20:54 | tuesday 11 january 2011 ; 01:36 | saturday 12 march 2011
- #82 -
We are all fragile. Easy to break. All it takes is a small push. Or a second of doubt. Or a change in tone of voice. We are fragile. We are pathetically weak. Our hearts break in a second and won’t heal for months, years, decades. And we are all the same. None of us are any different. None of us can shield ourselves from it. None of us will ever be the same, and there is not a damn thing any of us can do about it.
You and I, we are broken kids without hope. We know we are. But tonight we are painless. Tonight we have depraved our souls for the last time and we are both giving up. The electro beats are shattering all that’s still alive inside me and the flashing lights are finally closing my eyes, for the last time in this place, for the last time in this hell. We are floating here, and I couldn’t care less if we floated here forever. We are climbing up the walls, and I’d give anything for them to crumble over us and bury us alive. I don’t mind the damage, and I don’t mind the harm. I don’t mind.
We have no voice here. We have no sight. We are but smoke. We are nothing in this room, and we can’t touch the floor. You can’t hear me, but I need to tell you to shut up. Please shut up and stop fighting. Please feel better. Please smile and come back to life and breathe. Please, for the love of God, stop walking around lifeless when I’m not around and just…breathe. Just shut up. Right now. And kiss me.
But you’re not here. None of this is real. The mirrored walls don’t show you standing next to me, and I can barely see myself in the reflection anymore. You are not here. You never were. You never came back home. “We” never existed. I don’t know where you are and no matter where I look…I just can’t find you. I need you so much closer, but I just can’t find you. So please, shut up. Just shut the fuck up.
Kiss me; kill me now, or be my salvation.
17:02 | tuesday 4 january 2011
- #73 -
He sang about Nantes. That intolerably handsome american, only three years my senior, that first time I spent a week in rain and shine on a field not all too far from Copenhagen. We were in a big tent that felt like a saloon in New Orleans. A theatre on a dirty field. Waltzing in the mud. I’ve been told we were young and dumb and didn’t know better. I keep answering that none of us would have it any other way, we’d do it again right here right now if we could. I remember seeing pictures of him together with a friend I hold very dear, both very drunk on wine and probably pretty dizzy, from a festival in some city I can’t be bothered to remember. I heard they danced together, him on stage and her wielding a camera right in front of him, and all the lovers out on the field behind them. It sounded lovely, because it sounded familiar.
Most of those people, those intolerably handsome americans who fall in love with Europe and decide to embrace the music we make on our end of the world, most of them sing about love. They sing about romantic meetings in far off lands, in places we dream about with the people that are our dreams. The sing about smiles, smiles drunk out of their minds on love. And I listen, because I do remember that smile of yours, and all the hours and days and weeks I gambled away mindlessly because of it. I never did regret a second of it, I still don’t, and I probably never will.
It’s funny, how I never did spend another night in Nantes after our days here. How I always made sure to catch the very last train leaving this place every time I end up here, because staying doesn’t sit well with me. It never felt appropriate, time wouldn’t pass as quickly after we left here together. So I come here in the evenings to watch the sun slowly set, the streets alive but sombre, and the distant breeze of the Atlantic mixing in with the cup of coffee I still drink outside the Mosquée des Turcs. I can’t relate to the believers here, nor can I hum the melody the street performers strum. It wouldn’t be right. But I know it. I know it by heart. And I used to love it. But that’s not why I’m here in Nantes. Not today anyway. Not anymore.
13:13 | tuesday 4 january 2011
- #71 -
You have to live in the suburbs to truly understand what living in one feels like, what it does to you. How it’s just as much a part of something else, something much bigger, as it is still something completely on its own. Life moves at a different speed here. I don’t have to live in Saint-Denis to understand Saint-Denis. All it takes is a casual lean out the doorway and a jump onto the platform for me see a town just like my own; damaged and broken and in chaos, just located in France. The accordion from home plays on this train too but to a slightly different tune. The cigarettes the passengers smoke smell the same. The air tastes the same. The suburbs are always the same, just filled with different faces. It’s just the same well-managed misery but placed in another country.
