(Droplet) spume.

from the brilliant raw collection of Tsukato

The word, defining, muzzles; the drawn line
Ousts mistier peers and thrives, murderous,
In establishments which imagined lines

Can only haunt.  Sturdy as potatoes,
Stones, without conscience, word and line endure,
Given an inch.  Not that they’re gross (although

Afterthought often would have them alter
To delicacy, to poise) but that they
Shortchange me continuously:  whether

More or other, they still dissatisfy.
Unpoemed, unpictured, the potato
Bunches its knobby browns on a vastly
Superior page; the blunt stone also.

Sylvia Plath, Poems, Potatoes.

I’ve always been prone to early awakenings. As a child, I’d rise before anyone in my home and thread, slowly, like a liquid shadow, the thin corridor that stood between my room and the stairs, both at the antipodes of the house. The white air of dawn was flayed by a series of twisted lines, reminiscent of brambles, cast by delicate fiddlehead designs that adorned the curtains of the upper floor, and their innocent interruption of sunlight would paint the rightmost wall with the outline of a dark tree. Walking through it, I’m suddenly reminded, felt dimly somber, as I figured that in each morning, the tree asked me if I remembered tomorrow. «No.», I would offer, «Not tomorrow», quite insincerely. As the frigid lacquer of the pine steps innervated my feet, I made an unmatched effort to deposit my weight on my wrists, almost levitating, as to not trigger the stridulation of the wood, that little ravenous instrument, and if not for my glaringly audible breathing, I could pass for a bit of wind. This was my preferred method of traveling — in hyalescence.

When at the door, I would sit for a few hours in the front step of my home, where I had recently opened my forehead and where I’d soon do so once more, and perhaps that very place signals some dislodging that I can’t quite shake, as whenever I pass, now, through the front of that assembly of memories that houses another family for nearly a decade now, I can’t help but feel a glassy sentiment of unphasing that I’ve only ever felt by visiting my father at the cemetery. There, everything feels to drain and deaden, and sitting on that marble step, I recall what I now find to be an entirely manufactured memory, likely produced from years of spending entire mornings in some cogitative realm that isn’t this, looking at my mothers dahlias or a large palm stump that I always resented for being too high for me to sit upon. I remember a girl, braided features and withdrawn face that was seemingly under some degree of shade at all times, and her eyes were two dissolving oceans that overspilled over a blank aura, and her hands were rayed and slightly pellucid, and I remember that she caused in me some deep distress, but I was beckoned, as if fear was, then, an unusable tool. She would sit over the sill of the window to my left, her bumblebee t-shirt had this strange image of a coiling forest, distorted from a central point, and with one leg damming the slab of light that would enter the home through the bottom of blinds, which were always left slightly relaxed, and another leg pendulous over the wall, with a subtlety of movement and leggings of a torrid yellow contrasted with white triangular damasks, she would, under certain angles, appear like an enlarged salamanquesa. I don’t recall our conversations, but figments of them, these sparse echoes and elisions; she’d often complain about her father, how mean he was, but not to her, she didn’t exist to him. Her eyes surfed through myriad slides of pain, but they could never find themselves stuck in a purpose, a form, a line that would restrict the sequestering motion of feeling; that’s just it, she darted through a film of her trauma, and in each frame sprawled a condensed figure which sourced it, but she only felt motion sickness, or just sickness, or just that stunning and infinitely involute reality of being unwanted. I wouldn’t say anything to her; well, she didn’t exist. But I remember that, by the end of each conversation — which elapsed whenever the air goldened — if I remembered tomorrow, that desultory question which haunts the asker and the askee, and before I could answer, the spume of her eyed-oceans would seethe, producing a strident gurgling alike water meeting a barrier of smooth cinders, and she would vanish.

