Incomplete

How could you, how would you
Just come up with random things, on the spur
The prank of the refrigerator, the thought
Of having glowing star stickers
On the bedroom ceiling, signing
Your emails with a Buddha quote –
Stories, nightmares, dreams,
Wicked jokes and shower screams
In each room you left behind signs of you,
The good and the mad
The dirty and the sad
A garden that reeks of bad cutting
A sink that is tired of drowning
A toothpaste unclosed and hanging
Like most things, you too, left incomplete
Either too fast or either too early, for which
In a corner crying
without a battery change
Without the reflection
of your childish face
Even the clocks remember you

Sitting at a Study Table

Both beautiful and sad, your face
Draped in a table lamp’s offering
Stares at its old versions in yellowed albums, you
Browse through former laughter trapped
In static pictures, your hair
Lush and immortal, even your eyes
Seemed larger and unexplored

Around you scribbles and poetry hangs, some
Sits and the other stands, some
Pinned against a softboard’s worn face calls
To be rewritten, you switch it all off
Over you the ceiling smeared with
The city’s long shadows, as
They move and carpet across and out, a million stars
Sparkle in the distance
You cannot see them from here, they shine
Atop your favourite mountain
That is, somewhere, ageing alone in the fog

28

pasted on walls are posters new and old
of movies never watched by any of us
at least not as of late, not after
we crossed 28, what a bore it is now
dipping organic tea bags in tall offices
wearing shirts like uniforms and agreeing
with people who we’d otherwise punch around
even the pigeons at the windows
smirk and agree
and then there’s always that one corner
where the cigarettes released by the tea seller
becomes a cove of regrets, don’t meet me there
i’ll be so embarrassed and so will you
we’ll awkwardly shake hands and then
formally introduce what we’re up to
with a nod, a half-smile, looking-away-eyes
buildings continue to grow taller though,
inside them, more mirrors, more
bored shits like us
walking in perfumed sadness
organised air conditioned everydayness
assigning us nicknames and email addresses
that are somehow always busy

Crossing Over

the train drops me, incomplete
my feet
skimming the platform
before I surrender in weight

pulled by the want to crossover, realised
that the dream is dead, I call for a taxi

whose meter rings once and then shuts up
the driver churning his wheel, his face
punctured by insomnia, like me
he reeks of mistakes

that I meet often at home, some
are people and some are poems, the ones
unwritten
ferment slowly, time not experienced
is the time
worth wondering about

Tomorrow

Tomorrow, I’ll be sharper
waking early, letting
my wounds heal
as I visit the market

but for today, let me sink

and become unlovable and unkempt, letting
the scattering of cup stains and pages
build like forgotten promises, ensuring
my prophets stay in the room as
the afternoon
becomes a lulling evening, songs
enter through the window
betting for a long night, strained eyes
let’s just keep the early alarm
for
another day

Reply

I started writing to you last night, but stopped
Not on ink and paper but a bland touchscreen,
it auto-saved itself, this
mongrel string of words
Clogging a virtual space of nothings.
To be honest, I couldn’t
hear my thoughts like before
If instead were you gazing into me
in person, from a real door
I could’ve heard your voice, broken it
with mine, argued. I really
meant to write to you and say something
It clouded and clouded and then slowly
vanished like a mist you can never catch
I then saw you age backwards and
tear my page neatly, take it on the floor
under the robust ceiling fan, folding
the edges to make a paper plane
At the window you stood, tantalising
The pigeons, excited to know their temporary
Fake friend
You let it go and watched me condense
Into a memory aged into
a fading relation
Dissolving everyday with time’s passage
How does one reply to all of that
In the space a single message

Witness

I the music that engulfed me first in the dim bar, is
the substance I use to break myself into a thousand parts
while I age carefully from younger to young
and then maybe, not so young
the rustle of brushes skimming cymbals, married
to the sound of a wailing saxophone
I witnessed it all
through the reducing horizon of the beer glass
my head sleeping over the damp table, my pants
whose pockets filled with unaccounted coins
and the notes I would later use to pay
for your cigarettes and chicken puffs
even share them while we switched between channels
on an outdated television surrounded by books
surrounded by shelves and more shelves
hanging on the walls paintings you made as a child
your clothes hanging outside the window whose pane
you sprinkled with a long joint, spiked
with teenage theatrics and young lust
and aromas of the kitchen scattered with leftovers
the music that engulfed me at first, is the last
the very last
time I ever heard someone tell me I’m lovely
I was told I’m a kid with the brain of a man
but the smile of a child
while you were a girl with the eyes of a woman
I witnessed it all
through the years of being a boy
reduced to an adult