I prefer your lies to mine.
They live on, in my nightmares.
Fading glimmers where the tunnel ends.
The crickets and
their entrenched audience
drenched street bench
dogs begging right by
the homeless man
a quiet gratitude
in their company
Reading through websites that died before the 2010’s is like reading an old newspaper.
There’s this brevity with everything that was possible only when you had your pages clutter free to accomodate slow internet speeds. It makes sense why they’d appropriate the style of writing you’d expect in a newspaper. But the writing knew it’s audience would already be looking elsewhere for the news so had to report with a difference.
There’s this earnest and unfamiliar sensibility you keep noticing. Clearly they’ve take a few cues but nothing is passé yet, no aggregators eating up all the views and the viewers are explorers stumbling and moving with no direction in place. You aren’t a subscriber, readers, customer, and statistic just yet. The webmasters were trying to sell you on what you liked, not what you wanted. Nothing is polished and the webpages are all bling and gaudy wallpaper.
There’s an erratic, broken and unfinished feel about all of it. Everything you read isn’t all from the internet so there’s a real person’s voice someone’s experience, because what else can you put up there? It went on and off, and the scale for a lot of people wasn’t that crazy. It let you kinda make it your own, you weren’t looking for those numbers if you were just someone else trying things out.
More than that, the blogs just start and stop, everything’s on a whim and there wasn’t much to be invested in. I mean I’m reading through an old guide to Bangalore buried and nearly invisible under all the new content from about 9 identical apps wondering what it is that makes the words feel so different and honest while the authors as they were in those pieces are probably long gone and their writing lost as well. You go with the tide or it drowns you out.
It was still a soapbox where they didn’t seem to know there were rules, that there was some algorithm to chase-nor did they fear those algorithmic ups and downs. It’s a clear voice talking from a place that’s clearly offline, closer to the real world.
Maybe I’m cooking up a rosy past but the authors have no name, no pictures, no profiles, no bios but a few paragraphs about the restaurants they like around town has told me far more than those could ever have.
To me, new apartment
To them, old tenants, the past
Left behind in the storeroom
A briefcase- inside pictures,
Undeveloped rolls , fact books
Notebooks and diaries
An entire life, left behind
Tucked away in a storeroom
To be opened later, an entire life
Birds of prey
Corner of the page
every turn of my life
Birds of prey
watching me coldly
Marking me from trees
rhyming at me,
Every silver lining, spying
strife of the midwives
Archives of the afterlife
calling, wanting and watching
Birds of prey
bray grey cliches
Colour my decay
play games of dismay
The memory of crashing water
where long ago the river
no longer reaching
the dropping areca
and I return to the present
searching for end of the gumtape
The aches, the groans, the pains
Backed up & contented, moved & stirred
Wry delight, shakes & hormones
Setup- abstract, scented with torment
Improved is the watchword
Clean up the new house so you can dirty it
Without getting wordy, it wasn't new or thereabouts.
A few days ago I decided to make an entry in my dream journal, a habit I’d long given up on. Remembering dreams and then getting around to actually logging what you remember isn’t the easiest thing.
It seems like some lost passion from idyllic days when the mornings were even easier on me, still an insufferably efficient morning person. Of course I couldn’t help but glance a the last two entries which had the real surprise. It’s one thing to see the world around you as a different place but reading about yourself as a different person too?
Now and then I think we all see our pasts as nostalgic breezy passages that we dreamt up or as some long lost paradise you pine after- depending on how your day went. It’s weird then, that the last logs a year ago were about people I hadn’t spoken to or thought of in three. It’s weirder still that your dreams weren’t really about anything, just some people, and how far you’d grown. Was the past that different or was the person who wrote all of that down a little less grim, a little more hopeful?
The least realistic part was how easy it was to move past the silence, the awkward combination of familiarity, distance and old breaks that you don’t even remember. The unreliability of dreams seemed to concentrate on the narrator. The person writing those entries seemed to have slipped away just like those dream I never bothered writing down.
the last dregs of tea
A book I wore out reading
in the sparrows throat
I love the feeling of the cold, creased and sun dried bed that carries me. When I sleep I stay still.
Maybe I take sleep too seriously; I’ve already diagnosed its origins. I once had a bout of sleeplessness after a very do nothing day at my grandparents home- which was nearly all summer vacations there. What killed me was how boring it was to just toss and turn, how mindless and agitating it was to just wait for the sunrise. Desperate to scratch that increasingly unbearable itch I asked for help. They told me that there was no need to trouble their sleep with my insomnia, which in hindsight seems like a fair point. Yet this was a death sentence for a young and suddenly energetic mind in a house in those strange and long past days where you had to ask to use the TV and had to ration those precious 30 minutes of screen time you were allowed.
Those 30 minutes were enough though, most of what was on the screen was crap (maybe something’s never change). In those days however you’d suffer from erratic and only occasional coverage in the village and a distinct lack of interesting options. The doors stayed strictly locked, every light was thoroughly investigated and everyone slept lightly ready to bemoan anything that got in the way of their sleep.
In that single instance I made a decision that I’ve stuck to for the rest of my life. I turned sleep into a discipline I mastered that very night. I went through all the motions, all the rhythms and breathing that I could remember about sleep. I made up my mind and every night since I proved myself by staying still, magnifying every itch only to fight the urge to get rid of it, claiming my mind till there wasn’t anything on it. The skill has taken me far and while I can’t say it’s gotten me into a lot of beds, its certainly got me reaching those 8 necessary hours in strange places.
You get a lot of incredulous looks when you make it cross legged and twisted through sofas, mats, floors, roofs, benches, bathtubs and tables to emerge well rested at 6 am and restless by 6:05. There’s a point that I’ve been hinting at through all this. It’s just that I’m not sure I really want to say it. I guess this is the kind of person I am. Don’t sleep and you get to thinking, drooping and complaining.
I wonder why I’m cutting into my sleeping hours today to post this. In some ways writing seems like those cool spreads that bound me, the nightfall asking me to be still.