location: not montreal, new york.
I want to write. And the walk through the words surrounding me are not what I consider to be walks, but zigzags jigjags sharpturns loudhorns, no path for anyone to take if they have a heart to mend or a head to console. Not NEWYORKCITY, there is no collection of words in it that could spell the way home feels. Any attempt is a failed attempt to recount the walks through fields that know you well, streets that have held you well, doors that have held you up and windows that have heard you through. There is no walk like the one my fingers write on the pages that adorn the wallpaper of my inner home. I desire no attempt of the written walk if not through the words of MONTREAL that I have come to know, love, become, and move on from.
Beyond the talk of the heart, my feet also like MONTREAL. Simply put: my feet know the dance between snowy pavements and new construction, and everything in between. My feet also know where they're walking, and these NEWYORKCITY streets are not what Bob Dylan wrote of, no these streets are not meant for my walking, or anyone for that sake who wants to walk for the simplicity of walking. My feet here run to chase the thoughts that run further away. Away and away, far from here, gone.
Take me back in thought, bring me back here. What am I saying?
I am writing in a coffee shop that knows me well. I like it, I'm unsure of it, it is the best I can do here, where else can I write? It is La Colombe on Broadway and Lafayette, but it is no Pikolo that has dissolved into a new pristine place. That cafe memorialized the dingy stoop of Ave. du Parc: a street devoid of any poetry by facing Provigo and Couche Tard. At least there is Nota Bene still living, at least there is Cinema du Parc still existing. There is no Pikolo, no more of that cafe I call the reincarnation of Rasha in Cafe Form. Gone, and I am gone, too.
—My thoughts, I apologize they keep running. No, here, I am here. I am in NEWYORKCITY and it has its own theatres, cafes, drama, lingo. "These are bodegas, not deps. These are subways, not metros. These are ambitions, not delusions," I chant my mantras inaudibly along these SHERBROOKE-TIMES-100-DECIBALS streets. At least I am here where everyone is. Yes, here, where all these eyes open, whether they open emptily or of mirrored daze, there are more bodies to count here. I hope more hearts and more minds, not just more mouths and more wallets.
I am being harsh, yes, but I see why Henry Miller wrote the way he did for if I ever stop my fingers from typing, I will scratch these words out of blood within me. There is no way to keep these thoughts away from me. When I said I needed my walks, I really meant my thoughts really needed these walks. These thoughts will not tire if not written over and over again, step-by-step, dirty footprint by dirty footprint, mark themselves in ink that they have seen something and want to say something. My fingers obey for they would rather spit words than blood—
Can I just simply go for a walk???
Let's try again.
We start the walk where many forget: in the relish of peace and quiet of a doorstep. I stand (unfortunately, I speak from memory here) on the doorstep of 34XX RUE DE BULLION where I find a resident cat taking her own walk around, squirrels here and there and all around, trash in neat piles under the staircase, bicycles locked safely, and front doors left unlocked with instinctive trust. This is what I call home.
—No. I can't do this. I can't do this to myself. I am not in MONTREAL, I am not Rasha in MONTREAL. I am in NEWYORKCITY and have been for the "better" part of this year. I do not know how I've changed, but really: how much I've changed. I do not know and I couldn't say so, right here, right on the spot, for I can't think to myself here. No, I can't think to myself because I don't let myself write, and instead of preserving this ritual of words, I have run myself away from the city I call home and the vocation I call my walk.
I'm not sure who I am here, how I look, what I see, why I'm here, what I am to do from here. I am everywhere in my thoughts but here. I am growing and I am dissolving. I find myself in the centre of the world as a pile of disintegrating bones. I melt in empty living rooms and I pray that I am purposely bleeding all the poison out of me. I speak in vulgar metaphors, or just any resemblance of the vivid images I see in my head. I can only hint at the fleeting shadows that run away from me, everywhere away except to remain with me. I think they are running to better places, or running home, far away home, to anywhere that is not here. I do not know what I have with me here. I have my fingers that are scared to disobey me, so they do not speak a word, or they type every thought that comes to me without even the attempt to conceal them in riddles or complicated narratives.
I have nothing to hide here. I don't know how to go about it from here. I just know I cannot keep quiet in wait for the better days, for the better "place," for the better words. If I do not write, I do not live. I am not at home in MONTREAL, and that's more than just a metaphor. I live in NEWYORKCITY now, and I still am existing
— and I still need to write.