“There’s a place I want to take you. It’s back home, right down by the water. A small pad of green grass and a sandy beach, a long jetty reaching out into the water, giving the most amazing view of the islands around it. There’s a bench for us to sit on, if we don’t just recline in the grass or sit on the edge of the jetty with our feet in the water, watching jellyfish follow the stream beneath us. I rarely swim from there because I’m oddly afraid of jellyfish and they always travel in great numbers there, like a horde of them, sticking together, trying not to get lost in the ocean. I’ve never understood how jellyfish function. I think that’s the reason why I fear them. I often fear what I don’t understand, like most people I’m sure. That’s also why I’m sometimes hesitating with you, because this is all new, and I don’t know where things go. I mean, I am usually pretty good at telling the future, but that’s because it’s all been mapped out for me so far. Now, with us, I have to make decisions I’m not used to. Decisions that matter. Decisions that form lives. And I don’t understand all the implications of those decisions, and I’m afraid of making the wrong ones, just as I’m afraid of picking up a jellyfish that fights back.”
The last remaining part of a person, long after the physical body has left the room, is the ghost. A gust of wind, a soul searching for sacred halls, a will to live on or a desire to escape. The ghost is the last indestructible part of the person, looming in little things that earlier would attract no attention. But the fallacy is thinking that the person has to die for its ghost to roam the room. A soul can be split by the smallest of actions and left spread out over the world as tiny monumental reminders of who was once here, even as the person lives on in some other place. It was one of these living ghosts that I trapped in my room.
Now, the thing about all ghosts is that they don’t announce themselves when they’re left behind. They wait for you to find them. Nothing dramatic happened here, no murder, no crime, we just left the room, and I came back alone, everything seemingly exactly as we left it, no immediate difference to be noticed. But still your spirit hung in the room, like the dampness of a wet jacket; indiscernible until you touch it. It wasn’t until I started preparing food that I realized it. There was something more here. Something else. Someone else.
The conversations started all by themselves. I no longer recall who spoke the first word, but the ghost and I came to talking. About the world, the food, the plans ahead for us. I started feeling as if you had never left. The ghost would follow me around all day, from when I lay lazily in bed, trying to drag me out, until I went to bed again, tugging in close to me and whispering in my ear. I neglected my rational sense apart from a nagging thought wondering how you could disappear so incompletely.
As the days wore on, the ghost became as much a part of me as it was of you. I started wondering if my soul had split partly into a ghost as well, following you, since I could make room for your ghost inside of me. In my craze I started treating the ghost like the real you, offering it food, trying to look deep into its translucent eyes and searching for a hand to hold on to. I never noticed how insane it all was, to love a ghost as more than a ghost. I just felt it. And the feeling was real, the belief just wasn’t.
One night I woke up bathed in cold sweat, and I couldn’t feel the ghost beside me, as I had gotten so used to over the past weeks. Its weightless body’s weight on my bed suddenly lifted, and I threw open the blinds to let the moonlight in, its beam casting a white wave of light into the room, revealing anything there and not there. But little did I see that could be used to figure out where the ghost had gone. Not even its disappearance could be seen.
In the morning I went looking at all our favorite places, both inside the room and out in the world. I went to our parks, our shopping malls. I went through the kitchen cabinets and out to the open fields. Even though we shied away from beaches, I still turned over each and every stone searching for traces of you. But little did it matter. A ghost is a ghost until it’s gone. Then even the ghost turns into mere memory. But what is a memory if not also a ghostlike representation of the world as it happened. What is a memory if not an excuse to stop making new ones.
I packed my necessities and boarded a plane. If I couldn’t find your ghost, then maybe I could at least save you from mine. And maybe, just maybe, I could finally exchange my haunted memories for a real life if I could rediscover you.
Dark blue summer sky and clementine moon, I’m indebted to your unseen brushes painting the world. They say gravity bends even travelling photons, and it must be true, for even when you’re not here, I still feel your weight in me, and the colors tighten in, a rainbow spotlight cone shining down, enhancing this private moment of remembrance to a universal melancholy of stars lost from their nebulae. Stuck in a home until we’re stuck without one. The struggle in every being and everything, being of a kind when day breaks, being necessarily on our own when night comes creeping like a blanket over our cage. But what is a fantasy felt can be as real as the waking pinch on the arm, and we’re never quite alone as long as you are in me and I am in you. We might be out of our nebulae, but we’re just passing through. Dancing our very own two-sun waltz, forever creating constellations anew. I sense you here, in the night sky, in the haunted moon, even in my own reflection I see you staring back. I sense you in the darkest rooms, whispering in my ear to hold your hand. And magic strikes as I grab at nothing but feel your warmth.
