Fragments of Mind During the Latter Months of My Madrid Stay: Life After Death, Water, Dance

El Comienzo. We Start With a Meal.

Ari comes over on a rainy day.
We eat ramen and microwave basmati rice and pickles
And chocolate digestives.

This happens after a walk in the royal botanical garden, over which we discuss the world, littleness, peace, Princess Mononoke, and the world grown-over probably a long time after humans like us are gone.

Korea has a culture of fermentation–
Digging, burying, allowing.

At home, on a tablecloth I’ve seen since era niña, 
I spoon fluid, broth from a dish, into my mouth,
Bringing the dish to my lips when I hunger for more.

Nabak kimchi and
Hot soup on a hot day.

Sol. Leaving Madrid.

More Madrid

I realize I’ve been saying encantaba
Which means loved,
With frequency, throughout time.

Rather than encantada,
Pleased to meet you. 

A photographer I meet in a cafe, and a Spanish speaker, echoes,


I’m probably maleducado
I tire, twitch and slump on the metro,
And I groan and grunt and
Speak, narrate, dictate, with my lips 

Sometimes only my lips.

I am sitting in a chair in a room in Madrid dancing poorly
Thinking about loves that built, loves that hurt,
loves that…

I am a woman with needles in my body.
I dance (prance), leaving glitter on the floor in London, and in Madrid.

More Madrid (grieving noises)

여름에 세상을 떠난 할머니

On Monday, November 14th, she turns 99.

I am grieving in Madrid
In Marseille
I am swimming (spinning) in the ocean. As I leave, toward mossy cliffs, fish dart all around me, past me. 
Moments later: two birds, Aves, eating in the water.

I cry on Gran Vía, 
In Legazpi, past Atocha.
I gasp,
And giggle, howl, and yelp,
in Amsterdam.

This is all that I can say of it for now.

Lately, I am accepting things as they come.

Divine guidance

My toes are turquoise.
I am listening to
Chae Eun Ok
Nam Jin
Ocean Vuong
Dae Jang Geum, pretending to cook to 연밥
A Tribe called Quest.

My dress is woven from hemp, and silk
In this story.
I am hanging here
Where the mortals swim.

In another story,
A woman, her winged clothing presented to her again, takes the children and returns to the sky. Her ribbons echoing in the air behind her
Her sleeve gaping
A portal in the blue.

The Legend Becomes History¹;
Thoughts take form.

Halloween ends in Madrid. It ends with a morning, A Song For Mary², a poem by Bex. Gene Sikora’s seductive plucking drowns me out; I drone along — imagine someone who cared for you when you were sick, or you them; I do not fight. Then I ride through Sol on Piro’s back, sound barely penetrating my helmet. Madrid is hazy and bright and maybe the most beautiful from a motorcycle.


On the first of October, I meet Violette Gauthier, and when I come home I book a flight to the south of France where I will go to feel love and water. 

That night, Violette who is so grounded, Grace Patti who is brave, and I, wearing a small scarf, midnight blue, sit in front of a building at the end of Gran Via. Then we go to the night market at Plaza de España where we eat candied almonds. Violette sucks on lemons after she finishes dinner, reminding me of a date I loved when I was 16. She tells me about someone she loves who loves the trees and he talks to them and feels them and through them he mourned or loved or understood his late grandfather. 

It is dark at the park next to the Temple of Debod and I sigh, wanting to love the trees harder, wanting to pray more. She plays Burnout Fugue by Alexandra Streliski, luring me lower into the secret garden. She asks me to read aloud, so she can better understand me, she says, but the night continues before I do.

I continue to think about her.

Violette writes two names into my phone.

Rebecca Kim is a student at Carnegie Mellon University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is studying with ISA in Madrid, Spain


¹ A Legend Becomes History – Kim So Hyun
² A Song For Mary – Gene Sikora

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