yellow buoy man

Today, my brother swam in the ocean for the first time in a year. The water was frigid and licked our toes maliciously, tempting us to dive in and merge with the fish. We entered at the same time, and immediately sprinted metres away from the shore. The burn of our muscles fought the tingling cold. With our laboured breaths, we streamlined in and out of the salty water, eyes agape, trying to make shapes through the fog of our goggles. The underwater realm was turquoise, but of a dark tint: the clouds were to blame for this, as they stood above us, troubled and stormy. Yet, the sea was just as calm and welcoming. It took us under its battered blankets of algae and mossy rocks. The pebbles and dark algae armies seemed incredibly alive beneath our floating bodies. Occasionally, big boulders would rise above others, so we would plant our feet on their welcome mats and rise above sea level, looking for the shore like kings. Leo placed both feet and a slipping hand over a rock, and climbed it.

“That yellow, huge box-shaped buoy, behind the smaller red ones…”

He bent forward, slightly swaying like a lanky tree to the force of the tide. “Let’s swim there,” he mumbled, and threw his body back into the ocean.

Wordlessly, I glanced for a second at the yellow blob in the distance. I spit in my glasses, rinsed them twice, and tailed him. Minutes later, we both stopped, and the big yellow buoy, probably the size of both of us, remained just as far. I overtook my brother, then realised he had stopped.

“You’re coming, right?” I inquired.

“No, I’m scared.”

And so I watched his back hunch over the water and each node of his spine dip back into the sea like a while after having come up for air. He swam back towards the shore, and I followed him too.

 

Half an hour later, we’re both back in the water. We rented two kayaks and we were ready to go looking for jellyfish, like the year before.

“Left or right?” I yelled in front of me.

“Let’s go left, then,” I replied to myself.

Nonetheless, we both ended up drifting to the right. Like falcons searching for preys, we looked for lighter spots in the ocean: sand not populated by the algae, better for finding jellyfish. Having caught a glint of bright blue at the bottom of the sea, we both dipped our heads underwater like ostriches. It turned out to be a piece of plastic. We were expecting to find the big blue jellyfishes from last year. And as we pedalled, we realised that we had reached the big yellow buoy. Out of nowhere, a sense of satisfaction and closure filled my heart. But what truly took me aback was the low thumping that came from around the buoy. I circled around it further, to then gather that the soft humming actually came from inside it. As we leaned forward, with our kayaks uneasily tiptoeing forth, we picked up the melody of a song. The discrete music seemed to vibrate all over the surface of the buoy.

“It must come from the beach, they probably have strong speakers…” Leo mumbled.

But we both knew his assumption was a rather scarce attempt at covering up what was truly happening before us. And as we came full circle around the box-like buoy, we found a small circular window near the water surface, half engulfed by sticky moss. A thin rod poked out of a tiny hole from the window. I pressed my face to it, and saw an old little crumpled man holding a record player. He sat cross-legged, spine bent over, and was completely naked. His skin shone, as moist as an amphibian, and his wrinkled, swollen eyes were closed. In that tiny enclosed space, he somehow still managed to sway slightly to the music’s beat, as if his body were part of the music itself. His beard and hair cascaded over his whole skeletal body in cataracts, reflecting shades of faded brown and grey from the scarce sunlight that filtered through. Before we both decide whether to knock on the window, our kayaks crashed with force against the buoy, and the strong wind opened the window wide. The little man stopped the music and looked directly into my eyes, as my face contorted in shock and embarrassment.

“Well, hello.” His voice was melodious, and flowed like liquid.  Yet, there was something to it that made it remain slightly inhuman.  He pulled the fishing rod back in and stashed it behind him. At the same time, I noticed his thorax did not expand or contract to breathe.

I struggled to find an explanation. So my brother did, from behind me and remaining hidden.

“What are you doing here?” He asked.

“I’m living. What else?”

“How long have you been here?”

