barbarian waiting

Is it wrong that I let others speak my mind?

though I am so unbelievably dumb – I would ask you again

to slap my face, but I cannot dictate precisely. What are these words that

my mind whispers? Even hinting at them

implies betrayal, but betrayal of what? of Whom?

are these shapes something worth mentioning, or

shall I still silently ponder,

in this spontaneous, aimless, underthought fashion?

Do you know what you have said or how it has been received?

Of course not. Never. We construct relations from that

which we choose to share, those facets

that roll forth when our die is tossed.

Even those who claim pure genuine expression as their own

are limited by their own tongues, which cannot

trace shapes in colour or even communicate some

internal form of unconsciousness:

We can’t explain our dreams in the morning.

Are we limited by intonation, inflection and implication?

quietly, my toes on a windscreen say otherwise

as we speak physically. I believe in hands reached out,

so I leave mine open-palmed and everything drops.

Perhaps, in utter black, we would see clearer

no longer attracted by these visual limits, but

borne on words alone, love fed outside of

all but the person. Perhaps then, honesty would be less trite.

In short, I am baffled by intimacy.

For that is really all we are – darkened blind figures reaching out, if we’re lucky

in a world we cannot comprehend. Logic will not love you,

Rational empiricism will not make you less alone.

These birds and bees restlessly flocking in your mind

must meet with similarity, or drown in the black.

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drowning

When I first went to India, I wrote a piece concerning drowning and being drowned in a culture that was not my own:

“Each of her parents had gone their own way. Her mother had walked out of an icy, damp land, hair blowing in the wind – Ireland, the place she mentioned with longing sighs and wistful glances out the door. Her father had stood tall on the decks of ships way out across the Caribbean, traversing the dangers of South America, a land that had chiseled him down and made him a man.

So it was only natural that, after they’d all been together on the plains of Africa, that she would dive off the deep end and drown herself in the madness of India.

The drop into India was longer than she expected. She fell silently, her eyes open and her arms outstretched, until she crashed into the water with a mighty SPLASH, where it tore at her clothes, ripping out her hair. She sank swiftly and silently, shooting down by her skeletons of dreams and tattered kelpy thoughts, sinking deeper and deeper into darker and darker waters.

She came up for air in Agra, where she found a sort of life raft named Andy which carried her along for a while so that she could wipe her hair out of her eyes and catch her breath. All the water she’d swallowed stayed down, and he told her that she should keep it there because it would keep her alive.”

(2008)

Now I am melting, falling into this wasteland that says I belong,

I am overcome with memories and confusion

this constant reminder of You Do Not Understand,

You Do Not Belong

even though I look and speak like a native

I have perfected this chameleon act, blending

speaking this language to communicate a modicum of thought.

 – And yet, it is never enough.

I am exhausted of getting everything wrong, failing

in work friendship conversation class assignment meeting

I truly just want to get back to a language I can speak fluently,

speaking the truth into every ear, bold in faith

knowing that I am wholly loved and that I love wholly.

Let me fight this current, hold down this fiery water that burns my lungs

offensive, grating, I will breathe it

and swim to summer shores

then from there learn how to breathe air again.