Winter

I see my years engrave themselves into lines on your palms; I’m stretched thin but your eyes only see delicacy. You hold your hands, and me, close to your chest, with urgency you think I wouldn’t feel, but I’m too close to home to turn a deaf ear. Your fire rumbles within, I listen, and you cast me away with a flare.

You pull me even closer, you ignite even brighter, until you’re all ashen, until my lines widen. I wear you out, and you lie.

You lie about the cold; about burning for me and burning me, about keeping me in your extremities when I’m well-worn in your core, about winter; the fact that it exists, that it’s out of your hands, and that the cold was the enemy. The seasons shift for you, the wind bows and cedes. Your fire was never winter-bound.

You’re my 56 years of oak, and I’m your favourite 24 lines.

To my father, who is too stubborn to admit that I’m basically a heavily-diluted version of him.

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Winter

No

The definitions of refusal vary, and you could find yourself lodged in one variation; inactive, inert, inept. Supposing that a dictionary entry of a single syllable can control your mannerisms is somewhat insulting, I agree, but then it wouldn’t make you feel any better being affected by “floccinaucinihilipilification” if we’re discussing length- No, not that either.

A dormant “no,” that was the one variation that claimed regal power over my limited edition of choice, and I, rather ironically, decided in a very dormant fashion that it was Fate, and dressed it as “what’s meant to be.”

Realisation in these types of personal conflicts isn’t held in a revolution square; you don’t spark an uprising and usurp yourself, neither can you manufacture flags to march with within the state you are. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t hold grudges against yourself for the feeble hierarchy you imposed, self-harm is an established phenomenon, after all. So, you settle for frustration, and subtly battle the dormancy into action. The “no” that leached your outdated conscience and transfixed you into inaction has turned against itself. “No” is now the finger you comfortably flip whenever Fate says you can’t have chocolate.

No

Ash

“Look, it’s simple; books are just like films. By the time you’ve had so many bad ones, you know what you want. There is no wrong literature, you need the whole package. You’ve got to go with the flow.”

“Well, if you’re so convinced, why don’t you deal with the flow yourself? I’m about done with you and with this situation.”

“Have you lost your walnut? There will be no flow-mo. It’ll wash up before your wife regrets another day with you. Might as well shag it in your sister’s wedding while blowing into a vuvuzela.”

“It’s not a vuvuzela you’d be blowing.”

He utters a single syllable of laughter, “that’s just about the only smart thing you’ve said all night.”

“Yeah, well, I’m aiming for the jackpot: figuring out a way to get rid of you and your catastrophes.”

“Ooooh, 4-syllable words. I’m impressed. Almost too impressed to miss your indication that this is all my fault.”

“Indication? Weird. It felt more like a declaration.”

“ ‘Declaration.’ You are so American, you basically shit Bruce Springsteen songs.”

“Jealous, princess?”

“More like sorry but not actually sorry because I’ve already exerted all my apologetic energy on the fact that you are a human being.”

“And here I thought you would have a conscience and be sorry about what you’ve done.”

“What I’ve done? Oh, of course, of course, because I was the one who clubbed his head gracefully to his demise.”

“You’re the one that told him his daughter looked like a sex change gone wrong! While she was there! At her birthday celebration!”

“You’re the one who told him if he had any dignity, he’d put her down!”

“It’s not my fault he’s sensitive,” he said in dismissal.

“Neither it is your fault that he has a circulatory system, right?”

“You know it.”

“Are you actually made of bricks? Does sarcasm just disintegrate when it hits you?”

“Bricks! That’s it! We don’t have to wash him down the current!”

“You mean ‘it’, the body. ‘He’ is past tense.”

“Shut it, Semantic-Romantic. We burn him. We build something like a barbeque grill, fill it with wood, let it shine, and here’s your roast.”

“Setting your disturbing Redneck lifestyle aside for a second to reflect on the mass of consolidated shit that is the essence, you’re going to ignite this man to the afterlife?  Wait, wait, wait, does fire operate differently in America? Does it not light? Is it not the World’s number 1 cause of smoke there?  Or do you just not have the concept of darkness or the sense of smell? Because if that’s the case, I’ve got to admit, you are one incredible species.”

