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Starry Complexities

“We could whisper to the stars and tell them what happened to other stars, billions of years ago, tell them how they shattered and turned into people. Do you wonder if stars tell their children that when you die, you become a human? A faraway life, on a small blue planet. “

luviiilove
Art by: LuviiiLove

I can already imagine it, with starry complexity. We will linger at the space station, floating around to haunting piano music softly diffusing across the universe, echoing down lonely black holes and asteroid fields. We’ll hang the clothes to dry on one of Saturn’s rings. On Saturdays (Or however we decide to name it) we’ll have barbecues on the sun and plant artificial roses on dwarf planets and dying stars for a pilot whose plane has crashed to find someday. We’ll pluck stars from space and rearrange the cosmos, play tennis with asteroids and write messages with our fingers across nebulae for Earth to see.

We can hide on the moon, sometime. Lie down in the sea of tranquility and tell corny jokes about how we aimed for the moon. We can close our eyes and move to the dark side, and pretend Earth doesn’t exist. We’ll live out our days in an alcove on a planet no one will ever discover.

We’ll make paperboats, watch them sail and burn in a constellation of stars. We could even reach inside one of them, our hands travelling all the way to the molten core, and touch someone’s consciousness. We could whisper to the stars and tell them what happened to other stars, billions of years ago, tell them how they shattered and turned into people. Do you wonder if stars tell their children that when you die, you become a human? A faraway life, on a small blue planet. So, children if you want to say hi, all you have to do is shine bright and they will know who you are? I wonder if humans are star-ghosts?

We could also hollow out one of the planets, and make home inside.

Trust me, we will never get lost. I have the universe inside of me. Did you know that there are more synapses in the human brain than there are stars in our Milky Way? And there are more possible brain connectivity patterns than there are atoms in the Universe? Our minds are larger and more infinite than the Universe. We are multitudes, eternal matter in perishable bodies.

“When we die,” you ask “do you think we go back to being stars? Do you think that some part of us goes into space? Like, the parts that used to be our eyes, when they rot and become dirt and minerals in the Earth, then feed a tree that later gets turned into wood brought on a spaceship—do you think I could see the universe then? Do you think I could get to be a part of it then? That I will be welcomed, like a missing limb, and I will finally remember? And slowly, like that, the Universe will start being whole again.”

“But you’ll forget me then, you’ll forget Earth.” I say.

“Not if you come with me.” you smile “Then we’ll forget about the lives we had here. But it’s okay, because you and I, we go way back, we were stars together. Then, we can remember who we were meant to be all along.”


Listening to:

Note: This is Day 25 of my NaNoWriMo Writing Challenge. I’m afraid with this one, I totally pretended like Science wasn’t a real thing. Don’t shove your hands down molten cores of stars, kids. You’ll be dead before you even get to try. You can read my previous entry for the challenge here. Also, ‘more infinite’ isn’t…really a thing. But eh, dramatics amirite.

 

Blue night.

Summer nights shift through my hair, pressing gently on my eyelids.

This, I realise, is the feeling of summer: not fun, a spark-like joy, but rather a feeling that is half relief and half boredom, underpinned by old longing — something that was once desperate, restless yearning but that has since been worn into this pale, tired feeling. It’s the saddest thing in the world: for yearning to become a wistful “could have been”, to see your longing through a veil of impossibility where before it was real, throbbing in you.

With the gentleness of a mother explaining the limits of the world to her child, the years crush your most feverish yearnings, rearranging them into artful melancholy; faraway looks into the night sky, sighs carried away by the vastness of the night and a heaviness from which there seems to be no relief.

Where “I long for you” was once a promise branded in heat, it is now a space in your body — a small, distant illness, something you live with most days, something you ignore and forget about, until. Until it is summer again and the end of year frees you for a precious few weeks; until you start getting drunk on the coolness of the night air; until you let your hair down and your shirt clings to the back of your neck; until you feel a smile tugging at your lips as the neighbours’ music echoes in the streets; until you are allowed a moment’s contemplation and the matter of your own happiness comes up, the figurative lid popped off by the heat, loosened while you were busy cutting open watermelons and picking at the fibrous remains of mangoes between your teeth, while you wrinkled your nose at the smoke of cigarettes the neighbour indulges in even more zealously in the darkness of his veranda.

