Ode to muscles

Odes

I am asking for definition,

Let my body hate me

with every bounce, even more.

On the tips of my toes

— on the verge of collapse —

I breathe out CO2,

bend my body to an illegible question mark,

stretch my back like a paralyzed cat.

My belly dances, the music beats

like a hammer on my muscles.

Contracting, detracting, contracting,

retracting. The image of my body

glares from the mirror.

The aching begins,

a better version of me,

sooner than requested,

should be with you shortly.

Ode to teenagers

Odes

To misunderstood teenagers everywhere: It gets better. Wait for it.

This is for you:

Back to those zit-infested mornings

where your face was like pizza,

or the ugly side of the moon

shining on a class full of strangers

who cannot understand what you are

going through. Loveless

eyes scanning the area desperately

for lips to hang from, and words to decipher.

Back to days where insignificance

is of such great significance,

where the high is the low,

if you want to fit in

with the in-crowd of moaners.

Katy Perry reminds us well

of those hot days in summer with lovewords

pasted in online chatrooms.

It was the dialogue of the era.

A constant buzzing chatter, meaningless

communication. This was.

On summer

Rants

Hello summer,

We’ve been waiting for you. We’ve quantified you to the certainty of 30 degrees Celsius and we monitor the weather forecast like hungry wolves. Clouds tomorrow? Saharan dust? Let that not come in the way of your arrival, we beg. But the tell-tale sign arrives overnight, and we don’t even need to check our thermometers to confirm your entrance. Suddenly, hair frizzes up, furniture is coated with a thick film of moisture and we are scooped up in a dense cloud of opaqueness. Humidity heralds your arrival. And instead of a warm welcome, we’re thinking, how could we forget about what you do to us every year?

We get carried away with romantic notions of the Ss: sun, salty sea, seashells, sand. As we slap on our sunscreen with SPF 1,000 under the scorching sun, we soon realize that it’s about time we bought our own beach umbrella because there’s very little hope we’ll ever manage to get the few sunbeds that offer it as option. As we enter the water, we yelp silently, trying to look good as we enter a liquid version of our freezer. Of course it’s refreshing, we fib. “Look at me, I’m diving in, ha ha,” and our heart comes to an abrupt halt before resuming again when we break the surface. “God that felt good!” we say through clenched teeth. Around us, a few hundred others do the same, and we try to ignore the persistent question, as we hit a warm spot while we’re swimming. It’s the currents, we convince ourselves, though we know as we eye the crowd that it’s plain human nature. Oh yes, gross, summer, gross.

Then come plans for traveling and discovering and getting away from worries and people (though the latter, few of us would admit). We make grand plans for escape, and monitor prices closely before booking on the day when unexpectedly, prices rise, dammit. We buy travel guides and optimistically keep them on the coffee table, hoping that we’ll pick them up before the trip. We make our budget so that we never keep it, and come back with empty pockets and ticket stubs that we’re not sure whether to keep as souvenirs or throw out. As for our peace of mind? No room for that, surely, with the stress of seeing all the sights, avoiding all the touristy places and getting our value for money. Going back to work no longer seems like a bad idea, actually.

And when we start to take at least three showers a day, we remember why it is that you stink summer. We are gullible people, we like to live life in postcards that say “Wish you were here!” or go to work dancing to summer beats, sipping on mojitos. But when you arrive, you bring with you the unbearable heat, those long long days, that need filling. So we venture out to coffeeshops more, we go out at nights, because we wear denial on our sleeves, and by the end of it, we come out of August broke and in despair. We wait for the first rain eagerly, and monitor thermometers for temperature fluctuations. We are people of routine and we work in this cycle.

For now, in early June, all I have to say is “Welcome back.” By the end of it, we’ll hate you, that’s a promise.

plain bananas x

On 26

Commentary

Dear 26-year-old self,

To be clear, this is a letter of goodbye. You and I are being held together by nothing more than a cobweb string of a hours that separate us from the new and cool 27. You see, it’s still OK to look forward to the next self, there are no drops of perspiration as I extend my hand to meet my new older persona. We need to part, and I’m ready for it.

I’m sure going to miss you though, fool. Remember that time you decided to get a new piercing on the wrong side of your face? You kept walking around trying to convince yourself that it looked like the kind of thing you would do — the kind of thing you had expected even! Until your sister pointed out that there’s too much metal on the left side of you face, so you took the earring out just like that.

You were always a restless one though. You considered staying too long in one place the way to rot your brain and curiosity. It’s no wonder that you moved locations 3 times without blinking about it. And you loved the packing, the unpacking — the excitement of possibility. You moved fluidly between borders, you travelled mentally and literally and there was never a dull minute with you holding my hand. Remember Paris? Remember Berlin? I would have never gone ahead if it weren’t for your impulsiveness, your endless drilling. Let’s face it – you would never stop until you got your way. It worked to my advantage. Most times.

It’s normal, I guess, to have ups and downs, but your ups and downs were intense roller coaster rides. You went from deliriously happy to grimly morose in the flash of a second. I had to choose my words carefully when I talked about life, about love, about what it means to be free. This issue really kept you sleepless. You wanted to choose wisely, surely, independently. You wanted to be free but would talk endlessly about your fear that love cripples your freedom. And it pained you to place these two ideals as polar opposites, to force yourself to choose between such lofty ideals. You let love win every time, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it was a defeat you secretly welcomed gladly. You were a true contradiction, as such.

And then my dear old 26-year-old self, you had a bright idea. You needed some direction, even though you didn’t even know it then. You were a little lost but you had convinced yourself you were right on track, as always. It came in the form of a small box with an air balloon on it. Inside there was a bag of beads, and you were confused. Until you started to toy with the idea of using them. And overnight, awoke a new streak of creativity that lay dormant just below your fingertips. And then, you gave the act of creating, a name, and attached a blog to it. For that I thank you old self. Because of you I am here now and I am writing to tell the rest of the world what happens next.

I will miss you,

plain bananas x