Jean Rhys

I think of the divided self of Jean Rhys in Dominica, her
invisible self in London, and the depth, scope, scale of her writing:
What was achievable in her lifetime is achievable now, the
winter’s tale of Jean Rhys, and her tragedy of errors, of losing a
child, and her failed marriages. She was a gifted writer, and
much parallels can be drawn between her neuroses, feelings of
alienation, and her identity as feminist thinker, writer of the
first wave. She recovered as I recovered. Relapsed as I did.
You’ve become Anais Nin, the good skull and the patriotic leaf.
May the dog’s bite kiss you. The closer I get to understanding
the sign and symbol of God, the further I feel from existing.
I am so strange and so different. Family are always letting go
of me. I think of the ergonomics of war, poverty, dirt and dust.
The grit of it. The enormity of the reunion of it all. I think of
the philosophy of Gus Ferguson, the composer Moses Molelekwa,
the poets Kyle Allan, and Allan Kolski Horwitz. I think of the
archives of the wetlands all but disappearing from view. The ship’s
maintenance of the rip tide channelling itself into surf. Paris is
the ice lady found in an asylum drinking a cocktail that matches
her fingernails. She is the darting gecko. She is the declining age of
winter. She is the September issue. She is the image of muscled
cobblestone street, the flowing sea from another era, the flame,
the pondering flame of trust. Of course, it hurts that you walked
away from me. You are European now. I want to be happy, but
I’m not. Liberty is sighing. My health is being analysed over and
over again. And I fall to the response of you, sibling. The idea,
of you. The health of your cries and anxieties. Your brain is not
my brain. Your being is not my being. Your whole is not mine.
I think of my first mental breakdown. I think of my second ever-
lasting survivor movement. How it just latched onto me and like
the periodic table, bilateral symmetry, mitochondria, amoeba, it
never let me go. I too am guilty of over-thinking in the moment.
I want the divine propaganda of the miracle. I want the torment
in the sideways glance. I want not to hurt anymore. You knocked
me down to the dark, dark edge. To the river’s edge at nightfall.
I like living in the past with its voodoo rays and morality clauses,
its mind made of new dawn fades flesh and bone that will be torn
apart eventually by the capacity and anxiety of death. Madness in
my case. I know how to stay healthy now in this red atmosphere
with its bright lights, its beaches where sand and sea are a loose fit.
I think of others social inclusion and then I think of loneliness,
because this is a complicated planet. This is a lonely universe.
And I am falling in love in bursts with my own resourcefulness.
Rhys’ voice. The voice of social inter-dependence and class-nesting.
She is as significant as Richard Rive. Brink. Mxolisi Nyezwa.


[Courtesy of the author]

Link to the Italian translation

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