An Infinite Regress of Events Past Part 1

Just because I asked for it doesn’t mean it’s what I wanted, I say, dancing around the point.

Do you know how time moves?

Moves? my voice is strained.

Moves? I repeat, as something unravels.

Does it…flutter?

*laughter*

Remember when Aether was everywhere, I reminiscence.

We weren’t even born yet, you divert, as if it didn’t fill the space between us.

Aether, consumed by Gods, subtler than light, existing in the spaces between my eyelashes, in the spaces between all the planets and all the stars.

Once it explained everything.

And now it’s gone.

So how does time move, I want to ask you but I am sure there’s a catch somewhere and I don’t want to appear stupid so I say nothing and I never find out.

 

There Is a Light That Never Goes Out

A moth alights on my thigh while I am in the shower and immediately proceeds to die, turning into ash. Maybe it’s the heat of the water that kills it. Or the force. That night I dream of a family of moths in transverse orientation. My body glows like a celestial object as they descend upon me but I find myself upset, I asked for fireflies. My light dims and I wake up.

Last July I learned to parody recklessness and this April it pays off. Surrendering an illusion and gaining a fecund, verdant energy, a crown of asphodels. I’d sacrifice at this altar again. But we still postpone the promise of spring and summer arrives before I can blink.

Goodbye Notes .1

When April ends, it’s the vertical sky that brings me joy. I have been craving banana ice-cream with sprinkles atop it. I have been staring lustily at cigarettes held between lips. After all summer’s here. Well, almost.

L takes me to Jackson Heights and it’s surreal to be in a place so Indian (but unfortunately Indian insofar as it resembles the station parts of Mumbai, the ones I didn’t miss at all, although the food is an entirely different story) in this blistering cold. I had ventured into summer and have to spend the rest of the day (and the morning after) collecting pieces of charitable clothing from my friends. A scarf, a jacket, tights. But it’s hugging L’s cats (who are soft and fat and lovely dollops of delight) that finally brings me warmth. And later, it’s the burning sage. I am trying to come up with an incantation to invoke spiritual awareness, but all my mind wishes for is True Love, capitalized, singular, and dismissed if it’s anything less. My thoughts are beginning to amuse me now. Less a person and more a Disney Princess caricature. But maybe the sage is making me wiser, for soon, I start letting go of this childish covetousness. There’s nothing to wish for beyond courage and strength. I cleanse my spirit and everything is like honey, full of golden weight.

I spend most of Sunday in the library, with traces of external existences for tea (a perfectly brewed Kyoto Cherry Rose) and coffee (an intensely cinnamon-y Cappuccino) and am especially glad of my second outing because I stumble upon Louisa May Alcott’s old abode.

I am so excited when I learn this fact, already dreaming of her looking at the space I currently inhabit from across the street, as she sits at her desk before the second story window of 130 MacDougal Street, penning the last paragraph of the loveliest book (the only book to have a dedicated post in this blog). I feel like I am having difficulty expressing to anyone just how much this means to me. I am still giddy with joy when a sweet old lady stops by my table and offers the same piece of information. Do you know who lived in that brownstone? Yes, yes! Now I do! After more than a year of walking on MacDougal Street, I am aware that the author of my favorite childhood novel, Little Women, lived in the building that houses NYU’s law school. When I recount the encounter, M laughs, old ladies.

Later, we are engaged in deep intellectual activity, playing Lego Harry Potter on PS4. He is Hagrid and I am Harry. He is strong and capable and destroying Diagon Alley with his umbrella wand. I am magic-less and clueless and following him around as galleons rain on us. Even when we progress to the next level, and I’ve moved on to being Hermione, I find myself accidentally jumping right off the castle walls, falling to swift, unexpected demise. (There’s something to be said about the similar spatial transition involved in falling and flying. In both, I am adrift, free, finally and only.) Death seems to lack any meaning in the game for there are no consequences and I am always back, unhurt and continuing right where I had left off.

