Mise en scène

Music played somewhere as the blue sky and clouds washed over her. She looked to that place, as though it was beyond her and not within. That somewhere was her salvation.

Perhaps this film was it, some token of affection from the universe in that here and now. So she projected herself onto the screen. There in that meadow she began to breathe, as she tried to forget where her body began and ended, with her imagination she started to mesh herself into the mise en scène. Trying to make possible the dichotomy of the self and the unreal.

So she left the room, she left the screen before her, aware that it was a video floating and nothing more, but aware that the unfurling juxtaposition of images; would from this point on, be the only thing that made sense anymore.

She needed the clean air in that meadow to drive out the smell of jasmine and sheets, stained with something that was once hers. The ruffles of cotton and white snow enveloped with something more sinister, fleetingly tried to touch her.

The little girl ran her hands through the tall over grown grass, leaving that moment, leaving that life at this point in time was essential, so it was here that she had come.

The notes filled her heart in place of a sorrow she did not understand yet, but would, years from now – a lullaby no mother would sing to her.

The ground held her but she was certain, so sure of the pit underneath. A swamp, filled with murky water she did not know how to swim in, right now but someday would.

Years had passed since then, as she sat in a room and all she saw and didn’t see before her were letters. Her eyesight was failing her now, it would end someday – the doctor didn’t seem to understand what he was saying to her. That time mattered even more, but all he seemed to be able to tell her was how little time she had, maybe months, or a year to look for that film, the film that saved her all those years ago.

It was time, a place in her history, that she had buried now, buried with the light of day. It wasn’t the blindness outside her that she wanted to dispel – it was the one that was within. The one that did not allow her to go beyond a certain point –

She was sure, so certain that if she could find that film, the one she had watched all those years ago as a little girl, all would be well in the world again.

She made her way up the rickety staircase, the staircase of her childhood, which was where she had left it. She wondered after all those years, what childhood was, the innocence of eating an ice cream for the pleasure of vanilla as opposed to eating an ice cream to fill a void somewhere, a void that she had tried to fill with every substance under the sun. All that was left to fill that void with, was cement.

She found him; he was in the same room he was always there and a part of her was always there with him too. Locked in that room, praying, hoping for an angel to come but no one came. The scriptures had failed her, just as his love for her had failed him and had led to this moment where she had to ask the question.

When she asks him about the film from that day, he asks her, why now? Why bring up the past after all these years?

She looks at him, I don’t want to start a war; I just need to know what that film was.

He replies simply, I don’t remember. She turns away and as she does, everything fades away, darkness encloses her and she doesn’t see him cry. She never sees him again.

In the end, all was black, but it wasn’t the lack of colour that had taken away the shades of grey, it was the sadness that filled her heart. In that moment, all the hope was lost.

Years from that day he died, sightless, she had slipped into the pit. The swamp had her now; it was where she wanted to be. The swamp smelt of jasmine, it was made of cotton and his hands edging out of her memory, violating her over and over again.

Amidst a soiree of black and black and jasmine, she sat as the last rites were read over mind, body and soul. She heard it, before she would ever see it… The deceased had requested a song be played.

Then the tune from that field, from all those years a go played and in his death, he had not forsaken her. She was no longer in the soiree of black and black and jasmine, the music filled her ears, filled her lungs with clear air, gasping she surfaced and rose out of the swamp.

She was there once again, older, taller amongst the tall grass, underneath the blue sky; she saw, she finally saw what she had not all those years ago. That all along it was music that had saved her soul that day. She felt the breeze against her face, in that meadow all colour came back into her life, all colour came back and she lay back in the meadow and smiled, it was over, not because he had died but because she had set herself free.

All of the above

It’s all of this but none of it at the same time.

It’s trying to be too many things at once.

It’s the irony similar to a song you sang on a road trip.

It’s trying to find natural substitutes for sugar-free-sweetner.

It’s when there are no more crash diets left for you to try.

It’s having something to do and feeling like you don’t have enough to do.

It’s spending too much time on Facebook and thinking other people have lives.

It’s looking up at the sky, not seeing enough stars and accepting it.

It’s the realization that where you live, you don’t hear crickets at night.

It’s being all right with not being okay for so long.

It’s forgiving everyone but never really forgiving your self.

It’s asking if anyone will notice if you’re not there anymore.

It’s being too afraid to ask if anyone knows you haven’t been there for a while.

It’s answering a call and being too sad to say.

It’s not picking up the phone and making a call to say you’re too sad.

