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On Your Skin


Several years ago, I was exposed to Japanese handwriting, specifically Kanji, which uses a system of characters.

The instructor said Kanji had no conceivable comparisons to my native English, explaining that each perceived word was, in fact, a poem, a story and that each line, curve, and space carried energy similar to what could be applied to verse and song. In some ways, Kanji appeared incidental to course instruction, and in others, it proved to be integral.

Part of my fascination came from observing that much of what was written couldn’t be held in concrete form. Instead, it revolved in drums of simple elements, where imagination could pull out a saber, then feel grief for an absent yet physically near samurai, an emotion so profound as to feel tied by ropes and bound to an open mouth unable to make a sound.

This is one of the interpreted stories I found for the word separate.

Though my introduction to Kanji was very brief, I’ve gone back to it many times, to practice the writing and feel the stories that each word aspires to tell. There appear so many potential ways to love in an artful combination of strokes that could be drawn like a whisper on someone’s back, yet penetrate their senses to the bone, at sensing what the touch of one word might imply.

Like all studies, this one too calls for remembrance. My remembering of the stories behind the sticks, strokes, and sorrows has been slow but ever strengthening, like the sonatas of my strange solitude. I will continue the practice of writing Japanese one-word stories for as long as the vibrations of a Love story continues the practice of writing on me.


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