Sunday waiting for twilight
smoky eyes tell tales that dead
men never sought, or when they found
discovered gave not rest but barnacle
laden ships for fools who found glitter
where hoarded treasure lies.
If I could see you again,
I would tell you that sunsets
come faster than train rides.
Light floods through. In here. Empty rooms. Empty visions? Not at all. A room can be cluttered like a soul, barring the light from entering. Oppressive darkness. A lack of vision.
Sometimes, there’s just enough light through the shadows that you can see the bars that keep you walled in. But you move on with “life,” to more clutter, the light murkier, your vision cloudy.
Sometimes I can see just enough to see the dust motes like heavy grey snow falling on me.
I wonder if I could to see clearly, would I be grey too?
“To stir up those feelings was painful for her; but she knew all the same that that was the best part of her soul, and that it was quickly being overgrown in the life she led.”
Not that I would have changed anything.
But would I have had I known?
A wife, mother lost to snake bites
of desire achieved,
then like tinsel on party favors
left on the dustheap of regret?
Like a farmer at the plow in the spring,
does the lover know why she rushes out
at midnight in the pale glow of the moon?
The season comes and goes, and like a sleepwalker
roused at last I wake to what has been wrought.
But I do not dare to look
for fear at what the seeds sown
will bear, I know for ill,
like poison fruit that ripen
in the summer sun
and fall over the untended grave.
(This short story was written originally as part of a larger composition but found to be better as a stand-alone.)
It was the twelfth year of the reign of Suri and the time of the festival of renewal was at its height. Already the monsoon-laden clouds were rolling in from the east and the winds spoke of the magic of the old gods who rode the storms across the mountain ranges of the Indian Ghats to cleanse and water the waiting earth. Their goodwill was propitiated by the blood of the king or Samorin, every twelfth year, as the Aryan overlords who called themselves priests watched with complacent irony. The cyclical death of the Samorin meant that their own power never diminished and each new Samorin had to curry their favor to solidify his control.
But the old gods were being replaced.
Continue reading “Betrayal”
Don’t look too hard
Don’t try to see
What people hide
Or what they don’t
Their looks, their talk,
Won’t tell you anything.
The least you do
Should be to run
From all that they desire.
Their demons could be yours
Their follies your death knell.
But this you must
Take care to do
Give all you can to them
Of good that has been given you
By immortal hands in heaven.
Then you’ll see just enough
With no harm to you.
Verse written while reading René Girard’s I See Satan Fall Like Lightning.
Carting the bricks up to the substandard well construction
the child staggers, the man watches, the woman stares.
Is it your well? I want to ask the child.
No, she replies. Yours.
I look down at my iPhone.
She looks back.
Who are you?
The yogurt man laughs. Another fortune squandered.
An island. A brick. A world at the bottom of a well.
Dreams tempt us into an alternate reality but variously reveal our own reality in the process. Our fears, our desires, our passions form a cryptic landscape that hold us in thrall until we snap out of the dream or plan our escape.
Continue reading “Dreamscape”
Do you prefer immigrant or expatriate? Perhaps it sounds shallow, even facetious.
I’m not sure, especially when I read words like these:
Do not weep for the dead or mourn for him,
But weep continually for the one who goes away;
For he will never return
Or see his native land.¹
I suppose immigrant implies a willing choice. Expatriate, an enforced emigration. But what if you were a child and the decision was made for you? Or what if you willingly left to find a job, a livelihood, an opportunity unavailable in your place of birth when otherwise you would have stayed?
What are you then?
Immigrant. Expatriate. They both mean loss. The inevitable result of the first loss: Eden.
¹Jeremiah 22:10, New American Standard Bible
Are stories just another way of wondering out loud?
I don’t usually talk out loud to myself, but when I do, usually when surprised or overwhelmed, and I’m caught doing it, I become embarrassed and self-conscious.
Now writing is not exactly like that. You’re putting words on the screen or on paper, not exactly chattering out loud, and it is deliberate, and it is with an audience in mind.
But while one part of your mind is clearly aware that these words that are just another form of dreaming out loud your imaginings and wonderings will eventually be for public consumption, another part of you is just you going deeper into yourself to create a space, a moment, a wonder to dwell in, like a daydream.
An author honest enough to do this, rather than just create cookie-cutter, boilerplate, market-tested products, reveals a lot of themselves. Which is why writing to such an author is a vulnerable exercise, a mixed blessing, a moment caught wondering out loud.
Behind the teacup
secrets dance on your smile
disappearing over the rim
your gaze falling soft
jealous breezes curling fragrant streams
composed in tune with silent thoughts.
Behind the teacup
I watch you as you watch me
senses filled like falling dew
the wildness of Darjeeling mists
swelling heat, burning tongue
hoping for more than a poet’s muse.
Is there a definition of traditional that everyone can agree on? Perhaps the only one that works revolves around tradition being the way things are usually done. Safe. Circumscribed.
But poetry exists in its own special place unconfined by tradition. From the beginning of human history people have given it permission to escape its borders, like a wildfire. If it ever became tame, it would no longer be poetry. It would lose its flame, its mystery, its power.
The Irish poet W. B. Yeats describes it beautifully in the second part of his essay, “Poetry and Tradition” (1907):
Continue reading “Yeats: Poetry and Tradition”