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Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

The Choices That We Make (a dream)

We huddle in groups, centred around the abandoned farmhouse – it hasn’t been abandoned long, dishes still in cupboards, even scraps of food remaining. Most of the area immediately around us is sheltered by pine forest, some of the men camping out there, drinking heavily in denial of the impending invasion. Beyond the stand of trees stretches a sparse tundra, dead crops swaying desolately in the wind. At least we’ll see them coming a mile off.

Warning had already been sent to us. Some of us are packing to leave – Rajat, a gentle Indian family-man, has secured his children in the small truck. He knows that the warning, the fearful tale of an approaching army, is no scare tactic to drive us into the open. For the rest, the uncertainty is enough to keep them from following suit, from acknowledging the all-too-real threat that we are facing.

Having secured the children in the vehicle, he returns and steps inside. Unsure but needing to say something, to somehow pay respects to this comradeship that has developed between us, I follow him. After scouring the empty interior of the lounge room, he turns to me, contemplative.

Saying anything seems pointless – we’ve all seen to much to give into lies and pointless platitudes now. Instead, he sweeps me into a tight hug, and, for a moment, he is my father, my brother, my friends. He is all those whom I am never again going to see, not in this lifetime.

His parting gift is in an unfamiliar language, but the meaning transcends the language, and he quietly recites his prayer;

Shaantam padmaasanastham shashadharamakutam panchavaktram trinetram, shoolam vajram cha khadgam parashumabhayadam dakshinaange vahantam; naagam paasham cha ghantaam damaruka sahitam chaankusham vaamabhaage, naanaalankaara deeptam sphatika maninibham paarvateesham namaami.

My own prayer seems clumsy and childish in response, but my meaning is genuine. I hope, more than anything, that he will get out of this, that there is a chance… I hope that there is any hope at all. Yet as we release one another, there is a sense of loss that I can’t help but fear is disproportionate. But these are terrible times, and in the face of such terror we cannot help but to cling together.

I stand beside another of our small – and shrinking – number, Cullen, and we silently watch Rajat’s quiet, somber farewell to his wife. The vehicle, the only one that we have, is too small to accommodate them all, and her resolute stoicism is both heart-breaking and humbling.

Cullen turns away, unable to watch, perhaps thinking of his own lost love; “At least some of us are getting out of here.”

As soon as the words are voiced aloud, my vision flashes, as I see the superimposed image of the certain outcome of this endeavour. The knowledge and grief paralyse me for a moment, and I crouch, hands planted firmly in the red dust, eyes on the ants trailing beneath my feet.

“They won’t make it.”

The images may have been vague, but the words escape subconsciously, and I know, instinctively, that they are true.

“Why the hell don’t you warn him?” Cullen’s eyes have widened, as he looks torn between disbelief in the possibility that I could know this, and the even more unconfortable knowledge that I am right.

I look towards Rajat, and our eyes meet, and once again I feel disconnected from my body; it is the burning in my eyes and the cold, heavy weight of sadness in my stomach that brings me back.

“Because he already knows.”

And as his wife comes to stand beside us; and as the truck rumbles into the distance; and as the dust begins to rise, swell, settle; and as the ominous sound of distant marching armies begins to deafen us, I cannot help but wonder if we have any choices left to make…

And whether we had any choice to begin with.

Author’s notes: this is actually a dream I had last night, which was far more vivid than I could ever hope to represent with words. The prayer Rajat recited is a semi-petition to Lord Shiva, and, especially in this context, is uttered for protection. I guess the main point of this dream was that in the end, even when you know it’s futile, there is nothing left but to try. Incidentally, I looked up what the name “Rajat”, and it means “courage”.

You Can’t Escape Forever (a poetic prose experiment)

I had a nightmare, I lived in a little town
Where little dreams were broken…

You have no idea how big eternity really is.

It’s endless, out here. Horizons stretch beyond sight, broken only by occasional trees, gnarled and twisted and bent under the weight, the weight of holding up that neverending sky.

You have no idea how deafening silence is.

It’s not really silent, to be fair. Cicadas screech their discordant scores, the wind rushes past in painfully scorching waves, hissing maliciously through the dead, dry grass.

You have no idea how long an hour can be.

It’s a cliché, but true. You hear these things, like you hear so many things (Did you hear? They beat that fag stone-cold dead.), and laugh derisively… until one day you hear yourself repeating them. Or denying them. (No, no, no!)

