Spoon Justice: An allegory of ownership

It does not help to turn the world around. It does not help to shake the Law as hard as one can. Justice refuses to function in a recognizable manner. An article of the "Berlin Anthology".

Sometimes when I look at my face in a spoon, I see myself upside- down. It does not help to turn the spoon around. My face remains inverted. It does not help to shake the spoon as hard as one can. The spoon refuses to show my face in a recognizable manner.

Sometimes, justice works opposite of how it should. I call that Spoon Justice, inverted logic, an upside-down fate. It does not help to turn the world around. It does not help to shake the Law as hard as one can. Justice refuses to function in a recognizable manner.

I hold the spoon to my face and see an upside-down crown. I am the Queen of my own world. We are all Kings or Queens to ourselves, but there is nothing royal about the sum of us. I keep my upside- down spoons in an unguarded drawer. My body is my country. My homeland, my homebody. My body is Europe, and Europe is under my feet. The body moves. I own myself, and I own nothing. Justice flows from each step that takes me away from my place of origin. What goes into my body, is borrowed from other bodies,  other worlds. We move around together, encountering each other  but never fully visiting each other. No one can truly enter another body, except for during those nine months of pregnancy, the very first notion of home for those of us who arrive in the world by exiting a woman.

When I die, I become homeless, but never before. If my home is equal to my body, my body is my palace. I rule when I draw a breath of   air. I rule when I insert a piece of bread into my mouth and swallow it. I rule when I stroke the skin of my lower arm because it feels good. I rule when I try to stop my thoughts at night, so that my mind can regenerate in bouts of sleep.

When I sleep, when I try to sleep, and sometimes fail, I would like to feel safe. I cannot protect myself while I sleep. My palace is soft and unguarded at night. I do not own my surroundings, and therefore, I cannot protect them.

When I move, I move with other Kings and Queens. We strike pacts of non-attack and sometimes even of protection. But who will risk their homebody to save another? Is that an example of Spoon Justice, a negation of one’s own life, which cannot be righted even by shaking the spoon as hard as one can? Or is it an inverted ownership, the flow of compassion in each step towards another body?

When a certain number of Kings and Queens cooperate, a new territory forms, wrongfully known as a homeland. Since we own nothing and no one, it is impossible to inhabit anything but one’s own body. Such false territories claim to be safe, but there is nothing peaceful in the dreams of those who sleep on a bed of lies.

Where Spoon Justice prevails, refugees are born. The refugee bodies move not because it feels good when the European soil touches their feet, but because they cannot sleep in safety. Bodies not at home within themselves are drawn to the safety of the false territories. But the Queens and Kings of the false territories fear that their space is limited, and that they themselves may be forced to move if too many others enter. Movement itself is frowned upon, feet are to be as still as the soil they touch. Thus, a divide forms between the movers and safe-sleepers. Which would you rather, move or sleep? When night falls, and your dreams are haunted by the sound of footsteps, you must choose.

Oh, Europe, what would I give to you, to  your  refugees,  and  to those countries who receive your refugees? I would give  you nothing. Not my sleep, not my spoons, not my body. Rather would I take away from each and every one of your bodies the illusion of a homeland, the lie of ownership, and the crown of King or Queen, which the bodies claim to have justly inherited. Only then can the spoon of inverted justice be righted, only then can I see my face in a recognizable manner.

I am a body on the borrowed soil of Europe. I copy the footsteps of other bodies, each of which is home wherever they go. When we follow each other, justice will flow from our steps. When we love our footsteps more than the soil we mark, we will know the true meaning of home.

Togehter with the International Literature Festival Berlin we have called on authors to contemplate the fates of refugees and asylum-seekers in literary form. The "Berlin Anthology" is now available for download.