I see signs of her tattooed over each of my memories in that house. The kitchen, that was added by a renovation shortly before my birth, since the home did not have one when my parents first bought it, was done so in an odd angle that, like some useless flap of fabric, squeezed every centimetre of space right until the neighbouring building, and in doing so, was shaped like a half-opened fan, and had a large space at the top which my mother filled with a cobalt-hued couch filled with arabic symbols in that torrid yellow that remind me of her. Also, lodged under the stairs, a cabinet would, in an ordered chaos, be the accommodation for dozens of albums and home-videos, many of which were videos of the sea and its undulation, which my father enjoyed to capture in every beach he went to. I’d sit and watch them attentively, waiting for a moment that wouldn’t come, hoping for a moment nowhere to be found with each wave, each simmer. The lines of the cassette would travel, vertically, along the dense lenticular screen of our TV, seeming to be combing the image for a meaning, and always arriving empy-handed. The times in which I would flee from the eldritch entities my mind would conjure from my days of solitude; just flee, without much thought to the matter, into the lemon orchard that backed the house, and look back to see it wither over the visual space, lose the war of colour, drown in distance, and smile, simply and purely, because for a moment it no longer existed. The times in which I’d just sit, alone, attentive to the spume. It didn’t take me long to understand the rest the memory I had fabricated, and how much it seems to shorten the act of remembering my infancy.

I remember, vividly and uncreatively, sitting over the thick membrane of dead leaves in the orchard, unbothered with the sound they made at the fullness of my weight, and in the sober madness of being both lost and alone, whispering to myself, do I remember tomorrow? «No,» I would offer, «but I must want to.»

from the beautifully endless and endlessly beautiful collection of Tsukato

Published by João-Maria

A tick clinging to the bristles of a purple boar.

30 thoughts on “(Droplet) spume.

  1. Yellow is such an awful colour for fabric. I took an instant dislike to “Polly Wenstlenmercer” and to your mother’s couch. Apart from that all was wonderful – especially the liquid shadow threading its way – which I still do each early morning…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hate that my mental construct has been baptised, especially since the main purpose of the text is the purging of those cork-memories that act as pellicles for traumatic events. The couch was indeed hideous, but later on she placed a pearly rayon cover over it.
      I must work more on my prose, because it’s clearly meh compared to the poems, but I’m generally happy with my metaphors. They are quite textured, I find. I learnt that from Woolf.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Beautiful, heart-wrenching, tragic and so utterly vivid. I lost myself in the forest of your words. It provides a mix of haze and clarity in such evocative prose. I can resonate with it in some areas.

    Beautiful writing as always, JM. Each piece is even better than the last.

    As well, I loved Plath’s poem at the beginning. It sets a nice transition into your words that places the mood and tone.

    Excellent writing. This is a beautiful piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Plath is incredible. I was very fiddly regarding which poem I’d use, but “poems, potatoes” seemed perfect, since my entire text was a metaphor and so was her poem, and in both, that metaphorica is the central theme.
      I’m glad you find them better than the last each time; I honestly just pray that they’re different. As long as I’m growing, I’m happy.
      Thank you so much for your beautiful support, you’re awesome, Lucy.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. I wholly understand, though I’m unsure of how much one ought to think. Perhaps it’s because I use a thousand appositions per second? I’m thinking of writing an entire book which is a singular apposition, one day. It seems like something within my realm of power.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just read a commentary on Sylvia Plath’s “Metaphors” and it really depressed me (the commentary not the poem). I sometimes think that comments on poetry or prose can be an admittance that it was not good enough in the first place. I will avoid it usually. Are you having a late night studying?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Dude, Metaphors was the poem I was initially going to use here! But the pregnancy theme isn’t precisely concomitant here. And commentary is always available since no work enjoys culminant universal expression. Inevitably, some part will be somewhat lacking for someone, somewhen. Too many variables.
        And no, I’m pulling an all-nighter next, Sunday to Monday!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That’s why I was looking at “Metaphors” on reading your piece. Yeah – I agree with you (the Literary Critic in you!) but I was in a bad mood and the commentary went on about lack of form in Metaphors when she wrote nine lines of nine syllables. Anyways, I’m not in a bad mood any more. We’ve had a couple of similar intentions – re the Plath etc – so it’s a bit of encouragement to me to know I’m not lost in a sea of irrelevant thoughts!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I think your orose conjures its spells well beyond “meh”…

    For me, this was as beautifully textured and deeply bittersweet as raindrops on sea ripples.