It’s sending a really long text and not anticipating a reply.

It’s not getting the text and shrugging your shoulders to affirm you’re fine.

It’s telling people things you wished you’d never said.

It’s wandering around because you’re wondering all the time.

It’s missing you and wondering if I’m missing you too much.

It’s being scared of loving you too much and in turn giving you too little.

It’s saying none of this matters – when you know it really does.

It’s being consistently inconsistent and all of the above.

When you say nothing at all

There is a silence in the world that you will fall in love with, it is the kind of silence that speaks to you when no one else will, that you turn to for solace, for comfort, for gold and for volumes that no one else knows. It doesn’t deafen you with its quietness, while it has no words it has its own voice. You find it when you hear the melody of a guitar, quietly being played while you bustle around an apartment. When all you can hear is raspberries floating in something sparkly. Or the loveliness of unspoken words that pass when you look in your bag and see a book with the words you need at times, called “movie speak”. It’s the kind of silence you can revel in because you pulsate with wordless memories and carries you through a tough day when you enjoy remembering random things like parmesan cheese hunting and spotted pink plants. It is the kind of silence that is full of hope when you are awake and someone else is asleep and you are day dreaming about them and you go to sleep knowing they are thinking about you. It isn’t that deafening silence, where lack of words leave you speechless, it lulls you into stillness or let’s you speak, really speak and be listened to. The kind of silence that lets you sing because it has its own note. The kind of silence you want to listen to for the rest of your life, because without it you know all you will be left with is meaningless words. Because with them even silence is perfect.

With love, Palestine

It’s not even easy to sit at your screen and stare,
Say that you do but you don’t really care,
And if we are dead long before our time,
Will you remember me? Will you remember Palestine?
And yet to get your news channel what is it you pay?
What is the cost of not seeing what we go through each day?
You don’t know the value of a poor man’s life,
You forget so easily the face of his wife,
The widow of that son is the daughter of a father,
Married to a broken hearted mother,
That is unable to give her baby any water,
Behind the scenes is that child with tears in his eyes,
Your cable company ensured you got a good price,
Once you’ve done your bit by sighing at the bombs,
It is crying shame but “honey see what else is on”
If I were a celebrity my faith would get me out of here,
As it is I’m still waiting for people to address I’m here,
There are so many people talking about trying to help me,
But not as much as Cheryl Cole and if her new hair is pretty,
You have some days when you step out the door,
Wondering if there will be anything to come back to at all,
But I’m the story that seals a journalist’s book deal,
Those black and white words that sell a broadsheet,
I’m captured in an award-winning picture of pain,
If I’m really lucky I’ll be on some wall of fame,
I wonder what I would do if things were the other way,
I like to think at the very least I would stop and pray,
I wouldn’t sit on my couch and say but what can we do?
I would get up and ask what can I do for you,
You are mistaken if you think I think my enemy is the Jew,
He is as much of a brother to me as are you,
My struggle is not just against the forces that oppress me,
It is also against the people that ignore my agony,
It’s my will to live that denies my right,
To ask why every US president refuses to condone my plight,
I know it’s nothing but a great big white lie,
That you won’t stand up and say we don’t deserve to die,
I’m a voice whispering in the wind without tears tonight,
With love, Palestine.

Bethlehem: My sister stands at the Apartheid Wall, July 2011.

This poem is dedicated to my younger sister, whom I wish the best of luck with her peace mission in Palestine. I pray for the safety of the lives of the people you will touch, beyond that and of course for you. 

Once upon a time…

People kissing in the rain
Eyes Open
Cut to water in your shower
TV switching on…white noise
Flick to some one surfing
Submerged in water
The sunshine on a field
And people eating ice pops
Playing the guitar
Playing football
The streets of some valley.
Out the door and in the world
The noise, the pollution, the clamour
People smile back – she smiles at them
She was taught how easy it is to smile
Hiding behind a lap top
On a bus journey home
Birds in flight
Imagining conversations like
We met on a warm October night
Many years ago.
Come home and greet the person you love                                                                                                                                                   Watch some reality show with them
Get ready to go out
Stare in the mirror
Wonder what you are doing with your life
Laugh in a room at the way it all turned out
Look at a picture and put it back
Pretend like every thing is okay and
Keep dreaming of when
Your real life is going to begin.
Look up at the stars
Never land – lying back on a trampoline
Cry and then pretend
Like everything is okay again
But all the time thinking
Will anyone here, hear?