No one knows how to heal our broken world,
barely held together by twisted concertina
wire. We made enough to circle the night.
Several times. How else will we protect us
from ourselves? How will we decide which
side is free? Truth burns blue on the pyre,
it’s final act of resistance is to choose if
it should turn into smoke or ash. Then why
does the air still reek of toxic optimism?
Aren’t bright eyes and unbidden cheer
frightening in the dark? I push his hand away.
Hope, I tell him, is just another four-letter
word. He laughs, his breath oddly warm,
frankly, what other option do you have?
Break open a poem and time spills out, not
quite like sand from a fist, too small, too tight;
not quite like rain from a cloud that has drifted
too long — break open a moment within a word,
within a line, and all the moments before it spill
out, not quite like the blur from a speeding train:
the contained is rarely smaller than its container –
possession is only a manner of being. Break open
this night, hold its screams apart, see, all the things I
thought I could bear, can no longer bear themselves.
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
we build bigger
so we can feel smaller –
somehow the small are not accountable
for their smallness, benevolence
is the burden of the unsmall – our gods
are big, straddling skies and
holding up universes,
anything as large as a truth
is more than we are
obliged to bear: lies, on the
other hand, are weightless.
The Temple by Tomasz Zaczeniuk
Used with permission. Instagram fotowizjer
Written for a picture prompt at Real Toads that requires a 55 word response.
Oh, our truth may be malleable, but you can’t accuse
us of deliberate perjury. We bend with the wind of
self-preservation. Isn’t that our elemental mandate?
We dress in convenient falsehoods. Our masks wear
masks. Reality is a lover we scorn by day and take to
our beds at night, so the pain will comfort our
numbness. We strut like naked emperors bearing
our crowns of opportunism. Truth itself is complicit.
If it wished, verity could fill the light in its vertiginous
ascent to the sky. Are we water that we will harden
or disappear just to accommodate the whim of the
weather? No, our forbearance has no preordained
horizon. Our certitudes have disclaimers. We don’t
fear death, we are afraid of being forgotten. Our
last honest confession could have been hunger, but
we have long learnt to quietly swallow our pride.
the winter of becoming-
that which was a leaf
is now a lie
Elaine Patricia Morris who writes at Watermelonseeds introduced me a couple of days ago to a form called ‘Naani’. This is a four line poem containing 20-25 syllables invented by an Indian poet, Dr. N. Gopi, who writes in the Telugu language. I did some hunting and found parts of an English translation of the book he wrote called Naneelu (The Little Ones).
So with a hat tip to Elaine and Celestine Nudanu, here’s my first shot at this new form!
Share your micropoem (of any size, shape or form) through the comments section or Mister Linky!
Nothing is random,
not even thoughts.
Last night I imagined we were talking,
Aren’t we little gods
with our little universes,
our secrets imploding
like stars within us.
The smell of new rain
on old parched earth,
stirring all that we
forgot to remember.
Everything we don’t know
fills the sky above,
I feel your fingers
tighten around mine.
It’s a race to the finish
between climate and war,
who will tell the girl
poised on the hopscotch square?
just you and me and Kafka
and a half bottle of wine
the half moon decides to drop in
there was ocean spray reaching for the sky
and footprints scurrying after the emptiness,
they should have wrought ballads on eternity and ephemera,
on opaque time and transcendental light,
something about a grain of sand
and how the part is a manifestation of the whole
or maybe it is the other way round,
at least a verse or two about ungrateful moon tides
or karmic gratification of the raspy brine,
maybe love or yearning, definitely yearning,
but even the waves here are resurrected in silence,
the beach is a wordless graveyard,
the sea an unspeakable womb,
the horizon stretches like a blank line, unreachable,
what need do we have, the wind asks,
for another poem,
everything is said, anyway, each sunset,
here, throw away your lying pen,
wrap the darkness around your unfaithful eyes,
they see what they want to see,
make them listen.
Update: Elizabeth at SoulsMusic has written a poem inspired by a couple of lines from this one. She calls it Grain of Sand.
but you are the universe
claiming creation and beauty,
perfection even in inexplicable asymmetry,
the culmination of the gross and the sublime
into the one truth,
yet your addiction to the dark,
to destruction, to endings,
drunk on your own fire,
tell me how you explain this to your friends,
what cotton candy horrors are your dreams made of,
is that why you can never find stillness,
here, try inhaling your own sunrises,
there are moments watching you
I can forget you are there,
forget that you matter,
pause then, sit cross legged and close your eyes,
let go of me,
for a while, let me not exist.