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Turns

by Averly and Jeevika


design by Raisa Janjua www.raisajanjua.com

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Contents Letter from the Artists ..................................... 4 Endings ............................................................ 7 Attachments healthy ........................................................... 13 obsessions ...................................................... 15 Motivations safe ................................................................ 19 sound ............................................................. 21 Perspectives back ............................................................... 25 ground ........................................................... 27 Beginnings .................................................... 31 3


Letter from the Artists

We take turns going into the life that we want and the life that makes us who we are. The state of not knowing what is to come and the acknowledgement of things that are potentially pushing us forward, or holding us back. We live with an overwhelming palette of options. As artists, the trouble with commitment is the courage it takes to make a decision. To work on that seed of confidence you miraculously find. Especially when healing is the goal. This ongoing project is for the hands of two artists who share the same strength and fears, yet share almost nothing at all. We want you to know how we use that dialogue to keep at it. We want to share how beautiful that is. ­– J & A

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I. Endings

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Is this the silver spoon I’m meant to eat out of? It fell on my head when I dropped it off my first balcony. Papa took a picture quick, click, disposable but saved forever in a pink album I will show you one day. I cried, my spoon gone forever, my brother born forever. Papa’s love divided. Just this summer I drove past the white halls where I first took shape, where I first almost died, then took shape again. At 3 weeks, mama’s umbilical cord still attached to me, rotting. Or was it mine. In Delhi, to be born in the month of July is to ask for the rain to poison you. Septicemia. Mama’s love divided. Me and her and her and her. Is that the silver spoon I meant to eat out of? What about when I was an eclipse in her belly, the kind that becomes yours if you can just drive to it with the right eyes. What about when she broke down miles away when they poked me, pulled the useless out of my button. Appendicitis. Is that the silver spoon I meant to eat out of? Today a palm holds me at the small of my spine, I turn around but I cannot see where I went. Living in the shadows, always seeming close. I want to shout into the darkness. What do I do with this spoon? What do I do with the knowledge that the bellybutton is where I will die. ­–J

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II. Attachments: healthy obsessions

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healthy

a mirage swells around as the orange dust of the white chalk lined running track stains the soles of my calloused feet they’re tensed arching into the pull of the powder the tip of my tongue licks the salt the back of my hand did not catch tasting the unspoken words unmatched commitment passion alternate paths that stings the new skin through the cracks of the old skin and eventually numbing itself with the breeze that follows clenching my jaw in protection or stress or both in the moment deciding whether to give in to my lungs that sting against my ribs and let ripples disappear around my feet and some days I see it as warning and others a gift of possibility a resurrection of the incomplete because see I tidy I don’t clean the essence of the best things drifting from the ground I buried them under stomped my feet upon keep running and they won’t catch me is a thought that runners like to think when they get the shot of endorphins in their brains but what are they really running from and I think how those athletes who take the win kiss the floor and I’ve always wondered if it was because they have dug graves that grass grew over maybe even with flowers that were rooted and not freshly cut and replaced as remembered or does the thrill of the win draw their lips to feel the burn the fire when they are most invincible ­–A

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obsessions

His tragic tale is quite simple to follow, he tells it to his kids. His thought is a shadow sat long and deep at the crotch. It claims to know her best in that sundress. His knowing is a protrusion at that same center. It looks like his nose and grows when he’s bad. Somewhere each of our fathers man the register at a 7/11, our eyes sweet in the wallet they bought in Bangkok. The eyes that don’t meet the eye of every sick smile tearing at the seams with a bill. Would you like your receipt. The 2:00 AM train brings him home to his wife on his phone screen. No headphones, no problem for one hand in the pants. Somewhere thousands of trains away our grandmother rests on her front porch, stale and humid in her dry womb like a manhole leading us home. The one that lives in color but sees it empty. The resistance lost in between poles. Elbows thrashing. Nails grabbing onto a space as soft as first breath. Migration, a syllable silent on the tongue. Now, he has become the sketch of a face his sister once drew in her Moleskine. The morning that shines like lead but starts to fade. He cries every day because he doesn’t want to, can’t help it. My mother told me to never trust a man. But love is no hero’s game. Though he trembles, I help him hold it whole in his hand, pull the trigger. ­–J

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III. Motivations: safe sound

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safe

And I do move. Not the block so necessary to dwell on before I can wrap my mind. Just my being to the other side of the country, or the city, even the street, the room. Just pick up my nodding head. I set the intention for fuel. I want to know what I will look like when I learn these things about pollution. About January’s far away smog and sex in your bathroom. About a love undivided, left side right side of my brown hairy brain. About one set of pills left rolling in the trunk, expired at the end of every summer. I want to play the colors in my head to step past this debris of skin so roughly bleached, depilated, shed. Where do we stop violating our daughters, our selves. When do we finally learn to summersault the distance. And I have never blinked just once. As if I planned this. As if I do the living for the living to make sense. As if I do not end something just to put it away. A soft, transparent box. I want to lift my skirt at the same time as my eyelids, look at you there looking at me. Here I sit for no desire. Here I sit for now. Here I sit without. A full mind. But I don’t learn anything. I wake up in the same letter I wrote to you all those years ago, 13x21 cm, all one-sided ruled pages, no return address. ­–J

