December 2012


06_blue skies
This is an experiment in fiction inspired by a photograph where I was looking out a door window. It is also my way of grieving and knowing that when you lose someone here on earth, through death or other means, it is not the end. One day, I will see their face in heaven again, and that gives me the peace to let go.

I have no idea if I will finish this because once school starts my focus will be on work. But if you have any ideas, suggestions on how to improve upon this, I’d love to hear from you.

Also just realized my title sux. So if you can think of a new one, let me know.

***

He held her hand and brought her to the room of deep blue.
She looked up,
and couldn’t stand,
her bottom gently caught
by a white velvet pumpkin seat.
She closed her eyes and was once again amazed by the breathing
as if a balloon
had taken the ache in her bones
skin
heart,
forever gone
forgotten.
She opened her eyes
and again breathed the deep blue
breathe deep sky blue.

“It is your favorite color. I remember when you were riding a car in on of the foreign lands you traveled.”

“You designed me this way. Thank you,” she wanted to be polite.

“Yet you have questions. Unhappiness.”

“I have nothing to be unhappy about. You blessed me with a good life. I had work. Laughter in my classroom. Friends. Travel. You. You are all I need,” she tried not to sound mechanical. She knew the right thing to do was to be grateful. No matter what. “I was never poor. Or exposed to war. I had no earthshaking problems.”

“Yet…”

She knew he could read her mind, her crumbled heart. And there was no place to hide. Under these vast deep blue skies. It was only him and her. Time didn’t exist.

“Pachimoo. Why did you allow the Other to destroy? If you were with me, with us, it wouldn’t have happened.” It was a complaint she held back for years, knowing that it was easier to be the perfect daughter, reciting the proper verses, skipping over the deep well of emotions she didn’t want to uncover.

“Tell me.”

“I have nothing to complain about. I always had something to eat. I was sent to the best schools. I traveled to many places. You blessed me.”

“Tell me.”

“You were there for me all the time. I never doubted your presence. I could see you. Hugging me. From here.”

“Yet…”

“It was difficult seeing the Other one, destroying, stealing the laughter off our tongues. Replacing them with groaning and longings unheard. It was difficult to see how people once hugged, loved, could turn their backs on each other and have stone cold hearts. Refusing to listen. Refusing to speak. And then there was the violence.”

He held her in his in his arms and she cried deep into his chest amidst deep blue.

She was afraid to blame him. She knew he was always good.

“All I wanted was a happy family. Why did it always escape?”

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Door to my apartment building.  Baku, Azerbaijan.

This is an experiment in fiction inspired by a photograph where I was looking out a door window. It is also my way of grieving and knowing that when you lose someone here on earth, through death or other means, it is not the end. One day, I will see their face in heaven again, and that gives me the peace to let go.

I have no idea if I will finish this because once school starts my focus will be on work. But if you have any ideas, suggestions on how to improve upon this, I’d love to hear from you.

***

There was the uncertainty,
a new air in her lungs.
As if breath wallowed inside,
reaching, penetrating
slicing gut,
sub-cells.
Her bones.
New, she whispered to herself. Everything new.

Then, an old faded memory
slight stink of mold,
of darkness, writhing,
under green covers
peeling flesh
refusing doctors.
Lumps lumps lumps.
All she could think of
amidst the wetness of tears
was the other side
face dry.
Light.
The other side,
the glass door.
Take me to the other side.

And now, here she was.
This uncertainty,
skin white,
iridescent
new, the word popping in her mind, new new new.
and all that breathing.
As if each breath cell were solid,
something to eat,
sweet,
delicious
filling her up.

And then, there was him.
She always knew he was there,
a thin presence
as she spoke to the invisible
on bended knee
face down
endless tears
as no change for the better happened.
And instead decay.
She waited for decay.
Black rotten.

He walked towards her.
Crown on head,
stones, colors,
she couldn’t name.
Yet approachable,
Warm slush in her heart.
His eyes
reflecting her softness
her crumbling heart.
Her knees gave way.
He caught her hands.
Gravity escaped.

“Pachimoo?” Russian for why.
She refused to ask this question on the Other side.
Sometimes the word, Pachimoo,
would slip in the crevices of her thoughts,
and she liked that word.
Pachimoo.
It lacked the seriousness of its English counterpart.
It meant that she could laugh at the script she played out on the Other side.
It meant that she knew,
one day there would be no more lines.
Just a blank sheet,
no words,
and a deep longing to leave stage.
Pachimoo meant walking towards the door,
looking back,
giggling,
at how serious we actors were,
truly feeling love and anguish,
just to have the lines yanked out.
Mid-word.
When you still had so much to say.

