Missing out on their lives, missing a beat as my heart escapes once more. Missing all I ever had, missing all I ever knew, trying not to miss that which I have yet to know. Missing him missing me; I am missing from a whole, there is a hole in me.

 

Missing everything that is here… elsewhere is simply calling. Missing the sign, missing the voice, missing the sun and the sound of rain. Missing the body that missed me as we crossed diagonal paths. Missing something I was being told, missing something I wanted to tell.

 

Missing the point, missing the urge, missing the feeling of being loved. Missing a beat, missing a step, missing a tooth after that fall. Missing out on life!!! But isn’t this life I’m now living? Missing thoughts, missing faces, memory lost, memory faded.

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He sits there watching bodies go by.

 

One passes, two… there he is—

He clings to the body with his eyes,

Arresting that moving shell.

He enters – zoom! – and keeps still.

He listens…

 

“I will do it, but I can’t… which is right?

What is wrong? Should I care? I don’t care,

But I must, is that right? Am I wrong?

The car needs cleaning, my place is a mess,

My salary is never enough. End, tonight

It must end. What’s it all for?”

 

He leaves, lets go, and keeps looking.

 

One, two, three… there she is—

He clings to her body with his eyes,

Arresting that moving shell.

He enters – zoom! – and keeps still.

He listens…

 

“Such pretty little lights, colourful jewels,

Sparkling like fallen stars, begging to stay alive.

I want them… The children are waiting,

Hungry, oh poor things. Wait! Another,

Shiny and lovely, oh, it must be mine!

The children can wait…”

 

He watches, he listens, he enters, he leaves.

He is consumed by all their private voices,

Their big, individual universes within.

He loves as they love, he feels their pain –

Ten-fold. Their doubts are as much his, their

Convictions- his revolution. He looks

And finds and asks and reassures and kills

And cares and grieves and nurtures.

All these lives he takes in one sitting, here

There, left and right, back, way past…

 

Lives, lives, precious little vast lives!

 

They go past him, calling to him.

He hears them… confusion, profusion,

Illusion, a fusion. Voices and faces and colors

And energy and a draft of cool air licking the

Back of his neck. One man rushing,

Another slipping, turning, looking away,

Kissing, touching, staring, malicious eyes,

Malicious heart. Running away, sitting still,

Waiting, a trap, bait, go get him,

Then disappear. They are all around him.

They are all over and they go through him.

 

Lives, lives, precious little vast lives!

Rilke says to look inside me, to listen to my core in my quietest and darkest of hours, to know if I am truly meant to write, to create…

The past 2 days spent in silence, up in the mountains away from all the city noise, reconnected me to this core. I was then able to listen closely to the murmuring of my heart and was able to confirm what I had already known. I want to create. I NEED to create. Now more than ever, I need to express this… what is this? It is like a formless mass of raw energy and stardust deep within me, burning, eating up my center, yearning to be expressed in a higher form, to be released upon the stroke of creation! Of MAGIC!

It is right here inside me. It is not to be found elsewhere, not even in places touched by the light of inspiration. Those are but others’ souls, sharing their jubilant release, hoping to infect others with their brand of happiness. Mine is only my own, within me and nowhere else. And I must work on it, lest it retreats into my own depths and deprives me once more of the chance to fulfill this need. For now I realize that I myself am capable of covering up all that truly matters, giving more importance to those which are trivial, superficial, but have been believed significant. I thought I was going down the right path, following the right signs. But now I humbly concede- I was mistaken.

So, back I go, up the path towards that direction I should have taken. Off these layers go, which have been hiding beneath it all that I deeply love and hold dear. Selfish as it may seem, I have to go back to my very own center, hold my precious core with my bare hands and nourish it, whisper to it, tell it that everything shall be fine from now on, and that it’s all that truly matters. I am back, the artist is back, to give it life.

And it is with utter humility that I finally admit to calling myself an artist. I always thought it arrogant to self-proclaim. But, pondering on these matters now, it does make sense for it to come from the artist herself. For who would better know of this painful, burning desire to create than the artist herself? Whose soul would suffer without the trance-like release of artistic expression? Who else would begin to lose her mind and therefore lose her grip on everything truly worth living in her life should she be deprived of artistic creation? I no longer fear the use of the word “Artist” for myself, because now I recognize that it is needed. As much as I need to nurture this core, as much as people need an identity. This is my identity.

