Welcome to my A-Z 2018, for which I am revisiting Africa, the continent of my childhood and my dreams. The posts are, as always, infoheavy and opinionated, but they are sectioned off - some music, the day’s topic, couple writers, a slideshow from the safaris – plenty ways to cherry-pick. So you may consume just as much, or as little, as you're cool with. Zero obligation to agree with any of my views either, feel free to air yours :)
Thursday, 27 December 2012
Monday, 24 December 2012
where to hook the toes
on limits to be pushed back;
hinges open close
along circular tracks;
stand in straightened rows;
the trees’ stripped rib-racks
pant against the windows;
golden faun shadows
The season’s in death throes -
the knots of zodiacs
tighten up the slack
disguised as ribbon bows.
But then, the rest is black.
But then, no-one knows
what’s there in the hollows
behind twisted almanacs.....
Thursday, 20 December 2012
Most of my poetry sort of writes itself into a first person or second person narrative, without my really thinking about it much. Writing has been my method of making sense of my world, so it’s natural that I write on most festival days, when and if there is a little window of solitude. The verses are almost never autobiographical, though I suppose I draw on my conscious/subconscious memories. But if anyone asks me which event are you portraying in this piece of writing, it’s all blurred. I can’t ever find one specific memory that I can point to and say, yes, this one’s the one I have written about here.
and this has taught me nothing yet. The urge to control still consumes,
every detail of each action and their results and reactions specified.
into the Diwali night each year. And even after the sparks subside
goes round the courtyard counting the lamps still left burning in the gloom.
Even when each blade of grass shows me on its poor, crushed face
that neither of us can determine exactly where my foot will fall.
No matter how carefully I cup my hands around the flame
in the end the winds blow out each of the lamps I set in place.
The heart dearer than diamonds or clubs, but above them all the humble spade;
the highest given the lowest rank, based on the rules of the game.
that I trample upon unconcerned, its own perception of its role -
why doesn’t it grow some thorns, why offer the feet the lawn instead?
Cigarette butts in various lengths, torn trails of tinsel come to rest
alongside the charred embers of the burning binges after dark.
Before I sweep away the pieces, pick up the lamps with their burnt out wicks,
newer shoots are budding forth even as burns blacken its breast.
golden wrappers now in shreds, spattered with mud cry out to me,
beauty is in both the burnt and green, if I can only accept the mix.
To spot the beauty in things burnt, to take a lesson from woodlands and parks,
to grow new shoots on a burn site, with the strangest pride-like humility.
The same ingredients and a different effort can so easily combine
and deflect a pleasing, sparkling display into quite a different and dreadful use.
And nearer home. All our children play with fire indiscriminately.
But we think boundaries, and end up drawing the wrong battle line.
He thought a minute, and smiled and said, “Sister, noises are easily made,
but to spatter the sky with music for eyes, that needs to be thorough and well-composed.”
music for the eyes. But all music in the end gives way to the music of silence,
all flames stilled, all lamps darkened, all books must close once they are read.
Only the balm of darkness stays, all the rest is here to be lost
The grass that’s burnt, white candle wax, as also the greenest gardens.
Wednesday, 19 December 2012
your limbs flared out a little
for balance on the water;
someday no-one will bother
to ask what it all means,
someday all the borders will smear,
and where will cease to matter.
I ponder the asking of questions
that really have no answer -
the lift of pig-snouts in and out of
the muck and melees of rains;
the blinks of streetlights climbing into dawns.
do you speak at home, oh none?
yeah, your accent’s wrongly clipped -
where did your foremothers come from?
where are your descendants going?
what do you mean you don’t know
when our lives are being ruined
by borders drawn long ago?
how do you take your riverfood?
that’s the wrong recipe entirely!
The silver fishtail thrashes in the bowl,
the nib gleams in a sad chuckle.
and then choose the smackro-ed details
to rub into an artistic blur;
someone like me in her status updates
has “control” paired with “gun”!
Somewhere a man holds aloft a banner;
near home the march of a million.
