zen (a to z)

Agitated, nervous, rapid breathing. Anxiety was a part of her now. Panic attacks that felt like she was dying. Constricted lungs, exploding hearts. There was nothing zen about her. Not anymore. Life had taken away her feeling of safety. No one was looking out for her or protecting her. She had to do it on her own and it was harder than it looked. Other people were fine on their own, or at least they weren’t visibly failing at life, but she was and it was scary. The inner restless spread inside of her and she wished she could just not be there. She ran her hands over her face to feel herself, but that gesture made it all worse. She couldn’t be touched, not even by herself. She wanted to scream, but there was no air to form a sound. She wanted to crawl out of her skin. Where was that zen everyone talked about? There was just pain. The pain of existing. The pain of being alive. Nothing zen. Just pretending that everything was well.

Bush – Everything Zen (from the album Sixteen Stone released in 1994 on Interscope)

 

years went by (a to z)

Youth and beauty had faded. Her shaking hands were caressing an old photograph; it showed a young woman laughing happily, and a handsome man who looked at her, absolutely in love.

Her lips were quivering, and tears welled up in her eyes, she remembered him well. He had been the one who got away; her one true love. She didn’t know what had become of him; lives had interfered. Responsibilities had driven them apart. He had been married, and she had been too. They both had had children and lives apart. There was never a chance for them to be a real couple. And yet, they had met.

For a week, they had been able to live their lives together, deeply and madly in love. Six days that had been spent on a Mediterranean Island in an all-inclusive resort. Just the two of them. She couldn’t remember what they had done during these days, if there had been adventures or visits; her memory was foggy from old age. But she knew that they had made love. A lot. They had connected on a special, unique level. But it had not been enough.

She looked down at the picture again an smiled a watery smile. If she had been brave, she would have fled her life to be with him, but she had not been. She had gone back to her husband and her life, and had almost disappeared in her longing heart. They had written emails and called each other late at night. But they had never met again. Less and lesser they got in touch, until they became memories in the other’s life.

Years went by, and all that was left of her life was a box with fading pictures, a couple of regrets, and the question of what would have become of her life if she had been courageous. She sighed and hid the picture in her pile again. Remembering good times was exhausting. She put the box away and shuffled to her chair. It was raining outside. The downpour became the backdrop noise of her second nap that day. In her dreams, she met him again, young and beautiful.

(I almost skipped this post. I am having a migraine and my shoulder hurts… These a to z posts were all written late at night, improvised and following an impulsive creative urge. They were not premeditated or edited. I wrote them and scheduled them for a couple of minutes after midnight, then I put my phone in airplane mode and tried to sleep. Tonight was not all that different…)

Xenophobic? Not Xander! (a to z)

On the pulpit, a man held a fiery speech. His cheeks were red; beads of sweat were slick on his forehead. He raised his fist into the air and shook it, reminding his congregation of the threat people from other countries were. They came to steal their jobs and marry their women; they came to collect their money and have their children. They came to cheat these God-fearing men out of their successes. Foreigners were liars, cheaters, criminals, terrorists. Slapping his hand down on the papers in front of him, the new Reverend warned his church to stay away from these unwanted foreigners.

Xander looked at the sunbeams illuminating the dust in the stuffy air. He counted the sweaty drops that fell from the Reverend’s face onto the pages of his sermon. Xander estimated how many women were wearing black hats, and how many men were asleep. The Reverend kept yelling his truth, spit flying out of his mouth.

Xander believed in God. He went to church every Sunday and prayed before every meal and before he went to bed. He was not a rich or intelligent man, but he was witty and street-smart. He was educated enough, although he often felt dim when people in suits were discussing politics. He scratched his chin and looked at his shiny shoes. He had cleaned them, especially for Sunday service. Xander felt uncomfortable. He was sure there had to be some truth in the Reverend’s speech, but he didn’t understand it. All he heard was a tirade of hate. Was a man of God supposed to spread hate? And were his brothers and sisters supposed to agree with this kind of disdain? Because they were, they were saying affirmative words and nodding their heads. No, Xander didn’t understand it. Xander’s stomach growled. At home, his wife was waiting with lunch, and he couldn’t wait to join her. She did not believe in Xander’s God, and yet, she prayed too. They were different from one another, but that was what made their love going strong for two decades now.

