Constructing A Poem

There are words dancing in my mind tonight.
The sky composes a waltz that only I can hear,
And thunders with a will to burst open.
We breathe together
And watch as ideas fall and disappear
Like motes of dust beyond the oblivion contained
In a sunbeam.
When I shiver from the inability to see through the dusty panes of my heart’s extent
I do
See that the world is ending somewhere tonight.

My friend rolls all his sorrow
and smokes it with tobacco
Under the night sky they painted over a billboard.
He is bored, so he lets his mind wander
And wonder
if he will be able to count the lights in the windows while he’s falling.
There are twenty seven storeys,
Stacked on top of each other:
Tin cans that rattle
with the emptiness of lives that clink at the bottom
Like small change.

My friend wanted to change the world.
His eyes were set with stars named after every
Child who did not learn to smile:
He went to the beach as one and fell in love with foam,
But try as he might to cup it in his hands
It became the sea and flowed away,
Wanting to be one with its kind.
He now tells himself that his depression had a mother
Who never picked up its calls
And figure skated on the edge of his consciousness
Waiting for the ice to thin.

My friend wanted to win
The confidence of his own heart
To be the voice that fills up the entire room
And leaves no place to sit.

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Creation

Creation is beautiful.
I pick up my brush and try to paint a dream
Layers and layers of imagination
Till it’s plastered thick enough to be real,
Tangible
Till you can feel
Like you do in a museum of art
Where you go against the labels
Which say ‘do not touch’:
You touch
You touch the dream again and again
You take it in your hands and mould it
Till the sculpture is as perfectly
Expressive
As the poetry you like to read
– the poetry I lose sleep over
Trying to get the words just right
I fight
The entire world to keep it alive
And coming
Flowing and gushing
A waterfall of words
Stringed together to make your soul sing
Like you do to the music I play:
The piano
Is black
And white
And anything but grey
when I play
Tell me
If you hear the colours
That I thought of
And I’ll paint you a portrait with them alone
And you’ll tell me
it looks like Van Gogh
And sounds like The Weeknd
Because they’re the only names you know.

Creation is ugly.
Some mothers die in labour,
trying to give birth to the ideas
They’ve carried inside for so long
Like a song
My art
The book you’re writing
Which never comes out
Because nobody fights to
protect the baby
Once it’s born
Everyone wants a free
copy
Or tickets
and paintings to hang
on the walls of their rooms:
They’re decorated without the guilt
of freeloading
You’re downloading
All that music for free
Well, what you don’t realise is that
Creation
Is expensive
Exhausting:
Takes the baby months in gestation
And the birth of a brainchild isn’t always painless
We’re penniless
You and I are friends and
Somehow, I owe you my art
Because of it
So you ask me to paint you
In colours of selflessness
And irony
Have the ideas forced out of me
Words coloured carnelian red dripping
from my brush
My body cut open in
A c – section
Because that’s how an artist must display
Their affection
For a friend
And for art.

You tell me how mothers like me
Are proud
To see their brainchildren grow into
The respectable,
decorated
with accolades and recognition
I’ll tell you how they ache to be respected themselves
to for once be nicely painted by society
the colours bright and flowing
and not having to resort
to self portraits.
I’ll tell you how artists
Give the last drop of their milk
To save the child
Which nobody cares for
Till it’s in a pageant or
on TV
And the net worth is a million bucks.
I will paint myself starving
And sing about how you can see my ribs
More than my soul as I play
And you still won’t get it.

Paint

[ This piece was written for, and has previously been published by, The Infinity Of Mind ]

 I feel small, sprawled 

On the floor

Eyes low and unfixed:

Eyes watering, vision 

watered-down 

like a mixing jar for paints;

Like a desert waiting for the rain,

Unfulfilled 

(Overdue)

A hundred years may have passed 

Like this. 

Everything I see twinkles

Because I rub my tired eyes 

Because of the brashness of 

Reality

Because beauty 

Is grainy to the touch:

My head is spinning in a waltz

And I 

Can smell the colours

On my brush as it once touched your face 

On a canvas 

Embroidered with your name;

I wish I could see it

Trace the letters with a glance 

Or two

(Three syllables)

They had me undone

(I want to unlearn)

The feeling of them 

rolling off my tongue:

Can I?

Should I?

Will you

Lift me off the floor 

Paint tears on my neck 

Of cobalt blue 

Before you 

Pour thick wine over me 

And press a painting knife to my back?

