BY MARWA HELAL
an alibi, an archive:
this whole reading project has been an excellent accident. i never meant to read cortázar’s hopscotch in this way, with this depth or intensity. but i had left my job and my mind had some extra space as i opened hopscotch that day in the park. yes, i left my job. one day i decided i was never coming back. my heart decided for me. after some palpitations and yet another bizarre and false conversation with my boss i decided i was done. on some gone girl shit. but back to the reading, it was bolaño i had my eye on, originally. he was the one who was supposed to help me write these cubicle poems. his way with absurdity was the cure to my maladies. he was the one who wrote for the ghosts, the one who was/is (depending on whether you believe a writer lives in her writing) is/was moody as i am. writers like us, we have no plot. but then there was cortázar telling me the same story over and over again like i had been living the same day over and over again in that cube. the grey padding of the walls absorbing all my intellectual potential all my unrealized dreams. and here i am, by lottery, with you: we ended up here. first there was the lottery of birth and then i came to this country as an immigrant by green card lottery. these motherfuckers have a green card lottery while refugee babies wash up drowned at sea. but that’s my next project. consider this part of my archive. when simone said to be mindful of our archives something in me resisted the idea. an archive felt like a performance, like i was supposed to be performing the act of writing instead of living it, being it. but i get it now. some things have happened to me recently that make me want to treat the archive as an alibi. see, ive seen the future, the future needs women’s archives more than anything else. when they cull us, they will see it was never a man’s world at all. so peace to cortázar, peace to bolaño, ive gone so far in the future im lightyears away looking back at all of us, all of the things we wanted but couldnt have. youre stars now. im a planet. they call me mars. and there is life here.