" Don't walk behind me; I may not lead.
Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow.
Just walk beside me and be my friend." - Albert Camus
Beyond the Telegraph Toad
The telegraph road circled through the foothills,
arising towards the majestic mountain high
It’s been a long and twisting passage soon forgotten,
with the pavement abruptly dead ending,
just below the timberline
The dawning blue sky’s heavens look so much closer now
Just a step away from standing within reach
The birds uplifted on the telegraph wire rest atop me;
perched overhead on the final material traces
disregarded by a dubious world
My awakening soul is ascending
beyond the distant alpine horizon
At the threshold of a trackless pathway,
climbing up above the clouds
It’s exhilarating to look back and know
there is no turning back around
I’ve never been higher
and can never get back down
What unknown frontier lies in wait before me now?
Just on the other side of the impossible dream?
The last step forward to find the next step beyond the bounds
There is not that much that changes,
when we just repeat the same old song
The atmosphere’s thin air leaves me gasping for wings
Like dust and ashes free to soar with the tempest breeze
If only time would sever these loathsome ties that bind
The ones that enchain the weight of this load unto me
While understanding the pace to a long journey’s rhythm
The only barometer you have to trust is in your heart
Adaptation is at the core of freedom's survival
But it feels almost like running away
I have felt the fear of falling with nothing left to lose
I’ve climbed as far as flesh and bones can reach
I've come this far always feeling subtly afraid
It has been a great distance back from the beginning;
knowing I must take these last steps alone.
Understanding it was love that brought me here
Naturally tugs at the spirit in my soul encouraging me on
I'll keep searching for the shining light of guidance
Listening for a voice that softly beckons me home...
At 20, tragedy stuck my life when my best friend I had grown up with from just down the block, perished in a head on crash. We lived together in college at the time and we were all headed to the beach for the Memorial Day weekend. Another friend had just purchased a vintage used 2 seat sports car and at the last minute I could not go because 3 did not fit. (6’4” 200 at the time) I was disappointed and felt abandoned by my best friend as I watched them drive away, down the gravel road for the last time. Then came the knock at the door by the state police at 1 am inquiring about next of kin, a moment that changed my life forever.
When we snow skied together as teens, we always talked about climbing the mountain we were on.
It took another 12 years, some practice, training and a 6 month mountaineering class to find so much more than closure…
Your thoughts are sincerely appreciated...thank you for reading.
Seems like a dream
Has over taken us now
Tossed in this turmoil
I'm not quite sure how
We've all become numbers
In this nameless place
Have pity on the whole human race
We've spent years of our future
Trying to run from the past
Relying on memories
That never did last
With so many questions
Who can we ask
Where are the morals that we used to have
Whatever happened to the morals in life
We opened the window
They flew into the night
Can anyone tell me how we'll ever get by
Without the morals that once held us so tight
The fewer the heartbeats
The shorter the time
The deeper the cavern
The harder the climb
The more that we look for
The less that we find
Of the morals that we left behind
Whatever happened to the morals in life
We opened the window
They flew into the night
Can anyone tell me how we'll ever survive
Without the morals that we once had in life
It's those moments, when we're laying in the bed.I kiss your shoulder and you know what I meant.
Look me in the eyes and smile that perfect smile.
You kiss the top of my head and you're driving me wild.
I can only have these moments with you.
I've never felt this way, never felt so safe.
I've never tried so hard to wait.
And when I start to worry, that you might leave me lonely.
I remember all-nighters on my sisters couch, the first time that you took me out.
The way you held me when I cried and stood beside me all damn night.
Promise that you would stay and anyways...
I can only have these moments, with you.
I can only feel this way, for you.
Only think all day about you.
And the truth is, if you asked for the truth, I'd lie.
But I think I'll love you till the day I die.
A warm summer night
Can blister my skin.
Make me pray
For the slightest breeze.
Make my eyes droop with fatigue.
Keep me awake.
Dangling just out of reach of slumber.