It is summer, it is the end of the year and there are no hermetic spaces left. All the possible doors, windows and vents have been flung open and the summer air commingled with hope and regret infiltrate your lungs, even as you are too busy partaking in the rituals of summer: getting burnt by the sun, haggling prices for litchis, complaining about the people.

This is all it takes: a stream of warm, good days to envelope you and the cold, repressed truth comes streaming out.


Note: Happy New Year to you! Be blessed with warmth, goodness and light for this year and all the ones that follow. This piece is a bit late but here it is anyway, featuring some of the most egregious use of semi-colons and repetition you have ever seen 😂

Who are you?

Collage by: Unknown

I am a mess-maker.

A hobby-hopper. A pull-every-crayon-outer, a faded enthusiast, a leave-behind-a-trail-of-passions-gone-colder. I am an interest-plucker, an endless well of curiosity.

I am light, reflected and magnified, travelling from the cosmos to forest and hillside and to that particular corner of a kitchen somewhere, sometime in the afternoon.

I am perfume that spreads through the air. I am here and there, in this moment and the next and the one before. I am a blade of grass waving to the sky, a raven remembering a face, a raindrop falling on someone’s shoulder. I am scattered, everywhere all at once. I am gone, as short-lived as I am intense. I am an imprint, a scar you can’t forget, a vertiginous sensation you cannot describe, a feeling you will never feel again.

I am a falling star that you forget as soon as the morning comes.

I am an old song that clings to your skin, a childhood memory you will remember at a crossroad in your life. I am someone you’ve never met before, but who you’ve known for millennia. I am the last of my kind — a quiet extinction. I am a disappearance no one notices, but which leaves the world changed, silent.

I am a softness you did not know existed. I am a warmth you thought you would not find again. I am the last kite you ever flew; the last time you saw your primary school friends. I am the embrace you never wanted to leave; that one love you kept hidden. I am a calm sea, a deserted beach on a weekday. I am a truth you’ve lost to the years.

I am a morning that comes when you don’t want it to.

I am a dawn after the darkest night.

I am the solemn words of a person of faith. I am a piece of Fate. A common flower that grows on the side of the path you walk everyday. I am the plastic bag flying in the wind. The new poster superimposed on layers of old paper and glue. I am too many sensations, I am nothingness.

I am a chance, a breath.

I am one spark of light, millions of years ago.


Note: This very conveniently started out as me documenting how much of a mess I can be and then the right song played and it ended up being about something else. As always, sending my warmest thoughts your way!

Big details.

There is something to be said about the aching tenderness with which the afternoon light layers itself on the tops of houses, with what fondness it settles there, tired and warm.

I am in quiet awe of such end-of-day scenes lately, caught up in these little love affairs that are there for all to see, should the eye but linger a little, just a little. Life becomes a picture, a post card in these evenings. As we melt into the summer and humidity clings to us, the sunsets also grow more colourful, the sky painting scenes that might seem fabricated were they not so overwhelmingly, achingly real. One sky, dyed the colour of daydreams, summer loves and the tunes of youth. Pink and lilac, purple and fiery orange, yellow and peach, all blooming into the wide open sky. A spectacle, a feast, a homecoming. The essence of our beings. Mostly ignored. Forgotten.

How essential it is, how absolutely essential.

It was just a few days ago when I was telling him — as we pulled up in a parking lot, reclined our seats and watched the sun lower behind the mountains — how endlessly important it is to take one step back, to feel small. Problems too quickly seem insurmountable, too easily become the point to which our lives and consciousness are moored when we focus only on ourselves.

Step outside of yourself, understand you are small, so small in the vastness of this universe and if the sun can move, if the colours of the sky can change, then will your pain last forever? Will the sadness never pass, when even clouds and seas shift? Is there no hope in a world that everyday revolves around a ball of fire? Though our routines lull us into a sense of stability and stagnancy, should we ever forget that there are greater powers at play? Should we ever forget that we are moored not just to ourselves, but to each other? That our lives and selves ripple across time and space, and there is always, always more to us than what we limit ourselves to?

It is vital to get lost in the details of life, to follow each one until one forgets, until one’s own self becomes a point in the distance, small and surrounded by so many others, part of a much vaster picture.