“Pachimoo,” the whisper flew off her tongue,
and she regretted it.
She was afraid he would dislike her.
Not call her his daughter, his friend.
Praising him with her lips one second,
questioning him another.

He placed his hand on her forehead.
It was warm,
and then there was the unraveling.

“You are released from the clutches of war.”

Baku is a hidden jewel by the Caspian. It’s the prettiest city I’ve lived in.

They don’t celebrate Christmas here, but they do New Year’s with Santa Claus. They’ve adopted this tradition from the Russians. Instead of elves, Santa in Azerbaijan has Snegurochka. She is the granddaughter of Santa, and also a famous character in Russian folklore.

20121228-201434.jpg

Baku also has these amazing blue skies which I can’t get enough of. This photo was taken in the park near the Filharmonija.

06_blue skies

04_pilot wife

Awashed with relief,
words to describe what I’ve been feeling these past two days.
Awashed with relief.
There’s this song in my heart,
and a new openness to live my next chapter.
Been holding to old characters,
even if they’ve jumped off the pages long time ago.
Suicide.

So today,
I’m awashed with relief.
Done with death,
ready to get on with life,
Baku, best place.
Here. Now.

Found several groups, new, budding, blooming friendships.
Love working with Azeris,
and have also found an interesting conglomerate of people from various continents.
Walks of life.

My heart is open, singing,
visions of new doors opening.
New positive characters,
full of love.
How could I have kept myself in the limited?
Characters, lost lines.

So I’ve joined this book club,
which a Polish friend initiated.
Our first meeting was on “Ali and Nino”,
our next on “The Shack”.
Perhaps I’ll write about them another time,
both books I recommend.

I found “The Pilot’s Wife” in Chiraq.
Not sure if I liked it.
It’s about Kathryn,
pilot’s wife duh.
She finds out about double life husband leading,
overused plot,
of personal and political betrayal.
But this is not what the story is about.
It’s an introspective rendition of Kathryn’s emotions,
as she crawls without choice,
from grief, to betrayal, to not being able to grieve at all.
For the man she thought she knew.
The language lyrical. Contagious.
Riddled with fog mood.

Line from novel resonates with me today.
Scene: she is on a boat, fisherman rowing across ocean,
place where she drops wedding ring.
Intentionally.
To be relieved of love, she thought, was to give up a terrible burden.

Letting go always means death.

But the wind whispers,
It is only death here. On the other side of the glass door, there is a room where you will see your loved ones again. The way they were when it was all new.

And that is the burden of love,
stuck in inextricable maze.
It always hopes.
Beyond death.

But today I woke up,
awashed with relief.
Ready to swim,
heart open
eyes open
arms open
along the waves of the Caspian.

My beautiful first graders.

My beautiful first graders minus one. (He was absent during our Christmas play.)

When I’m with them, time stops.
Our class is filled with learning, laughter, a complicated web of relationships.
Our classroom is filled with love and fighting, and all those things that we can’t extricate from this thing called life.
We have tears and tickling and “nine minus five. what is nine minus five? what is nine minus five?” J screeches in frustration.

They say that children are a blessing from God.
After 4 years of not having a homeroom,
and being blessed with these twelve precious little ones,
twelve little ones who are learning my language,
twelve precious ones who are learning how to love and care for each other,
in a way that five, six, seven year olds can,
I know that I am truly blessed.

Thank you, G, for the twelve irreplaceable jewels you’ve set on my fingers.

Door to my apartment building.  Baku, Azerbaijan.

Door to my apartment building. Baku, Azerbaijan

(more…)

A walk along the Caspian. Baku, Azerbaijan.

A walk along the Caspian. Baku, Azerbaijan.

This morning I woke up with a song in my heart.
So I’ve been in Baku,
this hidden jewel of a city
by the Caspian.
It’s been all about the dust settling down.
Work permits, getting my first graders ready.
Learning Russian. Okay so I’ve taken a hiatus but will hop back on the learning train again.
Spaseba.

It’s been all about meeting new friends,
many times, from unexpected places.

It’s been all about buying winter clothes–sweaters.
Winter hats.
These cushy tall shoes.

This morning I woke up with a song in my heart.
It’s been about waiting.
Giving second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth chances,
until there were none.

It’s been about taking long walks,
Along this polluted, damaged, devastatingly beautiful Sea.
But still, I go, walk,
drown in sky deep blue.

This morning I woke up with a song in my heart.
A song graced,
celebrating murky seas, dark valleys.
A song that skips with the highs of the Baku wind,
whistling.
A song that keeps me beneath its wing.
Warm, cushy.

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