As I now carefully slide back into the reality of the lowlands, I carry with me the tranquility found up in the heights, among those curiously shaped rocks radiating such positive energy. Energy so palpable I tried to grab hold of it with my bare hands several times in my flight. I say flight even though my feet were firmly planted on the rocky ground. Because the wind was all around me, carrying me and giving me the sight and the right to behold the beauty of this world from above… and what beauty! And all that was mine, even for an instant. In an instant the mountain gods had blown me up and tossed me around to see all that it nurtured in its bosom. It playfully and lovingly shared what it held most dear, all in an instant of spontaneous flight. An instant was all I needed, and it was long enough to keep the fragment of that magical energy that I’d caught in my hands tangible and real.

The mist shifts as she moves through it. She glides forward, leaving a blurry trail in shades of whitish gray. She paints a wispy feline onto the watery air… or are those traces of Neptune, blowing into sails of travelers lost at sea? She is magic on the prowl, searching for one deserving to cast herself upon. Yet again… but not yet. Ever so patiently she must keep walking and wait some more.


Under the sun the Others dream in sleep. With eyes closed they claim to live. But what do they see? How do they live? Under the sun the Gypsy keeps walking this sleepless dream. She keeps walking fearlessly in waking, lest she surrenders to a dormant reality she has spent her whole life avoiding.


What am I doing here? Here… this place,

so strange now, so un-part of me, so full of nothing I desire.

I am floating, just passing everyone by. But

they seem so happy… apparently. Am I happy?

There must be a way… please, take me away!


Night falls and it is nothing but another day gone by. The moon is on watch as the sun takes its repose. The Gypsy dreams of rescue, of the day she will be saved.


I am alone in my dark little corner, watching… watching

the light fall on the road, and the road stretch out

towards many different horizons.

Where to, where to?

And who shall come to my rescue?

Will I still be free when I am saved?

Or is salvation a trap with crystalline doors forever shut?


Watch that glorious bird fly so freely!

Higher and higher up!

What liberty, what unbridled beauty!


The streets are sand dunes in her dreamscape, constantly changing with the winds of her fancy. Everything is something else, except the stars that light her path, and the moon that keeps her company. The Gypsy keeps on walking, and this reality, shifting, until she finally reaches the sea.

The sea, the sea! Where a ship awaits her, and waves as restless as she, beckon to her. All waiting to take her out, into another dream. It is a sublime madness calling out to her, a lengthy voyage promising to take her to her rightful place.

She embarks with much joy, giving us a last glimpse of her billowing cape. Then the fog creeps in, engulfs her, and welcomes her into its realm. A creaking, a splashing, a blowing horn; the journey has begun. A shaft of sun pierces through the fog, and all mist explodes into pure light. The waves, at last, begin their celebration. The Gypsy is in its bosom once again.


Be still, Princesa, be still.”

Still she was, and still she stayed. He was pressing hard, on her mouth, on her chest, on her innocent womb. The entire weight of him was crushing, crashing on the lightness of her. Almost destroying her. Though she kept fighting, silently, the best she could to free but an arm from underneath this punishing mass.

The heavens had closed its doors to this world that day, a world illuminated by nothing but a sickly moon, moved by nothing but a scheming wind. Its air was cold and unkind, its scent a nauseous mix of putrid fruits and wet earth condemned to decay by an angry god. The stench of doom to he who toils, promising nothing but misery. The blowing malice sought them out, discontent with its solitude, seeping underneath the tent where he had taken her, forced himself upon her. A stronger, hungrier, more desperate current tried to pierce through but was shut out. The flapping canvas whipping in resistance against this malevolent force, fighting just like her. Perhaps even protecting her.

And so the wind blew on, a wailing vagabond treading the troubled night.

Ssssshhhhh… No te mueves…”

His hushing both ravaged and comforted her, just as the sharp cries of the departing wind numbed the memories of all in its path. It was a desired evil, and it sliced into her heart like a smooth and tempered blade, masterfully opening her up, spilling out her writhing soul as her suffocated cries drowned under his shadow.

The ill moon watched over helplessly, coldly, as he forced her, infused her, maligned her with sheer horror. Until her face was pallid and her eyes saw nothing that still belonged to that world. Until her heart could only find solace in the absence of life. Nothing but darkness reigned in his soul, and this darkness seeped in, his darkness claimed therein… And so she fell. She fell off the crevice of her very own chilling screams that sharply reached out for the heavens, dreaming of escape and only the company of beautiful stars. She was falling endlessly as she felt his monstrous gain and her defeat. All she wanted then was to keep falling and let it all, at last, end.

She dreamed of dawn, the beginning. She dreamed of surrender.

Ssssshhhh….”

