Their Golden Circle
I wish you all the best in life. I wish you a long life. I wish that you would always have poetry.
Sexuality is wired into the brain the same way mood is. Those wires are both romantic and playful yet precarious. When I came home to Port Elizabeth, it seemed that all I needed was a change of scenery. A change of suffering. The greatest tragedy of the relationship between the older male and the girl is that the scene, when it comes, is that lovers will never embrace each other in the same way again although the fabric of stars will continue to shine. The identity of the girl will eventually find a space to crawl into and it will decay. The negative will stay that way if that is what is meant by continuity and something ending.
I am left trembling in the heat in the garden of a post-apartheid South Africa. Home. This is home. A village of people standing in my way. I love you but I cannot explain away this love. This pale love for pale you. You are a leaf. You are a wave. I looked at you and I gathered love in my heart. As if I would never let it go. Initially I thought crowds would not please me, now they do all the time. I thought that they would never please me, as the rain did, like the pleasure of eating ripe fruit, or realising how bittersweet life was. Cups of lukewarm tea would please me. I study nature, the environment around me, love-sickness, and I am in awe of the dark, the anguished feelings that my Johannesburg relatives keep in their sick and twisted minds. I know I made the right decision now. Loving you and then leaving you. I know it and I am sticking by it.
Now that is what I call cantankerous and evil. All they want to live with is nostalgia, not the mental throes of someone who is in two minds. I need you to imagine that the pages are still blank. They are waiting for your attention. It was fate was it not. Our ghost story. I invented you. You invented me. I try to remember certain moments in my life. The first time I came across the words Sussex University. My father's London experience. The first time I saw an autistic child, when I worked with mentally handicapped and physically disabled young adults. Not thinking of my own happiness. Listen to me. I do not wish that I could be part of a smart pair smashed together. I just want a man's blessing. Then rain came down and washed everything clean. My mother no longer in mourning for her virginal mental faculties when it came to love.
I just want to hear how beautiful and awesome a man finds me. I know that everything decays at the end of the day in sunlight and even the sunlight decays. I love soft music and I will go hunting for the man who loves it as well. Pain is not the monster under the bed. It is not the skeleton in the closet. It rather there when you achieve. When you set the pace. When you accomplish. The monster stares at you. Stares you down. Beware. They are not the ones clapping. At least that is what I have discovered. Once I was a nymphet in a garden sunbathing on my beach towel. Now, overnight it seems as if I have been released from a cage designed by the hands of man. The audience I have now is so small.
Overnight it seems I have grown old. People have grown colder, and the relationship I have with my own mother more remote. The weather is comic dark rooms. I know it is time that we begin to listen into the algorithms of our behaviour. The lonely female poet is always spiritual. Whether she wants to be or not. The world has grown dim. The world still gives me a certain kind of satisfaction. Overnight stifled by deprivation what has become of me. It seems as if there is a concert or a kind of symphony in the garden. I carry this symphony wherever I go. My immortality is filled with pollution. I am left thinking of crocodiles and nightingales. They both exist. They both hunger for some kind of flesh. One wants to breathe a kind of peace into your world with birdsong. The other has awful teeth, awful breath and exists only to swallow you whole. You were gentle and provided me with a sense of spiritual ecstasy that was beautiful while it lasted. I love you.
This landscape has changed now. This landscape has changed me. Swaziland. Johannesburg. Port Elizabeth. My childhood home. Death will not come as a surprise to me. Instead, it is the most haunting women who surprise me. You fantastic madman let me alone. Leave me alone. You know when I cry I remember everything about my past. I forget that once I thought of the future as being my only passion. You know when I cry I feel the tingles. I feel the tingles all over. At the end of the day, a writer is a scientist. Love, like literature, is a long journey. All I have wished for my entire life is to be drunk on the literary world and wisdom, and so I am left to reconstruct my life.
