distanced hypothesizing

“poverty and death” said the classmate

self explanatory, the overused overwritten idea of something

never experienced completely known

to the point of cliche.

 –

I –  in whom these bitter texts

ring and resound like churchbells in my ribcage

painful, horrible truth

guilty of wealth, seeing that which is untouchably impoverished

– am incredulous that this hideous,

so close to my heart and home

is so easily exhausted when never encountered.

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in the face of all this dreary snow.

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About a year ago, I was on vacation with family – out in the plains of Kidepo, the best place for going safari that I have ever been. On the first morning of our trip, we rose early to go out on an early game drive, since dawn is the best time to see wildlife.

Being two metres from a  pack of full-grown lions is a wonderful way to start any morning.

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?

my last day in my village

The last time I was able to go out to the village near my home to visit many old friends, I made sure to document it.

One of my friends had just recovered from a very difficult premature birth.

the new baby

the children climbed all over us as we tried to talk

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telling us cute and bizarre thingsIMG_0734

the boys next door, their cousins, played with tires, rolling them around the yard.IMG_0754

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while the older brother did the dishes, waiting for their mother to come home.IMG_0761

dear anna III

don’t mind me

I just want to be tangled forever in your hair

to lie, silently caressed by your thoughts and words

where i can hear them all

and not miss things because I’m too far away.

where i can see your flying green eyes fall into mine when we understand

you watch me paint, i watch you read

never a judging word or glance

because you know me all the way down to the bone and through the other side

skin and blood connect us tightly

even while we’re forever away and will never be the same because of it

while we meet people the other will never meet.

I’m tired of this!

not hearing you, not seeing you

I think of you

when I don’t understand

when no one laughs

when I see something beautiful

when i see someone with green eyes

when my laugh sounds like yours

and when i breathe.