Monday 10 October 2022

One Poem by Amrita Valan



Rising in The Fall

 

These are the leaves of my days

A small bundle of dry leaves I keep

Leaves over which I no longer weep,

They are too fragile.

 

My days jumble up.

Lattice of a mixed up

Rubik's cube

I try, to separate the colours

In neat compartments

Achieve an organic whole

Archive my soul.

 

The yellow flames mix with

Red embers of passion

Calm blue rationale tinged

With green obsession.

White fields of wonder

Drowning in saffron,

No I cannot separate 

Facets of my heart

In cuboid compartments..

 

Netting the cube

Hoping each part adds

Something good,

Yet retains the whole.

 

Ashes of dreams, old colours fade.

Dried optics 

Pot pourri melds into slush,

The mush, I dread.

Sorrow is grease,

Lards up my head.

 

The incessant “Coo-coo-coo!”

Of a priapic bird

Demands melodies of joy

Must be heard.

But unheard plaintive tunes

Dredge up, endangering

Compos mentis.

 

 The still morning chirps

Broken bird calls into

Anti-freeze dawn.

Where break waters dwell,

I, cavern dweller

Breathing from my mouth, am

Memorial urn of fragrant ashes

That lost their scent.

 

I sit quiet, yogi

Of passion’s discipline,

Sorting out tendrils 

Threads of hope

From by loom of hell.

 

Morning is surreal

In its blossom and bloom

In its jaded jar,

Cold gold matté clay

Of fresh beginnings

Recycling old endings.

 

I have heard this song.

All my life.

I still can't catch the tune.

I still falter and speed up

At the wrong places,

I fold and bunch up,

Falling hard 

Where I could have taken

It slow.

The music pauses

To match my show.

 

I have let go youthful efforts 

At synchronicity.

 

I let the eggs drop, gold encrusted

Diamond dripping Fabergé,

I stopped walking on eggshells.

Entropic eggs seed ground soil with calcium.

So let them break.

The souls of my feet are calloused

Sea shells and egg shells, sharp jagged mosaic tiles

Flatten into the curve of my soles.

I can handle this discomfort.

I peddle it…walking on water

Rattle on, skeletons and ghosts,

In open closets. You breed faith.

 

I collect the sharpest pebbles to examine under

Light, intrinsic to all reflective surfaces.

What gives? 

The logos in sharp shards of translucent beauty

Entrapped in amber hardness.

What makes walking

Perambulatory talk difficult

Is individual aspects of beauty,

That just won't fit

Neatly into each other.

 

You cannot net the soul

Nor take apart lattices of 

Dry leaves, without destroying form.

But the shining sun caught

Through them is art

Pure beauty that blazes

Incandescent

Through broken hearts, thresholds,

Houses without doors.

 

It is not morning anymore

But my soul revisits dawn

Every morning.

To crack a little bit, crackling

Smoking tinder.

The fire lit.

 

The day proceeds as it will

Tows the mundane

On sheer will.

I power through routines of existential pretence 

Pretending what I do

Is terribly important.

Thick and heavy blinds drawn on dread

Non-existence also in the head.

 

My meaningless innards

Hide from myself

Except when I hear 

Dirty dish water fracking, foaming,

Gurgling complaints down the drain.

The Coriolis force works 

On air not water,

And it stops at the equator.

At 49, I am half way through.

 

Air shafts spin counter clockwise

And I scan the reversed arrow of time.

 

The afternoon heat is a nuns retreat.

I must now pay attention to it.

Every shimmering hazy surreal defeat.

Every cloying passion and pain in the

Annoying cuckoo's dream state notation.

Phantasmagorical, unreal.

Reading sheet music on refrain.

Not its own but another's pain.

These are the heavy chests

I obtain. At dusk. 

I massage snowy Boroline from a dented green tube

White  ointment on cracked heels and chapped palms.

Criss crossed with hairline capillary blood alms.

Psalms of Ruby light transverse my being,

As I hang my laundry

Against the riddling sun.

 

Twilight drains the sap

The honey from honeycombs

Delicious, drips through

Drip, drip…Drip.

I collect each delicious drop

To drink my fill

But I cannot separate 

Honey from beeswax.

I can't isolate cause and effect.

 

Dripping from my palms

Sweet oil sugar balm 

Glue from my glistening glial cells

The synapses of all connections

To revive and

Retain the whole.

The heart of the hive

Liquid gold love

Cannot be drained 

Cannot be held alone.

 

People are broken honeycomb

Chambers of orchestra music.

Walking through the maze

Untuned music boxes

Boxed up feelings, all in a daze

Simpatico,

They conduct each other.

Sometimes the notes

Are splendid,

Bespoke. Homespun.

Spoken not sung.

Sometimes the song 

Needs no words.

The chords echoing the 

Hollows of each other's rib cages.

