Halfway to Nowhere

By Simona Ivanova

  1. Light a match to keep yourself warm. Set your house on fire. Scorn your coarse language. Scorn your family. Scorn staying here. Scorn scorning. Sever ties. Change your name. Construct a mask for yourself. Pack your belongings. Don’t look back to where your mother cries to see you go. Force yourself to believe there is a Renaissance yet to happen. It is all about becoming one with the illusion. Master the senses. Focus on the ways to murder the person behind the mask.


  1. Enter the Strange Land. Be the Stranger in the Strange Land. Convince yourself itself it is already more of a home than where you came from. Hide your accent as much as you can. Find a Strange lover to do bad things to you. Chain-smoke and cry while walking uptown in the drizzle. Tell yourself this is New York Melancholy. Sit in the parks. Read. Watch. Write. Obsess. Dwell in your small chaos. Call back home occasionally. End the conversation when you get ablaze with irritation after 10 minutes.


  • Return to your Native Land after months. Be the Stranger in an even Stranger Land. Scorn your lack of eloquence in your mother’s tongue. Scream at all your close ones. Scratch the blackened, charred walls. Text a stranger: “I WANT TO GO BACK.” Fall ill. Get mononucleosis. Stay in bed. Fever – dream. Reject any attempts to un-sever ties.


  1. Return to New York. Realize home is gone for you, as you gravitate from one place to another. Convince yourself that’s great. Liberate your body. Meet voyeurs. Show off your mask. Let them tell you what to do. Let them flip you on your belly and make love to the carcass you’ve been dragging along all this time. Bleed on the floor. See that maybe there is still some life in you.


  1. Scorn certainty. Scorn knowledge. Scorn the future.


  1. Plan a trip back to your Native Land. Fantasize about the Balkan Mountains. Fantasize about climbing high. Fantasize about getting lost in the woods. Fantasize about lying down under the bleak March sun. Fantasize about spilling all over the land. Fantasize about it absorbing all your decaying liquid self. Fantasize eagles clawing at your mask and gulping up your skin.


  • Фантазирай да пишеш на собствения си език.


  • Be the Stranger everywhere. Write and rejoice in nothingness. Let someone take your hand and kiss each finger, one by one, 15 minutes after you’ve met them. Radiate. Tell her you love her. Plan to tell him he makes your heart swell with tenderness. Call your mother and ask for forgiveness. Count the days until you meet your dad again. Lie to yourself that you won’t cry when you embrace.


  1. Remember what it meant to have a Home. Remember the socialist architecture, covered by fresh snow, the muddy streets, the slurs written all over the apartment buildings. Remember that it has never been New York Melancholy. It has always been and will be Slavic Grief. Remember hearing your father tell you he is becoming sadder and sadder. Remember hearing your mother tell you she is struggling to learn the Strange language. Hear her mispronounce “lavatory” but don’t correct her.

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