White dust

We see  ourselves in between pages and find our dust there . White silver fish are swimming near dusty spines . Book pages are mortal, starting from where our silver hair ends.

Books are blind  to men as they tower over their lives . The blind poets  imagine them behind their eyes, from what they had seen in atavism.

From early childhood of the world, the books have  collected dust from dark nights . The alphabet to reach them shouts from old mud houses. Slates  from mud houses tremble with the letters . The school  boards are black, with the white dust falling.

Books are final summaries of our  white dust

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Stalkers of the mind

From the green bench I hear a strident cuckoo calling  down rain. It is cloudy but there is  no rain in season. Soon it will be hot and summer in the trees.

A  thirty year old dream that has gone sour. Dreams go sour in the late hours. At such late hours stalkers are mere figments. They are your stories and secrets. Shadows of things that  persist to stride before you and after.

Stalker please do not stalk shadows
They are long and stride before you

Under red rock, into the afternoons
When you doze in lonely bed rooms

On yesteryears’ stale love thoughts.
Stalker, shadows are not from love

But just figments of a  spinster mind
Trapped in a  body’s parched throat

With a mind spinning fevered tales.
Most of all, they are not all that real.

Rain in the morning

Dawn was three hours away and in rain. The birds sensed it all night along the way, from the tree of big leaves and fell silent. Sleep was transience reminder, symbols.

I and the birds slept little, a few bird winks interspersed with dreams and fears in sleep- in fat shirts and funny, transience reminders- earth pots of bones, that left belly pain.

Beauty tokens emerged in luminous leaves, some praises of beauty, some let-me-downs. The rain, now here, now there ,prohibits walks, keeps me deliciously key-board happy at sunless six.

The train hoots did not pierce the morning .The snails walked my garden up and down quietly like nobody’s business . I am back at the key-board amid faint heart-murmurs.

Fish may fly

In the foolish king’s apocryphal story , you make the horses fly in six months or you die. You agree to make horses fly because maybe in six months horses may fly or you may die or the king may die.

A Hong Kong poem suggests to the gold fish to fly , the ones we saw in the Wanchai fish tanks of twenty years ago . Because there is a connect between the goldfish of then and my present day existence. In twenty years gold fish may fly or the poet may die or the horses in Hong Kong race course we saw from our Happy Valley flat may fly in reverse slow motion.

The fish tanks are yet full with the fish we saw writhing and the water snakes have their blood poured in glass for a potential customer . Every thing can fly back and forth. I can fly as the horses can fly and win a race for us. The sun on his seven horses can fly back to twenty years back of my past and a slow motion of the world can happen between I now and I then as if the space between now and then has shrunk and the two separate planes of existence coalesce and overlap each other.

May be horses run reverse in window
Of our Happy Valley Rose Court flat
Or we win Mark 6 in Queen’s street.

May be we sit as hoi polloi on tram
Let city lights arrogantly whizz past,
On two holed honkies by the driver.

May be fish still writh in water tanks
And water snakes ,fated to be eaten
In Wanchai street, from our life past.

(recalling our Hong Kong days ,while reading a poem titled “May be” by Tammy Ho Lai-Ming)

The color of ruins

We fear the color of our ruins has changed from green to yellow, in the eyes of woman and later to pearl-white in their plastic opacity.

Our memory recall keeps changing the color. We love our ruins in tact from the same time in the same place , our own, woman our own ,the woman we owned in man egos, in money and servants overhang, with the wash of linen now to be done by the whir of a white machine.

Our servants are ruins, woman’s eyes ruins. Woman is ruins of kids away in far off islands,their shadows floating in drawing room tubes. Grand children are shadows of changing color, from green of our eyes to white of far off lands.

Colors change according to time of viewing.

Grandmother’s egg-head

We try to remember her in a white cloth over the head, covering a stubble fifteen day old, from twenty year old widowhood, a semi-wet cloth resting on the wall peg, honoring a husband dead on opium, who had made kids on the night ,on this side of her bed.

We have to remember grandmother’s grandmother now over our rice offerings on fires lit, to some sacred chants calling the spirits of the dead hungry in the air.

We remember her name in the smoke.We do not know her grandma’s name. She must have had her own egg-head and a widow cloth over it to a husband dead with opium, doing nothing except make her many kids , on fecund nights.

He might have had a good time beating wife in the day , make her big by night . When he is weeping dead on the cot ,she too must have submitted her head to barber’s knives in his honor and hung a new cloth of widowhood on a wall peg.

Smoke

The earth was then shaped like an oven that would let out smoke from her eyes, the blue-gray smoke of love for her kids and for all of us in holiday knicker-pants clustered around her for stories and nuts as the earth turned oven, the sun its fire.

In her kitchen she had the earth-stove with its fire licking a dark sky of iron pan. She roasted nuts on it for the kids’ stomachs.The smoke from her logs climbed the wall and the thatch of the roof blackening it to the color of the pan that had the nuts dancing in pain on it like black deeds.