Tea ceremony

Fluttering bulb
the last dregs of tea
being poured

A book I wore out reading
the pitter-patter
in the sparrows throat

Sleep’s a discipline

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.

Faraway Friends

Her eyes flicker
as people run past

her gaze
the length
of summer grass.

let in the cats
till morning hovers
the place where we stopped
being strangers

Her CD collection
now & then
a glimpse of darkness
heatwaves on my palm
I hold it under water
the grinding, spinning world
under my feet.
late evening
our courtship
heads south.

A lost language

Spotting a section of republished Victorian era books and reports I decided to settle in and take a read at Blossoms while I waited.

I imagine the authors might be offended to learn that their serious inquiries came across as hilarious a few centuries after their publication. When you come across title such as “A Phrenologist amongst the Todas”, “Through Russian Central Asia” and “The Happy valley: Cashmere” you know that within is a misguided and thoughtlessly benevolent white man trying to carry his burden while describing his mission to civilize the orientals. You find, unfortunately, that the same condescension persists and parallels the world today.

But despair and laughs aside these books have their own charm like some antique curiosity made greater by age. There’s something about the language you see, it’s so smooth, functional and easy to drink that it flows by unnoticed. Writing was but a mechanical and very familiar process- I’m tempted to say unspoiled by making too much of it- for these men that you never notice it. It is merely a empty and foreign tool that stays unnoticed while you imagine those plains, the valleys, the mountain flowers and the men who wear sheepskin hats.

Somehow after an overdose of Murakami, King, Nabakov and today’s masters, I felt something I hadn’t in a while. I felt envious of these smooth and confident writers who had no style or thought about form, they merely reported a world that seemed larger, greater and stranger. It’s a fantastic fantasy, that’s terribly intriguing. Its lulls one into an easy concentration I hadn’t been able to muster for a lot of books for a lot of time. I was transfixed while a world unlike mine was reported into existence.

Really I wish I could write that easy, with so much to convey about what I’d seen in that strange and free flowing language, one I’m unsure I learn.

Dizzy

I wake up and my legs are like reflections of legs in moving water. I haven’t left sleep yet and the world still feels like a dream. Sleepovers don’t afford you much sleep and the deficit pushed back like a steady tide.

The world was still uncanny, weird and sickening. Felt a kind of empty, maybe unease- part of it cause I was hungry. Yesterdays food was good but today my mouth was dry. No one else was up and its impolite to leave early. My friends cat bothered me for a bit of food and then she wasn’t bothered. Something was off so the best thing to do was to go with the tide. The waters wash over you, you’ll flow and float all the way up eventually. I dripped backed to sleep.

The lands

The bare root of the plantations are white
like the hooves of the raiding deer
a crack of thunder in
this season of morning dew
more unfathomable than the waters
and clouds by the mountain slopes
between breaths, I burn.

Rain in Mangalore

When it rains I dream of Mangalore. On nights in quiet rooms, with the power out and my eyes closed an old feeling comes to visit.

Intangible and, sadly it would seem, incomprehensible to others is my old sense of longing. As I would look out, as I spied the grey houses, the lights inside, the signs of life that the houses breathed I wished I could be inside them. I remember the rare lights, the deserted roads and sometimes a stream in the village revived by the rain.

The houses weren’t too impressive, a 2000’s Indian aesthetic that’s quickly pulled down by an out of breath middle class. Still on those glances outside, through the rains and sheltered by black clouds I felt there was something missing. I got the same feeing when Animax would offer slices of moody, sepia, angst. Stories I’d never complete or find again. The channel is gone now, a tangent that means too much for no good at all.

In my longing, I wish I could see the life inside, but I am formless in the rains outside. I can’t have what I’ve never known.