A spec of blood on a Sunday dress

I’ve created here my little space of self-expression. I worked on it. I tried to post regularly, even when I felt tired, depressed, or simply didn’t feel like it. But no space is impervious to life and to death. I couldn’t write anything last week.

Since the 24th of February, I have had these moments of daydreaming when I imagine what would happen if I were in Ukraine right now. I don’t invite these moments. They come by themselves, triggered by sadness and anger. The injustice of it all and the helplessness.

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The things we keep in the dark

Maybe it’s the rain. Maybe it’s the lack of good sleep. Maybe it’s the alignment of planets. The evil eye. The karmic debt. The fury of the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl. A short circuit in the ancient parts of my brain, those that I share with lizards and frogs.

The beauty and the ruin. Belgium, October 2021.

Maybe it’s none of this crap.

Whatever it is, I feel like a scared soldier, hiding from a war that ended long ago. Feeling all his old wounds come alive with the slightest change of weather.

It’s not so much the hurt. It’s being alone with the hurt.

This cosmic way of being out of sorts.

Wearing your inside out and making the impossible to hide it.

This all too familiar vulnerability. The constricting feeling in the chest, as if the walls are closing in.

The feeling of being cornered by something you must absolutely escape. Fight or flight. Escape at all costs.

Choose your poison and drown in it. Your favorite toxin, your sickening sweet self-sabotaging story. The one you hate but still cannot let go of. Your preferred “I’m shit and I’ll never be enough” narrative.

Will I ever be able to get up, smile, and sing?

Will I ever be loved again?

Will I ever amount to anything?

Was I ever loved?

The things we keep in the dark.

I worried

As the sun rises, the forest wakes up. There’s movement and bird chatter and the wind picks up. Although the sun is now shining through the trees, shadows still reign all around. It’s as if sunshine were confined to a narrow channel that does not allow it to spread around. The yellow summer flowers are slowly moving in the morning breeze.

In a corner of my mind, there’s the beginning of a poem I read months ago. At first, I cannot make much out of it. Just like everything else, it remains in the shadows. It stays there and takes its time to percolate to the surface. Then it dawns on me.

Facing the morning sun (Germany, 2020)
"I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
hopeless.

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally, I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang."

(Mary Oliver - I Worried)

Hard wall

Do you remember?

There used to be a door here
Its frame is etched in my brain
My hands retain the memory of opening it
Over and over again

There used to be a door here
A way of letting light in
A way of letting myself out
The air on the other side smelled of summer cherries

With eyes closed
My hands search for the slightest crack
For signs that would reveal the hidden frame
But there are none

In my dreams
I can still find that door
I smell the summer cherries
But I cannot see

What's on the other side anymore.

Keep on dancing

I've been watching you dance
you move as if you're making love to the world
quick quick slow

we've been dancing
you're light as a feather, fluid like the ocean
whirlwind of emotion sucking everything in

you shapeshifter
always in control and always escaping control
are you staring at me or through me?

it doesn't matter
as long as we keep on dancing

Letter never sent

I write this letter that I will never send you
in reply to the letter I never received from you
an eye for an eye, an absence for an absence

I remember lying among summer flowers
both of us naked in the dark
I remember walking alongside you
the forest path opening to infinity

I remember the contour of your hips in the dark
the feel of your crushed lips
the dizziness from navigating your deep salty waters

I remember countless arguments
crumpled faces, empty eyes
you being you and me being me
over and over, to exhaustion

I remember how your eyes lit up sometimes
looking at me

The other night I dreamt of you
We were two strangers in a room full of people
At last.

This poem was originally published on Luna’s blog. I am a photographer and prose writer rather than a poet, but there are moods and moments that lend themselves better to poetry. For me, they are mostly soul-crushing moments and I usually try to get through them quietly.

I took the photo after sunset, at the North Sea.