Sunday 28 June 2015

Plain speak

I want to speak to you so simply
so gently, just a tremor of air and silence,
a caress against the shell of your ear
without explanations of context
just the heel of one word followed by the next
just their bare feet touching down lightly
leaving no footprints, no tracks, not even a trace;
a breath of air mussing the hair
of palm trees in the sunset;
a finger brushing your cheekbones, your temples
so slight the movement that when
you look you feel nothing there. 

Monday 22 June 2015

City walls and step-wells and piled up peels

Somewhere the lamps shine brighter, but here dim.
I balance on my lashes coloured lanterns
from an entire city lit up, the trembling glint
of glass-fire on water, the night’s darkness burns
with a sandpaper-sadness under my lids,
points out again how fruitless the returns,

the yearnings for things now lowered and closed.
The weight always hangs heavy on restless eyes -
motifs of calligraphies made into mosques
the architectures of reverence, and sighs,
inlays of centuries sketched and now lost,
and sleepless owl moons winging across skies.

Still carry within - the small-writhing husks,
the peels of years which vanished at the bend,
the slithery skins and scales of time piled up
into mountains of sharpness, stone-stiffened,
the city walls and step-wells untidily tucked
behind arches still standing though weakened.

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Catching up face-to-face

Friendships and their trajectories have been on my mind lately.  Reconnected recently with a school friend after years, and another one shared some old photos, and this poem came along.

Talking of friendships, some of the most supportive, most nourishing,  happen in the virtual world. Today I am over at the Cafe Writer Denise Covey's where we are talking poetry, and a shared love of books and coffee.  

I wish sometimes that you and I
lived in the same city, close by,
your garden steps just a short walk
from my porch end of the block,
maybe just a fence in between
or not even that, unbroken green
under our feet, lush, ankle-high.

Then I would stand at your back door
and knock in code, call you by your
old private names, known just to friends;
and we’d be out in a few seconds
our shoes  half laced, our hair undone
trailing free behind as we would run
back to the hilltop like before.

We’ve left those winding lanes for good,
those long lost alleyways of childhood -
the bike trails to the picnic spots,
the games of tag in vacant lots,
the building of castles in thin air,
the heat haze and the midday glare
that friendship easily withstood.

We speak quite often, you and I,
we laugh and talk, and we get by,
dredge out the memories and then check
who among us has a clearer deck;
we’ve cobbled back the friendships somehow
though we’re in different time-zones now,
continents connected through Wi-Fi.

But I still wish that I, one day,
might walk down that far alleyway
where you now live, and quietly knock;
you’d come to the door and we’d talk
face to face once more after years,
without wires and plastic barriers,
till there’s nothing else left to say.

Do you sometimes feel like that?  That you want to go back and walk those lanes that led you to your old friends?  

Sunday 14 June 2015

Not even time

A drizzle of sunlight through the roman blind,
the paper-shuffle of the daily grind,
you called and you said ‘come’ and so I came
to find out exactly how strong the flame
of friendship burnt, and burns after a time.

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Ghazal : game at the tavern

Sometimes a mood sings off-key, what can be done?
A partner turns to enmity, what can be done?

I’ve laid my cards flat open on the table,
not the suit of a dummy, what can be done?

The other plays high and that’s a heady chance
but those stakes are not for me, what can be done?

The tavern is full, the wine smiles as it’s poured
my cup can’t take its ruby, what can be done?

The saki moves in between and deals the hand
she picks the play and victory, what can be done?

This round being finessed with diamonds and hearts
the wins are hers, but wounds are free, what can be done?

The ghazal is an eastern form. I have written about it before several times, herethere and everywhere

Friday 5 June 2015

Baggage reclaim

Nothing comes back unbroken, unopened, whole -
the way it was on the carousel before.
You see it clearly the first time, crumpled, small
unimpressive, turned inward in withdrawal,
no markers signifying it as yours.

You always label or tie a ribbon -
lurid, impossible to overlook
but there’s not a muted colour even
not a thread on it, as it is given
to the belt where you wait on tenterhooks.

It could easily belong to someone else -
they look the same, bits of dark plastic and zips
lined up nose to tail, on darker carousels.
A tired trooper that quietly chronicles
each wound and triumph of your several trips.

Who predicts what falls apart in transit? -
which ribbons and what colours come undone.
For all you know you’ll stand right beside it
and recognition will come in lurching fits
as the carousel empties one by one.

Your cases don’t always come neatly tied -
there are no yellow ribbons around the tree;
not a single special knot's there to guide.
There’s just this crumpled bag, an endless ride
on a loop of blackness, till you pluck it free.

Because I find myself suddenly travelling...Wish you happy reunions with your loved ones that you are meeting this Friday/weekend.