poetry

Afterfeel: Another World Beneath My Eyelids. {poetry}

 

It has already been a week since August 4th’s 6:09 pm, even though it feels like it was seconds ago.

I was in a cafe only a few minutes away from the Beirut port when the latter exploded with the might of a 3.3-4.5 earthquake, leaving behind a destroyed city and thousands of victims. Ever since, the feeling of running for my life has been accompanying me, wherever I go and in whatever I do. After the initial stage of emotional numbness, I finally got myself to gather my overwhelm in a poem.

***

I have not yet understood this thunder
that is loitering in the recesses of my hollowed heart.

for days it has been following me
in echoes crashing upon the idle tides of my evening dreams,
staining my very spine
with its shivers
left behind, far from forgotten.

the sun yet sinks and rises but there is another world
beneath my eyelids
shut. In this world, it is always evening,
always a little past six, always almost
too calm in its loudness.
There is music, good people,
a friend smiling, lemonade in hand,
a blue sky alive and breathing —
there is a soft day almost ending, tenderness
and a feeling of home, and then there is nothing,
a sudden aircraft hovering over our very heads
and then there is nothing, and everything
becoming at stake, all at once.

In this world, there is my golden city and there is its womb
being torn open and bursting. There are wombs being torn open and
there is blood. There is a turmoil creeping
into the crux of the surviving mind, taking root.

There is screaming.
In it is a cold August. Mothers breaking
into two. Fathers sinking down below and shifting
into dimensions that have not yet
summoned them.

In this world, everything crumbles like dust
pulverizing existences in seconds.
Sons and daughters and lovers being pushed
into the shaken ground,
already returning.

In this world, I find myself ricocheting between the streets
I watched go mad with movement and sound
deafening to the bone with such quietness.

In this world, I find myself running like wildfire
let loose, in the far too exposed open,
choking on my own saliva
before the flames rising in my chest
burn me to the ground
that has not even prepared a
place for me yet.

Images of Beirut cracking open and swallowing me in
play around in my eyelashes,
vicious and haunting.

Yet I tell my heavy heart to stay gentle
for perhaps through all this openness,
light will find its way through,
and bring us back our city
in all its radiance, divine again.

This poem was originally published on An-Nahar English.

***

Perla Tsoler Kantarjian is writer, journalist, poetry editor, English literature instructor, and flow artist from Beirut. She spends her days chasing the thoughts that vivify the rigidity encircling her brain and bring her vessels to a dance. Her writings have been published on various platforms including Bookstr, Rebelle Society, Annahar Newspaper, The Armenian Weekly, and Elephant Journal.  You can also find snippets of her poetic pieces on Instagram.

***

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