Saturday, March 28, 2009

BORDERS OF THE MIND
A KYRGYZ POST
Renato Redentor Constantino

So here's an idea. It's been on the mind for some time but I've never really gotten around to writing it down. Obviously I'm at a boiling point of frustration given that I haven't really posted annything recently that wasn't written and published previously.

Nice dilemma if only it didn't weigh so much, like a refrigerator resting on the ribcage. Supposed to be that posting things on the blog was to play the job of beer or benzedrine. It's still the case I think, except that right now it sounds like just an interesting thought -- a purposeless meandering that's like a kite that never finds the wind.

Let's try again then by elevating what I've missed writing about. Name the missing pieces. Draw with a thick black felt-tip pen the outline of the thing that was once in a shop display or the seat of a coach - the memory windows - and fill in the space.

I got to post my lurch in one of the Kazakh mountains, so yes that was special. But what about Bishkek? The street grills billowing smoke, the spheres of unleavened bread, the variations of horse stew in Kyrgyzstan's capital, which was filled with a people that, when massed, seemed both morose and mischievous, ancient and new.

I remember dreaming awake in Issyk-kul surrounded by stunning white-capped rugged mountains, which made me rcall New Zealand's great ranges and the slope of Whakapapa. But past five seconds it was clear that Issyk-kul was an entirely different creature. Slender, watercolored Birch forests glowing with Autumn. Flocks and flocks and flocks of crows passing over the trees, over water, noisy and barking and almost unruly.

I turned around 360 degrees and the mountains took my breath away. Some were so near they looked like pale velvet. Some were so far that sunrise looked like an ephedrine-induced halogen belch from behind a massive stack of rocks massing with heavy gravy clouds. It was quiet, the air was freezing and the wind was cruel and it felt glorious.

I wish I had written right away about the strange lake of Issyk-kul, a confused body of water that thought of itself as a round limb of the ocean.

The lake was salty from the melted crystals of glaciers, and it bobbed, swelled and ebbed with the waning of the moon and made ocean sounds at night along the coast, conversing in saline, tidal dialects.

We walked across a fallow Bishkek field, dry from the cold and unkempt and hard on our feet.

The sun was high and the shadows were long and we sensed huge dogs in a distant barn evaluating our scent and whether we were worth the sprint across the wide, rough ground.

Everything then was beige and earthen and cracked and I remember reaching down to clutch a clump of soil which was so dessicated it crumbled like a fistful of cereal. The sky was so vast and encompassing that it absorbed all thought and intimidated and captured every single stray idea.

When you say Krgyz, which is the word by which its people are called, you must suffocate all the vowels and roll the 'r' roughly and finish with a hiss. The women are tall and they look Asiatic, but their voices rumble, a low timber. They are very much warm in their own inscrutable way. #


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Kyrgyz Republic photos by Redster.

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