Alternatives

It is an old trick. If you cannot talk about this, elaborate on that. Ventriloquize.

“See, when it comes to it, going on living is the easier of the two options.”

What do you need to carry on except inertia?  Anything to continue. To survive is all, to carry on. And when exhausted, a ghost, a shell, you mark attendance. To be there, at least. Graffiti. I was here. When the road forks, you fork too. Make a scion of yourself, a could-be, give it to the wind. Take this offering. Then what is left carries on.

But for some others, to carry on is amputation of personhood, a slow stifling of soul itself. Because you’ve lost so much stuffing at each divergence, bit by bit you crumple. The breeze carries bits of you, strawman, and one day a sudden gust of wind marks where you’ve gone.

I suppose the bravery here would be to resist the great temptation to be whole and go completely, one way or another, not to distribute yourself. For it is so very tempting to plunge in, and hey voilà, you are renewed, all in. But then, it takes less and less for the less that is left to carry on. Chop-chop, chop oneself. Little shavings along the way into Hansel and Gretel’s forest. And there isn’t any way out, only back. But the breeze has carried off bits of you and one day you crumple. Strawman.

Either way, it takes much to break loose.

The unnameable one

Ichchha.

Because you do not exist, I make and name you frequently. You are all the possibilities that the wind took, all the selves others could not become. You are all that I am, if I could be, I.

I name you, in thought, to be in deed that which I wish to be. The unattainable, the one who belongs to none.

My other self, because you are not I, you are freedom. Each ‘kshay’ from this life’s accounting is an offering to you.

I make you, fragment by fragment, in defiance of the laws of loss. Ichchhakrito, you are that which does not diminish.

I turn you away, for you are perfect and do not need my work. I am here for imperfect things.

You are that which I leave behind,

Daughter.

 

 

_________

 

Vergil, to Lavinia, in Ursula K. Le Guin’s _Lavinia_: “Oh my dear…my unfinished, my incomplete, my unfulfilled. Child I never had. Come back once more.”

Lavinia, in response: “I will.” [p68].

 

 

 

 

Things greater than love

Some of us decipher what we must do within the confines of community, tradition and good order, others must obey the lack of confines and the contours of known lovings.

We are leaves in history, in time, and our guises of men and women are rags on wisps of straw.

 

The unbelonging comes slowly. Like water on rock. You become the fertile river bed, life giver where you once rose above it all. Little by little the winding sheet, drop by drop the river. And then you find that you stand on the other bank of the river from all that you thought ‘yourself.’ You change.

In time you realize that there are things greater than those you love, that go further than forms of togetherness. You taste the skin of freedom. Strange fruit.

You step into the vastness of spaces after a lifetime in boxed stalls, and the madness of space takes you. You are excited by the expanses you did not know existed but which affect you all the same, so that you chase the horizons, past exhaustion, unto annihilation. You no longer obey the social contracts that ensured you a bondage of love and command, and thus you become the worst of the lot. You are where you were not bred for.

Even as you step nervously, at first, the old comforts flash by: it is much to be companions, and more to be safe and prized. But the distances are relentless, and will not cease to compel you into freedom.

So, first comes awakening, then exhilaration, then ecstasy, and then annihilation.

All leads to the end, but the littler movement is a dance between persons, the larger an obeisance to the relentless self.

____________________________

 

I wonder at those who walked into nothingness because they were unwilling to sacrifice themselves, who could surrender life but not self. In men and martyrs this is celebrated, but in instances where women (or the feminine-identified) have walked away from their ordained life in order to save their selves the pronouncements become less celebratory, especially when the seeker has had to either renounce love whole or watch it being destroyed.

[Consider a few fictional examples : Laura Brown (played by Julianne Moore) in _The Hours_ and Woolf herself. Consider Edna Pontellier who walks into the water in _The Awakening_. Consider Maya at the end of Mira Nair’s _KamaSutra_ when she walks away after her lover has been crushed under an elephant’s feet. Or, in real life, H.D. herself, one of many, she who sought to see so far.]