Saturday, February 27, 2010

Failure

(Picture by  somedayxTakara)

It was my project on display.
I won the award.
Everybody saw it.
A great future awaits you, the teacher said.
Her words still echo in my mind.

The future was mine,
so it was hard to believe
that at the final test
when the bell rang
I was sitting in front of a blank sheet.
There was no second chance.

I remember the big match.
Standing in front of the empty goal.
Cheering crowed
and I missed.
I never played again.

Yet, at work I was given a chance.
But when I turned the switch on
It went dark.
My settings were wrong.
It was an expensive mistake.

So after so many years
When I ran into my teacher she said
I always knew you’d reach far,
What are you doing these days?

Without a word
Hiding a tear
I smiled
Turned my back
and walked away

Friday, February 26, 2010

License to Kill

Did Jesus own his t-shirt
was of a consequence.
It lead for heads to roll off
and hell to live on earth.

It was no minor question,
unlike the one about
the angels pushing needles
to heads who couldn’t count.

Oh, such crucial questions,
for which so many souls
were massacred for answers
in search of higher goals.

And yet today nobody
cares or thinks about
those most important questions
man couldn’t live without.

But even now we’re holding
a very strong belief
that we possess some knowledge
without which we can’t live.

Oh, such crucial matters,
Essential, higher goals
has lead us, like our fathers
to sacrifice more souls.

Undoubtedly in future
man is sure to think
how trivial matters lead us
to kill without a blink.

But that’s no end of story,
as future man sure will
ask modern, better questions
for which he’ll also kill.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Winning a poetry competition, what a scam!


As a beginner poet, I took the opportunity to enter my very first poetry competition at poetry.com. So just imagine my delight when a few months later I got this email: 
The votes are in, and we are proud to congratulate you for your outstanding literary achievement. The editors of The International Library of Poetry were thrilled to inform you that your poem was honored with the prestigious Editor’s Choice Award because of your artistic accomplishments and unique perspective--characteristics found in the most noteworthy poetic works. To further commemorate this prestigious achievement, we have elected you to receive the 2007 Editor’s Published Poet Ribbon Award Pin. 
This stunning pin proudly displays your elevated status in our poetic community. Since only an elite group of published poets were selected to receive this special honor, imagine the sense of pride you will feel when others see you wearing the 2007 Editor’s Choice Published Poet Award Pin. What an impressive way to show off your status as an honored poet for the year 2007! 

I went back to the competition site but found no mentioning of my name or my poem. On the other hand, what I did find was: 

To take advantage of this special offer to commemorate your exceptional poetic talents, simply go here. This exclusive pin is only $19.95, plus shipping & handling. If you wish to send us your order by mail, please include a copy of this email and your completed order form to receive this special offer. 

So let me get it straight. Is it because I try to write poetry you take me for a total moron? 

Is the competition simply a away to collect email addresses of would-be poets, who are willing to pay to see their name in print, and to have a pin to stick to their pinhead? 

If I was interested in paying for fake awards, I would not have wasted my time writing poetry (well trying to write poetry). Instead, I would have ordered my own pin with whatever title I wanted for only $3.99. 

I may be a crap poet, but I’m not a complete fool. So count me out!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The commuter


Unable to disobey the tyranny of the alarm clock, she wakes up. She unreasonably believes that her long working hours will be noticed. Na├»ve she is, and doesn’t realize that the promotion has already been given to another. Devotion had nothing to do with it. 

It’s dark outside, and miserably cold. She runs to catch the train. In the station, she buys her usual cup of coffee. It’s lukewarm and tasteless. She tries to follow her latest self-improvement advice: it’s all in your mind. She tries to imagine the drink to be somewhat like a real coffee: hot, aromatic, full of flavour. It still isn’t. She looks at the coffee with disgust. The coffee seems to be looking back at her with the same lack of enthusiasm. She throws it to the bin and misses. 

In the train she pushes her way in, winning over her daily nemesis – the pushy elderly lady. This time she gets the seat and feels lucky. She fights to get her umbrella shut, dripping water on everyone around her. They do the same to her in hostile politeness. She ignores them; after all she already had her first win for the day. She feels even luckier when she finds herself sitting next to a gorgeous young man. He too is dripping. 

