myself into a slumber

Painted myself a masterpiece and cut myself a new door

I know your options but I want more,

I want you

To know my truth

Life is for the living

Woman or Man I stand to know

That the weakness you perceive,

Is only my growth

It was my silence that allowed you to believe, that the shadow you bespoke was an item I wished to retain

I stepped out from under your shadow

From under your gaze

The one who told me, I was second place.

I entered a blurry haze, a space with frequencies and opening gates

I found the moon,

Darkness swoons.

It is she who sets me ablaze

To the knowledge that was forbidden

That laid hidden

That I am the same as you.

.

You cannot tame, what is unafraid of your minute game

I do not need to believe your truth,

Masculine and feminine exists within the source

It is that which calls me home

That gives me the tools to inherit my throne,

Take my body if you will

But my mind is a kaleidoscope you can never unwind or unsee

The magnitudes of the spectrum is what sets me free

It is also because of this, you wish to chain me

With white ribbons of silk,

Your weakness is your simplicity,

Mine is my infinity

Sometimes it is hard to see

Especially when blind-folded and moulded to believe

Your penis is my goal

Your pleasure my aim

My no and my murmurs fall on death ears

And I abide to your come here.

I watch myself disappear

I see myself swallowed by the bed

Hear all the words that cannot be said

My whimpers forever in my head

I pick up my clothes

I walk to the door,

My virginity gone,

My understanding- on hold.  

My womanhood- on the way.

I let the rain cleanse me

Watch it wipe me away

Dance out my aches

The pain stays

I create with it

When I find my mind

When I find you

The eternal love of life and form

That tells me these words

That gives me this strength

To say,

Although you took my body,

You did not leave me dead

You made me stronger instead.

You made me realise that my power and control

Lies in knowing I am whole

That I home, that I am true

Paradoxical in name,

My reality-my perception lies in what you can not claim.

WO-MAN….  WO-MAN….  WO-MAN…. 

What do you hear?

What do you see?

I hear the power of infinity

I see beauty

I see you and me

Staying silent will not set us free

Staying silent only allows our creativity to stay in the make-believe

Create with me

Create with us

The power of WO-MAN

Is the power of life

Stand tall

This is our fight

For without me there would be none of your kind

I am not blind,

I can see

The power of us together

Is power of better.

This piece is a collaboration with aNother moNKey

Categories
Poetry

A Fruitful Disease

For L.

.

I melt.

Forming,

 A motion that is as fluid as it cellular

Tender in moments of exterior fractures,

Density spirals create collisions till arrival.

.

I abide to a form that hold no disguise

I disintegrate. Inside.

Losing self,

Moulds break.

.

Held to entail my frail wells

I become apt in my softness

I become bold.

As notions dissolve

I unfold,

Dispersing to erupt a ceremonious love

That blooms once I understand the complexity of my youth.

Reality is sincere.

Creating fantasies of cosmic parallelity.

I disperse.

.

A figment of possibility,

Is my sanctity

I change to see

That I am as malleable as my beliefs.

As truthful as what cannot be seen.

.

Peculiar feelings are conceived,

When my form is like the sea.

Changing with every gush, of the breeze,

Every tide, a root within me.

.

What is true?

What exists between the old and the new?

A thread .

A souring kiss grounds me to exist.

.

.

Remembering that like chocolate,

I can be as bitter as I am sweet

This is the memory of what it is to be,

A form like me.  

Categories
Essays

Home is the deep Silence Within

Can you remember the last time you were in silence?

From your bed you hear the cars swooshing down the streets and the sirens of the police. In the morning, on the bus to work, you see the whizzing of the trucks and the blurry figures of pedestrians. Walking to work, the skyscrapers and cranes loom over you. You block out the world with your latest Spotify playlist and you sit down by your computer screen all day.

We are constantly on the go, constantly in movement.  We love instant messaging just as much as we love instant food. We get exotic fruit all year round and modern technology is constantly developing to make our lives as efficient as possible.  Whatever you want, whenever you want, as quickly as you want. We are obsessed with time.  Everything is scheduled, structured and routine, it is not a matter of daytime or nighttime but rather a matter of intervals that you need to fill.

Imagine now, that you are in the desert.

You have no Netflix to watch, no laptop to gleam into and no output to charge your phone. You are alone.

Your only sources of light are natural. You sit and watch the sunset and see the moon rise. All of these cycles happen in silence.  Besides the howling of the wind, you are the loudest being around.

So often we feel condemned by silence. Modern life means we spend most of our time blocking things out rather than letting them in. So we create barriers and obstructions to protect ourselves from the noise and constant change that occurs around and within us.        

In the desert you are the noise. You have the time to wonder and get lost within yourself. No shelter is easily found to protect you from the scorching sun. There is sand but no cooling water to delve into; there are no grassy lands to roll on.  There are no grand mountains to claim as your own, no Instagram pictures to take.  There are no distractions.

This is what I learnt during my time living in the Negev Desert in Israel.

