Thursday, July 29, 2010

Year One


It has been one year, to the day, since I launched Dreams, Deliriums, and Other Mind Talk. But… here… I am bending the truth. The truth is that I created this blog sometime in early June of 2009, and then, on the same day, I deleted it. After the fact, I didn’t think about it much. I hadn’t thought about it much when I had created the blog, after all. I had just gone to the “Create Blog” link, hit the button, and gone with it. But that is not how I like to do things. I am organized. I like things to be clean. And orderly. And perfect. Yes, it is rather obsessive-compulsive, isn’t it? But it is what it is, and who’s my judge?

Several weeks later, having just returned from a trip to Cairo, I was downloading photos of our trip to my computer when I remembered. Maybe it was the fact of sitting at the computer after I had not touched a keyboard in weeks that triggered my memory? Maybe it was looking at the photos as I was downloading them and remembering the places… and the events… and feeling like I wanted to write about them? I don’t really know. But then and there I signed in and brought the blog back to life.

Notice how I’m saying “… the blog…” and not “… my blog." That was how I felt about it. Actually, I felt nothing. And it was uncomfortable because… I wanted to feel something. I wanted to make it “My Blog.” And I realized that the only way I could make it mine was by making it mine. So, I scribbled out some sentences… some random and unconnected thoughts about me and writing and such, I attached a dorky photo of myself, and I hit the “Publish” button. And then I sat there with my head in my hand and said to myself, “Now what the hell did I do that for?” Of course, I could’ve just deleted that post and deleted the blog again and none would have been the wiser. But the thing was… after I published that first post, “The Blog” was now “My Blog.”  And there was no undoing that.

Over the next few weeks, I worked on direction… on establishing a purpose for this new beast I had created. What am I doing here? was the question I asked myself every time I visited my blog. And I knew I had to find the answer. Do you see that text in my sidebar, right under my profile, where it says, “… and this is what I’m doing here?” I wrote those lines shortly after I launched my blog because I needed to know what I was doing here. And I have kept them because I need the reminder… every once in a while.

There is an awesome and indescribable sense of power that comes with creating. Everyone likes to create different things and in different ways. When we create, we feel like we have purpose. And those things we create involuntarily are not quite as rewarding as those things we create of our own free will. I have always enjoyed dreaming my own stories. I have always been my own little Scheherazade. But Scheherazade had an audience… even if he was an insufferable brute who had his sword ready to pounce upon her neck unless she kept him entertained with her nocturnal tales. I wanted an audience, too.

I like to play this game… with friends and family, both. I like to say, “Imagine this…,” and then to tell a story. In this day and age, though, there is an evolution in the oral tradition… and in the written one, as well. There is the internet, with the endless possibilities it has to offer, not only to writers, but to everyone. And though I am a bit old-fashioned about my writing habits, I thought it would be quite cool if I stepped into the 21st Century, already! Now, don’t go looking for me on Facebook or Twitter or MySpace or any of those other social networking sites, because you will not find me there – maybe other Nevine Sultans, but not this one! I am actually quite archaic in my opinions about joining those ranks, and that is not going anywhere any time soon. But with My Blog I can remain humble and still, quite discreet, don’t you think? Even if I’ve got my name right there in capital letters at the top of the page? I think so. So, here I have been for one year, and here I will stay….

And I have to say, it has been a beautiful year. I am sitting here typing this while listening to the incomparable Vladimir Horowitz pound out the Allegro Brillante from Schumann's Sonata No. 3, and I am smiling, and this after I had my initial few days of, How do these blog things work? Does anyone know I exist? Did anyone read what I wrote a week ago... while maybe not wanting to leave a comment... possibly? Familiar, yeah? But then things picked up, and I started to have an audience, after all. So, a huge thank you to all of you who read me and share your thoughts... and to all of you who read me and don’t share your thoughts. I know there are silent readers… and I appreciate your presence… and I respect your wish to remain silent. Really, thank you from the bottom of my heart for making my blogging experience the huge thrill it has been... and is! I mean, I might still be blogging if I didn’t have readers, but what the hell would that be like? So smack or muah or whatever else you like to call them (those are kisses, by the way) to all of you! As Eric Cartman of South Park says, "I love you guys!"




