To Countries Of Departure (first letter)

I’ve met your people all my life — those who’ve been forced to leave and those who’ve never been to you in the first place (all anticipating some kind of impossible return). They animate the mechanics of existence. Their imaginations are rabid and their desires unending. They fuel the living world.
Each of you is lost to them, to me, to all of us. You’re forever absent, entangled in the tricks and failings of memory. You get crumpled and torn. You can seem translucent, flickering, projected, gaseous, impossible. You get chewed up and spat out, knocked around, edited, revised and censored.
Exiles entrust their most treasured versions of you to their minds and hearts. You are rendered an idealized formation, a cultural garden full of Life and Art. This is your true importance.
Most of you remain obscure to me (to all of us really — a rumor at best). Dislocation can be shameful. Disinheritance is known to hide in plain sight. Dispossession smothers in market logic.
There’s no getting back to any of you, and yet you seem to be enough, as a constellation of fragile, shifting possibilities, to sustain various reconstruction plans. You’ve always been around before hell broke loose, before exodus, before expulsion, before losing a sense of what it might mean to be human.
I’m reminded of the closing lines from an Alan Ginnis poem entitled “Progress” (written during the close of the Troubles in Northern Ireland):
Given time,
one hundred thousand particles of glass
will create impossible patterns in the air
before coalescing into the clarity
of a window. Through which, a reassembled head
will look out and admire the shy young man
taking his bomb from the building and driving home.
Are beginnings re-imagined to possess a conscious life — to live in the present?
Do I need you to invent myself?