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

Too much rosé


“I’m Taking a year off to head Downsouth,

to be by the ocean and collect my thoughts.”

 

“That is so lovely, I wish I could do the same thing. You really deserve it.”

 

“I just want to step away from the circle

to kind of, deconstruct myself, you know.

Because lately, I’ve felt like most of myself

is borrowed.”

 

“I know, I know- my sister’s friend did a similar thing up in the mountains

and she came back radiant.

Now she makes jewellery and its

going really well. I’m happy for you,

this is so exciting.”

 

“Yes, it is.”
.
After three months of drinking the sweet South,

where at nine in the evening

your options are to sleep

or water the white anthuriums,

a rosé in hand

half-listening to a voice documentary

about Syria (to keep informed)

and the racket of crickets (to keep going on).

In either case, there is only one option for the view: the grand night of ocean sounds, serious stars and coconut palms.

This full-circle view for the last ninety two nights is now cut into the back of my eyes;

and in my long sleeps there was only one dream that I had-

long palms and white stars that swum drunk in a pink sea mass.

 

If at nine o’clock in the evening,

while you are watering white anthuriums

in the seaside South

with a rosé in hand,

you find yourself wondering

‘Now what?’,

clearly, happiness is a semblance.

                    

Marjorie Content

Image – Marjorie Content, Anthurium, Gelatin-silver print, 1931

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Sonder

What kills men

There is a man next door,

paid to watch an empty land in Colombo-4;

It’s big enough, city enough to make his master rich.

He sits there all day watching over Marine Drive

and the ocean rolled different blues one after the other.

 

The first week I saw him, framed by my balcony door,

up at quarter to seven,

strutting out straight,

shaved, hair combed, shirt ironed and cigarette in hand-

a man with a mission.

He sat on his throne,

and his gaze cut through the salt dragging down the air

sharp and certain like a bone.

 

A full moon came and went,

and the wind direction changed,

so the clouds

left west.

And, the ocean rolled more blues.

 

Yesterday, I looked closer at his side profile,

while he sat centred precise between

the land’s end and Marine Drive.

 

He was mostly dead.

His chair was plastic and dusty.

His gaze hung limp like noon leaves. And he

was mostly dissolved in sea.

His cigarette was the only thing breathing.

 

My god, I think,

it’s not guns that kill men – not like this.

I must give him a pack

and a book

because dead men are terrible things

to live next to.

       

image

Image by Matt Frantz

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Verse

Honest something

On a day of long, slow deaths

when even the leaves circling to gravity

hurt my tender veins

in magnanimous sadnesses,

large, lush pools of heartbreak,

with the world’s everything stretching as far as a day,

I need something- an honest something,

to burn out there,

to know that my deepest falls have seen other hearts,

that I’m only relearning an old song,

to quiet an inherited storm,

something honest- thrusting,throbbing,

writhing,  ripping, wrenching-

it’s the least that life owes,

to cast out to air.  

Photo - 'Suicide' All rights reserved by Mishu Vass

Photo – ‘Suicide’ All rights reserved by Mishu Vass

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Verse

Spinning dust

I’m spinning faster than before,

rattling,clunking, picking up the bits,

dismayed at how I’m nothing but dust.

Sometimes all I feel between the sky and my feet,

is myself dangling useless,

heavy on my arid bones –

spunky pink humbling into

a hollow yellow.

‘How sad’, I think,

but then I remember

that I’ve got nothing much to do after all.

   

Photo- bintphotobooks

Photo- bintphotobooks

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Verse

On company

Darling, I cannot see your dream,

out there, real, it’s only in your eyes.

But, I’ll feel it in your fight & catch it at our road’s close,

tangled in your gold,

shining your light.

Photo - Exorbibus Photography

Photo – Exorbibus Photography

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Verse

Lazy love

Lazy love,

love should be lazy,

effortless and easy,

flowing without purpose,

 

Photo - Grace Kim, (Seoul. 2009. archival pigment print) Love Hotel series.

Photo – Grace Kim, (Seoul. 2009. archival pigment print) Love Hotel series.

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