I am surrounded by words. Words dropping one by one from clouds that have slipped through the summer sky, droplets resting on leaves to Beethoven’s Piano Concerto Number Five. Subtle at first then into a downpour until I am immersed. Thunderous words. Words cover my body, they soak into the crevices, sketching my silhouette.
During the day, I cohabit with words. They share my desk space, they stare at me from my computer screen. And on my way to and from, here to there, the words they accompany me. But at night, after my attempt to trick the words, fool them, placing them in my stereo, inside my television, between the pages of a book, or in the mouths of my friends, they have their revenge. They slip into my bed, and the flood tides resume. They leak into my sheets, coveting the autonomy of my solitary bedtime, like mosquitos to a summer stroll. But, as in the times of Noah, the words spare only the continents’ faces among its seas and oceans. I am inundated by words, engulfing me like the absence of my beloved.
When I breath, the gargling of the words emerges, overpowering any other mode of thought as if they were the that than which no greater means of cognition could be conceived. I am a slave to them. They liberate and alienate. They permit me to be with others, and have the heart to talk to me when I am all alone. But be careful, for they are a pestilence that follow me home like a line of ants towards carelessness. These marching soldiers trail behind me until dawn like the scent of love on the morning after.
And to make matters worse, I live in some other language’s homeland. I am subordinated to her words. In public, forced to play by her rules, I must set aside my demons and friends to speak and receive her waters. And I have been triumphant. I can walk her streets and look into her eyes. There is a glory in communication. Being multilingual is like being a bodhisattva. Having achieved liberation, the bodhisattva remains in this world to communicate with its populace. For I live in three separate worlds: the world of my native language, her world, and a third sphere – a special place of confusion, babbling and gibberish where the languages crossbreed like brackish water in an estuary.