Friday, June 18, 2010

Soundless Poetry

Poetry forthcoming in the inaugural issue, July 2010.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


G swung his body out of the pool. Thirty laps. G made a mental note to improve his stamina at the gym. Light dripped from the cloudless vastation above as he made his way to the deck chair. Belly groundward, G stretched himself on the towel. The recovering body was acutely aware of its surroundings, as if physical exertions had flushed the gates of its inner mechanics, and an invasion of heightened instincts had taken over. A clarity of thought in G’s mind; he was aware of the hunger in the sun’s gaze, was drawn to it. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


After G lost his job he began visiting the bathhouse with renewed vigor. For two months his story to anyone who cared to know was that he’d just quit his job – he deserved something better, you see; even his ex-manager (not the one who fired him, but the one before) told him that: “G, you deserve something better.” For two months he ignored messages and phone calls from friends and ex-colleagues, intensely resisting the inevitable transmogrification from mana to a mere source of coffee-break gossip. Because G’s job (sales and marketing) required frequent air travel (to Europe and the States, of all places) and shoulder-rubbing with celebrities and the industry’s big shots, G’s fall from grace was not an easy fact to deal with, or to accept: G was, after all, an Executive; a titled position, distinguished from the mass of powerless, subordinate ignominy; G had a team, was leading it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


The only mystery before sex is whether you get to fuck him or not, S said to me. What is the mystery after? After? S said, breaking the silence. After, the mystery is why you even thought it would last.


S’s speech grew more impaired as the count of his T-cells dropped. When I left the ward each time I would force my mind into a state of blankness. I would look at the trees lining the path that led out of the home; I would focus on the hue of the leaves, the texture of the bark. Sometimes, if there was a bird, I would focus on that: how it made its journey from one branch to the next; how it fell from the leaves to the ground, to pick at something there; a seed maybe, a twig. And then slowly, slowly, I would rebuild our conversations. I would excavate the words, dust off each turn of phrase; I would gather them alongside the feelings I could not then confront in S’s presence. Only then would I obtain clarity, of what S said to me: that his joints had been aching, more so lately, for example – it must be a sign, he said, half-chuckling – or that he would wake up at night, drawn out of his sleep by the smell of his body – the stench of my death, he said – or that he was feeling a little tired, and would like to sleep a while, if I didn’t mind. When S slept, his flesh moved languidly to the rhythm of his breaths, so that one might even, for a moment, see in the body a metaphor for bliss and serenity. I would watch closely before leaving, just in case. At the gates, the road in front of me stretched past the church; on Sundays, from where I stood I could see the faithful pouring out from service, their cars gliding past me, contentment locked in all their faces. I would make my way to the bus-stop just outside. I would slide on the ear-phones, so I would not hear the laughter resounding choral-like around me.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


L had been living on his own since sixteen, the year he was disowned by his family – his father, to be specific – after a neightbour caught him and her son, one afternoon, doing “dirty things” in her bedroom. In his rage, L’s father hurled a statue of Guan Yin at his son. The porcelain thing (made in China) shattered when it hit the wall, missing the vital parts of L. L’s mother swept up the pieces afterward, when she was done with the weeping. L’s father had grown tired of his own pointless tirade of blame and accusations – “a useless woman” etc. – he locked himself in the bathroom because that was where real men wept strong, silent tears. At night L dreamt of toilets flushing while his lover slept, its symphonic permutations. 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Counterexample Poetics

Poetry forthcoming in the May issue.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Blue Holes

L sat at the edge of the pool, torso exposed to the sun. When I noticed, I returned a smile. L got up, sauntered over. Asked if he could borrow the lotion. We shook hands. Then asked if I would rub down his back. Sure, I said, turn over.    


Late afternoon. We lit a cigarette between us. L began telling me about something he had been reading. Blue holes. Deep water-filled depressions in the earth’s surface. Submarine caves, some are called, if they occur on the ocean floor. Many harbor a complex system of tunnels in their bowels. Some run so deep that no light penetrates; the water eviscerated of oxygen by the pressure, turning them into ideal environs of preservation. Whole skeletons have been unearthed, the bones polished by time and timelessness. A danger: there, the water, though clear, fills easily with silt when stirred, so that one has to grapple insistently with the possibility of entrapment by an impenetrable shroud of blackness; a torch is no guarantee. Explorers have lost their lives in those caves, where they remained. The cigarette burnt out. We lit another. Rather exciting, don’t you think, L said, the sun on his skin sprawled like a tryst.