Hermit in a slum, walled in by his own desires, he watches the street lose meaning. It loses shape, it loses people, it seems to devour lives whole as one family after the other goes missing.
Stand on loose sand while waves move past you and you feel the ground give away while you stay rooted. That’s what our hermit felt when one day after some private tragedy he stood rooted and numb in his little hollow where he would hide from the receding tide. Without purpose and without reasonable fear, isolated he became an unwilling repository of a changing street, a city getting faster and further away from a man who dared not take a step forward.
He spoke slowly like his voice was traveling from his past, but it was really the present that occupied him. He squinted at the future or at least it’s portents. His world was just omens seen in the poorly behaved children, the failures of parents, the careless people who had lost their way while his despair stayed quiet.
Somewhere, sometime unknown to the hermit, he went from man to creature in a scary story. Emerging from shadows, inhabiting forests and mountains that protagonists journey to slay beats in. In silence he grew demonic, frightful for a future that would never take him. Doomed, the merciless tide would drown him.
Sunlight and breezy leaves
paint the cat,
with tiger stripes
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.