When I was preparing for my journey, people would often give me a confusing side-glance.  Why was a 23 year old Black British Londoner uprooting her life to move to the desert? When I arrived in Israel, I would receive the same strange glance. Many would kindly remind me that Tel-Aviv was only a few hours away.  They worried that I would be bored but I could tell that it appeared to many that I was running away when in fact I was leaving something, which is undoubtedly a harder concept to grasp. The notion that I needed silence seemed strange to many but instinctual to me.  

After finishing my degree, there was so much pressure to decide my future. It felt like I had just finished running a race only to be asked to run a marathon. All the attention seemed to be on what I should do rather than who I wanted to become. Everything was moving too fast. I wanted to catch my breath.

As a teenager, who grew up in the west- my biggest stress was whether I would get invited to the ‘cool party’ or whether my clothing style was really as cutting edge as I wanted to appear. It was not until I left the bubble of home, and travelled and saw girls younger than me with babies’ at their hips and boys with dimples in their cheeks making their way illegally to the United States that I realised that world had a long way to go. I had a long way to go. We all experience the same emotions but some of us get to simmer in security and privilege. In order to make a difference, we need to look at our selfishness and our beauty. Yet to do this, we must first understand who we are rather than what job position we are most suited for.

The need to be active and produce something, to be captured and appreciated by others – this is the overwhelming concern of our time. Instead I believe we should contemplate. We can use our time, our choice and our idleness to cultivate a future that allows us to be, rather than to seem.  We simply need to give ourselves the space, the time and the freedom to explore ourselves without borders and expectations.

In 2011 the World Health Organization labelled noise pollution as a ‘modern plague’. Incessant noise plays on our bodies as well our ears.  There is overwhelming evidence that exposure to environmental noise has adverse effects on the health and places substantial stress on the prefrontal cortex of the brain that helps us with problem solving, directing attention, decision making and meditative thinking.  Noise pollution helps us hide from ourselves. Instead of listening to our thoughts, we fill our minds with the newest single or podcast. When we finally escape from the sonic disruptions of technological life, we can get back to restoring and healing ourselves.

In silence, I could finally look within my mind and experience a euphoric state of stillness and peace. It was simply a matter of tuning my attention and perception to myself, without disruption and suppression.

The desert is a blank canvas. You can hear yourself. Be yourself. Listen to yourself. You will hear your beauty and you will see your dark truths. Similar to the clouds and light that compose our sky, we are a mixture of light and dark. The fears and urges that we shelter within us must be known and soothed. It often feels like a luxury in modern society to take time out. 

How often do we breathe and ask ourselves how we are? How often do we give ourselves time to think? We demand an escape because we take no time to exhale and experience ourselves.  Silence is hounded but rarely found, for it is not a place but a rather a state of being.

In the silence of your own being, you hear the voice of the divine. I was the observer and the observed, my mind, the thesis.  I wished to delicately lower a tea light within the well of myself, inspecting and peering at the walls that held me together, until I could go no further.  Instead I found the well of myself similar to a kaleidoscope, angling and twisting to create new patterns, with beauty and mystification taking centerfold.

To be mystified by your own being is to be entranced by life. You are what you perceive and thus your reality becomes more than just verifiable truths but rather a bewilderment of narratives. This understanding of life is seen in many non-western cultures. African, Celtic and Indigenous people intertwine themselves with their surroundings, creating worlds that are magical, ethereal and awe-inspiring.  Instead of existing within isolation, the individual and community exist within a web of relationships and interactions. This gives meaning to reality, but most importantly it brings you into reality.  The individual becomes part of the web of synchronicities and movements of life. We can never separate ourselves from this web but we can live under the illusion that we have.

When European colonizers and missionaries came to Africa they branded it the ‘dark continent’.  They saw the sacred and diverse cultures as primitive and backward compared to their western landscape. Village life became uncivilized and barbaric.  Rituals performed by priestesses and healers became witchcraft and voodoo. History was written and taught by men who came to continent and saw merchandise instead of people. The sacred ways of the African people were tarnished and soiled under the disguise of wealth and progress.

The technological and economical power of the west has its own rituals and cultural myths that have become intertwined with our identity. In abiding to the myths and rules that live within the capitalist system, the African mentality became congested with foreign ideals that only saw them as objects.

Growing up in England, I understood myself as Black British, which left me boxed within a notion of assimilation rather than progression. It was only through exploring my own being, with no borders and no boxes that I finally felt comfortable to bloom into myself.  Neither Nigeria nor England are my home. If I wanted to be comfortable, if I wanted to find a place to belong, I would have to find it in myself. In my poetry, in my writing, in my singing, in my dancing – in all forms of my creativity I could be comprehended and understood, on my terms. It has been a slow road, in understanding my being and forgiving myself. I still have a long way to go but now I am saying ‘YAS’ to myself. 

We are constantly barraged and followed by advertisements and dogmas that dictate how we understand our being. If we do not understand what we wish to be, or understand the vastness of what we are, then we will get lost.

The greatest trick of time is that it creates borders, when in fact this journey is one without end. Life is eternal movement and we are the land dancing. In the desert, no matter how slow or quiet change is always happening. Time and space no longer become constraints on your spirit but rather one finally has the space to rise within and find one’s best self.  Finally you can hear. You can listen. You can venture within the new space of yourself without the constraints of what you believed to be true, but rather you wonder within your infiniteness. You are home. You are accepted. You are free. You are at peace.

