I, Phantom

By Rei Tanotsuka, 17 September 2020

“I dream with open eyes,” he answered, looking around at the door, “and others see my dreams. That is all.” A Voyage to Arcturus, by David Lindsay.


The persistent itch on my right elbow that has followed me for a week, allows me the pleasure of a scratch, and in that moment I am reminded of the sweetness in the peas I’m eating, and marvel at the fragrant bouquet of mandarin rind that has perfumed my tea.

I woke up this morning and admired my legs. Looking svelte after a good night’s rest, ankle and knee indentation gives the silhouette of a used gym membership…. no one else shares the beauty of this point in my youth, and the vision will become a subset in my melange of memories in recalling who I used to be one day…

A daily ritual of mnemonics to remind myself of a being who used to reside in me, juxtaposes itself to the being I am now… unlike Bruce, I know I’m gone.

I am more than Zhuangzi’s dreaming butterfly and his contemplation thereafter. I am the psychoanalyst pondering the validity of Zhuangzi’s dream and the futility of self examination – after all what is the point of reflection when the mirror itself is the illusion?

So as I sit in an Italian themed Japanese Cafe, and spit out yet another insipid “poem” in a vain attempt to jettison my melancholy, I hereby tell you that contrary to what I have just written, I am still blessed.

I am blessed to have been married, and continue to be so for a decade even though I have only had a husband for 5. I am happy that one day when my body parallels the state of my mind, he will give me a burial which will inspire envy in Mumtaz Mahal, and on my epitaph will be inscribed a message filled with a tsunami of bitter-sweet emotions that he conceals in his present stoic demeanour.

“She was a BITCH”, it would say “but she never bit me, in fact she protected me until I felt safe enough to walk alone and insisted on no leashes in a relationship traditionally marked with restraints….I trusted her with the house because she never shat on the rug or relieved herself in the TV corner, I gave her the keys to my home and to my heart because I knew she would never leave, not because she didn’t know how to, but because she did not want to.”

Hope his new pet pisses on the bed sheets….

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  1. As Catice said to Spadevil as they vied for supremacy in Sant:

    “If you wish to say what is not, many words will not suffice. If you wish to say what is, a few words will be enough.”

    1. Thanks for the recommendation btw. I haven’t finished reading as yet but it really is interesting. The part I quoted hit me on so many levels.