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spacer.gif   American Open Mike: Inge Dehenin
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 04:31 PM
American Open Mike:  New American Voices .

** Inge Dehenin **


A silver hand
reaches out from up in the clouds
providing her shelter
to see immense whiteness
as she remembers the years
when all colours went in hiding

Revealed is a little girl
collecting shapes and sounds
she eagerly feeds upon
to grow and fit her body
tall enough to finally see the world
through her own eyes.


It’s been one year of silence; 365 days where no sentences, no words, even vowels from your mouth reached far enough for me to hear them. Yet no day goes by when your name does not reverberate through the great empty halls you were so eager to leave behind. The cord is stretched, wanting to bounce back but never allowed to make the journey through the air, thick with fear.

The scent of lemon candy drops on a homebound flight brings me back you, the silver and white wrapping left on a car seat, a connection no longer made, but in the cells of one brain that lives by the grace of her daily dose. It takes me to forests providing shelter from unwanted eyes, summer walks, leaves on the ground, bare feet, tree branches seen from below, piercing through the sky. The ever promising story unwinding daily after five, time stolen from another life and eagerly consumed for fear it should slip away…Monday mornings burst with endless joy for yet a new week, each one of them bringing us five new hours of life borrowed.

It brings me back the me in summer dresses, sun-embracing and boisterous: the favourite object of your attention who didn’t remember to ask your last name. There were text messages, Thursday nights, hairwax, a bathtub full of sand and four nights in two years; all fading as fast as the lemon scent does now.

After all this time, it seems I’ve struck new ground, reached the outskirts of this barren land called ‘us’. As I try to walk faster to cover these last few miles, fresh grass appears and with it so many things I hoped had washed down to the sea. At the borders of this huge land you seem to have set up your guards, reminding me of the heaps of waste you and I cast aside, telling me to go back and search through the rubble.

At the other side of the line, new things are waiting impatiently to claim their territory, stretching out to grasp a hair or a finger to pull me out; bruising me already without even being close. There’s longing for warmth, for the presence of things familiar, yet far enough to be safe. Even the ever comfortable company of my own shadow seems to have suddenly grown cold and lonely, as I find myself standing at the line-up of things important.

I’ll make the journey back and try to close the grave, maybe leave a flower and a bag of lemon candy drops, large enough to cater for those remaining ‘ you’s ’ at the watchtowers of my soul.


That night under the watchful eye of the Big Dipper, raindrops became themselves again. They would no longer carry messages of comfort and warmth across the miles, nor announce their arrival by millions of little taps on my window, eager to bring me the sweetness you had immersed them in. It was a clear summer sky as the cherry-tree greeted me lying in my hospital-bed, showing me that life continued its course and had decided it would not let me go just yet. This was the world’s most outcast place, the last stop in any life derailed and still to me it was the only one I could bear to be in.

The haze of the bright pink capsule rocked me to sleep and kept me from wandering through reality’s realms, a place I had not been in for a long time. But this was a different world, it was clearer than the throbbing and twirling reality of intoxicated brain cells: it was peaceful, and as I stared up to the sky, I hoped this place would keep me safe until everything was over.

That night, it didn’t rain. Nothing there could remind me of the past few years, as all familiar things had been carefully taken away from me. This was to be a new world, one stripped of all things you, dedicated to a life that had ceased to trod down its own path when it opened its doors to something that never became real. There were clean sheets, stale curtains, a door safely locked and every night the bright rays of a flashlight shining through the window, just to make sure I was asleep. Weirdly enough it felt safe, like a children’s bedroom does at night, when mum has just tucked you in after the last bedtime-story.

Though there was this ever present awareness of abandonment in the back of my head- a feeling I could not get rid of, no matter how many of those shiny pink things I took- it felt like living in a huge, well-protected bubble.

Little did I know it was to be the first night of a long journey, one with many raindrops falling down, telling me they had no news, no special messages to deliver…

So tonight as I am getting ready to go to bed, I hear the rain on the roof of my new home and go back to the days when I thought myself lucky to have someone like you to say goodnight to. Today, I don’t know what to think of those moments, all that lingers on is a faint but lasting sense of having lost something that had yet to be born.

Many thanks to Esmeralda, Johan, Sara, Rita, Marniq and all the staff at SM, you have made the difference in this life.

Inge Dehenin lives in Belgium, Europe, where she combines photography with writing and drawing. "I have only recently discovered the immense beauty of poetry," Dehenin says, "thanks to one artist who has been a great inspiration through the last years. As his work sometimes literally carried me through the days, it rekindled in me something that had been dormant for a very long time: a deep connection with myself and the millions of little things that so often go unnoticed every day."

Copyright 2005, all rights reserved.

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