“People have always been divided into two groups: victims and murderers. I don’t know whether it is possible to free oneself from one group and switch over to the other during one’s life. I at least have not yet managed to become a murderer.” – Unica Zurn
Sometimes, it is assumed, that the compromised body is weak. Unreliable. Sick. Reaching.
That when something is compromised, one’s body, it does not meet the usual standards. It is lower somehow. Untrustworthy.
Sometimes it is assumed that the sensory capacities for a compromised body are also lower, weaker, duller. Less.
But if we take the color of the sky as an indication of anything, it is that compromised bodies can see differently, and to see things does not mean to see things that are not there, to be labeled as hallucinatory, but to see things differently, subjectively, intensely.
I’m saying that there is no such thing as a “reliable narrator” or a “non-compromised body” and therefore no such thing as a “non-compromised text.” I’m saying that we all see things differently, it’s just that what you see and what I see are similar enough that we can use the same words to describe what it is we are seeing and feeling, but at some point, the similarities will break down.
You will feel cold while I feel hot.
You will see the sky as blue, and I will insist that it isn’t.
You will feel absolutely nothing and I will feel sad and very far away.
Amanda Ackerman is blogging about this and in a way, this post is inspired by her thoughts.
No one recalls the oblivion of before. No one can even remember what their homes look like anymore. I know the hair on your face but I can’t visualize the bones in my own body. I know the color of your eyes but I can’t remember what my mother winking looks like.
I want to include your name on the shadow flight of a bird that cries through the sky.
I want to say that I have written all of this at least once and am rewriting it after my computer decided to not save my finished draft.
The cottage smoke is a nostalgic memory but the blanket-white of sadder sounds arrest traffic and you are awake in the fog.
The eternal emptinesses that bookend these brief shadow flights through the world. The oblivion that haunts our every movement. Our somethings shadowed by nothings. Our actions stalked by eternal inaction.
Of course I can’t forget.
Of course I can’t remember.
It isn’t about who but how. How bodies are compromised because the assumption is that they are.
Where there are compromised. Why.
Throughout all of this, this blaring compromise and the quick and grievous manner in which we choose to live, we wonder about the living skin that composes us.
Am I eating the right foods? Helping the right people? Doing the right things? How many hours a night should I be sleeping?
The spaces that contain the bodies and the bodies that contain us somehow. That we persist is the compromise we have made with these bodies, these spaces, this time, this air we breathe in and out.
Soft and trance-like. Forget-me-not.
In the morning when you wake up having to face the reality of it all and weighed down by the absurdity of doing anything, or even getting out of bed, the outburst: FUCK IT ALL. I GIVE UP.
In the bed when our bodies are lying next to each other and the flesh of me has no words to speak to your body, only the longing, the desire, an arbitrary name drawn in the dust.
Are bird and summer—
I can be sadder for you.
The forlorn face of the dog that says, You can stop crying now.
The forlorn face of the dog that says, You can keep crying.
In the bathroom I am collapsed on the floor and sobbing uncontrollably, impossible to breathe and breath only coming with the crying, the crying that makes the entire body ache, the tears the refresh the hot skin and aching, the tears that sting and the world is unbearable right now.
In the car and you are driving and my head is on your shoulder, my left hand resting on your leg, your right hand clenching my right hand. My eyes are closed and the warmth of the sun today is the most beautiful thing I have ever felt.
Life is hesitation. Supper suspended in the air. Endless waiting. Clattering through. This is what they have done.
Even the birds, a mystery. What are they looking at?
I don’t even remember what I wrote the first time.
Really what we fear most isn’t death, but that death isn’t the end. That there isn’t an appropriate end to an appropriate narrative.
Shame comes with time. With mortality. The shame of being and aging and the brevity of it all.
Why is getting lost simultaneously such a burdensome and a beautiful relief?
I want to get lost with you.
That is all there is this it the relief that there is the relief that is all this there is.
Mortality is a relief but not a promise.
There are no promises. Only compromises.
And often now—
While the birds—
I love you so much.
But believe me, the sky isn’t blue today.
Sometimes the sky is blue just because you need it to be.
Sometimes it doesn’t fucking matter.
Sometimes I remember the singing. Sometimes I don’t see anything.
If the stars could weep I would let them, hold them in my arms and let the suffering happen because the suffering is needed sometimes to see how crying relates to horror to sorry to world to tenderness to there.
I only ask that you hold me when I am weeping. It won’t be quiet or brief. But it will be necessary.