Strychnine

Forgetting, did not render it benign

We were destruction, but-

you were mine … .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Whatever that means.

Love is an opthistotonic contracture. The death mask grimace, the arched back, frozen in flexion. The limbs jarred against the chest, the legs askew. The poison circulated well beyond the point of return. Or, at least, you recover with enough supportive treatment, and maybe enough time, but you never get it out of your system completely. The spasms visit you at the oddest hours of the night. A lone, unguarded moment here and there, and it catches you unawares. And it hits, like a lightning bolt to your spine, electricity and pain landing down your entirely. And all you can do is wait for it to pass.

Sometimes you forget that you were ill. The dormancy of the hurt lulls you into a false sense of security. And you forget. Or you remember, but you force yourself into hoping that it’s gone. That it was benign.

But it is destruction. It was destruction. And you were mine.

And the two were not mutually exclusive.

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Of Gods and Men III

I was talking to a friend yesterday, about the problem with the notion of love.

Specifically, how being cynical robs you of the so-called ‘honeymoon period’. You never have the initial few weeks where you see the other with rose tinted glasses. Where all their eccentricities are still cute and endearing, rather than being nails-on-a-chalkboard intolerable. Cynicism and a healthy wariness of love never lets you experience the euphoria that brings.

At the same time, it seems as though it’d be a distinct advantage to going into something with your eyes wide open. Fear and vulnerabilities aside, maybe starting with a rational acknowledgment and acceptance of imperfections would be a better foundation weather the inevitable storms.

Maybe it’s just the pragmatism of surrender speaking, having been utterly defeated by that one and only attempt at loving madly that I could muster. Rationale makes for a sturdy excuse.

Or maybe, this is what my version of hope is going to be. But I’m finding- loving smart is so much more difficult than loving hard.

Here’s to falling, one way or the other, and hopefully flying.

Love and light,

Cookie ❤

Day 23: Fugue State: A Wind of Change?

Can you be nostalgic for a time that you never lived?

Now, I understand completely how gauche it is to use a link and reference of this level of recognition for a pigdin little piece, but bear with me. I’d been meaning to write for this song for a while now, and the prompt for today gave me the push I needed.

It’s a curious bit of happenstance, really. I was on my way to the library, in a vaguely unsettled frame of mind, and Wind of Change by the Scorpions was the first song on my playlist. I ended up listening to it on repeat, because it was making me feel mournful but hopeful, which is a good thing to take away from a bad morning. After having listened to it eight times times, plus one time right outside,  I walked into the library to finish my book.

I was three chapters into Erben der Erinnerung by Philip Meinhold, which was the only perspective book on the Holocaust I’d found in our German library. It’s a singularly stark and stirring description from a man examining three generations’ worth of emotional inheritance. The lack of delicate handling of the theme and his prose create an almost tangible atmosphere around the reader, and I’m bad at separating myself from words to begin with. I kept reading and would have taken too much away from it, had the last chapter not included a sudden mention of Wind of Change by the Scorpions, and the importance of remembering your own place, too.

Naturally, I was floored. It’s a decently sized coincidence that I spend all morning binge-listening to a song, and it happens to show up again a few hours later, at the back of a book that would have left me disturbed. I was sitting there, staring at the book like a foreign entity, when a loud CLANG! CLANG! CLANG! alarm went off, and we were herded out for a fire drill. I walked out into the garden clutching the book, for all purposes yanked rudely out of a fugue state. Everyone was chattering excitedly as we waited in the wintry sunlight for the all clear, and I leaned against the embankment, watching the girl next to me gesticulate wildly, with a mini-extinguisher tucked under her elbow. It woke me up for five minutes, and ten minutes later the effect of the book receded somewhat more…..  but why should it have had that effect at all?

Can we be nostalgic for a time we didn’t know? Millenials who are moved to tears by Toto’s Africa, or every Rock lover in his teens who swears by the unchallenged greatness of AC/DC- what are they nostalgic for? “They don’t make music like this anymore”. You’ll read the same refrain under every music video on YouTube from ten to fifty years old. But what do  you want? How do you plead allegiance and understanding to a world even your parents didn’t exist in?

And yet, I’d be loathe to call it pretentiousness, because it isn’t. We want to feel understood. We want to feel belonging, in a place or time where it feels as though what we are feeling reverberates with everyone. That wanting fuels this nostalgia, this ache and unsettledness,  sense of unhappiness, that had I been born in this time, or had these places/people/events existed as they do in this bit of recording, we would have been happy. And while that is testament to how much music can evoke, I’ll blame our own unreality a little, too.

Or at least, mine. Being enthralled is one thing. Being adrift, another. After a point, it’s not the burden of creativity but the sheer inability to cut the umbilical to a world that doesn’t exist anymore. We are in the here and now. And it’s often ugly and unbearable, but this is where we exist. There isn’t any refuge in an imaginary world. But there is respite, and I’m grateful for it.

It’s hard to walk away completely unfeeling, when you read descriptions of such horrors. Of pain that has saturated generations, of children born angry for an injustice their parents haven’t known. A world away from all this, even dipping your toes leaves you walking stained for a little while.

But walk away. We cannot look to a future when we inflict the past upon ourselves repeatedly. And there’s still hope. There’s a wind of change coming yet.

Fugue States

This road does not exist

The houses long burnt down

Someone wrote of the cracked bones

Embedded in the ground

Trees have grown over the paths

Rain took the remains

Yet I stand and stare at what was

And come away stained

What lives here has already endured

a hundred years, will live a thousand more

There are traces of words in every inch

Handprints on the walls and floors

My fingers know the stories here

Hieroglyphs, stick figures, seeds,

Unfathomable as an alien landscape

Unblinkingly there, like a wound that bleeds

Again, and again

I hum to the refrain

I don’t know this language

Of a world that is ashes

But I’ll cry for them, because

we all speak pain.

We all speak pain.

©️Yusra

23.04.2018

And Then, I Flew

I’m behind on my words. I fell off the world for a few weeks.

I didn’t fall back on love.

Nothing to do with the paper-heart explosion every shop has turned into these days, but- I love y’all so. ❤️

Hugs and cookies, always

~ Y