Art by: Alexandra Levasseur


Note: So I guess this is where I give up all pretense that I will regularly maintain this blog (?) It’s been a strange, healing, bad, no, actually good year. And even though it sounds too good to be true and I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, I’m officially a business owner! (WHAT). Ahh anyway, I hope you have all been doing beautifully.

In a vacuum.

Art by: Jon Marchione

It rattles, rattles, rattles…

The train dives head-on into the scenery, currently flanked by yellowed, crackly bushes. All of us are locked safely, almost hermetically in this moment in time. We are suspended in the infinity of those few minutes, a sort of solemnity not even broken by the stops few and far between, the beeping, the sliding open of doors, the driver’s staticky voice on the intercom announcing the station and closing of doors.

Nothing takes away or interrupts my longing gaze into the faraway, the zooming past cities and villages, cutting through congested arteries, sugarcane fields and mountains alike.

The train’s ‘new’ pathway slices through and lays bare even the most intimate details of the city outskirts: holey shirts and dingy shorts hanging on the line, someone’s dog looking all but melted into an early afternoon nap and the piercing gazes of people-watching grandmas now hourly exposed to the eyes of thousands — all of this private life, previously hidden away has now been bared, and has become a part of the spectacle the train offers. And I, I was brought here as a spectator, not an actor. These days, everything I do feels wrong. Tough decisions with tough consequences that leave me feeling not at all like myself. I was brought here not to be, not to change or disturb the littlest thing. I was brought here to see and feel and maybe, maybe write about it.

The train should go on forever. It should cross into the night, rattling on its way to unknown galaxies, to stories I was told as a child, to blurry memories of childhood beach days. The train should go on forever, with me on it, a traveller, a spectator. Someone who does not influence the story but only records it. A record-writer, quiet, unassuming, existing outside of the rules that the rest of the actors are subjected to.

Let me hold onto life a little lighter. Let me have these moments forever.


Listening to:

Break.

It’s late at night and the warmth of summer is slowly creeping in, settling in between the comforting layers of downy blankets, clinging to the back of my neck, lightly dampening the roots of my hair. My ample shirt has slipped off my shoulder somewhere between innumerable hours ago and now, and my eyes close each time a breeze floats in, rustling the curtains and breathing coolness over my exposed flesh.

I am breaking my own heart over the beauty of the exquisite, tasting the salt of tears that fall for the sake of beauty. They taste different from tears of exhaustion, are sweeter than those of bitter sorrow.

Far away or not far at all from this anchor of time and place, ‘I’ lay floating… My shoulders and ankles, my toes and eyelashes, my hands and the destiny carved into them have all dissolved into light, on this night when I have breached eternity. Floating around are old, old love songs that lap at this reinvention of me in gentle waves. When I sink into them, limbless, the sound is distorted, faraway, with a grainy quality. The words and voices of long-gone lovers echo, traveling through time and epochs, timeless in their longing and devotion; their beauty carries an eternal truth, so deep it blooms into an ache over me. I wish to feel this forever — the pain of too much beauty, this unending story of lovers colliding and melding into each other, utterly lost in themselves, in moments that feel too much like infinity that they fall into the certainty that the world is an abstract concept, that the Universe has set them apart… Inexorably, though they do not believe it possible, they are torn apart, screaming — unceremoniously snatched in whichever direction Destiny wills. Never again will they meet but all life long they will carry the wound, until the very end they will wish it had been otherwise.

This is where I am tonight: wandering the wispy prayers of lovers who no longer belong to each other, who no longer belong to this world. Are they, I wonder, somewhere so close to where I find myself, reunited finally in the cosmos, swaying among the stars and into infinity?

When light breaks, hearts heal.


Note: Now, I am not the greatest romance writer there ever was. I’m not even halfway decent at it, but these songs. These songs I have listened to!! There is just something about old love songs and the energy that flows from them… It inspires even people like me who have no idea how to write about love. It took several tries to actually get even close to the feeling, the mood I was absorbed into. But all things considered, I’m happy with how this turned out.

Quotes of the Day:

Don’t write love poems; avoid those forms that are too facile and ordinary: they are the hardest to work with, and it takes a great, fully ripened power to create something individual where good, even glorious, traditions exist in abundance. So rescue yourself from these general themes and write about what your everyday life offers you; describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty.

Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?”

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Listening to (among others):

Convergent.

Art by: Zookie

All of Time is in the crook of her hand. In the clear body of water contained in her palm, swaying gently with every slight movement.