(a) Prophecy

I don’t even think of this all weekend but sometime on Monday I start dreaming of you and books and grass so sharp it cuts into my feet. Baguettes as long as my arm and little tubs of butter, warm and golden as the sun, lying between us. At the exact mark when you climb over me I realize it’s not a dream but a memory. Shaded, everything is dark now. Sometimes I am filled with a heaviness that weighs more than my body. Tomorrow I’ll come across a foxglove and break into tears. Little pieces of me will be left behind at the spot, across the park, near that one CVS which we frequented. Maybe you’ll stumble upon them, pick me up and remember to call, or you’ll step on the pieces without noticing and that’s what I would deserve.

So you did grow up to be Virginia Woolf

Lately, I’ve started clutching people’s hands and spilling my sorrows. Here: a secret, a memory, a dream. Here: all my sins. I read somewhere that desire is never simple. There’s hazy, gold light flooding my days, and I meet with the unmistakable realization that I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be alone. Love is you scrolling through your feed as I lie in bed next to you crippled with loneliness. Lonely when I am alone, and lonelier still when I am with you. If this sounds accusatory, I apologize. I bear all the guilt and the responsibility.

I take all my secrets and my duplicitous nature and confess my sins to captured passersby. Clutching their hands, I invoke a church in every room in this city. There’s no forgiveness anywhere. All judgement comes from within. A forbidden thought: Maybe things would’ve been different if I could’ve been pretty. I stopped sharing my insecurities because you said it felt like requests for flattery.  No. No, I said that. Here: all validation must come from within. Now all the flowers have lost their color.

Please bring me an island, because I am tired and I hate myself.

I turn “low maintenance” into a stone and slip it into my pocket. I turn “bad decisions” into a stone and slip it into my pocket. “my weight” “my tears” “my face” “my scars” “the tenderness with which you looked at me” “all this time wasted” pocketed.

I go for a walk into the river. Floating in the drenched remains of his feathers and melted wax, I come across Icarus. Hi, I say. Even death can’t stop the ticking of my clock. Do you need company? I clutch hands. I follow his gaze to the sun (cruel, bright). The skies break apart to pour upon us.

Felix Culpa

do we care? you ask, looking at the floor. we broke the jar or rather you broke the jar and i am an accomplice in determining the wickedness of this action. there’s sticky mango preserve everywhere but i guess we don’t care. i spend an entire august afternoon learning about memory (loss) after i fail to recollect a single stanza from the love song of j. alfred prufrock. there’s time for a hundred indecisions, visions and revisions, before the taking of a toast and tea. that day i do everything i am supposed to and feel quite enchanted with the human experience. this isn’t so bad, i think. i confuse emotions and objects and concepts: light, joy, frankincense, labyrinthine museums, softness that tastes like peonies, winter’s end, “save the bees by planting catmints”, clemency. my mood ring never changes color and i walk towards the rabbit hole with sweet indifference

an afterthought, a remembrance: do i dare disturb the universe

the day of endless contemplation

mid-morning in mid-march. these days i dream of the past less often. there’s something magical abound, dark and sweet, throbbing under our feet, polishing our eyes, rose-tinted. it’s enveloped me in a hazy embrace and i am insubstantial. yesterday, i stepped onto the street and was transported into a luminous citadel. today, i feel quiet, insistent desire.

i think of hades and persephone. dry lips and cold hands. i will never forgive winter. i eat this pomegranate. i wish she had eaten fewer seeds. spend 10 minutes thinking of faith, and 20 minutes failing to meditate. i eat clementines, grapefruit, i give citrus kisses.

i braid my hair and pray for spring. i think of the golden record and then i think of dandelion wine. i do absolutely nothing. everything is pale gold. i try to unlearn bad posture. desire blooms within me and i collapse. i read an essay on lost things. i read a paper on pharmacovigilance. maggie nelson said let me try to rephrase. when I was alive, i aimed to be a student not of longing but of light. i spend the next two hours thinking about this.

i look at the curve of my spine in the mirror before returning my mother’s call. she always wanted me to be gentle and delicate and brave and strong. i am gentle and delicate and brave and strong, i think as i speak to her. my father is out playing holi. i end the call after 1 minute.

i want a cat. i want 2 cats and a fawn and a tame fox and a big, booming garden and –

and the moon is aglow like radioactive milk

i drink sparkling pink lemonade and sit to study

can’t believe how strange it is to be anything at all