FULL TRANSCRIPT
OF AUDIO



INTRO


Dear Listener,
Welcome to the Letters Project,
I hope this finds you well wherever you are listening to it, in a park  maybe, or at home, by yourself, or with a friend...



2020





Elizabeth Chan to
Irfan Shamji



Walthamstow, London
10 August 2020


Dear Irfan,


When I was very young, I would often be left in the house alone for hours at night. I would barricade myself in the living room and surround myself with books and keep the TV on the whole time for company.

The scariest part of those evenings was when I needed the loo; I was terrified of what might be on the other side of the door in the dark hallway. I would open the door slowly at first, peek out, then get a bit braver and make a dash for the hall light switch, turn it on, then, because we were very energy conscious I would then have to rush back to the living room, turn that light off (out of the question to turn it off before the hall light was on and have to make the few steps down the hallway in the dark), then race up the stairs, pee as quickly as I could, run back downstairs, turn the living room light on, run back to the hall light switch, turn it off, then race back into the living room, back into safety with the sounds of strangers’ voices soothing me from the television set, the door shut tightly behind me. I was always a bit sweaty, a bit trembly, a bit shaken.

I think about those evenings sometimes.

These days, I find I’m rarely in the dark, even when I have all the lights off. At night I don’t close the curtains and blinds, so street lights and lamps from neighbours’ houses and fairy lights from their gardens flicker through my flat.

Hello, by the way. My name is Liz.You will have been told you are performing with Elizabeth Chan.My full name is Elizabeth Wai (pronounced Way) See (pronounced how you think it is) Chan.A half English, half Cantonese name.My father chose my Cantonese name. It means ‘great poem’.


***


It’s just before midnight and I am forcing myself to write. I have been finding it hard to write and concentrate lately, and have been putting off writing this letter. Yours arrived about a week ago and sent me into a panic.

My mind is stiller at night. I’m also tired, though, so maybe I won’t make much sense. I am in my friend Fi’s living room. (Hi Fi!) I have been ‘between homes’ for over two years now. I was meant to stay at Fi’s for six months, which became seven, then eight; now it’s been just over a year. I don’t know where I’ll be when you read this. Somewhere completely different, probably, so when I think about doing this project, I’m partly thinking about that, about being somewhere new and unfamiliar.

I was reading an interview the other day with the poet Eileen Myles - they said they started to exist when they started to write. They started to exist on the page. It reminded me of something another poet, Ocean Vuong said about language making you visible. And when you’re visible, he said, people can care about you.

So I suppose I am imagining the two of us writing (you’ve finished yours already, you lucky thing) - writing ourselves into existence, and some faceless people listening to our words, and perhaps even caring... about what, I don’t know - and it is weird to think that we won’t be able to look around at their faces, speak to them, gauge their reaction. I love the Gate for that, this intimacy - when I’m there, whether I’m on stage or in the audience, I feel this collectiveness, this togetherness, like we’re all going through something together, witnessing together, imagining together, dreaming together.

I am typing this because I don’t want you to not be able to read my handwriting (this is nothing about you and everything about my scrawl).

I don’t know who will be out there watching, and I don’t know where I’ll be - I can imagine myself in front of the screen but I don’t know what my surroundings will be like, how much light or darkness will fall into the room and how safe I will feel.

It seems a long way off.

I wrote a poem last week. I didn’t mean to, but I think in times of emotional intensity, or when I just can’t seem to write, can’t form sentences, things come out in another shape, and this became a poem. What was it about? So it was a response to a writing exercise to write from the perspective of a non-human being. I went to the park and sat on a dry patch of grass, and I guess you could say this poem is about being a blade of grass...

You could say it’s about being a blade of grass, but you could also say it’s about rootedness, stillness, about watching people and the world flash by you while you’re unable to move, unable to join them, knowing you will never see parts of the world that they will see, you will never exist as they do, and that you will always be left behind. You could say it’s about longing, you could say it’s about loneliness; you could say it’s about finding yourself in proximity to others but having no control over whether they choose to stay or leave. You are

always the one left waiting and wanting, in the end.


The poem I want to share with you is called “Written in a Historically White Space (II)” by Mary Jean Chan. She’s a poet from Hong Kong, now living in London, I believe. I met her at a reading she did with two other poets from Hong Kong last summer at the Poetry Cafe. She let me have 99p off her book because I only had a tenner with me.

