Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Exercise of mind and body inert!
What folly attends as my constant companion
Pulling me from accomplishment?
Have I a lazy, unproductive muse or
Perhaps I have no stimulus at all.
Is my apparent lack of ambition and desire set in stone or
Can it be chipped from the granite of sedentary illusion?
Who has the chisel and hammer? Certainly not I.
What lights the fire of desire?
Present to me, a guiding light, the spark,
No, I need a flame,
An ember would be lost in the ashes of despair.
A spark, a flame, a roaring fire,
Ignite a passion!
Inflame a desire!
Let the fire rage uncontrolled,
Burning away the lethargy, the inertia, the pyre,
Let me rise above the ashes,
A purified soul of intent,
Raging with the need to do, to be.
A soul inspired to create from the rubble,
A story, a poem, a play,
A phrase that sparks the imagination of mankind,
and produces in this physical being that it possess,
A sense of fulfillment, accomplishment,
A reason for being.
Let there be desire that rises from the ocean of fear.
Fear, that a wave might break,
Against the shore of criticism,
Or wash upon the island of rejection.
Let a river of desire break free,
Winding its way through the valley of I can! I will! I do!
And at last pours into the Gulf of Publication.
Hear, I beg thee with burning heart,
My silent cry, my patience ebbs,
And rescue me.
Guide me onto the path,
That leads to fulfillment,
And, at the end of my journey,
May I lie down to rest,
With the contented feeling that,
My life was not in vain,
And I can say with pride,
"I came, I wrote, I did my best."
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Our eyes met across the crowded greens of a pool table. Three stripes sunk by my pony-tailed opponent, and me still looking to break the jinx. Luckless now, and fuckless for three months: not an enthusiastic medley for a rookie. But I consoled myself, as is my wont in times of social distress; after all, she was staring at me, not the lance-wielding asshole black-holing balls at will.
She was a bolt from the blue, soft angularity slipping easily outside the shape of the pedestrian day, nearly six feet tall without her two-inch props, black hair streaked blonde down the middle and sides: a vision with a cocktail. Her gleaming body, tan waxwork, rested against the wood burnish of an adjoining pool table, every inch of her sinuousness draped in the shaky amber glow thrown by cheap bulbs. My adversary shot her venomous glances just as easily as he potholed-banded balls. I thought I was imagining it at the time; why should this strutting king of the pools feel even vaguely abrasive towards a pretty woman in an appreciative audience.
She watched, chewed gum, sipped Bloody Mary, sage, inscrutable. Just her way, perhaps, boring through with the drill of unseeing scorn. Maybe her thoughts were far away, on a Caribbean vacation and a Casanova, or her mother's recent mauling of a maid whose lack of numerical skills exposed her talent for siphoning money off the household account. I wanted to stride up to her, shove my tongue into her mouth and wiggle out the gum. But what I did, in a haze of ignominy and self-pity, was continue to hone my aptitude for losing; what did I have to lose after all, when I'd already lost everything subsumed under the heading Pride. The game was over before I could putt one of the solids, the monochromes and I returned to my pitcher of beer.
She was staring at my unblemished, starched-white kurta. I was offered a choice: go the conservative way and answer to the point, or,
"I suppose you've been intimate once with a writer whose pool-table skills left much to be desired. I suggest you quit generalizing and grow some brains," drowning what was left in the pitcher.
"I suppose a sore loser and moronic defensiveness will always be joined at the hip."
"What would you know about soreness?" I said this in a scathing way but I suspect it wasn't the riposte I was aiming for.
Yet, contrary to the image burned at that moment on my mind - of her skewering me with a pitying lance-glance, of me being impaled yet again on the loser's altar, this time by a wide-eyed goddess who had no business lathering my wounds with red pepper - she reacted rather unpredictably, generously. (Which, on hindsight, should have been rather predictable by this time, but I'm a latecomer even to the Eureka theatre, to the absurd drama of forehead-slapping insight.)
She looked thoughtful. "You're right. Here I am, a pampered little bitch not lacking for anything or anyone, so how could I possibly know about, what was that word? Yeah, soreness. Why don't you tell me about it then?"
I was gone. Did I mention that before? No, so here it is. I was beguiled, captivated, entranced. Clammy palms, parched throat, a dull metronome against my right temple - all the vital signs of infatuation. Or jealousy.
I said, "To answer your question - which once again shows traces of generalization - allow me to paint a portrait of you in words. Will you tell me your name?" She sat across me on a high-backed rickety stool, usually preserved for jeer-mangled losers - the unwitting, unwilling jesters of the rarefied baize.
And she said, "I'm Suzanne. You can call me Suzanne."
As I tumble into dank humiliation,
Sunk into a black hole of my own making,
I espy with my little eye,
A shape in the dark,
Wafting towards me,
I struggle with hate and pain,
A soreness residing in me,
For as long as I can remember,
Mist-clad, she billows and ebbs,
And with a flourish of her milky hand,
This unsubstantial wraith of memories,
Makes me whole…
"It doesn't exactly define soreness. Or me. I would even say it's precariously close to doggerel." So, my writing was being trampled as well. I wanted to get up and flounce off, when she said, "But it's nice. For an impromptu effort. You're not as green in your writing as you are with the greens."
"How do you know I hadn't rehearsed it as I was playing, or trying to?"
"I know. Your mind couldn't have held all these words alongside humiliation and titillation."
She smiled pacifically, and continued, "By the way, was that last word a dim reference to the holes you couldn't fill back there at the table?"
