Disgruntled slump set
in these not-yet-creaking bones,
shuttered display cases
show how I can hide from you:
othered, but an exhibit.
The schoolmates, having grown up from the past,
Streets ahead vast, they hold hands, walking fast.
Old white man in a straw hat at boarding
With his last pot of honey, walking fast.
Swells of round hips can push a path through crowds;
If asked, she’d say the key is walking fast.
Cities are crawling over the thick jungle
Earthen crust never masters walking fast.
Peeling from glass, the café sign flutters
At half-mast; still the queue is walking fast.
This is where your ‘can’ becomes a ‘must’ –
How dastardly that time was born walking fast!
Fern says: never fish for hope in airspace,
The lines you cast are walking, walking fast.
I poured a bottle of death
Like cleansing solvent
A cork-stopped vintage fluid.
The shapes of faces
I only grasped skin-deep;
Of identification in the shredder;
It dissolved –
Left my workspace cleared, but
I did not dissolve myself.
I live in a room of ambiguous walls:
Walls bearing dubious expressions,
Where lines of light and dark are blending
Making it hard to make out friend or foe.
I don’t know what to make of this all.
I do believe the plaster paint
That peels when I’m not looking
Hides something solid, albeit
Of a different shade.
But when I chart a map of this place
The points swarm on the page, like ants
And the contours, they dizzy me;
So dizzying it is to map our shallow surfaces.
Between bleeding trees
I wander without a map
Only wind to guide me, and
Pale sun in often patches
Gold fragments on clay forest.
I won’t come out now,
It’s too soon – winter’s first snow
Is yet to fall here;
Shadows light the branching trees
Smearing away the dirt path.
They tell me death is the maker
Of all strength, corpses imbue me
With rigor mortis as they fall.
I do not accept this parting gift.
Letting it slide through gaps
Between translucent fingers.
They put a beat to my heartbeat:
A finger on the pulse of the world
Is a telephone line, I hang up.
I analyse literary lines, and find
They all say the same things.
I do not say anything.
I say: grief is an oscillating wave –
There is nothing I can save.
There is nothing I must save.
They spend their lives
Trying to find
A rarer coffin
Trying to preserve
Their tastes and preferences
In the process of
Who will deny themselves
When where they will go
We are the road
Pinched tight and hanging
From the fingertips of fate.
We are the ever-churning circle.
We run the mountains;
We crush the borders,
We live, we die
And we deny
We are a road
Pinched tight and narrow
Between fingers squeezed in hate.
We are an ever-turning circle.
We will be nothing else.
Glass keeps the mould out
Where my family sits, and I
Not quite yet myself
In the off-white dress.
My cousins smile,
Their parents all are smiling
Grandparents are, too,
With a boy cocooned in the centre,
Feet dangling off the ground.
Many ghosts linger
From a pale and mouldless past
A picture tells a thousand words
But which ones, which ones?
Sadness in the eyes is all-consuming.
There’s only so much that
One pair of hands can do.
A pair of eyes can do so much
Just tuning in, tuning out
Likewise with the ears, the nose
And the skin with which to feel the silence.
But the world is not measured
In eyes, in ears, in skin
In lemon drops on the tongue, it is
Causal chains, like inedible pearls
Concrete on every street all-consuming.