I take this book off my shelf a lot. I have it face out, so I see the cover whenever I glance at the bookshelf. It’s plain, with just her name and the title ‘Flèche’, but there is something about it that calms me when I see it. It’s won and been nominated for a ton of awards but I can’t remember which ones and too tired to google now, sorry.

Here it is:



Written in a Historically White Space (II)


I grew up in a city where parks once displayed

this sign in my mother tongue: CHINESE and

DOGS NOT ALLOWED. We were creatures

with knees kissing colonial ground. That was

history; this act of mutual regard, the present.

We are stereotypes of yellow because the way

out is always through the flutter of your white

eyelids. Skin is the distinguishing factor of this

age in which I, a diligent student of English

literature, can be presumed at a glance to

belong behind the till, the man who had just

seen the same film I had seen turning to me to

ask: Are you selling tickets for the new releases?

Can you see how much effort it takes to face

a white mouth with so much to (dis-)prove?

Every day I try to love the world, until my

joints inflame, ache, resenting me for it.


There is so much to say about this poem, and yet I can’t seem to say anything right now. I only feel it, in my bones.

I need to find a way to end this letter.

Well, I’ve checked my phone and I see I’ve missed some messages while I was writing to you. A couple of them are from a guy called Tomasz - he knows it’s late notice but do I want to join him and a lovely girl for a threesome?

I think that’s a good place to end.


Yours,






Irfan Shamji to
Elizabeth Chan



World’s End Estate, Chelsea

3rd of August 2020


Dear Elizabeth,


It’s a pleasure to be writing to you. I hope you’re doing well given the current circumstances. I’m going to pause now just to play some music in the background. There’s a playlist on Spotify called Dazed that I’ve just started to enjoy.

My name is Irfan Shamji (I pronounce it ‘ear’-‘fan’) . It's kind of an anglicised way of saying my name. The original (Indian) pronunciation sounds something more like the rhotic ‘iR’ in irrational and ‘fan’ sounds more like ‘khan’. Actually, like the late actor Irfan Khan. I've spent most of my life saying my name the anglicised way, I guess as a way to fit in at school? In society? I recently tried to get people to pronounce it the Indian way as a way of, like, reclaiming my name or identity or something and yeah that was an interesting little experiment. Some people took to it, mainly my British Asian friends, for some it was a little cumbersome. I mean it was a little cumbersome for me too sometimes because it’s not how I'm used to saying it either. One thing I really like about my name is that it lends itself really nicely to different accents. I like the difference between how a Northerner might say my name, compared to like how someone from Ireland or Scotland might say it or a Jamican. Is the actor in you now attempting to say my name in these accents?...There are subtle differences even in how my parents pronounce my name. My mum is half Zambian half Greek and my Dad is Half Indian half Congolese. What an absolute stew of a person that makes me, right? What an absolute boeuf bourguignon. Mixed Other is usually the box I tick on forms...I’ve turned off the music now. Too distracting. Silence is better.

So, the last couple of months have been quite stressful and surreal. On top of everything that 2020 has served us so thoroughly I've been dealing with a terminal illness in my family. My grandfather was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2014. Fucking cigarettes. He used to sell them in Congo, before he came to this country. As a travelling salesman he felt obliged to smoke in order to promote his product and that’s how he became hooked. He managed to quit around the time of the diagnosis but by then it was too late. So as Covid-19 struck, in a panic, he suspended visits from his carers, and once it became apparent to me that he was struggling as a result, I began to take over from the carers...

At first my tasks were to give him medicines and apply creams on his body to prevent the itchiness that was a side effect of his immunotherapy which had to be put on hold due to Covid. It was late March and our industry had totally shut down, lockdown was in place, both my parents are key workers in supermarkets so I was the safest person (and also the only one available) to be able to visit my grandparents.

I think it’s important to mention I live in the same council block as my grandparents, a floor above them, a minute away on World’s End Estate. My family and I moved there a year ago. We used to live right next to Grenfell Tower but after the tragic fire in 2017 we wanted to move and I think it’s just a sheer coincidence that we ended up living so close to them.

