Homespun webs of significance
Not being accustomed to complaining, I am struggling to match feelings with words.
Not wanting to write myself into a victim, I'm reluctant to write anything at all.
I am too aware that linguistic representation reproduces, permeates, consolidates,
too scared to make a premature idea real by articulating it.
But on the inside, a whirlwind of competing thoughts, desperately fighting for domination.
And if I don't take charge, who knows which one will win.
What were the choices that I made? Were they honestly my own?
Did I opt for glory over passion? Reshuffle over effort?
Are short-term and long-term really opposites?
What was it I wanted?
Sometimes when you look for answers, all you find is more questions
I read old journals, unsure what I am looking for - some sort of core?
Last year I asked myself whether I was
'just writing a never-ending narrative, where my lover is a character in a constant kafkesque metamorphosis.
Like a dream, where one person can take on many different faces without it ever affecting the plot.'
But maybe I am the one constantly changing and I just haven't realized that I could just stop doing it.
I haven't realized that I could let myself crack, let it all pour out - a tiny explosion-
I could say No, not this time, I could say You hurt me.
I could turn my back on it, walk away and not take it.
I could curse- I should probably curse.
Sometimes I think that a big explosion would be better than all the detox in the world.
That it would wash away whatever is stuck somewhere inside, blocking the good and bad from coming out.
Instead of trying to improve myself,
Instead of rebuilding myself, chin up, thicker skin, harder work, another challenge- a bigger smile.
(though, they've proven that smiling causes happiness, that's no lie)
Admitting to pain feels like giving up somehow, like I should have been able to prevent it.
Like I inflicted it on myself, the disappointment of finding my chosen ones unworthy.
And that I deserved to be put away in that lonley bed which was so clearly not yours.
It is hard to respect yourself, when you don't expect others to do the same.
And if you don't let yourself fall, it is impossible to get back up.
I am sailing.
Is it true that what we omit is just as important as what we include, in the larger scheme of things?
That the choices we did not make influence us through their palpable absence,
perhaps even more than the decisions we did take?
Like white would not be white without black, and night only exists in comparison to day,
- are we just binary bundles, held together by the belief that we are masters of our own lives?
Perhaps I am just trying to escape responsability.
By building this theoretical problem out of my own concerns,
by digging into the darker corners of the stormy sea I am trying to contain.
Perhaps I can find a way to blame you for feeling both like a victim and a traitor?
Perhaps I can keep the wind in these sails and just keep going.
I could say that you were spared by the storm,
Your sails are still pristine, heading back to their familiar route, towards the sunset.
And if you feel a little bored, there are picnic baskets and stories to be told.
Everyone loves a good story when the waters are calm.
Of course I'd be wrong.
More than binary bundles, perhaps we are just random reserves of complexion.
Held together by nothing but a will to infer meaning from whatever experience we have survived.
"You" is nothing but a fictitious construct. Me, I am the fingers typing these letters.
Eternal recurrence is not a real thing, is it?
This is not your life
just one thing differently
lived, felt, expressed
might have changed the course of things.
But we were busy weaving the narratives we would later tell ourselves.
So that whatever ropes were cast around us,
the holes were too big for us to be caught in the net.
So that whatever scene we acted out,
we would never be held accountable.
And our reality could never brush against the rest of the world's.
Everything you wanted me to say- egocentrically, futile- I did.
You just weren't around to hear them.
And all I wanted you to do, you did. I am sure you did.
With someone else- c'est la vie.
C'est ma vie.
wherever you are, there you are
Somehow the void of what I left behind is more obvious here, in my childhood home.
Perhaps it is the abundance of time.
Perhaps I used to come here from Brussels and eventually I would always return there,
But this time the dialectic is different.
It feels as thought something is slowly slipping away, and I'm not sure how to hold it in place.
- is it me? is it time? is it everything?
I was only just starting to relax my firm grip around these last few years,
Trying to understand if that is something that I need to do, or even want to do,
But if it is everything- how can I let it fall?
I've been trying to separate things because I don't want to become a hostage of my past.
But I am me and my circumstances, like Ortega y Gasset once wrote.
We cannot cut things out to make things simple, or fake lightness for the sake of appearences.
There is only the choices we make and the consequences that follow,
living means confronting them even when that means asking questions about yourself.
Building a floor over unanswered question is no way to find peace of mind.
So I must open everything up even if that means making a lot of noise.
It is difficult to subtract anything from a feeling.
It would look all lopsided if made into a pie chart.
Any and every methodological framework is inherently unreliable.
Causation and correlation chase each other like rabid foxes in the night,
one always wins but only by killing the other.
Those fluttering shadows, were they real people once?
Their hearts beating together in the dark. They told each other it was a sign,
but bodies are built to empathize,
hearts slowly adapt to the drumming beat nearby.
What we mistake for intimacy might just be cardiac generosity.
Those moving shadows.
Pretending to be free though they are bound by the heaviest chains,
happiness stolen from someone else.
pleasure robbed from another's equation.
