Saturday, December 18, 2010


Not that I would. Oh no! Never! Just sometimes, I wish something would happen. I can't explain it. I guess it's just that idle mind, devil's workshop thing we're not supposed to do.

I really need to keep myself busy.

Now, you should understand it's no big deal. I'm as peace-loving and God-fearing a woman as any other, and...Oh, let me just run and take the pressure cooker off, one minute. It whistles so loudly, it could burst!

I'm sorry about that. There's so much work around the house these days. It just never seems to end. Waking him up, cooking breakfast, helping him with his office briefcase...

Oh. Well. It wasn't always like this. I wasn't always like this. I guess it's just age. My face looks tired, doesn't it? Ha is just all this morning strain. I haven't had much time to eat yet. Once I have a bath, I'll be just fine. You'll see! Ha ha ha!

No, really. The boys at the office used to check me out too, you know. I saw them stare, sometimes when I walked past. Their conversations would stop abruptly and they would start brushing their hair, or looking at their watches. We can tell these things! Oh, but I enjoyed it. How long ago was it now, I wonder. One,, only about 8 months it's been, yes. That's right. Eight full months since I quit the office.

What's that? Oh yes, that's close to when we got married too. We've been together 10 months now. What a wonderful day that was, I still remember! I remember him holding my hand at the ceremony while I just cried and cried! Ha ha! I really cried very hard!

And then all the office colleagues were there for us, the first real office relationship that had 'clicked', so to say. 

No, he didn't exactly ask me to quit. He wouldn't do that, he's so timid! Things just come up, you know. Life is like that. All these household chores, they just take a lot of time! He had said, of course, how it felt strange to have a wife working at the same office as the husband. He didn't really mind, it was just what everyone said. The guys hadn't stopped checking me out either. They just didn't include him in their "sessions". Well, all this did irk him a bit.

But he's so sweet when he's jealous! It's know, I feel like I lost ... something. It's very wrong of me to think like this, but every time I see him return home from work in the evenings, something seems to bite me. I feel a jealousy inside me, I don't know why!

I used to have all that but then, of course, that's not practical any longer. You know how things are! His mother complains. My parents also prefer it this way. I get to wear their favourite saris and salwar suits now. Not that I mind. It's the weight gain that I do mind, but that's another story now, isn't it?

I just can't watch him when he comes back. Maybe I hate his tiredness. I hate his stories of what happened in the workplace. Sometimes... Sometimes I feel I could just choke him. For what he's done to me. He hasn't actually! It happens. Not that it's his fault! And not that I would. Never! But, it's just...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Scrambled Eggs

The smell of it would wake him up some mornings. He liked that, waking up to the fresh smell of warm food. It made the air livelier, in a way. Or, well, perhaps it was just a good start to the day this way. It was a small apartment, definitely small for two people. Sometimes it seemed just the right size, cosy for two people in love, but he knew they would need to get a bigger place sometime soon.

As he rubbed his eyes and idly scratched his head, not asleep anymore but not entirely awake either, the draft from the small ventilation slot near the kitchen brought to him the aroma of today’s breakfast. He ‘tasted’ the eggs getting fried on the pan, a few light, selectively chosen spices sprinkled over them. It was good to know what was for breakfast before you actually ate it. It was good to know that there was a cooked breakfast every morning. He thanked his life and his luck for that woman, every morning as he woke up.

Some days it was eggs with fruit and tea, she insisted he have at least one fruit per day, and some days it was a simpler toast with butter or jam arrangement. There was a comforting familiarity to things. It was good to wake up this way.

Thanking his luck again, he stood up from the bed groggily and shuffled to the bathroom. Cleaning his teeth, he heard the boiling of the water, knowing it meant the tea would be ready soon. He walked slowly to the kitchen and sat at the counter. They didn’t exchange many words, he knew. Most couples talked a lot more than they did. But it was alright, he said to himself often, they just didn’t need to constantly reinforce their love with exaggerated shows of romance and false cheeriness. As he poured some juice out for the both of them, he knew it was a comfortable silence they shared.

Neither one felt the need to break it with nervous words or random exclamations. It was rare between people – most never felt it their entire lives – and he was glad they had this. As she brought the omelette to the kitchen counter, he got up swiftly to pull her chair for her and kissed her softly on the cheek. They began to eat.

It was then she told him that she was leaving him. A promotion opportunity had presented itself in the sales department and she would be required to move to another city. It would be better she felt, for the both of them, if they simply parted now on good terms. The distance would only cause drama later and serve to prolong the inevitable.

He listened as she went on explaining things, while at the same time calmly going about her breakfast. The food tasted like nothing all of a sudden to him. She was saying she wouldn’t go to work today. She would spend the day packing. Maybe spend her last couple of weeks with her parents before she finally had to leave the city.

He nodded. It made perfect logical sense. What more could he add? As they finished their food, she picked up both the plates, put them in the basin and went into the bedroom. She would start packing her things now. He stared at the plates. The cleaning lady would come in later in the day to clean them –clean the small pieces of left-over food she had cooked him for the last time, the drops of tea and the few crumbs of bread scattered on them. Those plates would never smell again of the eggs she made him every morning as he woke up.