So I visited them twice daily and at first it was fine but gradually my grandfather started to get weaker. This was during the peak of Covid and everyone was so paranoid about taking him to the hospital. We started to have nightly family facetime chats where he was encouraged to stay hydrated and exercise, watch his blood sugar. We couldn't quite compute in our minds that it might have nothing to do with that. Eventually I started staying nights. I won't go into detail but one night got so bad I decided I had to take him to hospital, so we called an ambulance and he was in hospital for a week. No one was allowed to visit him during that time but upon his request I went every day to pass on food and little items to comfort him via the reception.

I spent that week with my grandmother, I couldn't leave her alone as she was pretty distraught. During the day I'd distract her with live streams of plays on NT Live. We watched Frankenstein and Barbershop Chronicles. At night we’d stay up late and talk. I could sense she didn't want to sleep, or be on her own in her room. We talked about my grandfather, how they met, what kind of man he was. It turns out he put her through hell at times but she also spoke of his generosity and love for his family. I dug into her own childhood. Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, half Congolese, half Indian. A lot of hard times. I think not fitting in is a huge theme in our family. Being Indian African, or African Indian. Not fully any of those things. Let alone being British. We talked about the Black Lives Matter movement, and deeply packed away in her soul I uncovered a repressed hatred or burning anger towards white people for things that have happened to her and that she’s witnessed but also racism towards black people which she internalised because she herself has dark skin and heartbreakingly because of her skin colour she told me she didn't believe she was beautiful. I tried to unpack some of these feelings with her and eventually she managed to say out loud “I am beautiful”.

By the end of that week, we found out my grandfather’s cancer had spread to his brain and he had just weeks left to live. It was a shock but at the same time it also made sense. Whole brain radiotherapy was the only treatment option left but the side effects were quite severe and the treatment was not going to cure him or extend his life by much so he declined it. Steroids are an amazing drug and he was on quite a high dose so when he came back he was in much better condition than when he left. But we all knew this was temporary and so he began to get his affairs in order and I knew that I would have to look after him and watch him decline all over again until he died. Things were okay for about 3 weeks but then it got very intense in the last two weeks of his life. I was finding it difficult and honestly I was beginning to crumble but thankfully I started to get a lot of support from district nurses, Marie Curie night nurses and Trinity Hospice. And also a friend of mine who had lost her father to cancer gave me invaluable practical advice and I will be forever grateful to her. My grandfather’s wish was to die at home and we honoured it. During his last few hours he wa unconscious on a hospital bed in the living room. A syringe driver gave him a steady supply of morphine and other anticipatory drugs. Relatives came or phoned in from all over to say goodbye. One person whom we thought he was probably waiting for was his daughter, my aunt, who was living in Congo and had got on a flight the night before and was on her way from the airport to see him. She was supposed to quarantine for 14 days but we knew he didn't have that long. I tentatively told the nurse who was with us about this situation and she reacted really compassionately. We hatched a plan to all wear masks and gloves and when my Aunt arrived at our door I'd unlock it, give her a mask and gloves and tell her to give me 30 seconds for the nurse, my grandmother and I to lock ourselves in the kitchen. We could see through the kitchen door into the living room where my auntie met grandad, barely conscious in his hospital bed. She had a few minutes with him and then left to self isolate before anyone else could arrive.

I was there when he passed away. We were applying holy water to his lips. We had been doing that all day but he was unresponsive however this time when we did it his lips moved. This seemed to alarm the night nurse who was with us. Suddenly he took two or three sharp breaths, tears rolled down his face from his closed eyes and at 10pm on the 2nd July he was gone. He had told me just the night before that in “10 days he was ready to jump”.

I'm sorry that this is such a bummer of a letter but it’s just where I'm at you know? It’s all I have to share. There is one small piece of dark humour I can dredge from that day though. The night he passed away, whilst he was unconscious, lots of family came to visit and say their goodbyes. They held his hand and whispered in his ear as he lay in the hospital bed in our living room. The last person to visit him was my grandmother's brother who is a lovely guy, but he used to get on my grandfather’s nerves due to his tendency to waffle endlessly. And my grandfather was more of a serious silent type. So somewhere in the back of my mind I find it quite funny that my grandfather held on as long as he could so everyone could say goodbye to him but as soon as my grandmother's brother arrived and sat beside him and started speaking, he passed away, within minutes of his arrival. I imagine he thought, “Oh god, please, please not him. Lord, take me now. I'm ready”.

I've written this letter over a few days actually. Just at home, in my room. It’s been an
unexpectedly therapeutic outlet. I realise I haven’t asked you any questions because I don't know if there’ll be an opportunity to respond directly to them. I have no idea how this will go, or what the audience's experience will be but I’m happy to be a part of this experiment and to receive whatever you are willing to share.

