Natal

There walked the light into the mist. Intruding. A deep mustard shade—they put hatching babies under those. They glint every night in the nurse’s eyes. Behind her, a dark window. The windows are most silent and the nights always darker in a hospital. It is a night like this. It must be getting weaker, the streetlight under which I walked. The mist nestles around it. It looks like a phantom beehive. An old man’s beard. I walk into the violet color of the night that has dropped to the road. I am under it. I am above it. And if I turn my head back, there it will be again, the light being smothered. Am I a moth?

I am most certainly not. I am a curious girl and there are very busy men in front of me. These are the photographers. Sure they wear Paparazzi hats and raincoats, but they are not your regular ones. These are disciplined. They respect the night; they are the simple stars with twinkling flashlights. An elaborate machine, a pyramid. Each man with a camera covering his face. Anonymous. Inhuman. They face a cardboard door. One they put up at school annual days. I always wanted to go to an annual-day. Can I?

‘No. No women allowed.’

It is not an annual day. They have men inside the hall being not-men. Did you know that French used to have a grand carnival where they let out criminals and madmen and prostitutes. What does a carnival for men without their male society will look like? Nothing they would let me see.

I circle around. Waiting.

It begins. The photographers collapse. There is chaos. There are other people like me, circling around. I see my friend and she has to shout to make herself audible. How does it feel to be not behind your eyes? She makes me feel that way. Her hand is heavy on my neck. And the carnival inside is getting louder. There are all emotions present inside. Hysterical laughter, wailing, wrathful voices. But she must not let me see. There is blood inside. A pool of ketchup maybe, diluted with water. They are throwing it beyond the walls. It is flying in the air. She is saving me. Pushing me away. I want to fall it on me though. To wipe off the afternoon from me. It’s crashing. How can it crash? The spillage is heavy on our heads, as if from the sky. What are they doing? I scream.

‘They are enacting the womb’, someone says.

I stand in the night, no longer silent.

It is done.

There is only mirth inside the hall now. For the first time I can even see the barrier. They’ve dropped their curtains. They look like doctors after delivering a baby of a giant. There comes a man with blood dripping off like sweat, tailing under his hair. He is exceptionally charming. Awash. My friend knows him. They smile at each other in congratulations and stare at me. There are papers in his hand. He’s asking me for the toll. What toll I say?

‘For watching’

I am proud of understanding most things in my life. This was certainly not one. My friend accuses me of something I can no longer hear.

How do they win?

Through confusion.

 

I had to go. I had to go.

 

[Based on an actual dream]

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Ebb

 

My father sleeps at the edge of the bed adjacent to a chair. Upon that chair, there sits a man with a dark horse-shoe jawline. His collars have little lilies, scattered across the cloth in some harmony. Whenever I visit the room to take out one cold water-bottle from the fridge—cool water is the lady of the night—I see this man with his inhuman straight back, staring right at me. I freeze for a second and then look at his unblinking eyes in the shimmering yellow light of the fridge. You may ask, what is new here? If you were to sleep next to an old shoddy window; sure you’ll see the nearby tree growing out a hand in the beating wind, too.

The difference between you and me, however, is that you get under the covers and say oh, but it is the mere wind, oh, it is the mere rain. I on the other hand, invite the monsters in. I move the refrigerator door just enough to let that tall man’s eye glint in the dark as he sit like he’s been sitting there from the beginning of time. There is an art in conjuring monsters from the nothing. After all the man in my father’s chair is nothing but my dead grandmother’s handbag—not there for sentimental purposes but mostly because things move around in my house with certain amnesia. And in the society we live in, I have become interested in things.

Either people eat them up or some nook drag them down where house-objects retire and dream till their owners are left to do the same in the graves until after all, someone new develops a fancy to these ghosts. Or worst, being munched into paper mache is one way to go. If your things are you, then you better hope you’re not getting picked up for that.

I do that sometimes. I imagine the life of objects fast forward to hundred years. What if there are more survivors than just cockroaches. All these inanimate things that have a sacred river in which they all flow, sometimes caressing each other or other times, singing campfire songs with joined hands. A blue handkerchief wiping off the sweat off a red wallet. Their masters despised each other when they were alive, but here we are.

Rivers into a sea.

A plethora of dead people’s objects. Enough to keep me awake in the dark.

