is to see
how it’s not a good idea
to get too attached to things,
as they change for the less
But somewhere, just I
can hear a child crying
to go back
I keep telling myself to ignore it, as
it should’ve been dead by now.
It’s often instinctive for the mind to inhabit, at once,
separate realities, so much as to detach from the present
and momentarily find oneself
strange and acquaintances alien.
The nerves keep their habit
of stretching thin and breaking inaudibly,
every chance they get.
And long have I failed to count
of strange persons
wandering the cramped foundations of this cranium.
At times, this inward space
is all too little
for me alone. Yet,
a constant foreboding of voices
so imminent that I can forever almost.. hear them,
fills.. fills all my space past brimming!! till
there’s no longer room for me to exist, save
at small talk, except
with animals and people I’ve
grown to trust, and see
no harm. I keep
my distance and observe
how someone acts around
authority, before deciding if
comes reading whether their
shifting sounds and varied gesticulations
could somehow amount to an idea
of actual merit
or substance, besides
exaggeration and charm, to
their petty, sycophantic agendas.
been too long
since a time I lived
out of hiding... yet
now witness all wit
and slowly beyond
the reach of my expression, when
I find that I can't be honest, which
stems from an abiding threat
of dire repercussion, were I
to freely speak the mind. This
world, to a great extent, is
built on bloated egocentricities
that hunger most
for further aggrandizement; and
for a life of liability
and quite limited means, it becomes
must! be sterilized
by constant inward rehearsals, until
the paranoid self
may deem it safe for permitted discourse.
But it isn't quick, is
never easy and rarely works out
the way one imagines, and more often
I find it too late
to come back with a
*socially acceptable* retort, as
the violence of my aborted voice
is smothered beneath an agonized reticence.
are rather bright, the
floor carpeted, clean;
the people mostly
young, spry, kempt; the
windows clear, scenery usual,
this white ceiling tiled
and uniformly lit, the air
should be no cause
for discomfort. I’m acquainted
with some. They slip in and out
of sight. We speak at times, of
urgent or unnecessary things.
At times, I rise and
wander in unintended search
for something I can’t identify, but find
missing. I push
myself to wonder. I try
evaporate in memory. I discern
the inside of
a familiar room,
with all its
the decked and mirrored
dresser, two towering steel
wardrobes, a high table behind me,
laden bookshelves, the shine from
a floor with hypnotic, fibonacci spirals
etched on each square plate of mosaic,
the red, parted curtains along the many
open windows, and a huge double bed with
enough crawlway for trunks to be stowed
while tiny children played; beside it,
a narrow thoroughfare to a balcony,
the strong-willed matriarch in her fifties,
soaking the early-morning sun
and sieving grains of rice, while
her husband, a fragile man of care,
kindness, and lighthearted banter, smiles
as he sees me there, when
in the adjacent hall, my
causal pair engage each other
in hearty conversation, and nothing
is or could go
must’ve been minutes
of walking without a sense
of time, place, or presence,
until I stopped to gaze about
this bustling metropolis,
with its resplendent sights and glowing people
that never were essential;
…where is that room?
…where are those people?
…are they here somewhere?
…within the walls I now call home?
exists no longer!
my people.. breathe too less.
Around me, in this moment,
is no one
I tried to figure what I’d say
if we met again, impossibly somehow.
It was easier
in the realm of dreams,
where it wasn’t strange that
our home had become
one gigantic, spinning carousel, with
otherworldly light gleaming unto the night,
from its endlessly tilted, snaking windows
that spun faster and faster
as I circled the outer walls, while
our neighborhood disappeared into darkness.
And then, I opened what I presumed to be eyes,
to a lit room, with no source of apparent light.
There were shelves, lots of them, with
bizarre tin toys, gizmos, thingamagigs. The ceiling
was close enough to touch, yet not oppressive
at all. And then
there were strings
of tiny, twinkling bulbs along the arches
leading past a door to another matching room, then
another and another till I found you seated, reading peacefully.
