The flavour of unravelled time

What did they do before fear? Before god? Did
people kneel? Press palms together? Or was it
just the inexorable beauty of dusk that dried
their mouths and fired their loins, stars stuck
in their molars, thighs tight together, ankles
twisted around roses so red they must have
bloomed from the mortal wound of the earth?

Mornings, before its sores are visible, before
the gangrene in its cracks begins to reek, this
city becomes the line of separation between
fear and hope. Its roads lift up from the
edges of crumbling sidewalks, grab your
feet, the sky impales pre-light into your
eyes, your body crumples like a promise that
should never have been made. The daytime
moon holds your throat and plucks from it
like a beastly silver bird, the undigested
remains of a thousand generations that
tastes of wings and bones and milk and the
knees of sinners scraped against the asphalt.

Fear has the flavour of unravelled time, of
frozen bile, of unspoken language, the rhythm
of footsteps matching the slap of ocean on
shore. Before there was life, did death kneel?
Press its hips together? Raise the arms of the
unborn sun like a praying mantis destined to
be crushed by a wayward shoe? Mornings, this
city becomes the line of separation between
yesterday and the road that never ends.

 

The City Poems – #3
(The City Poems- #2)
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38 thoughts on “The flavour of unravelled time

  1. I was hooked by the title, Rajani, and then unravelled by the questions! I love the lines:
    ‘…Or was it
    just the inexorable beauty of dusk that dried
    their mouths and fired their loins, stars stuck
    in their molars…’
    and
    ‘… The daytime
    moon holds your throat and plucks from it
    like a beastly silver bird, the undigested
    remains of a thousand generations that
    tastes of wings and bones and milk and the
    knees of sinners scraped against the asphalt’.
    A perfect ending, too!

    Like

  2. Really a beautiful exploration of time….a beautiful poetic journey throughout, and when I finished it I went right back and read the whole thing again to savor it even more!

    Like

  3. I can’t help but think of an ouroboros, but the self-cannibalistic aspect of it’s myth seems to be the most prevalent aspect. I imagine it also devours anything unwary that happens to be near it as well.

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  4. the almost unbroken narrative of each verse is just like a walk in the city – the thoughts that follow footsteps though yours are so intricately imaginative:
    “ankles
    twisted around roses so red they must have
    bloomed from the mortal wound of the earth?”.

    Like

  5. At first i resisted the idea of ‘before fear’…but then that image of the moon and the reminder of hope…the ‘before’ of many mornings…just reached out and caught me.

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  6. O how thin is that line of separation of which you speak at the end of your poem! So thin that someone simply wandering at random through the city might miss it completely.

    Like

  7. “Or was it
    just the inexorable beauty of dusk that dried
    their mouths and fired their loins, stars stuck
    in their molars, thighs tight together, ankles
    twisted around roses so red they must have
    bloomed from the mortal wound of the earth?”

    This is absolutely phenomenal writing, Rajani!! 💜 Wowww!! 💜

    Like

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