objects in the mirror are closer than they appear
There's your name.
Attentively I observe each letter forming you out of strange shapes.
By now, the signifier has become confused with the signified.
Saussure would not approve. Signs are not supposed to cross over.
There are rules, you know, in semiology. Taxonomy, hierarchy, structure.
It is an analogy, not a metaphor.
Metaphors are not to be trifled with. A single metaphor can give birth to love.
I always knew that it was dangerous. The way we spoke at once of nothing and of everything.
Disguising heavy significance as unbearable lightness, and trivia as philosophical problems.
Was language really given us to enable us to conceal our thoughts?
There is something real I want to say, but I've forgotten how to talk other than in cryptography.
No longer capable of speaking unmetaphorically, unequivocally, unintentionally.
If I force us down to earth, will we fall into mediocrity?
Or will we thrawl the streets like two strangers together in exile,
looking for hidden meaning in the excruciatingly mundane?
Don't run away, it's only life.
Being your own rip-cord
To what extent is self-proclaimed independence an act of deflection?
At what point does it slide into abrasive inoculation?
It is exhausting.
Making it. Keeping it together. Succeeding.
Following something, a dream, a crazy idea, someone else's expectations if not your own?
it is exhausting being strong on your own.
Instead of writing this, should I be aiming for the next step, should I work harder,
be better, be ruthless, be self-sufficient?
Where does strength end and where does stubbornness begin?
Is is too late to regret every step you've ever made in defiance?
Is it okay to feel a little lonley, too?
Packing up two years worth of living into neatly organized boxes.
Every little detail my own, every single note written by me,
I cannot help thinking about what is missing.
"Just let me in, I'll make my own space", writes Jeanette Winterson.
I'm a damn good space-maker, if only I could learn how to open the door.
You had this idea,
that you are more broken than me,
that your breaking point is more precious than mine, somehow.
Recounting your thoughts, convincing yourself they are larger than life.
these emotions that cannot find peace within the boundaries of you,
you are just barely containing your words,
encircling me, disregarding proportionality and propriety.
I am the mirror at the end of a corridor,
a ghost playing along with your capricious guessing game.
What destroyed you? What cures your pain?
Why are you here in the middle of the night without explanation?
Don't break the spell, you said.
Don't break, I thought, holding my breath for you. For you?
It was a rehearsal, of course.
It was a mutual dress-up, with lines in a foreign language.
Your dark words made everything beautiful.
Even the imbalances between us.
I would have sensed your silent desperation.
Hesitation, exclamation, deprivation. In English.
Aphorisms are hard to live by
That same old thing.
Jealousy is to love what protectionism is to free trade.
I know it; I coined it.
- And yet, the mind falters.
A persistent, muffled sound is haunting me,
It is the realization that I could make it so simple.
Free my heart, unwrap the strings I tied around these emotions and let them all fly.
Flap about, settle down into themselves and just be as they are.
No protective measures, no careful calculations or safety net.
But instead, hope, catious hope, and What If?
Instead, jealousy and self-deprecation.
But also this:
The quiet awareness that I know.
That I feel this in my everything,
Even under my breath, even outside my thoughts.
The happiness of feeling.
The persuasive verses
My mind- a prison; a straightjacket,
a tightrope stretched between us,
slackening- tightening, slackening- tightening; ripping...-
More than 18 floors down we go,
like the beginning of a Salman Rushdie novel
falling through imaginary centuries of historical bantering.
Would we be like Gibreel and Saladin,
hopelessly trying to shout louder one than the other,
not realizing we're saying the same thing?
Would it turn us into fallen angels or opportunist devils?
Can we land on our feet without destroying everything?
Can we break the rules and be redeemed?
Will I ever reveal what I value, and risk it.
Risk it all.
To walk this tightrope?
A Dreamcatcher's Manifesto
Some of us are dreamers.
Living in many spaces; the past, the future, in parallel worlds, on imaginary planets, all at once.
Some of you tell us that we need to put our feet on the ground.
That life is about being present (you sometimes use this as a pun ).
About seizing the moment, living in the now.
But what if nostalgia is not about living in the past.
What if it's simply marvel at our memory.
At our capability to perfectly reconstruct a single moment in time.
And if we weren't present, how could we possibly remember nows, even years after the present became past?
We carry them all with us because we scooped them up, saved them
bottled them up for a rainy day that keeps on coming.
