Tale

If I began 

with once upon a time

would you have me washed away?
Tame yourself.

Gather your blue skirts 

around starfish studded ankles

And for once, 

Listen.
I will tell you tales of mermen who sold their scales to the God of Salt for one dusk away from your tides. 

Of genies drunk on absynthe, tottering on wispy blue tails and chasing after the phantom of freedom. 

Of handmaids who grew seashells from their scalps and left trails of coral in their mud homes. 

Of fishermen who lit bonfires on your skin, only to be whisked away into the gaol of aqua absolute.  
The bards sing of sirens in your lair. But it is you. You are the siren. The seductress. The scream. 
All these years, I have listened to the wailing of your voice. 

And today, you have heard the wailing of mine.

– The sea was once a home –

Image credits: Manan Dhuri

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The Grand Museum of Failed Human Endeavour

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I will myself to write of a bureaucracy
that knots food pipes like neckties,
starving the horse to feed the pig,
whose snout has been dabbed generously with rouge
to celebrate its journey from sty to slaughterhouse.

I will myself to write of men of stature,
who stink of unbridled power,
reek of pseudo chastity,
and who faithfully drool lies
over the roofs of hungry farmers
and their pregnant wives.

I will myself to write of scandals in skyscrapers
where lamps glow fluorescent with infidelity.
Infidelity towards conscience,
country,
god.
(Capitalise if you must.
Grammar
alters
nothing)

Because,
twitching my nose at exhibits
in the Grand Museum
of Failed Human Endeavor
(open from Mondays to Saturdays.
The seventh morning is for God
– capitalised, for your satisfaction)
distracts me from the anteroom reserved
for my signature brand of hypocrisy.

Because,

I am the one who starves the horse, knots food pipes into neckties, I dab rouge onto the snouts of pigs, lead them from their warm sties to warmer slaughterhouses, I stink of unbridled power, I reek of pseudo chastity, I drool lies over the roofs of hungry farmers, I inseminate their wives with untruths, I kick their whelps to the ground before they can even whimper, I scandalize the crowds, I scandalize my conscience, I scandalize god, to hell with upper cases, to hell with the sanctity of brotherhood, to hell with democracy, it is but a leper in denial.

Welcome to the Grand Museum of Failed Human Endeavour. I am the exhibit. I am your guide.

I am everyone who has ever
kept
quiet.

I am the infidel.

And so are you.

 

Image credits

We

scarecrow222smallbwcm7

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

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. 

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. 

Tumbleweed

What I’ve noticed so far about this city is that the silver sparkle cars and the filter coffee mopeds and the tender coconut bicycles and the light saber welding policemen don’t stop when a man pauses mid-stride on the pavement, lurches forward, clutches his whisky gut and spills his intestines out.
The pausing, lurching, clutching and spilling happens spectacularly often.Maybe that’s why nobody stops. 

You stop just long enough to make sure you hop out of the way of the projectile juice fountain, peek at your shoes to ensure they’re unstained and keep clickety-clack-ing your way through the city’s tumbleweed of traffic lights. 

I stopped the first two times. I watched from a careful distance as the rickshaw driver meticulously emptied himself of a week of curdled milk, hastily gobbled lentils, and fitful sleep. I spied on the vagabond as he embraced the pavement and retched loneliness and alcoholism all over his stone bed. 

I haven’t seen a third episode yet. I’m sure that when I do, I will stop just long enough to make sure I hop out of the way of the projectile juice fountain, peek at my shoes to ensure they’re unstained and keep clickety-clack-ing my way through the city’s tumbleweed of traffic lights. 

I won’t stop either. 

Picture credits: Pinterest

Speak

Frantic

There are things I wish to speak of to you in the middle of the night, holding your palm across the slant of my cheek so you can feel how my lungs have travelled from the hollow in my chest to the crater at the bottom of my throat as I leave heavy cherry blossom ice breath on the lenses of your discarded glasses and we will watch snowflakes drift down into the dragon den, bemused, the reptile shall shake its mountain of a crown, releasing a torrent of rain onto our roofs and we will whisper about how we have never flown but dear God, what horror it must be to feel unrestrained wind ruffle against non-existent feathers, little insects hurtling into our open beaks, fishing for sun beams between the boughs of an ancient fir, breathing in the scent of mayflowers and maple syrup and living in summerwinterspringautumn all at once and your hand shall still lie quietly across the slant of my cheek, my fingers tracing the curve of your nose and we will fall just as frantically

to sleep.