You rose, then walked me further in, and I said
that I loved what he’d done with the place.
and kept walking me to the beginning
of another disenchanted morning.
where I’ve been living
for years now, from moment
to moment in precarious enthrallment
of endless chaotic, flickering, fleeting destinations decided
by the fitful eye of the mind, rummaging relentlessly
to submerge itself in warmer waters of safer memories, while feeling them
ceaselessly funnel, drawn unto colder moors of perpetual forgetfulness, oft
confusing some true past
with imagined moments
of surreal, impossible juxtapositions
of disparate times and realities, while
lessons learnt had turned too clichéd to take seriously
long ago, as companion travellers dismounting their common carriage
at unforeseen and unchangeable stops, one by one,
to disappear soon and surely into the rear distance till
part of an indifferent horizon,
one by one,
another after another,
as long and as surely as the rails run ahead and as sure
as some truisms ring that despite all endearment, the traveller
is essentially alone; condemned, where it matters, to never truly return;
destined, when it matters, to never really leave.
And if you look
closer, the street
had always stretched to the floor
of your living room, for soles
in restless transit. And soon,
we find it is to be left
with less and less, the more
one learns abandon. By now,
you’re used to spectacles
of homes becoming houses and
live farther away, but dwell
in missing memorabilia.
It is nature, in
all probability, that
tells us to leave things broken
when there’s too little left
to make them whole. And the street
will last longer than the strays
asleep on the sidewalk, as our rooms
are meant to outlast us. So,
before things cease to matter,
to have our own hands
tear down the deserted manors
of our own damage, than
see them annexed
and reclaimed by the lasting reign
of grime and green.
‘is’ – exists
entirely in the mind; and
would be absent in entirety
from it. And
any lingering presence
in the world outside, would
be rendered new,
and alien to memory.
of just one’s memory
the complete excision of the individual
from the existence of the other.
or repressed – would
to engender… old existence – if
mined, disinterred and wrought
as newer life..
From Book IV
are strange as the nights,
where I can’t help revisiting
the absurdity.. of your defeat..
it seems, then,
a rather good idea
to visit some
snow – an evening
with a small handgun,
have it loaded, listen
for the ‘click’ – as
the hammer’s cocked; then
hold it backwards,
point the barrel
right down between
the eyes – straight up
the middle, and gently
slip a calm thumb
before the easeful trigger,
lean delectably into
the freezing metal muzzle..
And it’s all fixed..
it all… gets better…
goes back the way
it was always
and no more
fucking eVERYTHing!! up..
end up nowhere…
unconscious of being
From Book IV
is just a word,
will have the chance
to tell somebody,
are everything I could have salvaged
From Book IV
Down the lines
I’d move into
a one-room apartment
close to work
and closer to travel, with
barely a window, hardly a view and
seldom have it mopped, but
have those shirts
dry-cleaned and routinely pressed,
reread escaping books,
revisit reruns and
stranger passing screens among
the angles.. each
with the same ceiling.. and
in time, get restless and visit
or two – which
I’m not sure you
only get lonelier… to turn
to the reeds, needles and white;
then quit the drugs,
then give up whisky,
then stop smoking and
to time to test
how much I can take, though
I doubt I’d be able to do it
as you did.
you and I, but
each of us
a woman, whom
in our different ways, as
in theirs, and
that everyone learned
by themselves, though
it’s us – you
and I, who couldn’t
care or smile
From Book IV
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The Magic Man
A parent can be a number of things to a child, but it’s rare to find a heartless parent. Their unconditional care is neither something to be taken for granted, nor feel entitled to, though most of us have always been guilty of making these mistakes. Growing up, my perception of my father was one of mixed understanding. He was considered by most to be a decentred individual who wasted his talent and potential in favor of addiction, a brilliant man of many vices and harbinger of suffering to his family. However, despite his many faults, he was to me a man of singular kindness, who tried to shield me from his own darker nature during my formative years. Upon a time when both he and I were stripped of our guardians, he took it upon himself to set aside his dreams and predispositions, and did whatever it took, within his hard-earned and meagre means, to provide me with an education. Reducing himself to a human being with fewer and fewer needs, he became a bulwark that protected and sustained me in times of dearth, uncertainty, and emotional upheaval, and largely made me the man I am today.
This book was written in the days, weeks, and months following the sudden and unexpected death of my father. The poems venture into inconsolable symptoms of loss, grief, guilt, regret, memory, madness, absurd irreversibility, chimerical conjurings, and reigning despair. You may not find much comfort here, dear reader, if you should so choose to read this book.
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Every street lamp that I pass
Beats like a fatalistic drum,
And through the spaces in the dark
Midnight shakes the memory
As a madman shakes a dead geranium.
T. S. Eliot—Rhapsody on a Windy Night