Of Birds that Never Die

Of Birds that Never Die

In collaboration with Amna Ameer.

First and only, emotions are similar to dreams. Their greatest contributions cannot be categorized, interpreted, symbolized or revealed. You accept this but then attempt at building a plan, drawing from the limited knowledge. But you don’t do it. Even when there’s so much to do. You stay still. Without a sound. Without motion. You think you are alright. But you aren’t. The word failure falls off your tongue once again. And shame sets in. Like a sunset looming over the horizon. Like acquiring some degree of wholesomeness, directly and personally. Slowly yet surely you try to lower yourself into the grave you’ve dug for yourself. You just wallow there. You let the air rest over you. You feel everything in the most minuscule detail. Layer over layer of dust settling. Over your skin. As you watch the falling pieces and constellations of particles suspended in thin air. Ahead of unusual circumstances. Peculiar interests. And there’s another big bang happening right in front of your eyes. When life found you again. But instead of creation. It is a disintegration. A human entropy of emotions. The dream you dreamed. You feel it all at once. Personalities and addresses. The remorse. The wistfulness. The methods and teachings. The nostalgia for the person you used to be. Transgressing modesty and reason. The desperation to forgive. But can you forgive? For whatever reason, you’re at this crossroad. For the circumstances that got you here. For the people who hurt you. For the people, you stood up to but never escaped their ghostly embraces. Do they deserve forgiveness? Maybe for your own sake. Maybe for the philosopher’s peace.

But you’re just…still.

You can’t move. It feels like sleep paralysis but you’re awake. Reasonable but not exceptional. Intelligent but not serious. And this pain feels so real, it’s as if it has a physical form like losing a limb. Like being out of breath. But it isn’t phantom syndrome. The absence isn’t haunting your subconscious mind. You’re very much present and aware and responding to the world, all the while building walls around yourself. Your own becoming haunts you.

What is real? Sometimes it just feels like the only real thing is the salt on your pillowcase. Of the tears shed in the honour of your sacrifice. Rare, simple and forgotten till this moment. Although there are no accolades to show for it. No one to recognize your worth. Only a dominoes of insults that disassemble over your heart and then reassemble each morning. A perfect reflection of nature’s supervision. Blowing away the settled sand dust of dreams that manifest our fears. Blown away to the farthest stars. Reaching worlds build on entirely different matters. Worlds that will honour you without recognizing you.

Maybe the worst fear is to be forgotten.

Or is that the life jacket we need to move in this world. To simply forget our feelings. To disengage. To be aloof of our suffering. Does that decrease the pain? Or does that comeback, stronger when we are blindsided by the world?

And you’re once again puzzled. It’s okay to be lost time and time again. Why is the human epiphany of existence so exhausting? Doesn’t love to conquer all and isn’t faith enough to be alive? But oblivion is a strange world. It takes you in. Creeps over you like a poisonous weed and slowly kills you from the inside. You think you may need it to numb the pain, but it isn’t comfortable anymore. The nothingness and the void itself become your nemesis. You are confronting the fifth element of the universe, often forgotten, just like you. And here you are, staring it in the eyes. Echoes of its screams in the background. And you wonder. What is the genesis of this feeling?

This deep-rooted thirst for wanting to survive yet lighting the wisp of life away into ashes spread across an illegitimate evening. Illegitimate because that’s what we call it.

And whatever comes from it? Nothing can be blamed.

In the form of death, love, poetry or prose.

Does it carry the same weight as it did, when it was constructed? Partly chosen to stay, partly vanished like a memory no longer desired.

Or is it a concept so intangible to be fathomed, a shadow that cannot be caught, a negative reel of images always kept hidden. Like watching someone bathe; you weren’t supposed to see it.

Does it ever find a home? Illegitimate like you identify it.

This carcass of human emotions.

Or does it keep ricocheting between the walls.

Like a bird.

Mistakenly trapped in a room. That seldom opens its doors, once closed. A window that only peers in the sunlight at dawn. The floors that creek in winters. And the muffled sound of dripping water in the corner. All awaiting a fire to bring warmth to what is abandoned. A reckless on the loose. But at least in the confines of sorrow. On the verge of madness. Laced with glory and mystery.

Till the bird finally escapes. From identity, symbols and constructs.

And these feelings too, turn sublime and are carried by the wind, spread over unknown shores. As dreamers set free.