The only thing that hit me when I woke up was, boy there are a lot of bugs in this world. In these hot thunderstorm summer nights with dark clouds giving way to blasting sunflares, with electricity in everything we do and a humidity fooling your evening nature walk for a dive out off the coast of Australia, there are little black bugs in every layer of the air, from head to toe you become coated in a mixture of sweat and unspecified bugs, commonly referred to as thunderbugs, allowing imprecise causation to name whole species.
When I hide from nature and get inside with my computer or my games, there are a whole different kind of beasts that we refer to as bugs. They not so much happen in the world as they keep things from happening, going against the usual works of the wheels, throwing a wet cloth in the face of anyone trying too hard to get through these fictive lives. They’re never predictable, not named through an inductive inference like the thunderbugs, but they share a similarity with them nonetheless, in that we feel we would rather be without them, that they’re an irritating element of our lives, even if we realise that we’d have to change our lives dramatically if the naturebugs weren’t there. In like fashion our lives would be altered by the digital bugs not being there, for how often has progress been made when a genius encountered a problem in the existing web of truths? How little would we strive, if the world always everywhere functioned as we predicted it to? How quiet a digital life we would live without the digital bugs.
But then there’s a third kind of bug. And it’s the one that sticks out from the rest. The kind of bug we wish to be hit by, but is nonetheless a problem for us. It’s an emotive bug, a relational bug that binds us to people and things, and leaves us breathless–for a moment or a lifetime–while we try to feel deep down inside how this bug might shift the direction of our lives, leading us astray or finally onto the path, always blinding us with the sun in our eyes, feeling both too hot and never hot enough, always wanting more, always yearning to get closer to that all-consuming sun, burning our fingers, our toes, letting our foreheads melt in the face of the love bug as it bites through our skin, deep into the bleeding muscle beating life into our bodies. This might be the most dangerous bug of them all. But I never found an effective repellant. And I doubt I’ll find it now.
A tiny poem
about an arrow
that hits a heart
and tears it apart.
The hidden spin of the ball. The lasting memory of a note. Wind floating along a cheekbone.
The hum of the electrical wires, connecting towns with cities with nature.
I’m looking for inspiration, a part of existence so unlike anything else. A feeling, but more than that. A directive to action. A call to arms and hands and fingers holding pens. A call for eyes to be drawn, and drawing.
Oh how I long to be on that childhood ocean of my waking dreams, able to feel the movement of the waves whenever I close my eyes. Having a ‘place’ to ‘go to’.
I have devolved, I feel. Have devolved into a consumer, looking for a new entertainment-fix. Too rarely closing my eyes to find the inspiration I have picked up. I have no doubt that I pick up more inspiration these days, but I fail to do anything with it.
I neglect my writing.
I neglect my thinking as I pace through weeks and months.
I promise myself ‘tomorrow will be different’. But I know tomorrow doesn’t come for another week. Two weeks.
Summer will once again toast my cheeks, will once again inspire me to go out and feel the sting of the grass, listen to the rattling of the leaves, taste the sweet fruits growing beneath the Golden Sun.
Once again taste lips, because what else is there for lips to taste but other lips tasting back. A most egoistical sharing where survival is equal to collision. Where orbits are broken and new galaxies form. Where matter becomes energy, heard half a world away in the hum of electrical wires.
We can be known unnamed.
I look around and I see nothing. My eyes have forgotten their old friendship with the night, and its darkness has become impenetrable to sight. I wonder if that’s how you’ve disarmed me. Unable to see what lies hidden in your darkness, I can only read you from your best sides, always shining in the morning sun. So I shut my critical eye and believe even your impossible face to be real. And I shut my critical mind and believe even broken hearts can heal. And I feel. I close my eyes and feel the night lift me and envelop me in its hidden hands until I’m once more just a part of it all, and I don’t have to see you to know that you’re here. I just have to feel. I just have to believe in make-believe.