“That’s it, huh? This used to be so scary.”

“What was?” He asked.

“Time. Having it…not having it or, or running out of it.” came the words.

“But now it’s just here.”

“Now it’s just here.” She nodded.

“So how’d you do it, genius?” He smiled.

“I just — I don’t know. I stopped chasing it, I guess. I got too tired…and it just… it just happened. Like you fight all this time, then you give up and it’s then that it surrenders to you. When you stop trying to pull on it or stretch it out, Time just…lays in the crook of your hand.”

“So, in conclusion, time’s like a cat?” He grinned.

“Time’s a cat, yeah.”

He looked up finally, brown eyes illuminated by the pale moonlight.

“I think,” he said, and his voice had this faraway quality to it, like when he spoke of his days at sea, “that you have to understand first that Time isn’t ownable. It’s not land or, or clothes. It’s not something you deserve or not. It’s given to you, no questions asked. And you take it. You don’t have to do anything with it, least of all worry about it. Just have it. Don’t think about it — don’t ask yourself how to live it. Just do.”

Silence sat with them after this, a companion.

“It’s easier to not overthink it when there’s people like you around.” She said, finally.

“What do you mean?”

“You take all my brains away. My IQ lowers when you’re around.” She snickered, eyebrows knitting into a mock-evil look.

“That’s your way of saying I blow your mind, and I humbly accept it.” He dipped down in a low bow, followed by an exaggerated curtsy.

After all these years, the memory had not faded, not in the least. In it, was still enclosed the peculiar scent of blooming flowers mingled with the freshness of night and the saltiness of tears.


Note: I hope you’ve all been doing beautifully 😊 I’m not great at writing conversations so this was a bit of a practice round.

First Belonging

I do not know who I am anymore.

I thought I did, all this time. I thought I had peeled back and laid bare the many layers of my self. From character to personality, learned traits, preferences, triggers and addictions… I thought I had been thorough in my analyses, cutting in my judgement. I believed — worse, ‘knew’ — what I had uncovered to be the truth.

But here I am, a mystery to myself once more; a stranger in my own home.

Take me back.

I was brought into this strange world, and have been dyed by its colours and the bright spectacles it puts up…yet part of me remains foreign and calls to what once was. It seeks to unite again with the Source of all matter.

Always, in every one of the soul’s actions, in every yearning is this desire laying dormant, to return to the place of first belonging — the Place Before. Before the rushing tunnel of lights, Before the shower of stars searing soundlessly into the silent universe, Before the brief all-encompassing obscurity that lasted a billion years, Before it all exploded into red-hot life, pulsating, throbbing, crying —Before it scattered us all about, our names wiped, our memories vanished but still there, everywhere inside of us, haunting our every move, colouring even the most benign choices of our existences until our very end.

There is a void in me that calls for You. This is no simple emptiness. It is no random gaping hole. Only Your names will do. Only the truth of millennia past will ever calm my soul.

Take me back; free me from myself.


Note: So I’ve been immersed in worldly life a lot lately. I (arrogantly) thought it was not something that could happen to me, yet lo and behold I’d lost touch with my spirituality without even knowing it. And then, no amount of information or psychoanalysing or introspection could help. Even now I feel like I do not know myself. It’s strange to have lived 26 (26!!) years thinking you know yourself and then it turns out you don’t really. Welp.

Anyway, to distract myself I’m trying to say “Before the shower of stars searing soundlessly into the silent universe” fast 10 times. Maybe it’ll help (it probably won’t but at least it’s entertaining).

When the night comes

Art by: Rella

And when night falls on the neighbourhood, the quiet-looking houses that are home to the most violent outbursts and unrest… When night falls on the scenery and drowns me in the everythingness of nothingness, these moments that stretch into the void, when the darkness and quiet accentuate the maddening energy you can’t hear through the daytime noise… I’ve always thought the night doesn’t hide a thing, it reveals all: the desires that hide from the light and live in the shadows during the day and then spill far and wide into the night… When the night falls like this, I want to hide from these little houses settled so tight in their spots, made to stand upright like hair pulled in a vicious grip.

