In this room I was born. And I knew I was in the wrong place: the world. I knew pain was to come. I knew it by the persistence of the blade that cut me out. I knew it as every baby born to the world knows it: I came here to die.
Somewhere a beautiful woman in a story I do not understand is crying. If I strain hard enough I will hear a song in the background. She is holding a letter. She is in love with Peter. I am in love with her.
Stand on the floor where it’s marked X. I am standing by your side where it’s marked Y. We are a shoulder’s length apart. I’m so close you can almost smell the perfume. If I step ten paces away from you, there could be a garden between us, or a table and some chairs. If I step another 20 paces there could be a house between us. If I continue to walk away from you in this way, tramping through walls and hovering above water, in 80,150,320 steps I will bump into you. I can never get away from you, and will you remember me? Distance brings us closer. There is no distance.
Memory is brutal because precise.
She said: give me more space. I said: don’t you love me anymore? She said: give me more space. I said: why? Did I do something wrong? Is there something wrong? Is there someone else? When did you stop loving me? In what precise moment? In what room? What city?
I held her tight as one who’s about to lose his own life holds on. Then she said: give me more space. I said: no.
I wish I never met you
and I wish you never left.
You taste like a river in June.
How many more times
are you going to let the world
My father is an incorrigible storyteller. He would tell the same stories in different ways. I wouldn’t know which ones to believe. So I believed all of them. “There is no story that is not true,” said Uchendu.
Father would point at the TV. He would repeat lines, rehearse the beginnings and ends, explicate with his hands the elaborate twists and turns of every road.
He said: “I am dying.”
I said: “But aren’t all of us dying.”
And I thought the world
was about this leaving,
not about anybody’s leaving
but about this leaving.
The next day it was the same.
Your sadness is immaterial. You did
not come into the world to be happy.
You came to suffer/survive.
How many words have you spoken in your life?
How many did you mean?
How many did you understand?
Memory is incomplete–lost.
The world is incomplete–vanishing.
Nothing more happens. You open your eyes and it’s over.
Memory is brutal.
Memory is precise.
When my aunt died the doctors said the fat clogged her arteries. Every week she visited the hospital, and every week the vein on her wrist had to be ripped out so a catheter could be stuck into her body to suck out her blood. You could see the plasma pass through a filter and then back to the body. If you put your ear to her wrist you would hear her heart.
Before my uncle died the heart attacks were so excruciating he said he’d prefer to just die. They transported him to the hospital, and on the way to the emergency room his heart gave. Mother said my uncle ate too much pork and drank too much beer. She wonders if he’s going to be happy in heaven.
In some house in some province in some country in some novel there is a story of a man a father a child a lover who dies because of too much sadness.
Nobody thought that what was wrong was the love.
She said: give me more space.
Spaces | Arkaye Kierulf