“Oh, a long, long time, my dears. I can’t really truly remember how I came to be here…”

He squinted at my face and I moved back slightly.

“What did you say your name was again?” he asked.

Before I could reply, he checked his watch and swiftly pulled out the fishing rod from behind him. I was surprised there was even space for him to move his arms that way. He took a worm out of his mouth and poked it through the hook. Soon enough, he was fishing from inside the buoy. I gave him another inquisitive look.

“It’s dinner time and my stomach’s rumbling for jellyfish,” he blurted out.

“It’s him, taking all the jellyfish away from the sea,” Leo whispered in my ear. “That’s why we didn’t see any.”

The old man didn’t hear the comment for he had already turned the music back on. He was happily humming again.

“The jellyfish are attracted to this music. And so am I…”

He seemed completely unworried about the lack of response.

“It calms the soul, this soft music, doesn’t it?” He continued.

“Yes?” I barely whispered, still utterly in shock. I couldn’t stop staring at his incredibly moist and shiny skin.

“Why are you here?”

He stopped and really looked at me.

“I don’t know, really. I’m the only one that can fit in here, and I truly do suffer from memory loss…” He scratched his head. “Nature has taken one thing away from me, memory, but IT has given me something else in return. You see, nature is always give and take.”

He untangled his limbs and came towards me. Alarmed, I sat back into my kayak. He poked his head out, nodded at my brother and touched the water. The moment he did that, his face scrunched up and his tiny eyes shrank into miniature fish. A tear slid down his cheek in pain. A few seconds later, he pulled his hand out of the water with a curse.

“It burns,” He hissed. “I can’t touch water, but I can have conversations with it. You want to know what the water told me today?”

We stare back at him, and he continued.

“It told me tomorrow will rain and that your cat died two years ago on June the 25th. Is that right?”

We took one last look at him, and our muscles clicked at the same time. We paddled away as if we were saving our lives.

 

The next day, it rained like never before. The palm trees outside the small glass rooms shook and shivered in pain, and breakfast was delivered directly to all the rooms. My brother and I didn’t speak about the old little man, nor the fact that his prediction was right. I didn’t tell Leo what I planned to do that night, once the rain had subsided.

At 3am, I WAS awake. Under the blooming sky, I ran to the beach. My heart felt palpable and crazy from adrenaline. It was the first time I was running off, or breaking any rules. I got hold of the the first kayak and ran off into the frigid sea. I found the little man by following the faint music I heard the day before. He opened the window to my knock, not at all surprised. I wondered if he had predicted that too.

“I’m taking you out. I’ve decided. You need to see the world, you can’t stay trapped here forever. I need to save you.”

“Well you needn’t save me.”

“Why?” I ask, incredibly perplexed.

“I don’t want to leave. I may not know much about the outside world, but I know that this is my purpose and my place on earth: to stay in this little buoy, play music and eat jellyfish. I was born into this life with this sole reason.”

“But, don’t you want to explore all this, outside? Let me at least take you to those boulders over there.”

He didn’t protest.

He wrapped himself up in a blanket, picked a few dried jellyfish and told me to not let him touch the water as I carried him on my kayak. We paddled towards the boulders peaking from the water, at the southern edge of island. He didn’t speak the whole ride. I carried him with utmost care, as if he were made out of porcelain and ice and the floor were made of fiery spikes. With serenity, he sat cross-legged on one of the boulders and calmly waited for me to join him. We both sat on different rocks and gazed up at the sky and the water, hugging our knees. He offered me some dry jellyfish and we both munched on them.

“Won’t you ask me about all this?” I asked him. “Have you seen these rocks or trees before? Or those umbrellas at the shore? Do you know what a shore is?”

I was completely bewildered.

He looked around once more, not amused, as if he had seen this view forever.

“You see, my dear, I’ve lived so long in this little buoy of mine, and as time went by, I sat in pain and talked to the waters. And you know what they told me? That I could not be anyone else and could not be in any other situation. My role had been assigned already. Right now, outside my buoy, I am not playing my role and this hurts the universe around.”

