Reading Aloud

Reading it aloud:
You
Your whims, your hormonal rants,
The part where you sneeze
The moment you finally cry
I read it all out, your eyes open
Like two journals on either side of your age
With you in the centre, present in the present
Mute as a photo
Out of focus

Your nights
Your breath
The bits of you leftover
In text messages and friends of friends
Even music you forgot
Comes around unasked
The wall holds your face
As you fall asleep scarred
Read it all aloud, like a play
We’re listening to each other age
The clock waits for you
The taxi drops it’s meter, the new year
Opens and calls for an encore

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Waiting

You shouldn’t have left your books back there
You shouldn’t have made fake promises to them before leaving
As you parade across the world they wait for you
To open the door, pet them, smell them
Narrate tales of your voyages and romances
With each passing day they watch the ceiling and the empty bed
Missing your fingers and longing for your eyes
Everyone likes to be looked at once a while

Serenade

Was last night’s serenade a dream?
The incandescence of aged tungsten warming the bridge
whose ends welcomed dead poets singing
songs from forgotten years, their lyrics translating
into one another like a stew mixing
While your scarf waved gloriously, the seagulls
arising from an aligned sleep dashed in vivid numbers
and fishermen who threw their caps into an indigo sky
lost them in a maze of flaps
Across the bridge a town hummed with the pages
you left half-read as a child, now
they were soiled posters talking of a future
You showed me around the lanes and carts
like a child running across her ancestral home, the
flags in the square, the market of unused footwear,
the roads fluid with passing spirits carrying little joys
You flew me across the circle into the town of lakes
where every boat carried your favourite food into floating homes
asking me silly questions, you trapped my reflection in a picture
calling it a painting – you said – this will mean much more later
You rowed into and across brittle homes soaked in black water
calling out to former friends, all asleep, never to wake up to see you smile
Just then a sea appeared, the very end of the creek
you shed a tear, watching an orange moon descend
and make love to a tired ocean, ‘this is where I come
to talk to myself’, you confessed
as I watched the sea age,
you wrinkled and became quieter

The Sorrowful Heart of a Nineteen Year Old Girl

Met her through an ice-cream loving friend
Amidst the fete crowd she wore a floral skirt
And rickety shoes, her eyes lacking an eyeliner
Story-less and pure
She called me an unusual scientist with weird ears
And said my nose was like a rocky hill
Even my hair wasn’t spared, her convent accent
Described it as an abandoned nest
Later that month I’d find her
Strolling across the race course
Staring at horses speed past her morose eyes

Her morose eyes

The wintry tears and snowfall of regrets
Her perfect face cancelled by her imperfect self, even
The teenagers from the suburb
Felt she was too smart
But she was just a stupid girl
With a sorrowful heart

For days I’d let her jabber, not just
The usual hormonal rants but even
Lyrics of favourite songs, oh for that matter
Plans to travel to Rome and back
We even booked our trains to China
But it kind of fell apart once the phone cut

The phone cut

Years later with m shirt tucked in
I found her in a mall, she
Dragged around a cart filled
With discounted flour and tea, it even had
Vegetables and frozen meat, she looked
the same except for her skin

Dark in places, pale in some,
Her eyes slow to blink and her hair overdone
She stood in a line with
A heap of worries and despair, the winter
in her eyes colder
At the cash counter
As they touched a travel magazine
That made promises of blue seas
And islands with beautiful men,
She thought of picking one up, but then thought,
Life’s a lie, and at 28,
it’s probably better to look elsewhere

Dawn

5.15 am. I love touching the scar
on your right cheek. The whistle
Of a faraway train. Distant city. Your fingers
crawl into mine

What is with you today?
Your whispers dense, alluring
releasing primal images, clutching
Onto my lips and flowering. 5.17, the ceiling fan
creaks in unison with a passing cycle.

Half closed eyes. Your hair smells
of love and longing. The pillow absorbs
half-dreams and stores fantasies. I spend
the last few blinks in blue air
opening to your touch
every breath is a scene, dissolving
into a growing stream

Travellers

Last night I fell asleep thinking of you
I dreamt of travellers crossing high mountains
Carrying saffron, gold and tea
I dreamt of eagles taking flight
Witnessing the magic of the earth, through the clouds
I saw a road cut through a lake, water on either side
Where children played on shores and turtles reached for air
I saw maps of places not mentioned on earth
In your voice I heard names of all those countries being whispered
How I wish to visit them all someday
And dream of you everywhere

– seventh segment from a poem series