Monday, 8 June 2015

To You, Emma from June 5

(Back-story: This To You request didn’t make its way to me per usual. After Berlin Art Parasites first featured my poem, I became friends with Jovanny Ferreyra, then editor and curator of the site, now magic-weaver and owner of The Artidote  (the internet is a strange and beautiful place- most of which depends on your search history) Jovanny told me about a young girl EC who’d written to him at The Artidote, a day after attempting suicide. She described in a terse, beautiful note- how she did it, why she failed and everything she thought of after. JF, wanting to do something more for her, asked me to write her a letter. And how could I not?
This letter is for her. I cannot imagine what it must be like to hope to never wake up.
I can't imagine now knowing and not trying to send her stories of unicorns and funny e-links and old CDs of Louis Armstrongs classic.)

To You,
Emma On June 5

Friday seemed like a good day to do it. There are millions who live for the weekend. You decided you’d stop on one.
It’s tough when your insides don’t match your outsides. It’s even worse when your own breathing refuses to get on board with what the rest of you has planned for the day. There you are, on June 5th, breathing normally. Just like everyone else, only different.

Take a second and soak in its rhythm. Close your eyes and feel part of the grand orchestra. 
One count in and two counts out. 
Each time your breath is caught or you exhale too sharply, you’ll know it’s because you’ve reached a new bridge in the song the Universe has got cranked up, real loud on it’s radio.

The thing about wanting to kill yourself isn’t want of a grand dramatic exit from stage.
It’s a quiet disappearing.
It’s what the girl in the magician’s box feels before the big reveal- darkness all around and wanting to close your eyes and opening them only to nothingness. Maybe even get a gasp from the audience. No blood, no gore. Just a quiet, soft, empty imprint in the space your body used to fill.

So you take a lot of the pills your shrink recommended and cut your left wrist several times.
Your body is the real estate you’ve lived in - you’re cutting the lease short. You’re not hysterical, you’re not detached. Even here, you’re you, in all your beautiful, awkward glory. You think about people you’ve loved the most, noticing then in that moment, that there is still no sequential hierarchy around love. You don’t wonder about the funeral arrangements your family will make. Or all the big milestones you’ll miss once you’re gone- grad school and change of presidents and first kisses and pets you could’ve had and marriage and discovering new favourite restaurants. They all hold hands and slip into the nothingness with you.
There’s just you in the magicians box, the weight of the lid above you, a lead coated darkness and anticipation of the big release.

You wake up at 4 in the afternoon. Heavy, drugged and confused about why you didn’t die.

You call your friend and make plans for dinner. On the way there, you stop at a pharmacy and buy gauze pads to cover the scars on your left wrist. You remember the hot dogs your mother loves so much, you pick her up a few from the 7/11.

At dinner, you notice you’re breathing just the same again. Like nothing happened. Your body continuing to take up space, defiantly and naturally.

You tell your mom what you tried to do.
You understand now what it means to see pain calligraphed across the face of someone you love. That makes you want to kill yourself even more. You don’t appreciate this irony. You hear what they said about you at Medical Technology- how your frame of mind is too weak to take the course. They forget that your body fought the biggest act in the magicians show. No weak novice can do that. The medical technology board doesn’t realise that you’re weak but armed with a mad, throbbing desire to fight.

A fight you wage everyday in little post-it-notes tacked to a light brown cork board in your room. Scraps of blue, pink and yellow flutter and break the dead air that sometimes hangs low. Scraps of Rilke, Grayson and Einstein, scrawled in your meticulous writing.

They’re all really saying the same thing. 
That the seven billion people around the world are breathing in and out a song the Universe has cranked up, real loud. Each time someone stops breathing, the music changes a genre. So breathe in and breathe out.

Get your mom her favourite hot dogs every Tuesday, twice a month. Lightly touch the paper soft skin around your wrist. Trace verses of your favourite poems around the scars. Fight for your seat in Medical Technology. Destroy rituals that mean nothing to you. Flip burgers, if that makes you happier. Allow yourself to be lost from time to time, and whenever you find yourself in the magician’s box again, remember that it’s an illusion and you can get out. Own the space your body really takes up. Wiggle your shoulders and know that this movement alone caused a dolphin to kiss another, somewhere around the Indian Ocean. When the world and everything in it becomes too much to take, put all your faith into astronomy. Lie on your back, stare at the stars and pick out the one you’ll move to and rule on. Make a manifesto and add Hugging as the official currency. And then think about what Rilke was trying to tell you:

Don’t let the expanse subsume you. Breathe in and Breathe out, knowing that you’re making music. You’re part of a jazz quartet, you and I we both are Emma, and the world wants to rock to that, for our entire lifetime to come.

Still Breathing Emma

      (My fav Banksy work. A copy of this has been hanging in my bedroom since I lived in a dorm in london)

(To You is a letter writing project I started because there are not enough letters and love going around. If you have something to say with love-- for your ex girlfriend, you current husband, pizza (promise not to make it cheesy), your landlord who let you skip rent or even Ryan Gosling-- I'll write that letter for you. The love letter can go with real names, back stories, as many pictures as you like, aliases and even super powers.
The final letter will be up on my blog and a copy will be handwritten and posted to you or to an intended recipient. Kisses on the envelope only on my discretion. Give me a shout at: )


  1. Wow Kakul, you are good! Just discovered your blog through your contribution to berlin-artparasites (The boy who cried 'Wolf'). Love your writings. Keep up the good work!


  2. Kakul~! Reading this made me teary. It's an awesome letter. I hope Emma could read it. Love it!

  3. It made my throat hurt and heart ache.

    Whoever you are please keep on living, stay strong...(Y)

    Kakul you put life into her through your words...Keep up your magical work

  4. Thank you Anshul! Weende- <3 , Storyoflifex- Thank you so much :)

  5. Life's music conveyed by you in words. Beautiful.....