So many parts of my life and so many parts of my past feel so very far away… as though they don’t even belong to me anymore, and never did. So many things seem so dream-like right now and I am so incredibly busy…
I suppose this is the pre-post-mortem, but what I see since 2003 is nothing but continuous 180-degree reversals in my life, over and over again. How is it that one ends up oscillating in this way? Don’t most people pick a path and stay on it in one direction? How is it that I manage to create inversions over and over again from thin air?
Month 1: rely on A, let go of B
Month 2: rely on B, let go of A
Month 3: rely on A, let go of B
Month 4: rely on B, let go of A
I am a pendulum. But most of all either I am a ghost or many of the people I “know” (or at least used to know) are ghosts, like photographic portraits of people with their backs turned that you see around town, or in library books: you stare in disbelief at the image because you are sure you recognize the head and the haircut from behind. The face is just on the other side of these — only there is no way to see it, ever, because it isn’t there. Try as you might, you can’t lean into the photo and see the front of them. And wait as you will, they’re never turning around again. But knowing this doesn’t change the fact that you shift yourself to and fro as though you could walk around to their other side. You stand there doing this for minutes in solitary silence, waiting to see if by some miracle you’ll see eye-to-eye once again, for old times’ sake.
But whatever they are looking at, it isn’t you. It’s away from you. It’s the unintentional opposite of you, whatever that happens to be. They don’t even know you’re there, looking at the back of their head. And then you begin to wonder once more, as you should (doubting your own sanity once you realize you’re daydreaming in front of some random photo), whether it’s even them at all.
“Buds breaking before winter’s festival
lavish the new year with countless plum
blossoms. Though I know spring means well,
how will I manage this wanderer’s grief?
Snow and trees share one original color,
and river wind is whitewater’s child. Old
garden… I cannot see my old garden.
Wu Mountain peaks crowd an erratic skyline.”
I don’t understand, and I am beginning to wonder.
Does anyone else hear erhu or gao-hu played and want to cry?b