"No, it was a blatant allusion to all the holes I haven't filled for the last three months."
"Hmm. For a male, you restrain your sexual frustration quite well. I suspect this table would have risen a few inches by now if someone else had been sitting opposite me."
Aah, Suzanne. Will-o'-the-wisp. An enchanted, ungovernable fecundity. We spoke, we gathered our thoughts, and we parleyed, as they say. We played a different game across a flaky mahogany table. My cue stick was but a divining rod, she said, that had sifted her from the multitudes. She let me believe this for a moment, and then tittered at her own joke.
An hour and a half later, beer and chips jockeying for equal blame for my incipient diarrhea, I drifted out of the dingy cavern, and I swam on a heady song that was yet to be composed. I clutched her memory in my fist. I exulted with the knowledge that she had my phone number, a bomb in her hands. As I spun my bike out of the park, her Honda City crunched to a halt ahead of me. I'm not ashamed to admit I left my bike there and lurched myself into her car through an open invitation.
She didn't need my number after all, because we went back to her baroque bungalow on the outskirts of town and made rabid love on satin sheets splashed with luminescent paintings of dinosaurs making love.
As she straddled me for the fourth time that night, her eyes still hazed, I looked to her ceiling, and in the process looked into her. And as I came with short, poky rasps of breath, eyes clenched shut, I could still see the mural above us, a classical depiction of pre-coitus where Zeus leered and loomed over Aphrodite with a cue stick between his legs. Aphrodite, with Mona Lisa's smug, expectant smile, looking ravished and satisfied.
Am I to be crucified for learning too fast, Suzanne? With her as entourage, watching me play every day, it wasn't difficult to put a new spin on things. I polished my timing, practiced every variant of poke and jab, nudge and thrust, with infinite patience and beauty behind me. Through a post-coital fog, I sharpened my skill and lent spring to a sagging step. I learned to breathe into my shots and watch the balls go in, and her gaze shifted, almost imperceptibly.
A week later, I play like a God with mini-skirted angels flapping about me, applauding every prod and clatter of the balls as I drive them with unbidden ferocity into dark orbits below the table. Three balls away from shooting the final shell, black, into its reserved, deserved pocket even before my competitor has begun to invoke his superstitions, mutter silent prayers. Yet my eyes stay riveted on her, lingering serenely against the wood burnish, a mute witness to diminution, ruin.
She fixes my hapless teenaged opponent with her patented patient gaze, veiled, mysterious and filled with unknown promises, and he is then driven not so much by the game as driven to distraction, to despairing hope. I know why she perfects that glinting blankness in these half-lit corners, a blankness that's not vacuity save for a screen against which someone could project perplexity, torment, desire, and watch them swirl within her.
I look into the boy's eyes, scummy, pooling with salty frustration. But who is the conqueror, who the vanquished? I know that the meek inherit the earth, and he shall know it too. The spoils of defeat on this gaming turf are richer than we'll ever be.
Clammy palms, parched throat, a dull metronome against my right temple - vital signs, intact. The green of the table melts into my vision and spills into the green of her eyes. I strike the balls harder and harder with my slender projectile, pounding them into oblivion, the once-satisfying clatter and thuds shriller now than ever, so that the cigarette fumes wreathing the table seem to rise off the greens, born of hate and violence and lust.
Today, I imagine myself stab her eyeballs and send them reeling into abyssal sockets. Wielding the cue like a Mont Blanc, I weave hazy lines of destruction. She is my ego, my grief, and sad to note, a refined lady of the times. I'm a writer after all, and paint I must. Vivid images of whorish madness, merged with the subdued laughter of my life, and I write and take another swig of beer and mouth the words she says, “Bitch…”
She looked out of the window as she thought of him. She could almost touch him. He was floating and she was grounded. Unfair! All she wanted was to hold him, leave red lipstick marks all over his face and watch him sleep. But she couldn't. She knew she shouldn't torture herself this way. But how does one forget?
The door opened, the light from the hallway illuminating her tired brown eyes and whorish red hair. Her mother walked in and sat on her white bedspread. Even though I wasn't there I knew there was going to be trouble. Her mother hated me.
She looked at her daughter's tired face and the anger welled up inside her. Red long tentacles with sharp pointed swords at their ends jabbed. How she hated him. Couldn't he see how he was ruining her daughter's life? She got up, went to the door, turned around and said, "We leave at eight tomorrow morning."
The girl burst into tears. She cried quietly, the tears racing down her cheeks towards an imaginary finish line. After tomorrow, she'd never see him again.
I felt the sobs that racked her body. I always knew what she was feeling. The sea was getting turbulent. Suddenly I felt I was in a bathtub. And somebody had pulled the plug. It was like a whirlpool sucking all the water down towards an opening, taking me along with it. I couldn't scream. Or maybe I did. Nobody heard me.
The lights came on; she opened her eyes and looked at the doctor. Smiling he said, "Don't worry madam, the abortion was successful."
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
I write because the universe commands me to. It beckons me to itself, and puts a pen in my hand. I obey it and write. It shows me the beauty of the world and i write upon that and when it shows me its miseries, i write upon those. It puts me through angst, torture, anger, and wills me to put down everything i feel. It fills me up with joy, and it crashes me to the ground. It makes me addicted to this affliction. Like the person who after constant pain, ends up enjoying the pain, i too have started enjoying this torture. Yet while I am the master of my agony, i'm also its slave. I am the victim, yet i am also the tyrant. T'is a strange symbiosis.
Why do i write you ask? I write.....because i must.