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in the great arching web where all souls reside, and knowledge is shared like starlight. each one takes its turn to be human, to see the world more than as a mess of highways glittering white. and we each bring with it a piece of that knowledge we share as one.

there is a collective of human experience, in the great prehistoric brain we all share, and each little life we live, taking turns to experience each wrinkle of our planet, is simply one step in getting the bigger picture.

you and i are the same. it is my turn to be me, and soon it will be yours. and then you will write my words and i will sit in your chair and we will connect again through opposite sides.

there is a part of my soul that did not enter this body with me. all my life i have searched for it. i am still young, and maybe one day we will meet. for now, i am immortal. but when again i fade into the spiderweb of all things, i hope i shall find again the piece of me that stayed behind with you.
"THE BREAKDOWN COMES WHEN YOU STOP CONTROLLING YOURSELF / AND WANT THE RELEASE OF A BLOODBATH" - JENNY HOLZER

I. Vanitas Vanitatum
[The stage is set: a paper moon against a starless, greyscale sky. GINSBERG howls. He's nostalgic for all he'd assumed was forgotten; desperate to never recall it again. His numbered days are manufactured: ELIOT reclines, watching the world end.]

CHORUS OF PROPHETS:
In our own sins we trusted,
both in essence and in nature.
Hell was never an inferno:
it is an echo chamber.

We have nothing (-- we have nothing --)
but maxims and jumbled alphabets
and lightly-sparkling bitterness
when the cork pops feebly from the bottle;
(-- nothing! --) dripping saltine hate.

We've lived large and small, been tiny and tall;
always filling too much space in a too-big room
where our presence is ironically scarce.
There is nothing for you here,
bar vacant lungs and river water --
take a breath and join us
                               in sinking to
                                            (sinking!) the
                                               (sinking!) bottom
                                                  (sinking­,) of
                                                        (sinki­ng...) the
                                                             ­              Styx.

II. Et Omnia Vanitas
[Enter PLATH, SEXTON, WOOLF, BYRON, DICKINSON and VARIOUS PHARMACEUTICAL BRAND REPRESENTATIVES.]

You know not what you could be
but merely what you are
and that alone is traumatic enough.
Taste it, a slice at a time:

the disillusionment from having raised your hopes beyond rotting in the soil,
the anger upon realising this was your own fault and all you want to do is scream,
the bargaining, the denial, the scream (you were not born to live). The gradual processing. The scream!
Scream at the moon and scream at the walls and scream into pillows and howl and wail and hack away at the flesh and screech until plastic surroundings melt and it is only you and the void you willed upon yourself.

III. Epitaph (What Now?)
[A white-fur baby seal is camouflaged upon the ice
and, eyes closed, fools itself into thinking it survived.]

What happens next is no act of evil:
this is survival of the fittest.
We are bottom-rung of the food chain
and starving predators need to eat.

[We lick the ground and taste defeat.]

Ruby poppies reach heavenward --
small birds take their maiden flights.
I shrivel, putrid in the soil,
in the winter of my life.
pretentious *******, slash wallowing in my losses. sometimes feeling things is nice. for the most part, it's ******* ****
I daren't (rather, shouldn't) breathe:
I'd built a tower of hearts from cards.
The gaps and breaks are real estate --
I'm nestled in the in-betweens.

                                              (Sapp­**'s spirit sighs.
                                              How human to not move quickly enough,
                                              or to yearn for whatever's inches from reach
                                              - blissfully unhinged by "almost".)

She's marble-carved and still as stone:
if I kissed her, would she spring to life?
I'd offer nought but foolish flesh,
this trembling frame, and bone.

                                                          ­  ("Tell me yes, tell me no;
                                                             either way, you're in the right,
                                                          ­   but for the love of Venus -- speak.")
i live in fear of all you haven't said and look for subtext in what you have. you leave me wondering whether you're oblivious to every hint i've ever dropped, or just reluctant to make the move, or deliberately ignoring the signals hoping i go away. am i overstepping the mark? can i shoot my shot? the last thing i want is to creep you out.
Natalie!
at present I am present on a small isle,
which is so green genteel
to the eyes and the ayes,
you might include it
among yet unmastered possibilities,
living here forever.

indeed, the crescent beach so welcoming that
francais et l'anglais des anglaise is spoken here,
but actuality
has a way of intruding,
like
Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Bleu,
saying I know you,
even if it doesn’t

this breeze bearing load suggests your name
as a candidate for future, honours, an MBE,
a practiced curtsy for a queen,
whatever is he babbling about?

why I am presenting an outline for a screenplay that
will make you a little rich and somewhat fameuse
so you buy a house on the water,
party all night,
write in the miracle wonder of the late afternoon
on a summery isle,
modestly hungover

say!

where is this isle so sheltered,
where nooks are set aside for poets and drunks
to pub crawl, to stand on tables and Irish sing of
those things that poets endlessly babble?

so add :

come here and let us listen to all your possibilities
and cross just this one,
your presence here,
off the list
"How'd you -- how can you do it -- pull the wool over your own eyes?"
"I entertain only what paints my downfall as my prime."
__________________­_

I. DEFINED
We pledge allegiance to Good Karma
and forget ourselves to cope.
Love thy neighbour and be loved:
we reek of martyrdom and hope.