I don’t really write or read much poetry. I think I'm more into prose. I know I’ve written some cringeworthy love poems but that's about it. Ugh. I actually brought in a thinly veiled love poem about a girl I liked for my English class in year 8 and said that it was written by a poet called Nafri Ijmash. Which is an anagram for my name. Thankfully that’s not the poem I'm going to share with you.

The poem I'm sharing is by Jose Rivera from a collection called Sonnets From An Old Century. José is a Puerto Rican poet and playwright and also adapted The Motorcycle Diaries for screen. I was flicking through poetry collections one day and this poem leapt out at me from the pages and has since found a comfy space to live in my unconscious mind.

I hope you like it. I think it’s a good way to end this letter. So I hope this finds you well, and I look forward to meeting you for the first time virtually.


All the best,

Irfan Shamji




I was known as quiet and studious.

My glasses embarrassed me

And I hid them often

And suffered the anger of my mother

Who also wore glasses,


But she was proud of hers.

She was studious too.

She covered the house in books.

She read in the bathtub

And read to me every night of my life,

Long, Great, hard books full of characters

And interweaving chapters

And sentences with so many commas and colors,

Friendly books with heroes.

I listened so hard.

I settled into my bed

trying to melt into the sheets,

Trying to surround my body

With the warm mattress.

I don’t think I really heard the words.

I didn’t need to.

The words were like waves on the beach,

Lifting me softly,

Tumbling me in crazy rapids,

Pushing me under for moments

Of brief, airless, gasping terror,


Then delivering me up again-

Up to air,


Up to sunlight,

Up to the light in my small bedroom

And my mother’s shape on the bed.

Her out-of-style glasses

Glistening with mischief and hard work.

The words washed away

The stress of nasty girls

Who excluded me on the playground.

The words washed away

the tests that I hated and failed,

Despite my glasses and my studying.

The words were invisible fingers

My mother employed

To hold me close and warm,

To squeeze my brain a little tighter,

To hold in firm embrace,

My throbbing lungs,

My mighty muscled heart.


She was a dreamer,

She dreamed words and they appeared

Next to the bathtub in hardcover.

Sometimes I didn’t know

If I was really there.

Sometimes I wondered

if maybe she dreamed me too.

She needed a little daughter

Who looked and acted like she did

And she forced me by incredible

Willpower through the fallopian tubes

Of her mind

And squeezed me out of her imagination,

Blue and bawling,

Complete with glasses and gratitude,

Asleep at her side in our cozy bed,

Dreamer and dream together.





2021





Elizabeth Chan to
Irfan Shamji



Hackney, London
6th May 2021


Dear Irfan,


It’s good to be writing to you again. I hope you’ve been as well as can be over the past months.

I introduced myself to you in my last letter as Liz, also known as Elizabeth, also known as Elizabeth Wai See.

I did not tell you that some people know me also as Li. More and more I find myself using it, particularly when I know an interaction will be brief: with a barista who will write it as ‘Leigh’; in an email to a stranger who I know I will never meet; on a Zoom call where no one knows me in real life.

Perhaps I like the extra anonymity; perhaps I just like using the only name I’ve ever chosen for myself.

I was meant to have sent you this by the end of April but it has been difficult to clear the brain fog that I get a lot these days.

A lover of mine left three days ago to return to his home country.
His UK Visa is no longer valid.
His country’s borders are closed for at least another year.

Loss is a strange thing to navigate but I know from your last letter that this is something you know about.

I find goodbyes strange and perhaps this is partly why he and I never actually said goodbye. We said a vague ‘see you tomorrow’. But tomorrow came and we didn’t see each other and then he was on a plane flying to the other side of the world.

There have been times in my life when I have felt someone’s absence so intensely that it was almost as if the absence itself were a presence. You’d think this presence might be a comfort but it is not; it is hollower than the absence, than the loss itself. Is there something emptier than emptiness? Because that’s what it feels like.

This time I am not feeling it so acutely. I wonder if it is because I have numbed myself to the sensation, or whether it is because the sun is starting to emerge and warm my skin, or whether these days, somehow I am always preparing myself for loss.

