baby take it slow
take it in
the figs are fallin
but there’s no point lookin
the sheets are crumpled
the books are in a tumble
but your skin is thirsty
and your eyes are hungry
your body speaks
if only you’ll listen
baby take a breath
take a moment
the figs are fallin
and they’re not slowin
the road’s been long
and the maps are wrong
you’re not here to stay
and your stride is long
but you’ll see the crossroads
if you stop to look around
baby let it go
let it be
the figs are fallin
though you’re tryin
a stranger answers
when your name is called
your glass is dirty
but the bar is full
and you’ll have stories
when you’re leavin
Dear friend, can I borrow you for a few moments to geek out about the magical genius that is Salman Rushdie? I just finished reading “Two Years, Eight Months, and Twenty-Eight Nights” and I am in awe of his mastery. In this version of 1001 nights, the barrier between the land of the jinn and our twenty-first century world collapses, and the dark jinn invade our world, causing havoc. But this is also the story of a battle between two philosophers—Ghazali, who believes that God is supreme, and Ibn Rushd, who tries to reconcile faith and reason. And yet, this is also a story of not-belonging, or of longing for a home or a love that no longer has a place for one. Only Rushdie can so perfectly fold these stories into each other: the novel unravels revealing stories within stories, a loss here balanced by a victory there, each new revelation sliding into place perfectly, and then, when he is finally finished, voila! there it stands, the most beautiful creation, balancing perfectly on the finest point. There’s a great pleasure in reading a book crafted by a master that opens up like Russian nesting dolls—every subsequent layer is equally beautiful, and each encloses the next just so, so you never quite forget where you began, though you may forget how you got here. Even now, I find myself grasping for the names of characters, elaborate back stories fading into the mist—when the air is filled with lightning and there is a jinn in a flying urn threating to destroy the world, does it really matter whose uncle left whom a fortune? Continue reading “On the magical genius that is Salman Rushdie”
Why does everything have to happen
right now? Why was the report due yesterday
why is there no time better than now,
why not do things tomorrow, why do
them at all? What if I don’t want to
seize the day or eat the bigger frog,
what if I do miss the bus and opportunity
never again knocks? Let the bubble
break, I’m not going to let it go,
what does it matter I only live
once, I just don’t want to
do it — I’ll live in another moment
and make hay when the sun isn’t shining;
I’ll hold on to the past and forget to speak
in a church wedding. Who cares if this the bird in hand
or the other in the bush, I don’t want to smell
the roses or forever hold my peace; I want to bar some holds
and what if I just want to fold?
Whatever you do, just don’t
miss the bus. You will be left behind
after everyone else has gone
alone in an empty station
with the lost luggage and full
trash cans. And there will be no way
you’ll be able to explain why
you were looking the other way
when they told you and told you
never to miss the bus
condemned to wander forever
for a bus that will never come.
Get there a few years early
just to be sure and never rise
from your spot. Don’t blink.
The bus might be early
it might creep up on you
it may have turned the corner already
just don’t miss the bus.
I know you are halfway through the door
and this is just a final look over the shoulder
to check that you haven’t forgotten something important
on the bedside table. Your thoughts have gone ahead of you:
eyes already seeking guiding lights through
frosted airplane windows, your body left behind,
hand resting on the door, one last smudge of warmth
in a place you used to call home before you turn off the lights.
What does goodbye mean in this world where we only travel
in circles and not in lines; that old feeling of deja vu
I leave and you stay
I stay and you leave —
a door endlessly banging open
too old and warped to properly shut now.
What can be said when everything
that had to be said has already been said —
to the ceiling, while lying on your floor,
over a weepy phone call, at 3 AM — or is now
irrelevant because of the oppressive weight of
possibilities: what if we forget to speak
each other’s languages and are reconfigured
into two people who can only talk about that one time
when that one thing happened to someone
we once knew.
But what use is a goodbye if it doesn’t feel like a goodbye,
if it’s not for forever, but only a question
of two minutes or two years or two decades,
the door banging open again, an old feeling of deja vu
as I turn on the lights — to a new
series of entrances.
do not for a moment think
that you will receive a warm welcome here.
We parted on amicable terms years ago –
I thought we had an arrangement.
Life was simpler without you.
I found joy in going to bed early,
a secure income, insurance cover,
I had forgotten what a mess you are
of rage and desire; impatient
in your reminder of how swift
each contraction of the heart is;
I really want to slam the door in your face.
why did you come back?
It is my task now to
clothe you and civilise you
to not give in to your madness
to teach you to speak with words
and not claws.
It’s true that I’m not quite in form –
that I let myself go –
that it’s going to take me a while
to figure out how to tame you.
You have returned my story to me
Don’t leave just yet.
She told me on the morning after
the party that we are all
fat cats. Smug purring engines
vintage motorcycles thrumming
of beer, shining lazy-cat smiles
under lids heavy with second-hand
puns and damp politics.
Night after night we gather
in the shadows of empty houses
to raise our voices, caterwauling
to a moon long gone
about the words of mad men
who live no more. The air is thick
with abandoned arguments
and hash. A sharp retraction
of voices cuts
but the night surges forward
dissolving all into softness,
belly-up complaining in the dark.