I looked at him with a blank glance.

“In every universe there is meant to be a little man in a yellow buoy hunting jellyfish,” he explained. “That role happened to land on me. Just as there was meant to be a role for you, and you’re playing it out accordingly.”

At that time, I was thirteen and I couldn’t understand a word he said. So, we finished our jellyfish in silence and then I brought him back to his little buoy.

He gave me parting words. “The waves tell me that it is of utmost importance that you don’t come and find me anymore. Human contact deteriorates me.” And he looked down on his body. I noticed moss and barnacles starting to crawl up from his feet.

 

Only years later did I understand his need to return to his purpose. And only after four years later did I return to the little island in Italy. I only remembered him once I saw the same yellow buoy. The first thing I did was to swim there, fearlessly. The music thumped and I was filled with nostalgia. I looked inside the buoy but I only found the record player. Dazed and sniffing from the salty water swim, I looked underwater and followed the cord attached to the buoy. There was a boulder that served as the anchor. Expelling all the air from my lungs, I sank down to the sea bottom, and I saw him. His features and cross-legged position were were mummified into stone. Moss covered him from head to toe. Even frozen, he held held his fishing rod. I stretched out my hand to caress him, but I ran out of air before I could do that, and my legs pushed off the bottom as a reflex. I came up for air calmly.

 

 

Advertisements

the future

The future is my worst enemy,

it’s a shapeshifter with a menacing smile,

clawing its way down my path,

an obsidian vortex in the form of a spider,

sucking the life out of the forest I’ve

built.

And the thing is, I’m short sighted, so I can never

really make up its form, a foetus,

covered by amniotic fluid: yellow,

cloudy, muddy and disgusting – this

aura that protects the future (my enemy)

from showing it’s true form.

 

Day by day, depending

on the color and feeling of my

bedsheets, whether I’ve dreamt

of falling teeth, the future morphs

to its personal likings.

From a beautiful flower poisonous to

the touch to a pillar of arsenic,

always lethal and toxic.

The future never really leaves

me,

I know this because I smell

my own fear in the air.

I know the because since I’ve made

this enemy,

my footsteps barely touch the

ground, and the hairs on my arm

stand tall like skyscrapers (even in the morning).

 

No-one can protect me from the

future.

It falls through the stitching of

cotton and strides through satin.

If you ever manage to hold it on your

fingertip, it will sink

through your skin,

then, you will be injected

with pure-terror.

Don’t go looking for my

enemy,

it will find you first.

on gender identity & sexuality

Recently, gender has been such a recurring topic in my mind. To the point where I think in cycles, realise the paradox in each assumption I make, and come out frustrated. On one hand I love the dichotomy between feminine and masculine, what each represents and how some days I feel like embodying one more than the other. Some days I want to be bright, impulsive, explosive while other days I choose sensuality and nurturing and reflective energies to embody. I love to hop between these realms which have been encapsulated in human forms: “feminine” and “masculine”. It feels like a game. However, at the same time, I see the uselessness to have to group characteristics and attitudes into two categories. Why do we do this? By doing this we are defining what we cannot be once we state that we belong to one label and not the other. Isn’t it something in excess? An unnecessary part to add to our identity, and an unnecessary stress and struggle. Removing the label, sometimes, I feel like I can breathe deeper and create myself better. The clay in my hands no longer needs a cut-out, and I feel myself expand. I never really realised this was a cage until I saw the metal columns. When I don’t stick a name to my “gender”, it’s as if gender didn’t exist, and it was just me, this human, being itself in this world, surrounded by other humans trying to also reach their ideals of themselves. I don’t need to announce to the world that I am only one category of gender, because I don’t want to exclusively identify only with a certain set of principles, ideals, expectations. I am not feeding into this concept by society, I personally reject it. Saying my gender is female or male, I’m left with an inner question mark, where I’d like to not even stand in the middle, but completely out of the spectrum. This human body, made out of flesh cells, proteins and all, is simply my outer manifestation, but I identify with my creative essence which is boundless, nameless, ever changing. And the same with sexuality- in my reality, it will not exist. It is unecessary, and I will never know completely that my whole life I will only be attracted to a certain “gender”- for that also is just a concept. It’s all just mind play things. I will fall for who I fall for.

