All the inversions: friday night and I set a
memory on a skin of spilt beer, feet touching
feet, head two body lengths away, unseen,
suddenly truth is a connection between soles.
Every morning for twenty years, mama took
three buses to work. The radius of childhood,
measured by wheel on wheel on a clouded film
of yesterday’s rain. Which wheel is real when
we talk of the past? Later, putting me to sleep,
the night reflected in her tears: two formless
skies collapsing into one. A false singularity.
Darkness, a perfect mirror of darkness.
Image by Omid Armin (Picture prompt provided by Visual Verse)
First published on Visual Verse (Vol 07, Chapter 4)
Finally sent something out this year and am glad it found a home. Visual Verse has great picture prompts and I love ekphrastic poetry but it also pulls together a gorgeous contributor page ! Just realized I’ve had 14 poems published there!
There must be many gods up there, yours, mine, the god
of unbelievers. Used to be easier. All people wanted was
to be safe from life, from death, from gods. Now infinite
prayers litter the space between lips and stars. But
prayers are not gods. They need feathers and hollow
bones and ways to breathe. And ways to survive till they
find the right god. The skies are crowded like the
vegetable market on Sunday morning. We slithered and
jostled through curses and shoulders and sweat to find
the best mangoes. It was the lunar new year. We prayed
for twelve months of happiness. We got two. That prayer
must have broken a wing or run out of air or died in a
stampede of buoyant yearnings. Maybe you were saying
something that day. Maybe I couldn’t hear in the din.
Even gods can’t hear in the Sunday market with every
single person crying out for something. Used to be easier.
Image by NASA (Picture prompt provided by Visual Verse)
First published on Visual Verse (Vol 06, Chapter 5)
Afterwards is the number of steps it took to
get home, afterwards is an empty home.
Afterwards is washing that has to be brought
in before sunset, dinner that has to be
cooked, bills that have to be paid, afterwards
is hearing the word ‘obituary’ as if for the
first time and wondering why words like
it – estuary and sanctuary – are about peaceful
places. Afterwards is falling asleep on the
couch because the room you slept in for 27
years is suddenly too cold, the TV still on
because silence is no longer a choice. Afterwards
is breaking the present into tolerable pain and
denial, recasting the past into unrelated
memories and denial, framing tomorrow into
impossibilities and denial. Afterwards is a
phone call you cannot make, a god you cannot
forsake. Afterwards is every moment you spend
forgetting that the blood on the officer’s uniform
came from a body you can no longer hold.
Image by Norbu Gyachung (Picture prompt provided by Visual Verse)
There is a cyclical monotony to remorse. We fail,
we fall, we begin again, hoping each time for a
different ending. We learn this from the sky.
It turns murky and desperate. Cleanses its insides.
Weeps. Finds itself unchanged in the morning.
Resets its congenital angst. Wouldn’t you like
to look up and find something different, it asked,
in all seriousness, one night. There is a surreal
potency in telling the sky about the waning
moon. In seeing its eyes widen. In watching it shift,
uncovering a few more stars. Unveiling another
moon. Will this make you happy, it asks, bemused.
Does it matter, I counter, in the sudden light,
but it can no longer hear me. I follow new stars,
they too are whirling. In the morning, they will be
gone. Hidden from different eyes. I will sit by the
window, waiting for the sky to turn dark again.
Image by Matt Boyce (Picture prompt provided by Visual Verse)
Isn’t it strange how things unravel anticlockwise in the
night, as if thoughts, blindfolded, spiral homeward into
the past? In the morning, even in the half-glow of dawn,
you can float away from yourself, changing their direction,
the end of the trembling dark clutched tight in your hand,
deliberately unwinding pain through a labyrinth of forced
possibilities. Time, then, is just a cruel trick of the light.
Or maybe, love is. I remember lying on our backs on the
sand, the sky close, beginning at the end of our skin,
stars finding the hollows under our nails, clouds moving
in dextral whorls around a proximate moon. Or maybe we
were just looking at it wrong. Maybe it was day. Maybe it
was us whirling and there was one nebulous cloud in the
centre blurring the sun. Maybe we weren’t next to each
other, a deception of trajectory and distance and touch,
the twisted path a long way to reach an inevitable end.
Image by Anthony Jon Tyson (Picture prompt provided by Visual Verse)
Even that god,
fleeing a burning heaven,
sheets of fiery air,
paused for a moment,
The skies he had made
for birds and dreams and
the echo of temple bells
were scarred by the breath
of death laden wings
and the sounds of children falling.
Even that god
looking down at what was left
of truth, of earth,
of life, of the living,
he had nowhere
else to go.
Even that god.
Image by Anthony Intraversato (Picture prompt provided by Visual Verse)
First published on Visual Verse (Vol 05, Chapter 06)
It is the measure of incongruence, the horizon askew,
the wind running amok, the sullen moon a flushed
pink, the world at war with its children, dead in school
yards, drowned in thirsty seas, broken under the rubble
of endless hate. I see you flinch as you read the headline,
another five year old raped and dumped on the side of
the road; a curious fly slips in through the screen door and
surveys the remains of a chocolate muffin as the silence
seeps into the bones of another day that will not begin.
A nameless bird looks out, the words to its song forgotten
in the morning sun; it would make sense, it would all make
sense if the earth had succumbed and spun astray, a flaccid
ball untethered from its orbit, or if all of creation, swathed
in mournful black was biting down on the last trees to stop
itself from screaming. I hear you start the car, I hear it
cough, again, again, as if our air is too toxic to breathe in.
First published on Visual Verse (Vol 05, Chapter 05)
Click on the link to see their picture prompt.
My poem ‘Another Me‘ has been published on Visual Verse (Chapter 2 of Vol 5, Nov 2017).
There is another me
made of plastic and sunset glow,
how long has it been since we paid
that price at the river bank, things like
innocence and a wedge of forever after,
waves leaping up for a lick of molten
light, then falling into the nameless
dark of their own creation,
when it was over, when redemption was
washed away by the summer rain, we built
a new me from plastic and sunset glow,
with twilight darkened eyes
and a smile painted with a rain-touched dawn,
a soul stitched from words that should
never have been said, and we taught her,
oh how we taught her, that the river
was the same as love and love was the
same as a sinking moon and the moon
was always the same as inconstant hurt.
Some ekphrastic poetry today. Add to the thousand words the picture already says! Find an image that inspires you and write about it using any form of micropoetry. Share your poem using comments or Mister Linky.
This poem was just published at Visual Verse (Chapter 1 of Vol 5, Nov 2017).
I haggled like a regular
at a Turkish bazaar,
who pays top rate
for used things anyway,
see that verdigris
inching around the bottom?
He gave it to me in the end
in an oily brown paper bag,
the smell of the past
still trapped in it.
It wasn’t until later,
the wine still warm in my hand,
the moon in my throat,
that I let the tears fall.
After all, alone can be lonely
even in the company
of a battered
You come to me on salt crusted knees, your green
eternity throbbing against my cold ephemera
as my vision moults in a reverse alchemy
that corrodes your gold to velvet pitch,
you bring your unending pretensions to
godliness, you question my faith, what will you
be without my perception, how will you measure
your foreverness without my fleeting gaze,
who leaves and who remembers, who bears more
the visceral rub of the changing moon, know that
I am the child of an imploded star, a burst of
causal consciousness, yet you who swallow
rivers and corrupt rain, you who bed the sun
and awaken time, who will wait for you on these
naked shores when I am gone, who will tell you
what your wetness really means?