Chant

If you ask I will say I am waiting for the silence to disperse,
most oceans can be crossed without dissolving to a mist.

If you wonder why I say this is no salt story,
the shadows all are packed away and gone on tour without delay.

I am inclined to offer some excuse: a flock of pigeons drawn
like magnets to an outdoor feast, where light and sky and thought all ceased.

I want more than just moments cascading into one another,
but flesh and scent are gone, the memories lent.

That we had never traded places. For I am looking down
at birds and winging over years of this silent chant.

Advertisements

Seven small meditations (15 December)

1.
Small waterfalls click on and off, cutting through the dead calm of early evening. Swish, swash, swish: the beat of hands rubbing together, erasing today’s toils beneath the stream, chops the flow. I wonder whether I noticed these details then as I seem to in hindsight. They join the growing jumble, this big rubber band ball of assorted misrememberings.

2.
They say that smell is one of the last senses to leave us. Or is that sound? This scent obliterates all others, leaves you gagging. It chews away: strong, potent, harsh and found everywhere in this place. That it is better than others that might replace it does not weaken its omnipotence. Too clean, too cold and brutal. Let me run from it, from this.

3.
For those of you new to this game, the frowning faces of these mesmerised viewers become easier to spot beneath TV screens flickering in the gloaming. They seem mostly living, still. The TV screens; the watchers, less so.

A sharp angle will suffice, enough to catch the glimpse of a news reader, a chef mid-slice, two lovers in stylised quarrel, or a racquet drawing back to swing. We’ll take sport, an apt metaphor as this is often a fight to the death. See, here the winners still lose. After all the rounds, who truly leaves unscarred? After all the games, the champions’ bodies become maps of each contest, resigned wearers of flesh-borne badges. Victors marked with cuts, scrapes, tears, bruises, incisions, abrasions, pain in all its assorted titles. Don’t forget the mind wilts too, just as the flesh is stripped of dignity, independence, control until it is this eroding shell you see before you.

Hold tight. You may leave tomorrow.

Maybe.

4.
I try to piece together that night, to rearrange the splintered fragments of that jigsaw. But memory is a vindictive creature. We tussle in all the shadowy places. It makes of all nights a single one, congealed by time.

I suppose that this is not too dissimilar to how you felt, too. In here, how different is one day from another?

5.
These meditations are not prayers: please do not mistake one for the other. It would not help any of us. Please do not ask me to explain what they are. I could no more do that than explain why some live, not others.

6.
Dates seems to matter less in here. So too with each passing yesterday. I may wake without you there and your presence becomes an absence, a dotted outline marking what was, what will no longer return.

Time is everywhere and nowhere. Why should we count it?

7.
Somewhere a lift’s doors slide open and closed. A trolley, a bed, a piece of equipment is wheeled back or forth. And we could be astronauts stranded on a shuttle: these pouches, food; these seeping noises a synthetic accompaniment. For all I know we have come ungrounded. Perhaps they have forgotten that we are lost out here.

Help us?

I think of all the vanishing sounds.

A culinary childhood (April 6)

Tip-toes at the Kitchen Counter

First egg shell cracking open
On rounded table’s lino-lidded edge,
Where shapes of all angles
Form checkerboard illusions.

Decant the contents:
Take the yolk in hand and
Let the whites unroll themselves,
Falling
Wrigglingly, soupingly
Into their waiting vessel.

Don’t recipe books grow larger,
As we add to the collection?
This one loses its leaves slimmingly:
Pages discarded in its making,
Images battered with time.

And still I see the egg, just,
But the hand,
the face
are