Discover more from half-baked stirrings
A song that plays on and on when all is "dust and dreams and gone"
Wow, it's been awhile. Here's a little short something of a bigger something I seem to be struggling to finish.
(FYI: I started this post in the first week of May and had to abandon ship, in fact on the same day, because my child fell terribly sick and we are still in the midst of recovering so everything I wrote became so far away from where I am right now or where I had been these last few weeks and I’m like wow, change, so boundless and immeasurable, yet so cunning in its ways. So yeah, I had to rewrite the first few paragraphs, which I never do tbh, and use my current state as a point of departure. As I struggle to slowly return back to myself, this is part one to tide y’all over. Send love.)
8th June 2023
Another failed attempt at feeding inaya. This time we tried Gloria Jean’s right outside Esplanade trying to recreate that moment at Coffee Bean yesterday where she willingly open her mouth during lunch but shut it tight during dinner. My body feels beaten, drained from life. The scorching heat seems to dry out whatever else is left, a barren and desolate inner world. I was exhausted, trying to find some finish line, some end point to this prolonged nightmare. After falling sick just a week and half ago, inaya is refusing to eat and we have resorted to tricks to get her to drink. This involved multiple elevators. Hope is a thin sheet of pristine glass, its weighs heavily in your arms and breaks into small little the moment the lift door opens, breaks from your desperation as your child hesitates. The glass breaks and cuts you all over, please put the straw in your mouth, please drink, please work this time, for longer, for all time, please, please, please.
And she drank her milk after the sixth elevator ride and was finally done with it. I wanted some semblance of familiarity and made my way to get an ice coffee at Toast Box carrying her in my arms. A fussy child becomes unmanageable when one is falling apart. I carried her and was adamant. There was only one person in front of me. We got this! inaya fussed a little more and I propped her up. The lady in front of me smiled and made her order. For each Laksa or Nasi Lemak she would ask the same question, does it come with a drink, what drink? Oh ok. How about this drink? Oh ok? And repeated this for at least seven times more. My tired arms aching with anger. She seemed to order for a congregation of spirits, some pre hungry ghost festival. I propped my fussy child up higher, like a flag of pity. I was already falling into a pity pool. When it’s finally my turn, all the staff ignored me, refused to take a look, pretended I was not there.
I just want an ice coffee, and repeated but no one seemed to hear me. I feel my anger rushing up into my head, wrapped in defeat that the world is not meant for us anymore, no Mother Mary and the Sacred Heart in this lifetime although my heart was burning and my body was on fire. No ice coffee to quell it either. I heard a scream coming out, in my voice but unrecognisable and then the advertisements on those small A3 boards came down on the floor. I walked out terrified at my own monstrosity but pulled down all the chairs at the outdoor bars, hearing their loud clanging on the ground, trying to exorcise my anger.
My partner was waiting, looking worried but was too tired to ask. I hate the world I said and he asked what happened…and I told him in some garbled mess as we got ourselves ready to cycle back home. I’m ok, I said I’m ok. I’ll be ok. And I decided to put on something neutral, something badass to deal with all these
emotions. So Motomami comes on, blaring out on my speakers as we embarked reluctantly to our crisis-drenched house, our unrecognisable home.
[▶] First track hits the right spots, saoko mami saoko i said under my breath. Industrial reggaeton at 2pm, sun fiery hot and unforgiving. My legs trying to push everything out. Fuck all of you I thought. Second track Candy comes on, my anger is wet, drowning me, pulling me down in some glitch.
I was bawling. If y’all know me, it is physically impossible for me to even break down like this in public. Call it trauma informed or whatever BUT those lines tore me apart and I was bawling out loud, body in massive shakes, still on my bicycle cycling frantically forward, backward, I could not stop.
[⏩︎: I read the translation of the lyrics especially those particular lines as I was writing this and wow, just wow.
I know that you haven't forgotten about me
Haven't forgotten about me, haven't forgotten about me
Only you haven't forgotten about me
Haven't forgotten about me, haven't forgotten about me]
⏮ Same route, three months ago. Same album, same song. All I feel is lightness. Life is good and easy. This route is such a mainstay, Kallang river on the left when I am leaving and on the right when I return. My heart is soaring, free and weightless. Toast Box ice coffee, the almost empty cup swinging precariously on the handle of my bicycle. Careless.I sang without knowing the lyrics. I sang out loud. No me has olvida'o, no me has olvida'o
Ya no me acuerdo de tu cara
La forma de tu cuerpo, ni aunque la pensara
Hay demasia'o que nos separa
La vida es bonita, pero es traicionera
I don't remember your face
The shape of your body not even if I thought about it
There's so much that separates us
Life is beautiful, but it's treacherous
It’s so fucking treacherous.
🔴 La Fama comes on. I am back in my tears welling up my eyes blurring my vision. My partner asking for the third time if we should stop. I said I cannot stop. I cannot stop this. I want to go back to when I last heard this song, this brilliant album. When everything was easier, less volatile, less treacherous. I disassociate into the music video and I see myself on stage in the same sparkly sequin dress, I am singing the words, elevating myself up with that Bachata rhythm. The Weekend slides his way up on stage, my stage. Only here he is Hope in masculine form trying to control me, to control things, to take charge, slipping in closer and closer to steal a kiss. What a sleazebag. I return the gesture, leaning in and momentarily I become myself again and I stab him with a smile and a knife. Go and die hope. Go and die.
⏸️ Bulerías comes on with no pause from La Fama and the tears keep flowing. I think of the tree near the river, the bzzz-ing of the chainsaw as its branches were cut off by a man on a crane, suspended in air, the scene so fresh, so apt to this helplessness, this no way out feeling, this massacre of all that was familiar, I am suspended, the balance has tipped over so much that there is no strength to recover. In fact there is nothing to recover.
And so it went on for an entire album and I was all cried out by the time we reached home, a temporary balm, a kind of release, that exorcism I wanted to push for so badly came in with the help of Rosalia and her voice, with these songs that I did not know the meaning of (until today), that carried me through and pivot me out and into what was before and what is now because grieving is so hard when one is still in the thick of it all. That’s always been the magic of a song hitting at the right time. Months ago these songs has brought me joy, filled me with excitement and months later, it is a float holding me up for air. The right track can be a cornerstone that’s not rock hard but malleable to multiple temporalities in a bloom of memories wrapped in each other swaying to the same refrain. Maybe after all this blows over, I can put on Motomami again and laugh with the anguish that has settled and be comforted by how far it all seems to be.