    You know me and the tide.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thank you John, it means a lot to me. I never like it because I always feel as if I ought to have a point or a conclusion, which I try to stitch into the text. It makes it feel manufactured to me.
      But I’m happy you liked it. I really am.


    1. The neighbour that often took care of me used to say that, whenever sad, I should try to remember tomorrow.
      I find it now that it was a distraction tactic, a metaphorical “look over there”, but I find it pretty charming and uplifting now that I’m an adult.
      Thank you, Oloriel, it’s truly honouring to have you reading me. I’m still puzzled at the fact.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I feel like this, the same feeling from two other poems, one being from Wendy Cope (I wrote about it a couple of years back, the line being “I love you. I’m glad I exist”; and other one being by Maggie Smith, the “Good Bones” and how we basically sell them to the world (its a motive I am currently writing about as a metaphore, the sentences I read here being like a little sign that it is happening for others too), hence why it is always nice to hear another sentence like this, which can uplift with its pain, experience and hope combined. I think that is precious to be able to read about.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I understand. I find it as some sort of epigraph to a very textured feeling, or a benediction to some inner order.

        Milosz has, in some versions of his Wormwood Star, preluding the arrival of Thomas, the verses:

        “How to speak? How to tear apart the skin of words?
        What I have written seems to me now not that.
        And what I have lived seems to me now not that.”

        That “how do we tear apart the skin of words” has always followed me, since I find it such a unique feeling that I very much understand, but have no other way to encapsulate beyond that phrase. It’s as if the phrase is itself the sentiment.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. JOAO,
    I thought I was a clever lad but I struggle a little with your prose. Perhaps my attention span is just too short for your serpentine sentences. But now you have me working harder at my own!
    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry, Stephen! Portuguese has really long clausal phrases, and we can just sort of add appositions endlessly without complexifying the phrasic sctructure.
      You can do the same in English, in theory, and as I exhibit, but it isn’t as clean, haha. I’m shedding that eventually, it used to be much worse.
      This is all to say it’s more my fault than your own. Thanks for reading, though, means a ton.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Yeah, lush and dense and mesmerizing, this. Happy to have found you. A couple thoughts here, one on the manufactured memory as that’s a curious theme I like to “unpack” as we say in the States..two, I was reminded of the exchange we had today on my blog about conveying meaning on a less-overt level (vs explaining things), and the sensual level…my point being that one of my favorite vocalists is Elizabeth Frazier from Cocteau Twins, and oddly I don’t understand her words on the early albums but I feel the movement of them still, perhaps on some “higher” level (or lower I guess if you map it to the gut, viscera). And I get that with yours here, even when I can’t grok where you’re going or the over-arching reference, it’s still lush to consume. And I need a source of new inspiration between books, and this is it now. No pressure. Ha! Bill

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m a very slow creator, Bill. I’m afraid you’ll have to wait long for any sort of inspiration.
      I’ve been working on a form for a month now and I’m nowhere near completing its first part. All of it for little, might I add. But I do it for the enjoyment of doing it.
      I’m also happy to have found you, be sure of that. I love Cocteau Twins, but I think my first contact with the depth of Art that does not bother to make itself clear, since it lives so high above that, was the movie Pina. Not Wim Wenders himself, but the dances Pina created, they still, to this day, completely enrapture me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s lovely that you connect with art through dance, I love that. I do most through music. You take your time with it, JM! Good it brings you pleasure, it does me as well. Enjoy your weekend, I’m jealous you’re much closer to it now than I am!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh, I can’t dance for the life of me. I’m convinced my feet are made of lead. And I’m so terribly uncoordinated that even the Cha Cha slide is a nightmare to me.
        I just like watching people dance. People that can actually dance. It’s actually not very different from my English writing. Love reading it, but writing it? Eh. It’s all love and little talent.

        Liked by 1 person

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