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

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Day Sixteen : Hey- Hey!

Hey- Hey!

Chalk white on grass green
Stains on socks, ankle deep
Slick, wet, slip and fall
Feint if you’ve been touched at all
False move, halfback
pay your due
Center forward’s rushing you
Set up, Stopper, wingers in
Charge, set up the ball again
and fail
and crash
Three naught and rack
Slip down the table
Season’s done
Home field advantage
And overrun

But still the wave, still the hands
Roaring voices from the stands
Loyalties to strangers’ blood and
Waving flags from No Man’s Lands

Allegiance is a choice
Like few others, like end lines
Once you cross it, you don’t switch
Scorch or scorn, clear or collide

Some fealties are wrought in stone
Like this one: You’ll Never Walk Alone

c. Yusra

16.04.2018

For Day Sixteen of NaMPoWriMo, I decided to take the easy route and write an unabashed love letter to Liverpool FC. And why not, too. Once upon a time, a little girl started watching football because of them, and never switched teams, or favorite sports. ❤

YNWA!

-C ❤️

Chester Bennington no more 


I’m not sure how to process any of this yet, but it’s official. Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, is no more. Linkin Park, is no more. A portion of the wall of the world has crumbled, and fallen on our heads. 
We spent the better part of yesterday dismissing it as a hoax, but it’s been confirmed by most of the outlets and the band members. 

Could we ever stop loving him? Probably not. I don’t know what good could come of this except.. I hope you’re at peace, Chester. 
Never, ever forgotten. The Man who kept me alive so many nights. 
Rest In Peace, Chester. 

Someone I Met While Walking

 

 

Someone I Met While Walking
(Chalte chalte, yuhin koi mil gaya tha) – Kaifi Azmi
“Walking along aimlessly, I
Met a stranger, while on my journey
Walking along aimlessly
And my night stopped, where I met him
My night stopped in a heart beat, where I
Met a stranger, while on my journey

The things I could not say were
Shouted at us, by all of society
Shouted at us, by who could see
My story had become a fable
My story had become a fantasy
Just walking along aimlessly

But the eve draws to a close
It will end, I know it will
The length of time it spans
Is slowly becoming still
-These lamps are burning, are extinguished
Those lamps are burning, are extinguished
All the lights are going out, do you see?
They are burning in step with me
Walking along aimlessly

I met a stranger, while on my journey
Walking along aimlessly
Walking along aimlessly”

 

 

Day 30! Last day of NaPoWriMo, and I thought to close it this year with a Bollywood themed bang. The prompt today was to translate a poem to English. I picked a poem by the Indian Urdu poet, lyricist, and philosopher Kaifi Azmi. This particular poem is a song in a well known Bollywood movie as well (from 1972, but hey, classics are classics).

So the story is this- A young girl sold into prostitution meets a stranger on a train. The stranger does not know that she is a prostitute, and the encounter changes her life forever.

If you like the song, check out a dubbed or subtitled version of the movie as well. It’s full of subtle and nuanced performances. After all, you never know, you could meet a stranger who changes your life forever too. :p

 

 

NA! PO! WRI! MO! – OUT! 😀

 

 

 

 

Truly, Madly, Deeply

Truly, Madly, Deeply

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WQnAxOQxQIU

There was this one song I heard, when I was twelve.

The minute I heard that song, on the radio no less, something just clicked inside me. And I fell in love with love. A twelve year old has no idea what love is, really. But all I knew was that love is something that I’ll be able to define with someone, some day.

I heard it that one time, and by some bizarre fluke, again the next day. I was too glassy eyed to have the presence of mind to catch the name, so I couldn’t find it. And I lost my love song.

Till I found it, in high school. Bought every album the band made, bought their solo albums when they split up. Not many people have heard of them, strangely enough. But that song has been on every music player I’ve owned till now, from my Walkman to my iPod. It always sat there, waiting patiently, for the days when I needed a reminder that I could have love too, some day.

Till the other day when I was sitting at the bar with him, and it started playing overhead. Smack bang between random heavy metal songs, there was this one single, sweet serenade, that seemed to be singing straight to me. And I just held his hand, and sat there with fireworks going off inside my head and my heart melting with the words, because it was true. It was finally true and it’s finally, finally true.

I’ve actually found someone who completes what my every definition of love has been. I didn’t need a song playing while he squirmed and made faces at me to tell me that, but god damn, what a confirmation. And I don’t care if we do the crab walk down the aisle ten years from now, twenty years from now, or never at all. I just know what I know.

Truly, madly, deeply. I love you.