One more, please

Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I'm not living (Jonathan Safran Foer)

They Say

They say, shy people listen
Bent on their insecurities,
Gaining more invisibility each day

I am unknown, a lanky figure
Moving behind a transparent curtain,
Between candles of warmth
There is a clearness in moonstruck nakedness

You watched from another standpoint,
Listened to the pulsated frustration,
Surrounding my hips, my dry lips,
My bone structure through my sunkissed skin

You watched me dance
Through the cups of water
Covering the wooden floor
The cups of water of fasting

I become clearer in the daylight,
Stay,
I could fall in love with you

Philadelphia

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Belleville

photo 1-3photo 2-4photo 3-2photo 5-1July 2014

The day I went, the streets cornering the exit of the subway were immersed in a stinky smell and people covering their faces with their shirts or their hands. I walked to Rue Denoyez, a street used for art in the middle of cultures. It uses art to protest, express, exclaim. The street intersects the Chinese and Arabic neighborhoods. One side features shops full of dried fruits, sweets, and raw meat, with men in white blouses smoking outside until Parc de Belleville, a park with long steps, secret cats and hidden green areas, overlooking the rest of the city. The other hides away ramen smells and ancient medicine in souvenir shops, all the while the artistic scene of Paris attempts to find its own place here, far away from the bars of Republique.

Tasola

August 2014

Every seven years, my father’s italian family meets in a small village, Tasola, in the north of Italy, near Genova. It is a celebration of community, religion, family, love. Three days of spiritualism during which we kiss the cheeks of many people, drink lots of wine out of white small cups, eat two plates of polenta with a mushroom, thick, buttery sauce, and dance on old folklore songs, played in other villages of the south in the last century during weddings.

This year, I was coming back from a year abroad, a year of not seeing so many faces of a family that I am supposed to belong to and yet, I can’t shake off the feeling of being a stranger next to them when I talk to them, when I hug them, or even when I look into their eyes. There is distance establishing itself between us, an embarrassment that I seem well too accustomed to. I drink coffee to their bewildered eyes, their eyes who still see them as a seven-year-old, I dance with them, but I feel far away.

“Are you happy?” asks my father, while I’m sitting next to him on a lanky bench.
“Why do you keep asking me this question?”
“Because you rarely smile and I am your father, it’s a legitimate question”
“I can’t answer yes or no, I’m sorry”

Each night, the streets leading to the house we are staying for the occasion are empty then. There is almost something serene about emptiness, knowing that nothing and everything can attain me. A shadow can catch me, a person can come out of the darkness and greet me, or simply wonder who I am. I feel more complete, walking up and down the hills along the abandoned houses holding forgotten tea cups, wandering cats and spider nests. I go into the house, open the door with the two locks requiring to turn the keys five times each, and sit on the grass with my dog, eating peaches I collected in the morning from the trees in the backyard. After an hour of petting my dog and eating, I go back to the festivities and sit next to my parents, waiting for the hour everyone will be allowed to go to sleep in humid beds and cold blankets.

While sitting on the grass, I thought about previous festivities, the ones I would go to with my grandparents only. My parents did not want to drive to the suburbs to another retirement announcement, or another baptized baby.

Before my father came into our lives and our two-piece apartment, my mother and I celebrated nothing, except for another peaceful day spent together. I went to the festivities to see how it was to have a big family. Yet, every time I went, I was disappointed and cried in an isolated room on the phone calling my mother, asking her why I was treated this way. The aunts, cousins and old friends rejected me with their eyes, their questions about me and my mother, their touch on my shoulders, a feeble sign of affection. Over the years, the gap between me and them closed a little but it remained present for others. My mother felt it too but she doesn’t care. She speaks loudly, hugs everyone, takes photos with them, and holds my father’s hand. She has nothing to lose.

On this grass, I know I have something to lose, an estranged sense of a family.

“Are you happy?” asks my father.

Sure, I am, I suppose, realizing that I feel like a burden in his family.

summer heat

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Rue Moliere

My street is a narrow cosmos containing a world no one feels the need to leave, especially on a Sunday. Parisian apartments with flowers and leaves ruminating from their windows oversee the line of shops with all the entertainment needed in real estate, antique, tailoring, clothing and the like.

There is the bakery where I buy croissants and pastries for my parents, letting my dog on his leash outside for a few minutes. I used to buy twists and bread for my grandfather and bring them to him on my way home. His apartment resided next to a French restaurant and gave on an inside courtyard. Everytime I pass in front of the dark green, ornate door leading to it now, my fingers are drawn to touch it, as if I am still expected there. I always try to remember the doorcode but it disappeared from my memory with the existence of my grandfather.

There is the Chinese restaurant my family went to every Saturday to have dinner. It was the only place my grandfather could walk to, being conveniently placed between his and our apartments. The place was always empty and we always sat at the same table, ordering shrimps and a round of dumplings for everyone, and champagne for appetizers because champagne was not so much of a luxury but an habit.

An old lady always surveyed her antique shop, which was more of a shop full of objects forgotten in the past, not wanted as wedding gifts, perfect for old people looking for more materialistic holdings to make their lives more concrete and real. A black, small dog sat next to her, beaten by boredom, looking for a way to escape it. My grandfather used to say it was a shame. It was a shame a bookstore had not taken over this store. He used to joke that maybe that was my vocation, maybe I should open a bookstore with all the books he had on this street since we never left it.