She thinks how nice it would be to spend a night of passion with him. But only on Friday nights, after a few drinks, might she find herself chatting to people on the train; never on a week day; never in the morning. She opens her book. 

What she doesn’t realize about the young man that he too is not enjoying his ride. He too would be happy to chat. He too would love to meet with her tonight. They both sit in silence. 

In the evening, they stay late at work. They leave their offices, each to his apartment, each to have a leftover pizza. She puts hers in the microwave, he eats his cold. Then each goes to sleep in a big, cold bed, alone.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Once was a woman

Once was a woman, wife of doctor,
who was known to be most proper.
She always wore the latest fashion,
and was the best at conversation.
Her words were kind with no aggression,
even when she felt depression.

She never gave the wrong impression,
not even at the heights of passion.
Did she feel it? No one knew,
this wasn't issue to review.
Unlike the charity donation,
it's not her type of conversation.

She didn’t think nor did she dare
to ask herself if she did care,
or what her partner thought of it,
not having seen her naked bit.
Respect she got, was often flattered,
but not from those who really mattered.

She kept on smiling when her partner,
for lack of passion, left for other.
She was respected, but alone
craving some touch.
She was no stone.

But will she learn to get it right
to touch, to feel, to follow heart?
Or will she age with great regret,
of putting life on losing bet?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A flashback from childhood

A stormy Friday winter night.
Soft yellow light illuminates the green walls.
The room is warm. Two cups of hot chocolate
and a plate of cookies on the table.

It’s my grandparents’ place. Shelves full of books.
A big drawing on the wall in black and yellow.
A man collecting seaweeds in the storm
His horse and cart are waiting.

My grandmother is sitting in her couch
Watching family drama on TV
My grandfather is in the kitchen
Delicious smells of cooking hang in the air.

I’m lying on the sofa bed
Reading old magazines
bound together to keep history alive.
Dozens of volumes. I know them all by heart.

A stormy Friday winter night.
Soft yellow light illuminates the green walls.
The room is warm. Two cups of hot chocolate
and a plate of cookies on the table

The Path of Freedom



Freedom is only bestowed upon
those who see the bars
of their own cage.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Descartes


Cogito ergo sum
He said.
I think therefore I am
I stopped thinking
What am I?

Deafening Silence


Climbing up the dune
Protected by my robe
From that which cannot be felt
The moonlight hides the invisible.
Climbing up the dune
In deafening stillness
Until the roar of the night breeze
Brings silence.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Gypsy

A wild music he played
On the violin
Most paid him to go
I paid him to stay
And bought a moment of kinship
For a fiver.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ten houses I lived in


On top of the mountain facing the sea, where winter wind blew roofs and cars away … 1965
Amongst the fish ponds, where in summer nights clouds of mosquitoes attracted to the light-bulbs turned them dark … 1983
The room in the basement in which two of us would sleep so comfortably in a tiny single bed … 1985
A tin house so cold in the winter that the water in the bathtub turned into a block of ice … 1989
A tiny square room without a window, bath or shower, which I shared with three. Did I enjoy the public bath … 1991
Hideaway in the rainforest where the screeching bats on the mango trees kept us awake all night; and so did our baby … 1996
A massive condominium with lifeguards who could not swim, but were concerned with babies floating petals in the water …1999
An English village, so English that even the English themselves could not believe that such Englishness still existed. It was the house where I passed the change of the Millennium
A white castle with a living room the size of a basketball field. We turned it into a kids’ gym, but the neighbors  did not approve … 2003
A blue house where my son found lizards bigger than him in the backyard. We never kept them for long … 2005
It’s these ten houses and the many others I have lived in that made me realise that it’s who I am and not where I am that matters.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Once upon a city


A city
Once so grand
Glorified past
Decay.

Just another city
Like any other.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Please don’t send me eCards anymore


I love to know you think of me
I love to know you care.
I’m happy when you chat with me
In Messenger or mail.
But please don’t send me eCards anymore.

