The Woes of Narration

There is a loneliness that cannot be replaced.

So many hallways and hierarchies I only traverse in my mind. So many characters I keep in constant company that only exist in my head. So many lost figments of time I will never cry through, rejoice through, rage through, live through.

I create too many narratives in my head when I’m alone. They run wild. They take me to countries I’ve never been. They turn me into a person who doesn’t dominate, but who still exists in, who I presently and physically and concretely am.

I conceive—

Dylan: pining, indulgent, brooding. I’ve killed myself four times and wake up after every one of these deaths in sweat and tears. I am hip-hop without the heritage. I am in neighbourhoods I shouldn’t be in. Fucking faceless, nameless, replaceable bodies. I am indifferent to their faces.

Sophie: beautiful, fascinating, charismatic, self-absorbed, terrifying. I am the soul to my art, the soul in my art, the soul of my art. I am Billy Joel on the piano, Basquiat on canvas, Black Sabbath and Sum 41 in my bedroom, Courtney Love on the streets. A hypocrite.

Freya: distant, libido-driven, good-hearted, guilty. I am the throng of thoughts that fill your heads in the aftermath. Heaped with onerous responsibility and expectation. I am the terrible anxiety people should be so lucky to never get, and yet here I am, hard-pressed for penitence and pertinence and potential, fighting against the vacuous strobe of a violin, playing from my heart, without fully being happy.

 

signs

teething jaguar: bent double, under the bronzed sky, the sun a peach of white, the harvest flaying with pumpkin scorch and tiger striped whiskers of ash. sighted: a single musky wheelbarrow; in it, yellow boots and a child’s raincoat. no baby breaths or bedded moans, but a clean cut of proportion, silence sliced into neat halves by a mellowing of blaze. not even a peep from the old critter who sits out back and barrels through a pack a day, watching the earth split and the continental drift, parting the ground with a rod, reeling the soaked, shivering, sunken moon in with a net.

the walk home

soft starlight snaking silent streets; lofty lampposts lining lanes… i look up during the walk home, with snippets of the sky through shocks of leafy canopies and between cheap yellow overhead lights — before the welcomed disruption of an open canvas: a slate of sky, sometimes clouded over by wisps of resurrected fallen air, others clear and blank, and on rare occasion, morphed into a palette by brushstroke gradients. often the sky looks like it’s pressed up against a sheet, and i imagine the globe fitted inside a glass dome. i try to picture Earth being flung aside by an enormous Hand and falling down space, only to remember that space has no direction, and then to remember direction is relative to my imaginary position, and by this time the Earth is likely to be a small point engulfed in blackness, and then my mind hits a dead-end because how can i continue to picture something moving further away from me when i can’t picture seeing it, because picturing the microscopic in an infinite space would require a zooming in, which wouldn’t make much of a difference anyway?

when i’m not looking up i keep my head low. i don’t like walking too slow and by habit i switch sides of the street more than once. i listen to too many different things to ascertain what’s typical, but tonight the sky is milky, the lights glazed over by an unidentifiable haze, and uncannily enough Bliss n Eso comes on shuffle. it sounds wistful yet hopeful, and, emotionally, totally accessible. in other words, exactly what i need on this uncharacterisically soppy and giddily sentimental night. it’s a feeling i haven’t had in weeks, maybe months; i have missed the sureness, the familiarity, the warmth, the hint of something less lucid, playfully indulgent.

11pm: dewy and delicate. i know what’s going to come and i am ready for it, whatever the stop signs, however depreciating. just like old times. i am with the clouds, my heart caught in my throat, the rawness potent, almost piquant — if only for tonight.

the water shifts — a soft sliver through a lasso of time, baked in the glint of sun & frothed with a milky sugar glaze. this passage, passing, downstream, in trickles, then in bouts, then in torrents, pressed up against rocky slabs in a victorious deluge, like triumph over what has been conquered, and persistence in what is left to be conquered still. but more so, a gentle waning of river rush; tender sloshes against sand, lapses over moss. pondering, as i do, these travels of mind & breath.

rain

Father curses the inconvenience: the uncertain road and fatal feller. $10 for a taxi ride two MRT stations apart — it was either that or soggy shoes, drenched documents.

Brother curses the inconvenience: he must still go to school, of course, thirsty for knowledge, but the rain does not quench; instead it beckons him back to bed, pleading warmth against the storm, so that he imagines he might’ve been a slumbering sailor at sea.

I curse the inconvenience: the cold does not bode me well, but sheds an overcoat of tissue despondency over my skin, peeled back and shuddering.

Elsewhere, maybe Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya: the weather comes too, the first rainfall in months. Men and their families lift their hands up, as if in praise of God.