with the stars strung for a rattle.
I cut my teeth as the black raccoon
for implements of battle.” —Saturday’s Child, Countee Cullen
SO… IT SEEMS THAT EVERYBODY’S LIFE HAS MOVED ON EH?
I’m always one for radical change but I can’t help feel a little lonely right now. I absolutely suck at communication so much that my family has now gotten used to the occasional email reminding them that I’m not dead. But lately I’ve been thinking about how all the people I called “friend” in the past two years seem to have gotten on with their lives
I guess, to them, I seem to be having the time of my life and they’re probably thinking the same thing about me right now. It just hurts a little to realise that I’ll probably never see/speak to them again. I sometimes wonder if I’m the only person going, “What if we never talk again? What will be left of us then?”
When I go back home, I know that there’ll be this gap of inside jokes I won’t get, a bunch of people whose names I won’t know and bonds that will be beyond repair. So we just move on, as though our bodies are ghosts still searching for the light.
It’s just too much of a daunting realisation when my friend explained now that I’ve moved out of my parents’ house, I’ve moved out for good and I won’t live there any time soon. I sometimes feel as though I’ve grown up a little too fast, moving to a new country by myself before the age of 20, managing my own life, finances, time, relationships, it’s almost overwhelming at times. And though my time in school is far from over, I know I’ve begun my life already and a slice of me mourns for all the friendships, relationships and all the stuff in between that have died during and because of that that process. I usually walk away from people, and all this while I never felt a thing until today.
It’s just sad how people slowly fade out of your life and you don’t even realise it until their face no longer shows up in your group photos. I know life is trying to teach me something here, and believe me I’m grateful, I just wish this unshakable feeling of loneliness and regret didn’t take up so much room in my bed.
I love the way your hair snakes across your shoulder blades
like a web of matted promises.
Your wrists lay open to sharp edges,
And for a second,
I can almost watch you bleeding.
I’ve noticed that every time I get sick, like now, I dream intense poetry. Slam. Performances. Or sometimes verses just swirling around inside my head as though my body is a spinning top on the verge of falling, I feel like my mind is a dreamcatcher at times. For the first time ever, I managed to remember fragments of a poem long enough to write it down. I can’t stop smiling.
From the moment they discovered you were destined to bloom a bosom,
they locked you away.
Bubble-wrapped your torso inside pink dresses and picket fences,
moulded your palms into pepper spray,
you were one rapist away from breaking,
they named you Origami.
“pleat your hair like this,
fold your lips into obedience,
gather your hips quietly”
“Do not touch her! She is fragile as a daisy chain, she will crumble, crimp and stain
and what will be left of her then?”
They breast fed you statistics and mace,
slapped shockwaves and statics in your face
“It’s on the news again”
“Every three minutes”
“One in four women”
so just gather your hips quietly,
do not drink too much,
dress too little,
walk home alone
talk to strangers,
do not ask for it.
Just stay in your cocoon,
don’t wander out into darkness.
They never warned you
not all monsters lurk in the shadows of the night
some of them are not afraid of daylight.
you swear you can still feel him watching you,
his eyes piercing daggers into your spine
piercing daggers into this body,
stripped it of its innocence as though it were a dirty hand me down
that no longer could fit you,
but realize it is no less beautiful because some trash bag of a man,
used you as target practice,
treated it like an abandoned playground folded in the stench of broken swings and promises.
“every three minutes”
“one in four women”
And I’m sorry
their statistics could not save you then
So roll up your sleeves now,
do not fold your lips
do not bend bones into loose skin
do not tuck your spine between your hips quietly,
you are not origami.
You are a queen and his theft of your crown does not make you any less royalty.
I still see you bleeding,
Your skin hangs off of your limbs with fallen grace,
Your bones still splinter but they are not sawdust yet
Yes, this world is a furnace but I will not watch you melt away.
I fucking swear to God,
I’d want to be normal if being quirky
with all it’s galaxies and -isms
wasn’t always so fucking beautiful.
I just wish I could be that simple.
Pretend you do not know how this story ends.
That you haven’t bled war paint
and called your bruises art,
pretend you have no scars.
You will know him when you see him.
A stranger with eyes the color of midday stars,
square jaw, pointed ears, basket mouth lips
and a body built like confidence.
Could he be more fucking beautiful?
You will pretend the scar on his brow
bone does not remind you of second dates
and bar fights.
Teach him that his fists are only palms that have forgotten how to love anybody else,
remind them they can still love somebody else,
they can still love you.
Pretend you do not need him.
That his presence does not make you feel
worthy of more than an ass tap and ashtrays.
Pretend you do not love him.
His scent will skitter along the surface of your skin
like a thousand moth wings
beating against your pores
in sync with the drumming of your heart against your ribs.
Turn away from him.
Say you have to go,
do not let him know you’re terrified of thunderstorms,
that his fingers brew hurricanes inside your chest
and for the first time in your life wind chimes
have never sounded so holy.
Ignore his phone calls.
Scratch and dent your wristwatch
in a failed attempt to erase your time with him.
For days you will succeed
in merely “existing”
until you notice the cuts on your night stand
remind you of the scar on his brow bone.
