Sunday, 11 December 2011

Write I Must

I want to write but words fail me.

Let's take a moment and consider my options.
Make that a few moments.

I could mull over existence and her many virtues.
Spin a yarn of passionate unromance that would
wind its way into your next conversation with me.

Maybe my last fall from grace would appetise your attention.
The hundreds that preceded would do just as well.

An ode to accomplishment, an elegy to desire,
a sonnet to anarchy or a thesis on the art of shoveling.

I could demystify the irreverence of the irrelevant.
Or the solitude of the destitute.

Dwelling on basic courtesies might easily be
swapped with a lesson in gratitude. Maybe fortitude.

The lusts of a rising phoenix could well be juxtaposed
with the cries of a lost chihuahua mistaken for a wild hare.

The storming of the Bastille or the Earl Grey
that never made it to the tea party.

The roving libido of the French premier could hold its own
to the modest ambitions of second coming
of the father of the world's largest democracy.

Maybe a concoction of lofty language
laced with a symphony of unparliamentary anecdotes.
Some non sequitur. Yes, I fancy the vernacular.

I want to write but words fail me.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011


The ground staff have just made their exit and I’m sure the last thing on your mind
is a whimsical pen at play. Down the aisle I see you, a tail of hair, an odd elbow
if I’m lucky. I remember when I saw you first, moments ago at the door, 
as I streamed in alongside an anxious flurry of veterans and virgins. 
You must have mouthed the customary ‘Good evening.’ 
or ‘Welcome aboard.’ or ‘How are you?’ It doesn’t matter.
I don’t remember. It wasn’t your words that made those split-seconds
worth another visit. Was it the cheeky half-grin accompanying them?

The cabin in-charge for the day, Nancy she calls herself, holds the receiver to her lips
as she rattles off a well-rehearsed safety briefing. I look up. A seat belt has never assumed such inviting proportions. As your hands make their way through oxygen mask and life-jacket, twice over, I wonder why I’d never paid attention
to these things before. We’re about to take off when you prance
around with a bag, frantically seeking a generous overhead bin.
It isn’t until you’ve tried at least seven that you find one offering just enough, above me.
I inhale. Your aroma is as strong as it is invigorating. An inaudible sigh escapes within.

I watch you and turn away, smiling without cause or concern. The flight is sprinkled
with cursory interaction and your unintentional brushing of my arm in your stride. 
The air is made pleasant by good air conditioning working in tandem with your gentle presence. Meanwhile, Nancy unconsciously wages a desperate war to seize
my attention. Another day, and she’d have had more than her share. So I twist,
and stretch, consider sleep, then shut the thought, and all the while your nimble feet
walk past mine at intervals so regular, it makes me think you’ve caught
a whiff of my devotion. I can only wish my words will mean something to you.
I haven’t really done this before. Then again, I haven’t really come across
someone quite as alluring at similar cruising altitudes.

Your charms are immense. You make me delight in a sandwich
I would have never picked off a menu. I observe many a pair of eyes
shadowing your every move, and as we head into another bout of turbulence,
I take my chance with telepathy.

Hello. I assume you must be content having my mind at your disposal since
the time I stepped into your aerial kingdom. It isn’t easy sitting where I sit,
watching you go about your routine while the desire to converse with you
eats me from within. But, I won’t act on this impulse. I won’t badger you
with the likes of ‘A bottle of water, please.’ and ‘Do you have today’s paper?’
I won’t even give you the opportunity to ask me to set my seat-back upright
or close my tray table. I won’t unbuckle my seat belt, even when the sign is off,
or bother to find out what the rest of your crew looks like. I’ll stay awake
and silence the urge to count sheep, no matter how drowsy the aerated beverage
I bought from you makes me. I won’t mull over my existence
before and after this journey. I won’t stare, I won’t swear. I’ll stay put in my seat,
much to the dismay of the passengers beside me, till I hear the aerobridge
is in place. I’ll smile often, laugh a little and savour the purple sky
illuminated by the cries of two infants, both blissfully unaware of this brief mention.
I’ll return your grin when I disembark. No words will be spoken.
You won’t know of this letter. But, that’s alright.
You’ve had me for over two hours and forty minutes.

Sunday, 11 September 2011


I can't be certain you'll come by anytime soon.
If you're already here, I'm sure you're pleasantly surprised.

It's been a while, nearly a year, since this place had any visitors.
It isn't that I haven't thought of talking to you here. I guess I just haven't been able
to let the thought carry. So, tonight, a few minutes after getting off the phone with you,
here I am, talking to you once more.

While 'Jiyein Kyun' plays away in the background, my mind travels through the city you're in. Through winding roads and pockets of midnight traffic, it settles down
on a street, around the corner from where you live. I'm there now,
an unassuming silhouette of complexity. A light flashes, a cab's approaching.
I wave, it stops, I settle in. I ask the driver to take me where the night will.
He obliges and turns on the meter.

The yellow of the streets soothes and blinds. I pore into the blur like an infant
on a carousel. The mind wanders. It's funny how you were, a few minutes ago,
where I am. Your scent hasn't escaped into the thick air. I close my eyes
to let it sink in. I place you next to me as the car paces on. You're looking out
the window. Strangely enough, you're on the left tonight. Your eyes soak in the breeze created by the moving car. The light plays with your hair while a few stray locks flutter.
You're lost in a trance only you understand. A passing car brings you back momentarily. You turn to direct the driver. Your lips halt halfway, your eyes fix themselves on me. The awe of it all grips you for three seconds before a faint smile tinkers in. 'What are you doing here?', your eyes murmur. An extended blink is reply enough. You giggle, then return the gesture. I nod, look away, then look back at you.
I close my eyes once more, slowly, while my lips cleave the breadth of my face.
The darkness is an eternity.

The car brakes, my eyes open, you're gone. I blink twice, and a fifth time,
but I can't bring you back. Tucked away in bed, a word that reminds you
of me trickles through your head. I bask in the realization.
The night's still young and the journey's far from over.
I ask the driver if I can smoke. He's feeling generous. I throw my head back
and watch fumes waltz about the tip of my nose. I lean out the window to taste
the humidity, it isn't a night for the sane.

Back in my seat, I close my eyes, hoping to find you asking me for a light
when I open them again.