But if you say my name
In your hushed tone.
If you look at me
With equal laze in your eyes.
It can cool me inside
Like a submersion into the sea.
I can't wait for the winter
Somewhere within the levels of the conscious
between the bowels of the deep and
the deepness of my thought
I am caught
in the secrets that I keep
in the darkness of my sleep where
I cry in waterfalls of tears and joy
the unhappiness of fears
employ and use me
or so it seems.
These dreams see fit to haunt me
and sleeping draughts have no effect.
This dissatisfaction that I feel
peels away and when the day has come
wonder why the sun still lights the sky
and wonder why it does not light my heart.
Do I need to look upon the charted stars up there
to understand myself and know just where and when
I go to then
will that make me a better man
if I learn to understand the master plan
and is there such a map.
'I need a slap to wake me up' but I think that's a fallacy
dreamers like me need no such thing.
Each morning I bring a bucket to the well with wishes in my head
and these are fed up through the day
into my conscious thought
and once again I find I'm caught
my thoughts should pay attention to what is going on
before I even know it
the fleeting hours have run away
The night would say,
'it serves you right you've got what you deserve,
I reserve the right to kick against the night
and rest my case.
I'm always falling for girls who are arrows shot through the hearts of prodigal sons.
You've been in my head for days.
I've been clinging to your later
Like a shipwrecked sailor
Clings to the shattered bow
As the ocean tries to swallow him whole.
You swallowed me whole,
And you barely even opened your mouth;
Just wide enough for me to taste honey
And see stars that have been three nights creating haloes around my drunken head.
But you'll only hold my hand in the shadows;
You'll only ask me how I am if you know the answer will be
I've got you under my skin
But you're under it, girl.
You're seven layers deep,
And suddenly you're rushing through my bloodstream
And filling my body with a five-dime dream
That is only of your face.
Everyone knows that web of red veins
All lead back to the heart.
So I'm putting up fences
But leaving gaps between the posts
So when you’ve circulated my system
and I can feel you tingling electricity in every one of my cells
It’ll look like the bars I’ve put up were to keep you out
But really the space between was to let you in.
I’ll be shining a light so bright that maybe you’ll grow powdered wings
and flutter towards me like a moth who can’t ignore the flame for even one more second.
You’re more like a butterfly though.
When I look at you I see every colour;
I see grace and beauty, and in your voice I hear a melody so sweet it makes me wonder
whether you’re a girl,
Or if maybe you’re a songbird.
Maybe you build a new nest every night
From twigs and feathers and broken hearts.
You showed me a cutting of your old boyfriend’s hair
That you keep in your wallet
Because you dream of recreating him.
I thought if I knew how I’d make an army of this boy for you,
I’d carve his face from limestone
And give him blossoms for eyes
But I’d give him my lips,
So that when you kissed him I’d taste you.
And it’s not like I’d make you,
But inside my head we’re every day making each other laugh;
We’re every day running through dappled fields,
Calling each other’s names,
Smelling each other’s hair.
It’s the sweetest thing.
That’s all I really want to say
Is that you make me smile and dream,
And sometimes I’m looking at your face
For just a bit longer than you’re looking at mine,
And in the half-light I think,
Isn’t she beautiful.
In the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan city, I searched you down. Stalked, hunted and fished you out. Out of the 7 billion people, I found you, and that was all which mattered. You. Your hair still soft and ruffled with care, you lips still pink without usage, or so I hoped, your eyes, sparkling as always behind your thin framed silver glasses. You, with your bold look, walking across the streets like you own them. You, with you heavy and slow steps walking to your destination with a purpose to conquer. You.
And in that unknown city, so far away from the root of our existence, with mindless honks of drivers and a play of lights everywhere, I found somebody that I used to know. A face not forgotten, yet changed, eyes which haunted reappeared and a voice which lingered rung in my ears. I found you.