After church, Xander felt unsettled. Instead of driving straight home, he chose to go for a walk to clear his head. He passed stores and shops. They had been there for years, and it had never been an issue that the owners were mostly immigrants. The town in which they were living only existed because of foreigners. Xander lifted his hat to push his hair back and wiped the sweat from his brow. All these people were friends. They were his family. And yet, the new Reverend had called them the root of all evil. He had asked to boycott these stores, and he had admonished the congregation not to mingle with “these people.” Xander shook his head; his thoughts hadn’t become clearer, if anything, they were more muddled.

He made his way back to the church were his truck was waiting, he wanted to speak with his wife about today’s sermon and the hate that seemed to have filled the church. Miss Maria walked passed Xander; she was pushing a stroller and balancing two paper bags filled with groceries. Xander knew Miss Maria’s parents well. They were from Italy, and their hospitality knew no bounds. Xander greeted the young woman, and when she greeted back, one of her bags slipped and fell to the ground. The Reverend came closer and looked at the food displayed on the street, Xander bent down to pick it up. “Leave the sinner’s food, brother Xander. She does not deserve to eat our food.” People had gathered, staring at the scene. The new Reverend held a lot of power, and Xander’s neighbors didn’t move to help; it was as if they were afraid. It had never been like this. A cloak of hate was slowly downed over Xander’s hometown.

“I am sorry, Miss.” Xander apologized and helped the woman up. “It’s quite alright, Mister Xander,” she replied, but her eyes betrayed her sadness, and maybe she did not feel safe anymore. It made Xander sad as well. He put the paper bag back in the young woman’s arm and lifted his hat to say goodbye.

The Reverend approached Xander, wanting to poison him with his views, but Xander excused himself, fled to his truck, and drove off. He believed in God, and he thought that his God loved every man and woman just the same. His God was good and understanding.

Agitated from the happenings that Sunday morning, Xander chose to have a drink in his living room. On a sideboard stood a small calendar, it showed the word of the day: “Xenophobia.” Xander didn’t know what it meant and made a mental note to get back to that complicated word after lunch. His wife, Mahbube, had prepared a Tunisian specialty, his favorite, spicy Couscous.

Written words – a wordless poem (a to z)

Wild roses losing their petals in the wind;

reWind the future, left forever in the past.

Watery tears, falling on deaf ears

Wilted blossoms, forgotten women.

Wide-open are the eyes of them

Weary and blind – wet from fright.

Wasted wars, too many died.

Wearing paper crowns made of fire

Weaknesses ignored, wilderness rediscovered

Wild at heart, we want to run – be free,

Walking toward the cut-down willow trees.

Wailing, staring at the cracked walls in our fragile minds

“Well, I do not know if this was ever real.”

Was it a dream, will we ever breathe?

Wondrous promises, delightfully unaware

Whispered secrets blown into thin air.

White flowers on coffins and graves

We wanted to be strong but wasted away,

Washing off our sorrow with the ashes of our sins.

Worried silence. Shhhh. Don’t say a word. It stays all within.

Violets are blue… (a to z)

I was waiting for you. My eyes were bathed in darkness; there was no light within. I tried to see, but I was blind. But then you came.

I love every inch of you, you said. I tried to open my eyes and see, but they only fluttered. Only you can fill the holes in my mind and in my soul, you whispered against my naked breasts. Without you, I felt abject loneliness; you breathed against my opened thighs. My entire body was longing for your touch. I wanted to feel you inside of me. I wanted you to fill my voids. I needed you.

With featherlight touches, you mapped out my body; every touch was like an electric jolt. Your fingers were playing me like an instrument. Sweet torture. And while you pinned me in place with your body, you ordered: look at me! And my eyes opened, just to drown in your soul. Moving. Hard flesh. Sticky and sweaty. Heady smell. You and me.

Take my hand! Our hands intertwined; your lips on mine. Our bodies were one. Moving to the rhythm of our own song. You grunted, and I moaned. You groaned, and I cursed. Look at me, you said between kisses. Your tongue dancing with mine, your hands grabbing mine. You in me. Deep. Filling my mind and my body. A fire was burning in me. Excitement was trickling out of me. Too much friction. Too much. More! Bodies twitching and trembling, never getting out of tune. A dance of lust. And the wave caught us, letting us float and ride it out – waves of ecstasy. Holding on to each other. I love you! I love you. How I love you, you chuckled out of breath. There was no sound in me anymore—just an affirmative moan. I was full. Full of you. Full of me. Full of life.

Your head came to rest on my chest; your hand was spread on my stomach, pinching the skin and soothing it again.

