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(Not So) Far Away

August 9, 2020

Hey loves!

 

"Staycation" is the new motto of the holiday season. My family and I will not be going away at all this summer, but books, movies, and TV shows are great places to escape to for a little bit here and there. Some books and movies have literally made me forget the world around me for a short while. 

 

Sometimes, the end of a movie/TV show or book may be the end, but it does not feel like the end for a character. Do you sometimes wonder how they are doing after this short glimpse you got into their lives? They are obviously often fictional, but as the spectator, we often cannot help but wonder what further ending the author imagined. Or what a character felt in a certain scene if their emotions were not apparent to us. 

 

Because I am not always ready to leave the characters behind already, I sometimes write short (and probably cheesy and terrible) poems about the things I saw or read about. Somehow, this allows me to give the characters my final farewell. Today, I would like to share a few of these pieces with you. I am absolutely no poet and these poems are probably not great, but that is also not the point of them. The point is much more to creatively engage with the things that inspire you - whether it is by writing about them, drawing something, talking about it, or something else entirely. If something makes you want to create something, it is worth trying out the creative process. the results may not always be great, but it is important to give our imagination free reign sometimes. 

 

I wish I could tell you which TV shows, books, and movies these different pieces belong to, but I can honestly not remember that with certainty and so I decided to leave them here just as poems. Some of them are probably inspired by multiple works - I have my guesses of what inspired what but these are just guesses. If you are interested in my guesses, I left some notes after every poem, but maybe you have read or seen something that matches these poems. 

 

the north

The north is where women give tight hugs

that pull you into their broad bodies

And give you a sense of belonging

And a momentary escape from the cold

 

The north is where the snow is not an unexpected guest

But rather a family member

Who comes by the house every once in a while

And is greeted with this familiarity only family gives you

 

The north is where southerners freeze

And northerners wear shorts on cold Mondays

Because they are warmer than the Sundays 

 

The north is inexplainable to those who did not grow up with northern air in their lungs

It is not meant to be understood 

By those who do not share its blood

 

The north is rough on the outside

But filled with the brightest lights

Burning 

Inside its people 

 

The inspiration for this poem is really difficult for me to place. Game of Thrones definitely played a part with this one. But I also vaguely remember a French film about someone moving north and I think this one may also have influenced this poem. I know that 'some French movie' is not very specific, but it is honestly the most specific description I could come up with.

walk

I wish

I could 

take a walk

in your mind

it would

explain

so much

 

I wish

I could 

walk past

all these walls

that guard

your inner sanctuary

 

I wish 

I could 

hear your heartbeat

and understand

why

I no longer

make it beat faster

 

I wish

I could 

go on a safari

into your dreams

to see your wildest fantasies

so I could do everything

to become them

 

I wish 

I could touch you 

where my hands cannot

in order 

to make you feel me

make you feel 

for me

 

I wish

I could go on a cruise

on the ocean of tears you cried

to understand

what hurt you so much

that you built your walls

so high

that even I 

could not climb them

 

I wish 

I could take a flight

that takes me past all

the castles you built out of air

in your daydreams

to show me all the places 

you would have rather been

when you’ve been with me

 

I wish 

I could go on a drive

on the street

where all the friends

you no longer speak to

live and love 

to see them 

to smell their houses

that once welcomed you

like a brother of theirs

 

I wish

I could take a seat

in that mind of yours

and listen to all the thoughts

that cross it like shootingstars

to understand

what you mean

when you say

that you don’t even

understand yourself

 

I wish 

I could climb these high walls

that surround your heart

and I wish I could make it there

and once I’m there

I wish I’d see myself

and not her

 

I wish there was a way

to time-travel in your mind

so I could see

whether I was ever

in your heart

or whether it was always 

her

 

I doubt that there is any specific inspiration for this poem. I listen to lots of heartbreak songs (do not ask why single me enjoys this genre of music) and I guess they may also have influenced this. 

bus ride in Hong Kong

I get on the bus 

In the rural area of the city

Where the jungle meets small villages

And where Chinese is the only language 

And my white skin is foreign

 

Every curve we take 

Feels like it could be our last

As our bodies move with the bus 

And the jungle slowly gives way

To the hustles and bustles of the city

 

It begins to rain on the inside and outside 

some droplets coming from the sky

Others from the cold air-conditioned air

And the conditioned air

Takes away my neighbour’s flower smell

 

The girl next to me

Whose lily-scented perfume made me want to ask her where she got it 

Seems sad

And I imagine that she just broke up with her boyfriend

And keeps checking her phone to see whether he said sorry 

 

The bus stops and a little boy gets on

He is hidden under an umbrella which seems bigger than him

And I wonder whether he tries to hide

I know I do sometimes

But I wish they made such big umbrellas for adults

 

The boy’s mother is right behind

And it seems he does not need to hide

Since their little clapping games are innocent enough

But I know that looks can be deceiving

And nonetheless wonder to what he goes home

 

The closer we get to the heart of the city

The more impatient drivers surround us

And soon enough 

We stand in front of an office building

And wait for the cars around us to move

 

And so I look at window after window

And realise while some are filled with office workers

Others are filled with the grace and magic

Only dancers can give to a room

And so I watch this fascinating choreography of ballet without music

 

I wonder whether the girl in the white skirt is auditioning 

Or whether she already has the part

And why the girl with the black hair seems so jealous

I imagine that they fight against one another

In a black-swan-kind-of-way

 

A long time ago 

when I did not yet understand that dreams should be realistic 

I wanted to be a ballet dancer

And I wonder what I would be like

In that window

 

Or what I would be like

If I had had an umbrella big enough to hide under

When those who were supposed to love me

Threw punches at my confidence 

And taught me that love should never be assumed

 

The bus stops

And it is time for me to leave

And so I step out into the world

Into the rain

And leave my speculations behind 

 

I actually know that the inspiration for using the format of a bus ride in Hong Kong definitely came from some old documentary which I watched back in my geography class. It talked about a small village in Hong Kong which the documentary contrasted with the multicultural and fast-paced city centre. The character who is describing their experience in this poem is a character about whom one of my friends wrote a short story. The story has never been published and I only got to read it as their friend, but it talked about a family who had issues of such gravity that the authorities got involved. It ended with the child of the story looking back at her parents' house from the back of a police car. I was not ready to let this character go yet and so I put her onto this bus ride. 

Ok, I will not torture you more with my terrible poetry - it is absolutely fine with me if you laughed at them. I do not take these poems too serious myself, but I really enjoy creating them as it allows me to add details to the fictional works I sometimes lose myself in. Writing them is a little break from reality. Since we have all been stuck within the same four walls for way too long, taking such breaks can be important. And it is fine if your breaks from reality produce terrible poems like mine. Or maybe you turn out to be a great poet. Or a painter. Whatever it is that gives you a little break. 

 

Make sure to give yourself these breaks and not to judge them by the quality of their results.

 

Lots of Love,

 

Elena

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