If you are a man then the pages are waiting for your masculine attention. If you are a woman then the pages are waiting for your feminine attention. To understand the differences between the genders you only have to exist. You do not have to exist madly or with purpose. You do not have to exist like the birds too. Fly like them on the shine of angel wings. Your shadow is my flesh. Your mirror is my ash. Your cigarettes are my garden. Gather a fruit like a pomegranate to your heart as if I gathered you to my heart. Absorb its red brightness. It is howling therapy. It is a kind of healing that cuts through to the very heart of you. So here we stand. If only I can kill clarity of thought and the visions that I have with some kind of initiation, cook up some kind of proverbial soup with maternal warmth and instinct.
One stands in solitude and the other in the crowd. Do not try to be angry with me just look at the golden circle of the sun. Stop your fidgeting. Stop your loving for a little while. Look at me. You are a footnote. There is never a happy ending. If you want a happy ending, read a fairy tale or attend a wedding. I do not need you to translate melancholia for me. I do not need you to translate the word lovemaking for me. I do not need you to trouble your sweet soul about me because I no longer belong to you and you no longer belong to me. The little love, adoration and affection that I have is just that. A little, not a lot. I know what I have to inherit. I have to inherit the blunt, proud world that is not my home. I have to inherit loss.
Give me something that is unique and authentic. He gave me tenderness and kindness and in return, I adored him for that. He knew I was crazy. In my bones, I knew I was crazy too and I knew that it cut me off from humankind. He moves in the world like a pale fire. Inside of me, he moved like slow motion. I loved that alien feeling of silence in my bedroom filling me up. Even this man's dust was majestic. He caged me or I caged myself and for some time I felt ethereal. He frightened me. The way he moved in the world. All I wanted was for my mother to meet him. I wanted to introduce this Sussex man to her. I wanted her to give me her blessing. I wanted the Sussex man, 'the man,' and us in my life to sit down together to a Sunday meal that my mother had prepared. Her roast in her oven. For all of my life, she had always been superior to me.
This is how I wanted memory to operate. Memory informs me. It is not a stranger to my dark shores. I am always vigilant to memory. When I lost my love or rather my life to this man who was no longer a stranger to me, I knew that I would be forever changed. I have experienced the wolf in sheep's clothing. I have cried 'wolf, wolf.' I know that I have put that experience behind me now. I have felt wooden, like I could never be that wave on that beach. Nothing about you has completely withered away. You are what is real, like this pencil in my hand. I am on my knees. Happiness frightens me with its hospital corners. It is too neat for me. When I wear my slacks, I imagine I am Marilyn. I imagine that I have that Monroe persona. People will break your heart all the time if you let them.
If you give them permission to, trust me they will. I was a girl-child who wore a crown of thorns. An autistic child will live like any other. She will grow into a woman but she can never be loved as a real woman. She switches that part of her psyche and mental faculties off. The part of her that could have obtained a degree. A positive accomplishment for some. I think of the mother who would have wanted her daughter to be exactly like her in every way. I guess that is what my own mother wanted. I guess that is why I had to give up men. I wondered at the choices they made. Why in the end they did not choose me? There was a time when even my personality was attractive, but in the end, it was not enough. There is no place in this world for an autistic child to learn about love, to take those marriage vows, and perhaps, although they make for good case studies, they will make good daughters in the land of forever for caregivers even though wifedom is not for them.
I never called my parents dinosaurs. Maybe I should have. Perhaps I would not have so much guilt and so much self-hate. It becomes nauseating after a while and sometimes in the extreme cases, you have to take a pill for it. Yes, oh joy, a pill. They will call it with some unease, but the words will spill effortlessly off their tongue that you have a chemical imbalance. Nothing so wrong with that. They will also tell you at least it is not cancer. Who are these people? Greedy, powerful insomniacs. Stupid, stupid people who probably do not take their own advice. What they do not tell you is that this pill or pills will not help you cheat death. I long suspected that my mother had tenderness within her. She never showed it all the time around me. Perhaps others were luckier. They had bones like the autistic children in my care for a few hours. Their eyes were the window to some of the most beautiful souls I have ever met. Perhaps my mother only saw darkness in mine. When she looked in my eyes instead of her own reflection gazing back at her, she saw an indigenous twig whose branches were adorned with absolutely nothing.