I’ve got an hour or so. The train station is what it is; people expecting some grandiosity in a place like this are those fooled by decade-old pictures of Les Blues glory from what is today used as a goddamn rugby stadium of all things. Then again, perhaps I’m just bitter, tired of these trips, of being bound to train tracks because life, love, became unbearable back home. Most people wish they could do this and live the life I live, so how ungrateful am I really, acting this way?
I find a town square not far from the station, a clean and quiet place with a building looking like a town hall, some statues and a sign perched on the grass in the middle of the clearing. There’s an abundance of light and cooling winds seem to blow right through the entire town and end up here, so it’s nothing out of the ordinary and just like any other town square in any other town. But that sign is familiar, despite it being in a town I’ve only passed through years ago and never stayed in for more than a couple of hours. By the time I see and recognize the engraved shield sitting next to the arms of St. Denis, clearly out of place with its yellow fort and kindling fire lying on a blue background and that text written in her language scrawled beneath it, the French word for “sister city” written above it, I’ve already boarded a different train heading somewhere else. This is just another town where love, life, goes to waste. I didn’t need it at home. I don’t need it here.
19:55 | wednesday 1 december 2010
- #14 -
Another black taxi left running on an empty inner-city street, past midnight throwing shadows in the alley because the street lights never work properly here. Another black taxi for another black night, another lengthy after-hours act of escapism ending in a hasty escape down all those flights of stairs we drunkenly drifted up countless times, countless nights. Another way of saying goodbye, by not saying goodbye at all. Another suit and tie, another ride along frozen highways through another darkened city, another temporary residence. Another love wasted, another girl lied to, lied next to, left alone, left in the dark. Another drive far away, I don’t care where just far. Another empty airport terminal, another sea of marble barely keeping up with another dark shadow walking on its surface. Another flight to nowhere, another life together not lived because the time, for us, is just not right.
It’s eighteen degrees below zero here, eighteen seconds before sunrise, and I’m catching the first plane that’ll take me as far away as possible from you.
01:55 | sunday 28 november 2010
- #11 -
I used to live in a city I taught myself to hate. I moved away from whatever it is I call home, from what everyone else calls the most isolated city in the world. And I was an outsider from the Capital no less, speaking what to them must’ve essentially sounded like a different language they all understood but they must’ve seen it as a statement of superiority on my part.
I wasn’t much but lonely during my days or weeks, months or years there, I don’t really remember for how long I was gone either. I spent my time writing letters while sirens blazing outside my window, letters to a best friend. A best friend who used to force drinks down my throat that were, more or less, bile served in a shot glass. She did this every now and then, tried to get me drunk, attempted to cut my inhibitions out in her presence. She did this weird thing where she treated me like someone she had loved and still loved wholeheartedly, while wearing a smile engineered to eat lesser men alive, which it did every single time she took me out, obviously.
I don’t think I was away for that long, but the changes made upon me by not operating in my so called natural habitat were nonetheless very permanent. Nothing was the same when her name stopped flashing on the screen of my cellphone. When I returned home we’d see each other again, me sitting by the window inside a busy restaurant, she walking down the street outside, cigarette lit and held loosely between her fingers. And it didn’t take long for her to reach out and tell me she’d been choked up ever since she saw me there that day. And for me to tell her that I’ve missed her like one misses a sister.
So why do I sit here with sirens blazing outside my window, finishing a note made years ago, when everything has been altered? I write these letters because the street wars rage on outside even here miles away, the suburbs burn from the inside with us trapped in the heart of it, and a loved one I do not know has been dragged out of a crashed car just outside Los Angeles. I write to return a sentiment, to thank her for the time she was there even though I can’t find her now, because she needs to know she still makes most of my days.