“A Chord Obscured.” by Imaan Siddiq

A Chord Obscured.

Rustling and humming; gradually yet persistent in the befogged blindness enveloping the sorts of aristocracy. The only sounds that I resonated with, striking the hymns beneath the despondency, a shallow putridity clear yet translucent. The resin that our minds secrete as we dissolve beneath the drugged consciousness – a luminous dream and voices of faces unseen, souls untouched and ideas unhindered. A prosthetic reality initiated atop the fumbles of dissociation, a retard growth of a mutated existence. 

“Pull out the IV and you’d die…ten minutes approximately. They’re already killing us, behind the strings as you say.” 

“Well that’s disappointing. I like the chrysanthemums they brought me last week. It reminds me of the playground.”

“Which playground? The facility never had one.” 

Finite – the interminable elixir of life refuting in our brains like potions of portioned out disbelief; some for the psychotic, a pint for the delusional, a handful for the befogged and a gallon for the defective. A cementing restlessness as you fidgeted beneath and above the greying recluses of a psychiatric ward or maybe the confines of a rusting recalcitrance. As the eyes drifted towards the abyss of your caterwauls, a scratch besides your stretcher and blood resting behind the crippling wallpaper. Futile sanity – a drugged confiscation of euphoria to prevent the ‘psychosis’ as termed a terminal death. What good are stupefied consciences of derision among the indolence of sanity, the looking-glass of the posse pointed sternly towards objects of…incongruency.

“Do you remember what happened yesterday?”


“Your brain seems to be deteriorating and we might have to reduce the dosage.”

Witty as it is, every generation of its pivoted expiation are but delusioned to believe that they aren’t befooled. I do remember though, the controlled dosage of 35 mcg of Lysergic acid diethylamide corrupting the intravenous fluids that respired within my quiddity, the bland engineered food that I silently threw up in the bathroom sink and the chords of Beethoven’s ninth symphony, ‘Ode to Joy.’ The chords, ever present in my fading monotony and the figmented rhapsody plodding beneath the humming. I told you – it was the only voice I heard or perhaps listened to, the syllables of interminable whispers of sound in my brain as retinue towards my dissolution. It was a dream, a sole recurring entity that I perambulated within the orchards of my sepulchre; a gliding cogitation atop the carved chords, the rays creeping behind me and a picture, a decolorized antiquity of faces – silhouettes perhaps.

“A sniffling scent of jasmine beneath the wavering putridity or a vale of verdancy luminescent alongside our globular organs. Mine. Forsaken yet reciprocated; the glimmer of ravens within your beady iotas – skin deep as they…”

“…we’ll run some tests to mail them back to your family. The progress seems remarkable and we’re certain that they’d be ecstatic to hear from you. Would you like to send a personalized postcard?”


Dissociative derealization – the more affable term for my ‘condition’. An interminable state of looking at oneself concealed within plain sight; yelling silently, running gradually and shattering with composure, whole yet rattled. I stood over the stooping edge, ruminating within the sepals of our aureoles as if I am watching myself from the outside – carefully yet with retinue. Am I going to jump? What is it that you know of the story I bury within your nestling gaze – a paltry of cosmology, a verse replayed within your testament, for ‘what will your verse be?’

“The expiable warmth as you entwine among the thorns

– skin deep as they shear inside you,

And the chrysanthemums bloom encapsulated in your coffin. 

You’re late…my friend.

The greyness of one’s void, 

A homogenous abyss atop our epoch,

One of Arcady and one of symbiosis. 

The roots caterwaul my flurries of figments;

– a silence.”

I wonder if that’s what Beethoven meant or what the melodies remind me of, for it was clear that the photograph proved that I was right. 

“Are you done with the postcard? They sent this for you.”

For me. Perhaps I wasn’t delusional, about the piano in the attic, the chords striking in my head and the orchestrated play every night as my grandmother hummed me into slumber and she sat fixated, absolute within her own rhapsodies – the ringing chords echoing through the street. 

“Embrace with empathy, the mountebank within others’ affirmations. The sum will always lay within the chords you strike and sometimes silence is but the loudest stroke of apprehension,” her words, erect yet irascible.

I could see this intrinsicity fading away, an added drug and a subtracted apprehension of what I constituted of. The number of days tallied behind the framework of any sort of furniture that intercepted our humane presence, breathing yet fumbling somewhat. They had lied, to all of us. How inexplicable to hold one’s stranglehold when affronted with your seedling of a rooted lunacy. However, I remembered – all of it. The playground, the embrace of normalcy and the zeitgeist of being regarded for being alive. The sun-faded photograph clasped beneath the bedspread and the syllables marked behind it. ‘B B C D’ D’ C B A G G A B A A’. 

“Notes to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.” As I grinned, perhaps slightly, the gazed perturbed and the hysteria fumbling beneath my shivering hands. To all the feuds and the heart aches, I hope you find peace in them as it resonates – a feeling so unfitting as if a belonging. I lied to you, for a fleeting moment indeed but it passed unhindered because you’re lost. And so am I. I missed her and she remembered – my silent stroke of a chord obscured and her embrace of empathy.

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