'You dinosaur. You ancient, who think that you are so wise. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you for not loving me. For not saying those words at all when I needed to hear it the most. Why did you not love me more? Why did you not say it constantly? Why did you not hug me, hold me close to you so I could smell your aftershave when I cried? Why did you pick me up late from the rehearsal? Why were you there for him and her but not for me, you who pretended that I was an interloper and not a child in need of love? You prayed for me yet still that never washed my sins away. You preached about blasphemy, but why could you never lecture me about love for my fellow man. I can see that you hate me now. For the first time in my life, I realise that perhaps you have always despised me because all I have ever made you feel is frustrated. You, dinosaur who have nothing to say, I love you. Yes, I love you. I love you anyway.'
Never for one moment thought that their scarcity of love would become my own. Smoke in my eyes, I never looked down upon my own mother's sensuality. Nor undermined her. Never thought that there was a chance she would outlive me. Never thought others or another woman would think that I was my father's wife. That my own mother getting on in her years would be mistaken for my sister. I guess I really let myself down. Did not take enough or better care of myself. Mum, I think of your personal history. I think of my personal history and that in the forgetting there is a surrender that we cannot turn back to. You were once my future emergency, my breath, an illusion, something that I projected onto my skin.
Dad. I say those words repeatedly until it begins to sound like a child's rhyme or a silly song. I love you. I love you. I love you. Dad you have never changed. I have changed. Yes, I am the one who has changed over the years. Sometimes it is the death in the family. It comes. It comes. It comes like cheap society. It can change you like the death of my second mother that overtook me. Romance is like that. Winter. Fragments, anthropological discoveries of dinosaurs at the end of the world. I cannot forget me at nineteen. Dragged to see a psychiatrist who had studied in Vienna. I did not want to let go of my mother's hand in the darkened hallway. This I know for sure. I will not be making any babies and neither will the mentally handicapped and physically disabled young adults in my care. They will always be children no matter how much their faces deceive you.
Their faces will always be made out of bone and when you touch their almost frail limbs, it will feel as if you are touching fragments. Sometimes it felt as if I mistook the fragments of bone for a wife or a husband. This will happen in their curious world. A world made up of curiosities (is their love a waste of energy or is it my own soul that I am thinking of) and bread. I love you Magdalene, but all I am left with and all that I remember now is the silence that fills her presence. My second mother. Gone, forgiven but not forgotten. She shut my whining down. I knew in the 'ongoingness' what it meant to describe death. To meet it head on, with my chin and my socks pulled up. Scars are my one regret. We are things. We are material possessions. All I want is sky. Blue is enough for me but I say this and I do not believe it. I think that you can hear it yourself in my words. I thought of all the perfect words I wanted to say to him. I thought of the first words he said to me. 'You are beautiful.' I wanted to believe him but he made me feel small in his empiric world.
What is a novel? It is a brief life or contains brief lives. A novel, it only has a temporary existence. It has a voice or many voices. It sounds like a Beatles song, cicadas, love like a sonnet, so much from my past mistakes. Who made up all the rules and then watched how we followed them like fools. The truth is I had a bad time of it. The truth is I had a bad past. My attempt at a novel will have a brief life or contain brief lives. My attempt at a novel will have a temporary existence and when I let go of that world all is gold. Gone are the passages of modern society, the pages that are numbered that visited you fleetingly and that remind you that you can never go back to yesterday. Some will say that you have to self-medicate with rich food and alcohol. That it is the best way to live, that if you do not surrender to that you will surrender to chaos. Instead, I leave you with these words, Sussex man. I love you. For all of my life I kept those words in my heart.