I know you

draw me with my

Cheek against the hardwood 

As I listen 

To the sound of your feet 

To the sounds of the world beneath –

I hear you breathe 

And smell your colours again

Fading 

Faint 

(Blood, salt and ecstacy):

Does my image plead 

And cry –

Are your eyes 

as unfocused 

as I?

Do you listen 

As the desert wasteland speaks:

Don’t throw me down 

To the floor again 

It’s all that I 

Can see.

BarriersĀ 

The writer’s block. 

It’s a big room that reeks of solitude. The door is open just a crack, a suspended beam of sunlight filtering through and making dust motes look like trembling stars. A boy sits by his typewriter, his fingers lusting to stroke the keys. He taps his nervous feet against the linoleum floor, trying to imitate the drum pattern of an old favourite song that he had long since discarded from memory; but which mysteriously reappeared in his conscousness in moments of despair. A dot of light comes to rest on his nose, making him wonder why he cannot absorb its energy. The memory of what he had meant to write eludes him.

The boy flails his right arm in frustration, but the words still hang on to the inside of his sleeve. His gaze runs out the windows and into the vast blue skies, naming the faces he sees in the clouds. He wishes that they would talk back to him.


Introversion.

The street is wide and curves out of sight over a hill. A girl stands on the sidewalk, counting the number of cars that rush by. She listens to the noise of their horns and screeching tires as if it were musical, and lets her eyes follow a certain red Chevy till it can’t possibly continue to. Every once in a while, she focuses her eyes on one of the cars, and loses track of the numbers. Then she starts to count again, from scratch. When the traffic slows, she snaps out of her passive trance, and tries to raise her hand up to signal for a ride. In her mind, someone sees her waving and stops.

The cars keep driving past the girl, seeing nothing. The wind blows her hair over her face, and they are streaked wet with her tears. Her hands are still by her side, for her strings are pulled by something entirely different from her mind. The puppeteer is not her friend.


Love. 

The old brick house stands in stark contrast to its lush surroundings at the edge of a teak forest. It is the solitary red structure in the otherwise unbroken plane of green. A woman sits inside, her wooden chair rocking in sync with the ticking clock. Her breathing resonates in the silence like the heartbeat of the house. Her hands shake as she muses over the past with her eyes open, memories projected in technicolor onto her cataract-ridden irises. A fly buzzes past her arthritic shoulder and lands lazily on a covered dish of food. The people in her dream never let the food sit long enough for the flies to appear. The people in her dream resemble those in the dust-covered picture frame which rests in her lap.

The woman calls out her sons’ names, and is met by the creak of her chair in response. She sighs and closes her unseeing eyes. The people in her dream come home to her.


Death. 

The air is bursting with the sobs of a little boy. He stumbles around, a single syllable fumbling on his virgin tongue.Tears flow down his reddened cheeks and streak his white clothing a wet, salty grey. The faces around him weep for his sorrow, but the sounds he makes are the loudest. Many arms reach out to console him but he doesn’t care for their affections, for the warmth that he seeks is amiss. He moves about, heading for the bright yellow blaze a little ahead of him; but the tall legs of strangers who stand in his way appear like prison bars holding him back. The boy slumps onto the dirt ground, his tiny hands falling to his sides. His sleepy eyes close for a second. When they flutter back open again, they resemble a bursting dam giving way to the beginnings of a flood.

A yellowing leaf performs somersaults with the wind and comes to rest on a stack of neatly piled sandalwood. As the toddler’s wail of ‘Maa’ breaks the pregnant silence yet again, the burning corpse wishes it were alive.

Verse Chorus Verse

Everytime I see someone perform live,
I feel like I belong. It’s just a vague feeling.
It’s there when they take a familiar song

And make it their own

It’s there when the performer takes a deep breath

He closes his eyes.
The first verse starts 

And someone in the audience lets loose a slow smile

Some lose it to an expression of awe and wonder

And one by one, and all at once

They get engulfed by this energy

And this magic – If there’s any in the world,

It’s here.
It’s when the crowd starts with slow hums like static 

And slowly rises into a cheer in harmony with the tune of the song

And the performer is the artist.
He opens his eyes 

Looks into the audience for the first time

And this is the moment the artist

Finally finds the reason 

why he started in the first place 

It’s like the song finally found its key. 
And then the artist 

Gives a little foot tap 

Maybe a slight shiver 

And lets it all out.
There is passion out on the stage 

And down below in the crowd that screams back in recognition.

He closes eyes again 

And every other eye reflects only him.
And when there is silence to follow

You know what fills every mind and every heart: 
I feel like I belong.

It’s a very overpowering feeling.