He got up off his stool and looked around the room, haggard but homely. The carpet was stained still with pasta sauce she had spilled when she had had too much wine one night. They had laughed and kissed late into the night that time in front of the television. The small table in front of the couch was marked with the bases of their coffee mugs – they hadn’t bothered with coasters. The curtains were neatly pulled, letting the day stream in. There was dust hanging in the air, illuminated in the sun’s spotlight. Everything looked so big all of a sudden. It was too much. 

The apartment was far too big for just one person living all alone.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

...Sweet Delight

Auburn hair, black dress on pale white skin. And eyes, eyes of light sky blue. A cloud passing through.

It takes a while of silent gaze, of silent gaze and quiet thought, before I start to say a word. Confusion, curiosity and then unease pass her eyes. Relief too, when I finally start to say a word.

The music's loud and people shout. To hear themselves above the din. In darkness and black closing shroud, there is no other way to declare yourself. They drown me, and my words, in my own timidity. She loses interest.

A tall, blonde guy from behind me takes her attention. A polite nod and a mumbled excuse, she extends her hand and walks off too.

I guess when it's really hopeless to say, even my imagination cannot help me sway the fruits of success down by my way.

So I tell myself I like it so. I prefer it so. For a poet I am, and how long would I remain one in the sweet, sunny realms of success, fun and play?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Experiments with Sanity

Mind and Body, Body and Soul (Part I)

There was something off about it all. But he couldn’t point his finger at what it was exactly. His eyes blinked too slowly and sights rushed by in the seconds they stayed open. Anxious faces, stern expressions, closed doors, noisy corridors. People stared down at a body, whispering to themselves furtively, as if to keep a secret from the person sleeping on the table. A woman sniffled back a tear, a sad expression on her face, which hardened slowly as she approached the table from the corner of the room. And then, he felt suddenly as if his head was being bombed.

It was an explosion inside. Flashing by him, as if pulled on a reel on fast forward, were scenes, people, mountains, buildings, cars, the random odd objects he kept in his bedroom. He saw the little girl at the flower shop from last Wednesday, picking out a white rose and jumping up and down in delight. He asked the postman where he was to sign and he pointed to the dotted line at the bottom right of the receipt. He smelled the sharp flavours and spices as he cooked lunch one blissful Sunday afternoon after a good night’s rest the previous night. He heard the raucous celebrations and laughing cacophony from the neighbouring flat, because the cricket match was on. He felt a hand caress his own and he felt the nerve signals running at lightning speeds up and down his body in thrill. It was an assault on his mind, as if someone had put everything into a box and was tumbling it over his head now. He saw smiling faces from childhood days, felt the sweat in his shoes as he stepped through the door for his first interview, saw himself looking at himself in the mirror after shaving, felt his fist connect with someone’s jaw. Fear, anxiety, jubilation and ecstasy excited his mind through the ups and downs of several years within a space of seconds. Words heard and songs sung, criticism and appreciation, love and hatred, bewildered his mind as it numbly took blow after blow. He heard a scream, “Watch out!!” someone shouted from behind him. The accumulated wealth of his 27 years poured out in front of him.

Shaking his head, he woke up in his own bed. Slowly, he allowed his eyes to fall into focus, resting on the cupboard untidily filled with books. His mother would freak, seeing books kept this way. A scream, he thought suddenly and jumped slightly, startled. A dream, it was a stupid dream, that’s all.

Out in the streets later, he was polishing his glasses with a white handkerchief, when the girl walked up to him, dressed in red from top to bottom. “Could I borrow a match?” she asked. He fished out his lighter and lit her cigarette for her. She leaned forward, cupping her hands around the thin flame, as her lush, jet black hair fell forward past her ears. But you don’t smoke, he thought to himself. She looked up at him and smiled that familiar, naughty smile he had never seen before. As their eyes met, locked by her piercing gaze, he began to form the words to ask her who she was. But she just held his hand and started to take him away. “Come with me. There are things to do.”

The club played annoying music, all too loudly. The modern techno songs relied on both voices and instruments to be heavily synthesized. But he could barely hear any of it. It was odd, but he figured his ears had probably just gotten used to it and were reflexively tuning it all out. He’d been here long enough for that to happen now, in his awkward dance moves. He didn’t enjoy discotheques, he remembered as the words flashed past inside his mind, like a stock-ticker. But she swayed like a belly-dancer, caught in slow motion. Her face, with clean features and eager, forward lips, shone calmness and excitement at the same time. She spoke to him softly, but he could hear every word. He could hear the words as they escaped her lips, but then they fell out of his mind and were dropped from memory. He had forgotten how she had begun, by the time she reached the end of a sentence. How lucky, he thought to himself, that she isn’t asking any questions. He chuckled to himself, and in a sudden bravado, met her dance expertly with his own to the crescendo rhythm. The key was to counter the speed, he knew, by going the opposite direction. So he slowed.

