Spider webs on a corner ebbing
still probing, staring and confessing
a life now former, still hear the phone ring
the world no longer in sync
order, reorder- it grows warmer.
Frozen in amber
An ant’s pursuit
The nostalgia of others
There’s nothing to take you back like nostalgia. Maybe cause nostalgia doesn’t have to bother with reality. Reality can never hope to be as perfect thanks to the continued existence of most things.
I always like asking people who were in Joseph’s before I joined it, if things were the same. Did the sun feel the same when it set, do they dream like I did while looking over the banyan, and I wonder just how much of them was left behind- in the air, in the memories of others who we had to feel but didn’t see. What could I have missed and who would I have know? Would we share the same nostalgia?
I ask them these things, in so many words, without saying anything. You might think it’s funny but I ask them about geography, how classes were spread out, how they remember going from one memory to another. Nobody thinks about routine and it melts in memory, something too subconscious for them to reflect on. I draw meaning from it like you’d draw prophecies from tarot cards- except the prophecies point in a different direction.
It’s frustrating how so much seems like the same mundane but with killer details hiding just where I can’t find them, were I can’t understand them. Retro photographs with so much of the same but different.
I’ll reappropriate what sometime once said about men writing about women -A facination with different memories is nothing but a facination with my own doubts, the feeling of uncanniness. What I feel is the same as what one feels in the face of any mirror, any ghost in the face of abrupt reappearance of what one thought lost or overcome.
The nostalgia other people share with you threatens everything you left behind, worrying you with something better, something too simply different. It’s pulls you back, it pulls you apart from different pasts. You might as well stay lost in where you’re familiar.
For the life of me I’ll never figure out why they had to hold a service in a place so overwhelmed with the smell of varnish.
It felt like the carpenter, filled with hate, decided to show his displeasure through the wood- smacking it down with layer after layer of varnish. His presence was heavy and recent just like the smell. I suppose when you’re weeping and listening to comforting voices, you don’t pay much attention to your nose. Not like people bother sniffing out trouble on finer days either.
The smell took me back to an old memory, where while helping around the house I was tasked with coating old furniture with new layers of varnish. It was help by virtue of me not being able to get in the way of actual work but I liked it none the less. The smell so artificial and powerful was pleasant. The nature of varnish in it’s liquid form added to the effect, so like water, but faster to flow and evaporate. So delicate you’d think it’s valuable.
I was working on a phone stand, one that still had it’s twisted, crunched and swelled shape as a tree trunk, you’d think it was alive if it wasn’t for it’s branches that had been cut off so you could put phones and phonebooks on it. I never bothered to get the dust out of the crannies, I figured no one would bother to check.
The memory ended when another waft made me gag. My neighbor leaned over to share his dispare, I only told him that it was good, very good that he felt something.
Where wells an ocean floor, there breaks the surface of thy discontent
Ravens brought by my door -not news of Lenore-
But surging memories of malcontent; I suspect therefore
Without parallel, such great tides felt irrelevant
For upon the ocean floor lies the moon and her remembrance, only sediment.
Sometimes you feel things that a language can’t word, so the best I can tell you is this evening-I feel Red.
Red like anger, red like the commie I am. Red, red and red repeats my head which rhymes with the Redmi* I write this on. It’s funny how cool phones used to be back in the day. The cruder they were the more popularity they had. We’d sneak those heavy bricks into school and stare into the tiny screens where we played snake. Later we’d mash our clumsy thumbs on colorful flip phone after we downloaded games off shady websites. The games were generic and ripped off movies and better games on PC’s.
Eventually the phones lost all their buttons and we were tapping at screens. It was a long time though before our phones were more than phones. I don’t remember when they became platforms, when suddenly something that had your entire life on it was just a disposable hunk of plastic replaced every year.
The phone in my hand feels like a red button I’m used to slamming. Phones take you everywhere and this one is taking me back. I’m not a materialist I don’t feel attached to the phone but I can’t say the same for the memories that come with this one. Someone offered to trade me a Note 4 for my Note 3, they need a back up phone. What’s a single number to me anyway?
I run my hand over the cracks on the screen and my blood feels red, as memories rush back. I remember slender hands that ran over it and announced “Only red china for you comrade?”. I remember voices that came from within it, I remember what I told it and the people on the other side, I remember conversations written. I could ruin those memories by rereading old message, reviewing what actually happened. I could map myself along everything that was on it, every friend or someone more I have or haven’t talked to. It would rhyme like bad poetry.
Somewhere on it there might still be pictures of who I was but ah! It was just a phone, just a year or so, just a girl or two, just a city or two, just some friends you no longer know.Give it away, give it away. Hold onto the red but not the phone.
*A Chinese made phone
The evening light
What’s the word?
The sky’s like spilt blood of cherries
Crows cut the image, then a third.
It’s absurd to color clouds with berries.
Azure tinted clouds never vary,
Make the world seem cheery.
Scarlet- that’s the word.
A winter night,
In her eyes starlight
Thousands of years old.
Right to the end
I walked through a graveyard with a friend and saw a man in black standing by a gravestone. He’d move around but he was always facing the gravestone. He’d smile and cry but really his eyes looked dead.
My friend said “He waits by his grave”. I was afraid and walked faster till I saw more people standing by gravestones.
“They are standing guard” she said. I walked faster and further through the crowd, that now had all kinds of people, waiting by their deaths.
I walked till I left my friend behind at her grave and reached my own.
Death at the apartment
Apartments are like anthills with people always running around. You can never see everything but watch long enough and you’ll see the mad scramble has a pattern to it.
Yesterday must have been something like somebody kicking the anthill’s towers. At around 6’o clock I spotted a dead body in the front yard of the apartment next to mine. It’s usually a parking space so the sight took some time to register. I thought she’d jumped but turns out she was brought there.
Soon cars drove up and parked outside the apartment compound. This throttled the flow of traffic so the rest of the evening was terrorised by endless angry drivers smashing their horns.
Everyone sat in the parking space on red plastic chairs they brought it. The body remained in the yard uncovered unlike it’s witnesses. A priest with evident back problems was came along and started performing some rites.
They moved the body a bit and washed it. It was some old woman. People on all nine floors of that apartment peered down at the process. They called in their friends, they jostled for window space and spoke on the phone while the rites were performed.
There’s a shed next to the parking space on which dogs usually climb onto from the next compound. Today there were two of them who barked while they enjoyed the show. They had better seats than the relatives. The priest finally covered the lady’s face with a cloth.
The indifference mixed with curiosity looked so surreal I took pictures to make sure it was actually happening. While I was doing this they loaded the body onto a vehicle and left- after all the relatives made their exit.
The watchmen later sprayed down the area with a garden hose. He was bored and didn’t do a very good job. There was a large puddle left behind were the ritual happened and nothing else.