 

Evening tea is brewed, served up by me.

I am hostess and guest at this party for one.

I carry my broken cup

To the veranda

And the street lights flicker on. 

A mockery of power on 

The still sunlit veranda. 

 

I try to read a few more pages of a book

Before

The Light fades,

It's a designer project, end of the day.

The book has a certain fey appeal

But it holds no answer key to my soul.

I have been reading. Devouring whole,

Authorial intention. Psychic intervention,

Not sure if it syncs at all with the way

I want things to go, grow,

Glow.

My worldview must show.

Even if it cannot sync with the Zeitgeist,

Even if it can.

Even if the plot lines

Aren't mine, but foreign.

Connections must be forged. Xenophobia overcome.

Savage atavism tamed.

 

I live through parallels.

Through interconnected threads.

The lattices that keep our Logos stable 

The tetrahedral bonds

Of black ice, supercharged ionized hot water 

uniquely  suited for planetary atmosphere ...

Trees grow like syringes of oxygen

Introducing air bubbles

Into the veins of night, we are stargazing,

Slow suicide bags speeding up

The unspooling of our own DNA

As we dream journey back into dawn.

 

Fresh morning to make amends.

Put the coffee on.

Settle into the pain.

Settle down, with an old opiate, a cosy rerun

An easy on the eye sitcom.

 

The shadows of the past deflected neatly.

We go on.

We must find temporary fixes

Instant Nirvana customised remixes,

To go on.

Keep on, keening and keeping on

For Auld Lang Syne and old times

For wee bonnie lasses and dead Clementine,

Forsaking keepsakes and namesakes.

 

Molecules of maddening

Incomprehensible atomicity,

We are configured to sally forth, our postures of indivisibility…

Breaking down and sub-letting our souls each time

If the chemistry presents itself, as

Tempting and strong.

 

I need to feel the human warmth

Skin on skin, chocolate sin

So disturbing.

So reassuring.

And then, the retrospective retelling

Of the tale.

To ourselves.

 

Harvesting.

Sifting through granaries

Treasure chests hunkered down,

In secret attics and cul-de-sac lofts

Junkets and feasts,

Grand banquets of memory.

 

I shall not keep old obelisks

Pretentious plaques

Of games well played.

I sift through the rotten grain

Over watered, gratuitous kudos obtained.

Through noblesse oblige, self-gratification,

Through fair play, or obtained gratis,

Through plots and schemes

Ill-gotten gains.

 

I am looking for other tells.

The unseen presence

The reassurance

Of an empty gift wrapping

The gift disdained

Old and forgotten.

Sometimes in the packaging

The substance remains.

 

The old worn out hands

Tremble once again

Squeezing juice from lemons

Time after time,

I forget nothing.

The sweet taste of her lemonade.

But it's the trembling fingers

Of her feeble efforts,

The concentrate of her

Love's essence, that remains.

 

Father’s forehead wrinkles

Each line pronounced,

Means one more worry,

I could renounce.

I remember the reluctant kiss

He obtained. From his little daughter,

Pouting, dancing, prancing.

Flouncing away.

 

So much water under the bridge.

The cute seventies polka dotted maxi dresses

Mom bought me.

So much caught in choked up sluices of 

Canal waste. I pack up black garbage bags of

Charms and curses

Odds and ends.

Cigarette stubs, burnt eyelashes, fringes of my teenage ebony bangs

Locks shorn off in adolescent penitence. 

I cannot keep them all.

 

But egg shell blue walls, turquoise  curtained,

My childhood bedroom,

An youthful uncle, eyes bright rupee coins, 

Whose dance moves I copied,

My old dad jiving, twisting to Disco music,

Awkwardly trying to copy his hip younger sibling.

Mother's mouth in thin stern remonstrance, 

For setting daughter a bad example,

She swears by classical music or Tagore

Not these hippy seventies flapper whores.

 

I remember guilty pleasures as these.

I enjoy the beats and swinging measures

But I love my mother

And sidle behind her

Peeping at dad's 

Less than groovy moves.

 

Power outage 

The sofa set in its cosy nook

Mother teaching me 

To lisp a Tagore song.

Sighing. I am unable

To replicate her tuneful voice.

I embrace the darkness still

That joins me to her dying

Effete will.

The betrayal when she gives up

Her kindness, her obtuse blindness,

At my failure’s shame.

 

The brilliant brightness of 

A dainty mother

Feted for her radiance

Her daughter wilting away

In lifelong incompetence.

To shine, to be her

Mini me replica.

 

Yet she was an invalid. Heroic in spirit.

Her lifelong illness a learning paradigm of

Survival and acceptance.

Her smiling face is my 

Sweet just desserts.

She never gave up.

Yet...her daughter learnt

Early to let go.

Allowed to leave

Morning lessons.