She thrusted all of herself, in hope and in confidence, into his arms, into a future she had been deprived. It could all be hers, he assured, as long as she stayed in his arms. He would protect her, love her. Surely, he would. And of course she would stay. After all, she needed him, wanted him by her side. And of course HE would stay. Forever. And what glowing reassurance it was to her impoverished soul! Never having been offered anything but a pittance in her mother’s land. So, she willingly followed him into the night. With nothing less than her whole heart and soul, she did what he asked of her, and gave in all unconditional blindness. And that was when the light started coming. One by one, the children of the sun cavorted and danced in flight; they danced with the moon, making it smile, and the heavens lit up like a thousand wonderful promises coming to life.

She beamed an innocent smile.

Ssssssssshhhh….”

She was hurled down once again, crashing back in to wretched reality. That which horrified was still there, a complete and heavy darkness still upon her. Punishing her, this time, for having escaped. His stinking, loathsome breath crept in her ear and down her neck. Harder, deeper, he pushed unmercifully, determined to still her. To kill her. Till suddenly there it was, that light… that beautiful light above them! Above through a hole in the tent that gave way up to the night. She saw it through liquid red eyes- a lone star shining graciously in the heavens beyond this misery. She reached out to it, pleaded to it, her rippled tears mimicking its beauty as she wished for many beautiful dawns. And it exploded with hope and promise, hearing her out, spilling into the ill moon and that imminent doom. It pulled out the last of her strength, giving it rise as her body fell. Up, up it had pulled her, till she no longer felt a gripping, monstrous fear nor unending hell.

Be still, Princesa, be still.”

***

Ssshhh!” a young girl warns others behind her. “Here, this is the way…”

A group of women dressed alike follows the young girl down a path in the field. One by one they file out, all bearing a look of stunned silence. They are machines brought to life for the first time in what would seem to them like ages. An assembly line of global merchandise that have finally come to life. They quietly find their way through a maze of drenched, colorless crops, trying to keep a steady pace in the first hours of dawn. Head after anxious head, they weave their way through, each one filled with a deep and quiet longing to be free. Left- down the path; Right- down the bend. Alas, a clearing… a TENT.

They slow down. They step carefully, holding their breath as if to still the restless air. One by one they walk closer to it, by it, and finally past it. But there is no escape.

Ssshhhhh……”

The last of the women stops and is terrified. The others have advanced and are quietly marching to their freedom. It was a dreadful sound and it came from inside the tent. Her heart, about to give her away, mercifully holds back and pushes her on in silence. She then hears a quiet pleading, a young girl’s voice, but it was too late. The open road was lying in front of her, and the skies above, heavy with pain; there was no other choice, and no turning back.

The women run off in to the distance. The muddied field is as vast as the troubled sky.

Oh, but what beauty!

Suddenly, the common transformed into the unimaginable, and the air that surrounded them, electrified. Electrified all that it touched and entered as the wind that joined in pushed it around in swirls of static exhilaration. The yellowed blades of grass star ted breathing in again, infusing itself with radiant color and life under t he light of the waning moon. The heavens obliged with all its fat and wispy clouds performing a languid dance of purple and red and brilliant starlight. The dunes, unmoved for ages, laughed with them. A big, he arty laugh that triggered an escape of a thousand giant butterflies from ben eath its cascading grains, their flapping wings in no way gentle nor meek. It was rather like the force and impatience of bats making their sinister journey at dusk, only this one painted brilliant colors across this most incredible of nature’s feasts. Then distant bells started ringing, thou gh they be of Gothic belfries, attempting a cry of jubilation. Of excitement for the new dawn! It was a moment of pure joy and release, pushing the darkness further back, past the limits of the celebration.

The woman basked in this new happiness, entranced by the fortune so effortlessly found. But when have I last known such joy? When has such a union last brought delight? Surely this has happened before, my good memory tells me so. Yet it all feels so incredibly new! It was the authentic experience of a different world revealing itself to a hungry soul. That moment of awe unmatched by any other. She reveled longer in her enthrallment, carefree and pure. Oh, how I want this to last! Let this be mine forever!

Forever… A simple word, a beautiful word. Though it was the key, perhaps, which opened the gates and let the darkness flood back in. The darkness that lurked far beyond and well out of reach, awaiting its moment of return, started creeping in again, slowly, returning from where it had been cast away, moving from shade to shadow until light was overcome once more. The woman resisted, though helplessly so.

OH, but you see… when They set it up for you, you’ve got to follow through… THEY’RE not going to do everything for you, you know… you’ve GOT to fight to keep the spell alive, FIGHT to make it stay… oh, don’t you see… if you think about it too much, hold back too long… IF you hold back… the magic will just disappear… it will be G O N E…”

And so she went pleading, the capricious child in her trying ever so direly to convince even a semblance of him to stick it out with her. To keep the light. She begged. She held on to fragile threads of his affection, pulling herself up and closer to his core. Almost there. She desperately grabbed at whatever was left off the plate of attention like a famished orphan and took it all in, hoping that the seed of her need would be nourished into beautiful satisfaction. Or perhaps, even love. She begged once more.

