Swift and the Tulip
The knife is sharp
and swollen with the squid’s blue-black ink;
Tucked against his side; on that horse;
riding along paths strewn with traps laid for wolves.
The jester mockingly makes his way
to the duchess, foiled fool in brimstone-coloured drapes,
And jocularly hands her that cup
her ready pout so eagerly sips dry.
And there go the fir trees
shedding bark like snake its skin,
While that horse with its rough hooves
goes on pushing mulch over the dead groom.
The word sun is the sun.
And as the sun rises
in the early morning sky,
so does the same sun rise inside the eye,
sweeping, with its tender fibrils,
the dusty darkness out of the hollows of the mind.
The very same sun that is said to go to rest at night,
now sets placidly in the hollow of my breast,
and as I cradle this gentle corpuscle,
I fancy what it would be like
to err more and know less…
For when I err, my son is there,
just like that sun,
that rising in the early morning sky
chases musty shadows,
like clouds, out of their hide,
and then comes to rest
on the hallowed breasts of that infinitely stupid blue sky,
that not knowing whence or whither, holds it aloft,
just like that mother who, it is said,
once held her child in her arms.
To the end of love
(Eyes slit as a moon in half,
seeping tears as dry as blackness)
– the cold, fanged, slithery hand reached
and snatched at his neck…
And though not knowing whether we had
indeed reached the end,
the body spasmed, as all living things,
being alive, naturally do.
But the final hour had come;
and as it chimed its last dong,
came the knowledge that love
was here supping for the last time.
All then was history,
a story much the same for every rat…
(So it went, as the child lay in bed,
repeating to himself the word ‘nothing’
till he became lost to himself.)
A Sea of Twos
The incarnadine coloured scar,
like a leafling in a sapping wait
for that which nourishes it,
seeks to find that knife,
which, having cut, made it be.
One tree is swayed violently by the wind,
while another is being uprooted
to be later consumed by fire
in some home in winter.
Memorised in their branches, all trees bear a story.
Theirs is one of deep love with the sun;
ours is a dream dreamt while dreaming in sleep.
While we dream in our sleep,
they, awake, dream
the dream of the morning.
A Beach in the Landscape
Two small mounds of white powder,
one on each shoulder.
Above one, oil pouring down from a glass cruet,
into a spoon, spilling over.
Above the other, a spoon overspilling with oil…
One is Lethe; the other Mnemosyne.
A kettle boils water within itself.
A wind vane belies its voided void,
devoided precisely because it is the void.
The wind is no constant.
In itself, the wind vane is the wind.
but never adulterated
The most disgusting word
in our lexicon. Hope.
On the fifteenth everything died.
Everything would die, and did die,
on the fifteenth.
Caesar would, and did, beg for mercy
as he ran unshod in the open fields at night
with the corpse of his infant daughter
dangling in his arms.
(Investigative journalists warily approached with their photography apparata.)
It would be, and it was, on the fifteenth
that image, dream and memory would
all centre on this sole, unsolvable crime.
(They circled around him now, snapping at his Jacobean grin.)
There is nothing arty or pretentious about this poem
– it was only Time (for the indexical indices).
by the time you are Real
We were there – the sea was there;
we shall be there – the sea will be there.
Riding pillion on a Sunday
“Indeed, a broken chain
behaves iteratively too!”
After all, father had said that one must always
keep a well-greased chain taut –
as he pedalled his bicycle down the street,
the obtrusive litter unobtrusively made way for him;
and as he felt the mania overpower him while
sitting listlessly in front of his endless reflection,
he shuddered at the thought of a world lost.
On regaining his senses, he mindlessly remarked to himself
that it would verily be a world lost in its entirety
– a remark that this day would be recalled as a memorised well-taught thought
and that would today spell out for him the word ‘love’.
Family snaps of a ‘quċċija’
I went to sleep –
or was I reading?
All I know for sure
is that somehow I found myself
within the dream I was dreaming.
I dreamt reality then,
and when I awoke,
I was unsure
whether I had stepped
into that room before.