Today, whilst packing up my room, a few Mr Sheen wipes and spraying shelves after I’d had lunch, I discovered a crumpled up copy of a submission I made a year ago to ISIS magazine, and had completely forgotten about. Given the ever-recurring theme of travel, roots, life changes, I thought I’d just leave it here. I’m still quite impressed at how long it sat on my shelves without ever making it to become scrap paper.
BA XXXX, Pisa, 2013
(I’m sick )
( of )
stereotypes and shouting and sexism, I think, as I board my plane to forswear it all, and I fiercely clutch my departure ticket and struggle with zebra patterned cases, the last crumbs of a pastry somehow on my eyelashes, whilst hurried hugs and quick kisses irritate me: so I abandon this country
I need to despise it all, make it repulsive – it’s easy
I created a microcosm of novelty within myself, to make myself astonished of the ordinary, on Saturday the 1st of October – I marvelled at dull countryside landscapes, pretended cathedrals, fresh oranges, Renaissance romance no longer meant anything – yes, I’d rather cling to idealism and panaceas created entirely by yours truly as we fly across the Channel and I overhear, I count to a thousand, try to pin down how many clouds we’ve witnessed, as I glance at the map, catch snippets of instructions, what we should all do if we crash in Paris –oh will you hurry! – the way I am manacled so early, a victim of my own assumptions, is beyond my expectations, how ironic, I’ve become the tourist I jeered
and so I land! eyes wide with wonder as we fly over instead of making those drives through Europe, I think I was asleep the last time I landed here, perhaps I’ve forgotten what to expect… and.. and..
and so I witness it, wilting slightly
the greyness of Heathrow, the oddness of rushed steps and the European attempts of this strange place I call my birthplace just because it makes a half-heartedly chic piece of trivia
locus amoenus no longer
Hiccups accompany me as I slide into the Midlands
I tell myself, “I’m here” but it’s a self-induced lie – beyond pathetic
I sleep on a bare mattress for two nights before managing to leave the comfort of this strange room, which is supposedly my new home – we meet, pretend natives; I’m too proud to admit I’ve been lost for hours.
At night, I find myself thinking people here are perfectly capable of talking without having ever picked up a copy of Peter and Jane’s Key Words, lines of colourful children’s books I longed to incinerate as I headstrongly spat a new language out – I was a child deemed precocious.
I hurried life along in an attempt to become one, to separate these two confusing, different languages my life grew upon . I was always confused as to what words were, why there was a mixture of strange people in the house talking to me in dialects and BBC English. A handful of seasons later, that precociousness has vanished – it’s left me wondering, after writing essays and 2.000 words in this new, odd language which reeks of reserve shelves- how do you pronounce conscientious?
they tell me I sound ‘so Southern!’ – and it means next to nothing to me. should it matter ?
yet I obsess over polishing my strangely come about accent, flashcards and endless sing-along language videos flicking through my mind
daily, they come into view, with derision – those buildings I’ve googled for months on end fading into the background as linguistic enlightenment taunts me, I learn that slang and coolness are connected, that sh is more than a silencing threat, that I can be more, I can be both, I can integrate, I need not worry about the great scone (sc-own?) debacle –
I will become a multifaceted being, i will! masochistic linguistics won’t get in my way!
so it happens, without derision
although the turmoil never ends, yet discovers its own order
you’re right, we are all set in stone, it’s true, a twisted form of what we’re taught to be, a patriotic or furious combination of what each country has imposed upon us, none of us can escape it
and it remains less veiled, for me, as it dilutes into acceptance and I speak even though
I am not,
I will not,continue
to question who I am, how authentic that makes me – a hypothetical promise I know will dissolve by the time I leave this maze of alleyways (you told me yourself, they speak a vernacular of their own)