Kept them to myself. Instead of giving them wings to fly away before cosmic women had wings.
Mum, dad and me in our golden circle. I soon realised we are the idle rich. Side by side with the Muslims that gave spices, poppadoms, and pasta sauce that looked like soup to the poverty-stricken who knocked on their doors. If you had cancer, I would want to annihilate it with more than chemotherapy and radiation. I would want to eat its stain out of your tissue with shark teeth, mouthful for mouthful, filled with blood and flesh, leaving a gaping wound where once the cancer had been before. I would thread neat little dark stitches through your skin. In the end, I would have to prepare myself for the worst-case scenario. That I too would be plugged into tubes with my blood wasting away in it away from me because my kidneys just could not do it anymore. Just because they just did not have it in them anymore. Nobody loves you when you are sick. You are just a troublemaker.
You just have trouble staying alive, you say. You are not looking for attention, but still it seems that all eyes are on you. Every day I wake up and realise that yes, I am a woman (with or without depending on whom is asking that question I am a woman who still has that youth on her side). That we are all here on earth for a little while longer and while I am here, I must be glorious and look glorious, flirting at the expense of my soul all at the same time. Nobody ever spoke to me about the acceptance of your own self. To thine own self be true. My mother surely never did. You were a dream, then reality, then a goal. After that, you no longer existed for me and I no longer existed for you. Do not look at me, but most especially do not say that you love me. I will not believe you particularly. I was a latecomer. The latecomer who was a late bloomer. Are there still such things? The black sheep of the family who cried 'wolf, wolf.' The Christian feminist if there ever was such a thing.
In my mind, I do not see the battle, the struggle of my parents' separation, I only see the softness of their togetherness as if their hearts were connected by a long piece of string or a death in the family. Is it forced, is conversation forced when it comes to the end of the relationship. I ask myself pointedly if there is any tension there. There is a world of love but a world of love does not exist for me. It is not for me. I know there must have romanticism at one time in their lives, or they might have experienced it with different people but there is a break in the string now. Everything is bitter. Once my mother's hands were kind and clever. Once she had elegant and graceful fingers that prepared family meals with care. Now all she does is plant rose bushes with those same fingers.
Your world is my world. Your death is my death. Your vision is my vision, and so as you weave your story in the universe, mine becomes entangled with yours. The surface tension in the chords. The lines that are there on your face, on your world, on your Sussex, on your birthday. I touch your face through the mirror. I have dreamed of us, a perfect union, our residence, our children the way I have dreamt about the permanence of an American woman in the world. A man running. A woman running. Their athleticism. The athlete running. In your pocket, you have keys and a wallet. A wallet filled with crisp notes, which affords me a kind of status that I was never used to as a child. I never believed a man could make a woman happy until the day I met you.
Oh, I have thread for that. Unintended taproots and the discontent that comes with shock called trauma. All I need are pins, a needle and thread for that in a street filled with birds, raging bulls and snapping crocodiles. You are my special voyage into dark, a romantic, a person that swims back to me repeatedly. I am used to these blurred lines. I am used to this image of you. You are the person I have no words for, only a heart filled with love and with roses. You put me in a trance the way the stars do. Self-sabotage comes with a sharp destruction. As a world turns into sparks, embers of a fire, a lake of fire turns into shoring, digging away, turning up old resentments. You remind me of the fact that love, all love comes with an inheritance. The difference between you and me is that you are rich and I am poor while I am still in love with you. The thing is that I am talking about a kind of spiritual poverty. Can you understand that or are all your veins made out of ice.
I know now that there will never be enough time in this world to read all the books that were ever written. Romantics and the female writer. We are all filled with something. We all left, wanting to be filled with something. A kind of hunger. The only place where flesh lingers is memory. The only place where hurt lingers is when events come to mind. Give me the metamorphosis of parachutes turning into winter light. Give me letters of hope and suffering. A woman turns into a mother every second in South Africa. God, I never will. I look at men who have turned into husbands and all I can see is the weekend. Their stubby chins and hairy potbellies. All I can see is how ancient they have become. You are eternally young. You are the best thing I ever made out of make-believe. Make-believe is by far the best play dough. So make-believe man, did you ever love me?
You know for a man to touch a woman it is no easy thing. First, he has to have her consent. She will give this to him on one condition. Only if she knows in that moment that he is in love with her. He does not have to come out and say it. Words do not carry very much weight. To believe it there must be eye contact and for a few moments, she must be brave and not look away. You can only love so much. It can only take you so far to the ends of the earth. It can remind you of your first love. It only takes you a few minutes. I dare you to look into my eyes and find what you are looking for. Look into the windows of my soul. All women speak and write in code. They can do both magnificently. Marilyn Monroe, James Byron Dean, Kubrick, Hitchcock and the one I love best, Nabokov. Romantics everyone. They were always so invested in what they were doing. Whether they were a filmmaker or scaring people to death. People always think of the physical. Do not stop thinking of the physical in your relationship, because soon that will be the cause of the death of it.
You are so in love so at some point in the relationship with who this other person (you) thinks you are. You go out of your way to please him and to make sure that he understands that if they treat you well there is not anything that you will not do for them. At some point, my unhappiness must meet your happiness. In some ways it is your happiness that is nurturing my unhappiness. I know it does not make sense. It does not have to make sense. I am a woman and half the time the things we say and think are bizarre and strange. We house collections of every kind. Some are splendid and some of their routes in melancholia. Some we are the master of and when we are secretive, we are usually hiding a very good half-lie. There is a reason that we do not want you to know anything about the reality of the situation. Do not look. In time, I should have said I would have got round to telling you all about it, and then perhaps you would not have looked at me with self-pity in your eyes, you would have thought me brave. I love you. I know I do not need to say it all the time but I want to.
I like to acknowledge you in this way. I have seen things get nasty in other relationships, so I know what love looks like on the surface, but I also know what it looks like in that other world when you are protecting other people from the people who supposedly love them. Words do not mean a thing if you do not have the granite to back you up. I guess in the end that they do not know what is wrong with me, or they do not care to know what the words mental hospital mean, bipolar or a madness life. All I want from them, no the world, is to be loved. I do not want a celebration to be held in my honour as if I was at a child's birthday party again. I want to know if you will be with me when a new president is elected in this democratic country of ours. If you will watch the rain, the seasons change, eat my roasted chicken feast or butterflied lamb that I have prepared for you. Share your life with me. I want to know if you are prepared for any eventuality. I want to welcome you home in the evenings. I want you to know it is always you. I am always leaving you, but then again I am always finding you in the most unexpected places.
You see I have never forgotten the titan that you were. I made you out to be more dream than reality, nevertheless you exist. I know I have loved. I know I have the capacity to love, for love, to surrender to you but always in your arms it is someone else I am searching for or is it something. Perhaps empires were enough for you. I could never understand men playing at building empires, kingdoms. Here is some free advice. Do not fall in love with your best friend, especially if he already belongs to another. At the end of the day, you will be the one left hurt. It is best not to understand a man at all, how he negotiates his route in the world. What he reacts, responds to. I know that there is something about the female psyche that leaves him cold. I am sorry that I never told you how beautiful I thought you were, so I am telling you now. Better late than never I guess. My mother never taught me the value of love. All my life I have loved men from afar, from the distant shore and I have been kept waiting, which is not such an easy thing to do if you have been impatient since birth for the world to admire you.
