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


Mind cross

Faces on the streets,

small talks,

the lights zooming out as the airplane takes off,

the living rooms falling asleep, one by one, as you watch from the mountain top;

what do you see between the stars? – nothing? or something?

are you just like me?

what do your eyes fill with as your dreams take flight?

have we met?

will you join me again somewhere down the line?  

Picture by Eduard Gordeev

Picture by Eduard Gordeev


Midnight man in Bambalapitiya: part 1

They called you mad.


Probably because you only ever did two things.

One; you would laugh at us walking into Monday morning-

good citizens going to slit themselves

in exchange for something that is theirs to begin with.

You laughed at those wretched things.

Two; you would sleep throughout the day’s bloodshed,

through the April heat, through the sound

of Colombo breaking its teeth,

through incredible kindness and cowardice.

You slept on and on

No, wonder they christened you.



What is it like? – the place you dream of

with your eyes rolling to the back of your head

and your skin pumping out the ocean?

Is it somewhere far and flickering.



Who was it? – the thing that cracked you open

and broke in to your secret self and

stripped it naked in front of them?

Was it a girl? was she too beautiful?


When was it? – when was the last drop of time

(when everything shook and the curtain crashed,

to see that all along, there’s been goddamn nothing at all).


Last full moon, I heard you run screaming down the street

asking the ocean to wash us all down to hell…

Everyone needs a name for convenience’s sake.

I’ll call you Midnight.


Illustration - Kat Philibin (

Illustration – Kat Philibin (