Chiasmus (10)

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Biarritz, May 2017.

That most sinister of ideologies had simultaneously been resurrected, forty-one million one hundred thousand square miles apart. I realised how once again the Atlantic currents were transporting history between two continents.

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Chennai, March 2016.

Absorbed by my Masters dissertation, I’m reading about and thinking of India every day. Accompanied by Reich’s ‘Different Trains’, I lingered this afternoon on the idea of the return journey and whether such a journey truly exists. The movement through space, which might be backwards, but then through time, which is always forwards. Except when it’s not.

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The only pages I long for are those from my wanderings around the Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale (where this and the last two images were taken). I had spent half a day there specifically to write about its dark history during the universal expositions. All I can recall now is the poem I wrote, a rare occurrence as I don’t often write poetry.

I dream of ancestors,
bought to tend their crops
in Paris gardens.
Of hushed gatherings

after evening prayer

by Pont Tonkinois.
Felled bamboos,
sharpened points,
a silent cry.

From swallowing sleep, rises

Black—the coloniser’s blindspot.

 

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A fear I had long held—and one of many writers I’m sure—came to pass, as I lost one of my notebooks in a Paris bar. The overwhelming feeling afterwards was one of vulnerability, thinking of someone intruding on your thoughts in their crudest form (semantically as well as personally). Then a sense of frustration, at my own stupidity, but also for the loss of memories, the reason in the first place I keep a notebook on me. However, these thoughts were short-lived as one realises the insignificance of such an object in the universal day-to-day. I began to think that, indeed, it might have been picked up by a passing customer after me, but its pages are ones of mystery and intrigue, rather than an object of derision.

Yet, perhaps this is all easier to say knowing that the notebook was hardly full in comparison to some of my others.

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Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale, Paris.

Now, more so than at any other time, the spectres of my sleep dwell in my waking hours. Images from dreams drift into the everyday. Is this ageing? Or something else?