Сенің арқаңда күн көріп жүрмін
– Kazakh for “I see the sun on your back”
i.e. Thank you for being you. I am alive because of your help.
Contented mornings are increasingly harder to find (especially with the quick change in weather these days that leaves you agonising over wet laundry the next morning), and often I wake up far before my alarm, thinking if I should give up sleep to complete more things. My schedule is packed with all the things I should do, all the things I think I should be, all the things I think I should try to be. (It hardly works out anyway.)
That is why this morning, where the dormitories are more than empty because we have a week off school, and a cat friend finally decided to drop and sleep on her futon outside my door again, and I have fresh figs in my cereal bowl, my joy feels complete. It isn’t a big, firework-esque sort of joy, rather, it is contentment which as its name suggests, is slow, gradual and peaceful, and feels like the waves bobbing on the side of a boat, lapping gently, with the sun shining down on your back.
I am happy to be.
These are for the days where you are too tired to write poetry, because your beat up mind and morale cannot sieve out the beauty to be framed in stanzas, allegories, metaphors and the like. Everything appears in greyscale, and logic tarnishes the beauty of all that is unsaid. You want answers; black concrete characters that promise nothing but truth, truth that stands out starkly against the glaring white page, even though you are sick of trying to craft yours into coherent paragraphs.
Adventure suddenly seems impossible to complete.
Therefore, you type long, incoherent paragraphs of possibly (you are told) useless, superfluous words strung together, perhaps hoping that these long, useless chains will take you somewhere else; out of wherever you are, out of whatever you are.
“Tell me what’s wrong”
I don’t look at your big, round eyes because I know the look they will give when I cannot articulate the fact that a whole ocean cannot possibly be contained in a bottle. All the bottle can give is a sample of what the ocean is, but never the entirety of the beauty and the horrors and the depths and breadth of all the life that is in it.
We sit here with our silence: my silence brimming with the words that I cannot say, and yours with all that you don’t know how to say.
“Time exists in order that everything doesn’t happen all at once … and space exists so that it doesn’t all happen to you.”
– Susan Sontag
Do not take anything personally,
Even though you should be personal.
Do not take anything that he says to heart,
Even though you should give him all of yours.
Do not mind,
Even when he plays with yours.
Do not hold any grudges,
But let him instead hold your hands.
Do not trample all over his great plans for the both of you,
even though his cold feet are pressed firmly on yours.
Do not ever, ever withold from him the truth, but instead create
A cosy fort with him on his tongue where he lies.
Situate your curves where his edges meet his angles
And caress, this question, that is
His body for you to love?
Make no mistakes about his love for you,
But mistake his next mistake
Be the first line for the triangle that he will create,
And spin in endless circles around
This geometric shape.
Treated to a delicious sunset yesterday (albeit at a rather strange timing of 9pm) – as my sister aptly puts it, Vancouver comes across as a rather obnoxious city because of the way it created itself right smack in the middle of unbelievably raw and rare aspects of nature. Case in point: mountains hanging out in the backdrop of nearly every photo one takes, even if the photo is in downtown (strange juxtaposition of glass buildings beside mountain peaks has the effect of making everything look unreal).
What strikes me about Canada, however, is not its surreal beauty or disturbingly relaxed pace of life, but rather its past and present entanglement with the aboriginals or First Nation peoples. When we were in Seattle (did you know that the city derived its name from an aboriginal chief?), there were already some traces of some disquiet where the First Nation people were concerned. Our airbnb hosts (while very nicely taking us out for a spin and incredible ice cream at Molly Moon’s) talked with us about what was currently happening with the aboriginals, and it was refreshing to hear from them, presumably descendants of the colonists themselves, how stupid and unfair things are for the people who once owned this very land that they now were prohibited access to and ownership of.
Here in Canada, this chasm is even more pronounced (the first few items on my Google search for aboriginals were about Canada’s aboriginals), with statues and totems and names of places to thank and commemorate and remember these people. Can a community thrive on the small pieces of land these statues stand on?
The past cannot be reversed, nor can the land be wholly given back to them (where will all the other non-natives go?); perhaps as Bernie Farber says, “Those who tell aboriginals to ‘move on’ do not understand that, until you confront it and admit it, you can’t even start to heal.”
Keep all of your words,
Put them through a sieve –
We want as little grease.
You’ll get a clearer, cleaner,
And a more palatable cup.
With such light and vibrant flavours,
You’ll certainly be able to finish the whole thing up!
What if I
like my truth to be bold
The thick creamy crema of an
Like a windmill on the top of a hill waiting to catch some wind —
Come on and fail me now.
“One ever feels his two-ness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”
– W.E.B Dubois
I woke up (well not that I was sleeping very much anyway) just when dawn was breaking over the clear, boundless expanse of sky, and had a nice minute of watching a warm palette of pink, orange, and vermillion slowly inch out the cold blue of the night. A thousand other phone cameras were clicking alongside me.
A few hours later – pushing away the dangerously attractive but very self-harming idea of in-flight claustrophobia – and a few yogi-like positions too (the impossible curl! the suicidal ball! the neck-breaker!) I pull the window shade open and am blinded momentarily by the sun. Soon the clouds part and we are greeted by mountainous ranges (why sister why are we not visiting Yellowstone or something), before specks of concrete-colored grids emerge; houses, cities, settlements. I feel weighed down by them.
We soon fly past the city centre, and the skyscrapers look no more than toys, as do the streams of cars that reflect the sun’s rays. Even our plane looks only like a plastic toy held up by wire string, the kind found over a baby’s cot; what is it doing in the sky?
My friend very elegantly described L.A, or many American cities for that matter, to be built for the purpose of cars, and so ends up as an endless maze and expanse of concrete highways that come across as rather cold.
Have I grown to want out from cities?