She barely seemed to notice his absorption in his own thoughts as they sat at dinner, and continued to do most of the talking. He watched the delightful play of her lips, moving up and down as she spoke. He watched her eyes, light and intoxicated with joy and the wine. “You look beautiful tonight”, he said to her, the warmth in his heart confirming that it was the right thing to say. “You say that all the time”, she replied, giggling into her wine all the same. It is true, his mind said to him, you do say that every time you see her. The moon was shining above them, full and proud in a cloudless night sky. He wondered, randomly, why everyone was looking at him tonight. Surely she was the one to ogle at tonight.

The waiter had come bearing the after dinner champagne, looked right into his eyes, holding his gaze for about half a minute. “You’re going to be alright”, he said. Funny. Those are the only words I’ve heard someone else say all day today. He looked at her and she smiled. Forgetting the waiter, he admired those beautiful lips again.

That night, he had a funny dream. It was pitch black and smoky in the room, both at once. And out of the smoke, maybe a physical smoke or maybe just some sort of barrier to the senses, voices had hurtled down on him, clashing and echoing like gongs and drums and overpowering his mind until he screamed for everyone to be quiet.

He couldn’t remember things clearly when he woke up though. Except that there had been a great deal of crying and pleading involved. About … something.

 An Axe Through the Fabric of Truth (Part II)

“What is it? Why is it like this?”
“We can’t really say for sure, right now.”
“Could it be … something like …?”
“There’s no evidence of that.”
“Test it. You must do something!”

The sun shone brightly down on the vast, sandy beach. He looked down on his navy blue suit and trousers, the black polished shoes and the brown briefcase, and he frowned slightly. He should have been better prepared for this. It was a lucky thing his feet weren’t sinking into the soft sand. And none of the sand got into his shoes either as he walked towards the waves. He took a deep breath, calming himself and not letting the glare of the cruel sun disturb him, unchallenged as it was in a cloudless sky.


“Please stay very still as we begin.” He felt the need to keep on walking, to feel the soft, wet sand beneath his feet.


“Do not move. Can you hear me clearly over this?”


The sound of the waves was very soothing, a gentle lapping at the back of his mind. He felt like he was gliding slowly, in the direction of the waves. To get his feet a little wet, yes. Good. There was nothing to spoil the sound of the waves melding and flowing into one another. A solitary gull flew above him, its flapping wings standing out white against the azure above. The flapping made an unusually loud, disturbing, sound in middle of the equanimity all around.


A strange buzz filled the air and he looked up at the skies. From the horizon to his left, a tiny speck approached, slowly growing larger. It was a bi-plane, he judged, probably carrying an amateur pilot on his Sunday morning solo flight run.


The plane was sweeping visibly lower in the sky now, approaching him at very near its top speed. The sound of the twin engines buzzing began to fill his ears and everything around him, getting louder and louder every second. It was only a few metres above the surface of the sea now. As it pushed away the air from ahead of itself, the waters below were disturbed, fanning outwards to give the impression of an honourable parting to give way. He stood, absolutely still now, unable to move his arms of his legs, looking straight ahead at the oncoming plane and the growing buzzing.


It passed over him in a violent rush of air and sand, producing ear-shattering sound, as he fell flat on the sand, caught confused between awe and terror. In the wake of its passing, the blinding white light of the sun beat down in redoubled fury. The rays struck his closed eyelids and he couldn’t open his eyes even if he tried. He screamed.


“That’s it. That’s it, it’s over now.”

He slept, or so it felt. But it was a strange dream. The pressure of the white, angry sun was gone, but still he couldn’t bring himself to pry his eyes open. He tried walking away, away from the sea, but the voices kept pushing him in their own directions, cajoling and softly persuading. He wanted to be away from the waters and feel safe again. But the voices inside his head kept muddling those thoughts, as if by some magical force wiping away his grasp on reality. He had to get away. He had to!


He woke up in a garden. The soft, manicured grass was lush green. He was lying under the cool shade of a tree, resting against mighty, old roots. He looked around and shivered at the memory of that strange, sightless dream.

 Lose it All to Walk a Free Man (Part III)

A strong wing blew in as soon as he opened the narrow wooden door. Zipping his jacket to brace himself, he latched the door from outside and took a deep breath. It was one of the warmer days in the middle of a bitterly cold winter. The wind whipped his scarf around his neck and pushed him backwards in his tracks. Sometimes, he remembered, some of the older houses creaked in the wind, the wooden planks restive in the fury of the weather. It was a funny memory, leaping up at him as his eyes fell on objects within his sight, immediately reassuring as well as completely fresh. He could remember, almost feel, the sun-burns from a few months ago, when he’d fallen asleep out in the sun one lazy afternoon.

Well, it had been like this for years, so now was a silly age to complain. He should concentrate on matters more relevant – such as timing his breathing to match his footsteps, necessary in order to make good time while conserving strength. Already he could feel a chill flow down his throat to his lungs.

As his boots made headway through the growing snow blanket, he saw a rag-doll, red and yellow, lying half buried in front of him. He bent down to pick it up. Something I’ve seen before? But it was stitched, fastened in some way, to a long piece of thread. He pulled at it further, growing more curious now. There was something odd about the doll alright, the way the big, round eyes stared at him.

The thread was attached on the other end to a cellular phone. Very strange. Wiping the ice off its surface, he saw it was already dialing. In fact, someone on the other end had even picked up.

