i thought that maybe there was the sky and that was it, that the moon had something to do like getting up and getting lazy and trying real hard. i grow into all my bad habits like root to moist soil and wonder how long until you run out of numbers. the truth is i filter my voice through lovers and not quite lovers and people i think about making love to, i count them and their bodies until the night surrenders itself. for a long time i wanted language to be all mine, to hold it against me, let it touch the places i can’t get into (or out of yet). i miss pour a drink and let the red of it stain a white table cloth. doesn’t it feel loud? i make up countless excuses to a stranger about the need i hide so well to be loved and lie when i say i do not need it. i ask too many people to come home to a bed i only pay rent for, the wood like most things feels temporary shelter. someone asks me what is it that i do and i reel off a list of grocery shopping and explain the time i bought a mango that had already gotten too soft for salad. how often have i cried walking across this city at its loneliest and most ungodly hour?how often is enough of anything? because you can’t spend yourself avoiding the moment you were born. when i wake up the next day piecing together the parts of my body i discount or miss measure, i pick up all the clothes on the floor, wash the mascara stains that have formed rings beneath my eyes, clean the flat from room to room and think about how much time is consumed by being uncomfortable. maybe i wanted to touch and maybe i didn’t, maybe skin is the most precise confirmation that i too am here - wandering, needy, deserving, the whole damn city.
Come as you are
i could tell you about where all my lonely begins and ends but it would be just another story. this morning i wake up and my body has exhausted itself. i try to get up and it slumps back into the sheets and tells me do not move. i message my supervisor to let her know that something isn’t quite right and i won’t be in today. i curl back up into a ball and slumber until the dreams take me some more, i keep at it. eventually, at some point when the heat swelters into the room i try to get up. i count minutes and promises and lullabies and ask my body to move, take itself from here to there. i shower and the heat makes my fasting body even more tired. i eventually venture out to get things done and let the sun simmer into my muscles, into my bones. i come home to find my brown has been cooking into itself, i appreciate the lines that let me know vitamin d (despite my deficiency) is making its way into me, that my skin is home. i lay in bed and sleep until it is time to clean and water the garden and prepare iftar and think of how quiet this month has been.
it is only wednesday and although i did not rest on the weekend, it feels like i have not done enough. a few days ago, i listen in on some girls (activists and artists) confess the fact that the work we do never feels enough, we cannot sit still and accept it as our moment. last night i cook up a storm to feed some of the people i love the most and am grateful for. i do not how to say ‘i love you’ often, nor do i hold on to a hug too long but i will feed you till your heart is full. i go to bed praying into the ground and watching the sky from my window thanking allah for the brilliance and love i am surrounded by. i think today i will do things but my body needs rest. white people tire me out and part of my dislike for my work space is how overwhelming whiteness is all the time, how it swallows you up, how you don’t want it to be the centre of everything all the time. the neighbour in the flat above bangs on the floor/ceiling when we, too many brown bodies, rupture into laughter.it is 10:34pm and i am still thinking about the things i should have done today, anxiety swimming between my stomach and chest. this saturday i will wear a white sari with a halter neck blouse and wonder if anyone will notice how heavy my arms are against a backdrop of small, petit slim brown girls. i wonder if i can tame myself into feeling less large, less so-much-of-the-room, less heathen. i got angry at another boy this week, you know they will tell you so much about yourself and sometimes sure i crave touch more than i should, or surrender myself to a series of narratives i do not know how to abandon yet, but i know i need or deserve more. i say no. i am making my way through a two litre bottle so that my kidneys may hurt less tomorrow. i think about the job i want (make duaa for me, please), i think about the projects making meaning of themselves, i think about the BCA tomorrow and relaunching The Body Narratives and the new exhibition, i think about reaching and touching out and being reached out for and being touched by so many spirits that make me fuller than any lover has and know that my lonely that comes in swathes, that drowns me out of myself sometimes, that even can take the moon from my favourite sky is a slow reminder i am always here for more than myself. i am, by his mercy, always more than myself.
- love was the beginning, middle and end of all matter (i held the universe for you)
- almost is always made up of ‘the fine line betweens’
- i think of your body as a song and my touch the calling out
- only now do i realise my new found love for cooking is a love to feed folks, to show things i don’t know how to show otherwise (you know like a hug or an embrace or an ‘i love you’)
- the rain is a comfort, these sticky storms a mercy, this is what the sky is in its most beloved for - a throat, a sigh, a surrender
- and who made stomach of it?
- 'believe me baby, i've been thinking about you long and drawn out'
- god, what will his body look like against yours? will you let him take you apart? his tongue in your mouth? will he taste the alcohol or the sweat first? will he know your alive?
- the bus driver as the bus rests before its next journey digs into his meat and rice and we share cake for iftar and his accent is thick with the sound of egypt maybe and for a moment you realise ramadan has the chance to build where we most often forget
- i prayed, i want to say i didn’t but i prayed and my knees stuck into the ground and i asked and i asked and my knees stuck into the ground, ready
- i like the summer storm the best, i like the rain on bare skin while the air is sweet with just enough
- you know i could be so much more, i could fill up so much more time, pack every minute out, stuff things into it like knowledge and sound and books and productivity but here i am letting myself rot, thinking about how close i can get to the bone of my body until it starts to show that there is so little of me even i would keep
- keep everything but the time they left you.