Verse

Sleeping love

You’ve fallen perfect

composed in my sight

like a monumental piece of grain

a beautiful sage.

Perfect.
 

In my wicked greed, I want you to stay asleep.
 

From every direction I see,

every way I turn you,

you’re something I wanted, something I begged for

some day, some time,

down the line.

Perfect.

 

I can dazzle all the world’s love your way, but you won’t stay.

You’ll awake.

 

I know,

I know, that the thing that binds my sight

to you is your glorious flight.

Your wake.

You looking right through me

at something far,

somewhere I don’t belong.

 

I know.

I fear.

I feel.
 

It’s the only way.

So, my beauty, without me,

go sail away.

   
 

Image – The Sleeping Man of Oguri Kohei by Nemuru Otoko, 1996

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Verse

The night of September twenty third

And I felt you break 

showering my secrets 

with a hundred million stars 

cast out new

throbbing to be

someone,

something,

a speck in the great, big sea.

   

 

Image – Avery McCarthy

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Verse

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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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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Verse

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

Separation: day two

Uh-oh,

the layers are peeling off

and I look more like

my preferably-avoided side

in photographs.

 

You probably don’t know

how easy it is for me to resort

to a convenient moral code

based on the fact that nothing matters at all

in the end.

 

Especially when,

there isn’t someone worthwhile to notice

how I can be spotlessly part of all this

weight to deliver better than our body dust-

like you.  

 

So, can you send me a picture

from the faraway?

So I can reaffirm reasons and better days.

It’s important. I’m fading.

I hope you remain.
    

     

Image - Laurent Van Assche

Image – Laurent Van Assche

 

 

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