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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Verse

Of sunsets and pain in paradise 

The sun is burning anyway;

it doesn’t need more pain.

Earthly love

is hardly ever a bargain.
 

Life cuts

as often as it wets our hearts

with soft clouds

dipped in orange dyed lagoon sunsets.
 

And we are left beating

with the fish washed fresh

off the warm waters

at some faraway paradise bay.
 

Image by Andy Moine

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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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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 hers?

 

 

           

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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