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Particle perception

18 Sep

She sensed a consciousness in the bricks of the house, mirrors, windows, tiles, pipes, roof, kitchen utensils, metallic jewellery boxes, grass and dirt in the garden, ceramic flower pots, lace curtains, woollen blankets, wooden furniture, rugs, books and newspapers. She lay awake in bed at night thinking of them and listening for sounds of their breathing. Did they wake when everyone was asleep? She focused intently to detect their movements through slight displacements in the air around her.

She thought of every particle in their composition, and how they reacted to the cold, heat, rain, sunshine, darkness, scratches and marks, loud noises, time, human activity and emotions. How much did they stay the same and how much did they change?

She wondered what they observed and knew, what they felt, and what they absorbed of the people who owned and used them. What did they do when the people were away? Did they ever feel the absence of human life, or was it imperceptible to them?

She wanted to find the hidden space where their particles shimmered and pulsed. She tried to feel them into being, to see the secret.

They awoke for her and spoke only to her. No one else in the house ever knew it was alive.

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Missing days

20 Jan

Today is your birthday. It is the 25th time I couldn’t wish you a happy birthday. For 25 years, this day has felt hollow. There was another anniversary last month, another marking of the persistence of your absence. That day was quiet and calm, free of the beautiful comforting voices and the oppressively respectful rituals and customary sad thoughts. That day I remembered you alone.

Maybe you are still around, a witness to all our misery and joy, to our mundane successes and daily ugliness. What are you thinking when you see this? What would be different if you had not gone?

Maybe you left at some point, got bored with our routines that no longer included you. Or, you wanted to explore, see what else was there beyond our little lives.

Maybe you were never here, left us as soon as you could.

I wonder where you exist, where you are now. If, you are, at all. There is science in this somehow, but it is not explained or discovered yet. There is so much of the science here now that you loved. So much science you tried so often to interest me in and tell me about. I am more interested and fascinated by it now. I did not understand as much before.

I don’t ‘talk’ to you, as some might. I sometimes think of what you might be like now, if you had not gone. I sometimes dream that you have come back, but it is always an odd and awkward return, one that does not feel as right or good as it should.

If you had not gone we could have talked about so many things, swapped ideas, debated all there was to debate. I miss that. We could have discussed existence and non-existence, your existence and non-existence. I miss my sparring partner.

So many missing days, missing birthdays. Happy birthday.

 

Code

22 Nov

I hear a man’s voice on the news, and immediately it has my attention. Now a woman speaks in a similar manner, a familiar pattern of speech, one I know well. They speak in a borrowed language, bending and stretching and filling it, marking it with their histories and traditions, making it their own, another home for their voices. They speak comfortably, confidently and fluently in a language that tried to discomfort, belittle and undermine them.

The rhythm of speech is uncontained in this borrowed language. The patterns refuse to fit, and the intonations are out of order. It has an alien tongue, giving well-worn words different dimensions and alternate realities. Imported lives, bodies and sounds weave new threads and add texture to each word, changing the landscape of the language.

We hear it distinctly and differently.

You mock it so casually, without hesitation, with no harm intended. It is an easy target for your lazy laughter, an endless source of amusement. Too easily recognisable, their accents are unappealing and ugly in this language, your language. There is no time to understand. Every word spoken is dissected and mimicked. You make its speakers one-dimensional, inept and redundant, but with no harm intended.

My ears translate it. I hear the voices of my family, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends. It is spun with warmth and laughter, kindness and comfort, sadness and longing, tenderness and loss. It is the sound of home, and of complete, unquestioned, abundant, never-ending love. It is a code conveying extraordinary generosity and everyday ordinariness.

It rests deep in my being, always instantly decoded. It is the voice of my mother and father. It is beauty and life.

It is a code that you, pitifully, are unable to decipher and hear in its entirety and magnanimity. It is a code for a hidden world.

 

Distraction

3 May

Scattered and floating into recognisable patterns inside an intangible mutable net, a shape is apprehensively formed, but always falls away, lacking the strength to solidify. The patterns are clear, but the outlines lose definition, with a seepage of particles to the edges of the net, ebbing and flowing unpredictably. They come together again, trying hard to connect, to focus all energy on creating cohesion from the chaos inhabiting the space. A shape forms, slowly filling the many tiny holes with a force of rebellious intent, determined to take hold inside the distracted net, where even chaos has order and knows its boundaries.

 

System: set and reset

3 Sep

Mouth, full of words failing to escape through the gap between teeth and lips, as tongue swells, speech silently swallowed.

Pressed and compressed.

Face, weighed down by the gravitational pull of heavy thoughts, all lightness and youth consumed, cast in a plaster mask.

Drawn and withdrawn.

Shoulders, proud and defiant, try in vain to lift the body to its suit of dignity, limbs eager and distracted.

Dress and redress.

Heart, tender and curious, feels everything at once, bleeding and ecstatic, beating with purpose and caution.

Erupt and disrupt.

Throat, collects and chokes on anxieties, vocal chords parched and scratched, weakly whisper wounds.

