Bougainvillae

Nobuyoshi Araki 4

As it starts to rain, I draw the curtains
My world now covered in the saddest blue of Indian Railways
My body wrapped in a blanket that still smells of
Someone I used to love, then hate, and then love again

I have decided to stay, here, curled up in my berth
I feel safe now, from my comatose city
And although trains are no place to live
There are a place
With windows and soup
And people who sleep on time
And time that never sleeps
And lonely men with dying phones
Wanting to exchange seats
suffering from old parents, slip disks or young kids
And then in turn the wives offer
Questions I have no answers to
“Would you like a banana?”, “What are you doing?”
“Where is your home?”,  “Where are you going?”

I have a cigarette refusing to light
the darkness of a bathroom vent
And in this black I am surrounded by faces
Of people I’ve found and then lost,
Some to death, some to a beautiful fight
And through the cracks they left in my heart
I have supplied my own light
I’ve found my fire
Right next to the door
Where a man jumped to death
After he’d had too much soup
“But the soup’s allright”
I hear the bride in the side berth say
And order her third cup for the night
That ought to put a stop to this madness,
she whispers to her husband
who looks like he’s had too much for one life

“We ought to put a stop to this madness”,
I hear her voice message on my phone
From a long time ago
Memories come to me like a fever
Of women I used to make soup for
Hot and sour nostalgia
In my time machine heart
All I wanted then was to dream about
All the beds I spent this year’s nights on
With all those women, and all those cats (mostly cats)
But God is snoring in the first class compartment
And in his dreams I can hear my cats purring with ecstacy
And my women screaming his name
I’m going to avenge my god
By stealing his nicotine patches
And leaving him my poems

Now the bride in the side berth
Is singing a sad lullaby to no-one in particular
About a woman stuck in a train to nowhere
Her voice is low and raspy, like a lonely movie star
It reminds me of a place
Somewhere between Delhi and Calcutta
flooding with bougainvillea
I tried to think of something else, but
I came five minutes ago
Sucked in by melancholia
And now my berth smells of something
vaguely between soup and bougainvillea

Sometime around midnight I have
Mastered the art of killing time
As for lessons in forgetting
I’m done with the women (not my cats, yet)
How I wish time was a rabbit
Easy to crush, tender to taste
But it’s wild, growing on the edges of my seat
Dripping on my window sill, just outside my reach
And as dawn crushed the colours of an unknown station
It was still raining outside, but cold on my seat
And I was still between places
Between women, between cats
Between who I was,
And who I could be.
Between.

And while I was there, an answer came to me
Maybe Home was a time, not a place,
Filled with cats,
Flooding with bougainvillae.

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New Year’s Eve / Time is a lie

Nan-Goldin.-French-Chris-at-the-Drive-in-New-Jersey-1979.-©-Nan-Goldin-courtesy-Matthew-Marks-Gallery-New-York

I hate parties
that end next year
and houses that burn
with promises and
resolutions doused
with cocktails named after
actors and saints or
sex on airplanes
I’m laughing in a corner
fighting my way through
slithering bodies / snake charmers
embraces that seem invincible
kisses that seem infinite
I’m laughing on the ledge
looking at the fireworks
If only they knew
Time is a lie
I was sent here by a friend
who’s drowning in somebody’s face now
their tongues swirling like a cyclone
that is now complete
I get up for a refill
trying to keep the chicken in
that god set free in my intestines
(Hallelujah!)
Mary pours me a double
says Jesus is away
It’s been a busy night
for gods and monsters
I know better so I walk away
If only she knew
It’s a thin line
between gods and monsters
plus i’ve done this way too many times
life conversations with the girl at the bar
the shine in her eyes, the broken star
all she wants is a girl
and a house in green park
And she promises she has a plan
this year she’s done with falling apart
if only she knew by now its too late
for a house, a conversation or a new start
Anyway, eventually, midnight crawls in
like a man that’s impossible to surprise
and the crowd screams
and the bottles pop
some skirts were torn
some fingers were locked
now I’m drunk in a crowd of vampires
and fake fin mermaids
and it’s hard to remember
which year I am in
and it’s hard to remember
if time is a li(n)e

photograph – New York by Nan Goldin

Garden on Silence

IkkoNarahara_GardenonSilence_1958-1977

And then what’s the point,

you great, grandiose piece of myth.

 What’s the point of you

shining like a diamond,

spitting like a volcano,

sweeping us across in waves of hope.

No, god needs not me,

No, nor my faith neither.

Long live my loyal gin,

musk of my mirth.

**************************************************************************************

The photograph is a work of Ikko Narrahara titled ‘garden of slience’. You can check out more of his work here.

A hard day’s wanderin’

For those of you haven’t read the poems of Henri Michaux, I recommend getting to it right away. The man has destroyed all notions of poetry I ever had. His works are like hallucinatory experiences-and after reading them you will not remain the same. This little poem I had written out of extreme frustration after reading a lot of his poetry that has deeply influenced me. Sometimes something that inspires you too much also pushes you into a writer’s block. And then slowly you make your way back with the Simones and the Murakamis..

