triptych

It’s like I’m walking through the streets, studiously avoiding cracks on pavements and picking up discarded emotions. It’s all random, seen? Can’t describe where these feelings are coming from, so rationalising that I’m a cuckoo, and they’re shiny.

Cue the significance of birds. Everywhere, dead and alive, suspended mid-flight, perched on fire escapes. Tottering between seeing them as omens of optimism v. harbingers of horror. Choose to believe in the beauty, thank God they’re not horrible birds, just cute little ones. Even in death, something about their adorability makes me happy they lived at one point.

I remember when I lived in places where you could see vultures circling in the distance, and you knew some poor thing was dying, somewhere out there in the lands that were bad. Lands that the sun made harsh and deadly during the day, and nighttime brought out venomous snakes and scorpions. Lands so fatally beautiful at dawn and sunset, alien and seductive under full moons. Where people went to go mad.

Moving away on into this concrete jungle. The greyness of cities makes me less human, less individual, less whole, in the exact opposite way those prairie skies humanised me with their esoteric godliness. Nothing I feel is new.

***

A childhood backdropped by conflict. Grateful for the safety and sheltering that privilege provides. Gunshots in the night heard in childhood, but spared the site of death. Only in the daytime, blood smears, burned out shells, bullethole walls. Harsh desert sun sterilises, cleans. Nothing to fear out there. Weapons normalised. Three different continents, three different conflicts. Spared the worst. The army’s always been around.

Standing guard against possible attacks on sunburned tourists. Skulking on street corners. Abseiling down buildings in alleyways. Cuffing people against brick walls. Speak of dehumanising – who’s got it worse, the perpetrator of the violence or the victim? I think I know which one I would rather be, where I’d rather feel those handcuffs.

But nothing I feel is new.

***

Romantic notions of home, family, life and love. She was never easy with me, never smiled and chatted with me the way she did with others. Didn’t understand why until it was too late, didn’t understand that I threatened. I wish I could console, say there’s nothing here for you to fear, you’re too beautiful, too good. I’m nothing next to you. But we both know that’s not true, that the slightest gesture from me would move powers greater than both of us to act. Maybe it’s best I never got to say anything.

Wasn’t the same way for my ancestors. They spoke (were spoken to), and the outcome each time was what she feared. I’m not the same as them, although their blood’s in me, I’m not the same as them. I’m a product of my acceptance and rebellion against that heritage, and this struggle’s altered my DNA, chimera-ed me into this unknown, previously-unseen hybrid.

Nope, nothing new felt here either.

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