Flower mark

An old book of mine,

A flower I cannot name

So faded you might think

It was painted, not placed.

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Relics

Between childhood relics, board games and jars of collectables I found a dead moth.
He died right next to a magic box and my collection of seeds and leaves. Those plants would never leave their jars. For the first time I felt like I’d lost something. The universe was talking to me in simple but effective metaphors.

Abdul

Abdul cannot remember anything.

The questions are rare now because they know a “No” will invariably follow. Occasionally there are flashes in those glassy eyes but who would notice? Now and then images will consume him.

Bright robes dirtied by runs through the markets. Seated figures and gossip under the old mango tree. Their wares spread out on rough cloth, they watch him fly his silk kites and ignore the cuts the thread gives him.

“No” he repeats to no one as he looks out his window. Surely the city and roads of tar were always there. “Surely I dreamt.”

The Dreamer

In the portrait of a mind unsoiled,

freed from tangible sight

Skyward eyes opened embroiled

in her dream alien from contrite.

 

Thought I, of the dreamer

lost to her dream of no repent,

of what sight might keep her

in an escape so eager, so spent.

 

While I spied this flight

the tables and dream I study

Careful not to make dreamer alight,

in her eyes I seek prosody.

 

The memory of the quiet scene

and a dream the only proof

of all that had been

in those days of monsoon.

 

Amelie

Ah, there she goes again. Curious little creature. And its’s… 8:30 now. I have a feeling she’ll be gone for a long time.

She’s got something about her. Maybe that’s why I can’t paint the woman. There’s this whiff of destiny- look at that gait- a bit of fear too. Perhaps it’s time I offer a bit of help. How long has it been? Half a century? Maybe more. Back when things were still different. I think I spent months working on my painting. I wonder what a young and virgin eyed version of myself would say if someone told me I was going to paint the same thing every year. Maybe I would be happy, happy about knowing.

Who was that other girl? I think I remember her. The one with silky,yellow curls who pranced around in her apartment when I was young. I can’t remember her name. Years. Years I spent looking out through my window. they say the world changed. All I see is another woman at the window, in shadows where my dreams paint in the blanks. I wonder if I really want to know who she is. But Amelie seems so permanent.

Like the woman in the painting, captured on canvas now and forever. That is of course, only if I manage to paint her. To copy the window, that seems to have her preserved forever. But first my bones of glass will have to carry me far. to understand her I must tell her all I know. Tell her not to make my mistakes. To look through no windows.

Sights Around Mangalore

My neck is usually strained and screaming with pain by the time I reach Mangalore. I can only tolerate bumpy, stuffy bus rides for so long; I always keep my bus window wide open to get as much fresh air as I can.

After the semi-conscious excuse for sleep that only a sleeper bus can offer,along with the unending chatter of passenger who act like they’ve found their soulmates sitting next to them, I’ve half a mind to hop out of the window. You can always see men with legs and mouths tightly shut preparing to sprint at the next stop. Everyone gropes around still dazed while they try to find their things, stretch in cramped quarters and ask the conductor how far away their stops are at least 6 times. They always manage to forget and receive a earful from the conductor.

It is tradition to complain about the driving, roads, sleep and ghat section once we’re off. Soon everyone sporting righteous outrage at the crass, loud nature of some co-passenger. Awkward silence and righteous indignity set in as the relatives who are supposed to pick us up, like always, are late but insist they’ve been waiting for us at another stop for hours.

The streets are quite, deserted, cool. The air is thick, pleasant and smells lazy. Stray dogs eye us as they enjoy their rule over the quit tarmac, the buzzing orange streetlights  their collaborates. We pile into a car, while everyone asks each other how they’ve been. they point out how so and so has gotten taller, thinner. They whisper how so and so has gotten fatter. they all decide they must eat. We leave the car before it has moved an inch and head over to the nearest restaurant. The one’s where regular customers eat are always located in a hotel. There we eat Mangalore buns that are surprisingly filling. When your eating buns and waiting for hot tea/ hoicks in town that’s still asleep and grey, you know your in Mangalore and no where else.

People discuss how the roads where back when they were kids, how certain granduncles were caught by leopards while they stopped off to pee etc. I stick my head out of the window and look at all the trees that seem to rush past me. The cool, green, residential areas that are far away from the main road are always deserted when morning buses drop off passengers. People point to the new apartments and reminisce about the old, luxurious, spacey tiled houses that always seem to invite rain are all but gone. they point to the few survivors and tell each other stories of how they used to play by the compound walls.

The few quite minutes you have after you get home and the age determined ques to the bathroom is set up is a voyeurs wet dream. You can drag a chair out to the large open baloneys that Mangalore houses always have and watch sleepy life sneak out of the apartments and houses. Inevitably I’m told to get potato chips, milk, tukudies,flavored banana chips etc. The shopkeepers, the customers and pedestrians wear dreamy looks. You’d think they lived in a world where clocks didn’t exist.

Someone always insists on going to some temple, visiting some obscure uncle/aunt before they die, so we’re always out of the house. This will always be one of the greater mysteries of life to me. Manglore is the one place where wasting time at home is pleasant. If you disagree the sun and humidity will send you rushing back for cover indoors.My family however insists on packing themselves into a sweaty car and braving the heat. The humidity and sun torture you. I’m always drenched in sweat in Manglore.

The veg restaurants we visit, once someone man’s up and tell’s everyone else that we should probably take a break, always serve amazing sandwiches. I don’t know why but sandwiches always taste better in Mangalore. The petty shops around ever corner are the best places to eat however. They always have some specialty whose name I am too tired to remember. I can remember taste but not where they come from.

My most recent discovery is this guy who has an dd love affair with the coconut. He has multiple shops carved into old house near the port of Mangalore, where the air always smells of fish. He serves you coconut based ice cream, mixed with other melted flavors of ice cream. The ice cream is served in a coconut and is meant to be scooped out with a piece of coconut husk he gives you. You can recognize his shops by the red, 90’s refrigerators they always have.

We leave Mangalore the same way we came. In a sweaty, sleeper but filled with loud gossip, loud passenger, loud conductors, loud streets. One day I want to stay awake through the trip and locate where it is you top smelling the salty air of Mangalore.

Collected Stories:Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Where do I start with Marquez? The first story is about a corpse[?] describing his long draw out decomposition.

Nearly 300 pages of bizarre, strange stories that baffle you with ever line. When Marquez had a normal story halfway through the book I was certain I was reading the wrong book.The book will be really hard to follow for the uninitiated but if you stick with it and try to figure out what Marquez is doing with every line, story and idea that he throws at you, you’ll be amazed. You’ll still be a little dazed and lost but it’s worth the effort.

The reading experience is mystical. The various sections of the book  seem disconnected, like surreal images from forgotten dreams. Now and then a few… ideas [not characters, ideas] in earlier stories, within a section, make a cameo in the most random places in another story and you are left wondering what just happened. Once you’ve picked yourself off the floor and try to figure out what happened, you realize everything makes sense even if you can never explain it with words.

I worry that this little write up isn’t long enough but in my defense Marquez needs to read to be understood, it’s hard to describe the  sort of  literary wizardry Marques puts on display. Describing a ghost ship that makes no sound the first time it  crashes and hides for half a life time is like a lamp. Functional but not crafted with passion. Reading about Marquez just isn’t as reading Marquez.  If you don’t mind having your brain tossed around like salad the book is definitely worth picking up.