A dragon crowns the fridge, a miscolored gremlin winks at me, the table is filled with heads and trophies.
My grandfather’s newest hobby, collecting lost toys he finds on the streets. Everyone else jokes: “he’s stealing from little girls” .
On the table besides an assortment of McDonald’s toys based on movies you have a faceless Lego, an amused (angry) bird, a cross between spock and the hulk, plastic ducks, Mario and a deformed hello kitty tied with rubber bands to a shot glass, a well dressed snowman, a pencil with a jester’s face. Oh and two dogs, one wags his tail my grandfather points out.
Getting old seems kinda fun.
Cast your hand above the flame
you’ll feel it fade
the warmth seeps away, your fingers cold
the cinders ebb, as the bonfire cools
the night is slow to melt, yet you will it to stay
where no one sees, it is permitted
the forest branches complete their journey
and you may mourn them too
you will remember, how the flame cuts right through
A meteor shower, frozen
asleep on the empty road
I gauge the feeling on my arm, how cold
the pulse of the night wind
give me a homeland
this ancient crooked tree
no one replaces you
give me a homeland
my lips are chilled
It’s not a power cut, but the street lights are off. For the first time in a long time shadows steak across the neighbourhood as busy houses are the only source of light.
It is an unusual look for a residential area in a city to have. The absence seems to amplifies the voice of people moving around. Maybe they’re trying to compensate and keep themselves visible. The light and shadows make patterns that mirror the houses and people who live here. In this rare occasion the buildings have gone from the familiar & banal suburban stylings to something eccentric. The concrete moves, jutting, moving, and reaching for highs and lows, breathing in and out according to their builders fancies and wallets. Very strange that an unremarkable street would show so much character.
The stray cats and dogs are bolder in how they scurry about, still quick footed but openly moving in human sight, no longer dodging and ducking below human reach. The wildlife picks up the pace only when humans walk closely but are clearly emboldened. The trees seem to gain prominence, they block off light from houses, their branches and foliage attempting to envelope their sections of the street. When they shudder and rock back & forth, you notice it and feel the life in them.
It is more obviously late, the silence and people retreating inside seem like rare visitors from the countryside. There are maintenance crews, moving slowly from their vans, could I ask them to come back some other day?
They do not hear me, my voice is hoarse
I look at the mirrors and no one looks back
In the void I am empty, formless
In the silence, you lose your strength,
Your bones will break, your mind burns away
Slipping away, melting in an empty self
I have nothing left to say
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.
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.
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.
Still water, I reached down
to reach the tree tops
I remember this is a dream
that’s on repeat
A lesson I’m yet to learn
I follow my dog, into the woods
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