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Archive for May 2011

Paper Dolls

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Here I am in the shadows of skyscraper shells.  The shells have holes where windows and doors will one day be fit into place – absences portending what is to be.  The holes make the clunky structures somehow more delicate – towering concrete lacework. At midnight each night in the silver heat of starlight laborers work adding layer upon layer after layer following layer, a reverse game of Jenga.  These burgeoning buildings are almost all to become five-star hotels.  They will soon be the temporary homes of oil investors and security contractors from across the globe.  Right now they keep me in the shade away from the orange heat of day.

Here I am on the green lawn of a five-star hotel on a hill in a desert, sipping white wine beneath snipers.  I’ve counted eleven snipers so far, but I know there are so many more.  (I was never very good at finding Waldo, either.)  The late afternoon air is oppressive but the blue cheese hors d’œuvres are delicious.  My earlobes are being pulled down by huge sparkling chandelier earrings and they ache.  The heels of my shoes are sinking into the fake oasis of the freshly watered lawn.  Just a few minutes ago I shook hands with a former Prime Minister of Great Britain.  He was very friendly and I told him I liked his speech.  This event is to commemorate the 85th birthday of his queen, Her Majesty Elizabeth II.  The president of the country we are in is also here.  He walked right in front of me, but he didn’t shake my hand.  He was soft-spoken in his speech.

Here I am in my office.  I am wearing the chandelier earrings again, sparkling beneath the buzzing fluorescents.   The fluorescents are fake daylight in the same way hotels are fake homes.  The earrings are studded with fake jewels.  It is 7pm on a Sunday and here I am at the office.  I am working which means I am editing and filing, filing, and mindless, and thoughtless, crucially important organizing, and now there is one more signed document in the correct plastic sheet and that is an accomplishment.  Now there is one more edited sentence about the kidnapped father of one more family and look, now, thanks to me, the verb tense matches the subject.  And somehow that feels like a fake accomplishment.  Here I am not writing anything about my own thoughts which is how I reflect, really, actually it’s how I think.  My brain just doesn’t work when left alone in its skull vacuum.  The electronic paper I am typing onto is a white wrinkle of my brain.  The synapses that fire in my skull, the synapses that are me, must spark directly from my head to my fingertips to pens and keyboards in order to spark at all.   Stopping writing for me is like a lobotomy.  Here I am, and one day this summer I am to celebrate my thirtieth birthday, here in this country my own country invaded less than a decade ago with shock (burning people to ashes) and awe (crushing concrete buildings to dust).  Here are fathers being kidnapped and little brothers being assassinated because they want to be police officers and here, in this city, the burn wards of the local hospitals are crammed full with women and girls who have “accidentally” set themselves on fire, oh there are so many of them.

And it is here that I am learning to live the unexamined life.

Written by ilchwl

29 May 2011 at 2:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized