Every Day We Die a Little

Malalai Kaker

I am woven together with silvery fibres of infinite fragility, and deep within my core there is a well of sadness so deep that whenever we lower the bucket into the black abyss, we’re almost always certain that it will never return.

My sadness spills over from lifetimes that I can not possibly recall, but it comes always from the same source. Our very nature is swathed in mystery. We have been stifled and silenced, and held down, and sliced open, over and over and over.

I gave you my blood and my breath, and for that I will always, always be sorry.

I’m playing with power. I’m slipping trust on in different configurations, but nothing feels like it fits. My body is like play dough, and I’ve learned how easily I can turn it into an empty shell, and that empty coldness is exhilarating.

We should be honored. We are creators of life. We love deeply, and fiercely, and selflessly. We move through the world in beauty and we are matched to the rhythms of the tides and the cycles of the moon. We are the glue that holds every thread together in the world. We care for and nurture and sacrifice and give.

We should get nothing less in return.


I’m Flying a Little Too Close to the Sun

Generally speaking I can cruise just high enough above my emotional well to not get seared by the intensity of the fire I’ve been stoking for thirty two years. Every once in a while though, I wake up like any other day, but suddenly feel as though my skin has been peeled back like a banana in the nimble hands of a monkey.

Today is one of those days.

I imagine it is easy to equate this description with feelings of depression, but I assure you this isn’t the case. It’s actually kind of lovely to be in this space, but I’m glad it’s only a once in a while thing.

Allow me to site some examples.

I’ve had only four hours of sleep, but I woke up this morning with my cat curled in a ball on the pillow next to my head, with a little golden trickle of sunlight streaming into my room, and I was all but purring myself. At the light, at the crisp cool temperature of my room from having left the window open all night long, at the happy feeling I carried home in my tummy last night…

Making morning coffee in my oversized purple kimono was sheer bliss…

The happy coincidence of sending a morning email to my darling friend in Paris just as she was emailing me…

Reading the epic email my brother composed to say goodbye to the woman he loves, and welling with pride at how despite his massive size, he’s really all squishy inside…

The quasi-Victorian, very autumnal outfit I chose with the swishy skirt that made me feel floaty and ethereal under the canopy of neighbourhood trees…

The soundtrack my ipod provided on my morning commute and the marvel of how everyone else seemed to hear the rhythm of the music…

The serene pleasure of being the first in the office, and checking phone messages and making coffee for the girls…

And then reading this, which made me cry at my desk…

It’s not even noon, and I’m looking forward to feeling how the day unfolds.

How do you spell hernia?

Perhaps I cracked a rib. Or bruised it. Or pulled a muscle. At any rate, my right side hurts. A lot.

Maybe what happened is that I became so full of self-pity that I actually split. Down the side. Just a little.

No. More. Sad.

And like that it’s done. I know I’m blessed to be able to mostly shake it off so. I know many people who can stay in sad for a long, long while. This gal cannot. I think I’d get too comfortable and end up moving in. Sometimes it’s a really beautiful place. The trees always look better, you know? Gnarled, twisted, Burtonesque masterpieces.

But nope.

I wrote a new show. It’s magickal (that’s not a type-o, magic is more magical with a “k”), and when my super star choreographer injects her genius into it, and the gals get their hands on it, I think it’s going to be the greatest thing we’ve done yet. I’ve started working on the costumes, and imagining how it will look in our new venue and I’m so, so very excited. I think it will be ready by February, just when everyone needs something to get excited about.

I’m also doing lots of research about the medium we’ve chosen. Cabaret is unique in how much the audience is part of the show, which is something I’ve always loved about performing.

A revelation hit me the other day, when I holed up here, shirked all of my housework responsibilities and just wrote. I think I’m attracted to really brilliant workaholics because I myself know I need to focus more on my own art. Since I’ve started doing this, I feel much, much more like I am really in my skin.

And so I look you in the eye and say “ha”. I can walk with my head high and a smile on my face, and know that as long as my ribs can hold out, I’m gonna be just fine.

Wouldn’t it be fun to have someone to kiss? Just a little?

Seriously?! Seriously.

Just when you thought it was safe to comfortably enjoy being alone, all your collective past demons rear their ugly heads in one giant wave of WTF.

