and I have an endless scream inside of me
and I do not know which is screaming,
my heart or my intestines,
-Rainer Maria Rilke from 'The Song the Blind man sings'
This will not be a story. There are no more stories left in my hands.
Nor will this be a poem. My blood has turned grey and cities have empted.
I just have saved breaths, here and there, trying not to go mad. I'm too far away from nothing I know.
We spoke on the phone tonight. It's been the first time in months. Last year I had the idea that to understand all of the knives that have found their way towards my neck, I would have to understand him. Man, I would have to forgive him for everything.
He's almost seventy, now. His hands are bloodshot and his eyes cracked open. He was the one who planted words inside of me. And this yearning, this breaking open, this walking without fin. I grew up with his travel yarns as my bedtime stories, in between the screams and the way he could break the bones of someone dear to him just with the tone of his voice.
When I came back last year, he told me, 'Son, I feel you have really grown in this time'. Eighteen months. But he didn't call me son. He probably called me little squirt. No, not this either. Most likely, he called me Simon, which is the name of my brother. It has got progressively worse over the last years.
'You have become someone. You look after people around you, now'.
I felt it too.
The next time we saw each other, it was all lost. Perhaps I stopped to care for people again. A gritting her teeth and shouting, 'now, I become evil- I leave everything' and with that, stamped on his foot.
'And it swelled up to the size of a coconut', he was telling me, on the phone. I tried not to imagine it but it comes to me like fish floating towards me. Blub blub, blub blub. 'It turned purple. It seemed to be an eye blinking back at me'. Di mi.
'Did you think it could have been a tumour?', I ask him.
I have car crashes piling up inside of me. I'm surprised my whole body is not wrought with bumps and missing limbs.
'I began to think of death, yes'.
He's always thinking of death. Even more than me. But I've never been sure if he ever really considered it a reality beyond his own thoughts. He would sometimes tell me, right before I went to sleep, 'if you die in your sleep, it will be your karma' and he would laugh. It was a laugh that seemed to reverberate within my chest. For hours I would see the tigers prowling my bedside, waiting for me to drift off.
I don't tell him about dying in a bathroom in central Mexico with blood over the walls, sprinkled like snow, coughing out my insides. It was my heart and my intestines at once, screaming to the sky full of helicopters, searching for what disappeared,
'I coughed so hard last night that blood started coming out of all parts of me.'
He's speaking of travel insurance.
I'm thinking of all the hardest times I've ever known.
I decide I will write.
When he's seventy, there will no longer be any insurance.
'You should buy the greatest tea in the world instead', I tell him. I was never strong in practicalities, I ponder, sipping my red tea. If I had been, I would never have been here. All of this would just be theory, gnawing my knuckles raw. The quality of experience, regardless of how much you scream,
Image - time is ticking - author unknown.