And what if imagining another world is not escapism, but creation.
What if it's an exercise in what-if? instead of merely reacting to the one scenario offered by your Reality.
How does anything, anybody, evolve without rejecting what is?
Without choosing what we dream over what we see, nothing ever changes.
We think new worlds because that is how the limits of life expand and become elastic.
You should try it.
So, indulge in your nostalgia.
Immerse yourself in the bliss of recalling the tiniest, unimportant details of a mundane memory.
Make other worlds, create images that others cannot see, build a treehouse out of nothing but imagination.
Maybe once in a while you'll catch yourself not being fully present in the now.
And maybe you will smile to yourself, not remembering what all the fuss was about.
On the verge of something amazing
It was half a lifetime ago.
We were young, so young.
And we did not know that good things come to those who wait and those who don't alike.
Anyways, we weren't going to wait.
Promises had not yet been broken, life was still new.
Writing our hearts out, pouring our hopes onto paper, telling our lives in love songs.
We sent letters across countries and we felt less alone, less confused. More alive.
Your life in another world- a different language- was the source of all my daydreams.
I grew up learning to love your foreign words; pazza, scema, strana...
I wore them like charms on a bracelet, letting them embrace me and define me.
Our letters read like the interactive diaries of two hopeless romantics on the verge of something amazing.
"Diaries are our lives, aren't they?", you wrote me in august 2001.
For a 16 year-old, you were pretty clever.
On the compartmentalization of dating
In the light of the fashionable mensplaining,
- anecdotes of condescending men explaining "complex" things to supposedly less capable women- ,
I am trying to come up with a word for its not-so-distant cousin.
Men who patronizingly try to explain, analyze or criticize the behavior of the women they are dating.
- for the women's own good, of course.
Obviously, in any relationship there must be space for constructive criticism.
My fascination lies in the kind of things that men feel they should and must, point out as flaws with women.
Have you ever been called too independent, too clever, too ambitious?
Too deep, too complicated, over-thinking?
Did he call you a coward because you did not give up everything for him?
It means stop challenging my authority. It means stay in your place.
It means don't forget what you are, what you are supposed to be.
And we- women- are all accomplices in this.
One friend told me to just pretend a little. To be a little more like a woman.
What does that mean?
Writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talks about the Nigerian expression "bottom power",
the treacherous and false sense of power women wield when we use our sexuality to persuade men.
False because we are just making a small dent in his authority, buying into the idea that the power is indeed his.
"it is easy", my friend said. Works every time.
I am torn between a profound sadness at the cynicism
of a world in which a woman knowingly cuts off her edges,
as to not hurt the fragile ego of a man who supposedly loves her,
And the anger at knowing that women cope with these ridiculous demands by inventing an insane logic
that diminishes men and women alike.
We expect nothing more than what we get,
in this world where everything is pardoned in advance
and therefore everything cynically permitted.
Unscorched by the blaze
I want to write meaningfully, with purpose.
About the destruction and desolation too expansive to be comprehended.
Deconstruct the clichéd imagery of occupation and terrorism,
decode the language of division; of invasion,
I want to carve away the ideology, dig behind history,
Write the story.
A taste of blood in my mouth.
Is it fear?
Fear for them or fear for me?
Fear of never being able to do anything I promised myself?
People are dying and I am shaking under newly washed sheets.
My sheets smell of Marseille soap and the people are hiding, screaming, exploding, giving up.
People are fasting, for faith, for hope, for love.
I am hungry, I think.
I am angry.
Emotional analytics is bad for business.
too much knowledge can wreck any imaginary happiness.
Proving yourself right is not the only way forward
And not all dark places need light.
There is no binary truth.
No grand narrative.
No alchemic formula.
There is only embracing uncertainty,
the courage to let go of all premonitions, predictions, calculations.
Trusting that copper coil of desire, buried so deep inside you're not sure it's still there.
Kicking off your shoes, walking the tightrope barefoot to something that may or may not become.
- is there nowhere out of the mind?
All I wanted to do was to rest my head on you,
On the idea of you, just for a minute.
The fear of you slipping away is tangible; I don't even know who you are.
The sense of things falling into place is laced with zemblanity.
Serendipity is zemblanity until proven otherwise.
A new frontier; the forensics of love.
A fingerprint of betrayal?