Thursday, July 22, 2010

i accept the silence


"Abstraction White Rose" by Georgia O'Keeffe

silent
my dead grandmother
forever silent
and cold
and alone
but there are secrets to be shared
and confidences to be breeched
and promises to be broken
you come to me
you read me your letters
her letters
letters returned
unopened
unanswered
and you tell me
your mother has a black heart
and
glass
your eyes
glass filmed over
by gentle breaths in unforgiving cold
and glass
the wall that separates us
we can see
but not touch
we can look
eyes drifting
desiring
and our hands can reach out
for intimacies that can no longer be realized
your mother has always scorned affection
you say
and my heart wants to jump to my mother’s defense
maybe out of fear that she will hear
from her place so far away
this mute conversation
that gouges loyalty in the throat
i want to tell you about those times
my mother had looked at your black and white photo
hanging on her living room wall
and said she looked like the actress in that old movie
the white rose
but i recognize the past tense
and the word old
is a cloud over a full and beaming moon
i want to tell you my mother
has always been affectionate
but your daughter and my mother
though the same person in appearance
are two different women in essence
so i sit on my chair
in silence
and see you as if through a peeling mirror
mirror
the back of your china cabinet
where i looked at myself as a child
amidst the glimmer of french porcelain
and i counted my freckles as if they were coins
and i thought i could fly
and i remember running down the hill
outside your house
running breathless and effortless
the ground rising like slow motion
rising to meet me
my heart lifting
bloodless and fleshless
feeling like if i stepped into the air
i could fly
before doubt grabbed a hold of me
and wed me to the asphalt
you cleansed my face
of blood and shards of macadam
and your voice was gentle and steady
as you lulled me to sleep that night
and i sit with you now
and your hand is cold
and your face is ice
but even in death you are so beautiful
and tears stream from your eyes
and i try to tell your tears
i try to tell them you are not dead
but they quiet me and tell me about
tormented spirits and haunted souls
and glass
your body
and mirror
your soul
and you are here and you are not
light and weightless
like a shadow on a wall
and i want to say things
grandmama
as if this moment does not know
the meaning of itself
as if to cover the silence
but the words shun my lips
so we sit still
you
with me
with you
and time accordions between us
and we accept the silence
and we close our eyes
and i see
your extinguishing presence
sharp as a pinprick to a blind woman’s finger
and there are yet gulfs to bridge
and labyrinths to unravel
but you speak
as you go
only
of the thirst of a mother
for her daughter’s love
and all of what you say
you say not with your lips
but with your eyes
and all of your words
i hear with my heart
because death and absence
are not an end
but an eternity
and so
i accept the silence

Sunday, July 18, 2010

nocturne

"Sleeping Couple" by Ivan Koulakov

it is that time of night
when i withdraw quietly
inside myself
and i go in silence
and rest my head
upon my pillow
and he comes in silence
and rests his head
upon his pillow
that lies at my pillow’s side
and he breathes in shallow draws
and troubles my soul’s harmony
and he turns slightly to one side
and disturbs my body’s repose
and i turn slightly to one side
and look out of the window
into the nebulous night
and i begin
with my nocturnal hallucinations
once more
and the trees are deep
and the sky is low
 and the moon is lackadaisical and alone
and the floor is carpeted with blossoms
iridescent and shaped like stars
 and my candle flickers and shortens
and the rose petals flutter on the rose
and i hear your breaths deepen and slow
and the sky splits open
like the flanks of a tender wound
and the rain rains
and the stars fall out of the sky
and i twist my head
and lay my pulsing lips
upon your murmuring eyes
and your opaque lips unfold and pull me in
and i plummet into the length of your shadow
and your heart is pillow
and my head is cloud
and breaths no longer trouble harmony
nor thoughts disturb repose
and time dissolves like vertigo
and i dream that i am painting my lips
vermilion black
and that i am flying with paper wings
clasped to my shoulder blades
lest wax wings melt and i fall
and i dream that icarus did not die
but sleeps on the bed of the sea
and that morpheus sleeps at his side
and together they dream our fates
and in a lapse of dream
they will turn slightly to one side
and that is when storms will arise

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lady Grey with a Lemon Twist