“We’re definitely superior, we’ve got a “plan” concept over there, it has time involved, which will pass until the daylight so we can burn him. As for the smell, Coco Chanel, he’s flesh. Folks will think some nice, old family is having a barbeque.”

“God, I can almost smell your craving for his flesh. And sadly not metaphorically.”

“Can you shut your hole for at least 5 seconds in respect for this man? Or are you too much of an asshole you can’t stop talking shit? We may be dead human skin but the man’s a major.”

“How do you know that? Oh, God! Have you stalked him? This is premeditated murder! You’re human skin gone wild!”

“Calm your tits, they’re already poking my eyes out. I checked his wallet; Major Tom something. Well, Major, rest wherever the hell you want to rest.”

“Probably not the best obituary.”

“He’s burning, so…”

And so they waited the night out, and a portion of the sunlight until the sun was high enough. They assembled their bricks and laid their cadaver in a nest of hay, wood, and cheap gasoline. The flame took hold of Major Tom until he was nothing but grey.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

“Paying him respect.”

“By putting him in a jar. Oh, was he your honey?”

“An urn.”

“And you’ll display that on your mantel piece with all pride and dignity, showing the missus that you’re Mr Manly McManaman, right? Then you’ll write a little Blues song, and it’ll catch on in the South, and since you all are bloodthirsty maniacs no one will bother to charge you. Ah, the sweet life of the homicidal.”

“I’ve got a plan. A Southern plan.”

________________

A couple walk into a funeral home in search for the perfect urn. They’re a little too unremorseful to be there, but they try their best to show remorse.

“Which one do you think he deserves? I mean, they’re all urns but one has to have character.”

“Well, he’s not actually going in it, is he? It’s just symbolic. Something in his memory.”

“What about this one?”

“Too neoclassical. He wasn’t that kind of man.”

She picks up a blue-ish urn and struggles with the weight, “I think this one would do, though it’s heavier than what I had anticipated it to weigh. Let me have a look- Oh! Look, there’s sample ash in it. What do you know? Retail people are actually keen to service. What do you think? Good enough for Uncle Tom?”

Ash

Here

It is statistically established –or I could be bullshitting my way through, as it is my disposition to do so- that idiocy is proportionate to poor emotional scheming.  An overflow of emotion, joyous or otherwise, is destined by any means to create a rather ridiculous contortion of your face, which in turn is bound to profile you as an idiot: a temporary one, or a chronic invalid, depending on how recurrent your self-evaluation is.

I don’t suppose it is any fair of me to ask you to catalogue yourself in either book, and it isn’t exactly flattering that I claim the moral high ground when I am knee deep in the principle gutter, and, in all fairness and no supposition, the ground is shifting beneath my feet leaving me enough stability to surmount to something, anything, but nothing more- I am too cheap to lend you any of that.

Exponential idiocy, I think you can call it; the inevitable effect of the staggeringly tactless going about humanity.  It catches on like an airborne virus, knocking down friends and loved ones one by one, bestowing emotional luggage upon departure, but all your eyes can see is the romance of it, and I refuse to be regarded a hopeless romantic, even if my shabby prayers are for me to be one.

So I stand stubborn and pensive, armoured in every strap of leather and every scrap of cloth I could find asking you to adorn me with a flower, a bow, a kiss upon the forehead, because this luggage needs to depart with sincerity of farewell and sensitivity of touch before it arrives back here, back to your state of Chronic Invalidity.

Here

Al-Aaraf

The poetry smudged your lines too much to see the practicality of falling from grace; you have none, and falling isn’t your strongest suit.

 

The poetry disregarded the organisation, and rendered you a null in the binary system; you’ve escaped the files, and no label fits your longitude.

 

The poetry concealed the heaven-hell satisfaction with commerciality of words, and your disgrace franchised through every stretch of discourse.

 

Disclaimer: we, The Poetry, are not responsible for the pity you will receive upon falling from grace. Neither are we responsible for you being too placid that you only belong on Al-Aaraf.

(Note: For those unfamiliar, Al-Aaraf is a hill between heaven and hell).

Al-Aaraf

Reply

“You don’t know me.” 

