Zvezdana Rashkovich – Fragmented

June 30, 2014 | By | 11 Replies More

How romantic to be a writer, a poet, an artist, perhaps, to sew a coat of words fit for a queen. To color feelings into pungently scented crowns and wreaths, bend and twist them into something akin to madness, sobbingly magical, something that makes one want to run barefoot through a meadow—sprint through rain puddles, even though you are in your fourth decade of life—not appropriate at all.

How pitied and revered then when they fall on a blade on purpose or walk into a river, never to emerge, close their eyes forever, their last breath on their own cold kitchen floor. The pain, frostily, tortuously watchful pain.

Not the word I’m looking for but another eludes me like the butterfly I chased through dew dropped grass when I was small. A better word is needed.
Which one, though, can explain it all to the one who doesn’t and will never know?
My mind is stuck on a permanent cartwheel loop, like a James Brown song on grandfather’s gramophone, like a windmill fed by gusts that never stall.

It doesn’t feel good—is what I can honestly say. To the skeptics, the fiends with friend-masked faces, to loved ones who care but can’t take anymore of you. Because you are just, well—too much. Too much of everything, they say.
It’s getting harder to control. Every snowfall, each birthing-spring snowdrop makes it more so.

Where then should I go?

I ask too many questions of you all. I’m guilty of that as usual; it’s my own doing, my own fall. There are spaces in my heart, you see. Blood and tears seep right through. For decades now, I have labored, diligently, like an ant or a burrowing mole. One pill then two. Now a sheet filled with diagnoses—all smart sounding names for conditions they call.

Take more; this one is new, sure to help. A breakthrough. Thousands have risen after taking these candy pills; they should be the colors of a rainbow, happy pills—cotton candy pink, sea foam azure. Another, a blood tinged hue. They will make you—You!

And they will make you happy once and for all. Oh, and new therapies for sure, hours on a red couch, dissecting memories, like razor cuts, spilling your mental guts. You will do anything—anything to be like before. Yet, hoping for divine intervention.

God, will you make it go away, because aren’t even You tired of it all?

It’s unbearable now. I want to crawl under a soft feather duvet, pull the covers over my head like the child I once was, safe at home in a makeshift tent.

No need to face the horror on the streets, the broken promises of those
who swore they would always be there when I called, always here, when the night falls.

Yes, how romantic a dead poet, a writer, is. Exalted, read much more in death than life. But where the hell is everyone when you need them the most?

This world is not for the faint hearted, the loners, the pioneers, the damaged and those whose hearts are peeled raw like a fresh peach in spring. It’s not for those punctured; dripping with thick, crimson perfect drops and as they fall, there is no more. The candy pills don’t work anymore. The therapist smiles, her eyes full of woe. Even she has no answers. She has tried it all.

How romantic then to be a dead poet. Maybe there is something to it. Wisdom, a cure perhaps, not yet seen. Not yet known.

Listen to Zvezdana Rashkovich read. Recorded June 2015.

Zvezdana Rashkovich was born in Croatia and grew up in Sudan with her Croatian mother and Sudanese stepfather. A globe-trotter from the age of seven, Zvezdana has also lived in Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Qatar, Dubai and the United States. Zvezdana is a fluent speaker of Arabic, Croatian, Serbian and English. She has worked as a medical and legal interpreter for refugees in the United States. Zvezdana currently lives in Dubai with her architect husband and four children. She is working on a second novel based on her own life in Sudan.

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Category: International, Knowing, Poetry, Prose, When Women Waken Literary Journal

Comments (11)

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  1. ‘Too much of everything’…..your piece evokes Plath, Sexton, Woolf, Chang. Such pain. Such brilliance.

  2. Kavanaugh says:

    You titled it well. It overflows with truth and is written for listening and reading aloud. You speak for all of us. (Don’t take the blue one . . . !) Brava.

  3. Beautifully, painfully accurate. Especially the friendships wearing thin. I look to Byron’s black humour for inspiration and company. Treading the cobblestones with you… Having been diagnosed bipolar I am, apparently in excellent company – read “Touched With Fire – Manic depressive illness & the artistic temperament” by Kay Redfield Jaimeson, interesting and heartening, if such an affliction can ever be deemed heartening.

  4. Marie Mader says:

    In reading your words, my heart visited the wrenching pain and loneliness you were feeling. Your descriptive power is captivating beckoning one to experience the pain with you. Your writing in this piece is a powerfully realistic instrument that brings the reader heartfelt sympathy.

  5. Julia Idris says:

    We all walk similar paths at times and feel such inner pain and hopelessness. Your writing embraces us all.

  6. Dear kind ladies,
    Thank you all for these beautiful and very generous comments and feedback.

    As all of you know it is beyond difficult putting yourself out like this. However, also liberating. I am pleased this piece spoke to you. Not so alone after all.

    Diane dear: Brilliance? Woolf, Plath and Sexton in the same sentence mentioning my work? Wow. Thank you so much for this. You lift me up in a way you can’t possibly know 🙂
    Yes, the poets you mention are the inspiration here as am sure you noticed. Woolf walked into a river. Plath died on her kitchen floor etc. Crushingly sad yet somehow familiar.

    Love to all of you for taking the time to read and leave these beautiful thoughts.

  7. Emily Vanston says:

    I am dazzled by your ability to take ideas that are typically nebulous, cerebral, intellectual, and render them so tangibly. Often literature goes straight to my brain, but this I felt, tasted, heard, saw, smelled, reveled in. What a beautiful, textured, multidimensional work. Bravo.

  8. Jo says:

    Lovely words that evoke vivid images. Living in a conservative country, I could identify with each of the line, especially the first few ones, about “appropriate behavior”.

    Although there is a lot of pain in your words, I feel there is some hope as well.
    Take care,

  9. As a poet, I especially appreciate your lovely diction & imagery: ” Thousands have risen after taking these candy pills; they should be the colors of a rainbow, happy pills—cotton candy pink, sea foam azure. Another, a blood tinged hue. They will make you—You!” An effervescent rhyme arising there at the end.

    The imagery, though, is fragmented–as your title implies–and, thus, tinged with disappointment and despair. Well done. Thank you for sharing your evocative impressions.

  10. Leslie Moon says:

    Your title really sets up your poem well. A prism of ideas and conflicts and yet when light hits broken glass it can be beautiful

  11. Casey F says:

    Rashkovich’s “Fragmented” is a fine existential slice of life as woman and life as poet, her repetition of “how romantic” seeming to spell bliss but delivered instead as a flat rhetorical shrug. I particularly like the synaesthesia of “color feelings into pungently scented crowns and wreaths,” the grit of “last breath on their own cold kitchen floor,” and the irony of “safe at home in a makeshift tent.”

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