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He sits atop his throne of corn,

cranium choked to bursting

with bales of inflammable hay

that for want of space sprout

upwards,

emerging from a tangerine scalp,

floating over a tangerine brow,

shielding his eyes,

from the folly of abandoning

the treaty of ’15.

 

Oh carnage,

Oh chaos,

Oh convoluted crime,

Halt.

Do not thunder into our lungs

at the behest of a Star Spangled Crown.

Reign in your hurricanes, your blizzards, your storms,

Soothe the seas, lull oceans into a dreamless sleep,

Cup torrents of ice within the palm of your hand,

Pacify the breathless wolves that dance

on blistered feet.

 

And perhaps,

When the air begins to crumble and the rain begins to boil,

You will retreat, having finally learnt,

that our albatrosses are dart boards

and greed, our cardinal sin.

We are the archers.

We are the targets.

We are the war.

And we will never win.

 

Image Credits

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TIL #1

Today I learned:

Courage is about the tiny things. 

It’s not battling dragons and flooring trolls. It’s not rescuing damsels from burning towers or scaling glass mountains. It’s not saving the world from a zombie apocalypse or sacrificing yourself to the gods to appease them. 

It’s not always confrontations, battles and war. 

Sometimes, it’s about coming to terms with a truth about yourself, so atomic and yet so fundamental, that it has the potential to rattle all the shelves of china in your heart; enough for a scare, but not quite enough to topple them over. 

Sometimes, it’s about independence. It’s​knowing that papa won’t always be there to check for monsters under your bed. It’s arming yourself with a broom and poking the emptiness beneath your four-poster before you tuck yourself in (all four limbs safely covered by the blanket of course)

And sometimes, it’s knowing that you are your own best friend. And that sometimes, you have no choice but to believe in yourself. Because everybody’s magnifying glasses are focused on themselves. We are gigantic in our mind’s eye. We dwarf even those we love.  

And that’s okay. 

We are our own best friends. 

And that’s okay. 

Pa,

For when I was one, and about as big as your littlest finger.

For when I was two, and heralded the end of counting pennies.

For when I was three, and was coaxed to chirp into your voice recorder.

For when I was four, and broke it.

For when I was five, and squeaked pompously around the house in my new school shoes.

For when I was six, and was thrown a birthday party (complete with a brown, chocolate frosted teddy bear birthday cake, and a trip to Saturn)

For when I was seven, and begged for the shiny blue yo-yo in the store window. 

For when I was eight, and broke it. 

For when I was nine and fell flat on my face in my roller skating class. 

For when I was ten and wobbled on my bicycle minus training wheels, all by myself. (Look, pa! Pa?

Pa?)

For when I was eleven and we didn’t book tickets back home. 

For when I was twelve and you dug out my lost box of oil pastel crayons. 

For when I was thirteen and broke it. 

For when I was fourteen and they slid metal into your heart. 

For when I was fifteen and the ugly, awkward duckling in your eyes (who texted too much and why are you crossing your legs like that? Unwind them.)

For when I was sixteen, and the black sheep.

For when I was seventeen and you placed your trust in me

For when I was eighteen, and broke it.

~

For nineteen years of being your little blue fish sailing in the water like a cup and saucer. 

Happy Father’s day, pa. 

Kitchen

Our chef is a sorceress with her box of spices for a staff. A tiara of cumin seeds jewel her brow and her ears sparkle with opal cardamom chandeliers. She twists a single fiber of tamarind into her thinning braid; an amulet of carved cinnamon rests above her navel, hanging down her neck on a thread of peppercorns. 

Within this kitchen, she is in her element. Matchboxes have long been discarded: the hearth is licked to life by flames dancing out of her nostrils. Royal tangerine. The culinary dragon begins her dance. 

Cast iron wok hisses from the assault of a sesame seed rain, perforating the puddle of sunflower oil. Music. The tempo has been set. A cloud of wheat flour rises up to kiss the ceiling, cloves of garlic prance across the wooden counters and sacrifice their pungent lives by cannonballing into the wok of tempered death. The enchantress has stalks of coriander swaying like bohemian wanderers. Basil leaves touch tips and circle in rhythmic leaps around a mountain of crushed fenugreek. Spring onions clutch at their green ponytails and rip them off from their scalps in a fit of robotic madness. It’s the trance of the herbs.  

Lemon grass, venison, pickled carrots, hard boiled eggs. Soy sauce oozes brown over noodle strands, golden quiches swivel and cavort down the oven’s ramp. She wipes her hands on an apron of beige dough. Ice cream dotted with smudges of peaches and cream spoon themselves into gyrating crystal bowls, spinning wildly with near transparent spoons. 

The table has been set, the forks laid out, plates polished enough to reflect bones. Our sorceress is satisfied. 

Quietly, she pads back into her war zone and plucks a ladle of the wall. Culinary dragon then folds herself – amulets, apron and all – into the well of the ladle and curls up for a snooze. It’s been a long day.

Corporate viking

‘Boss lady!’ the rodents squeal,

they scatter into grey confetti on polished bone floors before the Doc Martens squish the juices out of their puddle paws. 

Clip

Clop

Clip

Clop

And she enters. 

The ceiling perforates itself in angst, walls slide back by inches, the carpets mutter prayers to the angels of ambition. She prowls, flicking away incompetence with a talon polished tangerine like it were just flint on the collar of her jacket.

Collar that she pulls up  along her twin tower neck against a wind that held its breath and froze mid puff upon her arrival but Gods bless her if she notices; her eyes have locked down on the target. 

Ice ice ice. Pepper juice ice. 

A single ombre green chilly pierces the tip of her tongue and she lashes. The rodents curdle beneath their fur, veins tempered to curry state. Hours pass, the lashing continues, greatness heaves and moans in every inch of the labyrinth, the guinea pigs breakdown like colored glass. 

Welcome to the office of Corporate Viking. Magic is created here. The tar black kind. 

Ice ice ice. Pepper juice ice. 

,

She is at best a clumsy seductress. 

Why, just last night, she stood before me, draped in the finest robe of comets you’ve ever laid eyes on. Moonbeams licked at her ankles and atomic planets studded her granite black wrists. I must admit, my dear, for a brief moment I was swayed. 

Vile ideas she did suggest, but repeat them I shall not. They’re not for a gentle lady like you to burn your ears red with. Suffice to say that a man with weaker resolve would have surely been found this morning tangled in her immodest robes, fingers singed from straying dangerously close to those vulgar comets of hers. 

She whispered into my hair that the sun had returned to his lair and we were alone now in the cosmic vastness of her chambers. Maybe it was time for me to let go of your hand and take hers instead?
She promised to destroy my insomnia. She promised she’d have me giddy from the discovery of new pleasures. She promised to erase ever memory of you I ever possessed. 

All I had to do, was undo the knot that tied her robes and she would take care of the rest.

Coy woman. Did she really believe that a husky whisper and perfumed wrists would steer me away from you? I pity her for her naïveté. The daggers she shot me as I showed her the door weren’t particularly pleasant, needless to say. I wince as I write. 

I’ve warded off yet another overt attempt from her end to whisk me away from you, love. At this point, I have to ask. When are you coming back to me?

It’s been thirty nine days since I last wrote. Poetry evades me, prose leaves the room upon hearing the slightest strains of my voice. Essays turn their noses the other way upon my arrival like I were a rag the cat dragged into the salon. Words don’t bother to hide their contempt anymore. The neighbors have begun their despicable gossip again. 

It’s been thirtynine days. Don’t you think this has gone on far too long?

You were all I had. Please come back to me.

I remain,

forever yours.