…NO, oh no… don’t stop believing… keep going, keep going… stay, stay, STAY…”

She cried as the moment slipped away. It was all in vain, of course. The child inside was tormented by this pure desire for something she may not have. It was a panic-stricken plea for the lords of chance to work their magic once again, though she was totally aware that it was too late. She knew there was no repetition this time round; that the moment, despite her insistence, had passed and would not be back. Not for a very long time, at least. And she knew that in this misfortune there was no one to hear her out but herself; no one but her weary heart to say- ‘yes, I will stay.’

But WHY NOT stay… Why not keep going… Why… NOT ME…”

The young woman sat still and silent. And there she remained for a long while. Tired of being unable to accept, broken after her insistence was ignored and all that surrounded her decided to go its own way. Alone she sat in the center of a vast and barren field, waiting for the wind to heed her call.

But there was nothing. The outcast sun had long set off on its journey. No one and nothing was there to show her where to go. All that was left for her was this nothingness, and she let it wrap around her and keep her company.

All things were still. The air was unmoving. The waning moon kept quiet guard of another long night.

I hear it again. That anxious voice of someone who’s had too much caffeine. Nervous chatter. Cold, certain, serious. It’s an urgent invitation that’s really an order; a pull, an insistent tugging that stings and excites at the same time. Excites, ya. Exhilarating pain at its finest. Something is here and it’s come for me. Again. Oh, man, can’t wait to get out of here. I’m all set for elsewhere.

It first came to me a few years back. This same lure to somewhere far and flung way out there. Nowhere in particular, just not here. It started with a feeling. Something in the gut, ya. A nudging, a tugging, a crunching in my center. A feeling. Though never too strong to bother, just persistent enough to be undeniable and impossible to ignore. And so I listened to it. Carefully. I lowered my pretty little ear to it and felt its trembling voice regurgitate spells of riddance and flight. Above all, of flight.

But, where to?” Sol inquires, confused by my vague certainty.

My dearest fellows of the road, can anyone truly answer that question? Of course, we all set off towards somewhere. A physical place where our plane lands, our boat docks, our motorbike starts to falter… but can anyone really say where one is headed? North, south, east or west; the world turns on a tilted axis, how do we know for sure where anywhere is? It’s a ridiculous question. I hold him up with a swig and earnestly, honestly try…

Just not here.”

He shakes his head as if finding a way for these three words to enter his simple, domesticated understanding. They float, they bounce off, they vanish. And I am lost.

But see, I’m not talking about a call from outside. It is more like a cry, a wailing lost in our own private universes. That strange world hidden within us, ever expanding and never quite content. It seeks, and will keep seeking till it is time. It pleads us for company in its restlessness and speaks to us in our solitude. Ever listen to yours? It is a curious place from where curiosity springs. And wherever to it shall lead us… well, only the dear lords of time and space can tell. Sol doesn’t see. And why should he? After all, it is my own universe speaking to me of my very own journey. So it is my duty to listen, and only my loss should I not heed.

I spoke of loss, ya. Or more like of losing, intentionally losing. I speak of riddance. That impulse to be free of all you have and all you’ve built and just walk away. Drastic, yes, though not at all a waste. Purposeful, yes, though painful just the same. It is a tragic release no matter how much desired. Though I never did go for simple goodbyes. It’s the same sort you go through when a long-suffering loved one finally dies. Agony and relief bound together by a desire to move forward, to carry on living. Life provoked by death. Nothing new, ya. Just a reality not a lot readily accept. That pain so easily goes with contentment can be such a crime! Who created this malicious guilt in being free?! Oh, but why do we do this to ourselves?

I recall this painting of a mangy, grizzly old man tearing off his child’s head. A ravenous Saturn, I think. What bloody madness! But the old fool got it right, ya. The god was eating up his own offspring, tearing off its head much like how we sever ourselves from the very lives we’ve built, killing something so precious and unique. It is a torturous process, each pull stretching us out and ripping the veins that have kept us alive and somewhat whole. Whole, but not complete. Because there is an emptiness desirous of this pain. A gap, a void that needs filling. And it’s what gives us this sort of sinister happiness, a traitor within offering hope from the kill.

So we take it, ya. We embrace it in our need to fill in our hollow selves. We celebrate this riddance of a dying present in our own, quiet ways, till that day, that day… We leave what we know for what we don’t because we are finally certain that it is not here. What we seek is just not here.