Tuesday, December 28, 2010


She lay down

Inside herself. Inside the mosquito net. Inside the room. Inside the house. Inside the night.

It was like one of those Russian babushka dolls – one into the other into the other. But the layers made it like a cocoon, soft-safe and comforting. She felt her feet touch the foot board. She always hated that – it gave her the feeling that the bed had shrunk. Or that she had grown taller. Both made her feel claustrophobic.

She shifted herself closer to the headboard in a series of softly thumping, flopping movements, like a fish out of water. Then, she slowly opened out her mind. She liked to do that every night. It was like tidying up the kitchen just before closing it for the night. The day lay scattered across the counter. Vegetables freshly washed and still dewy with water, waiting in the wire basket to be dried and packed away in plastic bags into the fridge. The coffee-filter, in bits and pieces like a broken steam engine, waiting to be assembled. The mop, soggy and crumpled and tired, waiting to be squeezed out and  aired, its night’s rest well-earned. The taps, dripping a steady, eroding grumble, waiting to be shut up. The stove, inscrutable, cold; silent about the heat and the fire that had burned so fiercely in its heart all day long.

She worked with a steady, calming rhythm that slowly, slowly emptied her mind. The last few thoughts quarrelled and argued like the last bit of water emptying out into the drain. Then, they were also gone.

Peace. In the distant dark, something spoke. She wasn’t sure what. She couldn’t care to find out as she gently floated way into the emptiness

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Leaving Town - A poem

I move a sofa, shift a chair, 
Wondering if 
I should change the way I wear my hair
Pondering on the irrevocability of scissors and bleach

And what if tomorrow is just the same,
Not shamed into a shop-shiny newness
By the daring brevity of my tresses?

I re-pot a stubbornly flowerless rose
Wondering if
I should change the way I wear my teeth
Pondering on the irreversibility of the dentist’s drill

And what if tomorrow is just the same
Not coerced into a glint-minty freshness
By the blinding perfection of my thirty-two’s?

But surely, I think
A little more cleavage, a little less shy
A little more swing
In the hips, but 
A little less thigh
Perhaps even a new kitty
In the tank
Should do the trick
Shouldn’t it?

Out with the old and out
The till-now-never-used
All there, somewhere
I know

I rummage
Till I run smack
My mind
And then, I know
There’re no place to run

A Tasting

She was happy.

She thought to herself as she watched the sun open slats of warm, downy, white-gold light into the dim, early morning room.

She was happy. But the happiness had soggy edges as if it had been left out for too long. She picked it up, tentatively, carefully, in case it crumbled  in her hand but she needn’t have worried. Staleness has a habit of looking after its own.

She looked at it for a while, this way and that.

Then, very slowly, she licked it. Once, softly like cat; then a second time, a little more roughly, with a rasping cow’s tongue. She could taste nothing. She licked again, then again, then again and again and again, the tempo picking up with her desperation at wanting to taste something, anything. And as she licked, it began to grow smaller. Then smaller still till before long, there was nothing left in her hand.

Or on her tongue. Just a faint soreness and ache from the licking, but no taste at all.

She sat, watching the slats of warm, downy white-gold.