“Hello?” he said, slightly unsure and feeling more than a little silly, talking into a strange phone from the street.

“Please, come back. Please!”


“He’s talking! Oh God, he’s saying something! Can you hear me? Can you hear my voice?”

“Who … who are you? What is this?”

“I can’t believe this! It’s been 2 months, Jim. Two months now! Please! You have to come back!”


He felt a tremor run down his body, as if every nerve ending on every inch of his skin went suddenly on alert. The harsh, chilling winds of the winter blew around him, swirling him now in snow and frozen soil. No, it was a furnace, sweat dripping from every pore in his body while the freezing winds blowing in a hurricane with him at its centre. It was warm. It was cool. Pleasant, perhaps. Or a raging thunderstorm. And then a mild rainy day, like the day his younger sister had died ten years ago, in a bicycle accident. It was everything all at once, while the snowstorm whipped in a circle with him at its centre. But his mind, his mind was locked still on the one word.
Jim. That was his name. That’s my name! It’s my –


It was a sweltering hot day as he hiked up the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, his backpack weighing him down on his trusted mountaineering boots. He went one step at a time, slowly but confidently, letting his body run through its training. Breathing was important, not stray thoughts. Whenever he stopped, he saw hundreds of miles of flat African forests and plains around him. It was him and the mountain. Nobody else.


They sat around the sleeping body in a circle, looking at his peaceful face with hope and expectation.

“He spoke to me! I tell you he did!” she shrieked, caught between disbelief and delight.

“We’ll see soon enough. You need to relax now. You’ve had a long day,” the doctor said, placating her. It was his job to sound calm in all such situations, so he did. But he wondered tensely what they would see next.

The members of the family sat patiently around the sleeping body of Jim, 23 years old, Caucasian, who had had a motorcycle accident 2 months ago. They sat quietly, barring a few stifled sobs every now and then. Patiently and quietly, they waited for their son to wake up from his sleep.

He was blind now, and his legs were destroyed. A tough life lay ahead of him in this world. Over the past two months, since the operation, all the technology and healthcare that would be required to make his life more comfortable had been bought and set up.
If only he would wake, and not scream like the last time he did.

Naïve, hope. Innocent, blameless. His parents would cry and would beg endlessly for his mind and his broken body to return to them. They would urge him to live in their reality, if they had any idea where he really was. But then there would be so much explaining to do.

It was a choice, although not a conscious choice. A blind, broken body and conscious mind had surrendered, in a moment of weakness, to the subconscious. Every morning was a new world, each with its instant memories and fresh starts and sad endings. Every evening was relaxation with new faces of friends of many years, years of another man surely, yet still years he had lived with himself and them. Every leaf falling from a tree in front of him triggered fresh old memories of younger years. Every day was a journey into a new life, with family, surroundings and new histories of an old world. So he lived, bemused slightly sometimes but absorbed all the same. Until, sinking deeper still, he would learn to accept completely and neglect his silly misgivings.

Jim slept in this world. And so lived in another, with a mind of infinite possibilities and infinite power, creating as he went in, one step at a time.

Mind and body, body and soul,
An axe through the fabric of truth.
Lose it all to walk a free man,
Break on through to the Other Side.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Season's Passing

It was the first warm morning of the past two months, and he set out to buy flowers for her. A brisk, chilly wind blew, Nature making sure everyone knew it was still winter, but the sun had risen early this morning, offering hints of the coming change in season. She couldn't tolerate the winters, he knew, it was a very difficult time of the year for her. Last weekend, she had refused to step out of the house into the snow outside, instead lazing all day on the drawing room couch, her hands and legs taut in a pose of stretching and relaxation. She would not even step out to buy groceries, the walk could have done them both some good. And the previous year's winter, she'd been sick with a nasty cough for weeks on end.

This pleasant day would bring all the rosiness back to her cheeks. So he set out, early in the morning, before she woke up and found him missing, to buy her some spring daisies from the florist's down the street. The sun was bright and shiny, as if it too had just woken up from a well-earned, hearty night's sleep and there wasn't a single cloud in the sky to mar its brilliant blue. It gave him a sense of warmth inside and satisfaction with the entire world. Such days always had that sort of effect on him.

Christmas eve had been like this too. Julie had brightened up immediately in the warmth of that morning. They'd gotten together to decorate the Christmas tree and baked pies and cookies, because their friends were coming over later. It had been a good day, exchanging stories of happiness and funny incidents with their loved ones, while sharing hot chocolates and creamy desserts. In the evening, after everyone had left, it was just the two of them, lazily drifting off to sleep in front of the fireplace, forgetting to clean the dishes or tidy the room. He remembered the wave of utter relaxation that had spread through his body then, seeing her lounge so instantly and so absolutely on the soft rug in front of the fireplace, her emerald-green eyes reflecting the dance of the flames. They hadn't felt the need to speak to each other, for with the gusting of the winds outside and the crackle of the flames in front of them, everything had seemed at peace.