Strained and constrained.

Breath, an intake of cold air, calm and focused, steering a chaotic and erratic system, controlling the pace and averting collision.

Solve, resolve, absolve.

 

Kaziranga

28 Mar

IMG_6775

Rising at dawn, half-asleep, getting ready to go to a lesser known corner of the world. We nearly miss the ride, but like many things in this land, amid the chaos it all works out.

The early morning fog lingers, dense and opaque, making it hard to see anything as it greets the tall wild grass, adding to an atmosphere of mystery and anticipation. Quietly the fog fades and the land returns to our vision in patches, revealing its many and various residents, going about their ordinary leisurely lives. We approach on the backs of humble elephants, reluctantly but graciously allowing us to retain our positions as masters of the planet, and witness this beautiful wilderness in safety. The animals stop and stare, unafraid, familiar with this daily ritual. No harm will come, just strange flashes of light from metal objects. They do their duty and pose, and then leave, paying us little attention. They have become accustomed to this odd routine.

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‘This skin’ re-posted

14 Jul

I wrote This skin for another blog. Posting it here as well, since it’s a creative piece about feeling trapped in your situation and skin, and longing for freedom.

 

 

This skin

Always.

Always invisible, between worlds, on the borders, in the cracks. Never wholly anywhere or anything.

Always reaching out for the sun, its warmth, its light, its love, its food, its life. Its easy gift of dignity.

Always searching for imagined and unknown places, spaces, faces, that offer a promise of fond embrace.

Always wishing for the stars, the planets, the galaxies, and everything beyond our earthly and stunted understanding.

Always trapped, in this game, in this shame, in this time, in this crime. In the fiction that creates truths to imprison.

Always trying to escape, to resist, to scream out, to be known, to be named, to become visible and whole. To become human.

But this skin, this skin that contains me, keeps me, hides me, locks me, chains me, maps me, owns me, mocks me.

This skin, my enemy, my existence, makes me and destroys me.

This skin, I want to shed and replace, this skin is my life, my mind, my disguise, my history, my unknown.

This skin is at once everything and nothing, real and imagined. A translucent membrane to see me through, an invisible wall to keep you out.

This skin, stands between where I want to be, where I need to be, where I long to be, and where I am.

This skin, will not leave me.

This skin. This skin.

 

The line

26 Jun

What is this line that determines fates and lives?
The line that separates people, families, communities, humanity.
This line imbued with so much power and anger.

One side is the promise of something better,
Or at least the hope, the chance of that promise.
One side is desperation, frustration, fear and sadness.

A sacred line for some,
Crossing it is to commit unspeakable outrage,
That anyone would dare without the proper condescending authority.

It is a line of self-bestowed superiority,
You stay on that side and we will stay on this side, okay?
We know the right way to cross, not your way.

The line is a creation,
An idea made palpable through imagined morality and righteousness,
Brought into an obscene existence by brutal rules and commands.

A line with a hostile, sparing welcome,
It can be crossed with a trick of papers and data,
Only, if, these paper and data lives fit neatly into tiny squares, maybe.

The line is governed by rules, indifference, paranoia, morality,
Hiding the punishment, purgatory, despair, and inhuman cruelty,
Felt every second of every life shut far away to stifle the heartbreak.

This line is a test,
Those are the rules, this is the game, designed especially for you,
Are you ready to play?

 

Paper universe

20 Jun

Open the cover and flick through the first few pages of disinterest, eager to start.

 

Begin with trepidation. How will the words taste in my mind, how will the story feel inside me.

Adjust to the style, form, pace and rhythm. The scope, landscape and details are obscure. Orientation takes time, measured in words and pages.

 

Gradually, I am well inside a new world, but still trying to find a foothold.

Subtly drawn in. Slowly, wending my way through.

Starting to recognise you, your tricks, turns, biases. You feel more familiar now.

 

Attachments develop. Pulled in deeper. Learning your mysteries and passions.

Going further down your unlit path. Willingly, hungrily.

Obsessed. Consumed by you. Time, thoughts, dreams become filled with your words.

 

Lost in a bliss of words on paper. Nothing else exists except your story, its promises, discoveries and revelations.

Right in the middle of your world, but only present to see it unravel and reach its inevitable conclusion.

Slowing down, not wanting this story to end. But it always does. For you.

 

With your finality, I am discarded. There is nowhere else to go.

Your smell and feel linger on me for days afterwards. I miss your beautifully unfolding words. Words that repeat over and over in my head.

I can visit you again and relive it all, but it will taste differently the next time.

 

Reluctantly I release you and find another, with its own style, rhythm, words and logic.

Turning the pages with trepidation, drawn in, being held in a tight grip, not wanting to be let go.

 

The intoxicating perfume of words, passions, obsessions, intimately bound together in a paper universe.

 

Hiding (again)

25 Mar

Hiding, away from the world. It has become a habit, instinctual. The world is frightening. Life is frightening. Mental and emotional paralysis takes hold.

Hiding from everyone. Lose speech, voice and communication. Words and thoughts slowly crumble, falling into a void.

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