On a doting revery
I was born out of the boredom of a poet and his muse who were so absorbed in artistry that they couldn’t keep me. I died a hundred times in the lamest ways, during the lull of a pathetic war. I got through the most surreal landscapes and I became insensitive to beauty. Give me fields of roses, give me red moons and rains full of stars, I would just stare at my hand, deeming it withering. There was no companion, no lover to pierce with a tender gaze my concrete eyelids. I thus attempted many times to run from my sleep, to follow the evanescent grace of a gentle face, but I woke up every morning, soaked with sweat, full of this numbing fear of missing the point. I’ve always been a thief, mainly in good people’s bellies. The fact is that I sleep with my windows opened and I never manage to prevent the night from entering the room. A glut of reality is then squashing me like an insect that didn’t foresee his end coming.
Nevertheless, you succeed in getting round me, to apply a smooth flavor to the dance in which you got me involved. You succeed in cutting the string, allowing my puppet heart its first beat. On my knees I talk to you, I watch you; I imagine the lavish display of the landscape that witnessed your birth. I picture you, like Ophelia, in a bed adorned with flowers, flanked by your two sleeping angels. You are the incarnation of a banished beauty, of a long-buried poetry. You are the one who makes me sing words that nobody understands. In the distance I hear those chants, floating in the wind, like a toddler’s cry: a boy would be Solal, a girl would be Esmé. Under an ominous sky, you extended your hand, reaching my soon-to-fall tear, protecting our home, our only place to be.
Do you remember the day when the land burned all the way to the sea? The flames were licking the clouds and the animals were crying anxiously. You’ve been divine, you carried our child so far that I couldn’t see you anymore. I’ve been so scared that I wrote a poem and you read it out loud humming the words which didn’t ask for it. I lost my worried mind when you smiled, and I believe now in the evidence imposed by the natural state of the world. I thought I became as insane as the man who saw God, but I knew I had inside my soul an untamed beast waiting for a master.
We share some courage, the will to be nobody. We killed our egos and do not attend the church. We live in a little cathedral full of discretion and humility. In motion you are silently praying, and I tactfully avert my eyes to let you bloom. Our feet in the dew, we sometimes kiss when the sky finds its perfect hue.
Yet turn around and it’s winter, the kind of weather that is killing the fireflies unable to keep their integrity. There’s an urge to light a warming fire, to beckon the remains of a crawling humanity. I know your sadness regarding this statement and I give too much room to regrets. Nothing dies, everything is transformed, but there is a light spectrum of which I already miss the radiance.
There is also this horde of forlorn people on which no magic operates. They’re trudging slowly, head down, in a cardboard scenery, drenched in a blackness of which only an atheist is capable. Every year you write a novel about them but they don’t purchase it. When your hand is quivering, I doubt eternity.
I don’t trust people easily anymore. Through the eyes I creep into and with no shame I rummage in the ethereal. I need to swallow so much conscience that I end up alone, with no friends. But I know that, scattered around the world, my brothers and sisters are waiting for me to show up. That’s why I spend my nights writing in the office, that’s why I wear myself out by singing. I move forward with the fervor of the damned.
What’s the use of all this? Are you getting bored? I feel so helpless to render the waves living through me. This journey we undertook brought me so much further than I was expecting to, so much further than the literature I could write, than the melancholy I could sing. In our shared life, there is a thickness that cannot be fixed, a promise of extension when our bodies will fall to the ground.
My sister, my solace
I must have been crying for hours before our mother took me in her arms. In the wide constellation of born souls, I was a demanding child, a needy one, inconsolable. I begged for an ocean of tenderness, an empire of protection. I wanted to be talked to, to be heard, I had a world within, visions to share. I was full of questions I never dared to ask. I had the frailty of the heavy hearted and I was forced to kneel down more than once. My pain sought retaliation and I was hoping my future would hold some admiration, some benevolent gazes enfolding me whole. The sensation of my nonexistence was provoking the exact opposite: I wanted to be venerated, to live on a stage, on a podium. Here’s the ambition, a poor kid who tries to compensate. And yet, I was not glancing at exemplary models of work and abnegation; I remember those long hours in front of a screen, killing time, stupidly, sadly, foolishly, when my only need was human interaction: a philosophical conversation, some life advice, some encouragement, some compliments, a smidgen of sweetness.
My childhood was bearing such a melancholy that I perpetually wanted to grow up, to become an adult as soon as possible, to take myself out of this feeling of helplessness.
However, you’ve been the smile of my first years, and I can assure you that I remember everything. I still know the stories you told me, I still can sing your lullabies, I still smell your perfume when you held me in your arms, I still picture your successive haircuts, your face and its dimple of delight as well as the shades of anxiety. I remember the void you left behind when you vanished. Our mother went gloomier if that was possible and our father went mute. With the innocence of a child, I first despised you for this desertion. But growing up, I slowly understood, and my resentment gave way to a lack, a will to renew our ties, despite the long distance between us.
I started to write you letters in which I tried to be sincere, in which I related my everyday life at school. I wrote almost a hundred but I never mailed them. Even to you I couldn’t expose myself like that. Those letters eventually became the diary needed for my coming of age and though you didn’t read even one of them, I felt grateful.
And our mother, her suffering more conspicuous than mine, always trying to heal some old wounds, she never understood, she only dwelled upon a gut feeling, a visceral reaction. She succeeded in attaining neither perspective nor wisdom. I still picture her wandering the corridors, with dull eyes and faltering gait. I understand what you ran from.
I also turned my back on her and I moved from the parental house as soon as possible. I buried my life in the useless and I reaped anxiety attacks. I don’t blame her though. I assume everybody is trying to avoid the heaviness of life and you never manage to dodge all the blows. I empathize with her struggle. She loves us so much, in her way.
I still think of you these days and the fact is I largely glorified you. You are an incarnated purity, which only exists in the faith of believers. You are love, tenderness, beauty and sweetness. I know you would tell me it’s insane, you would enumerate your many flaws, but I need this imagery and I like missing you.
All those solitudes and absences we try to fulfill in vain. I don’t want to compensate! The eastern philosophy is teaching us to live here and now. I happen to think it’s a good idea. There’s too much weight in the past and the future is an elusive ambition. In this little office, at the end of the week in a rainy summer, I’m ready to embrace the whole universe. I’m ready to absorb the benevolence as well as the violence, the celebration of life as well as the grief of death. I’m ready to cohabit with the best and the worst, the saints and the monsters, and I hope this sweet internalization could heal my body piece by piece.
Humanity is a war between lightness and heaviness, and I needed to invent a sister who could draw me by the light, my only way to face the surrounding chaos.