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sound

at thirteen I no longer wanted to use pencils because my teachers finally allowed us the honor of pens when we wrote our answers in our workbooks and it’s funny how something like that could make you feel a shade more adult because it was a “privilege” that came with fair warning of the permanence of ink and while I used to like having certain types of pencils into the box of broken crayons my 0.5 fine tipped pencils went I relished the idea of completing my homework in pen without any mistakes and loved the way my papers looked without anything crossed or whited out but the totality of the new responsibility or burden itched because really graphite was used many years ago and those scratchings are treated as archaeological treasure today so who’s to say that ink is the only thing that stays when even Frost claimed gold can’t stay but even so one day still thirteen I used half a ream of printer paper and a black felt pen to decide everything I wanted to do I drew shapes of states I wanted to live in colleges I wanted to go to topics I wanted to study and how I was going to get there and then what I will do once I did tearing pages up seemed a better alternative to crossing things out but then I was snowballed into a corner with this one plan that only ended up taking one sheet of paper ­–A

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IV. Perspectives: back ground

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back

Some secrets never open their eye. Like lonely nights kept cold at the wrist, waiting so patiently. My secrets grow soft against the flame. They collect around me quickly. My face old and heavy in their pool. They’ve never told me so but I know the fish loves its eggs. Like, in my daydreams, my babies stay glued to my lap. Upon dying I just stay with them. Like that. And I learn a lot from the doctor. Such as: the tightness in my neck is not in my neck but in my shoulder. There is more there than tendon. When that nurse pressed down into my flesh she felt two disco-balls. She said she had never seen anyone so young so majestically uneven. My blades are more than bone. When I was eighteen I couldn’t carry groceries without tired arms but at sixteen I climbed Mt. Cameroon. Today I am shocked he is able to leave me so swiftly but at fourteen I was handed a list of things about me that were strange and afterwards my bullies ran. My blades are more than bone. And I can roll them clockwise and anti-clockwise six out of seven days a week. The doctor says if the relaxant is taken after midnight the disco balls will not stop spinning. One thing I know is that an unstoppable good time leaves us very sore the next day. Sorry is a pretty word flung around my neck pulling me this way and that. ­–J

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ground

overboard my fingers drag through the water ripples to infinity whether in my bathtub or the cupped palms of large hands my insides in a metal can like beans longing to be opened and rinsed looking for a trusted to try I think of when I learned about the word sonder and how when I look at skylines I can recognize the ones I have called home once before but isn’t it interesting how every time you see the outline of buildings from afar you are struck with awe and I think of whether it is because we are impressed by the fact that we created that from scratch and are patting ourselves collectively on the backs because one time I was cornered in a coffee shop by a stranger who wanted to chit chat even when I had earphones in and when they found out that I was writing a paper that referenced some things about astronomy they told me that I was grounded because I was willing to learn about things where I don’t matter but I am only matter and at first I wasn’t sure if it was a compliment because I didn’t understand why they could think that right away because is it so bad or naïve to believe I matter even when all evidence in a literal sense points to just very little if I was working on a paper about microbiology would they have huffed and thought I needed to feel bigger than something ­–A

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V. Beginnings

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the thing about starting something new harbors a great deal of doubt because the definition of a start is that it is an untouched journey you are beginning and when I’m starting something I think of where it will go and the places I will stop but I also think of the things I haven’t completed and I feel guilty and then my mother’s voice sings into my mind telling me that I must finish the things I started before moving on which I think makes sense in principle but I think for her it is so not to waste the efforts that are beyond just myself because it’s a humble reminder that you finish your food because someone cooked it for you and it doesn’t matter what it is as you should be grateful to show a clean plate a clean plate she wanted so much that she put bananas one of my favorite fruits to my dish to encourage me to finish up the rest but sometimes it would be mango the sweet fruit paired with steamed egg mashed into rice soups with alphabet noodles and much like many other things it didn’t seem odd until I shared this part of my childhood with others but maybe I have trouble starting things because having the last word in conversations is hard and even in those where I think I have said fin successfully I have not because does a book really end if the author is still thinking

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Turns


learn more about the artists at: www.averlytan.com www.jeevikav.com

Profile for Turns

Turns  

The trouble with commitment is the courage it takes to make a decision. Especially when healing is the goal. This is for the hands of two ar...

Turns  

The trouble with commitment is the courage it takes to make a decision. Especially when healing is the goal. This is for the hands of two ar...

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