leaving is not enough

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Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell
by Marty McConnell

leaving is not enough; you must
stay gone. train your heart
like a dog. change the locks
even on the house he’s never
visited. you lucky, lucky girl.
you have an apartment
just your size. a bathtub
full of tea. a heart the size
of Arizona, but not nearly
so arid. don’t wish away
your cracked past, your
crooked toes, your problems
are papier mache puppets
you made or bought because the vendor
at the market was so compelling you just
had to have them. you had to have him.
and you did. and now you pull down
the bridge between your houses.
you make him call before
he visits. you take a lover
for granted, you take
a lover who looks at you
like maybe you are magic. make
the first bottle you consume
in this place a relic. place it
on whatever altar you fashion
with a knife and five cranberries.
don’t lose too much weight.
stupid girls are always trying
to disappear as revenge. and you
are not stupid. you loved a man
with more hands than a parade
of beggars, and here you stand. heart
like a four-poster bed. heart like a canvas.
heart leaking something so strong
they can smell it in the street.

(source | image)

On Solitude and Gratefulness

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Český Krumlov

I live alone now.

Sometimes it feels as though I have always lived alone, other days I still can’t believe it. A sadness overcomes me, like a heavy wet towel that drips everywhere I walk with it. I have to clean up the mess, but it never goes away. I still sleep on one side of the bed, the one that’s always been my side, because I don’t know how to fall asleep in the middle. The bed is empty except for the teddy dog, and three Apple devices.

The room is also completely empty, save the bed. I love it and I’ve decided to keep it that way. On Sunday, the daylight savings time came into effect, which means I don’t have to get up in complete darkness anymore. At least for a while. I am not looking forward to the last month of the year. Because winter is another thing I am struggling with.

But I am grateful. I am grateful that we still talk. I am grateful that my parents are who they are, and that they are my parents. I am the only person who gets to say that, and I am grateful for that. I am grateful for the friends I’ve made throughout my life, and also the new ones. Lee, who sits across from me at the office and makes me laugh all day long. The Italian, whom I’ve not expected to be the way he is, but wouldn’t expect any less from him at the same time.

I am grateful for the weekends, too. We took a road trip on Saturday, and I loved that he was the kind of person who actually goes through with impromptu adventure trips across Bohemia. When he says let’s go, we actually do.

He drove, I took care of the music. Compulsory stops for coffee. We managed three different cities, and arrived at our final destination five hours later than we were supposed to, but that turned out to be the right time. Touching on some of the conversation we had in the car, I said to him, this is what I meant before. You need to let things go with the flow. Look at this sunset now. If we’d arrived any earlier, we wouldn’t get to see this. He nodded and stopped patiently with me as I took photos of everything I saw.

Later in the evening he took me home and served a delicious plate of home-cooked food. I watched him as he moved with grace, his fingers carefully arranging the food. I will be okay with just a bowl of soup, I said. I will help you if you can’t eat it all. The plate was enough for three. But I ate alone, and he only watched me. No sounds in the house. I laughed, as he helped me with my coat. After he dropped me off at my door, I walked the four flights of stairs to my flat, feeling ecstatically happy. I thought of all the people I know. All the people I am yet to meet.

Maybe the other half of the bed is empty, but I am not alone at all.

count your blessings

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written more than a year ago, when I still lived in Hong Kong.
now that I am in Prague, I realize that my ambitions have not really changed.

monday was a public holiday in hong kong; in commemoration of dragon boat festival, which is also known as tuen ng festival and dumpling festival. in other words, it’s all about boat rowing, wine drinking, and sticky-rice eating. I indulged in none of the above, but I did spend the day on the sunniest and brightest beach in hong kong. lower cheung sha beach will remain our favorite for as long as we are here.

because picture this: perfect azure blue skies, with soft breeze, chilled drinks, and light summery food. greek salad with not enough feta cheese, chickpeas, and cucumbers; flat pizza with tomato and basil and cranberry-infused iced tea. I read mandela and I took pictures and relaxed. did a whole lot of nothing, but I could feel that it was good for me. my body relaxed, my mind thought of nothing in particular too much or for too long.

I wondered why I should ever feel guilty about not feeling guilty. why it was nearly impossible to take as many days away from work as one wished, to wake up when one feels rested, to eat healthy and fresh produce without splurging insane amounts of money, to feel amazed when the air is clean rather than taking it for granted. because the air should and needs to be clean. because the oceans need to be clean. because our bodies and minds need to be clean.

hong kong is a place that does not pay attention or devote any time to urban infrastructure, to cleaner living and eating, to create sustainable ecosystems and natural environments. despite the existence of green queen and hundreds of others. globally, it is not enough. it does not even scratch the surface and it angers me. it saddens me. everything is manufactured and fake, and nothing will last for too long, until it is replaced with something else.

something that once used to be normal has now become a selling-point in the sea of consumerism. I ordered a mojito for refreshment and frankie, the boy who made and brought it for me, proudly exclaimed: this is our mint from the backyard, but we have no more, so you will have to choose another drink later. it was not a problem, really, but I wondered why it needs to be like that. why it should be an extraordinary fact that the mint was homegrown, rather than store-bought. I remembered my grandmother’s garden; it used to be my favorite thing to do every morning. picking tiny strawberries to go with pancakes, and cucumbers to put into our salads for lunch, picking off leaves of basil and mint for flavored water. we used to have aloe vera, wild lavender, and small orange tangerines. we grew our own peppers, parsley and blitva – a vegetable not unlike spinach, but with more a profound and developed taste.

an idea that I am often revisiting and thinking about; one day I will have to leave the city and move to a secluded area, a piece of land that has not been destroyed, developed or expanded to suit the masses. I will have to move somewhere where the idea of a natural life is not a strange one, but a given one. something that no one even thinks about, but just does.

maybe then I will find contentment.