However, I still do understand where these labels come from. In order for us to feel like we belong, for us to create amazing communities, for us to bond with people like us, and for convenience. Sometimes we also feel safe once we give ourself a label, we feel like we know ourselves a little bit better. You are free to choose whichever label you like, or create one yourself. I think that is a beautiful human process. As for me, I’ll stay on the side-lines, a little lump of clay that never fully hardens. I don’t know who the fuck I am, and I’m great with that- in fact, I enjoy it. I enjoy this constant evolution without the strings of societal concepts. It allows me to be whatever or whoever I want. I simply Am. Beyond words and forms, I am. And I am here to create and love.

adolescent idealism is a hoax

my mind’s racing,

they say it’s normal,

not abnormal,

adolescents are like this, don’t mind them,

crazy minded, mindless,

bezelled by the universe

chatters and impulses, smoke, lights,

cries, they say it’s all just

because we

romanticise life,

with our hormones

but is that so?

maybe you adults just

downgrade life, cut it with a knife

forget its beauty

and newness, freshness born

into every moment,

you lament,

but we, with new eyes,

untainted still see life for what

it is,

beyond your

clouded mind.

 

night times, we stay awake,

head in a racing car game,

throwing thoughts like elastic shotguns

sons of euphoria followed by

hands tumbling over keyboards,

fumbling pencils,

crumbling cameras, strumming strings,

creating some things

to let out the excitement

of living in a body, on a floating rock,

gawk at how the heck did we get here?

we do it not for the future, not because

it could amount to anything, but the

moment

 

we strip clothes off,

teeth fall off,

eat bitter earth,

scorch our fingertips,

plunge into crisp waters,

why?

why because we don’t know

who we are, (the greatest gift)

 

curiosity, ferocity

this stubbornness to keep

standing, discovering

unstopping stomping

unapologetically launching ourselves

into this world.

but i say it’s because we know

this world is nothing but

a cardboard box stage,

not a cage,

and we’re here so infinitesimally

so, to

cry over, suffer over, joy over,

get over,

unpreel, then refresh and start over

every time

the sun shines again.

 

And we,

get to be someone new,

someone bigger.

reach out further

away from where we started,

we know we can be anything we ever

wanted,

as long as that flame burns

 

not related to age spurts,

 

to just, be alive,

feel alive.

 

 

i say it’s not,

adolescence.

i say it’s our true nature,

as humans,

before we comply and forget

not take a bet on

this miracle of a human life

before we strive to stick the feeling of freedom

under a desk like gum,

before we construct the cage of

what is and what isn’t

 

and think about it,

those times where you thought

nothing would stop you-

that’s when your invincibility existed

truly.

meditations

On the rare occasion where I settle down and stop my wheels of blood from rolling, I sit down to watch the burning trail I’ve made- the friction between the soles of feet and unnerving city cement. I cremate the moment and look at its ashes. All that exists are the flames, the heat, the black dots dancing across vision. I empty my vessel, picking and scrubbing at all corners of this machine. I unhinge the engine and I’m left with splutterless silence. Suddenly, I realise how obsolete certain things in life are, yet at the same time, the intentionality behind everything. Immortalising this moment, I immortalise myself. I, who thought I could conquer and bellow tyrannically over soul and mind, control life like a maniac. Now I dress in titter tatters, sit with simplicity, hold rocks in the palm of my hands and happiness comes in with mischief. Caught red-handed, I surrender my fortress, my megacity of plan-thoughts and let the moment pierce my skin like a subliminal vaccine. Protecting and giving asylum. The future in my head is now past-tense overgrown weeds, that only belongs to night terrors. I realise its opacity, and in turn, my solidity as I breathe. Thick, unkempt hair and rosy cheeks. Elbows propped against knees. It’s all at ease and I exist, slightly hovering above this body.

