Stride Magazine -



When the wind blows the wind knows a serious moment although for you it may only be a convenience on a hot day or a severe inconvenience on a much colder day but notice how your hair flows when the wind blows or how the dust flies, dust you can’t see from the inside, and so you needn’t be a sage to know that when the wind blows the wind doesn’t know a serious and important moment.


From within my own reflection there comes a subtle movement, a quiver of molecules, a thought of what lies beneath me that can swallow up the light. And, as I lift myself away from the bank, the quivering dissipates. Soon it disappears. But the thought is still there. Not transformed like energy but changed like an idea. And it was the second time that day the tired horses of oblivion had been led to the water.


It was about
3:00 am and we were sitting around the kitchen table. Then my father got up, cupped my head in his hands and said: “This is what I know about love.” Then he kissed me full on the lips and left. And I listened to his slow clamber up the steps, and kept on listening until eventually he crawled into his bed. I was only seventeen but I knew what my father had meant. I understood perfectly. But I could not understand what my mother had done.


This morning I did not know myself. Each part I touched was unfamiliar. My skin felt creased and baggy. My feet were out of shape and my legs did not join comfortably. I did not like the crinkled hairs. My hands were meshed in wrinkles. They were neither my style nor my size. It felt like I was wearing someone else’s gloves. Yet, I never once complained about my cut or texture. In fact, I thought my self fitted its sheath quite well. It was like no other. It did not droop, rumple or creep up. I knew exactly who it was inside my sheath. Indeed, my outsides seemed to almost expose the inner matter of my being. And I did not want to change. But this morning I could not recognise my face. The slack new skin was dark and dry. It webbed around my eyes. It was going to flake and peel, and I was going to come out.


“To take a book cannot be considered stealing,” said an old man to a young me. Well, perhaps he wasn’t wise but he was from another country and much older than me. That was a long time ago and I’ve stolen ever since from bookstores, libraries and even people’s homes. I shove them up a sleeve, down a sock, into the back of my pants, a briefcase and everywhere possible. I know all about magnetic strips and electronic eyes. How to blind them. And now, I have books everywhere from floor to ceiling, in clothes cupboards, drawers and on the bathroom floor. There are too many books even for me though I read incessantly. Some say (or maybe it was just Huxley) that such excessive reading is a vice or worse, a complete self-indulgence. Did that man corrupt me? I don’t know. I really don’t know.

          © Giovanni Malito 2003