I want to steal away into the night – unsafe and cruel as it is, with its grotesque figures roaming freely about, and meet you somewhere far away. Somewhere not here. Somewhere that has never been named or discussed here. Somewhere they can never imagine. A safe, secret place. Just you and I as we share in a cold night that nips at our fingers and ears and noses, as we dive into lonely silence. A silence that slowly, surely warms up with unspoken understanding and sweet reassurance, the smell of you under all the smoke.


Note: I hope you are all doing beautifully ❤️

Im permanent

Art by: Papilarnie IV

This time will end.

Soon, when these moments crumble and we cease to inhabit Time, we too will become people of the past. Ashes. Dust. Names lost in dusty records far back in a filing cabinet. All of us – that too, if we are lucky – summarised in two dates we did not choose, and one dash (the ultimate etcetera…).

We will die a first, then a second death. The loss of our bodies, and then when our names are said for the last time, at the close of one fading memory… I will meet you there, on the precipice of oblivion – one last shared moment, one last rush of life. Even in death, we shall continue to live, if only we live now. If only we make Life remember us.

So let us inhabit every moment, let our energy splash all over the city’s walls, let our hushed voices paint every rooftop with the poetry of our impermanence. Let us tattoo our existences into the ether, let us conquer the infinite from our places in small vessels of clay.


Poem of the Day:

“In one minute the entire life of a house is ended. The house as casualty is also mass murder, even if it is empty of its inhabitants. A mass grave of raw materials intended to build a structure with meaning, or a poem with no importance in time of war. The house as casualty is the severance of things from their relationships and from the names of feelings, and from the need of tragedy to direct its eloquence at seeing into the life of the object. In every object there is a being in pain – a memory of fingers, of a smell, an image. And houses are killed just like their inhabitants. And the memory of objects is killed: stone, wood, glass, iron, cement are scattered in broken fragments like living beings. And cotton, silk, linen, papers, books are torn to pieces like proscribed words. Plates, spoons, toys, records, taps, pipes, door handles, fridges, washing machines, flower vases, jars of olives and pickles, tinned food all break just like their owners. Salt, sugar, spices, boxes of matches, pills, contraceptives, antidepressants, strings of garlic, onions, tomatoes, dried okra, rice and lentils are crushed to pieces just like their owners. Rent agreements, marriage documents, birth certificates, water and electricity bills, identity cards, passports, love letters are torn to shreds like their owners’ hearts. Photographs, toothbrushes, combs, cosmetics, shoes, underwear, sheets, towels fly in every direction like family secrets broadcast aloud in the devastation. All these things are a memory of the people who no longer have them and of the objects that no longer have the people—destroyed in a minute. Our things die like us, but they aren’t buried with us.”

‘The House as Casualty’ by Mahmoud Darwish

Interstices of time.

Art by: Eleni Debo

09 May 2019

In the interstices of time, the forgotten minutes of the day, I sneak in a few reflections on my phone. In a corner of one greying office, imagination blooms. It takes over my desk, growing like vines of voluminous flowers all about; every curling vine can be traced back to me, back to my pen where the words flourish and new worlds are born.

But that is all in my head.

In reality, it would be too conspicuous to even draw out a sheath of paper or my white notebook. So I quickly jot down a few thoughts, passing musings like clouds in my head that are inexorably moving away…

Tap.tap.tap.

It’s not quite the same experience though. There’s traditional writing: balancing a pen between my fingers, a notebook laid out before me, anticipating the gush of words, the opening of new otherworlds. Then there’s this, a rectangular black device with a keyboard already filled with letters, where penstrokes give way to tap tap taps on a writing app. It’s useful and practical. Simple, as it should be.

It’s different, though.

It’s less intimidating, for one. Nowadays, my brain stutters before a blank page, feels the weight of expectations before pen touches paper. There have been times when I’ve opened my journal, poised to write and empty my heart out, only to close it moments later, pages still blank, the pen discarded.

Here though, as with anything related to smartphones, there is a sense of urgency (I’m already stealing time away from my work as it is), to pin the slippery idea down asap. The inclination to delve deep stays away. Sometimes it is just the beginning of an idea that makes it to the app. I type it down, and wait for the idea, a sapling, to grow until I can transplant it in my notebook.

And yet, I am so grateful for it. So grateful that thanks to technology, there is no season to writing. No predetermined creative hours. The door to imagination is open at all times of day and night. Even in the business park where I work, the smartphone and writing app lend me this inconspicuousness, making me look like just another head in the crowd.