a conversation with my alter-ego

I’m sitting in this room, having tea and scones with myself. It’s rather a very fancy space. Painted white bricks, a nice table, red velvet chairs. The tea is earl gray, and the scone comes with a little pot of cream. Of course, this whole set up has been stolen from one of my memories- how else is imagination made? I am indeed quite rusty at this process, for fear has been nagging it’s tail in my face. But today, emotion has prevailed and I can’t find myself doing anything else but writing- for it is all I can really make myself do. You got to always give something back in this energy exchange.  You take in the form of breath and space and time. You have to give back. It can be in the form of creativity, happiness, awareness… Anything pure. So, everything else has been crossed out on the  “giving” list, and writing sits there like an awkward child, waiting for me to claim him finally.
My alter ego sits opposite me, across the table. She’s been served the same as me: tea and scones. I want to say hello, but I’m scared and disgusted. She has my face, and it is really the only time I can fully see myself directly in real life. I have this narcassistic need to crawl up to her, look at her from every angle, but then I remind myself that she is not me. Right? Her name tag says Anthea.

“Speak,” The voice that comes out of her lips is of a higher tone, but of course it is, why am I taken aback? The only voice of mine that I’ve heard is but an echo in my defective human eardrums.

She crosses her legs, and I don’t. Before speaking, I really take a good look at Anthea. Her hair’s flying everywhere, as if no one had touched it in a year: mouldy, hay-like, half-black, half-yellow. But in contrast, mascara, eyeliner, and lipstick has been applied perfectly to her face. Two little ghostly shadows rest on her cheekbones: she is thinner than me. Her skin glows like a halo, her fingers are like a pianist’s, but a real pianist. Maybe she plays piano? She wears a huge white shirt with a blue circle- I recognise it. It fits her like a huge bag, it’s obvious how tiny her body is beneath that cloth, and it looks good. Not the way it looks on me. As she waits for my reply, she brings her hands up to the table, and graciously lifts the teacup to her mouth. Her arm is covered in porcelain ink tattoos, drawings of flowers and some other amorphous slightly dark shapes. The skin is pulsing and red and raw.

“Those new?” I ask.

She stops midway, and places the cup back down. The ding between the ceramic and glass table seems like it is made in heaven.

“Yes.” She speaks with confidence. “Who are you?” she adds on.

“I am me.” I look down at my hands. I’m wearing something I think seems familiar. “And you, are my alter-ego.”

“Oh no, no. You, my dear, are my alter-ego. I am original. A unique creation.” She replies, with that voice that just seems too abnormally high in pitch.

We both lean forward at the same time: I guess we do have the same brain with the same reflex-impulses. I stare into my own eyes.

“What do you do?” The words barely come out of my dry lips. I’m sweating and she’s stone cold.

“I’m an artist, a writer. I’m intense. I like adrenaline, and caffeine and rushes- I like extremes.” As she says this, she lights a thin cigarette that she allows to balance precariously before her food. She cuts the scone into a million tiny slices.

“I like my body to extremes- these bones, seeing them, remind me of my mortality. It’s what drives me to live my life. And the feeling of this smoke? It makes me lightheaded, and the fact that it’s slowly destroying me just puts me in the best mood for creation.” She says this, as she keeps the smoke lurking in her lungs. Her small, pinpoint breasts roll outward, then inward.

“You are destroying yourself to make art?” I say. I don’t know what to feel. This all sounds too familiar of an idea.

