Titled: Letters to Everyone, and Myself

It started when I was nine. A blank paper was so irritating to me, something needed to be done. And when I stared at it long enough, it would speak to me. It would tell me to write. And I, submissively, felt hungry for writing. That was when I started to express my interest in vocabulary. My English teacher used to tell me I was excellent in spelling.

I never got myself to do it, though. I never got myself to write.

Or maybe it started some time before that, I don’t know. My memory seems to attach my childhood to the age of nine. Before that is vague. I am sure about one thing, though, that I started writing letters earlier than that.

Also, I started talking to God from an early age. I kept that as a secret, but I’ve glided from there.

The irritation magnified when I turned twelve. But I remember one night something whispered, “write.” Everything in my body responded to that, and my pen felt friendly between my fingers. I started with simple, unsophisticated words. But it was everything.

I used to shred the papers after writing because it felt like a secret to me. Until, one day, I confronted myself and documented 3 significant nights;

The first one, 9th of October, 2004: based on absolutely nothing, I was anticipating a disaster.

The second, 10th of October, 2004 how the storm arrived, and it was my father’s sudden death.

The third, 11th of October, the aftermath of destruction inside, utter silence; where did all the noise go?

I’ve shredded those papers a while ago too, the detailed remains of my memory, because the brain has the power to erase what no longer serves you. And I wanted to let go.

The same notebook of secrets of mine was titled “Letters to Myself,” at the age of 17 after 5 years of plain “Letters.”

Then word by word, I was growing up and expanding vertically, and horizontally. I started publishing here and there. With a push from the people I love, and myself, I’ve summoned the courage to write about sunsets and love. I finally started to understand  and admire what I saw in the mirror.

At the age of 24, I still write letters to myself, and the people I love. I also understand that the blankness of papers in its sublimity is nothing like people. You can’t write them the way you want. You can’t change them. They come, in their complex creation; a combination of a past you know nothing about, and a result of insecurities and fragilities caused by that past. They are already written, volume after volume. Rarely do they come with illustrative explanations.

It’s either you love them the way they are, or leave. You can’t write people like poetry.

 

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Artwork: Light From the Beginning of Time, by Kenny Callicutt

 

letters of an apathetic man

Some time last year, in a foggy vision where the part of my brain that distinguishes an hour from a minute was dizzy. In times like that you forget; what is time but a man made illusion? Aren’t the thoughts floating in space of the mind more dominant than anything else, such as time? Some time in October, my awakenings happen in October, simultaneously with times I forget to shave my beard. I was dining home on my one-man table, few inches away from my wooden floor where candles flicker, oh how they seemed like the only thing able to lose control and sway amid the breeze, unlike my body of matter that seems to be too submissive to gravity.

I keep the window half open, somewhere in the corner of my mind I am afraid that the scent of flowers in my decayed garden would think I am welcoming, or would falsely believe I can be a home to anything. The river of love does not flow through those who deny it. And those who deny it, forget -most of the time- that they are half water. 

Some time in October, I knew it should have been her in front of me, not the ghost of her idea nor her silhouette dancing with the flickering candlelight. 

It should have been her, but I have the habit of destroying beautiful things, and I know that women fall for the idea that they are the ugly reflection they see in me when their hearts are open for my words and their eyes see a false potential of myself. If those women would close their eyes, try to see me in a different kind of eye, a third one or something as such, they wouldn’t like what they see; I’ve adapted to the idea of resembling the uncomfortable void. 

And those women, they usually end up walking away from me because flowers don’t blossom without water. 

Countdown

He’s in his grave it’s
Peaceful and silent
It’s not as scary as they
Told him it would be

He’s 77 and he
Wonders if her
soul is what’s
making the stars
shine as he
sheds his tears

He’s 60 and he’s
Right there beside her
Gazing into her beautiful
Face which seems unmoved
By time to him, she wakes up
And smiles to him, embraces
Him and tells him she loves him

He’s 55 and this is
when he decides he
doesn’t want to
work anymore because
he wants to have more of those
minutes of admiring existence
with his wife so he bought her
a bracelet with the word “explore”
engraved on it and they ran
off to see the world

He’s 42 and he’s
perfectly happy with his
job because now he
understands that
money is important, yes
but it is not all valuable
possessions a man can have
and he is one of the
most successful men
in the region
so he wakes up every morning
with less pressure
because he is everything
he dreamed he would be

He’s 30 and he
can’t believe there
is someone as beautiful
As her face as he rests
Silent before the beauty
of her eyes and the
full moon in the sky
“I’m going to marry her”
He thinks to himself

He’s 26 and he’s
Surrounded with
The most beautiful people
But he’s wondering
if he will ever
find a stable and successful
job and if he’d
ever find a woman who’d
make his heart beat

He’s 12 and he’s
one of those kids who
are afraid of the future
and are puzzled with
life but were moved
with a tremendous
force that kept
pushing them around to
understand all that
will ever be