 

Power outage.

Her energy discharged, waned,

As her health faded

Her head gave way.

In the late nineties,

She stored our ten digit 

Mobile numbers in a diary 

Mine, brother's and father's.

It was too long to keep in her greying head.

And sifting through shifting garbage in my

Mind’s waste basket,

The trembling rotund curves

Of 9s and 8s and elephantine procession of

Her shaking unsure digits…

They leave their mark.

They leave me penitent.

Stone turned solvent. 

Crawling ant footprints dazed by time.

A mother's love contained

In ten trembling neuroplastic digits. 

 

Because it is not the taste or aroma of her soup

I recall, so much as the rich colour of rubicund

Tomatoes sloshing in blue floral mugs.

It is not so much the first time

I had coffee I recall, but how frothy bubbles

Brimmed over in decadent copious fall. 

 

Beautiful toppings that promise

More,

Plenitude, an abundance of affection.

 

And even recollections become hoardings

That we have lost nothing

Though time moved on,

Passed us along like pocket change pennies

Across the counters of dime-a-dozen

Clerical universes.

 

Nothing is lost

The magic chant

The Aum and Omega

Of existence.

Alpha never to end in Alas of oblivion.

 

More,

Is promised, to us.

But by who, says who?

 

This is umami undefinable,

Tart, sweet, sour, pungent,

Tangy, delicious, bitterest mystery

Held tight in the replicating cabbage heart

Of endlessly looping, re-looping life.

 

No one admits to it, the answers

We seek are our own creation.

Looking for creators we forget

How, to be our own gods.

 

And our flesh memories decay.
The stench of lies detected.

Nothing is as happy, as golden as the past.

As if we adjusted the contrasts, increased

Brightness and warmth, tinkering with

Resolutions old and new.

This bride in her red brocade death sentence

Died a hundred times before her throbbing

Honeymoon.

The thrill was ever in seeking.

Sweet consummation’s consumption.

 

I will remember the memory I choose,

I will kiss and tell, to warm my lips

At the end of the telling.

Nothing is lost, but everything.

The given is only this.

We must, let go and move on.

Willy nilly, we change into symbols,

Morals and stories, to provide

Meaning, mise en scene, 

To successive followers.

Background wallpaper.

Brave, wise, foolish, beautiful

Or serene. Everything individual

Turning and returning

On totem poles

Of collective consciousness.

The human experience of We

Before me.

 

To be me, just like this, secluded, a little bit

Reclusive, to think up my own little map

Of living, a little luxury, a tiny perfect

Thing of sublime dissolution.

 

Under the green bough I sleep

I doze comatose awaiting the apple

Of enlightenment. Newton or Eve,

Serpent or wicked witch,

Snow White or step mother, does not matter.

The Apple will fall, or be plucked.

It must be had. Rising in the fall.

Om Shanti.

 

(The theme of my poem is the progression of my soul over a time bound life confined in space that is deteriorating physically aging, cracking, degrading and yet in festers and cracks it heals and shows itself tempered towards a greater understanding, the role play of memories and the fine tuning and selecting of that which is surprisingly important in the end and that which is dispensable.)

Acknowledgements: Map of Living and Tiny Perfect Things are titles of two movies borrowed for my poem.





Amrita Valan is a writer from Bangalore, India and has a master’s degree in English Literature. She has worked in various professions, ranging from the hospitality industry, BPOs and as content creator in deductive logic and reasoning in English.


She is currently a stay-at-home mom to her two boys.

Her work has been published in many anthologies and online journals. The anthologies include, Poetica 2 and 3, To Be or Not To Be a Writer, The Poet’s Christmas Childhood and Faith anthologies, Divided: A Poet’s Stance, The Ink and the Sword, Down the Rabbit Hole, Fire and Ice, Earth Wind Rain and Fire Anthology, The ImpSpired Vol 7& 8 Anthology, The Alien Buddha Wears a Black Bandanna among others. Her poems and stories Have featured in Spillwords, Café Lit, Café Dissensus, Shot glass Journal, Oddball magazine, Modern Literature, Indian Periodical, Potato Soup Journal, Literary Yard, Poetryand Places, LothLorien poetry Journal and Portland Metrozine among many others.


Arrivederci, (Goodbye till we meet again), her debut collection of fifty poems about arrivals and departures, farewells and hopes of reunion, love loss grief and recollection is published on Amazon as of 7 May 2021.



4 comments:

  1. This is an epic filled with brilliantly memorable images, to be savoured then cherished, a wordsmith of the first order, playing magical tricks with the imagination.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so very much dear Anonymous and Marcia Helena Hewitt. Deeply grateful to both of you.

      Delete
  2. My sincere and grateful thanks for your support and appreciation. I write these long poems and am not optimistic of a readership.

    ReplyDelete

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