Archive for the ‘poetry’ Category


Next, Please

January 2, 2006

So 2005 came and went and life is still the same. It’s as if a year of conscription never happened, and the last year I have spent in a slumber through which I magically learnt how to speak basic German. I wanted so much from it, like I usually do from life, but really, nothing has happened. Friends left, friends come back, friends will leave again, friends will drift apart. Work is same old, same old, and will always be same old no matter where you work or how much you earn or what you do. Lovers will break your heart and place in your wanting, prayerful hands the detritus that remains. The more things change…

Leafing through old files and rereading the notes that I made (I was smart, I was fucking brilliant), I find the poem that I did for my Lit S paper, and it seems like a fitting way to start the new year.

Next, Please

Always too eager for the future, we
Pick up bad habits of expectancy.
Something is always approaching; every day
Till then we say,

Watching from a bluff the tiny, clear
Sparkling armada of promises draw near.
How slow they are! And how much time they waste,
Refusing to make haste!

Yet still they leave us holding wretched stalks
Of disappointment, for, though nothing balks
Each big approach, leaning with brasswork prinked,
Each rope distinct,

Flagged, and the figurehead wit golden tits
Arching our way, it never anchors; it’s
No sooner present than it turns to past.
Right to the last

We think each one will heave to and unload
All good into our lives, all we are owed
For waiting so devoutly and so long.
But we are wrong:

Only one ship is seeking us, a black-
Sailed unfamiliar, towing at her back
A huge and birdless silence. In her wake
No waters breed or break.

-Philip Larkin

Happy New Year, everyone.



July 27, 2005

a burst of light from an unearthly photo-shoot,
blue-yellow and very beautiful,
and when we beheld it we were in awe,
and when we blinked we were burnt
to the bone, skin torn from flesh,
flesh torn from bone, bone from body.
we saw the devil, and now glass eyes
reverb in our sockets, and we can never
see anything else, but feel the unfeeling
cold orbs press against our eye-lids.

and in that harsh instant was a
split-second of reality. we were
shown the desolation towards which we
are hurtling – where light is all and all
is nothing. greens, pinks, earth-browns –
all colours were dissolved by blue-yellow
and gave way to gray, and black.

what else remains but silence?
we refuse to speak of that which we
cannot see, but only feel on our
skin, in our flesh, in our bones –
and in the cavernous regions of our
broken souls, emptied by the rush of
colourlessness and nothing. and what
left but rubble, over which we will
rebuild and bid good-bye and
start afresh? only we remain, still on
soil that burns even till today; the only thing
reminding us that we are remembered
is the sound of a shutter flicking open
and close.



July 3, 2005

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrows of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant which never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where ‘I’ does not exist, nor ‘you’,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

– Pablo Neruda, Sonnet XVII

So alone again on a Sunday night wishing that I had a gay posse to take me out clubbing so that I can find the one true love of my life: I am a morass of insensibilities and illogic. And once again the mind seeks refuge in intellect or beauty: the original joy of discovering Kant has really worn off me, so I turn to trying to decipher economics, calculus and the Rawlsian equilibrium. That fails, and all that is left is to leave my eyes open to the wonderful world of pornography. Even that climax is short-lived, so the aesthetic sense seeks out a vague memory that is still with me: that sunny morning we are told to present our favorite poems in class, and some boy or other whips out Neruda’s seventeen and blows everyone away with such a lovely, lovely reading of it.

I really wanted to crumple into an autistic ball and fetus my way out of the mad emotions that such a simple poem could evoke in complex me. Or not: maybe I’m not so complex after all, perhaps all my complexes are constructs, perhaps I am just as simple as they come. I am extraodinarily ordinary: there is nothing I want more than mad love in all its madness.


a case of you

June 14, 2005

just before our love got lost you said
‘i am as constant as the northern star’
and i said ‘constantly in the darkness.
where’s that at?
if you want me i’ll be in the bar.’

on the back of a cartoon coaster
in a blue tv screenlight
i drew a map of canada.
o canada.
with your face sketched on it twice.

you’re in my blood like holy wine.
you taste so bitter and so sweet.

i could drink a case of you
and i would still be on my feet.
i would still be on my feet.

i am a lonely painter.
i live in a box of paints.
i’m frightened by the devil
and i’m drawn to those ones that ain’t

i remember that time you told me
love is touching souls.
surely you’ve touched mine
because a part of you pours out of me
in these lines from time to time.

in my blood
like holy wine
you taste so bitter
bitter and so sweet.

i could drink a case of you
and still i would be on my feet
i would still be on my feet.

i made a woman
she had a mouth like yours, she knew your life.
she knew your devils and your deeds
and she said ‘go to him stay with him if you can
but be prepared to bleed.’

you are in my blood you’re my holy wine
you taste so bitter bitter and so sweet.

well i could drink a case of you darling
and i would still be on my feet.
i would still be on my feet.

(Joni Mitchell)

Listening to this song always makes me feel sad. There is an amazing quality of sadness and resignation and selfdestruction and resentment and everything that love should be.

I wish that I loved too.


High Windows

June 13, 2005

When I see a couple of kids
And guess he’s fucking her and she’s
Taking pills or wearing a diaphragm,
I know this is paradise

Everyone old has dreamed of all their lives–
Bonds and gestures pushed to one side
Like an outdated combine harvester,
And everyone young going down the long slide

To happiness, endlessly. I wonder if
Anyone looked at me, forty years back,
And thought, That’ll be the life;
No God any more, or sweating in the dark

About hell and that, or having to hide
What you think of the priest. He
And his lot will all go down the long slide
Like free bloody birds.
And immediately

Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:
The sun-comprehending glass,
And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.

(Philip Larkin)

Interesting poem, isn’t it? I hated Larkin, but after this one and a few others he grew on me. Like damn fungus, that reactionary bastard.