Good vs. Evil by BlueBlack

Hello, my dear. Air kisses. Pregnant smiles. Please, come in. Make yourself comfortable. My house is open. My heart is open. My walls are down. Shall I take your mask? Come. Come to my kitchen table. It’s all set and ready for us. I’ve decorated it with flowers. Calla lilies. Your favorite. I bought them because I knew you were coming. Shall we sit on opposite ends so we can see each other better? Oh, the phone is ringing. Let me unplug it. There. Now we can chat in peace. And openly. We can brush all of the smoking embers inside our hearts away and watch the grey ash flutter through the air. Put your car keys on the table. Right here. Beside the vase with the lilies I bought because I knew you were coming. And let’s talk. Your life. My life. Outside these walls is the chaos of real life. But here, it’s just the two of us. We can smile. And pretend. Are you uncomfortable? Shall we leave our chairs and sit on the cushions I’ve thrown on the floor? It might make us more at ease in one another’s presence. There’s a shaft of sunlight streaming through the open blind. Let’s sit in its warmth and talk. You talk first. And I will listen. Tell me about his betrayals. Tell me everything. And let diamond after diamond drip from your eyes. I will listen carefully. I will watch the flicker of your lashes, the dance of your lips. Out of admiration, yes. But also for lies. I will listen to what you are not saying. Shall we drink coffee? I can read your fortune in your coffee grounds. Oh, please do let me play gypsy. Please do let me prophesy. You know I will say all the things you want to hear. There is a journey in your near future, I will say. And on this journey you will meet a man. A handsome man who will shower you with flowers and a ring. And you will begin to create fragments of this phantom lover in your imagination. You will do this though I will be saying other things that you should hear. I will be saying, Beware a woman with a painted face who will try to take him away from you. But you will have stopped listening. You will be dreaming of your phantom lover. In your waking dreams, you will be telling him, Eat my love. Drink my devotion. And he will be flicking his tongue over your face. So gently. So smoothly. And I will be saying, Beware the lash of his tongue. But you will not hear this. You will shut your eyes over the sublimeness of the imagined moment. And you will shut your ears to what I am saying. So you will not hear that the journey will be to a pit of fire. You will not hear that the flowers will be dead and the ring will have no diamond. You will not hear the part about the man’s tongue. And you will not hear the part about the other woman, either. We only hear from the gypsy what we want to hear, my dear. So you will sit there with an idiotic smile on your face. And I will smirk at you in my waking dreams. And I will smile as I deliver goodbye air kisses and shut my door upon your departure. And then I will laugh at you. I will go back to my kitchen table and clear it of vase and lilies and drained coffee cups. I will make myself a fresh pot of tea. I will drink the tea from my porcelain teacup – Lady Grey with a lemon twist. I will drink my teacup to the bottom. But all of this is in my waking dreams. In the here and now I say, Shall we drink coffee? And you say, I don’t want coffee; it makes me tremble. Can we have tea instead? And I say, Of course. How about Lady Grey with a lemon twist? I’ll make a fresh pot. We drink the tea – Lady Grey with a lemon twist – from our porcelain teacups. We drink our teacups to the bottom. I ask if you want more. But it seems my teapot was filled with a potion of silence. I reach for it – my porcelain teapot, handpainted with wild roses. A hairline fissure appears – a hairline fissure that cracks the pot from rim to base. And the pot splits open. And my hands burn red with steaming tea dribbling black over my startled fingers. You rise from your chair like a somnambulist. You rise, and the sun outside dives behind a cloud. I watch as you walk to the door. Silently. As if you don’t want to draw attention to yourself. As if I don’t already see you. The gypsy in me wants to tell you more. But you cover your ears. There is a fire in your face, and I want to tell you how lush you look in the colors of flame. I want to tell you I can almost smell the sulfur burning in your insides. I come closer. You strike blindly. The closer I come, the blinder you strike back. I see you know my glance knows. But you also know my glance is your salvation – if – it is colored with acceptance, painted with love. You need that assurance, don’t you? But you don’t tell me this. You don’t dare. You are afraid I will think less of you for being so needy. Oh, how elegantly we wear our façades, so nonchalant and sophisticated! But on the inside we are trembling children. Oh, this timeless charade! I dare you to remove your mask. I dare me to remove mine. I dare you to unveil your darkness. I dare me to unveil mine. I dare us to uncover ourselves. You. Me. Your life. My life. Air bullets. Loaded hearts.

This is what happens when two ladies meet for tea.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Episodic Flickers in Black and White

                                   Kiss by unknown photographer

This is how it begins…

We are a silent film
shot in black and white
scratchy and grainy
speeding to a soundtrack
of our shortened breaths

Our eyes are electric
with drifting gazes
that blink and unblink to
hair lips shoulders skin

And when they are closed
we feel we are drowsing
heads drifting down
to meet shoulders
on a trip that is longer
than the length of the shot

At moments when we do
look at one another my face
rises from inside you and
your head tilts downward
where lips brush gently
without kissing and eyes
close dreamily and cheeks
meet in a surreal embrace

We are a silent film
filled with haste and though
the scenes speed ahead of us
we are the actors doing all
in a dance of slow motion

Here…

My mouth turns up to your ear
your ear drops down to my mouth
I smile and my teeth gleam white
against the blackness of your
jacket and my eyes glow violet
in the beam of an invisible light

And with my violet eyes’ glow
I see inside you and see you
as if for the first time – but
the seeing will have to wait
because you know and I know
that in this timeless scene the
moments are fleeting and will
drift into the soft light of dawn

But if you should wish me
goodnight without pressing
your lips to mine we will not
have truly embraced my love

And so we stand entwined
on the sidewalk of a quiet
street corner in the milky halo
of a solitary street light
lips pressed to lips
breathless
for a very long time
and though the scenes of this
film are flickering to an end
we do not part but instead –
we reign – in the silence.

and this is how it ends.