The DNA of neglect?
Everybody's guilty until proven otherwise.
How many fantasies in an infinitesimal space?
Lean on me, stranger.
What are we?
Trying to be islands, scattered across a much too interconnected world.
no (wo)man is an island.
entire of itself.
How to be anything, anyone when everyone is already taken?
So I fight my instincts,
re-interpret the signs whose meaning I never learnt,
recall moves from movies I've seen and ridiculed.
People say fake it til you make it.
Make what, exactly?
You are leaning on my shoulder,
Weaving me a story to snare me.
You're the victim, you're the hero, you're the intricate mystery.
For a layman, your improv-writing is very convincing.
So real, I think to myself, forgetting I'm all about the fiction.
When it's all over we pretend we did not fake it.
We were both there, we could call each others' bluff.
But we won't.
Holding your breath does something to your inner monologue.
The story you tell yourself moves forward even when you stop breathing.
The story you tell yourself doesn't follow the rules of narratology.
It contains no hero, no villain, maybe not even a princess and endings are never ever after.
It's just you and the universe trying to figure each other out.
Cutting off the oxygen rarely improves the story.
The plot goes insane, the protagonist struggles for air.
Returning characters forget to leave, effectively preventing their return.
And there you are, a narrator without a plan or a way of finishing the story.
You could always choose to inhale..
Photographing something is a way to drive it out of our mind.
Writing a story was Kafka's way of shutting his eyes.
Pamuk asks if framing a picture of a moment means immortilization or succumbing to decay.
We invent all those things just so that we can live with these truths unknown,
certainties unconfirmed, myths believed or fabricated and acceptable lies.
Are they the danger or what saves us from danger?
Who knows? Shut your mind, close your brain, open your mouth.
se trata de la certeza que tu amplitud es mi horizonte
Just a few words strung together.
They must have really meant something to somebody,
but I don't mind creatively remixing (hopefully, neither does Andrés Neuman)
It seems silly, I know.
Carrying this phrase around in my imaginary pocket, hoping I'll mean it.
Like the invisible words in the tiny book I wear around my neck.
Sometimes I wonder if life is all preparation and implementation.
And if those fleeting moments that we are all hunting for,
- Camouflage, rifle and an open heart?
if we'll even know it when we find them.
And here I am, hardly remembering what it feels to mean it.
Mumbling imperatives like "use me up!"
Only to see what it would be like.
Just to be true to the search.
And if ever I should forget.
That your borders are the boundaries of my world.
I've got it in writing.
The chicken and the egg, the writer and the word
Language speaks us, wrote Saussure and Foucault agreed.
We do the talking, but it's the boundaries of our narratives that create us.
"There is no outside the text", offered Derrida, failing to distinguish himself from the early (de-) constructionists.
Storytellers are created as their stories unravel.
I specialize in romantic dramas.
Never a conscious decision, I simply ended up discovering the world like this.
Although there was always an emphasis on drama, as romance was always in short supply.
A love story is the work of alchemist magic.
Not the pink, fluffy hollywood kind.
The heavy, moist, yet fleetingly light stories tinged with passion and elusive depth.
Taking mundane moments and turning them into sinister omens.
A brief glance between strangers become a divine intervention or the fulfillment of ones destiny.
I write the word S E R E N D I P I T Y and there it is, insisting on its own being.
I erase and write W E L T S C H M E R Z and I feel it in the pit of my stomach.
This pressing burden of irrevocable sadness for all that will never be.
I think I am writing the world, yet Foucault reminds me that the world is writing me.
A good story takes you by the hand and nudges you along before you second guess your choice.
Choice? No such thing.
You are the story now.
throw me living off the deep end.
We are the most advantageous generation hitherto.
Is this a bedtime story we've told each other long enough to start believing it?
Options are endless. Our lifes are not.
Our choices are violently infinite against the very finity of time.
How free does that really make us?
We tell ourselves all kinds of things to cope
I am independent. I do not care.
I will not give up. You cannot hurt me.
We are like teflon; nothing sticks.
Our generation's greatest achievement is our ability to carry on.
We constantly compliment each others' mastery of this treacherous art.
Have we become too good at it?
At the end of time we'll look back on our perfectly flat-lined lifespan and every tombstone will read:
'she kept calm and carried on'
And we'll realize that life is not about keeping calm.
And carrying on is not a noble end.