I love you, but in the end that did not matter. Writing the love story is all I have now. Keep me close. Do not hurt me. Above all else, do not betray me. I never said any of those words when you loved me. If you find a man on your destination let him come to you and not the other way round, darling. Let him worship you. Let him put you on a pedestal and not the other way round. It was fate that we had to meet the way we did. It was fate that we had to part the way we did. All loved up with no place left to go but my childhood home. Back to mum and dad, wise and sad. A pioneer with great ideas. An impulsive pioneer with grandiose ideas. What I know of love is this. I do not want anything to do with it. If it comes my way, again surely I will give it up. I feed people now. Instead of loving you, which is the sole responsibility of the wife in your life, I feed people. Hungry people grow on me like trees. I spread out my rainy arms to meet them. The lost boys, I call them. Is that not what we have in common? The fact that we are all lost.
I have come home and they are searching for a home in time and space that they will never find. Poverty. They will always live in poverty. People do not understand what the word 'touch' really means. 'Touched by fire.' That is what I feel when I feed the neediest, hungriest people I have ever come across in my life. I see the spiritual poverty in their eyes mirror my own and I think to myself that I have finally found love, a connection, a catalyst to fill all my days and nights. I will tell love. I will tell it not to waste its energies or its time, its electricity, its hottest state, its glorious history on me. I will give it up to the world from whence it came with all of its splendid awe. History has not made visionaries of women like the men who are dead poets. Love haunts me like Hemingway's A Moveable Feast. Is there enough love in the world for a woman like me? Love is a perversion of the truth. Love leaves me empty, jealous and cold. A tyrant. I feel it coming up on me sometimes, but I am afraid that as soon as it begins to cloud my judgement, I begin to withdraw and shut down my intuition.
Give me a reason or do not give me one in the end. I will still have my sanity. Love is not for anyone unless they are thinking of settling down, and that is the furthest thing from my mind, having never had children. This is my life now. A life filled with those neat hospital corners that house cleaners in hotels make, leaving a mint chocolate on your pillow. I have finally begun to believe in myself again. Nothing about you is truthful. Most of what I know of you I have imagined. I belong to mummy, daddy figures somewhere in the equation of life. It is like a forest. Dawn is. I go through mum's wardrobe searching for treasure. Something not quite lost but already half-found. I love you is different from saying, 'I love you mummy.' The figurative means a love divine. I love everything about you and absolutely nothing all at once. I came from a generation of women who did all the giving and the men who did all the taking. The beauty of the dark swarm in your hair overcomes me. Are you as overcome by that romantic line as I am? Sweet Jesus, romantic lines will be the death of me.
Sometimes I leave the poems as they are. I do not retouch them, censor or edit them in anyway. Sometimes I long to and some days I do not. Sometimes I tenderly reconstruct them when my heart is in it and I can stand the James Byron Dean kind of pain. I let the autumn winds blow into my writing, along with the mustard seed and indigenous flora. Sometimes I let the poetry automatically turn into prose all by its lonesome self. Sometimes I think to myself, oh what give it a go, live a little and write about the solidity of love. How it anchors you when you have to weather storms, but sometimes in other words (worlds) I call that territory as I see it. A wallflower. When I see my literary work through the eyes of a staggering drunk then something about it pleases me at the same time when I am filled with gross self-hate.
I never told myself that perhaps one day I would wake up a famous reckless fool, a beautiful famous personality, attractive with pleasing features and talent, that kind of famous or that I would become a kind of celebrity writer. It just was not that important to me. People in my hometown knew my father. People in my hometown knew he was a writer. He did not care about them, in a way. He did not let their opinions about him get to him, but when I think about people's opinions of me, about how I have lived my life, not married, not had those kids at thirty, even at thirty-five, then I started to worry. Then I started wondering whatever was the matter with me that set me out on this course. Life is not about killing time, wasting it or using it as a crutch.