That the laundry basket reminds you of his lips
how it stitched his body into perfection.
Wake in the middle of the night
it is 3 am.
Slip on two left shoes, grab your heart
from the medicine cabinet and run to his door.
And when it swings open
“this is my apology’
I am strange.
this world seems to forget
that there are some of us born with bolted treasure chests fitted in the rib cage spaces built for our lungs
and maps tracing rivers inside fingertips which often think themselves dirty oceans no one wants to swim in.
And with this rib cage treasure chest,
I am still learning the art of breathing”
Wait an hourglass for a response,
peep over his shoulder and scan for the stiletto
traces of another woman in his hallway.
and if he holds you still,
hula-hoops his arms around you like a wedding ring,
cradles your palm as though it is a lifeline
and he is two breaths away from comatose,
Stay for him.
Stay with him.
I have always liked to play pretend.
Life proves to be easier—less terrifying, less real— when you’re spending all your time holding up a mask that reveals only the colour of your eyes, but these days, even that can be changed.
I often feel as though I’m stuck in a masquerade and the only way to keep the fantasy going is to keep this mask glued to my face. I like to show the world that I’m cynical, I’m that girl so hardcore she sleeps with bricks beneath her pillow. I like to think that if the world knew that beneath this conserved, steel mask of a woman is a little girl scared shitless— the world would break me. Life has a way of dishing out lemons to the most fragile of people. So I go about my business thinking that if I can fool life and the people in it then I can conquer the world with a seashell in my back pocket.
I like to think that it takes a lot for me to fall for someone, but it doesn’t. In fact, if that perfect stranger walked up to me with a slick tongue and confident smile, it’s highly likely that I’ll fall a little in love with him. I like to collect pieces of people, a nervous laugh here, a shared dream there, just so that I can stitch them together with the fabric of my emotions, weave a blanket to cover my feet when the fire dies out.
This is why I choose people I won’t get attached to, love ‘em and leave ‘em as though they were broken toys and not beings who feel just as much pain as I do.
Sometimes, I contemplate taking this mask off, consider letting people in. But then I remember what it feels like to be open, raw, nakedfaced— it hurts too much.
THE IMF AND WORLD BANK
From the IMF website: “The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.”
From the World Bank website: “The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world.
Two Institutions, One Mission
We are not a bank in the ordinary sense but a unique partnership to reduce poverty and support development. We comprise two institutions managed by 187 member countries: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association(IDA). The IBRD aims to reduce poverty in middle-income and creditworthy poorer countries, while IDA focuses exclusively on the world’s poorest countries. These institutions are part of a larger body known as the World Bank Group.”
Now, a lot of you must be wondering why I would give the IMF and World Bank side-eyes in the first place, they’re doing so much good right, right? Right? Wrong.
See the thing with these two international bodies is that they exist solely because of Western interest. Both of these bodies explicitly claim to be for poor countries, thus making a pledge to the citizens of those countries.
However, I feel that they do anything but help alleviate poverty, in fact, I believe they make the problem much worse.
When the World Bank or IMF gives a country a loan, you’d expect that the economic procedures that said country would follow next would be to strengthen their currency right? And for such things to happen, they’d need to set up trade barriers, strengthen home industries, spend a significant amount of their budget on health and education right? Such things DO NOT happen.
The loan conditions that come attached to the “aid” package often force poor countries to leave the trade barriers down so importing becomes cheaper, thus exposing their home industries. Still though, you’d expect that even then their home suppliers would find a way to compete with these imported goods right? Wrong. The imports become so cheap that it’s much more affordable to buy the imported goods thus running the home industries out of business.
Let’s not forget astronomical interest rates which often cripple these countries into a vicious cycle of debt and poverty. Instead of having lower interest rates so that these countries can thrive and spend more on education and health, they are forced to give back a large amount of their budget to repay the very same loans that were supposed to save them. Countries are forced to devaluate their currency and as result, have to pay MORE because their currency is weaker against the US dollar. For those who still have faith in these institutions, please watch Life and Debt and see what they did to Jamaica. Just one of the many examples of the severity of the situation.
I just wonder why it is that international bodies formed by “the international community”— which is basically all the rich countries in the West— have to feel the need to claim that they are there for poor countries and in turn their poor citizens when they have policies and conditions which do everything but enforce this same values that their mission statement is trying to send out.
I am hella biased in my thinking- aren’t we all- but I just want these bodies to either start doing as their mission statements claim or to— as kids say it these days- get the fuck outta here.
they abandoned you,
left you hollow like a ghost city
with dust and cobwebs between your ears,
can you hear the sound of loneliness?
does it make the ringing noises that have become your music,
can you still tell the difference?
spirit moths nip at your spine,
and the torn frills of your fingertips.
you almost catch yourself asking,
“can you tell me how to stop the bleeding?”
thought i saw him today
it felt like walking through a spider web
i didnt notice until it was too late
until i felt him all over me
my skin is still crawling
I remember your dream catcher tattoo,
I swear I once saw it sway in the midst of a thunderstorm
that night I begged you to stop loving me.