I would purposely bump into you, pretending to be in a hurry, pretending to not recognize the only face embedded in my soul, drop my valuables, say something like my identification card, give you a quick smile and a sorry and run off and disappear into the wave of the crowd.
You would just stare at the card. Be reminded of a life so distant, possibly a life forgotten, probably forcefully. Be reminded of how a girl, crazy and wild, young in her years, had come and gone from your life. Be reminded of the question you always used to ask yourself "what happened?"
I would hide to see your face grow white. You had just seen a ghost. A ghost of your past, who you had forcefully left behind. Now, after decades of separation, years spent not even giving it a second thought, years spent away, you were reminded again. The fire was lit again. The fire which made you pick up the card, stare at the number and automatically dial it up. I would say "hello", at which you would cut the call still unsure of what you would say. Scanning, devising a plan, you would call again, only this time you would talk.
"Hello", I would say confused.
"I found your wallet miss, remember you bumped into me earlier?"
"oh yes thank god for you sir. Tell me where you are and I shall come and pick it up."
and with that you would let yourself go.
after all, a "hi" i all we need to melt, to fall, to die, all over again right?
and with that I woke up to the alarm screaming in my ears to remind me that reality still persisted, and that it would take more than a dream to get you back.
The last few passengers hopped on catching their breaths with a huff and a puff and taking the remaining seats where they could, while handling their bags in one hand and their mufflers and hats with the other. It was just an ordinary day for them. A day when work and reaching their office on time was the only thing they could think about. A day when half their time on the launch was spent worrying if the Tiffin box packed so lovingly by their wives toppled over to create a mess. A day when they couldn't stop and stare. A day when materialism came before appreciating nature’s beauty.
Kolkata woke up one fine chilly morning to a sky set ablaze. There was always something about Kolkata and its lights that intrigued me. The perfection with which every corner was lit just as much as it should be, the hidden eye candy which could only be seen if you look into your soul to appreciate. Worshipers from all over flocked to the ghats to offer their prayers. And with the mindless honking of the city behind them and the open river in front, they dipped themselves in continuously to be forgiven of their sins. As they lifted their folded hands above their heads to pray and dipped themselves, they made the water all around them make huge ripples which were lost in the vastness of the mighty river. And with that, they were forgiven of their wrong doings, or at least that’s what they believed.
The engines roared to life as one of the crew, miserably opened the ropes and threw them on board after ringing a bell. I stood in one corner of the launch eyeing Kolkata, taking every bit of it in - its morning awakening, its old red bricked buildings, or at least the ones which still stood straight, its ghats green with moss and over crowded with devotees, its icy cold winter morning, and the current of the river beneath the launch floor. Kolkata had woken up to one of the coldest days in recent history. 9 degrees and the wind was up. On the Ganga it felt as if I had come away to some faraway land, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, to find peace. Silence surrounded me and the only sound faintly audible was the low whistle of the breeze brushing past my cheeks kissing them which felt like tiny needles poking me all at once.
The water looked like liquid glass, floating away to infinity and beyond, as far as my eyes took my vision. As the launch turned to face its destination the Howrah Bridge came into view. Standing tall with its two gigantic pillars the sun peeped from between the cables to shine on the water creating a river of gold while the sun’s reflection seemed a ball of fire just within our reach. The bridge cast huge shadows causing a sudden darkness to arise in the water which otherwise seemed ablaze.
Across the river the world waiting for me felt distant. Was civilization actually that beautiful? Or did nature just wrap its covers around to hide the flaws of mankind, his ruthlessness, his ignorance towards other beings and its lack of humanity? The dashes of green popped out of the corners of towering buildings, as sun cast its golden rays on them creating shadows on the opposite side.
The small boats sailed on as the launch took me from bank to bank. The rowers sat at the back on the edge with their rows half immersed in the water. And as the currents made them flow by, the ripples came and hit our launch and travelled back into the vastness and disappeared. They sailed through the disturbed water, and its shadows sailed alongside. The rivers serenity was contrasted with the blobs of weed floating by, entangled with driftwood and mixed with shiny cloths, probably the leftovers of the previous durga puja celebrations.
