It is the elephant in the room of any single.
Single what, you ask.
Single me, I say.
Perhaps the greatest irrationality of our time,
that this word- this concept which we have invented-
should have ended up casting its spell on all of us.
Even in the face of melting ices, military interventions and multiple sclerosis
we are helplessly succumbing to the cult of love.
(Am I confusing despite with because?)
We stay up late telling each other stories of happiness, tragedy, desire and infidelity,
We call them love stories, but they are stories of life, of humanity.
Stories of the universe as we know it.
Love is an intervention that we choose without asking the permission of the UN Security Council.
We believe in it, we resent it, we argue about it.
We rip it open, looking for clues.
Is it true (love)?
I don't want to know.
Everybody loves a good story.
perfectly polished praline
I am a skyscraper, I am an acacia
a camouflaged feline about to land on my feet.
I am a perfectly polished praline on display,
a blessing for dieting window shoppers.
In this place where the waiters never wonder
if you want a table for one,
but just blunty look right through you
and ask if you are toute seule.
The wreckage of deflection
There's no swank to condemnation.
It is a car speeding in the wrong direction on a highway,
no rearview mirror, no breaks, no traffic signs.
Only carnage and wreckage.
It is hard not to end up like those you secretly despise.
So easy to see the faults of others, without acknowleding that feeling of guilt in the pit of your stomach,
the fear of being incapable of those very same things.
And it is when we recognize the behavior of others that it becomes unbearable
we know the tricks, the deceits, the deflection because we've used them all.
What's worse- they worked.
Just like they do now.
Like an activist without a cause
Between the most iconoclastic explanations and the least naïve excuses,
beyond cynicism and bitterness,
lies The Question.
It hangs in the air,
so I dress the walls in paintings, postcards, magazine clippings,
until there is no longer any space for it to hang.
Suspended in mid-room, like an activist without a cause
it becomes an answer without a question.
I put it in a glass jar to keep my dreams safe from wondering.
The question mark is familiar; it's challenged me before.
I am not grounded,
Free-floating like the red hair of a Botticelli Venus.
capricious like a Klimt water-snake.
I am only coming through in waves.
Words under water are like thoughts in the head.
But the question is prying its way through the snakes and the hair.
- How come nobody gets through?
And nothing else matters, the world stops instantly.
Everything I love, the things I've achieved, the dreams I keep chasing- disappear.
As we stare each other down.
And then I reach out and grab his tail, put him back into the jar, closing the lid.
Wondering if I've won the battle but am losing the war.
Expat life is an exponential tabula rasa
everyone is nobody to you- you are nobody to everyone.
Freedom for a night?
Freedom for a life?
We come from nowhere, and in the blink of an eye,
-in the signing of a contract- we are here.
Baggage safely tucked away behind the doors of our sometimes pre-paid apartments.
Our lives compartmentalized, uncluttered and hyper-efficient.
Re-inventing yourself is a healthy process, when it includes examining your preconceptions,
When you look yourself in the eye and deicide to approve or to work harder.
Making sense of the world in a new environment can make you humble.
The sheer magnitude of diversity, all those disparate destinies mashing- meeting- melting, on the street.
Making sense of the world in this place can make you jaded.
On the surface, the multiverse sparkling with promising intensity.
(- you can be anyone! you can do anything!)
Below, the nagging doubt that the essence of things,
the plain truths about yourself,
may never cut through this elastic fog of dreams, hopes and accomplishments.
That you will remain a parenthesis in the bigger scheme of things.
What do you want?
You can change it.
You are the story.
Exposing your inner hypocrisies can be liberating.
Why bury myself in complex narratives, when I say I want to find truth?
Maybe rather than seaching for meaning, I'm looking for a way out.
Living in the margins of things is what I know.
- in between-
I've always had a river to skate away on.
I taught my feet to fly a long time ago,
and I've been soaring ever since.
Landing is the difficult part.
Maybe I am holding on to driftwood.
every day the water keeps tearing at it, wearing it out, carving out pieces
washing away its original shape.
An ambitious (ambiguous?) storyteller, I am used to editing life
Sometimes I wonder if I you are there or if I am writing you.
Conjuring, projecting, maybe even sketching you as I go.
Does that make me accountable for you?
Like the fox solemnly says to the Prince.
I have not tamed you, but I shall remain forever responsible.
I did will you into the world.
So, now what?
Lo and be told
We glorify the beginning of things. We mourn the ending.
The piece in between- Life- is but an unidentifiable chunk of space and time.
How do we ever know where this ends and that begins, anyway?
What distinguishes a friend from a lover?
"Through what is laughable say what is somber", Nietzsche offered.
How do you tell a joke from seriousness? A lie from the truth?
Truth as the lie of the beholder?
It is not the actions, but the essence.
Not the means, but the meaning.
- C'est les gestes, pas les mots.
It is a false frontier, that which separates the realms of love and friendship.
One we can never see or feel until we have already crashed into it,
broken the wall, head over heals, and stumbled through onto the other side.
Uncertain if life as we know it will still be there when we turn around.
Not knowing if we knew life at all.
What you risk reveals what you value, they say.
But where does that leave us?
Is it an excuse? an incentive? a Rothschild test?
I am becoming what I am writing.
Or writing what I am becoming.
I want to write my own story and live it too.
I want to say what is somber while laughing.
Words that work vs words that are unemployed
I make a living making my case.
Every day, I lay out the arguments, pleading, explaining, scolding.
Sometimes logically, sometimes with ardour; with anger, with doubt
The case is mine, but the cause always someone else's.
And I am wondering if everybody else is split like this.
