The Tour

And we sign up for the tour of the museum
of horrors. Expertly curated, the brochure
invites — the special exhibits are ravaged
war zones, starving children, the burning
taiga, the occupied territories, the eroded
beaches, the nameless prisons, the extinct
species, the endless lines of humans fleeing
one hell for another. We grab our audio
guides and wait to be told what we should
see. How we should see what we think we
see. Leave your belongings at the gate, a
disinterested voice directs, as we stuff the last
of our humanity in a locker and enter, cokes
and burgers clutched to our chests, the water
rising above our ankles, the plastic key card
choking the universe through our lined pockets.

For the midweek prompt at Poets United: ‘Museum’

 

Water to Water – on Amazon

 

Advertisements

Afterthought

I was a cat then
and now I am this
nine births removed —

beside me, the tree,
that is still a tree,
watches a fragrant
jasmine creeper
climb up its roots to
seduce the decrepit
moon. It knows —

a single bee
hangs in the
unmoving air
like an unpleasant
truth —

trying to be human
damages the soul so
it can no longer be
recycled, washing up
on a faraway shore,
killing the fish
that ignorantly
race to feed upon
its unbroken bits —

a single flower
falls on the earth
where we lie,
the cat and I
together, nine deaths
removed —

Water to Water – on Amazon

 

She collects

broken tea cups, rescuing them all,
chipped, without handles, cracked
on the sides, at the bottom, one
split open like a skull, its eyes no
longer seeing the emptiness —

everything cannot die in a landfill,
become unrecognizable matter,
reincarnate into other utensils,
useless, freshly coloured, waiting
for a touch on a sterile shelf —

some objects have stories – of lips
they kissed, of leaves that were
picked on the low mountains, of
a song she hummed as the water
boiled, of a truth he spoke after
the second sip, that shattered
one, more than one universe —

Print/e-book on Amazon

 

Shock

I sit with my finger
pressed into my wound –
there should be pain,
there should be shock,
there should be blood.
But all I feel is a
strange sense of comfort.

I learnt this from the
earth — the way she
rips open her seams
every now and then
just to reassure herself
there’s still a fire
burning in her belly.

Print/e-book on Amazon

 

From different journeys

I travel backwards even as the rest of the train flees
in the opposite direction. The man in the opposite

seat lets a newspaper fall. We pick it up from
different journeys, fingers briefly touching. I tell

myself the earth is a sphere, the horizon is my orbit.
I will arrive where he arrives, sooner or later. Some

people traverse yesterdays better than they ford
tomorrows. The train lingers at stations. The sepia

dust dances in a light beam of failure. Mirrors still
reflect the pink regret of long ago. What if creation

had made us before it made time? What would love be
then – at this station that is both the next one and the

previous, in this moment that has passed and is still
occurring, in this vector along which I have moved and

am still waiting? I watch the man leave, the paper
under his arm, understanding and still not knowing.

Print/e-book on Amazon

Let’s wonder about other things

I question the transience of the past. I question its
existence. Doesn’t the past exist, even after it
doesn’t? Isn’t the present, the after-life of the past —
the ghostly chill that shimmers, feet-less, around
graves, in the moonlight? I struggle with tenses. We
made love. Fervent love. Now that love is an
apparition in white. Or we are. Verbs transmogrify
into waiting. Love resurrects in a purgatory of its
own creation. Let’s wonder about other things —
things we told each other, things we told ourselves,
things that were never true. What happens to lies
when they cross time-fences? How will the unreal
survive its not-being? You tell me. I can feel your
fingers scorch my skin. I tell myself I am dreaming.
I tell myself reality undid itself that night. You
tell me which tense it is – that unspoken goodbye?

Print/e-book on Amazon

But the icons fall

And that sour smell of sweat and lust extends
its slimy fingers to feel the pulsing need in
our spent carcasses. What are we after all the
goodness has been distilled out of us? What
are we when we become sediment at the bottom
of our wants? What is left after honour and god
and country and love? When there is nothing
more to fight for? When skin and lips and pain
only delay the nightmares? I burnt incense, once,
the delicacy of sandalwood and jasmine rising in
grey rings as if the path to salvation was paved
with the perfume of righteousness. But the icons
fall. Or the masks. Or the door to your soul bangs
shut and there is no escape. Ashes on the table.
You reach out again. Feel skin and lips and pain.
Darkness is four excuses away. I tried the truth,
once. What are we when we have no more lies?
Breath burns. Bodies rise and fall. You scream. The
smell of sweat and lust and nothing else to fight for.

 

Print/e-book on Amazon