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 Twenty : New?

Strip away every known.

Every tendency

every fallacy

Clean off the bone

Past the skin but

leave the poetry

wash the words away

Dull the clarity

Take the lessons

-spare the sins

They have no meaning.

Dissect understanding.

Amputate

that knife edge balance

of what I have and

what it takes

Snip, snip, all the habits

Every face

Remove the wings

Bind the fingers

Stitch the lips into closing,

eyes frozen

I take every bit of I from me

and I

still remain

But who am I then?

New?

©️Yusra

19.04.2018

A Confession and a Continuation: Day Eleven and Day One

The Eleventh of April, 2018.

There is no reason to start today. Therefore, I shall.

I wrote those two lines just after midnight last night, because I’d had enough of nothing. Then, almost as expected, came the ringing call with the last syllable of my name draaaaaaaaaaaaawn out, for the seventh time in twenty minutes, from the living room. My father, summoning me again, to hand him a black pen from the table four feet to his left.

The reason I stopped writing. The reason I stopped ‘stopped writing’.

Over the last year, the frequency of my posts has slowed down. The longer I am at home, the lesser time I am ‘alotted’ for myself. The nearly overwhelming feelings of uselessness, stagnation, and mental decay I struggle with, while being told how useless I am, what a failure I am, all of these words, have been taking large bites out of the words I wanted to write. The words I am kept being pushed back, and back, and further back, till they stopped trying to come out.

I stopped writing, because I couldn’t. I stopped trying to write, because I couldn’t. Even that little time of me for myself, was taken away. August became November became April. I don’t know what I have done these last few months. It was probably nothing. Because these last few months, I have felt nothing.

I have been a nothing. I think I am a nothing now. When not a complete nothing, at least a little nothing.

I turned twenty eight. I resolved my citizenship issue. I studied for exams I won’t be writing. I played surrogate housekeeper and peacemaker and resident doormat at home. I did what  I always did- take blame. Take responsibility for actions that weren’t mine. Handle the mood swings of the people supposedly my elders. I played nursemaid and resentful grateful. I played parts and roles and forgot my face when I slept at night.

This time last year, I was a doctor with no country to belong to, and no civil rights to speak of. I have to wonder, which the more nothing was. The one where I didn’t belong, and was? Or the one where I belong, but am not.

One nothing is not like the other.

One nothing was emptier.

I woke up yesterday afternoon. I was walking to the supermarket, and I stopped on the sidewalk, holding eggs and a liter of milk, and I woke up. I could feel cobwebs fluttering in my mind, regurgitating uninspired remnants of something I wish I’d written down, even if it was only some angry words of choice. Words, as it turns out, are important. I stopped speaking and that didn’t matter, but  I stopped writing, and I forgot how to breathe out. It was choking me. I woke up yesterday, and I exhaled. I sat down last night, and wrote the two lines at the top of this page. Then I was called away. Like I was called away in this moment, to call someone up, when the phone was next to him. The difference between today and every other day before this, at least in the last six months, was that I came back.

Because not writing had been hurting me so long that I’d stopped realising the source of this particular pain. Because I am my words, and maybe that’s the only existence I have, the only trace I’ll leave behind in a world where I am told that I AM NOTHING at least twice a day, where I’m so inconsequential, that I’ve taken to feeding crows for some company. I was staring at the calendar while writing checks for my father this morning, and it dawned upon me that ten days of NaPoWriMo had passed already. This is the first year that I missed it, since I started blogging. But not in its entirety. Not just yet.

This nothing’s still got something left. I warn you that it’s old. It’s everything I’ve said multiple times before, but I will say it again, even if only to say it.

I will not stop saying it. Even if takes a calendar and a dim reminder for cement bills to be paid on the fifteenth of April to do it. Every time that I forget, I will remember.

And I will write. Even if I’m writing old nothings, I’ll write.

A Little Nothing     

I am a Nothing,
or so I’m told
A waste of space that’s
twenty eight years old

I’m a big Zero
They like to repeat
I’m worth less than
the food I eat

They call me buffalo
They don’t use my name
I don’t mind anymore, I
answer just the same

My mealtimes are totalled
in calories
I’m given a thousand more
than necessary.

But like a good girl
I clean my whole plate
Wash everyone’s dishes
but not my own face

I wear wrinkled clothes and
don’t comb my hair
So that men don’t notice
a woman’s even there

I keep my voice down
I act like I’m dead
I’m quiet and bitter
I’m words in my head

I’m a little nothing
short and stout
Here are my fingers
Here is my mouth

Hands longing to be held
Lips that no longer kiss
Rusty rhyme and stagnation
A throatful of risks

I’m a little nothing
As I’m often told
An ugly little cow
forgotten fourfold

They like to pretend
that they can’t see
Except that I know
They’re afraid of me

That I’ll walk out
That I’ll realise
My chains lie in pieces
I’m in sight of my prize

I keep my head down
I work, and I watch
One day they’ll fall careless
And I’ll be gone

And I won’t even care
If they never see
I was and always will be
Something
Something free

Yusra
11.04.2018

Day Eleven of NaPoWriMo. I won’t stop writing.

I love  you all. ❤

-Yusra

Calliope S. Lyre- the Facebook page is here!

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After months of prevaricating and weeks of procrastination, it’s finally up! Click on the picture and head over to Facebook and show me some Cookie love, you guys. ❤

 

-Your ever lovin’ Cookie Monster 😀

Querulous 

If you were to sit in front of me, and talk about the weather, it would take the turn of seasons for us to find and understanding. If you were to find me when looking for a canvas to display your musing on, then.. that’s what you’d see. All men are somewhere between white paper and mirrors, to those who know the right questions, we are but answers. So scratch the table with your fingernail, stand on edge of that cliff, and ask. We are two steps away at any moment from cabbages and kings, from ravens and nevermores, and irreparably broken wrists. Take the step and unsettle me, look for all the wrong words with the right intentions, stain your fingertips in my glass and for god’s sake, ask. I am an answer for those waiting to be rendered querulous. 

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(I blame my coffee entirely, for how full of myself I am today. 😄) 
Have a lovely day, my beauties. ❤️
-yusra 

Glory Be

I can’t blame you, if I’m in love with the taste of being wasted. The utterly balanced delicate bite of the bitterness inside, with the rising bile, being shattered and glorious just comes naturally- it’s my style, I suppose, to be gasping, and blue, and asphyxiating on words I dare not tell you. Claw at my eyes and feel my throat wrench, as I force myself to swallow, as my stomach clenches. Rug burn, heartburn, cigarette burns, consterning, do the stars leave holes behind in the sky where they’re burning? Or maybe, that’s the price you have to pay, to be a thing of beauty, you have to blaze away.

And there you have it. That’s what we are. You are beauty, I am the destruction, and we are just as beautiful together, at a distance, as the stars.

❤️

Hi guys. I seem to return only to apologize, but I suppose life is all consuming that way. I’ve been very busy with some classes. The odd thing is, writing articles in class eats up a lot of my ‘word’ energy, and whatever creativity I have to burn, I seem to burn in short pieces these days. So I have been posting tiny write ups on Instagram. I’m at @calliopes_lyre. The other advantage on that platform is that I can occasionally go live on Instagram, which I can’t do here. So find me there, and I’ll find you- we have much to talk about.

Always loving you,

Yusra