Literature Love Music
ladykillerit has been months and i’m not done
squeezing my heart, the juicy blood orange,
every single morning for the ritual drink.
i toast you, my love, my death, in secrecy,
hiding this habit from the preachers
as the heretic hides her roots and herbs,
not to be burned in the fire of the mad.
all this time has been bruises,
black and blue, and open blisters
weeping into my shoes, my new shoes
i dare you to walk in once.
see, i am still reaching for the blade
between my shoulders, dumbfounded
at how uselessly it sticks out of my back.
biting my lip i taste its rust.
however, it was placed perfectly,
with the expertise of a proven ladykiller,
and my clumsy hands fumble around in vain.
down my spine.
some shadow, some light.
through my window i look up
at the night sky of november,
that hole in the ceiling of the world,
that nest of invertebrates.
i see the legs, the claws, the tails
twinkling, dancing in the dark,
and meteors are coming down
like venomous stingers
on the stargazer with the wry neck.
a poisoned wish is made
under my breath,
and i can’t say if it’s been granted,
for stars can drop dead
and still shine on
and on and laugh
at your life’s candlelight
blown out in an instant.
but nothing turns to dust tonight
or pops out of the black
womb into being.
all there is remains unchanged.
and all the spineless creatures
keep creeping over and under
the docile surface of my skin.
with friends like alvarez
what doesn’t kill you today
might kill you tomorrow
everyone knows life
is a rat race, is a marble maze
of madness, and death
if dying was no part of it
this process of becoming
dead before your time’s run out
thinking of the sea you feel
stones filling up your pockets
but — hush! — keep silent
carry them further
down the rocky road
away from the waves
suicide, the sudden
death, is not popular
with those who are left
to stay alive
to wonder why
such little things
like walking out your door
like walking out of your life
made you crawl
into the oven
early afternoon, it’s already getting dark. the sunset is hidden behind a wall of weeping clouds. we have always dreaded this season with its bleakness, its cold, the memories it awakens. and even though he managed to find words of comfort, of hope, time and time again, i know that he suffered just like me during these months of winter.
not long ago, when the day’s horrible weather made us think of the darkness before us, i remarked that he would have to dread it no longer for his daughter would be a child of winter and she would teach him how to love it. he agreed, her birthday would always be a time to look forward to.
his news leave me speechless. i don’t know what to say to a man who held his stillborn child in his hands. i’m sorry. i’m so so very sorry? ‘nobody is more sorry than me,’ he says, pushing the words of condolence aside. we both know i can’t share his pain. there is no way for me to relate to his feeling of loss that i have never had to endure. he says, ‘i don’t ask for your sympathy, for you to be sorry, instead,’ he says, ‘you should not forget to be thankful for the things you have in your life, to love them and to never let them go.’
’oh n.,’ he says, ‘she was SO beautiful.’ on the picture i see a black-haired, fair-skinned baby, eyes closed as if asleep. it’s all there, the button nose, the little mouth, the tiny fingers. all there but a heartbeat. the mother is holding her baby in her arms, smiling upon it. a sad, tired smile but a smile nonetheless because her daughter is indeed beautiful. ‘she had a look of real determination to survive on her face,’ he says.
he says that if he could he would trade places with her in an instant. it fills me with such anger, such despair, that a man, who had done anything to be the best father he could be, doesn’t even get the chance to see his child looking back at him. how cruel life can be even before it really starts. and yet this is not what he takes away from the brief existence of his daughter. her will to live confirmed his own.
he knows, nothing is ever lost if we don’t let it vanish from our hearts, that pain reminds us of life’s urgency, and that what we love must always be fought for. i know he will keep fighting. so will i. in the end, i think, his little girl might have already taught us to love this season and to embrace even its darkness.
Scarred For Lifethere is old age with its illnesses and death, there is young age with its wounds and death, there is my family dying of strokes and suicides and suffering from cancers that spread, spread, spread. my dead relatives float under the ceiling telling me:life is short!
lying listlessly in bed, near the edge of sleep, i give them a nod. i feel for the fresh scar on my stomach, still sore and arched, replacing the black mole i let cut out. my fingertip presses against the hardened flesh, and into it, until my touch reaches the muscle and the tissue feels silky-smooth again.
i know, there is no time for lies or delusions. not even for those that feel good. all of them are found out in the end - one way or another. and all of them lead to heavy hangover and deep regret which rarely leads to anything for life is also too short for that.
Split In Two
for years now i’ve viewed leaving my doorstep as a guarantee for running the gauntlet. i don’t need to be hollered or hooted at to feel alarmed, and it doesn’t take catcalls or suggestive looks to let me feel the strikes. often it’s the simple presence of strange men, the very real potential of humiliation and hurt, that makes my flesh crawl. i take offense in the way they stalk down the streets, cocksure and unapologetic. i hate how they take up space, sitting spraddle-legged on the bus-seat next to me, pressing their thigh against mine. i’m disgusted by their bluntness when they grab their crotch or take a piss in public. this ruthlessness, this sense of entitlement, it’s sickening me.
but even at night, even in my own room being by myself, i don’t find peace. neither darkness nor silence provide shelter and safety since they can only conceal but never consume the terror of a conscious mind. the subtle threats don’t need to be seen or spoken of to be felt creeping under your skin. and no sleep is deep enough to forget. i sit on the bed, limbs crossed like cutlery on a full plate, accepting the defeat in the battle against my head which won’t stop rolling thoughts in sisyphean manner.
i can hear myself think, however, i often can’t decide which thought is there to set me free and which to keep me in line. this mindset of submission is the perfect trap. even the smartest girls, the most hard-boild women will, at some point, be caught in themselves, by their own thoughts, and bite through their own bones in the desperate attempt to break away, to be who they are instead of what they are expected to be - not as an individual but as the generic representative of the female sex.
i know, this is a man’s world and in it each woman is split in two: herself and an image of herself. a distorted reflexion, an object shaped by an omnipresent gaze that is male. i watch myself, consciously or not, whatever i do, through eyes that are not mine but no other’s either, for the other am i. i want to be, yet i have only learned how to appear. every look in the mirror becomes an examination, every touch of my own body is a scripted performance. and although my fingers have mastered the art of la petite mort, the slow and quick pleasure of the flesh, i know i’m far from true satisfaction if i don’t own myself.
but how will i be able to break free, gaslit as i am since the very beginning of my female being? how to make peace with yourself if the world is still at war with you? how to know what peace even looks like?
here and now i feel like there is no peace to be found in the presence of men nor in that of myself. there is no company either way. and no comfort or solace sparks from the silence of my solitude for the world doesn’t drop dead when i close my eyes but keeps on spinning endlessly, indifferently, with or without me. it doesn’t care about any delicate sensitivities, life’s hardships or traumata; no, it pushes you to the edge and calls jumping a choice.
alone in my room my heavy thoughts get rolled up the hill just to roll down again. yet, there is no distraction from a life oppressed when you feel the all-consuming desire to be - to be yourself, to be whole, to be a full human being. is there hope, i wonder, and find myself relieved by the sudden fatigue which keeps my mind from giving an answer.
How will we ever get out of this labyrinth of suffering?
— Simón Bolívar’s final words