We never learnt how to explore our inward lives. There is no TED talk long enough, no book big enough to help you with the practical matters of your self. However, if we enter silence and begin to listen we can hear the truth we utter.

With all the noise we maintain in our lives, it is easy to forget where we can find silence. We must take responsibility for both our lives and our space.  We need only mute the space we inhabit so we can hear ourselves.

Imagine yourself, cleaning away all that is unnecessary.  What remains?

Categories
Stories

Scene One

Scene 1: This is an unrealistic memory. The lighting is dark and Kai and Charlie are in the kitchen. They are sitting down at the kitchen table, discussing Charlie’s existential confusion while sharing a slice of cheesecake. They move from the kitchen to the living room. They both stare at the misty clouds of the encroaching winter morning. They stay seated until the gentle grey sky emerges as patches of blue.

The actual events took place in the bathroom, as Kai was taking a bath and Charlie was going through their nightly routine. Their conversation went on from 10pm- 5am with an eerie like steadiness; that allowed both individuals to apply poetic licence to their retelling of the events. Both ended their enactment of their breakup with the sun rising. In reality dark clouds of rain mustered at their bedroom window.   

 Charlie is walking along the River Cam with their mutual friend Tolu, they are hungry and tired but both are aggressively indecisive. They are currently walking along the river, in the direction of Franca Manca their favourite pizza place.  Charlie is still reeling from the break-up and so they are taking the pizza back to Tolu’s where they can watch movies and eat ice cream in their pyjamas. 

Kai: Do you love me?

Charlie: Yes.

Kai: What do you love about me?

Charlie: I love your lips.

Kai: What else do you love about me?

Charlie: I love your eyes.

Kai: What else?

[Kai lifted her leg high in the air, with the gracefulness of a tired porn star. She gathered the bubbles from the bath and made a moustache. She plastered on an over exaggerated pout but her eyes were darting around the room, in anticipation.]    

Charlie: I love your mind.

Kai: What else do you love about me?

[Charlie had finished their nightly routine and was rubbing down their face with Kai’s towel. Kai had sunken further into the water and was a floating mass of black hair and brown toes. Charlie missed seeing Kai’s brown nipples and her ‘come here’ face.  Charlie hated these games. There was no beating Kai and there was no right answer.]

Charlie: I love you. What else do you want to know?

Kai: I love all those things about you too but I love all the things I cannot kiss more. I know how I feel IN your love but I want to know how YOU feel me. How you touch me- how YOU want me. I want to know. (Her voice trails off)

[Kai positioned herself cross legged in the bath and was now creating swirls along the surface of the water with her fingers. She had anticipated this conversation for weeks. She had circulated the words in her head countless times. She did not know how or when but she knew she needed to say her true feelings. Kai no longer wanted to be a blank wall to Charlie’s whims and desires. She wanted to be a partner. She wanted to feel heard.]

I love you, like how I love myself, as change. I love all the things, that don’t make sense about you.  I love how you have so many masks but none of them are right. You are ill timed and messy but you are also sweet and desirable, you’re the most beautiful when you are not even trying.  When you stare at me with those big brown eyes all I feel and think is ‘YES’.  

[I want you forever.]

You have the patience of an ox and you tell silly little lies but this is when I love you the most. It’s not romantic but it’s similar to the smell of home. Nothing needs to be the same for it to feel right.

So what do you want me to do, when the one I love desires my generality? I know I am being dramatic but I feel that you love my masks more than you love me.

[There was a deep silence. Both stared at each other in desperation.]

Charlie: I LOVE YOU. I am confused about so many things right now so I don’t have any words but I know that I want to see you’re face in the morning and kiss your lips at the end of the day.  

[Kai stood up but made no effort to reach for the towel. Charlie handed it to her.]

Kai: I love you ARE words. I love you are words that you speak; I want you to birth them. I want to feel safe.

[Kai stepped out of the bath and Charlie walked over and hugged her wet body with a soothing tightness.]

In the kitchen they both sit in silence. Kai is dominating the conversation with philosophical wonderings on love, while she avoids her feelings stealthily. Charlie speaks about the ill-fated timing of their love and how deeply they want and desire Kai. Kai is unconvinced, emotionally exhausted with the indecisive nature of their relationship.  Charlie talks about the possibilities of their love and how they are special. Kai smiles, bewildered. She wonders why Charlie speaks about their future but seems to ignore their present.

They see the sun rise and both agree that sleep is needed. Charlie kisses Kai. Kai smiles and rubs her fingers along Charlie’s many curves, holding and remembering their smell.  They twirl and play with each others bodies until they fall asleep.

Charlie: I love you.

Kai: [In a low grunting whisper] I love you too.

In Charlie’s unrealistic memory they both have hopes that they will find their way back to each other, once they have solved their existential dilemmas.  In Kai’s unrealistic memory, they both simultaneously realise at the kitchen table that the greatness of their love is similar to all great loves. A passing truth that is as honest as the time they shared.