Solemn, the pharaoh floats downriver. The words come before the image. Did you know that ever year the pharaohs would descend before the crowds and offer the river their seed?
The ritual doesn’t concern me as much as the idea that you would need to offer life to the river, the one that’s feed you, the one who’s end you cannot begin to see. Could you oblige it, to serve the dusty oasis from where you came?
Somehow long after your language has been forgotten the river still flows. Is it really the same one that feed an entire civilization, the same one the pharaoh offered tribute too? It seems to have forgotten everything, while rocks are worn away and a Spinx stares out at sometime we can’t see.
It’s a mirror to the after life, where you might live forever. No, it’s something more than that, it’s conjoined, said their religion, inextricably linked to the dead who pass through the river. Long after they’ve gone the souls of the dead are still weighed as the river flows.
I dreamt back to when it was was four am, when our cat lay a sparrow by the nightstand. The bird’s chirps sounded like twigs breaking. Its eyes looked like they’d eaten the night sky. My voice cools when I try to talk to it, a cold I remember from a bicycle.
The frighting artistry of rust, it’s slow cobweb cutting through metal, pulsating as it feeds. Sharp corner and residue where once I ran my hands across cold steel after I rode through elephant grass. To shine it would have needed year after year, day after day but abandonment brought to a cycle- introspection, madness and nostalgia. It’s jagged edges threatening, the past takes on it’s own life, decays and rots on it’s own terms.
I remembered the bird, the cold monsoon night, the water in the air when I woke up to rain.
A moth seeks the moon
Navigates the bulb
His obliviousness and my gloom.
I keep a photo of two strangers. I rescued them out an old match box from a hotel, brought home some 3 decades ago. On the matchbox it says “Mountain View. Visit Again.” Both box and picture are yellow and dirty. You wouldn’t watch to trace your finger along the inn and mountains drawn on the box, the paint is so aged the mountains might lose the inn.
The remaining matches are frail and could never dream of working. One wonders why no one gave in to the temptation to strick a match a burn the picture. Why was it there anyway? Maybe it was supposed to be burned, the two grinning men without a harsh work between them.
The hum of my laptop
Other worlds flicker to life.
On rainy days
Everywhere I go neon lights make me numb
Travel leaves little memories
Between every city and vitamin soul
Little memories working
In a machine
All the things you said,
It’s not enough.
It’s not enough,
That you have it going on.
Show me your hand
You’re never playing
It doesn’t match your fate.
I feel like silence,
But not when you’re around
I love the way, the day feels today.
Are you afraid
while I look your way?
We should have stayed home.
But now we know,
No forgetting now.
Put some wind in your hair,
While we run away,
Never leave us out.
Back in the day I’d stare at the apartments that surrounded the hill where I lived. They were like towers made of bird cages and every now and then you’d get a glimpse of a life, of someone lost in thought or just looking out wondering at the world.
I knew no routines, no faces or characters. They were just flashes of entire lives. Sometimes you’d see fights, sometimes there was only the blue of their TV screens.Where those smokers on their balcony with eyes glued to skylines nostalgic or thoughtful? Did they know what I knew or feel what I felt? What languages did they speak? Where were they from and where would they go?
Most of who I saw were teenagers, the people who I wondered about the most. I wonder if those people on their phones where about to change their lives at any minute with words that took them away from their spaces and across the world. I wondered if that girl with the poster would tear it down in a few years. What would change if you could hear them or smell them? Or worse, if you knew them.
I felt a strange nostalgia, I’m not sure if it was real or imagined. The kind I only felt about some vague memories of old anime shows- a wolf wondering why humans look at the sky when they can’t fly, a girl who is suddenly taken out of her world and petty anxieties to be left in an apocalyptic ones, a angel who lost his wings and a man trying to figure out how long it is before he dies because he is isolated from technology.
During the regular load shedding I’d look at the apartments from the grass on our hill now and then switch between watching the stars and the shadows of gas lamps. I wondered what they did with their free time; where they like me and candle light? If they looked I looked back. Once we even had a light fight- I and someone else would flicker or torches in turn. We stopped after an hour and I asked myself what they would remember.
I remember it clearly, Mangalore dreams and Mangalore rains, with people on their balcony’s sniffing the air, wetting their feet or just enjoying the rain. The bird cages drenched in Monsoon.