what are you holding on to
Those ideas, plans, views
opinions of what all under the sky
For waters carry no words.
not a single verse.
And every made-up belief
adds a white-picket fence
around your distraction fields.
What are you holding on to?
Sink deep, into
spaces that make you quiet.
Dig old forsaken pleasures out,
those fragile bits of absolute silence.
You don’t have to answer it.
But you see – what’ll be, will be
and no reason,
no strength of a grip
ever made a difference.
Or take Haruki Murakami for example. In his work he communicates so much of his own poignant observations about the world through his characters, without sounding preachy. His words tend to be gentle and poetic to the point of creating soft background music, with an effect similar to those in movie scenes. After reading almost all of his books, it’s still hard to pin how he does it. On the first page of his novel “Dance Dance Dance” there is this passage: “I wake up. I wonder where I am. Not only do I think about it, I also ask myself out loud: “Where am I?” But the question makes no sense. Even without asking, I know the answer. I am here, in my life. In my everyday life – an addition to my true being. A few incidents and affairs, circumstances that god-knows-when became my attributes, although I’ve never accepted them.” (A loose translation from another language.) I don’t know about others, but I find it hard to escape this riptide of vulnerability; helpless about the main character’s – my own – helplessness, I end up being pulled into yet another Murakami’s kingdom.
Shaping one’s imagination into gripping prose is a lot like martial arts: the end result doesn’t give away the amount of sweat that goes into the act. You see, my literary heroes seem to have this quality that escapes being shaped into singular advice on plotting, dialogue and such. One could say that I enjoy stories that bring absurdity into the mundane, those that play with my perception of everyday things. If the main character or the narrator is a strong and a captivating persona, the story, to me, becomes secondary; they can well grab my attention by telling me a chicken soup recipe. And I guess I enjoy first-person narratives for that same reason. It’s as if a singular, deeply limited view on events sits well with my own narrowness and helplessness as a human being…
(To be continued)
The train came and people rushed out in clusters. A teenage girl with large headphones and a handful of gadgets smacked me with her backpack. A man in his 30’s stumbled when a radiant woman sought his embrace. I wondered if she will do the same. Will she wear an expression of glee, resolution? Or unease – my insides iced at the thought. The conductor held a bent woman’s bag, escorting her to the exit. I stared at the dispersing crowd, waiting for the verdict to arrive with her face. The last groups walked, chatted and laughed. She wasn’t there.
Across time and distance, it waits
For us to slow down and see it for what it is;
Ties, invisible, have a character and patience of their own.
Weighed down by baggage, we hustle ourselves
Into the known – or that which we deem knowable
Where minds produce realities of our liking
And we get to ignore forces of nature, including our own.
Across time and distance, few bonds survive
Like cacti in a desert that need no water to bloom
In lonely landscapes that penetrate our existence.
I can’t tell if our orbits shall run into one another again, or
Whether our circumstances will be aligned.
But I sit here watching the invisible link
Between us: a trail intact while we’re still strangers.
Across time and distance, you make me smile.