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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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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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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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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Utopia at ten thirty am

There is one single minute in the late morning

that mankind can be loved during.

It comes around ten thirty when the air is light and creamy

and the city is awake

but it’s not hungry yet.

The children are set to work with men

the sounds the machines squeak are earnest

and the human device becomes beauty.

 

Utopia is born.

 

Come ten thirty one,

a shadow shifts to the morning

and crows take over everything

ravenous.

 

Eden can only live a minute.

                   

Image by Laurent Van Assche

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Bring me the night

In the dark,

everything melts nameless

and sound itself, quiet.

 

What a thing it is,

to not be.

 

Come crickets,

fireflies,

wash over me.

Bring me the night.

               

image-all-rights-reserved-by-julie-paterson

Image by Julie Paterson

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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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