“I don’t know, really. This is all just so temporary. I’m just playing around like an alchemist, with these limbs, this face, this living breathing machine. I like to be in control. I’ve written books about my  emotions- killed my way to get up top. I have a girlfriend – I think she hates me, but also maybe secretly loves me. You see, I’m just oh so paranoid she’s going to run off, so I like to interrogate her, tie her up. In my free time, when I’m not networking, of course. That’s me, that’s what I do. There you have it.” She says all at once.

“Friends?” I inquire, almost desperately.

“Oh, so many. I get invited to parties, I’m an artist! A self-destructive manipulative artist, testing the limits- who doesn’t like that at a party? I have pictures of my friends, but I can’t really remember all their names, of course. Human memory is stunted.”

My whole body starts shaking and I stare at my veins portruding. She watches this happen but doesn’t speak a word. Goddamnit. I take the teapot sitting next to me and throw it right at her face. I want to watch her disappear, disintegrate like a projection. It hits her, and she bleeds and her head hits the wall behind. She screams. Fuck. Who made me throw that? Why did I throw that? I’ve never heard myself scream since I was 13. It’s a painful sound that cuts me to half and makes me forget everything but that.

She doesn’t disappear. She’s real and she crouches down on the floor, grasping her eyes. There’s no anger when she cries. It’s like she knew it would come.

Salty tears start building up and soon enough I’m crying, at the same rate as her, and in the same position.

“Oh, my alter-ego. Why are you so cruel?” She weeps and squacks out. Her voice is scratched now, patchy.

Those words hit me like ten blows. I want to say, Look at who you are. I thought you were who I wanted to be.

Then I look at myself.

I don’t say a word.

We spend the next thirty minutes patching up. We place the teacups, teapots, scones back to exactly where they stood. We clean the blood off the floor, we place the chairs where they were meant to be. We smell the flowers. Then, for last, we sit at our respective places and eat.

She looks more reserved now, as if scared to talk. Her cat-eyes glance at me, like a hurt creature. We both swallow the food. She takes smaller, planned-out bites.
“So what do you do?” She breaks the silence after an hour.

“Well…I’ve just finished school. I’m hopefully going to a monastery for six months. I’ve been trying to write my first book, but I’ve completely hit a block. I’ve been trying to be a good person, I guess. I have lots to do on my mind, I want to get it done. I want to help. But yeah, I wake up, have some food, try to be okay half the day, try to meditate, think of what to have for dinner. If I have to go out, I need to keep my heart in check: it races like crazy.” I reply solemnly.

It just spills out, as if someone had pressed some inner button.

“So in short, you don’t do much.” Her voice assumes one of a therapist, non-judgemental and full of hidden questions. I recognise that tone.

I nod.

“Did you attack me out of jealousy?”

I shake my head, after a moment of hesitation. Then I do it with more assertion.
As if some bell rang, we both get up in unison, with force, like little kids at the last class before break. She sticks her bony, pale hand out. I look at her once more. I only recognise myself in the eyes. I stick my hand out too, to shake her hand.

“I will never understand you, my alter-ego. How can you live this way?”

“Me neither, my alter-ego. How can you live this way?” I reply.

Before I can grasp her hand, and have some kind of closure, she disintegrates.

I, too, disintegrate a split second after her.

I can only hope to become a balance between the two.

Sudden Magnetism

Unexpected magnetisation

i realised i was iron ore

commanded like a puppet

willingly under magnet

she was inadvertently

radioactive, bathing in

pure electromagnetism

and I spun and spun,

poles switching

like blades,

positive and negative

and furiously so.

 

And somehow,

my charge

became complete opposite to

her the moment those

electric blue eyes

caused fire on me,

my whole body internally,

turned haywire and some

part of her did too

so we started the

dance of polar attraction,

forward, backward, contraction.

Souls grasping at each other

from afar.

 

She pulsated the whole

truth of the

universe on me like

a madman, yet discretely like

flashing light

came in for a carnal

embrace (it was all

but human) rather,

supernatural for in

that moment

something ancient became

aware of itself,

realised its one-ness,

born for re-uniting in

self-awareness.