He’s 2 now and he
just saw his mom
shedding tears of
happiness for the
first time after his
first unclear words of
“I love you” and he’s
Grinning with his
Tiny teeth

He’s in his mother’s
womb now and it’s
peaceful and silent
it’s not as scary as they
told him it would be

 

© 2014 ALIA SULTAN

Flaming Monsters

Pull yourself together

Do not break down

You know you are far stronger

than the monsters in your head

 

Direct your feelings

to what is really worthy

And believe in the power

of letting go

 

Look at the sky

it mourns for the dead

by shining brighter

and rebirthing

 

Feel the moon

we all know it’s naturally full

even when it’s a crescent

 

Sometimes I forget

how it feels to be strong

But the more I forget

the more I learn

 

There’s a crashing point

for every high

And I know

it’s hard for both of us to leap

when the abyss is far too deep

 

What is that

staining my mascara

as I tell you

to be strong ?

 

I might shatter to fragile pieces

I’d forget what I told you

months after our talk

You’d tell me to wake up

and you’d recite my own words

with anger

because maybe

sometimes I forget what I tell you

I’d smile when you do

And I’d tell you “I know”

 

We would forget

But we are flesh and blood

we are humans

 

But I’m begging you

to believe in my words

even when I’m on my knees:

Sometimes I forget

how it feels to be strong

But the more I forget

the more I learn

 

© 2014 ALIA SULTAN

A Single Sun

The thick line between dreams and reality starts to disappear.

Slowly, gradually.

You’d think you’re losing your mind, and that it’s catastrophic. But you still can’t analyze how your perspective changed. Now everyone notices how you read people more clearly. You wouldn’t understand how he’d start appearing like a sun, in a world that knows but a single sun, even if you drown deep in thoughts. Your thoughts feel like the centre of a galaxy somewhere far away, and they might have gone astray till they reached your head, because everything just seems so new to you.

You’d be surprised, because suddenly everything makes sense.

Everything makes sense; how sometimes you don’t receive as much as you give, and it used to make you sad. At nights you would find ways to blame yourself somehow. But after suffering so much from people you love for different reasons, especially those who never appreciated your existence in their lives, now you understand that some people are just not emotionally capable of giving as you are, and that their journeys differ from yours. It’s clear now that they weren’t capable of being happy for you as you would be happy for them, you understand that, and everything makes sense to you now. We are all different, and some are just behind in the grand race, you can’t expect them to be as fast as you are.

It becomes easier for you to walk away because suddenly you understand the measure of time and how brief your lifespan is, but it doesn’t make you anxious, it just makes you wiser and quicker in making your decisions.

You start to understand that everything falls into place so you choose your battles wisely, because now you know that you shouldn’t waste your time fighting for someone who wouldn’t devote as much fighting for you.

So take a deep breath.

The thick line between dreams and reality starts to disappear, you lose your familiar ground

And it’s not so bad.

© 2014 ALIA SULTAN

A Little Lively Girl

I had a strange dream last night about an old man wearing a top hat whose question was repeated and echoed in my head; do you know who you are?

Here is what I told him, with uncertain eyes:

There is a little girl inside, you can never even imagine how factual her existence is. She is the reflection of my laughter, fear, mythical hope and tears. But there is one thing I am sure about; she knows her path. And that, whenever she is lost, she finds her way back. And if the path vanishes leaving no tracks behind, she creates a new one.

Sometimes she is silent, and that scares me. So in the most unlikely places, I try to find her. I find her trace in the sky, and there she is, chasing a shooting star just for amusement. Or playing the role of a leader to a newborn planet that does not know his way in galaxy. And sometimes, she remembers her mermaid fantasies, that is when I find her on the shore, humming a tune you never heard before while playing with invisible piano keys. She is alone, not miserably, but in the most astounding form.

I will never forget that day under November skies when it was raining heavily while she was still playing out, then she tripped and fell on her knees. She gasped as she looked down on her knees to find a deep-cut scar caused by small sharp-edged rocks. I was certain that she only shed a single tear, took two minutes to think then ran to find a band-aid. She’s independent, it’s like she came from a far away planet where she was the only inhabitant, with the company of only her fantasies and her pure luminous soul.

There is a secret in the way she expresses her feelings that are then reflected in my soul; there is clarity in her feelings, even the miserable ones. She chooses to fight the monsters of destructive feelings with absolute grace, so she expresses each and every feeling with perfect clarity. As sadness fully accepted is always defeated.

They don’t understand that I try to protect her from ever growing up, because real danger is how age taints purity. People always think they have to grow up and burn the remaining of their childhood, and that the endless curious questions asked with glittering eyes of children must be ignored if they had no answers, but that’s not true. They don’t know that childhood is purity, and purity is like a beautiful flower which only blossoms at an early age. That flower is meant to blossom eternally.

She lives inside, in a silent area unmoved by time.

 

© 2013 ALIA SULTAN