 

“A hard day’s wanderin’ “

I haven’t written anything in a while and maybe

it’s because sugarman told me to look for god in the sewers

or the spit of an old girlfriend stuck to my beard,

when she found me wandering as

the gutter rats were reading me poems from the underground

I felt inconsequential like a black dwarf but

rats have been known to do that to wanderers,

 so I stole the cigarettes stuck to the lips of my passed out friends

and I stole their acid stories

And I stole the angry messages of my woman

but I woke up in a painting, coloured the bluest blue blue’s ever seen

and everything i’d stolen seemed colourless,

 and then i took some photographs of this dead night

before the long walk to the coffee shop,

where the rats said god used to work before recession struck,

I called some deadbeat friends and we talked

about our plans and good sex and this year’s winter,

and when they blasted Simone at midnight,

I knew I’d met her before, maybe in the sewers, so

I swayed too, in between

the bottles of gin, whisky, cheap rum, sweet soda, bleeding feet,

dry lips and sticky hair, till we found a place to rest our heads,

slowly making our way

back to the seedy bar before the seedy bar,

when Murakami taught me how to think again.

I haven’t written anything in a while but before sunrise

after a hard day’s wandering

I’ve been known to quit smoking, find love

and write a book or two.

Image

(Above is an Abstract blue painting by Ad Reinhardt)

 

Mary the Mannequin (SOC experiment)

What do you get when you close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and write anything that comes to your head? I had heard of writers doing this before. Virginia Woolf, Michael Cunningham,  John Frusciante of Red Hot Chilli Peppers, others. It’s a great exercise to loosen that writer’s block- that’s for sure. My first stream of consciousness experiment- unedited, right from the mad hat.

painted orchids around my

neckline tied with window

shopping around neon-lit

mannequins i’ve asked to

marry me, marry me

Mary I promise you our odds

even out my god

of probability and the universe

will tremble to it’s knees

when you utter the words

like magic will free my tiny locked

heart and explode in a magnificent

big bang my veins pink champagne

dinosaurs in my stomach

Say yes, yes, yes

now, not long now

before it’s closing time, again.

Image

All rights of this image are reserved by Yago Partal. To see more of his awesome zoo portraits, visit http://www.zooportraits.com.

 

February shivers.

It was just a subway ride. Really. But this year around, february seems as lost as me, sometimes rainy, sometimes angry, but mostly lost. Did it lose it’s way between the crushing winter and the promised spring? February, rattling up my heart. February, my wandering lover. February, don’t you see? This is how we’re meant to be. Wandering, wandering, shivering, shivering, till summer comes around and we realize. Oh it was better, so much better, when we were drifting, wandering, shivering in february.

 

You know they say
memories are strange things
I think they’re like metro stations,
disappearing one after another,
blocks of steel railings and hazy tress,
pushing you to where you ought to be
But I wish I could get off on my favorite station,
and stay there forever
Right when the door opens at age sixteen,
I realize this is it,
I want to be in school forever,
the world full of possibilities,
my veins full of life,
looking forward to football every week,
and the prom every year.
when all the books are still new,
and women haven’t lost their novelty.
With the MJ cassettes & a superman cape
You don’t really need anything, or anybody
floating around in that crystal ball
of four chord songs & afternoon dates.
Every little morning sends your body to shivers.
everything is exciting, everything is magic.
But well you know, you didn’t get out.
Your station is here, age twenty two.
Stepping out,the cold city chill does make you shiver
But not every shiver is the good kind;
So you head for a smoke.

The University.

I usually like to write in stolen moments- while waiting for my coffee in a cafe’ or when travelling in the metro, right before I go to sleep or right after I take a shower. But there are moments, more urgent than moments,when overflowed with emotions I have to turn them into words as if keeping them inside would result in a catastrophic explosion, turning my heart into stardust. This is one such piece. Very irregular, very jarring, very noisy. I suppose nothing else would do justice to the last five years. Amen.

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The University

On the walls of a desolate bookshelf,
mostly dust & cigarette ash.
my name conquers
crossed hearts & spiderwebs
but not the pale whitewash.

In between the rickety bed
the steel cupboard
my guitar rests,
stuffed with marksheets and angry letters
home-bound, silent.

I started wearing a tie
till it caged my heart in a box,
answered the crows in the classes,
till my voice died and shrank
to a caw.

The owls heading the university,
I shot in my head, everyday
Then burned the place to ashes,
lit a cigarette from the flames
(Hoot Whoot Whoo Who)
is laughing now?

I’d rather have been a self righteous,
god fearing taxi driver father,
Moonshining my way through red lights,
never failed, never lost.
But as the voice says,
Five years in a hole to a life imprisoned;
What do you know about redemption, son?