Green box

Yesterday, the same day I came back from my trip home, I dreamt I was back in the manor I grew up in.

It is an old bunglow with old walls thick enough to beat a canon. I am in my parents room, old white paint lathered on crumbling and thick walls, dusty windows covered with stickers I put up twenty years ago.  Water damage and cracks sneak along the corners but are never enough to bring anything down. The walls have been flaking and crumbling for years but the walls are deep enough to take a hundred more years of decay.

My parents aren’t in the room, because it’s a makeshift classroom. The are tables from my college and my English department too. I see a water-can in the corner filled with white pebbles and glittering deco. I reach it, examine it while I turn it over. A woman is talking about lost papers.

A professor, one who looks like a hippie met a gorilla with a personality that made him a few feet taller, is near by. Sitting on a bench close to the window with the thick iron bars. My grandmother is next to him reading the veins on his hands and praising the wisdom of the ancients.

I put the water-can back but I can’t get it back to the way it was. After I’ve examined it, it’s shaky and to my surprise twice as small. My grandmother is done devining disease and fortune from veins. She hands me a green paper box to place over the water can. The paper is a beautiful aged emerald green, with golden threads running under its thin and discolored spots.

It’s edges have sleeves, and when I examine it I find four smaller wood coloured papers tucked delicately on one side. It cannot be placed back, it doesn’t make sense that it was ever there in the first place. The 4 papers have fifteenth century Japanese art on it, painted with golden ink ingrained in the paper.

It’s not the kind of art you’d expect, fifteen century Japanese art was very close to Chinese styles, the more familiar variety comes after the Edo period. It shows the Buddha and his deciples being promised Buddhahood and Indian mythology probably the Ramayana. That was where the dream ended or where my memory fails me.

Crumbling Polaroid

step by step
i remember a séance
step by step
family pictures
night after night
the bright moon arrives
step by step
their damp hair
among vigorous young leaves
of early winter
heat shimmering
faces aligning
the moonlight waning
a world of dew
begins to fall
red morning sky
how cold the wind

Kafka USA

You wake up and realize you have turned into Rupert Murdoch. A dream revealed to you that a former game show host in Utah has vowed to seek revenge. You shudder because you know he has 978 teeth.

You run to a supermarket haunted by the ghost of a Sumerian physician. He keeps repeating a mysterious phrase: “The poison is down aisle 3. Next to the land of Swad, but before you reach the gardening tools.”

You arm yourself with scissors and shield yourself with a looking glass. A prophecy echoes over the intercom. “The world is to be be consumed by a scented eucalyptus, the likes of which no soul has ever dreamed of.”

You go to the aisle with lead paint and attack the red. You wait for your enemy standing in red paint scattering plastic plants over it. A child is missing and only you know the kidnapper is Treasure Island.

Watery realism

I opened my eyes and saw I had been transported to a city made of water. A child appeared and gave me a coin. I looked all about me sidestepping and backtracking in circles, dizzy, straining my neck gawking at all the watery skyscrapers shimmering and wavering like the surface tension was going to break with the next wobble.

I grimaced in fear and thought I had heard the water break with an oceans roar but it was just a ringing in my ear. I ran anyway hidden under the shady canopy around the park and appeared upon a quieter lane. The houses were opaque and threatened to pull down at any moment into a gushing vortex spilling into the streets and mercilessly flinging the inhabitants out onto the street.

I looked around wondering if the next bus would make for a viable boat, wondering how life by the riverside would be in a flooded city. I reached for the coin, pulling it out in surprise. It was not circular but a shaped like a square with rounded edges, an old coin out of circulation em-bronzed with an extinct animal I could not name for it was never discovered. I dropped it and it broke into sand. I reached into my pocket to find it again. I raised it again and took a bite. It had no taste but smelt like sea shells. I thought of the dark and obscure waters of the Arabian sea, an old sight, as I looked at the pure and lifeless waters, probably boiled and purified, built up around me.

Lock-down walk

This year went January, February, March and right to November. Who could have seen it coming? At least the first few months were fun.

I’ve started taking walks around the city hoping I’ll have more than Duolingo’s counter to mark the passage of time. There’s not much I’m looking for or in the market for. My instincts have been kicking me down the lightly crowded roads looking aimlessly at the non events outdoors. Even the desolation of the lock-down is gone, so there’s truly nothing around.

Just the usual with a new found contempt for the pandemic. Its a bit mad, to look at everything and say nothing is going on. Yet that’s just what’s happening. The usual but with more privacy, the same but less openly. It’s the year for contempt – at the tired sights at home, the rules and new normal routine. At least the absolute silence, the eerie city and the inconvenience was something to look at.

I hate new cars

I hate new cars because they make me nauseous and physically sick. I feel that little spot right above my stomach and my back behind it tense up the longer the trip is. The terribly thing about new cars are their seats.

The neurotic patriarchs in my family reign over old cars. My grandfather walks a thin line between thrift and theft as abandoned toys, tools, knick-knacks and construction material find their way into his car. My father has his car blessed by all the offerings and Prasada he gathers from his religious tourism that lay forgotten in every nock and cranny. Religious books, take away and fruit all wait to be discovered under old tabloids.

What redeems these old cars between their onerous knocks and threatening tics is their smell. From kerosene to stale food the smell is far better than the wretched stench that all new car seats have. There’s an artificial, sweaty odor about these new seats that drive me nuts.

The worst thing about new cars is the shape of their seats. I don’t know why all of them are designed to cradle potatoes but no human is meant to rest easy on them. They all seem to force you into a C shape. The stiff board like seats in cheaper, older cars just feel nicer. Humans have been sitting on chairs for at least a few thousand years, these improvements are really just messing with a proven concept.

Who needs that much back support and am I the only one smelling this?

Breezy nest

It’s been cloudy for so many weeks that it didn’t even have to rain, the threat alone is keeping everyone inside.

There’s a nest, coloured with the dryest brown, swaying precariously on the streets’ largest tree. The tree has its roots in a temple compound and stretchs to envelope the streets biggest house. I don’t know how anything as delicate as a baby bird could sunggle comfortably on such thin branches but it’s too cold for much else.

There’s a strict hierarchy on the tree. The small, dainty birds that I can’t name or have ever seen up close stay in the thinnest, farthest branches. They are brown outlines against a cool blue and white sky. The crows, always accessable and assertive take up the middle ranging branches but don’t stay there. They’re always loudly deciding where to dive next. They’re black forms against the green of the tree.

The pigeons are at the bottom of it all, I’m not even sure they get to the tree. They brood on the windows and roofs that only brush past the tree. They’re always around pecking and pooping. They aren’t noisy and you’ll never hear them over the crows. Now and then they make a heavy landing on a tin roof and startle themselves.

The nest is a mystery, right above a roof so good for pigeons, sorrounded by green so just the place for crows and always in the breeze so natural place for the brown birds.