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Manisha Anjali

Manisha Anjali is a writer and artist. She is the founder of Community Dream Project, a research and documentation platform for dreams, visions and hallucinations.

Dictation of the Flower

Manisha Anjali

When we left the mother in our country of birth, she was sitting at the kitchen table, sucking on chicken bones, and talking about songs that were hidden in the roots of banana trees. When we left the mother in our country of birth, she said, you will see me again when the sea is on fire. 

Now, the sea is on fire. And mother has come to the West. Mother has come in the form of a flower, whose blossoms, bulbs, and birthing pains we will cook and eat. At this point in our emotional histories, our concepts of self and world are severed and split, and the contents of our suitcases are thrown over many lifetimes, on the imaginary border between flower and spirit. We know fragments of many languages, from tongue and dream, but hold fluency in none.

By the time the mother has come to the West, our friends in the archipelago had already been sucked into the deep when the underwater mountains opened. Boeings disappeared into whirlpools in between islands that were once lovers. Ancient fascist spirits were walking this realm again (we heard their mantra in the old language in our dreams). When malignant spirits leak into this realm in large numbers, it signifies a wounding in the inner and outermost layers of the earth. So the mother changed into a flower, so her children in the West could perceive the shifting instincts of the realms in a language they could understand.

Before we eat the mother, we prepare our breath with prayer. Then, we return to the mother, who is now a singing flower broth, heating herself up to boiling point, on our gas stove on the outskirts of town, far away from our memory of birth. We are ready for the visualisation to perceive the wounds of living. We put the mother upside down and listen to the dictation backwards.

The visualisation we receive corresponds to the changing heartbeat of the world. The soul of the earth is now represented by the colour red, pulled from lacerations in the body that have come from the holes we drilled into her, from the blood of the harpooned whale, to the wildfires that had set alight the oldest jungles and oldest bird songs.

It has rained for one hundred years. Our lungs fill with seawater and petrol. Snakes grow out of our bellies and wrap themselves around green and red apple trees. They blow into the trumpets of datura, announcing that they have returned from dream, to be tangible again. Frogs burst out in the hundreds from the eucalypt tree hollows. Birds migrate back into the first nest. They have returned to live out the first version of history, before people were given access to paradise. The first version of history is performed again to stitch back together the fractured spirit of the world, a performance in which centrality is removed from humanness and given back to nature.

When we perceive the mother in this form, we breathe in a way that resembles love. Each breath has the texture of ecstasy and god. We perceive old maps of the systems of plants, the first plans for living, and we understand that all of history has been pre-determined. The story we live out, will repeat, unless the story is performed in collaboration with the consciousness of the earth. The collaboration is what breaks the illusion of separation between skin and water, frog and mouth, hand and mountain and propels us into a supreme version of love. We listen to the flower and we cry, because the map shows us the original version of love, a language we no longer speak. We had to eat the mother to understand.

The sea burns as the flower beats in our lungs. The flower is no longer speaking about the agreement made between humans and non-human entities, because promises are meant to be broken. We are characters in an ongoing story, participants in a durational performance, who have misplaced our scripts. The flower may reveal to us the origins of music but cannot tell us what happens when the ocean splits in two.

We can see now, that the flower had written her language all over us in our country of birth. We were tattooed in weather patterns and seed sounds. The agenda of the flowers we ingest is coming into fruition, as had been predetermined a long time ago. Mother was there at the beginning of time, dying her hair in the bathroom sink, breaking coconuts in between her legs, and reciting the songs of ghosts and seeds. Knowing all along, that one day we would eat her.

At the end of the dictation, the flower instructs us to plant the song in the earth. We spit the mother out into our hands. We plant the song of the flower under the banana tree. When the fire in the sea catches the tree, the song will be released into the sky, to be reborn when the soul of the earth returns to blue, and the new world begins.

Image: Aida Azin, A Higher Perspective, 2021, acrylic on canvas.

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