You have no idea how cruel people can be.

It’s something you ignore, until it happens to you. Children are cherubs, compared to the evils of men. Fear, bigotry, hatred, hatred, hatred. Above all, hatred. Small-minded man in a small-minded town.

You have no idea who he is, who he was.

It’s their fault, that now you never will. A brother – loving, until outed and outcasted. A son – beloved, until discovered and disowned. A boyfriend – loving, beloved, lover. Nothing will change that.

You have no idea who I am, who I was.

It’s my fault, my weakness. It’s not here, it’s everywhere. In this little town, in this little world, in the little minds of little people everywhere. It’s inescapable; inevitable; it’s the end.

And then a little voice inside me said;
“You’ll never get away from here”.

Author’s note: yeah that was odd, and I’ve no idea where it came from. Song is “3 Times and You Lose” by Travis (And the Invisible Band). Comment if you don’t get what it’s about, but I think I made it pretty clear.

The Hollow Girl (a poetic prose experiment)

She can only breathe at high speeds.

It’s not the movement, it’s the standing still. Stillness only comes with light-speed, she’s decided. The stillness is the infinitesimal point at which anything is possible, the potential pause, the rushing, breath-taking eternity in the in-between;

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act …

Darkness hides the reality, blurring the lines and blurring her vision, allowing the perception of greater speed. Trails of light echo loudly across the windshield, as she pushes the accelerator harder, further, faster.

The hour grows later, and the lights grow fewer.

Dusk has long since abandoned the world, replaced by the velvet emptiness, the vast ephemeral space of the night. Suffocating silence is sucked out of her head, into the ether.

She pushes the accelerator flat to the floor.

Wind roars; doors rattle; engine screams.

She can almost breath.


Anticipation crescendoes; she can see it already, and she almost smiles.

A curve in the road, trees reach out to her, she closes her eyes, opens them, to eternity. The overwhelming silence is obliterated in a split-second scream of rending metal and glass. The overwhelming silence is obliterated, replaced with the welcome comfort of one last breath…

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends…

… one last breath, in which she takes in the entirety of existence.


Poem: Repetition

In certain months of every year
I get the same feeling

it’s the exact same feeling as the exact same time…

The years are passing (I think)
… but every year
this same
… odd

… déjà vu?
or is this the same year stuck on repeat?

over and over and over and over and over and over again.

Maybe we’re going in circles.
Though, it seems to me
(more likely)
that we aren’t moving at all

did I say we? me, myself and i
(wave goodbye
as you and your years
fly by)

These words, they’re déjà vu too,
written countless times, but I find –
find the right ones? no. – find they lose their
once the moment’s passed

(don’t worry, it’ll be back.)

(it always come back)

(back to this)

And I’m back, it’s back, we’re back, to going;


10 backward, 1 step more? I don’t want to repeat a cliché, I get enough of the same, being stuck in Day after dAy after daY that has that feeling. The one I can’t escape.

Or maybe it’s just me.

I’ll remember this,
and I’ll write a new poem, nextTHISyear
and it shall begin…

“In certain months of every year
I get the same feeling…”

Poem: A Beautiful Life, A Beautiful Lie

I miss the pretense of what I had
Oh, what I had,
I’d rather live a lie than die knowing
I never had anything.

Whitewash the memories
Oh, such good times,
Create a beautiful fiction to look back on
Something to store for the winter
                          (And hasn’t it been a long one, now?)
Convince myself it was real
Keep lying, dear
Maybe it’ll come true

Rainbows in retrospect

Forget that insecurity
Forget all those things you knew
Forget that harsh reality
Forget; forge fake memories
                          (Well, it wasn’t that bad, was it?)

I miss all the things I never had
Oh, what I had,
I’d rather appreciate it now,
all those things I disregarded
(did they exist?…
                          I’d like to think so…)

Redrawn pictures, happy smiles
Bleak black days reconstructed
in technicolour glory – overbright and surreal
surreal unreal
But here it is, for all the world to see
Beneath it all
“…look things in the face
and know them for what they are…”

I miss all the things I never had
Oh, what I never had,
I can’t pretend, know it wasn’t,
So really, what I miss most…
is the pretense of the belief in the pretense
of what
I never

(But what a beautiful life – what a beautiful lie – it was).

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