The sky was a game of colors by now. The sun, still a ball of fire, was slowly creeping upwards, the light grey clouds just behind it shot rays of gold down through the gaps they found on the world below, the sky otherwise was a play of grey, blue, red and orange set in order from the ground upwards without a definite point of distinction. A group of three birds, crows most probably, flew overhead enjoying the sun’s late arrival to the cold morning.
My hands reached for the railing. I gripped the rods tightly looking for security. I looked around me to spot the different lives sailing with me. Some on their phones, some sat with their eyes glued to the cold blank floor, as if they didn’t deserve to be uplifted by nature’s display of her beauty, some staring down at their watches to scrutinize each second to realize how late there were while others stood with a blank expression staring out onto the river, probably going over what they did wrong, playing the images on repeat, making themselves miserable. Me? I stood leaning on the railing looking out also. But I wasn’t in my misery. My misery was behind me. I looked forward to life. And for now I looked forward to my destination. And amongst the crowd I was alone. This was my moment and mine alone. No one could have robbed me of this moment, and no one can make me forget.
The river gave me peace of mind. Its tranquility and its continuity made an energy of constancy flow within me. A belief that this too shall pass, that every moment shall pass. Never ending was its path. A path which life had chosen. Who are we to disrupt it? Who are we to stop? Life flowed on. And times were not always smooth sailing. There will be waves rocking you, making you lose your balance, there will be rocks at the bottom, sometimes holding you together while other times damaging your base. With time and distance the river will get polluted, but it all depends on what you want to show and what you choose to see. It will be used, to its maximum capacity, with only a handful of souls to stop and think about it and do something about it to the best of their abilities. Things varying in all sizes will cross it, sail by without paying any heed to the water beneath it making them sail smoothly, never appreciating it, and soon it becomes a part of them which they pay no attention to it. It will always be there though. Its existence will always prevail over it being ignored. And when you stop to think, it’ll be there pushing you along the way, to your destination, where you will have to say goodbye to the picture perfect moments, the soul touching feelings and the voice within you which screams in its silence to set yourself free.
Uncaring minutes are but passersby
disregarding my wails.
They hear me; they offer no help.
Though, with only sixty seconds to exist,
why would they stop for me?
The hours pound against my skull with intent to smash their way in.
Such constant clangor resonates through my consciousness
disturbs my ego,
the agitation seems to sieve out
tiny jealousies from among other thoughts.
Oh those god-damned Days.
They see me confused and seize their chance;
they pull out my feet
right from under my frame,
and helpless, hurt,
I collapse to the earth.
And here time really sets in.
The Months form gangs called 'Years'
and The Years take their turn
breaking my joints, my fingers, my knees,
all my snappable, crackable points.
Curved, crippled, and creaking,
I languish in fantasies of what's supposed to be,
oh, and the 'might-have-beens'.
Time makes things worse.
A dark shadow moves over me.
I look up as far as a heavy, beaten head will allow
only to see the massive, soul-crushing weight of the decades
seating their backside;
down to rest upon my twig-like spine.
And throughout the abuse,
I crawl, cringe, cower
as safe as can be in a low lying state on the ground,
(which is still six feet too high for all that time cares!)
I hear from somewhere afar
an unfaltering decree
from my maker to me
"Stand up straight! For Heaven's sake!"
Sitting at the bar talking about poetry.
Talking about the girl I want to look at me.
Hold up my hands as if those thoughts were fire
Burning me from the inside out, just had to get it all out.
"I met her for the one night, and I've been writing about her ever since"
Then she looked at me and just said "Wow".
I wanted to smile but I felt just dirty.
These are my true feelings and I don't want share them with you.
Hold up the time for me I can't see it through this mask.
My head hangs low and stitches are bleeding.
I want to fall in love with this girl, so I write and hope she'll read it one day.
Now I am alone, high as fuck, totally drunk on that idea.