The universe is throwing things in this general direction that continually serve to illustrate one point, and one point only – my heart is to be kept under glass like a Victorian curiosity under a hand-blown cloche from Denmark.

How did I ever believe any of the lies that issued forth from your lips like car exhaust from a bumper to bumper in a mid-July heatwave? I suppose it was for the sake of wanting to believe that nobody could be so evil. Or at least nobody that I could love would be so evil.

Tell me, oh vast universe, how do I even begin to move forward into love again? So many would say, “This is only making you stronger, so you can make better decisions for yourself”. I would say that it has hardened me to the point where ain’t nobody gonna get a piece of my homemade apple pie again. They’ll have to settle for a slightly cardboard flavored store bought facsimile.


Standing Backwards on a Steep Incline

And I’m too tired to keep going, but can’t rest now because I’ll tumble into the abyss.

Ya know what I’m saying?

When I was little, one of the most marvelous things I could buy with my allowance, second only to sea monkeys (which I still think were a farce) were these incredible little sponge figures that would expand to nearly four times their original size when you added water to them. After that, they were pretty much useless. They got soggy, and kind of boring. The real thrill was watching them grow, and seeing just how far they could expand.

My heart is a dime-store trick sponge. As soon as it gets a little bit wet, it expands to freakish proportions, and then is next to useless to me. It almost did it again, but I snatched it back from the bowl, and have now turned the hairdryer on it.

So tonight, as I sit in the Fortress of Solitude, slowly realizing that my dog likes my landlords better (he refuses to come upstairs with me), and only slightly amused that my cat is curled around my arm, purring like a machine and gently stroking my face with his paw, I’m wrapping my innards in what can only be described as cardiovascular Saran Wrap.

I am so, so tired.

There are many things that are working very well in my world right now, so I think I’ll stick with those things that are uncomplicated and lovely for me. Things like art, and work, and quiet nights alone here. I’ve suddenly become one of those people who really likes to be alone. It’s very novel for me.

I keep dreaming about baby feet. Chubby little digits, with tiny little shoes.

My family cat got hit by a car last night and killed. My dad found him curled up in a ball near the curb, still in tact. He tenderly scooped him up into a plastic bag, put him in the garage, and then sat silently in front of the flickering television for four more hours because he was too upset to sleep. He told me via email. He said he “sure will miss his little buddy”. I am very, very grateful that my father has my mom, and a second cat at home. The idea of my father all alone is one that always, always makes me have a lump in my throat.

That cat hated everyone but my father. That cat was one of four pets now that have been the divided children of my various failed relationships. I work so hard to build a home, inject it with domestic bliss, and then it all unravels like a poorly knit sweater.

I feel like getting a little bit Rip Van Winkle up in here.


is anyone there?

because on saturday night when i’m home alone, it’s just so hard to be sure…

but this is an exercise that i need to perfect, isn’t it? and then i either graduate to the perfect blend of domestic/hedonistic bliss with fat babies and smiling dogs in tow, or gin swilling spinsterhood where pretty pool boys tell me i use great eye cream on a daily basis.

expectation will ruin any party, but we do it to each other all the time. you expect that because i am extremely sensual that every opportunity for sexual exploration will be openly invited, and i expect…well i won’t even say that here. that will be saved for the hand-written volumes that will no doubt be savored as they are wrenched from my cold dead hands, days later, when the neighbours have discovered my starving cats feasting on the still-tender flesh of my unyielding cheekbones.

trust is a word that i can’t even form on my lips anymore when it comes to giving my heart away. even the tiniest crumbs of my heart.

you are magic. and i know you know me, but i must close down this hot dog stand for the summer. i absolutely adore you, and want to keep this perfect collaboration free of mustard stains, or tainted processed meats.

when you spread your wings, i lose my breath, and i can’t afford to fly right now. i have barely figured out how to walk. and i suspect you could care less about flying anyway. but maybe that’s the cynic in me.

let’s just move onwards and upwards, shall we? i get it. i’m pretty sure you do too.

a well-oiled sewing machine and several hours of writing, listening, and sweeping costume epics will fix this. not to mention a good spooning with Arthur, a week without red wine, and a bit of my mom’s home cooking.

i got a little caught up in the chutney, and the magic of us, together, in public spaces.

Kurt Weil and Haggen Daas, here i cum.