II. WITHIN A SENTENCE
"I think that I can save you,"
proclaims the cursèd to the ******.
They nod in silent synchrony
and clasp each other's hands.

III. CONTRADICTIONS
These outward pure intentions
sink in flames when we're alone.
"Hold still, I'm going to hurt you,"
says the brain wave to the bone.
pretentious ******* (first drafted summer of last year in a psychiatric unit)
rows of two!-three!-four!-boys-bloc-king-the-cor-rid-or
will soon be gone
and the RHYTH-mic-tick-tock-of-my-leg-BOUN-cing-on-the-floor
will be no more
it's fresh cadavers wrapped in string
it is a joyful gospel hymn
mourning the best and worst of youth
(those shiny kids who'd first walked in
with all the grace and all the poise
of hatched arachnids missing limbs)

but what of "her" – you know her name –
that overfed, reptilian thing
who shed her hair and scratched her skin,
cursing the odds at Him upstairs, demanding He re-shape her?

some say she cried herself into extinction
– sailed away on a crimson tide –
balking at the trauma of being seen
(enforced, cursed vulnerability
in being known to man).

the rest knew better;
they were voyeurs in this
fruit-carving tutorial
on 'how to grow up':

STEP 1) consider all other alternatives
2) take the scalpel and initiative
3) before adrenaline gives way to doubt,
turn the flesh-vessel inside out in a cocoon of your own creation!
while organs may rupture and it aches like you've skinned yourself alive (good for her, setting herself free!) you'll look cuter in the class photos and has you-know-who... finally... shifted the weight?
4) breathe through the blood loss and searing pain
5) notice
           you
                can
                     breathe again.
                     at this point, does it matter that it aches?
tribute to the worst years of my life so far. may it only get better from here.
(No puedo hablar la lengua.)
I cannot speak my father's native tongue.
(No puedo hablar suficiente...)
At least, not enough of it to get by.
(...no entiendo, lo siento.)
The body I inhabit feels like foreign territory.
(No lo se.)
My grasp of it ends here.

I. OTRA VIDA

Dia de san valentin, 2000: mi padre aprendió inglés por amor; voló a través del mar Mediterráneo. Él tiene miedo de los sonidos cuando trata de hablar. Pero él lo intenta. Él habla casi perfectamente -- mientras, estoy teniendo una conversación uno-a-uno con Google. Es vergonzoso.

I recall two or three trips, max. There's a blend of urban and natural that's a haven for the eye -- the buildings themselves are seduced by the sun; divine blends of amber, tawny, white. Classically Romantic. That nighttime humidity fogs up your lungs and makes it feel like a hug. There was a time when we were poised to move back there - and in Dad's case, another, nearly leaving without any desire to take me with him.

My makeshift home is built upon stereotypes: orange trees, olive oil, generous glasses of vino. Pienso qué un otra vida where I'm stood on the beach at dusk, with heavy-lidded eyes and ears attuned to cicadas and rolling waves. This is narcissistic lust for the woman I could've been - she is all smiles, bilingual, peace embodied. Those are the nights when I'm not careful: she leaves my bed by morning.

II. ESTA VIDA

To mourn the "what ifs" shows a lack of gratitude for what is, and god, what luck! For inglés to be the second most-spoken language, de-facto "centre of the universe"! To migrate most anywhere and get by; for the Western world to be coerced into Anglophonic bliss since tourism makes their ends meet!

On a holiday, I clam up ordering "una batista fresa" and get a taste of how my father feels. José Francisco: his colleagues call him Frank, in the same way I shun my legal surname because a Spanish 'LL' is too hard for others to grasp. I reek of privilege - post-post-Franco, white European, playing with my non-language behind closed doors. There's private delight in a rolled 'r': momentarily, I'm local, not a mere faux-foreigner appropriating my own heritage. Ironic - he tries to be "less immigrant" whilst I've got the fortune of trying to be more.

I was born into a universe of possibilities. A million options feel like fate -- screenwriter, Oxford grad, Spanish barmaid-or-waitress-or-I'll-take-whatever -- each unchased path is a reminder that, somehow, I'm choosing wrong. I've never perceived myself as small (ex-tall child, "ex"-chubby kid with a head outstretching the clouds, first of the eleven-year-olds to grow **** and got gawped at like I'd grown an extra nostril). Outside this hall of mirrors, I am tiny -- too small to have this many dreams -- manifesting as terror-borne paralysis because I want to do more than I'm built for. Solution: aim smaller or grow up.
half-whiny, half-dreaming. i don't normally rely on google translate - i'm trying to self-teach with duolingo (occasionally enlisting grammatical help via dad).
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