I closed my eyes. I had found what I had been looking for. Your light was illuminating my darkness, guiding my way. Tell me what to do, I demanded. Sleep for now, you ordered. Will you be there when I wake up? My voice was sated and thick with sleep. I couldn’t hear your answer because I was falling asleep. And I was relieved to see you in my dream. We were lying in a meadow, surrounded by violets…

Unseen (a to z)

In the shadow, in the dark, I am walking an invisible path. After a drink or two, I dare to be me, no matter the mood. But you will not see who I really am. I am an actor, a chameleon. But the real me, the essence of me; it stays unseen. If you knew me you would love me, but I chose to be invisible. Unseen. I am all unseen. Unsaid words, understood souls. No one knows. Nobody knows. In the dark, dark shadows, I am trying to catch my mind – Unseen struggles. You don’t see me, I am not there. I don’t exist. Breathing underwater. Breaking under pressure. Unseen.

Today (a to z)

Today a warm feeling spread inside my skin. I was dancing alone, losing my mind—Sun on my face, you in my heart. Today, I am waiting for the world to understand: I am not running. Not from you, not towards you. Today is not tomorrow; I know that well. My heart is not healed, my mind a fragile dream. Today, I am smiling because you were a part of me. Tomorrow, I will mourn your loss again. Come and go; tomorrow happens every day. And if I break down? I did it my own way. Today, I don’t care and don’t hold back. It was a good day.

ThunderStorm (a to z)

The wind caresses my hair,

And the rain kisses my closed eyes.

This mouth can’t speak; swallowed words – all dead.

My throat is in knots over this unbearable violence.

I raise my heavy head and look to see above:

An approaching storm will dry my broken tears;

It is stronger than all of these fears.

In reality, our twin flames are bursting into air

Burning by too much love and distorted lies.

Pages of unwritten ink stay forever unseen – unread;

While meaningless dreams are whispered in shadow silence.

My heart is racing towards the safety of your love.

And these deprived voids are filled by your hurting soul,

Your skin against mine and again, for a short time, I feel whole.

restless (a to z)

Restlessly prowling the streets; he was looking for something. Someone. He was looking for her. An orange glow cast an eerie light into the fog. Footsteps for miles, but she was not there. His eyes were searching. Left, behind a row of trees. Right, on a soccer field. His heart began racing; the humid smell of the grass to his left made him gave in to an urgency to run. He wanted to scream her name, but he didn’t dare. But he ran as fast as his feet would move. A gust of wind blew his cap off his head, but he kept running. Huffing and puffing. Trying to move forward. It was as if he was stuck. He heard the explosion behind him before he felt the blast. It threw him forward. His hands were cut on impact; the gravel left tiny wounds on his hands. He turned to see the fire. The fog in the distance was illuminated. His eyes stung. He had to find her before they did. He crawled on his hands and knees, wincing until he got his feet back underneath him. His lungs were burning, filled with fire. He smelled the demise of the village he has fled. A dog was barking. Curtains were left to fall in place. There was life behind these walls and doors and windows. Was there shelter too?

A bullet wheezed past his ear. “Halt!” A male voice commanded, but already another shot was fired.

He kept running. Until he couldn’t anymore. A sharp pain went right through his chest. Warmth spread around him; at the same time, it became cold. He was still restless, still out of breath. No matter how far and how fast he would run, he would never find her. He coughed and felt a sticky liquid on his hand.

Footsteps had caught up with him. “Fuck, he is one of ours.” He closed his eyes and tried shaking off the hands that were clawing at him. He needed to run. He blinked, trying to see. Light was blinding him, and he tried to shield his eyes from its brightness. A hand was reaching for him. “Take my hand, ” an angelic voice said. “Tired from running, ” he wanted to say, but there was no voice, and no air left.

“You don’t need to run anymore. You are safe, ” she said, and he took hold of the hand. He knew her. He had found her. No more running. Time for rest.

Queen of rain (a to z)

Roxette – Queen of Rain

From the album “Tourism” (1992, EMI)

***

The easiest way out of this competition. Is there a word count minimum? I don’t know.

When I heard this song on a mixed CD in 1992, I was caught off guard. Roxette was not for the cool kids. But I was 9 and I was not one of the cool kids anyway. Years later, I heard the song and I cried. Something in the lyrics just got to me. And years later, Queen of Rain is still one of those songs that always touch me and make me stop whatever I am doing.

It was raining tonight, for the first time on months. I went outside, barefoot, wearing trousers and a tee shirt and I let the rain soak my face. I took a deep breath, and was reminded of this song. I am a Queen of Rain too. ❤

(written on April 18th, 2020)