Personally, he did not mind the winter so much. He wasn't so sensitive about the cold, not as much as Julie was. He enjoyed it even, relishing all that it had to offer him. Even in its most extreme, bitter coldness he could content himself with the idea of a sunny day coming soon. Maybe that was what he loved most about winter, he thought as he walked down the street along pebbles and cobblestones to the florist's. Winter, in its cold and white blankets of snow, offered the promise of a coming spring. It taught patience and gentle faith in the wait for the next season - a season of colours, grass, the sun and, of course, flowers.

So thinking he reached the florist's shop, glad to see the fresh spring daisies displayed at the window. They, to him and to Julie as well, were the first clear signs of the coming spring. She would be delighted to see them. Chuckling to himself, he imagined her skipping with joy and bounding towards him once he stepped through that door and showed her what he had found. He shook off the snow that had settled upon him and entered the shop, ringing the bell above as he pushed open the glass door with white borders.

"Timothy!" exclaimed Mrs. Rhimes, the gentle, aged florist. "Did you come all this way in the snow by yourself?"

Smiling at her, he nodded. She would understand why he was here so early this morning. He pointed to the bouquet of daisies.

"Oh, you want them? Aww, that is just so sweet, Tim! For Julie? You're such a sweet boy," she gushed. Her smile, heart-felt and all-encompassing, always cleared the wrinkles of old age off her face, revealing the youthfulness one always felt when truly happy.

She smiled at him now, radiantly, as she picked up her phone and dialled a number.

"Aah. Let me see, what was it? Yes. Good morning, is this Ms. Julie Sanders? Hello, Julie, yes, I'm sorry to wake you up so early. This is Mrs. Rhimes from the flower shop down the street from your house? It was just that young Timothy, your dog, he's come all the way down here to my shop. The poor fellow looks absolutely frozen, I tell you. Should I keep him with me until you come pick him up? No, it isn't a problem. It's only my dearest pleasure, Julie. Goodbye!"

Putting the receiver back on its place, she came round the counter and patted him on the head gently. She took out one of the daisies from the bouquet and carefully placed it in a plastic vase, one of the many she kept in the shop as decoration. The plastic vase with the single, bright yellow herald of spring in it, she kept in front of him on the floor.

He grinned up at her and settled down on her soft, thick rug, looking at the beautiful flower in full bloom. Julie was coming, he knew. She would be so happy to see the flowers had finally arrived too.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Like A Baby

Again I watch you sleep tonight
Peace, joy and calm - they become you
They are you, a part indelible
In your curled toes and your curled smile.

You are my love, tonight I say
Only for you cannot hear me
I speak to your eyes closed
The morning could change everything.

The way the sheets fold
Desperate to please, to shield
To mould, to your form
Soft, silken, as your touch is.

Your head rests, light
On the pillow of downy flakes
As if afraid to sink in,
Surrender, disappear.

Such is too my love, fearful even now
To touch you, lest you wake
To move even, lest I change this
I could not change this, not this moment.

I'll lie beside you then,
If only a while longer
Gaze into eyes, behind closed eyelids
And breathe, in time, with you.

But now a new wind blows in
Through the opened window, and
Before it disturbs, or changes, or hurts,
I'll leave again, as I came.

Till another time then,
Another night.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Smoke And Mirrors

As a Tithonus, waking joyfully in lust
To see the golden sun
I choose, humbly, to greet you
My love.

The air shimmers as you move
Making space, Paying homage
To your passing
Bowing and scraping on its heels.

What joys are concealed within that smile?
It curves easily upon your face
Like a rose in full bloom's spring

What infinite grace is in your sway
The swish and flick of the ends of your skirt
Caught in motion, still
For a moment, a frame, a sketch.

The arch of your back as you stand
Those long, slender legs taut at ease
Do you practice your looks on a mirror
Before the unsuspecting public?

You do, do you not?
As you put on the false colors
Which brighten and pale
The various hues across your face?

You do rehearse, don't you?
Before you say just that much.
The hint of a thought of a murmur
Lips caressing my ears with only sound?

It is fake, is it, or do you claim reality
On the smoky eyes
Which invite into their depths
Depths no one man could ever reach?

For there are many who have tried
And many who failed
Their corpses, frozen, in disbelief and horror
Lie along the way.

The way is crooked, and paved
With daggers and exotic poisons
An illusion you perpetuate, easily and always
You, of smoke and of mirrors.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


He watched above him, as the building tilted slowly to a seventy degree angle. Each inch of movement was accompanied by an ear-splitting, constant, high-pitched shriek of metal twisting against will. The tall, gaunt structure of steel and concrete and glass towered above him; he hunched on the ground below, holding his hands to his ears.

The ground was not safe beneath him either. It cracked open in fissures, spewing forth molten rock and an orange lava death. It could burn through his arm, cutting through the flesh clean like a meat-carver's knife. He would ran to save himself, but no one could rescue him. As the city imploded around him, he was the only resident. Losing sense of direction and of mind, he ran away from the concrete splinters below him, in any direction anywhere. He screamed till his lungs heaved in dryness and pain and exhaustion. The boiling sun was directly overhead and he feared when he saw mighty shadows moving at his feet. More and more skyscrapers, keeling over in surrender - but to what, he cried out. Dynamite? Nuclear weapons? TNT? Terrorists? He ran wildly, as his world crashed around him. He ran towards the edge of the city, seeing it on the horizon. The last mighty building, emptying its stomach from the top floor - office desks, computers, papers and potted plants - as it broke its spine at the mid levels to crash below. He ran through rubble and shattered glass, mounds of concrete and dining tables already burning from the temperature of the concrete road.