Can the feeling exist without the crime?
And does a heartbeat mean anything at all?
La rage de soutenir que tout est bien quand on est mal
Sometimes the madness of the world cuts through the surface of the
tiny narcissistic space that is our centre of worry.
They call it perspective, and if there were any coherence at all in this place,
I would no longer be writing these emotionally crippled tales,
I'd stop playing with transcripts of melancholy that concern nobody.
Mine would be an entirely different life lived, if any of this made any sense.
I would live forever acutely aware of not being shot, of not being blown up
or forced to jump off the ledge hoping for something at the end of the ocean.
I would watch tearful movies about unrequited love and smile on the inside-
Hardly believing my luck, able to feel such deep sadness while risking absolutely nothing.
Hell, I would sit at the table as he tells me "It's over", and I'd still be laughing.
I'd look myself in the mirror and say Get a Grip!
and in a moment of relief I would let go of all the straws I've been gathering in this fist of relentless defense.
My heart would be wide open.
I would miss the morning train on purpose,
and walk miles and miles chasing footprints on the road, literally trying to walk in someone else's shoes.
And that would be everything. Trying to understand would be everything.
But life hasn't learnt about relativity yet,
how many millions of years does it take?
And, so, here I am
it's not you, it's me.
It is hard to let go of the things we have once thought of as our own.
To see what used to be ours become just like any other,
- any other thing.
We wear some places like badges to remind us of who we are.
I swear some days I still feel you clinging to my skin.
Life lends itself too easily to comparison.
Perhaps we cannot understand what's in front of us unless we first decide what it is not
Whatever it is, it's not like that other thing.
Nostalgia is the supreme art of never allowing anything to compare to that other thing.
But comparing means asking the wrong questions,
it means stripping everything of its own meaning, disqualifying its essence, defiantly
saying it's worth nothing except its relation to something else.
I did love you for your own sake.
I let your inner turmoil, your brittle charm and your bohemian stubbornness wash over me.
And you let me quietly adore you, you led me on without ever asking me to renounce anything.
Maybe because you didn't really need me to acknowledge you, for anyone to acknowledge you.
You've survived centuries of invasion- who am I to claim you?
This is not goodbye,
I am releasing you because I want to honor you for what you are.
Not a possession of mine, not conditioned by something else.
The truth is, I'm trying to win over another city now.
You are generous, eclectic and complex; a whirlwind of sentiments- I'm hoping you will approve.
If I succeed, you should know it won't take away anything from what we have.
My feelings for you remain the same. And never in relation to this other thing.
We brush against each other's cheeks like two strangers in the street
You could be anyone, an old acquaintance, a soon-to-be-lover,
a tourist without a sense of personal space.
Me, I could be in a hurry to get places.
I should be getting places...
For a little while I think about lingering there, inhaling you and tucking the scent away somewhere, safely.
It takes only a second to realize I have nowhere to put you,
and there's nothing safe about you or your scent.
How good it would feel to just crackle, lose my brave face; exhale until I'm back at the beginning.
It could be so easy.
But this isn't easy.
It's impossible, you say, from your vantage point of clarity.
So I compose myself, wash my hands, fix those loose strands of hair that might betray me et voilà.
I walk out of here and just keep going. Smiling, giving Mona-Lisa a run for her money.
If only she knew.
evolution of an imaginary affair
Endless violations of everything,
everything she knows,
everything she wants to be true in life.
How to continue after that kind of transgression?
Cautiously juggling bliss, pride and humiliation.
Self-worth becomes something silly, found in the inspirational quotes-section in online forums
- what does it really matter?
Worth becomes relative, elastic, irrelevant.
And if her sense of self is threatened; that can be dealt with later.
Later might as well be a different planet and she's reluctant to pull herself out of the orbit just yet.
Despite everything she may be feeling, all the convictions she has abandoned,
She knows that his gaze upon her is really just searching for his own reflection.
Maybe he lost it somewhere along the way, maybe he just wishes it was a little different.
And for as long as she lies there it is. Different.
They both lie, obviously.
What did she really know?
She would take whatever she could get- and odd phrase for her, but there it is, spelled out in all honesty.
It was never true before but writing it she realizes it is all she can offer.
Strange how compromising herself could so easily be presented as a gift.
Curious how readily he accepted it.
Funny how first person narration fails me.
An underwater earthquake
the surface of things
is all, that's all
a window- not to the soul-
but to whatever image can be salvaged from the remaining fragments.
Reconstructing the few pieces left behind,
many were sacrificed in emotional sandstorms before I could consider the postscript
a time before I forget but after I can really remember
Maybe if I change the pronoun?
I wanted to recall the first trickle of feeling,
how I was looking at my feet because it was suddenly a little difficult to breathe,
- my sparkly toe-nails offering a slight distraction.
the way his presence was heavy somehow, or was that mine?
How shockingly guilt-free that first touch which should have felt clandestine,
How the world shifted a little and nobody would ever know.
