Let us rise once more as saplings sprouted from gravel,
by the highways where the mufflers of the buses threaten
to blow us all
away, and sprout none
the lesser and watch for
maya: who may take our seeds and spread them and we
by them survive, strangled as we are by breath, exhaust and
white smoke: teach them with our dying leaves their names,
and let them mouth
it on their tongues, discoloured as they might be by
their birth, and see
and hear once more
the cars’ horned blare
and the tired cackle of gravel,
and the whistles of the trains rushing to: up, forth and
away, farther farther farther farther from the cracks where
they must have heard it, and with that sound pick themselves up
and give chase
to that sound that too
is theirs, but fading
away from where they too were born, and begin to begin again.
“And he was one of the bravest men I ever met."
Wands raised, we sing for thee who bows to death,
And greet him well hello with such a smile,
Whose smile bade such farewell we shan't forget,
A teacher - always, now - who loved beguiled:
His potions dangling coloured on the walls,
The marks of darkness shroud by hidden sleeve,
Who glided quiet, blue through hallowed halls,
And stared down pupils green like daybreak’s Eve.
The dawn she, and her forlorn chaser you,
Who sought her out as kin seeks too for kin,
Who found instead her brood, and harshly knew
Her steadfast love kept just by scars within.
Pierced sharp, his wounds knit twice from serpent's pain,
Now wakes to see, and leaves this world no blame.
Rest in peace. Always.
For volleyball games with our kids*
and the grit of dirt slipping through your teeth
like a pancaked hand flat on cement surface.
Ball. Court. It is a good morning and
the sunrise rises to give life to the game. This game:
ours. We run and jump and sing; old bones
made to jog its memory. Bounces the ball and we run
again. Laughing like children. Next to the children.
Leaping after them. Watch as the ball rises high
in the sky next as outstretched arms give chase
to them: its hands caked with dirt; gravel on nails
from the swept cement rock and line paint. This we
share like a communion, a church service. Young
and old, here and not here we rise and we
fall prostate next to the prayers of the net, the brush of fingertips
against fabric against rubber, each palm
of the ball a Sunday chorus stretching, congregation, religion,
swept from the sky and made to kiss ground where
the gods of our sweat and grit belong.
It is impolite to wonder
whether the hot air balloon in your
lungs have begun to deflate,
Whether you wish to float away.
Dad said you never feared flying -
dad said nothing about it, rather.
But I fear for you.
You are old. Older than I can ever imagine.
You are frail but for the globes rising
in your chest and stomach; they fall
with each frail breath.
Let it carry you away. Do not
let these wires hold you down. They do not
pump poison into your body. They do not
let the heat escape.
If it must, it will, grandfather. The ceased oldness
in you expanding and contracting
at will. You will not die without a fight,
grandfather. Oh you will.
Was never close to you. But you're an intriguing study. Very grave.
They guard our gates. We are ruled by mechanised gods.
We are not free.
We are not real.
We are not awake.
Our mornings wake up to dew and smoke. We wake up and pick up our broomsticks and sweep.
You and I are made to sweep.
And it is through these sweeps we dance our fated dances.
Dance to wake the castles,
and water the gardens,
and venerate Emperors long dead and gone.
“This,” we say, “is our duty.”
“To bow together.”
“To hope as one.”
We, all key cogs in the machinery. Everyone has a broom and dustpan. Everyone is made to sweep.
"Is this the land," we ask, "that we sang for and dreamt our feverish cartoon dreams for?"
Perhaps not. Our stories exist only in a land beyond time.
We’ve been there. It is a mechanism for the gods. They too hold brooms.
They too sleep in shrines of stone.
They too live in temples of steel.
The gold ones have long ago burned.
help is in order -
you and i still screaming each other sick
like twin fathers. one
who wishes to surrender his church
to the rust and the other hastening
to restore it:
stone, metal and all.
many nights i
fail to tell apart one from the other,
tell apart the resurrection
from the ruin. i
and you both picking up and
at loose ends of temple rubble
and made to snivel at what
could have been.
there are pieces here we keep
that need be thrown away.
there are pieces here we leave behind
that need be kept.
I use "God" a lot for my titles. But this one is rather apt for now. It lacks the power I want from a poem entitled "God," but it's true. And truth sometimes is all that needs to count.
we are not butterflies
wings splayed flat across tables
like specimens. we are
not fluttering in the wind
like figurines. we are
and love, and hope and
faith floating eternally
in the distance, just
and beneath our grasp. past
the skies we fly still,
splayed across blue
like specimens. poised
to spring to life
like figurines. we
are beautiful. we
are strong. we
are feeble, and plastered,
and nailed half-folded
to surfaces that scrape against
our cheeks but still
we fly. still
we are not butterflies.
for my brother who still chooses to fly away.