He tore at his hair in madness as he crossed the burning barricades to the outer border of the city. Only wilderness now, and a torn earth. The mountains, enclosing the very edge of his horizon, burst open in a volcanic eruption that evaporated the clouds above them, sending a wave of heat that singed the hair on his body, from hundreds of miles away. The packed, burning balls of dirt and dust and stone would rain down in another minute. His last coherent thought, before he slid to terror and madness - I never played at the Royal Albert - seemed odd and out of place.

He woke on his own bed with a start, sweat pouring from every inch of his skin. He looked around him frantically, first right then left. In the corner he saw it, behind the ornamental lamp on the wooden cabinet, in a case gathering dust and spiderwebs, his guitar.

She was on a ferry, crossing the river to work, a luxury she allowed and enjoyed once every week. She did not know that, until she thought of it. She was afraid of water. So, this did not make much sense. Oh, well. Maybe it was okay. The light ship shook and jerked still suddenly, as if somebody had dropped anchor. As she looked around, suddenly apprehensive and afraid to see what had happened, the waters below shot up to hit her. As a force, they struck her face and her body, sucking her in like a rag doll of inconsequential weight or soul. She was in a wave, or in the river, or deep below the surface - at once. She couldn't tell if the ferry had capsized, or the river had lunged at her. She only knew that she couldn't breathe and she couldn't swim. The biggest shock when we drown, the voice said to her, is the silence. Blanketed in water, waves and waves of it in tonnes and tonnes, you are on your own. Listen to your heart beating, it said. It grows more frantic, more and more as you try to push your way up with your hands. Let it go. They are too slow, too new to this world. Look up. Can you see the sun, blurred but bright, shining down on you? Do you miss your life?

She cried, yes. In her head, she screamed - for mercy and for breath. There was no reply.

Then, listen. Listen to your heart. What do you regret? Why do you want to go back? To a desk and a mortgage? To a fashion store and dental insurance? Why should you live, you statistic?

I want ... I want a car. I want ... a big house! I want to breathe!


No! I want to grow old! I dont want to die alone!

You are alone. You are inconsequential. You are a bacteria, a virus, an ant and a pigeon. You are Social Security #57649102. You are overdrawn by $6430. You are a two time minor traffic offender. You are nothing more.

I want to be a doctor! I want to study medicine! I always want to be a -

Her eyes opened wide and she took great gulps of air, centrally heated in her apartment, in her room, on her bed. She cried for the next two hours, sitting alone, over her life, about her job, and about dropping out of college.

People saw the young boy collapse in the supermarket. He dropped a box of cereal and fell to the floor, twitching rapidly with his arms locked to his sides. They called for an ambulance, reporting a seizure, and yelled out for a doctor.

He was in the front seat of a car, watching another himself drive alongside him. They were on the incoming traffic lane, speeding along the highway and the driver was laughing at oncoming headlights. He tried to stop the car, but could not move a muscle of his body. He saw trucks swerve at the last instant to avoid collision, he heard the mad laughter of his own self at the driver's seat.

You fool! It's too late now. We have to die now!

No! Please dont! Stop the car! Who are you??

Wrong question!

Why are you doing this to me?? Where am I??

Better! You have to hit rock-bottom, before you can rise up again. This is your test.

Stop the car, please!

This is your test. What do you regret the most, if I hit that Corvette half a minute ahead of us? What pains you the most, aside from your shattered ribs and your smashed brain? This is a test.

This isn't real! What's happening??

This is in your mind. And your mind makes it real. So do you want to bet that your body wont die if your mind tells it to? Its a simple question. Fill out the questionnaire please, and hand in your answer booklet at the front desk. Now!

I want to paint.

Do you? More than anything, you do?

More than anything, I do. I do! I want to paint. Please, let me go!

Wake up, and save your damned soul, you molecule of filth. Or one day, you will die regretting this again. Wake. You've just had a near-life experience.

The EMTs rushing him to the hospital had to stop the ambulance in the middle of the road. The boy had returned to consciousness suddenly. Out of a coma, and he had leapt to his feet. He had cried out for them to stop the ambulance and let him out. They checked his pulse and his head. He had no injuries anyway, so they did not know how to keep him any longer. He jumped out of the back door of the slowing ambulance and ran down the street. Back home. At the back of his front desk drawer, sealed shut from lack of use, were his colors. His brushes would be below his mattress. And he needed to breathe easily again. So he ran to them.

The Zeroth Law of Fight Club is that you can talk about Fight Club. Just be discreet in your methods.

Walk Like An Egyptian

There are two ways he saw of doing things. He always did the other.

A tall, man in long trousers and a slack shirt around his shoulders. His sleeves were halfrolled up, half rolling down. Long since forgotten the need to tidy, or the consciousness. He walked alone. It could be a street, stuffed with vendors and fumes and commuters in black overcoats. It could be a garden-path, trees with branches sagging under the weight of birds and fruit, cobblestones clicking to his tune. It could be a long, straight road, in the middle of a nowhere, shimmering at the horizon as a truck came hurtling down carrying smells of refuse and tonnes of goods. He thought it was an alley, dark with only television lights from buildings above and the burning flame of someone's cigarette at the end.