Advcocating for others, with noone to speak on your behalf
There isn't enough resistance in me at the end of the day
I let it slip, I suck it up, I rest my case.
Not speaking my own mind becomes my favourite waste of time.
You flicker by- oblivious to the words I do not say.
Sometimes I judge you for not knowing what I can't tell you,
- LISTEN! I scream silently until I realize there is nothing to hear.
The worst kind of self delusion; cowardice tangled up with fear.
Everything is touched by shades of orange and I am hoping you'll find the clues.
prendre ta douleur
don't ask me,
it takes me just about a second to absorbe it
it runs familiarly in my bloodstream, just an element like any other
Your pain? Nono, it is mine now, don't worry.
I do other things as well.
Pride, ego, recognition and sense of self.
Some are a bit more expensive, but my experience is equally extensive.
100% customer satisfaction guaranteed.
I should probably warn you about the side effects.
Jealousy, bitterness, cynicism and betrayal
Not necessarily in that order and maybe you won't be affected at all.
(If you are one of those silver lining types.)
It seems easy at first.
Letting someone else feel your feelings,
avoiding difficulty, skipping the guilt,
only adding without taking anything away
but pretty soon you'll be leaving and eventually you realize you don't know how to feel at all.
Lève toi c'est décidé,
laisse moi te remplacer
je vais prendre ta douleur
je vais prendre ta douleur
you are not the poem or the punchline or the ridde or the joke
Is it all in the words unspoken?
I think it's simple, maybe I am being naïve.
Some lessons needs constant reiteration.
Il faut exiger de chacun ce que chacun peut donner.
We must ask of others only that which they can give us.
But desire blurs the contours of decency and common sense.
We demand too much and take without asking at all.
Our disappointment comes down on others like a guillotine,
without mercy or any other way of finishing the story.
Guilty of not living up to my expectations?
- Don't expect a fair trial
Perhaps I am starting from the wrong end.
Asking for something and waiting for something is not the same thing.
If we do not ask, do we really have the right to expect anything?
And if we do, how is that right granted?
Maybe what separates the two is the silence not yet broken.
Scattered diatribes of Philo
They say we use aproximately six metaphors per minute,
unintentionally, because we can barely think of anything without seeing a picture of something else.
Shakespeare is partly to blame for this, as with so many other marvelous things.
I use them intentionally,
Because I don't know how to say out loud the things I am feeling.
Can we communicate forever like this, thinking we know exactly what we mean,
but living in constant suspense, in the (un)likely event of being mistaken?
In the hope that we are not?
Andrés Neuman has compared the grammar of love to that of translation,
because we must continously translate the language of those we love.
It is even in the word itself- tongue.
What better metaphor for love, anyway?
We speak in tongues. We dance around our shadows. We misunderstand.
We meet in the middle, we coincide, we translate each other.
But are we metaphorical?
tu vis quelque part entre douleur et douceur
mais je te suis quand même
But sometimes I simply throw words at you, without looking back to see if they stick,
if they even fit you, if you want them, if you'll take them.
And of course I am not really talking about words.
Folding stories ( Are We There Yet?)
I dream and I think it is life.
You were there, I was there; there is nothing unreal about it.
I felt it, so why do I need to end my sentences with a rethoric question mark.
It is my story, I can leave it out if I choose to.
I wrote it when I first stumbled upon him.
A protagonist with the power to rip the reader from somewhere else,
and glue her to the pages of his adventures.
The story evolved behind my eyelids, it grew at the back of my head,
and though I mused, and though I enjoyed indulging in the plot,
I never thought that one day it might be indulging me.
Imagination is funny that way.
It seems real in the way that only the surreal can.
It fills your mind and leaves no space for the mundane.
Hijacking even the most banal details, inflating them to the point of absurdity.
You were breathing, you were smiling, you were there.
It seemed like a miracle.
And all I could think was are we there yet?
So that I could kiss you.
To finish the story.
sketches and gravity
Why is emotional gravity more attractive than emotional persistance?
We are constantly aiming for the top, working hard; striving to be ambitious and self-made.
But we still believe that the only way to really get love is to stumble on it.
It lies in wait, ready to jump out and drown us at any time.
A flood of Biblical proportions.
Love is something that happens to us, not something we do.
Is this the illusion that causes the greatest restlessness for modern man?
The one thing we can't buy, order, or get promoted to, no matter how hard we try.
And yet it seems we crave this, we long to be powerless.
To surrender to the algebra of emotional Russian roulette.
We give in to the myth.
Hoping someone will be drawn to us, so that we can finally say
"I was drawn especially for you".
And when you say it, it becomes true.
You better pray he does not come with an eraser.
khamsa fi ainek
"Five fingers in your eye"
Repeated over and over, more an antropaic mantra than aspirational,
more for personal persuasion than to ward off any potential aggressor.
You may say I am a cynic, shaking your head slowly, thinking to yourself,
'she'll never find peace with that metaphorical gun underneath her pillow'
Because protecting yourself from something only slightly probable may seem counter-productive
You may think me naïve, childish, in my quest to avoid potential, future damage.
And I tried to shed that extra layer; that thick, slippery skin.
I burnt the pages I wrote, buried the hatch, kept my eyes focused on the horizon without looking back.
But the past caught up and snatched me back, kicked me in the gut and laughed me in the face.
- you thought you were safe, didn't you?
Pushing my head down, keeping it under the surface.
and nazars in my ears, because I am not ready.
Not ready to stand there again.
Naked, open, ready to take all that life gives, without any protection.
And no matter if talismans of imaginary armour are just a cheap kind of placebo.
Bohemian, vagabond, maverick.
These are the words I wrap around myself so that I believe them.
So that you believe it, too.