25

{ anonymous }

during the day she’d take long aimless walks around the city.

if it was raining,

she’d walk with her face toward the clouds

letting the drops hit her,

trying to feel something.

she’d sit for hours staring at pigeons,

never people—

watching people scurrying around each other like blind little mice

reminded her of just how

disconnected the species had become.

she didn’t feel like one of them.

she felt numb watching them.

in the evening she’d frequent a piano bar on the east side of town.

it was small, cozy, hidden.

she’d go there at least a couple of nights a week,

there were performers every night:

piano, saxophone, all of it—

all the soul, all the blues, all the jazz.

she’d arrive promptly when the place opened and stay for at least four or five hours.

no one to sit with her,

no books to occupy her,

no booze or substance to distract her

(well, maybe one drink).

she was totally exposed,

completely vulnerable.

she’d listen to the music and

occasionally survey the room—it was

the only time she didn’t mind

observing other people.

there were some rough faces in that bar,

some lonely faces,

faces just like hers.

all there with the same prerogative:

human connection.

there was no stage,

so the artists were right on top of the audience—so close, they didn’t even need a microphone.

every wrinkle on

their forehead, every bead of

sweat, the sincerity

in their eyes—

you could really see

the human in them.

when certain artists performed,

she felt like their voice was her voice,

their music was coming from her heart.

it was one of the rare times when she felt something beyond numbness,

when she felt connected to another person.

one night on the bus ride home,

while humming a tune she had heard

a few hours earlier,

she wrote herself a note:

people need music.

it’s how we

connect.

photo: photo by unknown

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24

i went to the place where

we used go,

but you weren’t there;

and even though i knew you wouldn’t be—

still, i looked for you.

hope is the cruelest illusion.

back to the beginning,

when the flowers were blossoming and young

and so was our love.

back to those days in the middle,

all muddled and out of order,

a story born of the confusion between

imagination and memory.

back to the end

when the trees were bare and black with flocks of crows,

and the flowers had withered.

with your eyes you said:

i loved you in the summer,

but it’s winter now, baby.

but i won’t forget you yet;

because after winter comes the spring when

even after it’s all gone rotten,

all it takes is

one drop of rain and

ray of sunlight

for everything to revive.

hope is the cruelest illusion.

[ photo: Tipi Hedren from ‘The Birds’, Philippe Halsman ]

23

here i am:

sitting on a park bench;

raindrops falling on my last cigarette;

alone in a world

where it’s necessary

not to be alone.

little puddles

forming in clusters at my feet

draw my attention.

dig my fingers deep into the ground,

pull out a handful of mud

and roll it between my palms.

this is it.

the rest is all an act.

[ photo: @ratherbedeadthancool ]

22

i watch the sun rising.

observing the intensity of

naked existence.

reality

recedes into the background and

i forget my self.

if i am quiet enough,

especially in my mind,

i can hear the rhythm of the morning;

a smooth saxophone.

in this moment,

it all makes perfect sense

because it makes absolutely no sense.

photo: @neilkrug

20

{ bad faith }

she found herself alone,

in the midst of a bunch of happy, reasonable voices.

all of them realizing merrily that they agreed with each other.

she started to think that there was something wrong with her.

even the thought of being in disagreement made her feel ill and nauseous.

she decided that her condition was due to this absence of agreement.

if she wanted the nausea to go away

she needed to agree.

she concluded that the only way to avoid disagreement,

was to accept that there must be

only one right way of being.

she took great care in the dissembling of herself,

and over time, she managed to

forget whatever it was necessary to forget.

to consciously induce sleep when it was needed,

and then, to promptly forget the act of hypnosis she had just performed.

existing in this way was difficult to do everyday,

so she kept busy.

she never allowed her mind a moment of quiet.

she never read any books or wrote down any original thoughts.

until nothing was real anymore.

inside or out.

then, little by little,

she began to feel

a bit strange,

a little more put off than usual,

a little more unamused than was previously tolerable.

at first, she tried desperately to persuade herself that this unrest was just a passing phase,

and she tried to carry on as she always had.

but something within her just would not capitulate.

a burning question

kept popping up night after night in her dreams

and echoing in the back of her mind.

she tried, but she couldn’t silence it.

she couldn’t manage to come up with any kind of convincing argument

for continuing to exist in a world that wasn’t real

in a way that wasn’t real.

she wanted freedom.

there was simply no other alternative that left her alive.

she was ready to take responsibility for her own existence.

she was ready to disagree.

photo: Shary Boyle

19

{ the rebel }

i made my way along the stone path,

dragging my feet as i usually do whenever i’m reluctant to go.

once at the gate, i turned back.

the sun was peaking through the clouds as i surveyed all that was left behind me.

i laughed quietly

because i knew that i would never solve it.

then, the garden smiled at me.

she seemed to be amused,

and in silent agreement.

i leaned against the gate and watched for a long time.

every pebble, every blade of grass,

all of it was was no longer available to me in the same way that it was a moment ago.

it all seemed to be changing right before my eyes,

ever so slightly forcing me to shift my perspective.

there was no right way to see it.

again, i laughed quietly

because i realized that

i was witnessing a sort of

rebellion.

the attitude of the trees,

of the flowers,

was that of refusal.

they simply refused to remain the same or allow me to project any kind of expectation onto their existence.

i couldn’t help but envy this kind of audacity.

i gave a heavy sigh because i knew that i wanted to be one of them.

i too, wanted to rebel.

photo: @bess_hamiti

18


{ cognitive dissonance }

there once was a girl who got in the wrong world.

she existed in rhythm with other people.
in a world of public parks, cafes and metropolitan cities,
but none of it was was familiar.

she tried to convince herself that she was living somewhere else.
behind the canvas of paintings, between the pages of books, immersed in the long dry laments of jazz.

and then, after making a complete fool of herself,
she opened her eyes,
she realized that she had been mislead—

the way up and the way down were arbitrary distinctions.


she saw all around her a contradiction and within herself a breathing paradox.

her mind and this world,
straining against each other without being able to embrace each other.

she wrote a note:
my mind’s sentiment for unity,

this atomistic universe, and the contradiction

that binds them,

there is no secret behind this,

it’s absurd, and only that.

photo: Chris Labrooy @chrislabrooy