My grandfather died, bringing with him our habits, leaving us with more time on our hands. My parents went to have dinner to the two Italian restaurants of the street, drinking red wine instead. I walked my dog longer after going to the bakery, risking for the bread to be more stale. The hotels got renovated. A creperie and a photograph shop opened. The old lady is still here, occasionally telling my mom that she saw me reading a book while walking my dog the other day.

We had one another

To Molly, April 2014″

She held my hand dangling with her two thin hands
My hand is never in a pocket or in a purse, it’s waiting
She put her head on my shoulder when we were standing
We existed only through the touch of each other

That is how we loved each other

She smiled at me at art galleries through the crowds of wanderers
To make sure I knew someone was thinking of me
She brought me to bookstores under the soaking rain
We existed through silence and exchanged books
We understood one another that way

She covered my holes with sweetness aura
I told her about my past years on a bus ride
She told me about her aloof brother
We both had families communicating only through screaming
They had little love for little spaces
They could not manage physicality or reality

We had one another

She had a mouth like unswept glass
That would cut you when you least expected
But she was never mean to me
Her words covered my heart with two ends
Like the way she would hold me while laying on plate surfaces

I survived the screams, the lies, the sadness underlying our lives
Because she never let me dwell alone
And covered my eyes whenever they would be sad
But she could not anymore
She could not upfront anything alongside me anymore

The last night, we smoked on windowsills
I let her go because we were leaving soon
She went swimming after and never came back

I let her go.

That is how we loved each other.

Another kiss

A candle lit
A candle lit for your past presence of pale fire
The butterflies that used to roll
Roll through your stomach
When I kissed your hands
And let you coax back with your fingers
Still attached to my cold skin
Because you only had enough of thinking
For one night
When you switched off the light
And recited our first nights and our future ones
Remember the night I grabbed your hands
Through the crowd of warm bodies? I was swirling
And your eyes went rolling
Round midnight when storytelling ceases to exist
Because the night was ours
And out of habit and boredom, our hands were empty of things to do
In the darkness we gave in
In the darkness we were reborn
Of old lessons and learnt everything entirely again

A candle lit for the kisses, the embraces and the comfort.
I forgot to provide you and the potentially heavy rhymes
I stopped caring
I forgot how to love
On my pathway to the home of your moonlight dim
All the subplot thoughts in multiple rows
Awaiting to be relived by someone
It simply wasn’t me
I simply wasn’t the one
Supposed to button and unbutton your mouth
Letting myself in each time by tiny bits
You hung over my smokes of clouds spelling you out,
The different syllables of your name,
But I could not bear the weight
I could not breathe, my oxygen
Tunneled hardly through my lacking lungs.
I have one breath only
One breath to remember the symphonies we carried
To hear the times you cracked open my door

My breath can only remember
My fingers can only light candle
For old time’s sake
To maintain your spring dreams for another stranger’s kiss
Sailing away quietly in the air like colored balloons

Bus Ride

“You’ve never been to New York, but you’ll see, you’ll like it there”
he said with his street accent to her naïve and bewildered eyes, wondering if she should believe his mouth full of lies. As she looked away from his lips
and comtemplated the rainy and structured streets of Philadelphia, she knew only a house of dust and ignorance was laying on the end of this road across two states. She told me, she told me the dictionary of her life was written before her birth. She was not the author of her handlines. She was not the procreator of the tears forming at the bottom of her eyelids.

I listened to them looking at the frozen glassed-windows. I wish pain was easy to peel away as skin after some time in burning water but it stays stick and unnerving, forcing to reach for new moments to forget the old ones.

“I would greet you but my arms are bending backwards
because my lips want to meet yours” you said. I fell for your chords and your isolation turned into lyricism, a million of sunshowers enlightening your skin but it seems they might be no tomorrow for the two of us. You are constantly disappointed by your thin paper life, taken whenever by a passing wind, letting go of the everlasting memories and the new loves felt
for everything is materialistic when your other half has been forgotten
by everyone but you, giving into the forlornness of your own present.

I could hear your pulses in the dark, and walked through your thought units
for you were my mentor in experiments, my teacher of unnecessary knowledge
introducing me to unsmelt smokes, ungrasped melodies, flames and embraces.

But we were different. You dreamed of freedom of time while surviving predominated all my senses, for one life is given, one life is wholly experienced. No second chances are given, the flaws and accidents thrown upon us produce scars impossible to not remember.

I forgave you each time. I forgave when you chose bits of others over me
when you stole the only picture of my disappeared family to give it to a winning contest,looking for rare family stories, to pay for your foolish addiction. But I no longer can. There is no longer joy or hope like ripe persimmon fallen from a broken table

You destroyed all of it with superficial extravagancies to forget your absent mother, your gone father, to forget the only one who made your heart pump harder than any other waiting body. How could I forgive your unparallel-contained soul, slippery critics and your swallowing mouth, despite their value of pleasure for anyone else?
Maybe one day if I survive the night. Maybe my persimmon will repair itself with the new seasons