Life, it is about discovering yourself. Going out there on pilgrimages. Having adventures. What I have learned from my own life experience. I have been my own teacher. People do not just live in their own world. They live in their own reality. Everybody has to be miserable, sad and suffer in their own way that all lovers do before reaching the nirvana of happiness. In that way, people can find their own solace too. I think that you can only imagine loneliness. People do not really want to accept it, that perhaps loneliness is only a state of mind. You might disagree with me, but I am okay with it, but I just thought that I would leave you with that thought. There is so much within me of intrinsic value, but also not enough to keep on loving the non-existent, preternaturally youthful-looking you.
Right now, you are George Orwell of all people.
I am reading Why I Write. All he talks about is politics. Politics this and politics that. I am deathly afraid of having to reread Animal Farm, which I thought was a kind of a fairy tale the first time I read it, I thought it was so funny and hilarious. Animals talking to each other. I thought that was such a brilliant idea and asked myself why I had not thought about it before. I thought that was a brilliant name for a children's book. Animal Farm and then there is his 1984 that I have to wade through as if swimming through bone and history. Some days you are a woman. Some days you are a man. Some days you are Orlando. Some days you are Hemingway. Some days I have to nurse you back to health. Pretend this is normal. For me this is normal. In my daydream, you are Jeanette Winterson. You have her hands.
They feel like magic. Although when it feels like rain, you can sometimes feel like Jerome David Salinger, David Foster Wallace, Nicole Krauss, Jonathan Safran Foer, Haruki Murakami, Paulo Coelho, NoViolet Bulawayo, Jhumpa Lahiri and Ruth Ozeki. Sometimes you are parts of all my favourite writers and poets. Sometimes you besiege me. I have to say this. I am 'normal' again whatever normal means. I have to tell you I am not a little girl anymore. I do not like that word normal. After all this time, you still make me feel safe as houses, as warm as a hollow chocolate Easter egg in the hands of a child and happy like a cuckoo clock.
I will follow you anywhere. Cities and countries. I will swim for you. Come up for air for you. Dance for you, Smile for you. Laugh for you. Whither you are, I will call that home. Up the Nile, through the Suez Canal, Argentina, Chile, Paris, Texas, Paris, France, abroad, down cobblestone streets, bridges, village life in the towns of London, across Africa, Ghana, Kenya. Frida Kahlo's Mexico City. Where Vincent van Gogh spent the last years of his life before he shot himself. Key West. Hawaii. Jamaica. Budapest. Prague. The former Yugoslavia. Minnesota. Prairies and plains found in the Midwest. Los Angeles. Bosnia. You, my blood tie.
My gravity, my spectator bird, my Sabbath, June and fire.
There are writers that I am only beginning to discover after my nervous breakdown. Perhaps these words do not mean anything to you at all. I do not mind. I love you, so I will forgive you for thinking, after all this time is she still crazy. It is just that everything important that has ever happened to me has always involved me having a relationship with an older man. I will even forgive you for using the word 'crazy.' Which one is better do you think? Crazy or insane, but it is the stigma I hate. I mean it is not as if you felt the same way about me. Colours are brighter when you are hypomanic.
If I cannot have you. If I cannot be with you, be by your side, have your children, live with you, if I can never grow old with you in sickness and in health, if I can never take those vows with you since you are already in a relationship. Instead, let us live side by side, as ghosts do. Then I will go out into this world the way God made me, intended for me and I will feed the hungry. I will feed the starving masses. I will talk to strangers. I will give a little. Take the weight of the world upon my shoulders. You who have inspired volumes of poetry and prose. The Sussex man who has no name. Being an apprentice only gives you something to build on.
You can build either with agony or with ecstasy. Every apprentice writer builds with both. The silence of the apparitions all around me in my environment seeps into my pores. There is a history there. Except what to do with the apparitions inside my head. How to behead them all. How to get away from them. Even they are all romantics. They sit down with me at breakfast, lunch and dinner. When I eat a peach, they want one too. Self-medication is the answer. I always know when I can get a story out of it. I quietly wait on them like rabbits to sell me their kingdoms for a dollar.
You, the Sussex man, taught me that.