An underwater earthquake.
Maybe it was symbiosis?
Maybe it was pheromones.
This may be phantasmagoria.
The world is burning. The world is drowning.
If it were not endlessly heartbreaking it would be ironic,
that two of Plato's fundamental elements would crash into each other so violently.
that the roots upon which everything else was built should turn against us.
In Greek philosophy Fire and Water were derived from chaos,
but if chaos is the beginning, what will be the end?
I've been thinkning about where everything comes from.
Me- this bundle of qualities, emotions, opinions-
If I am a graveyard of past experiences; a recollection of places, people, plights?
Or an island, born and refined over time. A pebble on the shoreline.
Every year a little more like herself.
As though the waves had washed away all pretensions and attempts at hiding behind old illusions.
There were days when I'd write odes to the Bel Paese,
Sometimes I still find them and cringe over their poor grammar and distasteful drama.
I would buy La Gazzetta dello Sport and cut out pictures of Maldini,
paste them in my notebook and move on as if I had ever cared about Serie A.
Every night I'd put children to bed singing piccola pietra, che forse un giorno si poserà..
Occasionaly I'd brew espresso for four and pour it into a big cup and drink it all.
Sure, I was a little shaky but who wouldn't be?
I was alive.
There was a time when I pretended that every song about "her", was about Italy.
Vivo per lei was my anthem and I recited it to anyone who would listen.
At 19, there's a certain narcissism to life.
I was sure nobody had ever suffered like I was suffering.
I was abandoned by someone but felt that the real problem was that I had betrayed Italy.
Loving her and leaving her.
Like he had loved me and left me.
In retrospect it is easy to see how naive I was.
Believing that life would be week nights at the Irish pub and Sundays in the park,
Enigmatic men with secrets and a penchant for philosophy.
Wine, coffee and gelato.
And thinking that love could be earned if only I learned the words.
- curre, curre guagliò -
I did not see it coming,
Real life, the one you cannot plan, pre-book or conjure with foreign phrases.
Where poems don't serve as collateral,
and your value is not determined by how good you are at coming back for more.
Where we are all portions for foxes, but we've learnt to live with it.
So, I guess I am wondering.
If I am I still the girl who woke up to romantic texts that seemed profound
but turned out to be scrambled lyrics from the latest hit from Raf.
The girl who threw her bag away and pretended it was stolen to get out of trouble.
If I woke up tomorrow, poured myself four espressos and just kept going-
Would I find her, am I her?
And if not, where is she now?
Tomorrow morning I'll slip out of my apartment and out of this city,
get on a plane, unpack my things, untangle my mind and continue my life somewhere else.
Every little mundane landmark that I have conquered will be left behind and
I will no longer be there to recognize the way their unimportance holds the world in place.
Tomorrow I will be one of those people who once passed through,
through a city in which everybody is transient, a sort of collective pile of lost & found.
I’ll be “Yeah, I think I remember her, she was kinda cool- just here for a while though”.
This will not be my city, and I won’t be living in Brussels anymore.
A few months in, I tried the Brussels-is-a-dress-that-looks-good-on-me metaphor on for size.
It was comfortable, like the colourful, flared pants I can't stop buying at thrift shops.
Generous and surprising, much like Brussels, they leave enough space for my personality.
I am scared that the parts of me which were made here might be lost with the city.
That I am too fluid to retain any real structure and that after learning for the first time to put down roots,
my limbs won’t know what to do with themselves.
I am scared that the person I have become here will be all wrong there.
That I’ve carved myself around this city with all its imperfections, quirks and undeniable if difficult charm,
and that these concessions will be too revealing for somewhere else.
Why does this disturb me so much?
The stories we tell become who we are,
and I've been calling myself rootless for as long as I can remember.
Cities, jobs and lives were blissfully interchangeable and I was always on the verge of something wonderful.
Living in units of time allows you to stay permanently detached.
Compartmentalizing life prevents you from being held back by the messiness of reality.
Perhaps I once reached for a word to describe an emotion and grabbed the wrong one.
Clinging to it for dear life, using it as a life-vest and not noticing it's full of holes.
And if I have to choose a new one,
what would it be?
Not all places need light
There are things that you live out in the open
it happened, because everyone was there to see it.
it was real, because you did not have to lie about being somewhere else.
You were both there, and noone was pretending.
The world was a helium balloon in your hand that nobody could snatch away.
There are moments that you live in solitude.
Perhaps because you know that if shared, they would become something different.
Perhaps because their existence depends on this.
Does it take away from their significance, blur their value?
Or does it add to the burden of being, pushing our life closer to the earth,
- closer to the truth, as Kundera
might have suggested?
Just to be sure, I go back and repeat the words, rethink the thoughts,
Replay from Start until Game Over.
You play- you win, you play- you lose; you play.
Was I really playing, and who was the winner?
And if I don't write this, did it ever really happen at all?
Between the idea
and the reality
Between the motion
and the act
Falls the shadow.