{ island of wastedness }


In between buildings, there are pieces of land, and on them used to be apartments. In only thirty years, the houses are in ruination. There are cracks all over, maybe mold, insects swirling through. The houses are demolished to be replaced by new construction. The rubble, the sound, and the concrete recharged are everywhere.

in between destruction and construction, its skin is
exposed to sun, pollination, nonhuman and more than
human bodies. There grow weeds, plants, and wildflowers,
and on the walls, we write wishes, making land common.
I roam around here. In a crystal.

To whose standards do we fail or let ourselves be failed?
Failure is time lived at another speed; to rest, repair,
and care, emancipated of expectations.
In failing, moving backward,
forwards, or sideways,
we travel

They call them corridors in the cityscape, green insurgent spaces that resist and germinate. I think of them as

common islands in urban centers
harboring fast-paced anxiety and stress in organizing beings,
limiting the unpredictability
and with that lowering immunity.

I realized that when growing up, my relationship with my surrounding ecology had been abstract, generic, and minimal; one of disorientation. I recently read about plant blindness. I started going on long walks around the mountain foothills of Tehran, where the urban developments have not yet reached. The land still breathes; there are unexpected organisms and fantastical ecosystems. I’ve come to touch, to walk, to rest under the sun, to look around, and to just be, at times with friends. I tend to do nothing. Am I wasted?

I lay back on rocks and for a moment I feel I am rested.
Among them.

I am reminded of the non-uniform biodiversity that is otherwise hedged or landscaped, remaining hidden or dormant. Then it aches and takes time to reconnect and make kin, to unlearn the empirical tiered knowledge and decolonize the grounds that I want to walk on. I do not yet have a land I belong to; I am misplaced, yet I remember that islands are interconnected. The grounds, though drifting, are there.

I saw a tiny ecosystem and I’m still in awe. The dormant plant in our house relived; feeding the seeds of a fruit; taking its time; companion planting. I’ve since taken this as what I seek when thinking of commons: finding spaces of feeling safe and trusted. We want to let go of our intellectual and rehearsed possessions. Perhaps we’ve been deskilled, and it excites me to learn things that I’ve forgotten. Touching wildflowers felt exciting. I recalled those senses, de-tensing inward muscles, touching my skin, to touch skins > living room on a bigger island.

How do we heal in our dispersed localities? To change sensibilities and act upon them, we share with wastelands the precariousness that although seeming to be an anomaly, is the norm. It’s still about the right to land; common ownership; the labor of reparation; and the ecology of biological lands that have been compromised in the situated history of our hairy, brown, gendered bodies in migration.
Time passes so slowly, even mysteriously. We’re lying on the salt rock bed for a long time, staring at the sea. We belong to waste time~ ~ ~ ~~~ ~


Yasamin Ghalehnoie