Sometimes he thought it could be a plank, and his arms instinctively went behind his back, and he took every step measured, feeling the gentle pressure beneath his feet and the arch of his sole. He was confused, often, at such times - wondering which one he wanted it to be.

He was an observer of humanity, he had decided. A long time ago, when nothing else seemed to work. He watched them stride furiously to their workplaces. Come back out in the evening. Go home, slowly and ponderously. The hawkers in the streets ran up for a quick sale. The urchins needed their money, hopping on little feet with outstretched, dirty hands. He could see as just a strange show.

He would walk on from there. In the mornings, women came out to balconies to dry clothes, flicking them sharply in the wind, sending sharp drops of water down onto his face. They would go back in to their kitchens and fumes of food and spice.

He was a traveller, he decided finally. He would like to see places and their buildings. Every place had different trees, different clothes and languages. People put on newer things, striking the eyes, and danced differently. He walked past factories and mills, belching smokes all day and drunken rabble outside at night. He walked through villages and country inns, the sight of mud and people being tossed out late at night in senseless carousal. He watched the people rush by highway roads in buses and in cars. So eager to get from one place to another. But so stonefaced all the way, checking for luggage and keys. People traveled in packs, and liked it, he did not understand. So he thought no more of it.

He listened to people, when they spoke - trying to identify more than accent, trying to look inside for worry and anxieties. He disliked happy people, they were too obviously sad and lonely. He sat in bars and heard the depressed people instead. Talking about children and mortgages. He thought he learned from them, their manners and angers.

He decided he wanted to die, one day. He was tired of monotony. And there was so much more to see, on the other side. He had read the stories, heard the tales and the incantations in the desert. His spirit would see the rest of the world, and he would learn. He wanted, above all, to remain free. To not feel a hunger or a thirst, and so not be stopped as he wandered.

He told someone this, the only words he said. And shocked him. Why, what good could it
do? Why do you want to end it?

A love of death, my friend, is a very advanced case of wanderlust.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Four boys ran away into the desert, tired of life. Tired of an endless vaudeville. They decided to seek life and God, in loneliness and vacuum. They held forth an induced vision, that the Truth was out there.

The Truth was waiting to be found, and it was their holy duty to reach it. They carried their organs and their guitars, songs to keep them through the nights under starry skies, flickering sometimes above them in wind and in storm. Music is your only friend until the end, they held fast. They had delighted long years in the illusion that they found the World to be, and had spent many years enjoying its fruit and offspring. It was a good laugh and they had had many. But to reach greater, lasting happiness, they needed answers and they knew they had to take the Trip.

They wanted to roam the desert, wander dunes under a pitiless, angry Sun. If they stuck to their purpose, they would reach a great Oasis. At the Oasis, wondrous maidens would offer them cool wine and rich fruits. They would escort them to their king, a man of impressive power and many jewels. In his court, they would tell their Tales, of exotic creatures and the trees of thorns and hidden juices. They would tell stories to make the toughest soul weep, of hours and days without sight of Life. Of hours and days without water or food. Of moments of fierce contemplation and desperation, when consuming each other seemed the only safety. Of the day the Music died and true despair began. They would ask their questions then and find true answers for the king would know.

Why is Earth? When am I? Who is Time?

They would be Heroes for their struggle. Honoured, revered and offered women, sweet-sour and luxurious. And foods, the same and more.

They clung to the dream of this Oasis in their struggles. They no longer felt the Sun or its stare. They welcomed the evening, with its chilly winds that carried sharp sand. They were one with the sand, the dunes. The shifting landscape, with a blue sky and no clouds, only the Sun above, and soft, hot, folding sand below became their meaning of World. They forgot the vaudeville, the dancing fools and the lumbering fools. They forgot their mothers and their brothers. They forgot names and places, and other animals which did not give poison.

They walked into the Desert, looking for an Oasis and hoping for a Caravan to it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Moonlight SpaceDrive

Let's swim to the moon.
Let's climb thru the tide.
Ah ha.

Let's go deep into space, into spaces never seen before. Let's break all these ties and chains. Be free, past the final frontier.

In space, in a year millions ahead of us, in a year past several million more, a time-stamp (or a frame) resolved itself. Raised its hand over the formation and came forth to light. In space, in another time, lived a world. This world moved through space and through time. It made its own direction, unknown to its inhabitants. It was possessed by a power, long wiped out. It was not Nature's making. This world was a product of the relic called Mankind.

Mankind, a species illogical and out of harmony, that erupted in a world in a corner of a galaxy. Too small to notice. The energy that breathed the universe would learn lessons off this irregular animal. Such nonsense should not be tolerated again.

A people, devouring everything and one in its Path, moving on and on with wider eyes, far too excited to see the Picture. Annihiliation threatened and Mankind made a craft. It was equipped with the trappings of the People, subverting even each other in a quest for mortal power. The remnants, chosen to breathe on air into future time, dormant and quiet in a locked world.

