Verse

We’re sad because

I think we’re sad because we’ve built ourselves prisons.

Tall, beautiful cathedrals with a vision

into what our lives should be

forever and ever, dazzling in the horizon.

 

They’re easy, they’re the same

until never becomes a day

leaning on our necks with the deadweight of knowing

that the mountains we raised from the depths are falling.

 

We’re sad because it’s evident

that there’s nothing in the space-time continuum

that will just, please, stay put—

pristinely, never-endingly put.

 

But, we try.

 

By building perfectly carved out shells

around our beating selves,

in miniature monumets of places, things and faces

that have long lived and left their moment.

 

They once-upon-a-time made us remember

what it’s like to float in the breeze above the great big ocean.

But now, they’ve faded dead.

It’s time to walk out these mansion gates.

                                               

Image- Stairwell in Building 138 by Gary Heller

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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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Sonder

Midnight man in Bambalapitiya: part 3

Was that you inside your face?
You said you had a name,
but it wasn’t Midnight.
 
Carrying a house on back you said
you’re going to build a shack on promised land – it was free,
and it’ll have a wife and windows facing the sunset,
coloured walls, a bed and other sensible things.
 
You’ve remembered you have a son, who also has a little son-
I guess breeding makes sense
because when there are no more empty spaces left
you never have to look at yourself again.
 
I wanted to ask why, but it’s a wolfish world
and asking why is rude and unwarranted.
So I said I’ll come visit you sometime.
 
I went left and you went right.
The city moaned in smoke, heat and honks
and under my feet the earth shook
because somewhere, somehow a saint had died.  

     

Image – Chris Burden

 

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Scream boys, scream 

The train was pulling to Kandy, stopping at every insignificant town uphill.

At each tunnel the boys would hang their lungs out the windows like paper bags, and scream.

 

Two compartments downwind, I wonder what they look like;

the shrill voice between the hoarse ones must have a face like mine-

angled, hard-pointed against things that could potentially hurt.

The others must have round eyes polished with wicked boyishness

like the severe gleam in kitten eyes – recklessly pointless;

challenging every wise old man word that history ever recorded.

Their time, their best cast out the window, over the edge of substance, dipping dangerously into the meaningless

– just like that, deliciously luxurious.

 

I remember an old March,

maybe nineteen ninety nine’s;

We snuck out of math and rode the school garbage cart in rounds

– in glorious, mindless circles all around the clock’s noon turn.

Even the sun and the trees shone and shook frivolous.

 

But at some point, the grand end of it all creeps up your throat, into your head;

through the body aches, skin beginning to sag or the white wisdom threads

you hear earth’s sad moaning mortal quakes.

So, you slowly stop breathing for the fear of tipping over the edge.

And happiness, what can it do? It’s like that person everyone talks about, but in bed you find them overrated and drunk.

 

Isn’t it a strange thing that, to really relish in something, you mustn’t actually love it?

Because the fear of death can suffocate your nerve ends from celebrating.

 

They scream again, the young fucks.

 

So, scream boys, scream

because immortality is a now or never thing.

Soon, you’ll be too heavy to hang so loose out in the wind,

and your shoulders will be crack down  with the weight of Kandy city

to scream your throat dry to just tease the world’s meaning.

Scream boys scream;

scream loud, scream now.

                                      

Image – Joseph Ball

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Verse

Newborn

Last night I eddied wakeless,

down my well of secrets, where

I rushed to swallow the sound of myself

– it rippled far too much of a dread.

 

Down the well I felt, a life that I’ll never know

watching me glide – although

the threat of water only trickled in drops,

the air has already resigned to choke.

 

Washed up on the morning

I found someone new under my skin;

alive, breathing and already awake

sitting drinking the sun on my bed.

 

Her newborn thoughts fresh and pink,

cut holes in my perfect morning routine.

‘Is this what tea tastes like? Do I just hang my hands –

otiose down the sides?’

 

You live your names for the many, many calls

in every mirror, bead and bone.

How long before we lose sight

of the ocean between our secret souls?

       

image

Image by Freudenthal Verhagen, uncategorised.

 

 

 

 

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Break open

While composed in line

with the stamp of these times,

between lapses

fumbling laxness

allows streaks of real to shine.

 

Old, broken

and a little shaken –

not the way to be seen, heard,

loved, fucked or remembered.

It’s too open.

Too open about the little defeats

inherited in our bones and meat-

and these flimsy new hearts, they moan

if you grab them hard and long,

forgetting how to beat.

 

Come on kids, break open-

the new and smooth are token

it’s not worthwhile to get

out of my lazy, old bed

if you’re not undone.

   

Image unknown

Image unknown

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Verse

When sixteen

I remember

bones

souled in succus,

and drowned in each drop

was hope, hope, hope-

to save,

to change,

to tremble

hearts,

to matter,

and shift planes

with the recycled shake

of the age.

I remember

bright cathedrals

purpose-built and

lined one after another

with coral sand shining

on burgundy cushions

for a world to care.

I remember

on a bland bed

they all crashed down

to reveal a Sunday morning clear-esque

when someone said

it’s all nothing to nothing

on a pale blue speck.   

Image - rebelwithsantaclaus.tumblr.com

Image – rebelwithsantaclaus.tumblr.com

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