Monday, November 30, 2009

In memory of an unmemorable afternoon

The mouse doesn't work so well, the cursor refuses to be bossed around the screen. The room's despicable messy, you wonder how anyone could live here. You don't want to listen to the song any more, but still can't bring yourself to change it. The mailbox is empty and lunch wasn't that interesting either. The sitcom's been on pause for a while now, and you let it stay that way. Milosz and Vargas Llosa lie silent by the dusty desk, frozen by inertia. That article about obscure Italian digestives trumps poetry this time.

The usual work's there to be done, along with the usual plans, but you don't feel like it. You don't feel like doing anything anybody in the world would expect you to do, even if that anybody is yourself. The most common and characteristic physiological response to all this is sleep, so you don't feel like that either. So you sit there on the bed, feet uniformly pressed into the cold floor, traversing those words in plastic, protesting silently against life's oppression.

Then something gets ticking. What if the afternoon refuses to be reined in? Maybe you could give in to it, and let it have whatever it sought from you. Why fight something when you could side with it?

Sing that song as loudly as you can, until your neighbour's forced to wonder what the hell's going on in the other room. Remember a stranger's face. If you can't, cook up one. Take that chronograph into your hands and count down the seconds. Twenty four, twenty five, twenty six... fifty eight, fifty nine, sixty/zero(???), one, two... twenty four, twenty five, twenty six... you get the idea. Take a paper and try to draw an 8x8 square grid with your eyes closed. Then darken alternate squares, like a chessboard. Preserve the results for posterity.

Stretch out this forgettable chunk of time on the pin board of memory and pin it down with the brightly coloured pins that are words, paint it with the flourescence of ennui, spruce it up with the scent of the day's heated shadows and burnish it with the air's repetitive sounds of music and there you have it, a vibrant piece of throbbing memory with an invisible watermark beneath that reads, I lived through this.

Sometimes life can be unmemorable.
But then, you can always make the memory livable.

Friday, November 27, 2009

I love the sound of

Wind trampled by rubber.
Television playing to empty furniture.
A stranger's knuckles rapping on the door.
Slushy feet in wet evening mud.
Tearing open an envelope to get to the letter inside it.
Muffled music from the neighbour's earphones.
A lie escaping the roof of a tongue.
Bunny slippers treading over pebbly hard earth.
The triumphant flick of the Enter button.
A fountain pen's cap snugly clicking into place.
A squeaky ceiling fan on a sweaty afternoon.
Static that accompanies outdated videotapes.
Rummaging through a brown cardboard box of childhood memories.
Periodic ticks of a grandfather's walking stick.
Attempts to discreetly fold candy wrap in a silent classroom.
Water queuing up in spirals to disappear down a drain.
A newborn's nails scratching the walls of a bassinet.
Drawing nines in the breeze.
A metallic fork sinking into chocolate pastry.
The unmindful taps of waiting feet.
A smile by the darkness of a moving window.
An anchor crashing into the tranquil sand of a sea bed.

Monday, November 16, 2009


The room is ivory white, devoid of even a hint of furniture. The air is still, without a sense of movement, as if holding its breath in anticipation. The walls extend gracefully into the distance, like long lost friends. The ceiling and the floor seem to appear suddenly, as if from nowhere. Music flows, through dots chiselled into heavenly patterns in the air. On the floor, there is a tangled piece of black thread, an old crumpled postcard, a spool of brown tape, a child's colouring book, a broken pair of spectacles and a little wooden cube with dots carved into its faces.

They sit there sprawled on the floor, backs leant against each other, facing opposite directions. An ink bottle lies sideways on the ground beside them, its blue contents let loose onto the soft floor. He rolls words between his inky palms, tapping his feet lazily to a ground drifting in thought. Her eyes are closed, head tilted lingeringly towards the ceiling, the song's melody pirouetting on her tongue. Patches of inky blue adorn their clothing, as if drawing shapes to the tune of a waltzing zephyr. Memory paints itself into the distance, a peevish shadow creeping through a pale white darkness.

The artist steps back from the canvas, surrendering the tableau to existence. Wavy shapes that dissolve into the ivory emptiness of the room, like smudgy watercolour. A bird frozen on the threshold of a soaring flight, outstretched wings on the cusp of a cloudless horizon.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Note to Neruda

To think it took me this long to know you,
Pablo Neruda,
is to know how unjust time sometimes can be.