The Magic Carpet

I know, that night, lying on our magic carpet
in the quarter-light, floating in our little dorm,
we cared not about those details
that bother when in broad daylight,
we didn’t mind the improprieties
that pinch when in public spaces.

We were sailing close to the wind,
communicating through fingertips,
unknowing the memories that pricked…
We veered through a common dreamspace,
nestled into each others’ chests
and memorized the sounds they made…
Yes, that night I cried, like that bizarre fish
that refills its own pond of water,
copious tears that went over both our heads
and the carpet sank so deep
that all its magic went down with it.

 

Women I love by Bliss Cua Lim

The following just connected so many dots that I long wanted to connect…Dr Neelakantan’s brief discourse on “sisterhood feminism”, mom’s story about an old woman who was travelling with her puerile husband in the same compartment as mom and the instant where “only women can see the hidden strength with which women deal with the men they love while struggling against servility”…

Thank you for the words, Bliss Cua Lim 🙂

Women I Love
Bliss Cua Lim

Listen:
One afternoon, I saw a woman
lift her head and wonder why no one stood
beside her in the train,
touching the back of her neck or maybe
whispering or smiling into her eyes.
I thought I caught her thinking,
Who sees me?
I knew she craved a lover who would
linger over her body,
cherish her strength,
return her tenderness.
I knew she had not found this love among men.
How like my mother she was.
How thankful I am for the ways
women can sometimes love each other.
There is something truer there than desire.
It is wondrous for me to see a woman
with a child’s delicate ace, and calloused, capable hands.
I love the woman who has strength enough to do anything
except hide her own strength.

I have known women whose laughter was like bells
because you knew they had been wounded before.
I prize women who look best
barefoot in their bedclothes, tousled and tired.
I know women who remember the unremarked beauty of
these tired women.
I understand women who claim to hate children
but shied their nephews from the wrath of loving parents.
And I marvel at the women who serve the men they love
while always struggling against servility.

Their quick anger,
their light slumber,
their early morning voices on the phone.
I love nape and collarbone,
a cheek wet with tears,
the line of the arm, of the ankle,
and the infinite expressiveness of their hands when
they speak,
or touch themselves, or me.

Marginalia by Billy Collins

Never thought I would read a poem about such a trivial subject that goes unnoticed even though one is constantly indulged in marginalia 🙂 Amazing thought, amazing read!

Marginalia
Billy Collins

Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you,
Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O’Brien,
they seem to say,
I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.

Other comments are more offhand, dismissive—
“Nonsense.” “Please!” “HA!!”—
that kind of thing.
I remember once looking up from my reading,
my thumb as a bookmark,
trying to imagine what the person must look like
who wrote “Don’t be a ninny”
alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson.

Students are more modest
needing to leave only their splayed footprints
along the shore of the page.
One scrawls “Metaphor” next to a stanza of Eliot’s.
Another notes the presence of “Irony”
fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal.

Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers,
Hands cupped around their mouths.
“Absolutely,” they shout
to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin.
“Yes.” “Bull’s-eye.” “My man!”
Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points
rain down along the sidelines.

And if you have managed to graduate from college
without ever having written “Man vs. Nature”
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.

We have all seized the white perimeter as our own
and reached for a pen if only to show
we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages;
we pressed a thought into the wayside,
planted an impression along the verge.

Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria
jotted along the borders of the Gospels
brief asides about the pains of copying,
a bird singing near their window,
or the sunlight that illuminated their page—
anonymous men catching a ride into the future
on a vessel more lasting than themselves.

And you have not read Joshua Reynolds,
they say, until you have read him
enwreathed with Blake’s furious scribbling.

Yet the one I think of most often,
the one that dangles from me like a locket,
was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye
I borrowed from the local library
one slow, hot summer.
I was just beginning high school then,
reading books on a davenport in my parents’ living room,
and I cannot tell you
how vastly my loneliness was deepened,
how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed,
when I found on one page

A few greasy looking smears
and next to them, written in soft pencil—
by a beautiful girl, I could tell,
whom I would never meet—
“Pardon the egg salad stains, but I’m in love.”

Leftovers from last night!

