The dead bird

Riding the night train. A storm of yellow and red lights flashes through the window cracks. Like being transported in a box through a wormhole storm. I like the way the train’s movements rock my body side-to-side in the bed. Like my mother’s arms once did. The bunks lined up against the walls look like coffins. Levels of the grave or something. My kids snore beside me and up above me on the other bunks. Finally. I broke my first fast today. Hungry and irritable. Trying really hard not to be, as it is Ramadan. I am appreciating the ease tonight. Our cabin is in complete darkness and quiet besides those flashes of lights through the cracks and the children snoring.

This morning I swam out into the lake past the kids splashing and teenagers flirting. It was cold in the water and I felt frightened in my skin. But I got used to it and felt that somehow the cold shook something loose. I swam so far out that my kids and friends looked so small and distant. I floated on my back and thought of my mom. Her eyes have become different. As if she is looking at me like I just looked towards the beach where my loved ones sit far away waiting for me.

S

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Dear S. In America we have not fasted today, since they had not seen the moon yesterday night.

I hang out with the chess players on Union Square, sit on the concrete steps and read Adrienne Rich, talk to V and some other people. I feel more and moore as if I live here, as if New York is home. The sun is a punishing pressure to the head and shoulders. Later in the day a few drops of rain. Spoke to an old man, black man, he reminded me of my father, his sense of humor. Looked for a comic book at Forbidden Planet, a comic book store on Manhattan. What a great name. Wrote a little poem about nothing. Riding my bike in the sunset, across the bridge. Don’t want to come home, as it’s not home.

J

J, maybe you should stop calling Sweden home but here or there. Maybe home is or will be something else, someplace else. Today I got off the train into the summer rain. Mosquitos swarming me as they do here. It is strange and estranging to arrive back into a city I once fell in love in. Like an abandoned self is still just around the corner, stuck here in the chasm of another time. I get the same feeling when I pass those small towns along the highway that I cannot imagine a life in. I always feel a relief driving past them.

This morning my cabin was a flood of sunshine. I woke up staring into the web of a mosquito net over my bed. It is very quiet here. Like being underwater. I get up and go down to the lake. On my walk back to the cabin I found a small baby bird dead amongst the sugar snaps in the garden here. Death is remarkable. Subhanallah. There is beauty in the bird nestled there in the summer garden as if it was being held in its passing.

Be well Poet.


S

The dead bird made me think of identity. A friend wrote that the easiest way to destroy human beings is to make us identify completely with our bodies. But that is also a very normative position, right? “Color-blindness” etc. I would say that the human being is not the body, no, but at the same time, we can’t escape the body. So I am not my body, nor I am not “not my body”, do you know what I mean? Rather I am the specific way in which I come to know that I am not my body – a realization that is different depending on whether you are man, woman, black, white, cis, straight, and so on. “I” am the unique way in which my soul is alienated from my body.

It was actually a bird that taught humans to bury our dead, according to the Quran. A raven.

On another note. Watched a lecture about money and religion today, and took notes, and when I looked at them they were almost a poem:

how will history end

they put him on the cross

a dream

petrodollars

all paper currency was linked to the dollar

in 1933, and the dollar was in turn

made exchangeable for gold

take your rod

and strike the water

pharaoh could only see

that he was not God

in the darkness

at the bottom of the Red Sea

J

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