puny guide to stray

The first time I said, I was a stray, was more than a decade ago.

It was after I realized that everything I called home had vanished.

Don’t get me wrong, it was all there, right under my nose. Nothing really disappeared… Not completely though.  Nothing big had changed. But a special something was missing.

I could not attach anymore.

Don’t know why. There was no place I could  fit in. Not anymore.

It was gone. Forever, obliterated from one day to the other.

I was lost. I lost my way…

Looking back, this was the saddest thing happen to me, I guess. It was  killing me.

In my grief about losing home, I started  dashing forward, claiming myself a wanderer. I pretended not to be thrown out of my little paradise. I pretended to explore. I pretended to be free to roam endlessly.

That’s what air roots are about. 

Not the freedom I chose. That kind of freedom is… a lie. I could be free anywhere, if  I’d chose to. Naturally, with all consequences.

The air-root-freedom was just a transient freedom, not needing me to change. Not questioning my motif  was leading nowhere. Merely, I was running away.

I told you. It was an excuse… Compensating, not coping.

There was the glorious life of a stray, without attachments. Very tempting, I’d give you that anytime. No one I needed, no one I cared for, no one I was responsible for/to.  Swampy  sweet ignorance. It always tasted a bit coppery, but as sweet as honey… 

*

But look at it differently:

Did you ever see a true stray?

Not trusting anyone, wandering  around aimlessly… Gaunt, hungry and exhausted. Filthy opportunist, if you ask me. 

Did you ever see how the life of a stray ends? No? It happens every day, every week, every month, every year. You should observe. I’d tell you honestly, if it wouldn’t make my guts twitch…

It ends in trash.

Between trash…. It’s where strays go to end.

Never belonging anywhere.

Never going to be missed.

lipstick marks

shyly touched, softens a kiss

dance upon the tip of your tongue

clinging to the tip of mine

vapor, breath, secret warmth

you taste of coffee ´n caramel

lipstick marks… I miss them most

I use to leave your cup to keep me

company till you´ll return to me –

till we kiss again, till I taste you again…

Across the table, a lonely cup

with lipstick marks on the edge

and I´ll never see you again.

the name of the morning star

I’m in love with the morning star

This is not only about me, my stories, or my search.

It’s about the sky and the stars, and everything behind that deep blue void. Behind that distance, the stone cold space, deprived of… meaning?

No.

That’s not right.

It isn’t the lack of meaning.

It is me, always ending up with the question after some sense. I keep missing it. Not the space. The sky above my head lacks a subjective viewer. Which is not a deficiency.

Well, how should I explain? I’ll try to make it simple…

I’m in love with the morning star. This would be my first line, if I were to sum up my life in three sentences.

All began with a poem I once heard, very long time ago. I can’t recite it to you. Different reasons. Firstly I was very young- too young to remember correctly, second – it’s in a foreign language I cannot translate properly.

The poem was about a prince, always looking up into the starlit sky. It was always a bright star, which attracted his attention. A bright star with light, sparkling like silver or precious gems, a fire, which he thought it, was different from all the others. That light touched his heart, and he dreamed, that that star was a beautiful woman with silver hair and a face white, shining like frozen snow in moonlight. Her glowing eyes made his pulse rush. And even before he could utter a word, he woke up.

For him, this was a sign. He knew that feeling inside his chest, the heat in his cheeks. It was called love. But of all things on earth, he fell in love with a star. He was happy, he knew love. But then he knew sorrow too. Day and night, he thought about those burning eyes, the white hair, the sparkling skin of her. The entire day he didn’t leave his new room in the highest tower of the palace, dozing like a cat, barely eating or drinking, spending the nights at the window, admiring the sky.

Oh, how he was jealous of all birds and insects with their ability to fly. He wrote poems, draw what he remembered of her, painted her face – trying to capture that unique fire.

Again he dreamed of her. His star. She had a sad look on her face. This time he spoke to her, recited a few verses from his poem. She smiled at him and nodded. “I love you,” he said, hoping for an answer. Her eyes brightened. He woke up.

———————-

– part 2: Love and sacrifice are only meant for mortals

ink on ash (2)

Part 2
 

The odor of old paper, that had gotten wet some time ago, was overwhelming. I could smell glue too, dust. A faint aroma of mold… Balancing over the backs and covers of books I tried to get an overview.

History books. Mostly.

Every class had to deliver the history books to the teachers.  I gave my text book back too, after going through it again, specially through the chapter of Ancient Egypt.

Now they have ended here, waiting for the fire. A lot of  Philosophy and Politics too. Art, Literature and Poetry were scattered. Some books had been already ripped apart, spilling their guts over the others. Destruction was evident. Nearly every book I picked up was vandalized. Pictures added with vulgar drawings. It made me recoil. Disgusting! I let the books slip back on their grave.

The men were shouting. Everyone should stand back.

People came to watch. Some brought beer and snacks. They prepared to roast some bacon, as if it was going to be just nice camp fire… There were even folks bringing their own books, waiting to throw them into the fire.

I stood there, with three books hidden under my cardigan.

