Verse

Enormity

When something little crawls on your skin,

it somehow threatens your everything within

because you realise that you’re nothing and everything, all at once

—like the dirt we walk upon

—like the great big Earth we live and die on

—like grass blades

—like the vast plains

—like the one breathing open enormity that we won’t make.
 

When something little crawls on your skin,

pressing its alien intention against your being;

your whole rounded entirety begins to shake with questions

—like how the Earth must feel

—like how a whole other world could exist right in our view

—like the reality of reality.

It’s terrifying.

And, that’s why we scream.

Picture by Madhavan Palanisamy from the series Appa and other animals

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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

Beast rally

We just want to rally,

to shout,

to hate,

to throw rocks.

Whether it’s for land, for thirst, for money, 

a man born on a shepard night’s silence

a prophet or a sage 

enlightened underneath a tree.
 

We just want to rally

to belong,

to break,

to feel higher

than them.

For books, for myths, for stories told

by long forgotten women and men.

 
We just want to rally,

to make ours

and not others’

to be known,

to be seen shining for fifteen minutes,

to be loved,

to be saved,

to be told that we are great.

To believe so deep

in our right to be,

to say it out loud, 

to live,

to kill,

to be beasts.

            

  

Photo by Aris Messinis

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Excuses

The way I’m sitting,

the robe,

the cold,

the bowl being off-centre on the table.
 

The bladder- it’s always half full, half empty,

half full, I forget.

The cat’s whiskers being glorious,

the water boiling,

the long dust of drafting all this on the keys again.
 

The tingles on my back,

the unwatered plant- it looks like a wretched desert,

the dry patch on the back of my throat,

the water being too hot.
 

Peeing.

The preoccupation with how often I urinate,

the post-urination chill up the spine.
 

The palm trees against the pale pink sky being too good to not photograph-

being too cliche to photograph, on the other hand.

How the page absorbs ink making blotches marking my hesitations.

Him, sleeping.
 

The loneliness flickering in the light bulbs of the four a.m. train, 

and the racket that it makes.

The situation of the world in general. A distant, worn out panic.

The horror of five a.m. and them waking up, to this, to make this.
 

This whole thing of being.
 

Anything, 

something, 

to look away from this thing-

this thing I don’t interrogate for honest words, 

this thing I don’t want to see.

The fear of me,

me,

me.  

                                                                                                                   

Image source unknown

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The one thing

No one knows freedom like a slave.

               

  Image – Bernd & Hilla Becher, photographic print 2004

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Verse

The most important night of the year 

Things laid out carefully for the most important night of the year;

a private place hanging from the edge of an island,

fireworks,

dream pills,

a few heads that can talk and laugh,

a menu with options.

 

Bottled sparkles

to fill up the holes between conversation

with stars,

and light up the crystals lost in eyes.

 

Nevertheless,

it was the same.

 

In the morning between rocks, seashells, open bottles and sand

there were people broken

ordinary

by the quiet horror of

another day.

                                                     

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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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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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A Southern wedding: part 2

There’s an island lore, warning to never trust a word you hear

once you cross the Bentara river

beyond which,

the South begins

where witches were born and men cut up by beauty would go to live.

 

The strangers who flew in on a storm

took the Southern beauty home – their new bride delightful like a vulgar schoolboy song.

But, they don’t know

the reason she smiles more than she talks, or the men buried in her tomb.

Do they know that she only ever loved the ocean?

-the salt that ravages her

and leaves her with enough tears for another hundred years.

It’s one of those unhealthy addictions.

 

There she goes.

She made a beautiful bride for the seventeen thousandth time.

 

The radio said

there are more strangers

coming to see her from all over the world;

they can’t wait to get cut open.

 

Shining her gold, she’s ready to take them all.

The beauty of the South is sad no more.

                 

Image – kamalambi.blogspot.com

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