I Remember A Picture Taken On A Street In Bucharest In May

Unsplash / Stephanie Krist
Unsplash / Stephanie Krist

I remember
It was a rainy spring day
And I skipped school to go meet him.
My favorite month is May in Bucharest
It smells like flowers everywhere.
It was raining and my umbrella was broken
Looking like a dead bat wing.
He was an art school student and tried to teach me about joy
He introduced me to his professor:
She is an artist.

But I was only an artist of criticism back then
Specialized in bitterness and cryptic poems.
I remember him feeding the cats
from the fourth floor window,
His legs balancing over the void,
Me horrified and him laughing.
I remember carrying water in my shoes all day
And his hands recalling a forgotten rhythm on my ribs
Trying again to teach me about joy.
But I had a golden cage inside my chest
And I still have it
Although now I think I might actually have
More golden cages inside myself.

I remember a picture taken on a street in Bucharest in May
A picture smelling like flowers
Possibility of joy and refusals
Cause after we sat on a couch in the middle of the street
Me, his friends and him,
Me looking almost transparent
Like a ghost incapable of absorbing joy,
Cause after we sat on a couch in the middle of the street
For a picture destined to smell like flowers
Some of us looking bright
And some looking transparent,
I ruined everything.
I started feeding the void, instead of feeding cats
From the fourth floor window.
He never spoke to me again

But I once met him by chance
He said he recognized my voice and my laughter
Crystal clear
I tried to grab his hand
Check if you recall that rhythm on my ribs now
Check which golden cage is smelling like flowers.
But memory is a transparent thing
And I never had the chance to apologize
For feeding the void, instead of feeding cats
From the fourth floor window.
Everything we live goes into compartments
Separated by thick or thin walls
Sometimes transparent,
But today I burst into tears
Thinking about Frieda Khalo’s
watermelon
About how I ended up teaching joy myself
Cause back then I was just an artist of criticism.
I think one of the transparent walls broke
Cause I heard glass breaking
Crystal clear.

And I feel wind blowing between the compartments
A spring wind
Smelling like flowers
Reminding me that this is the rhythm of life
And I can fully recall it now.
This painting is about a weakness chain
And I did it after I saw a theater play about madmen
Thinking that this is why they chose to be actors
So they could be madmen on stage
For two hours.
This could be the weakness chain
About people hurting others
And so on
Ad infinitum
But now I know something new
That the difference between an artist and a madman is strength
The strength to be who you are
In front of others
But especially in front of yourself
The strength to break the walls
Between the golden cages you carry inside
And let go
Flying to the world
A poem of apology,
Break the weakness chain with beauty. TC mark

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