When my fusty little room is brimming
with leftovers as these from a certain meeting –
your big winter jacket with leather straps,
your weathered pocket book with local road maps,
your box of matches about half-empty,
loose, scattered coins about twenty or thirty,
all left behind on the tabletop, in the dark;
the poetry book you lovingly bookmarked,
the wilting red rose in a fat milk bottle,
my drugged slumber too powerful to throttle;
(hence) your unread message pasted to the door,
with a promise to meet again and so much more,
in the winter garden beyond the street
like crazy teenage lovers, reckless, indiscreet –
I’d buy a glass bowl with that loose change perhaps,
into which would go one of your leather straps,
the wilting rose pressed in my book of poems,
your love message rolled into the bottle,
and a page or two from the tattered guide;
and that bowl will stand by my bedside…
while we steal away into the gleaming moonlight,
with aim and hope to renew our promise by daylight
and thus I mark newer objects for the bowl daily
until all that is yours becomes mine slowly
and all that is mine, yours…
Then we belong to the bowl of memories,
just the two of us, the two of us entirely.
The next winter in the white winter garden
under the falling white snow,
swaying to familiar winter songs,
in a silent bliss,
we might just wonder if
we are that couple in a snow globe!

Two lovers

Two lovers

Dream…that’s the thing to do..?

“I’m thinking of you” – these words uttered by a someone can make up for a bundle of sorrows, a whole day of troubles, or even an entire lifetime of woes. All of us wish for these words packaged suitably in love and care to come by from a special someone at some point of our life. Some of us encounter the arrival of the package quite early in life, while some others get it a little late;  the more fortunate ones get it more than once, while the least fortunate ones just die waiting for it. Then again, the ones who do get it may not preserve it or may not be suitably equipped to preserve it. It’s all a complicated affair.

Nevertheless, it’s a great feeling, isn’t it? – to enter into someone’s intimate thoughts and then to come to know from that someone that you are right there, positively meandering through their mental space. I know. Sigh!

Longing is a disease. It afflicts one and all. Longing in love is a sweet pain. Longing for love is a sorrowful pain. Longing to love is a … I don’t know … weird thing but not quite uncommon as I see it. There are many dimensions to this feeling of longing, pining when in love. It’s sweet, it’s painful, it’s secretive to an extent, it can be shared with confidantes and derived pleasure from in some cases, it gives one hope and joy and something to look forward to, it brings meaning to life too in most cases.
Dreams and longing are so intertwined in romantic context that you can’t quite separate one from the other. Strictly speaking, dreams form the part of the ongoing process of longing when one falls asleep, or rather, they are those series of images which are triggered by longing (in the waking state) and which one sees in one’s head (in the sleep state) with absolutely no control over the generation of the content (Thanks to my BSE629 Neurobiology!). Daydreaming is related to dreaming in only as much as images are concerned. Daydreaming is a more voluntary and more positive aspect of longing. It is associated with the actualization of the object that one is longing for. Daydreams add sugar to longing – daydreams embellished with vibrant colors of nature, with music that pulsates with the happy heartbeats, with beauty that brings joy to the soul.

In an age where time is money, how feasible is for one to enjoy this whole phase of  longing with its myriad dimensions and flavors? Highly impractical, we say. This beautiful feeling of longing is being grossly overridden by mind’s occupation with materialistic concerns and worldly responsibilities; and all one can do to celebrate this lingering sensation is take some time out of one’s busy schedule to type in a blog-post like the present one or perhaps, log onto the ever-popular romance-killing stalker’s hub – Facebook – to update status messages . Well, Facebook-bashing is not the point of this post…the point is that I think that all the buried, choked and repressed romantics in us deserve a chance to breathe, a chance to live a bit…hence I see a need to celebrate the sweet melancholy that sits at the heart of a love affair…to do that is simple, natural, needs no teacher, or tutorials, but it’s extant because of the dearth of time for actions that can’t be directly or indirectly valued in monetary terms…the idea is that longing is worth it, we should abandon all care and lose all sense of time, we should embrace longing….longing to be kissed goodnight, longing to get a call back, longing to hear his/her voice on phone just after hanging up, longing to be assured of his/her love again and again, longing for the midnight tryst in the secret scarlet garden, longing for the fulfillment of the tacit promise to meet again the following midnight, longing for the words “I’m thinking of you”…

“Dream, when you’re feeling blue
Dream, that’s the thing to do
Just watch the smoke rings rise in the air
You’ll find your share of memories there”