The last time I saw him (when we failed to say goodbye) he brought me a parting gift of half a bar of chocolate, a couple of Kit Kats and two nearly-finished bottles of lube. Maybe that says all you need to know about our relationship.

But I mustn’t discredit him... He also brought oysters and home-made fish pie to my door on a cold winter’s night during lockdown, backed up my computer which hadn’t been backed up in the three years I’ve owned it, warmed and soothed my stiff aching body with countless massages and caresses. Flowers he sent me are thriving on my mantelpiece.

As I say, I have become attuned to loss, it seems.
I try to resist re-playing the moments between us which made me feel so alive: pouring into one another, mouths open, bodies reaching.
I try not to hold onto the past too tightly.

But still. With any kind of loss - a person, a routine, a way of living - there is a shift. You find you have to re-orientate yourself. And sometimes that loss feels like you are losing yourself, or a part of yourself. And when I say I miss this man, maybe I miss myself - the self that came alive with his touch - I miss her too.



***


By now it is late in the evening, a time I like to write when everything feels stiller.

It is a different day to the one on which I began this letter. I am in a different flat to the one where I was living when I wrote my first letter to you. Now I am in a space of my own, which makes all the difference. This room was empty for many months after I moved in - now I actually have a table to write at, a beautiful old Ercol one I found on eBay. I still don’t have much furniture and most of my belongings are still in storage but I have books, some artwork and plants from cuttings given to me by friends and neighbours. Things are starting to settle. When I say ‘things’, I think I mean me.


This is a very different letter to the one it started out as. When I started writing, the intention was that it would be opened by you in the theatre at the Gate, with me and a small audience present. It was something to be shared among a few people, in an intimate space, at a particular time. Due to Covid you will be opening it alone at home, and strangers I will never meet will hear your voice reading out my thoughts and reflections, revealing a corner of my life. And I will open yours here and read it out, but it won’t feel so much like a shared experience, I don’t think. I feel a little apprehensive, to tell you the truth, and a little disconnected, a little guarded.

It makes me wonder how you felt having your letter read out by me last time, how you felt hearing your story spoken by someone you’d never met, and whether you were aware of people watching and listening online.

There are a million things I could share with you right now, but because of this guardedness, this awareness of others listening in, I can’t. I am conflicted between my desire to write the truth and my need to protect it.

Instead I offer you this poem.

It is by Ada Limón, an American poet. I have been reading a lot of her work, lately. She writes so intimately about the body and the earth. Sometimes when I am reading her, I feel it is my body she is talking about, that I am inside the poem. It’s been difficult to decide which of her poems to send you. I’m sending you the one that I keep flicking back to today.




The Burying Beetle


I like to imagine even the plants

want attention, so I weed for four

hours straight, assuring the tomatoes

feel July’s hot breath on the neck,

the Japanese maple can stretch,

the sweet potatoes, spider plants,

the Asiatic lilies can flourish in this

place we’ve dared to say we “own.”

Each nicked spindle of morning glory

or kudzu or purslane or yellow rocket

(Barbarea vulgaris, for Christ’s sake),

and I find myself missing everyone I know.

I don’t know why. First come the piles

of nutsedge and creeper and then an

ache that fills the skin like the Cercospora

blight that’s killing the blue skyrocket juniper

slowly from the inside out. Sure, I know

what it is to be lonely, but today’s special

is a physical need to be touched by someone

decent, a pulsing palm to the back. My man

is in South Africa still, and people just keep

dying even when I try to pretend they’re

not. The crown vetch and the curly dock

are almost eliminated as I survey the neatness

of my work. I don’t feel I deserve this time,


or the small plot of earth I get to mold into

someplace livable. I lost God awhile ago.

And I don’t want to pray, but I can picture

the plants deepening right now into the soil,

wanting to live, so I lie down among them,

in my ripped pink tank top, filthy and covered

in sweat, among red burying beetles and dirt

that’s been turned and turned like a problem

in the mind.



A baby sunflower my friend gave me is dying in front of me. I have given it water and sun, and tried moving it into a different room. It turned yellow first, then slightly brown. Now it’s starting to go crispy towards the top where there should be a fresh green shoot. It looks a bit sad but I won’t give up on it just yet. Tomorrow I’ll try leaving it outside on the windowsill.


Now I am looking back at the flowers above the fireplace and if I’m honest, there are a few dry leaves towards the back. I have this habit of holding onto flowers long after they have started to fade. I just don’t like throwing them out. Perhaps the optimal time to let go of them is just before they start to wilt, before the petals start to fall off. Best to remember them in their full glory. Best to let go.


