Reflective denial

Waiting, while the nights turn to bitter cold,

the days into rage and longing

still I look to the mirror, and I see you

waiting, being and screaming

I don’t who you are anymore,

what do you mean when you says the things

I don’t want to hear.

Traffic claustrophobia

Lines of sun beaten faces twist and curve along the flyover, moving from their still and slightly annoyed expressions to frustrated sighs as the traffic inches by. They turn, look down, inspect their vehicles, stop to have a look at the congestion up ahead while noticing now and then someone else they had previously overtaken, passed by or trailed in some new alignment in relation to them.

Now and then the flyover rumbles underneath the vehicles and humming engines in a concerning manner. The bridges are meant to do this, if they didn’t the bridges would crumble. The rumbling is because of the wiggle room to account for vibrations from vehicles and changes in temperature. Such concerning shakes are possibly an inbuilt safety feature to prevent the lethargy and dullness in the traffic from putting travelers to sleep. Put the traffic to sleep and you’ve killed a city.

Seated on the flyover, one’s line of sight has the dusty tree tops, the unseen and uglier portions of building that their owner’s don’t care to hide and a blue sky. A pedestrian might catch a glimpse of the sky, which on the bustling streets seems like an idyllic escape that hung over a quiet farm or town that once marked the area. The flyover offers a different perspective- the sky empty and echoing the dulling noise, the warm and dusty breeze that seeps out of the city below it and escapes desperately like a man gasping for air, greedily drawing in all that it can to live a little longer.

There are no idyllic villages left, there are warm backwater’s gasping at anything urbane while dust and plastic accumulate along the widening roads that march from the cities. Travelers scratch their heads, pull up scarves, push their sunglasses up after twisting their noses. Dammed fools of them, dammed like the rest of us, blindly grabbing at something the city seemed to promise. There’s got to be someone among those who rule over us who’s tired of squeezing everyone into one tried, dusty ball of confused complaints about how the world is. I really hope there is.

It’s not like the ones on the bridge are getting anywhere in this traffic.

6 words: Prison edition

A prisoner orders Chinese for his last meal, his fortune cookies gives him these pearls of wisdom:

Don’t look back, life is short

They know you didn’t do it

Your future will take shocking turns

All your troubles will end soon.

See you on the flip side.

Suprise reunion with an old friend.

And now a little less

Better luck next time.

Cobweb whiskers

The cat walks past, cobwebs in her whiskers

clearing up the cardboard boxes

I thumb through picture books and socks

I listen close and hear laughter,

from a picture of my sister, who I take after

I fold it away, reach past a button-box,

I remember, every outfit, our stilted talks

so little was said, my sister’s sick bed

her hands as cold as mine

Back for a swim

It’s the water that stops you from drowning. Endlessly echoing the way you move, pulling at you, pushing you.

Its better than running, you don’t have to know where you’re going, you go from one end of the pool to another. It’ll even carry you- look up or under the water, it distorts both. Angry, lost or motionless, it’ll sway with you. I think back, piecing it together, floating, drifting.

Every stroke takes you further away, every paddle pushes you further. Maybe you’re getting there, maybe you aren’t. I think about things, people. The analogy of a womb comes to mind but its forced, ridiculous. I want to move, not stay asleep.

At least I’m not drowning.

The place I wanted

It was the kind of day that makes a spider’s web flash golden in the sunlight. When I think back I remember the musk and stink around the houses, along with the scampering, dressing and dashing off to college.

A free afternoon is a thing of beauty, with the creaking and reluctant windows gone you could peer right up. They could build around you but not above you. While I praised the logic of the chaotic room, rented while the old house decayed, she assured me I should try living there.

Time went by quick stride the three legged bed ride, the sky open, vast, deep, lavender. We should be afraid, floating in the air. I am. I wish I could hang all night, climb the roofs. Climb up with a blanket.

“You like the house or you like me?”

A year later. I tell them I wish I lived there.

When L laughs her shoulders shake. I’ve invited M & K. She’s in bed with P but I’m the main attraction. They kiss, juicily. She grabs P’s squirming hand.

I’m trying to recognize the song while I rant about something I can’t remember anymore. I can’t do both. I can’t do either. I put a hand to my head and forget both. I open my mouth and I wonder what’s wrong. It was a second. Must have looked like surprise. K sees.

“A penny for your…”

I raise a hand. I’ll take it elsewhere: my problem.

I didn’t want to see the house half empty, dishes packed, mats rolled up. Her house – so unlike mine. I remember it’s dim and the wall a strange damp. I am not facing the window, I look into my shadow and see others around it. One a shepherdess. I’m not like these sheep I tell myself. I have a lot of spite. It’s an easy feeling.

Big windows, bright colours. If I go now, I see the doors gone. Empty and abandoned. None of us could cook or afford to order. Sad snacks we called what we could make. I think I should call them but what’s the point? We’re strangers now but I still wish I had that house.

Cat in the mirror

My cats picked up a habit where he looks at mirrors whenever he wants something.

Initially I thought he was looking for another cat, then his lost bother or maybe it was a habit we’d conditioned. Every time he wanted attention, food or water he’d look at any reflective surface he could find and meow at it

But I see him stare, look close, look far into it. I wonder if it’s not us he’s talking to. If he isn’t calling us through the mirror. Maybe he’s looking to himself, affirming he’s there, that he feels what he does and that what he sees is what he is.

What does it take for a cat to know himself?