29 Jun 2015

Clock Says Four

Come on, mate.
Come on and
    have another drink
and I'll fight you.
    I'll fight you. We can fight
            just for laughs.

I've had plenty,
    too many,
    but not enough.
    It's never enough.

You got the time?
    (My phone's dead.)
Can you read that clock there?
        What's it say?
            Four? Five?
Doesn't matter—
    the buses have stopped.
They don't go to the place
        I need to be
I can't afford a taxi so I
    think I'll just walk.
        Home is as good a place
            to be as any, but
                the ground doesn't look bad either.

I heard about this guy
    once who saw a group of kids,
    went up and just jumped them.
He woke up in hospital
    with a fractured skull
        and a smile on his face.
Something about that
    I like. I don't know why.
I think he remembered what it's like to
                be alive.

I just want to feel
    the taste of blood in my mouth. I'm not
a violent person. I just,
            I just,
            (I mean, I have an idea, but)
            I don't know
                what it means to be a man.

If you find
    out, let me know.


I've done this before.

Well, I think I have. Maybe it's a recurring dream. I stand back and look at myself from the outside. Like a dog in a space capsule orbiting Earth, I drift, watching a world that looks so strange to me despite belonging to it.

I can hear her impatience growing, a dark vine creeping up a crumbling wall. Her voice becomes muffled as if heard through static, but the resentment rings clear. It's rain falling on a tin roof, and I sit underneath listening to it in the dark of my mind until it becomes a pall of white noise.

I've let it come to this again. I wonder if I do it out of some masochistic tradition, because familiarity is just that. The cynicism chews at me until my blank face creases with a smile, and it only inflames her more. I smile because it's all I can do.

Some people believe that we repeat the same cycle of living and suffering until we can finally break free of it through enlightenment. They call it samsara. I'm not convinced—I'm not a spiritual person—but I know I'm repeating something, more than a mistake and more than a memory.

It's not funny, she says, barely holding herself back. I know it's not, I tell her, but the last of my sincerity has been left behind, the way back locked. I search for any words I might have left, but they're scattered, without meaning.

I'm the soldier trying to invade Russia in the winter. I freeze in trenches of distrust, waiting for a battle I somehow already know cannot be won. You, you are Shiva's own daughter, terrifying and hungry for chaos, yet I end up worshipping you. Of course, I'm not a tormented soul and you're not a cruel goddess. All the same, I'm the one gripping a rifle, finger locked corpse-tight around trigger. If only it were about martyrs and villains.

It's an old struggle, the lion cubs clawing and chewing, tumbling over one another in the biting-hot savannah dust until the sun sinks away, along with the conflict that in its moment seems eternal like that sharp horizon. Wounds are licked to make way for new ones. Happiness needs suffering just like dawn needs night. Until enlightenment, it'll just have to do.

15 Jun 2015

Some Haiku for a Quiet Friend

We exhale silent
recitations twisting through
this friendly night air.


Your ghostly dancers
fall up into nothingness
like rumours, gently.


You bring summer's swell
to the year's cooler corners.
On that cloud I rest.


Tell me—I forget—
did we ever see Nepal?
Was that just a dream?

The Silent Rain

When did it rain?
I didn't hear.
Selfishly, I think
the drops of water clinging
to the window came to listen
to our closed-door conversation,
not a whisper, but still
too hushed to hear.