Verse

Human thing 

This human thing,

it cuts:

it heals, it hurts:

it is the thing that man’s god hates the most.

This human thing

is a thing of shame and miles and miles of sunshine.

This human thing,

is a thing that sang,

made breakfast,

watched Netflix

and at pictures of beautiful flats;

played Pokemon Go,

shopped for Christmas,

wept,

broke

apart,

loved and

hoped

while cities of ants burnt

with their secret mines of gold.

Then everything

fell slowly

and bewilderingly apart

till humans things were dug open to find

a sun

that burns children, women and men

shooting air bombs.

 

The prophets are late,

or someone,

somewhere

lied.

         

Sunlight catches traces of smoke from fighting in Aleppo’s ancient souq by Tom Westcott

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Sonder

To the Prostitute’s man by the Marine Drive Supermarket

Five forty am:

I watched you watch her

try to scrape the last chance of last night

before it faded fast into the sunlight.

– with an old man in a clean sarong

and a shirt ironed to a crispness

-that ratted a wife back home.

 

Although while scanning her shape through the skirt,

he licked his lips,

he was the type who kept his nose too clean

to go behind the Keells supermarket with her kind;

Besides it was getting too bright to hide.

 

She came back to you defeated.

 

~

 

They say you both would do anything

for a shot of heroin,

and that it was all your doing.

Is that true?

 

Did you ever love her?

Before the hell holes, strangers’ invasion and teeth rot,

was she ever beautiful?

I hear her curse you, shrilling the night

but in the morning she is still around

in the thick of your shit fight.

 

What is she holding on to in you?

– is it something sad and sentimental like

the music trapped between the dust on a forgotten wedding bouquet?

– or is it something logical like

the last thread of convention?

– or something dignified like

’till death do us part’?

– or is it just reason lost in the wind

somewhere in the mundane plains of habit?

 

 

~

 

Seven am:

Sunday morning

as Colombo lay dry sleeping,

and hungover cars were leaving

with leftovers of Saturday night and Pillawoos,

I saw you again.

 

Standing in a daze of junk

with one palm outstretched to the ocean,

it looked as if you were blessing

the great, big sea of salty tears.

 

Was that for her?

                  

Boy on East 5th Street (4th of July), 1984.

Image – Ken Schles – Boy in the East 5th Street at the height of heroin, 1984

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Verse

The containing of it all

But,

I had to hold still

for if I were to spin,

what would shower out of my robe are

stars

stars, stars.

                                            

maimouna-guerresi

Image by Maïmouna Guerresi

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Sonder

To the little Southern girl on the beach: Part two

It’s alright, catch your breath.

You’ve run so far, she can’t see your pain;

Your little friend- the prettier one

with scar-less skin

and a face that peaked too soon to kill

a human heart.

 

Babe, have you ever heard of the tale

of a little, ugly duckling that lived by a lake?

It’s true.

I’ve seen it living, breathing by a convent wall,

at a dancing class, a high school fair, and at last

growing between two little girls in the seaside South.

 

You know babe,

legends are made from truth,

flesh and clay.

How do you think

I know your story

so well?

 

Don’t worry little duck, you’ll do fine,

because pain teaches delicate things.

But, her…she’ll die a slow death in her heart.

 

In warped time and place

I’ve seen her married to an idea’s face and boredom,

because she never knew beauty’s labour.

                     

dayanita-singh-gayle-and-sister-goa-2000-2005-deutsche-bank-collection

Image – Dayanita Singh, Gayle and sister, Goa 2000/2005. Deutsche Bank Collection ©

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Sonder

To the little Southern girl on the beach: Part one

I see you rolling in sand wearing only a swim bottom.

I envy your bare brown freedom

because my chest is too old to be brazenly sunburnt

and to be removed of the sex that has grown all over.

Wait little babe

they’ll soon crown you too, with chains.

 

I see you chase her across the beach- your other little friend,

the prettier one with lighter skin

and better hung baby meat.

She’d let you chase her but never touch,

and dropping your hands on knees you stopped,

breathless.

 

There was boundary on the sand –

the dusky part that the ocean wet

and the crisp white half that it could never get.

She was on the other side-

the one that stayed untouched by salt tears.

She laughed and laughed because…

 

You know babe,

she will break your heart one day.

It’ll either be,

that boy who’ll look at her right through you,

or the world that breaks you with its blind love young beauts.

She’ll take down your stars.

 

Babe, it’s alright,

let your knees crash to the ground.

You’ll survive.

 

But, let me tell you a secret;

a shortcut,

a little byway to no pain.

 

Next time you run up to her

let her eyes shine for a moment

but, turn around,

throw your chest in the Southern wind

to run laughing.

Babe, don’t even think about turning.

 

Wickedness is just a game that we are playing.

                                            

http://www.birdsasart-blog.com/about/

Image by Arthur Morris

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In my defence

Darling, in the first days of our love

I pre-made a little heartbreak:

It sits waiting behind a lock

for the day that I get cut.

 

A little device to save myself

from ruined eyeliner and losing face.

Darling, I know you’re real good

but I must; just in case.

 

According to Freud and biology

defence mechanisms are a primitive thing,

a residual muscle memory string

in the deep of our animal beings:

 

Nature’s plan in place for calamity days,

to ensure

that there is a ready-made procedure

to stay unfazed.

 

Forgive me darling, but it’s only

standard, only routine

like health insurance or sunscreen-

a map to sanctuary.

                       

Image by Lukasz Wierzbowski

Image by Lukasz Wierzbowski

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Verse

Monsoon salt

It was in the heart of May

that the salt armies rose from the ocean

and marched in with quiet determination

– the kind of determination fraught in things

made to carry out the will of another being,

like machine guns or cities.

They crawled in through the slits of air underneath windows and doors

to take over, to tighten crystal saline around our throats,

to numb us all.

Perhaps out of kindness, in preparation

for the war.

 

Next came the most terrifying thing-

a lull;

a godforsaken, vast terrain where you shake from the panic of being alone

knowing that any minute now…

everything could change

into anything.

 

It must be true –

the old saying about the calm before the storm,

because then came the winds with

black sails tied to their song:

ominous and set to drop bombs

on Colombo.

 

In came the rain,

humbling away all the hard work of manmade days

down the rapids of muddy waterways.

 

The next morning,

mankind floated

on the glimmer of end-of-the-world rivers

and for an hour of crushed devastation,

in a small death of civilisation,

everything was innocent

and beautiful again.

                         

Image by bhphotovideo

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