I stand in the shadow
of the great palms
of the red tiles that grow out of its soul
I stand watching the world go cold.
The broad roads of this city made of dust,
the river made out the minds, out of dreams –
this is my home,
till I learn to break away from its spell.
My tongue feels heavy
with the growing names I am supposed to learn,
with all the things I must not be to be loved by them.
I am almost expecting new things.
“this is a good time to run away”, says my ghost-from-the-city-of-sea.
My ghost-from-the-mountains-green laughs
at how desperately I want to be understood, to be seen
and yet how furiously I try to erase everything of myself.
Everything in me seems to be made to be hidden.
I hide my trembling fingers.
I hide my desperation and the mess it leaves in its wake.
I prepare myself for another show.
The show of trying. My trying is so beautiful
in how it is always hoping to be disappointed.
I wait under the neon signs of misspelled words
and think about the storm that will never arrive.
I wait with hope.
I wait with arms fed up of trying.
At the right turn
I faced another street
where someone I know once lived.
For all I know, their present
might still look like my ‘once ago’.
From where I stand and where I see
is their “what a nightmare,
thank god it is not true/thank god it is not me.“
Maybe with their shocked and sorrowful faces
they will ask me this
“Tell me it is not true.“
and I will probably tell them exactly that
because I do not want them to think
“thank god is it not me“
or “god has been kind to me. god loves me more.“
Because maybe then, in that moment,
I may hate my lovely friend and my lovely god,
and the lovely lives that I am not part of.
So I take another turn,
seeking other roads-
roads where the ones I knows,
the ones with question
do not have to look at me.
And I do not have to see my tragedy, my loneliness
paint them as villain
when they are not,
when maybe they are the only ones that care.
that’s where my anger lives
on the mud stains of a size 7 shoes
swimming on the white floor of my small apartment.
in the plants uprooted, in the marigolds strewn
and trampled on, in the light that smiles nonetheless.
on the streets where lives my fear – that finds me
and almost kills me, every time i hear footsteps behind me.
on the patronizing attitudes that i dutifully respond with gratefulness.
on the potential dangers, the possibilities of violence that every intimacy invites.
on the things i say yes to with a breaking heart.
in the mirror that only prizes my delicate frame and my weak wrist,
that tells me i would at least beautiful in the missing posters,
in the files housed in grim police stations,
in the videos and photos i would never get to know of (if i am lucky)
in the speeches that tell me i am safe
in the compartments and corners made for me.
soundproof corners where either
i would finally end up believing the facade, the lie of a safe world
or where i would learn how to stay silent to be spared the worst.
that’s where my anger lives
of looking at empty roads
and imagining a crowd
in which I could
search for you.
Of looking at our life
imagining hurdles to cross
to reach you.
But here you are
separated from me
by a sheet of decaying skin.
You are painfully near
and no guides have been written
to cross the gulf that separates us.