Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Neon Noir

When I walk in the neon-noir streets of my feline city, I never turn at the noises that dog my steps. I never turn because I don’t want to see them. I pretend not to hear them. They’re everywhere, and they think they can beat me. Creep upon me in an unguarded moment and quell me. They’ve been with me, after me, for as long as I can remember. I grew up with the fear of them enveloping me, and rode into adulthood with them riding pillion behind me. They were my many selves, my other selves, and I ruthlessly and relentlessly eluded their grasp. One slip, and they would overwhelm me, and I would never be myself again. Armoured by my watchfulness, I flitted through the city, never stopping, ever on the move, ever one step ahead of them.

And then one day I saw her, and my world stopped. Just for a second. And in that second, the dry dust and dead leaves and shreds of fairy wings caught up with me, and I was lost, lost forever. 

Men I fall for

I always fall for lean men, like Cassius. Men whose eyes shoot laser beams that slice through your heart. Men with no hatred or suspicion of the world, but who still stand apart with a light air of distrust. Tall men. Men who smoke. Men with wiry limbs and long, tapering fingers. Men with soft brown eyes and sudden smiles. No Greek Gods, no Schwarzeneggers, no Wild Hogs for me. I always fall for men who fade into the sunshine.

But I can never kiss them, and I can never love them, for I have pledged my heart to a familiar stranger whose warm cheek against my cheek and heartbeat against my breast take me, finally, home.  

a black smear of pain

a black smear of pain
drags across my universe
like the daubs of kajal
on her drawn face
as, rubbing the sleep
and sleeplessness
from her weary eyes,
she stands framed
in the sliver
of the open door. 

In Memory of VC Rock

Shoulder to shoulder,
we leaned back
against vodka-varnished evening skies.

Our songs flamed
in the last puffs
of cigarette butts,
our dreams soared
on a wisp of marijuana,
we staked our hearts
on the glittering shards
of broken beer bottles.

In the green distance,
a peacock screamed with laughter.
A hare streaked across
the motorcycle headlight,
a horde of wild boars waited
for the football team to pass
before they crossed the road.

In the green distance,
lovers’ bodies sculpted
moon-moistened rocks
high above the still water.

And on VC Rock,
our dreams danced around the bonfire,
words tripped merrily into poetry,
flashes of light into films.

Tonight, you stretch your legs
and lean back beneath the stars

While here, my cigarette smoke
breaks against the concrete walls,
the steel rods and cement sacks
obscuring the sky.

There is spirit here, and fire
dancing unquenched at the lips
and fingertips
of one petite girl
with stormclouds in her eyes.
There are voices here, and dreams
flickering in the cold night
and among the myriad hues of day.
There are fights without flags,
firebrands lined against citadels of ice,
and of course there are lives
and loves and songs,

but never, never the same
as the warmth of your hands in mine
and the sound of all our voices
raised aloft in tuneless song
beneath the vodka-varnished sky
on VC Rock. 

perfect happiness

perfect happiness
never lasts.

a bubble
of frothing mirth –
you follow it
with rainbows in your eyes,
balance it
on the tender tip
of your finger –

you cherish it
for the one long moment
before it bursts.
(what’s so precious
about plastic bubbles?)

in the dim alcove
of a small bookstore,
his lips brushed my cheek
and the years sloughed off my heart –
like a teenager
in the first spring of love,
I thrilled
in perfect happiness.