Northern Winds

Jakub Schikaneder’s Snow (Twilight in Winter) 1899

Then

happened a soft autumn day

where I let my untamed foot fall

off the silk edge of my ordinary bed,

to let it fight with the tarnished wooden door

hunch-backed by a snoring inverter

when past the dust-coughing jail-skins,

there came a ruffle from the

dark of tall surmounting trees

necromanced

nodding outside,

breathing on my ankles,

in all oddity of the oncoming winter.

 

Then I had dug under the culture’s paws

Asked them, of what of the Winter gloom—

That gentleman

So languid upon my prickling skin,

In me,

He had protected life.

 

 

Now

There rests a diabolical caress

Of sandpaper bed-sheets

Till my feet are sore

From the coaling livers of the winter-verse.

Oh, to look for light switches in the dreadful dead-dark,

Paranoid chants that the curtains must not move—

All my sacred pathos intruded

Into the

Red demonstration of corpse-like darkness.

 

Do the old—as the Laker Poet once cried—must only lament what can no longer be felt?

 

Again

In my heart, I invite

The night

I had shut down my famished words

Again, a prayer

To be fertilized with meaning, I ink

I conjure up my sprite:

In the hearth of a breathing cold

The tepid haunt of a sea nymph

Misplaced

Upon one changing breeze of the earth

Colluding with mist,

Into a body of unknown

That I uncloak, even though I am dressed

In great perspiration

I try

Once again

to reclaim the night.

 

Author Notes

I had an epiphany just now. I actually had a dream about different models of ceiling fans today–funny that I must write a poem dictated by the winds.

‘Something watches and stirs in the dark, it is alive.’

Monochrome Ariel


Mare Zebras in floral rain-coats 

flood past Sir Ladyfinger’s ship.
I had never seen so many stripes

Hunkering past the local skirt-shop.

And so my shoes garbled out few vowels to

The ocean-bed,

Hot with pregnancy

Of neither pink nor blue.
 In life

I chewed on sea-apples and grew up an Eve.

Started tying serpents on my neck for boardroom-meetings.

Lended my fingernails

 to a knight upon a sea-horse–

off to the colour-bind land

I went

to wear frolicking babies; 

one on the basin

The other on the stove.

 

Until a mismatched rainbow hatched the monochrome ground

From where I broke

Sea-water

To birth myself again

Again 

In collage. 

In Time


The moment I was clothed in sheep-wool

And put out to bah with crowded language,

I strayed, I strayed

I dug the graves the vultures had ploughed

And made a song to amuse

The charade called joker-faced destiny

 

Marx said you are too good

In markets to run, all the stable boy parades

We ran, we ran

Inspecting the pulps found in the tomato cans

So exotic and bloody, if that be true

We thought we had seen the very last of you.

 

It is a love letter to a reluctant lover

I pray, I pray

Listening through the metallic walls

Into absence

Of history, time and space.

The mangrove older and taller than us all, 

Has never and will never say.

Cotard’s syndrome


The very breath I take

Thins my blood

Into delivering an existence

To the brain

Which does not exist

And so the mirror-image

Shall cease

Because bricolages are no keys

I refuse, I rot, I stop thinking,

Heads turn into tails

And the chair next to my bookshelf

Sighs at last

Calling me to the land of stationary

Where egos go back to their eggs

And I am once again,

More than a language trick. 
                                                                     

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotard_delusion

Slumber in the woods

Sometimes in life, you peek into a forest
And find out about the absence

Of manicured conversations, against

A sense of rudimentary—primordial

 And speechless nature

Of woods, paralytic in their growth

Of savage shrubs 

and all aloof, Off the trail

An orchid under a frozen lake.

I step-step

It thaws and derives me

From my parched roots—

I am growing away from the blood-raided corporate altars,

Changing the way I think

When a lily drops upon my navel—

 in her modest sorrow,

She takes away my hunger,

Of people and poetry.

 

Into a pitch-black pool without my spectacles, I fall

I rest

I sleep. 

The Golden Age

The Art of holding space by Nancy Bright


               

The wombs have high-powered juke-boxes

Where celestial music plays at night

For babies who are not babies yet

In a bleeding time—a slit wound

Within the folds of null

 until time itself shall began

For these sleepless creatures snorkelling past the sea,

In blind.

 

The mothers keep a stable of sheep

For these creatures without radium watches

Or a train schedule,

And as her own clock approaches the time

She tugs at the anchor and tell them to row

Because rivers often look like seas

And damp caves are no home.

 

They kick with meticulous gestures

Fancying the river which the mother has denied,

Ignorance and agony, writhing 

she cries

And so flushed

Are babies, indignant 

Into the land of exile.