Monday 25 January 2016

Another way to return

You still go back panicked, groping the old songs,
blinded in tunnels, to soothe your roughed-up
spirit. The muddy river comes along
in broken down wooden barges, loved up

smooth old piers, worn rusted cranes dipping
their necks into the water, and no-one
comes to greet you, and no-one is gripping
fingers tight in comfort, lifting your burden.

You can hear the sunlight playing, somewhere
on the waters, a cowherd with cattle;
but here it’s just four small, chocolate squares
of light on blank concrete, and static crackle.

The news comes on in the evening, and it’s
floating seaweed, there’s gunfire in the distance
mushrooms of smoke and dust on wizened targets
and faces still lean out, clenched in resistance,

and refugees are portioned, as if we’re
barbecue nations. You don’t know if Suzanne
will show you her harbours, if she’ll let you near
the river’s wavelength, or if she at all, can.

A lot of things top-of-mind today.  First off, I'll be returning to the  A-Z, and no two ways about that. The sign up is today. Not only will I be participating, I am in deeper than previously this year because I am a Ninja Minion on Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh's team. (If I knew the exact emoticon to express the yayness I would totally insert it here. But since I don't, just fill it in yourself)  I am also all signed up to participate in the Colours of Life Poetry Festival scheduled for mid-April, which is a(n offline) poetry event in my local community.

It's the fifth anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution today, so my friends there are very much on my mind too. Hope it goes safe and smooth and that they each get what they wish for in 2016, politically and otherwise.

Anyways, the upshot is - April is going to be a superbly amazing month! Can't-wait-but-also-love-the-waiting-and-working-writing-researching-rehearsing-part emoticon here. 

Have a great week!

Monday 18 January 2016

Just one face

Time wrings the beauty out of everything -
the morning now just shattered shards of light,
the depth of darkness sucked off from the night,
the moon crushed, forlorn, like a crumpled mothwing.

The road’s shell shocked, the world’s a drunken camp,
the heart of workdays stifling, oppressive,
the weekends frazzled with no rest to give,
the days hamster wheels, the sun a rubber stamp.

Just one face in the crowd means breathe and dream;
just one glance, one word can forge a connect.
Just one face missing and decades are wrecked
and years become an angsty high-pitched scream.

We either speak too soon or speak too late;
the chance knocks once and does not know to wait.

Thursday 14 January 2016

The trick of a clothes horse

There’s a full length mirror, and a clothes horse
and as I look up suddenly, it seems
someone’s standing next to me, but of course
there’s no one there. A trick of light. A dream.

There’s no-one standing here, just empty sleeves
stirring as if they’d still go around me;
it’s only a short-lived spasm of half-sleep
an image conjured by solitude, a leap
of faith and air, transient, imaginary.

It’s only an empty coat, and the one
who wore it is never going to walk in.
A throb of air and light, a reflection
behind a silvered glass. Soon the dark will thin
dispersing the solace of illusion
as if it’s nothing; nor has ever been.

Sunday 10 January 2016

Bearing witness

I’m not at that bedside when life ebbs from it,
I’m not at the riverbank when the pyre’s lit.
But I’m lessened all the same wherever I am,
and I bear witness in the way my life permits.

And I bear witness to each of those lonely trips,
to the vast, unending silence of silent lips.
I hold it cradled within the heart of my life
through every throb of happiness and all hardships.

A close and a favourite relative has passed away back home and I do not have the heart today to craft and polish fancy metaphors.  Writing it as it comes, the good (and there was much good, he was such a lively and fun person that just hearing his voice was a mood-lift! Really, he could give the term joie-de-vivre an inferiority complex!), the bad, and the ugly.  His daughter is making a lonely trip today, the loneliest possible, starting out from USA to India, the longest and the most terrible of journeys for anybody, and although I can't be with her as I want to be, I am there in spirit. Remembering, honouring, celebrating and mourning him every step of the way.

Monday 4 January 2016

Back at the tavern

Because I might face hardship ahead, should I stop?
my loved ones cannot come always alongside me;
forget the tavern, not even to the corner shop,
but the tavern doesn’t yet know how to be empty.

The winemakers distil the wine, slow drop by drop,
each glass is filled to its level by the saki
and each patron comes to claim his usual spot -
an empty tavern seat’s still a rarity.

I may dither all day whether to go or not -
the spaces shrink or expand as the need may be;
the tables are few, but the benches find space, allot
each one a place, squeeze them in or seat them easy.

The saki too serves the same level, the same wine
whether I drink with strangers; or friends of mine.

Friday 1 January 2016

Let's start with a blank page...

The year stumbles on old cobblestones,
slip-slides a bit, loses its footing
the hour comes with anxious undertones
a nervous sidestep when no one’s looking
hold its face steady and never betray
the minor flaw that spoils the symmetry -
the old year’s more than its last day
the new  more than omens and augury
shut the frantic pulses of blood and bones
and nip the fears, let the hopes hang free
a year comes and a year turns away
and somewhere between a fresh start’s lurking.

Happy New Year 2016!