I love to hear about your deeds
I always want to know.
An SMS brighten my day
Even if just Hello.
But please don’t send me eCards anymore

Cause when I get eCard from you
I wasn’t on your mind.
You have a mailing list, I know
And URL you found.

So

Send me single line to say
That you are fine and care.
But please,
Yes Please
I mean it
Don’t send me eCards anymore.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Tower of London


The beauty of the blood-soaked jewellery
Cannot distract the young couple on the travellator
From gazing into each other’s eyes
Longingly.
Not even the screams of the ghosts
Whose organs are burnt
In front of their not-yet-dying eyes
Can stop their passionate kissing.
It was a flicker of a dress
A glimpse
And an argument
That sent them to never see each other again.
While the ravens, feasting on their ancestors stories
Are still waiting
For the return of the days
When warm flesh is served
With every meal.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Night Market

When night falls and day-stalls fade away, the night crowd appears and the place is reborn into second life. The smoke rising from torches and open-fires smears the electric lights into aromatic illuminated haze. The hungry crowd get trapped, on their way to reaching the food, by night magicians and story tellers, who, to the sound of drums and other instruments, tell their stories and show their magic.

The night is also the time when women come to life. Some with their families, others as beggars with toddlers trained to cry at will, whenever a tourist comes near. Young women emerge to find love, hiding from preying eyes in the safety of the crowd.

Imagine away the electric lights, and you’d find yourself back at time when the forefather of these very story tellers were telling the very same stories; time when the ancestors of the food hawkers were making the very same food in the very same way. As this place has attracted locals and tourist alike, and made them leave their money behind for generations.

The call of muezzin is heard from a nearby minaret. The crowed kneel on their knees to pray. Boys are pilfering from the food stalls, just as they have done for a thousand years.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Daffodils


At the edge of the daffodil garden
Two lone daffodils
Facing each other
Solemnly
Lonely
Thinking they are the only daffodils
In the world

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Dozen Snapshots



My six years old brother, who makes money returning glass bottles to the shop, brings home a donkey he’s bought for a fiver. He wants to keep it, but mother says that the third floor in the middle of town is not a good place for a donkey. My brother takes the donkey round to see if his friend would buy it off him.

At dinner my father tells me not put my elbows on the table. I ask him why, and he brings to the table a book called ‘Table Manners’. I promise to read it if he washes the dishes in my stead..

I hear my mother screaming: “Either the snakes go or I go,” when she finds the snake boxes under my bed. She hates snakes. I tell her that the snakes stay. But she wouldn’t listen. She sends me to set them free, and locks me in my room for the rest of the day.

My girlfriend and I swim in the deep sea. I suggest that we swapped swimmers, and we do. It’s a silly idea, as we laugh so much that we nearly drown.

A dog, as big as I am, runs wildly round our backyard. Everyone is watching from the balcony. When I go up red and breathless, they ask me if I was afraid.

After every dinner one of us boys washes the dishes. When it’s my turn I stand on a chair to reach the sink. I ask my mother why my sister doesn’t take turns too. She said that it’s because she’s a girl.

Every night in the summer I take the jeep and drive on the sand to see if the sea turtles come out to lay eggs.

In my late twenties I am asked if I am gay. He gives me his telephone number in case I change my mind.

I wake up and I don’t know if it’s day or night. There are guests talking in the living room. My mother lifts me from the cot and wishes me happy birthday. She gives me a puzzle of two swans on a lake.

My brother and I keep fighting until my mother locks us in our room. We jump from one balcony to the next all the way down, and then run up the stairs to ring the bell. I never saw my mother so confused as when she opens the door and sees both of us. After that we make sure we give her plenty of reasons to lock us in our room.

A beggar tells me he is hungry and I ignore him. But when I realize that he didn’t ask for money I chase him and ask if it’s food that he wants. He says he is hungry, and I buy him a hotdog and a pizza. He kisses my hand. Ever since whenever a beggar tells me he or she is hungry I offer to buy him food. Mostly they want money.

Only in my twenties after a big explosion I found out why I shouldn’t put metal spoons in the microwave.