Yours,

Li






Irfan Shamji to Elizabeth Chan



Dear Liz,


By the age of 12 I had fallen and smashed my head open on two occasions. Th injuries, though bloody and spectacular, were minor and not life threatening. They were also entirely my own fault. Both accidents involved attempting something risky in order to impress someone and get them to like me and both times I achieved the exact opposite result... Nowadays, I'm much more risk-averse but the desire to be noticed still runs deep.

It feels slow and difficult but i'm trying to let go of my need for approval from others, my feelings of inadequacy and most of all the daily bombardment of self loathing thoughts that i've struggled with from my late teens until now. Someone said a “clear conscience is a sign of a bad memory” and i have, for sure, hurt people and acted in ways that I regret but I know i'm not a bad person, nor am I a waste of space and I definitely should not feel any guilt or shame over the size of my body, the colour of my skin, my cultural heritage or how much money i make or where im at in my career (this list could go on...everyone has their own list) as these things only define me... if I allow them to.

I would really love to share one of my favourite quotes with you...
It’s attributed to F. Scott Fitzgerald but some people think that’s inaccurate:

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you

want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay

the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I

hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you

feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of

view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have

the courage to start all over again.”


I turned 27 in April and managed to celebrate with some good friends out in the open in Green Park. It was cold and windy but they still showed up. I think everyone was mostly sick of being indoors and were not going to be put off by the weather. It was a good birthday and I felt loved.

I’m really grateful for my friends and family. We all need somebody to lean on right?

Elizabeth Way See Chan, It’s good to be writing to you again. I love that your Cantonese name means ‘Great Poem’.

I see you have a new address and I’m hoping wherever you are that you are settled... in particular, that you have enough light during the night, so that your night time visits to the loo are much more tranquil affairs than those described from your childhood in your previous letter.

To tell you the truth, I’ve struggled to write this letter, and i’m supposed to have posted it already but I haven't received yours yet either so I’m guessing we're both finding it tricky.

This time around I’m much more conscious of the fact that it will be read out loud and heard by strangers. I shared so much last time, but that was because I felt full of things to share. I had recently lost my Grandad and it was just a crazy time.

My grandmother is doing well, by the way, I see her almost every day and I try to cherish the moments I get with her. She loves to cook and she hates to eat alone. It’s very hard to say no to her so, double breakfasts and dinners at her flat have become a regular occurrence. When she’s feeling chatty, she talks and I listen...sometimes her stories go on many different tangents and I will admit I find myself drifting off and I secretly wonder if she’s noticed.

By the time you read this I will have been to Croatia and back for some filming. I've been trying to not get too excited about that incase it gets cancelled or something but it looks like it's going to happen now. I know I’m lucky to have acting work and to get to travel outside the UK. I miss the theatre a lot...it's like a vitamin that i’m currently highly deficient in.


**Late Entry: I came back from Croatia and it was SO beautiful. I felt very lucky to be out there. I was in a mountainous coastal town called Opatija. The sea water was so clear but cold! The beaches were empty as the country is on the “amber list” and partly in lockdown. The last time I left the UK was in 2016 so after all the craziness that happened globally and on a personal level I feel really blessed to be able to travel, especially for work because it’s paid for! I hope anyone listening to this gets a chance to have a break if they want it.

I don’t really have much more to say than that and I actually would just like to send you a big warm hug.

ANYWAY....

The poem I would like to share with you is... THE LAUGHING HEART by CHARLES BUKOWSKI a German-American poet. Whenever dark clouds form in my mind, I try to remember this poem.


your life is your life

don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.

be on the watch.

there are ways out.

there is a light somewhere.

it may not be much light but

it beats the darkness.

be on the watch.

the gods will offer you chances.

know them.

take them.

you can’t beat death but

you can beat death in life, sometimes.

and the more often you learn to do it,

the more light there will be.

your life is your life.

know it while you have it.

you are marvelous

the gods wait to delight

in you.


See you soon,

Irfan Shamji






OUTRO

You've been listening to letters written and performed by Elizabeth Chan and Irfan Shamji. This project is ongoing If you would like to get in touch or find out more about the project and the creative team, you can do so at the Letters Project Website.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

The Letters Team.