I ponder the building of echo chambers
that have no other options
except to return the same last words.
The domes and arches of your minds
fade away into the shadows.
when your sisters are gang-raped
and your brothers killed
bloodlines can neither be erased
nor can they be re-drawn.
Sister, who do you call brethren
and which side are you on?
Specify your birthplace here,
and where is your deathplace?
The forms crinkle their eyes at me.
The ancient bones of pyramids crack
before the secrets spill.
Shared for OLN @ dVerse
Sunday, 16 December 2012
your eyes of dandelion;
your voice rasps a little
against my inner membrane
a feline cough and purr
against the nap of where I hear;
stick figures of memory march
in the convolutions of veins,
have I loved you enough
before I let you go?
in the same dented saucepans;
yellow sludge of lentils
the same wooden utensils
with their edges broken
in all the same places
and each grain of your faces;
did I grip you hard enough
before you left my table?
my hands fumble at switches
you let go of your knitting,
the sacred incense somewhere
lets its unctuous fragrance wisp in
trailing the bells and conch
doing the jangly rounds of temples,
the moon with a pointy beard
waxed stiff at his chin.
I touch your chicken-skin forehead
without having an inkling
did I touch you gently enough
when I saw you out to the darkness?
Shared at dVerse where the prompt this day invites us to to sweat the small stuff and write in technicolour 3D HD...
Friday, 14 December 2012
The summing up itself was the closure, though I didn’t realise
the purpose to your conversation, the frustrated half-sighs
and a refusal to meet my eyes till much, much later;
and when I did, the whole thing had almost ceased to matter.
Nothing really, just a pang that leave taking was so concise,
a vague disquiet that honest things can also end in disguise.
You could have shook me by the hand, looked straight into my eyes.
But you didn’t. And taught me that not all untruths are lies.
For one of the pair things closed that day, for the other nothing changed,
one still kept her weekends free just as both had arranged.
But no-one came back to knock. Many days and many goodbyes
had to be flipped to understand what a summing up implies.
Shared at dVerse where we are exploring poetry written in the second person this night.
for dress, fashion and style;
and one wide, radiant smile
though the occasions she flashed it were rare.
looks graceful on the sea,
not-so-charmingly on me
I’m so fed-up of my curls that I could shave.”
“Have you heard the one about the mongrels
with tails impervious to all creams and gels?
Well, that is my sad fate
my hair just won’t go straight
crowning glory is no glory when it rebels.”
it’s just no point, I guess
my waves are quite shameless
they curl back in a sec and don’t give up.
unmentionable parts of bats
stomach contents of gnats
applied carefully for days. But then, look at this!
but when they were unpinned
only the roots had thinned
the rest curled fiercely as soon as they got slack.
They straightened when down
as soon as I turned around
they frizzed right back. My toes too curled with shock!
I slept ramrod straight
but the curls resumed their state
the minute they were off. It’s just no use.
both normal and insane
but curly is what they remain
Straight sexy is something I can’t seem to swing.”
You haven’t got a clue
how it curbs my hair-do!
Don’t say now each one’s a unique snowflake.
but I’ve been led to think
that this is no ordinary kink
and it requires measures strongly radical.”
and she said, ”Please stop
my head being a curly mop
slice my genes off, or something else merge in.”
limericks are often ripe;
and so sometimes is life.
So dear reader, the story’s for you to conclude.
for straightening curly hair
and this is the tale of curly and distressed.
if they bubble in the brain
then they become a pain
in the arse and other parts – terrible fallout.
Between us, one-on-one
I’ll confide it can be fun
to style it diversely, but then, it’s just hair.
it matters not one jot
both curly and straight are hot
what’s one person’s ho-hum is another’s pretty.
and I have always wanted
what the others take for granted -
a curl or two would have been just so great!
Style it straight and flat
wear a braid, or a hat
but it shouldn’t get your knickers in knots tied.
so I must be thanking you
for your patience – and I do
with a sweeping flourish and an “au revoir.”