Listen

Vast plains of pale grass on gentle giant hills laced with winding dirt paths whispering winds and ancient trees surrounded by fields then more distant hills lined with tiny houses filled with tiny families doing little miniscule things of great importance to them and none to you nor I. Monsters of civilisation creeping their way into the wild, capturing its pieces, breaking them and mending them to fit the frame of their lives. taming them into timid fields taught to grow seasonal crop trained to be selfish lethal promt organized specific no stranger plants will live here. Seeking shelter amidst their pampered paths of nurtured soil. That crying castle knows. Its gray walls washed with centuries and seasons of rains. It stands on aching walls with aging breaking bricks watching as curious villager to cautious townsperson edged closer and closer, chopping trees and choking meadows, chasing money-made dreams of make-belief. They were too busy to hear the ground beneath them breath.

collecting pebbles

Do it now or do it never should be an attitude to develop. There is no such thing as later. It is a myth, born to make you delay and belittle those unimportant things that follow you like little pebbles tied to the back of your shoes until you are dragging along a heavy rattling clink clank of pebbles you can hardly carry and it slows you down while you carry on doing those other things you deemed ‘important’ with only a fragment of your potential. That is what organization is. That is why it is important.

Ready

 

He washes and shaves, removing the bandage around his head, but only for a little while because the deep wound starts to bleed again. He quickly and carefully wraps it back around. Today was the most important day of his life, and he needed to be well presented.

      Dressed in white cotton chosen beforehand for its modest simplicity, he gazes at his reflection in the bathroom sink mirror. Honest tired eyes stare back at him. His right harbours a bright red star- a burst nerve- the result of a scuba diving injury. The skin over his eyes and below the bandage is a sickly swollen blue and yellow.

     Guests in the garden outside smell the lavender incense burning in his room as it exits from the bathroom exhaust fan.

     He hears a soft knock on his room’s door.

     “Naf?”

     Mom gently pushes the door open, her kind face strained in worry and sadness.

     “Are you ready?” she asks, looking at him through his reflection in the mirror. He     looks back at her.

    “Almost” he answers, his eyes water and his face distorts, his mouth opens to say something but unable to, he utters muted anguished words, hugging her instead.

 

 Everyone is here, from familiar family and friends to the mysteriously anonymous, the only person missing is his best friend Kal.

     A chaotic bustle fills the house as more guests continue to arrive, miraculously, never failing to dissolve into the ever-increasing swarm of people within, they sometimes bring trays of triangular cut sweet bread; mindazi, or Pyrex dishes of saffron’ rice, to replace the emptying ones laid out on the tables inside.

     He is nervous, and wishes Kal could be here.

     A few friends sit with his younger brother on the plastic garden chairs outside, sharing autopilot conversations as they wait for him. He replaces the bandage one last time because of the scarlet bloodstains seeping through them.

Finally, he is ready.

     Everyone stops to gaze at him as he steps out from his bedroom door and onto the pink concrete garden path, patting his back, giving him words of encouragement and praise as he walks to the car waiting for him outside.

     They follow him in different cars, driving through the city beneath a purple misty night with little stars for forty minutes, and then stop.

     The crowd leave room for his father and brothers to walk besides him, their hands on his shoulders. They walk together through a gravel path, passing Kal on their way; who lies still to their right not far from their destination.

     Eventually they reach a deep pocket with two steps. Dad is wearing the watch Naf gifted him a few months earlier, he trembles. His younger brother begins to sob as the three of them take the first step together into the pocket. Naf leaves them here, taking the second, deeper step alone.

     They help lower him onto the flattened mud of the deep rectangular pocket. He lays down on his right, directed towards the rising moon beyond the gravel wall he now faces. His arms fold comfortably beneath his head as he smiles, finally ready to rest. 

Stop

Stop

You are not an illusion.

You are not a box.

Inside there is no bubble wrap,

No broken glass,

No pops,

Start

It is your birthday.

34 candles lit

On your home-baked lemon cake!

Stop

Suspended statue.

Remains completely still−

A million same faces framed

Candlewax-caked, stale.

Missing Step

Missing Step

 

w         t

h          u

o          r

o          b

p          u

I           l          

n          a

g          n

            c

            e

missing step

Step stumble fall

stitchtrip tumble crawl

sleep forget wake

remember then surprise

like missing a step or

breathing out without in or

w         t

h          u

o          r

o          b

p          u

I           l

n          a

g          n

c

e

Collecting Facts

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It is not that I lost you

But that I gained another version of you

A distant

Static

Fading thing

That flickers with intensity at times

Like an almost-broken lightbulb’s torretes

A flashing pulse that connects

Present with a fading past

I only lost the future

Of you, that was not

In essence, mine to lose

I rediscover you in pictures

As I grow

studying your evidence like a book

a critical student

trying to understand it

uncover all of its meanings

Trying to read it fast enough to see

It as a whole and

Slow enough to understand its bits

In my mind

Collecting facts

An index of everything you’ve said

 

Laughing Brother Buddha

It is only a slight change in fate

A slight change in state

 

It is no matter, no, not matter at all

only a matter of symbol and, one fatal fall.

 

from beating heart and flesh transformed

to laughing Buddha statue formed

 

a distant wisdom, comfort strength

a static, fading, star, at length.

 

An almost-broken lightbulb’s Tourette’s

A flashing pulse that connects

 

You are not lost

You have merely migrated

Into a different state

Unafraid

I am not afraid of this

I am not afraid of now

I am not afraid of me

So let us start

Let us begin

Let us rip this page to pieces

with our words

Let us pierce it with a truth

With a meaning

so incredible that

It sticks

It stays

It lasts

Like bubblegum

or superglue.

Let us write now

With courage

Let us break through our

Mind-made walls

Reveal the curtains

of our consciousness