I watched, as the men went, with brightly lit torches around the pile. Laughingly lighting the fire. Paper could not defend itself.
It caught easily fire, as the flames touched their surface. The destruction rushed fast to their core, burned the pages to grey crumbled petals, floating in the heat radiating in every direction.

White smoke filled the yard. Filled  the noses and mouthes, crept into lungs and bellies. One last revengeful strike. Coughing. Everyone.
Suddenly  the wind lifted the curse. One lungful history, philosophy, politics, literature, poetry… One lungful dying stories and wasted words.

ink on ash (1)

Part 1

The school yard was going to be a graveyard.

Preparations took two whole days, and  a couple of men had been hired to empty the library.

I watched them slowly pile up manuals, maps and books. Considering the size of that heap, it was going to be an impressing fire. The library must be empty by now… I sat in my classroom, staring out of the window, observing the coming and going. Men throwing books across the yard, smoking, drinking alcohol.

The librarian – a small withered woman with huge glasses, grey hair tied to a knot – ran nervously from one corner of the building to the other. That quiet dark room has been her home, for who knows how long. Now the books were all gone, and the emptiness took over the shelves, cupboards, desks.

Books should never be treated that way… Never…

I didn’t pay any attention to any lesson. But no one did anyway. It was an exceptional state. Everyone was discussing the last weeks, debating, pupils as well as teachers. It seemed everyone has cheered up, like it was carnival. Laughing, joking. It was – odd…

People have died, and with the military occupying the town, and the killing seemed to continue… How could anyone be happy with this?

“Today. At 4 o’clock.” The teacher raised her voice. “They will burn the books. We’re done for today. Don’t forget your homework! Cut out the first page in all your textbooks! And the emblem on the last page too. We are not getting new books! So be careful!”

Unable to look at her, doing that to her textbook, I turned my head. Again the men were carrying books to the yard… A grave yard. For words. It felt like blasphemy to me.

I believed in books, always did. I believed in stories. Even if I was nothing more than a child, I knew, certain things were important. Books were important, stories were important. It was not about who’s picture was in the book, it was about what those words made you feel and do… A power that could not be eliminated, simply by destroying paper.  It was sheer waste. Waste! Stop wasting!

I tried to convince myself, that it was an act of bravery, to save one of them. Even one book. That was my goal.

– part 2

hear the lion roar

“You heard that?” Benny keeps his head cocked to the right. His expression tenses up, as he is intensively listening. Silencing my annoyed loud breathing, his hand shoots up. “Shhhhhh… There!” Suddenly he smiles vaguely.

“I… No… What?”

“Just now. Did you hear that?” He is smiling expectantly. I shake my head to his disappointment.
On the other side of the car window, traffic keeps getting louder. An ambulance drives by. The wailing of the siren makes me swallow. I should be at work right now… I’m already half an hour too late. Picking Benny up isn’t one of my brightest ideas, anyway.

I think of the examination rooms. Painted all white, the stink of sanitizer mixing to a stinging, irritating sensation, when entered. Even for a doctor…
I just can’t get used to it. But then a ritual begins – the changing. White pants, white shirt, white coat, white shoes. And I blend in, become a part of that troublesome impression. I blend in, and the stinging blanks out – but only for several hours…

“Street’s clogged! Must be an accident… I’ll get a royal chew out, thanks to you, bird-brain.” I let the cig butt fall into the tray. Benny laughs, but is still disappointed. I know that, I don’t even need to look. That can’t be helped now. He sure better be happy, that I bailed him out. -That schmuck. “What were you doing in the Zoo anyway?”

“You know, there is a lion in the Zoo.” He explains. I raise an eyebrow at that. I haven’t been there for nearly twenty years now.

“And…? Were you visiting it?” I ask him.

“You should go and see him! You two have a lot in common.” He is fiddling around with the zipper of his jacket. “That lion is still very proud. Captured in the wild – South Africa – if I recall correctly…His cage is ´bout three meters to five meters. All day he’s looking for an escape. Chasing his own tail, maybe counting steps. Since he arrived, he claims his property…” Is his voice shaking? Benny flashes a big smile. I grab the wheel harder. This nonsense has to stop. He seems to get in trouble, now on a daily base.

“Is that why you broke in? To look at the lion?” I try carefully to feel my way forward.

“If you don’t believe it, go and see for yourself. Every morning and every evening he roars. I can’t decide if he sounds angry or desperate. Maybe both… You can hear him all over the town. That’s what I just heard,” he looks out of the window. “You know… Every day, I look forward to it. I need to hear him roar. I just need to… Believe, that there is a way out…”

free from you

You used to lift me up,
now you tear me down;
send me flying off ground –
I’m falling apart
right in your arms,
catching my strings-
crushing me inside…

I´ll never laugh again,
if you leave me.
Pierced and shattered…
I´m loosing you… again.
It´s killing me inside,
without your love,
tearing me apart.
With you close by,
drenched in madness
Silently chocking
on sadness…

What is it you
don´t understand?
Always on the same page.
Always pretending,
always repeating.
What is it you
don´t understand?
Tripped again,
free to apostatize
free to free myself
from your sweet memory…