 

Well, maybe in the grand scheme of it all, I don’t. Maybe, if fortune were any ally of mine, ‘the grand scheme of things’ is only a phrase one uses to allude to your insignificance in a universe of pointlessness. Maybe, by some strike of luck or one streak of opportunity, knowing you is that hazard my distant, muffled voice of reason -which occasionally matches the exact pitch of my mother’s voice- keeps whispering with every click of a finger.

 

Here’s how my grand scheme of things goes: in a world of breathing trivialities, you are one Post-It just waiting to be either stamped or crumpled. There aren’t many adjectives you can bullet-point yourself across to add any grandeur.

 

Whether you allude to my failure at people skills or my legitimate fear of the manner in which you deliver the matter, here’s a word from the wiser:

 

You.

Bloody.

Idiot.

Reply

2:47

8:00 AM

“Good morning, Prime Minister.”

“Good morning- yes, I suppose,” the Prime Minister replied groggily. He hadn’t had his coffee yet, and Ali, ever the perceptive one, knew it.

“Here’s your coffee, sir, with a drop of my most luscious spit. It’s a special day, after all.”

The Prime Minister scowled like a 6-year-old disappointed with his Happy Meal toy. He declined the cup of coffee Ali offered with a plastic smile and said “no, thank you. I guess I’ll have to go this one sober,” and to the Grand Hall he headed.

10:00 AM

“I’m terribly sorry, Your Excellency. That wasn’t what I meant to convey at all. I hadn’t had my coffee, you see,” he giggled nearvously. “How about we forget all about this while having breakfast in my son-in-law’s estate. It’s absolutely marvelous; it’s located-” His Excellency bothered no more. The PM had nothing to blame but his own inability to stomach spit.

“Ali!” called the PM. No answer. “Ali!” No answer. “Ali!” with some serious intonation going in there. Nothing. “Goddammit, this Ali thinks he’s too invaluable to the State.”

“Yes, sir?” emerged Ali suddenly in the hallway. “You seem terribly stressed. We can’t have that, now, can we?” said Ali in an overly-affectionate manner. “Now here’s your presentation for the Cabinet. Everything you need is in there including your disloyalty. Remember: You are a Conservative. You care about this state more than anything. Or anyone. You are a heartless bastard.” He handed the PM the folder and went along leaving the PM no room for comment or reaction.

1:00 PM

The PM was heard shouting through the doors of the Cabinet: “No! You don’t understand! I am a Conservative! I care about this state more than anything or anyone! I’m a heartless bastard!”

1:15 PM

Ali extended an ashtray to the PM who’s denied his identity as chief of state for half an hour and went to smoke in the kitchen.

“Why are you such a sour bitch, Ali?”

“Tsk, tsk, tsk. A Prime Minister is always corteous in his manner of speaking. You should say something more like ‘why are you resentful of me, Ali?’ to which I will not answer because I think you’re too intelligent for that. But nevermind that, your luncheon with the Foreign Minister is in 15 minutes. You don’t really want to show him how much of a sad sod you really are. He loves his gloating.”

1:48 PM

“I have to say, I’m embarassed and sad about the incident at the Cabinet this morning,” said the Foreign Minister. “It might as well ruin the respectable image of our party.”

“Oh, shut it, you sad sod. The party is fine, you just love your gloating.”

2:00 PM

“What sort of devil-bred, shit-fed day is this?!” shouted the Prime Minister into the head-rest of the carseat in front of him. “It’s all Ali’s fault! I’ll show the bastard! He’ll know that that termination of service he got was a blessing! That filthy, poisonous bastard!”

2: 45 PM

“Ali! You little prick! Ali!” yelled the PM once he arrived.

“Here, sir. How may I help you?” replied Ali coldly.

“Help me? Oh, no, thank you. I’ve seen what your help could do, you bastard. I just want to let you know that you will wish you took that termination gracefully, you will-”

“Just a moment, sir,” Ali cut him dismissively. “I just need to send this email.”

The PM looked at him flabbergasted. “What sort of breed are you?”

“The most excellent breed fit for your most excellent self, sir. Oh, wait, no. I am too excellent for you. Have a good day and life, sir. This is my cue.”

2:47 PM

The PM’s phone rings, he picks up. “Yes, dear?”

“I’ve seen everything. Her? Huh. I thought you had better taste. Asshole.”

And at 2:47 PM, the PM was no more.

2:47