Stagnant

It was cold like a night under storm clouds, near farmland and distant houses you could hear over crickets. But this was far from home, far from the insect life and green walls.

The bus stations was not a place to find populated at so late an hour. She was not at fault here. It was the hooded figure who had decided to ruin all calculations, to make it’s presence felt. Mist seemed to rise off the signboard at the bus stop. It advertised some trifling vulgarity punctuate with a smile. She offered it no thought but wondered at the figure who leant on it- hoping to slip through into serendipity perhaps.

While the figure consumed the advertising, she wondered at every breeze that rushed past. The breeze carried no zooming swish of wind, no passengers in a hurry. Why would empty breeze carry itself so quickly? Does a city seep into the the air so easily?

Of course no bus would arrive at this hour. Both of them knew that. They were boxed in close- city lights in every direction. Lights that suggested the world wasn’t dead, but showed no signs of life itself. The city grows sinister in its stillness, its emptiness, keeps you on the edge waiting for movement taunting you with none. She found it reassuring at least that there was a waiting companion, heading the same way into nowhere.

Mist rose out of her breath till it blinded her. Enveloped like the figure at the sign board she tried calling out to it. Her words dissolved like mist, she stays still, and her sight and form did obscure into silence.

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My neighbors cage

Bird cages become terrible things if you think about them. They seem to come from a ancient manors covered in dust and with white drappings over furniture. When empty there’s a soft melancholy that comes with rusted, black bars that might break if you pushed hard. A swing is just more lonely when there isn’t a bird on it.

Putting a bird in won’t makes things much better. I’m not one for heavy handed metaphors but it’s hard to image any contentment coming from anything that could claim the entire sky, being restricted to a tiny cage. It’s damnation. Insanity for birds and condemning man to be a callous and unfeeling thing, amused by petty, pretty suffering. Color the cage with your own horrid indifference, the bird might not have much time for you either.

My neighbors either poets or masters of atrocity have gone a step further. In their grotesque tower that looms over the entire neighborhood they got a cage on the highest floor. Rather than put any birds in their cage, they’ve found themselves a better metaphor- they’ve caged light. In a corner they’ve wasted for a concrete, meaninglessly stylized balcony that no one can reach they’ve put a solitary light bulb that’s lit for no one in particular.

In fact I don’t think anyone would bother to look that far beyond the trees, street lights and other squalor all the way up a rich mans house. Maybe they think it looks good no matter how futile; another ornate holding for us to want. I’m not sure they’d take much notice of it themselves so there it glows, in an uninterrupted darkness. Unseen and meaningless, trapped above us all.

Candle

A soft night where the candle lashes at the ceiling

breaking and making, a hundred veils.

With the quiet flame mirroring every rising step

and every fall, and fleeing razor breeze

a melting darkness and shrinking quiet.

The run

He ran as fast as he could. Quickly down the street and sharp on his turns.

He sped up and they sky got darker. The air in his lungs cut like glass and his feet threatened to buckle.

He leapt over a fence and broke into his own house; ran into his room as fast as he could. He woke himself up so he could stop dreaming all this.

Pocketwatch

My grandfather before me, like his grandfather before him had had the watch handed down to him. It was dull, old and heavy. The weight of our lives bore down on it and it threatened to drag us down any minute.

I was given the old watch and saw that it was counting down to something. They told me it would showed all the time I had in the world. I wore the weighted chain well, keeping it polished and stalling the fade of its metal case. I had never feared and waited till it stopped. Through the years I had acquired many memories and had nothing to regret. Eventually I had nothing to do but wait till it stopped, happy to meet my end.

Then it stopped and nothing happened. For the first time in my life I knew fear.

In the mirror hall

The mirror house was from those movies they told you not to watch, where frightened victims leave clouded mirrors while a man with a knife follows.

I remember the night outside, thick with mist and the moon dropping low like a spider ready to snatch it’s prey. I hear their shouts trying to find me. Their flashlights reveal armies of fellow pursuers all bouncing off the corners, all on their own quests.

 

I put my hand against the mirror. Its deceitful icy cold gave way to warmth. Mine.

Time has taken a thousand moons hence, but the mirrors cradle my sleepwalking soul, my happy silhouette, ever elusive across the glassy cold.