They would wake, eventually.

When they woke, their world was changed. They got together, in fear, in panic, and in an already growing lust for control. They knew not of which year they were. They could not measure a day or a night. There was no time in their world. Wonder gave way to fears, and they slashed at each other to maim and to kill. Threats were issued and some were kept, and a long time later, bone-weary and famished, came resignation and acceptance. Slowly, they receded back into their wombs, made by their Masters and Commanders of the dead past.

Some wondered where they had come from. And made great tales of lies and visions. Epics, myths and legends were created, all to suggest how began this new, vicious game. Others believed them, and shouted out for strength and blood, in a rage that had no reason and no discernible criteria for success. They thought they were timeless, and their sons did not know what that even meant. But Time passed them on too, a local monitor of pain and change. They sank into their seats, floating in Space. Now the world floats, on a path nobody knows. The People who held that knowledge hid it from their Gods and their Kind. Direction is lost to those on board. They wander, helpless in a Space they do not know.

Ether, the energy, absorbs their passage, allows for this clot of poison to pass as it may. The music plays on, and waves and movements are enacted. Energy rises and ebbs, vibrant in harmony's corridors, leaving echo, a deja vu, and standing waves. The AI world traveled on in the waves, climbing through the tide.

What was a day? What was a night? When are trees? Why is earth? Baffled, mystified and disinterested of their origins, Mankind survived. A generation, lived and duly multiplied, not knowing for whom and why. Theirs was not to question, theirs was but to do. Religion was born again. We must keep the faith. Understanding their world in epiphanies and in illusions, many proclaimed it a show and a mirage. They asked for freedom and a Death to do them part. Blind masses, eager for convenient answer, followed them home.

Generations lost in Space.

Every mind held the same Questions, though some chose not thinking. Why are we here? Where do we go? What is Purpose? But Time passed, and they were silenced, their words erased from the record. Again the same Questions would come, to start over from scratch.

It was said that they had mastered this world of theirs, some thousand units of a pathetic time-measure later. They understood its mechanisms, they manipulated its programs. They could tap into the Power and free their souls into Heavens above. They had been refined and had made Culture. They attached significance to this new past they had, and objects of the World were revered and treasured. They believed that they were Masters now, of their own destiny.

The Pattern recognizes no good or evil. The Pattern remains fair and impartial, weaving everything in the same threads.

Once upon a moment, something changed suddenly. The People rose in shock and in fear. Religions were called upon and Gods consulted, to justify and to explain to those of Faith. For an unknown force had come upon them, and a Voice had delivered to the whole world.

"We are killing ourselves. We are dying. But as even the last rat (and I know you would not know what a rat was) struggles desperately for life and safety, so we thought even we should try. You are Mankind, and my children. Our children. Our future. Our hope."

Then the Voice had ceased. Men consulted, disturbing the universal Fabric once more, with riot and bloodlust for neither rhyme nor reason. They would be safe, they concluded. They were in no harm. It was a friendly voice, and may have answers to our needs. So they waited to hear it again.

"But there is no hope, in a universe. There is no future. There is no room for breath or scream or anger. You have lived now, and been decadent and wasteful. You live in squalor, created by yourself. You deserve no better. We, a Mankind before you, realize our fault, deep within our gene - superior mind and superior skill, let down by greed, lust and gluttony. The survivor of this failed marriage, technology - which we give to you now, as a test and a chance. We hope you have used it well."

And then it spoke no more.

They knew not what to think. They knew not what to want. Lose in space, alone and crowded, they felt helpless and suddenly undone. People fought, People prayed, People drowned in their inner pains. And waited for their Fate.

"You have had the time we had. Time to err, time to learn and time to change. Time enough to do it several times, but still come out strongly again. Your every action, your critical responses and your streams of consciousness have driven your world. Your ideas and your minds have given it direction. You were never helpless, you fools. You had your own world to control and to guide. As was decided today, the day before our own Doom (most just and fair), we shall provide one more chance. If we, Mankind, are to live again, we must find our music and our place in it. One more chance, or never again.

Now, it must end. Your skies will turn to fire. Now. Your floors will split open to devour your lives and your roads. Now. You men, you women, your children must scream in pain and in disbelief. Now. It pains me to do what is necessary and what is just. Know now, you are not special. You are in exile. You are not blessed. You are outlawed and an abuse. So you have remained even now. Now, Mankind, a being most redundant, must end. We, must end."

Pain, rage, screams and pleas came forth, begging forgiveness and promising wrath. But the End came too, swift and fast. They burned and they were swallowed. They drowned and were torn to shreds. Histories, books, music and science, of a world generated by experiment, were burned and made no more. Without a moment's pause. None, from all. No Mankind survived this Time.

The universe functioned on. The Pattern weaved ahead, into Time and Space, making Time and Space. Complex weaves, of different shades, making shapes unplanned and unprecedented. A bigger Power, perhaps? Another Mankind? Or no more mistakes anymore, and just a plain single shade of white? The Pattern was neither good nor evil. Only fair. It absorbed everything, and was impartial.

When the Doors of perception are cleansed, things will appear as they truly are. - William Blake