Every morning, before the tentative warmth of dawn melts the waxy sleep in my eyes, before reality sails in on the contrails of a fuming orb, I grab the last dark fibres of the shredded night and fashion them into brushes. Sometimes a soft rounded brush to sweep across time’s waking face, sculpting its cheek bones, filling its dimples with a rose tinted blush, colouring its ghostly pallor with the red hue of life, drawing its cold, snake skinned lips into a welcoming smile; or hard bristles to briskly sweep away fragments of a stubborn dream that dares in vain to breach the final wall of night, or maybe the sable haired brush from my mother’s table to paint over the wrinkles, the spots, the gashes, the tears, the blood as they step one by one into the watery light.
Every morning I carry a masterpiece, restored and refined, a perfect copy of the one from yesterday, and place it carefully into the mirror of the waiting day.
kohl smudged sky
a frayed blanket still drawn over
the slumbering sun
For the haibun prompt at Dverse Poets – “Quotidian”
Where action inclines sharply towards consequence, where cause metamorphoses gently into effect, where the past plunges headlong into an everlasting present, where destiny stands with one leg digging into the unmoving earth, the other dipping into an effervescent champagne cloud, where for an instant we stop each time, eyes searching the old forked road before your feet no longer hear the sound of mine…
How often have we passed through time’s revolving door, how often have those roads led back to this endless moment, this boundless place, this unsaid word, this unpromised feeling, how often does it seem that everything has happened and will just happen again, how often do we have to leave before we learn to say goodbye?
And yet, today, my steps falter, my eyes fade, my shadow turns repeatedly to check if you are following.
who is counting
between horizon and shore
the waves that came and left
For Dverse Poets where the prompt is “farewell”
The way the tender grass welcomes the hail, even though the returning sun will only find the air smeared green with the blood from her veins. Or the way the maple drops her last leaf, her bare arms numbed by the icy winter wind. Or perhaps the way the rain gathers her skirts to tumble down the rocks, her screams unheard in the frenzy of her descent.
Does pain recoil like a defanged cobra in the face of incontrovertible truth? Of inevitable charade? Does the heart forget its angst for just a moment, feeling the tingle of its jagged edges, knowing how it felt, once, just to be alive? Does going back to that day you left, take me to the moment when the rain broke through the maple’s shade and in the wet grass, your hand reached out for mine?
little by little
the mask of day loosens
its grip on the night
For the haibun prompt at Dverse, asking us to describe how we relax.
His robe flapped against his bony legs as he trudged uphill, the night arrhythmic, the hoary cold blowing on its fingers, pensive. He had broken his stony silence only once, the monastery clinging to the cliff above us, bowing, listening, glowing a pearly white. Happiness is a constant. Everyone is handed the exact same amount. Misery on the other hand, is what you make out of your happiness. His words by now tactile, twisting sharply into carefully forgotten memories.
I stopped, breathing hard, the shadows scattering for a moment, before settling on my face, dropping sleeping leaves on my skin. I dug deep, sifting through the gravelly pain, a familiar ache beginning to spread and darken like an itinerant blood stain. After a while, a moment, a year, a lifetime, I lay back on the rocks exhausted and ripped open a bar of chocolate. He laughed and stretched out his hand, asking for his share, the moon shimmering on his palm, the monastery slipping behind a cloud, the universe converging its light into his silver joy.
caught in a tree
biding her time
For Dverse Poets where I am hosting a haibun prompt on Monday. Do join in if you can, it opens at 3PM EST.
I scrambled down the hot dun-sprayed rocks, the barren fields below me opening their shrivelled arms, drawing me in to their hollowed chests. The sky peered down, naked. Empty. Perhaps I was lost. Perhaps I wasn’t really here. Perhaps it wasn’t really there.
But the claustrophobic grip of déjà-vu tightened, I was clutching at mirages, gasping for real air. I knew these hills, that ebony raven, that banyan tree, its roots rushing to the ground with swirling memories of fresh earth and ancient petrichor. Even these bleeding scratches were familiar. I remembered the taste of swallowed screams, the blazing purple of inevitable pain.
And then I saw it. The lone cottage by the dry canal, its desolation dimming the sullen light. I pushed open the door and there he was -in the peeling paint, in the motionless curtains, in the books lined on crude wooden shelves, in my picture staring at me from his desk, in the unfinished poem waiting by the empty bed.
just the sound
of the afternoon wind
knocking, still knocking
She climbed out of the stairwell into the cold air. Sixteen floors. High enough. Below her the city slumbered, its grimy dreams threading the last breath of night and the still incubating dawn. Her mind raced haphazardly through time, sifting through the randomness of that moment for a familiar anchor. Something to hold on to as she fell.
The sun was setting and the light changed throwing dusty halos around the animals as the old woman slowly led her goats across the road. They had waited in the car till the herd disappeared into the distance, just the two of them in the twilight, wrapped in a private medley of purple and red, eternity silent, watching them through the tall trees…
Sixteen floors. She moved her foot closer to the edge.
the first spring moon
carefully serenades the rose
hiding its dark side
For Dverse Poets where the inspiration is Paulo Coelho: “At every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss.”
Indolent tongues of yellow light, peering from tired clay lamps, flicked the smooth curtain of darkness, feeling its inky texture, curious, wanting to burn a little hole in its opaque folds to unravel the mangled debris of thirty six years, that she had carefully concealed behind it.
While the fireworks floated down from the sky into her kohl tipped eyes, while the ghee from the gold flecked sweets glistened on her open lips, while the rustle of her Benaras silk fanned the shimmering dance of the seductive Diwali night, she smiled.
The truth could wait till morning.
alone on the grass
in the grey dawn rain
the crow doesn’t know it is crying
Feel this frangible sunshine, crumbling like parchment between your fingers, scattering murmuring hieroglyphs in the dark corners of your eyes. Watch the waking birds, a soundless ripple, seven lines of gold-dusted reeds and the obstinate half-sun fleeing, once more, from the serrated jaws of the cold mountains.
Open your arms and draw them close, hear the stories they whisper in your ears, bullnosed shards of eternal life, that weave through fibre and blood, hushing your voice, teasing your hair and tracing the creased questions in your eyebrows.
Walk slowly till the weariness leaves, wafting up into the silence between the tolls of the waiting bell, until the squawking schadenfreude of the back-lit ducks ebbs all at once into the unravelling quietude.
slides out of this morning
Is “yesterday” just an illegitimate construct that we apply at our convenience to the calcified remains of our aggregated past? Stubs of history that we use as tent pegs to support the waterproof shelter that we hope will shield us from the heat and storms of “tomorrow”?
Does the unbroken continuum of time lend itself to being sliced at will into portions we can comprehend and consume, topped with wedges of stone fruit we conjure in our present.
Should we, you and I, as indestructible fourteen billion year old stardust, pausing for breath in ever expanding space…should we really measure our journey in terms of time?
black wings took flight
before the dawn
of the first morning
For Dverse Poets where Bjorn quotes Khalil Gibran:”Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream”
For even the night craves the glow of the moon and the stars so he can see the broken angles of her ebony face, watch the embers drown in her pearl-hued tears, witness the gleam of her snow white knuckles as she grips the velvety dark against her nameless sorrow.
For even the night, her raven tresses flowing over the nape of her bowed head, her eyes blackened by the unfulfilled dreams of all creation, even this night with her lightless soul needs the clouded sky to open his arms so she can cry.
alone, a lament
wanders the hills,