(Sh)anonymous

in the centre of what is supposed to be good, Dreams speak my truth.

little blood speckles from mozzie bites in the sapphire evening, and you

 listening and loving. (forgiving) Both caught up in the quiet, fire

pouring from your throat, smoke teases up

spelling burnt hope into the tile roof.

– oh, you. Still friend. Still real. Still here.

I don’t need a dream this time.

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gator ride through the orchard (easter)

the tractor growled, and we flew down the hill,

twisting, turning through the trees

steering handle spinning as we snuck past the fence

“This is illegal, by the way”

the grandkids are screaming, half fear, half delight

that grandpa would do something so reckless.

mentally, I am careening back across that Arcade highway

the snowplow shatters us again! I snap back to reality

jolting, the grass is high and the road is rubble

the steep hill we are climbing, fast

like the road to Kidepo, soaring over the stony hills

swerving, sliding around in the loose shale

even the dirt matches, it is orange dust

and I am 12 years old again, home and free

after burning season, the grass comes back this green

and the ash leaves charcoal traces all over your white skin.

magazine catalog advertisement holiday

this thanks I give

over heavy-laden heads and hands

clenched

fingers red-white as they shake together.

watching the aged crown of white stammer,

tell me of your lifestory and cry proudly

over your grandchild’s hand,

his blue eyes are yours.

breaking

My hair is brown, my eyes are brown, and my skin stays papery-pale, thin enough for word pencils to break right through every time I get an idea of who you think I am.

I love you more than my own blood sometimes, I am willing to let it flow out over this scrap paper, sticking with dirt and thorns, clotting over my thin wispy hair, weak.

Because of you I got horribly lost, lost in the stereotype of the dumb white girl who could get lied to over and over again and give and give herself away before realizing that she was stuck and trapped and loved you way too much to let go of what we had.

Friendship? What does that even mean? Is it clinging to the IV of your baby while we fly over the dusty roads in the back of the car, praying, splattered in someone else’s blood,  holding puddles of vomit in my lap while your wrinkled skin grows weaker and paler, carrying your family’s food for kilometers with your hand in mine? Is it sitting together on the dark damp floor of a hut, passing around the pitcher until our vision gets blurred, words slurred, the sun dropping into our gaping mouths over ages of confusion?

Because that’s what we had.

And what is now? What is this, what I’m doing? Scribbling down endless facts, shoving words into my ears and mouth until they bleed, overflowing with things that I think I might understand. If you could see me you would laugh and peel off all these layers I’m trying to keep myself warm with, slinging your arm around my shoulders, holding my hand and never once worrying about it being awkward. You would help me re-start the fire in the burn pit in the backyard, tossing in all the assignments and ideas and stress and orders and arguments, saying, “It is nothing.”

Whatever the outcome, we’ll have a little bit of time to clean me up before I crash back out again. I hope this time you’ll remember me and we’ll be able to scribble a little something short-hand in another one of our whirlwind, photo-snap relationships, where I don’t worry about being awkward or uncomfortable and just lean on your ribs and sleep.

I am on my way home to sunlight, to burn away these snowflakes caught in my brain and heart, freezing muscle, tensing and curling up in fear – those will fall away in the equatorial sun in water from my skin, perspiring toxin from my blood. I will sing my heart out into the wind, filling my lungs and exhaling all the cold into the breezes. I will stand and dance, fill my arms with family and friends, tangling fingers without worry, pour love into ears and eyes until they overflow in tongues. I will raise my arms to heaven and cry out in thanks for all of you.

And we will laugh at everything.

re-reentry.

two weeks from now, Nakor(u) will return

she will throw on old tshirts, run barefoot,

drink chai and kahawa and bottled sodas

walk for miles into the hills and villages

shoulder gunny sacks, sling toddlers up onto her hip

roll through gritty, dusty syllables of truth

spitting the sunflower seed shells from cracked dry lips

hang off of the back of open pickups and little dirtbikes

bathe splashing from basins, rubbing the rusty earth from skin

sit up late at night with only hurricane lamps and candles

sleep outside under trees and stars.

….

there is so much she’s missed

not gonna lie, there is so much that hasn’t been translated

through the tea strainer of chilly mornings

into what can be understood by real life.

why there’s always salt in my hair,

hair that’s been cut shorter and dyed,

the way my arms and legs are paler from lack of sunshine,

the layers and layers of clothing that are never enough

_

but most importantly, the 10mg of hope

the cast for my heart

the bit I toss back every day with my afternoon coffee

 – how will I explain?

Photos

I wrote a fairly long post about how I’m trying to figure out why I don’t particularly like getting my photo taken while hypothetically tying that to my childhood abroad, where I was constantly being pointed out and my time in India, where passersby would take my photo all the time. Then I realised it was probably one of the most self-indulgent, over-emphasized pieces I have ever written and deleted all of it.

 

I’m still working on being comfortable around cameras. Yes, maybe it’s because I really don’t like being singled out. But I’m working on getting over it, and hopefully sometime soon I will have honed my modelling skills to perfection. (Like that will ever happen.)

 

This post is a bit out of the norm, but since we’re covering everything under the sun, let’s end on a paradox:

This was taken by my favorite person in the whole world, in a hotel room, while I was texting someone I love, on an amazing weekend which happened to be one of the last times we were able to spend quality time together in Uganda. 

This documents love right here.

Oh Holi Night (Best. Night. Ever.)

Twas the night before Holi,
 And all through the streets
All the people were dancing
 To hot Bollywood beats.
Colored powder they threw,
 Making clouds in the air
That settled and stuck
In everyone’s hair.
A pale foreigner came,
Her camera in hand,
Not used to the dances
Of this India land.
They eagerly showed her
How to shrug to the beat.
How to wave her arms skyward,
How to kick with her feet.
She joined in the throwing
Of the colors so bright
Each neon shade flying
Lighting up the dark night.
Finally, off to bed
After hours of fun
Still excited, still eager
Of more color to come.