I love waking up to find it’s rained the night before. The world is discovered in shades of dramatic expression. The cool air persuasive, whispering caresses on the leg peeping out beneath the folds of duvet. The road a sullen, sodden grey. The sky blooming bright and so alive, whilst beneath its lordly station quivering clumps of cloud sail languidly past. And the rest… The rest pale, wither, exist. The ceaseless gliding cars, towering flats of tiny black windows trapping infinite, invisible lives – all in interminable, dreamless sleep.

There she lies unseen
Sheltered by the slanted lid,
Her last window to the world.
Not that it matters anymore-
She’d slipped away so long before.

I knew her, but only enough
To greet her out of duty
To the cherished elderly
In return for a wave, knowing
She didn’t know my name.

I knew her in between
Stories my parents told me.
Quite the controversial lady,
But – if you aren’t the protagonist
Life stories are only fiction.

So there she lies, asleep
Sheltered by life’s brevity
Delivered from confronting
Ambivalent echoes in the minds
Of the ones she left behind.

Leaves urgently rustle in mimicry of the sound of impending rain. There the lightning goes! It is the warning light of nature – what is white to us is red to the earth. This way the unsettled, hurrying wind comes! It is a messenger from another place that must be well drenched by now. The shadows thicken, and thicken, and then…whoosh! A rumble of thunder, a pitter patter. Here it comes! All earth lies in awe. 

The pub is teeming with people; milling in, milling out, weaving through the tables that spread out onto the street well into the territory of the other place opposite. From the corner of the eye a tattooed shoulder makes an appearance. People linger in the nooks and crannies, peering. Looking for seats so they can settle down onto their idea of a Saturday night out. Saturday night in this yellow-pillared enclave on Jonker Street, where old men bend over their pints in companionable silence, young men and women perch in sociable circles at combined tables, their laughing faces shining through the liberating clouds of cigarette smoke, where intoxicated tourists make friends and exchange shots, perhaps etching another travel story into the list of conversation starters when they go home to suits and ties. This side the upbeat singer shimmies and belts in her husky register, and from her neck hangs her name: Anne. She holds a hand out for someone to dance, maybe only because that’s how it’s done, because although her hand is inviting, her eyes are guarded. The other side an unseen face warbles to his plugged-in strumming; minor 6th, major 4th, major 5th. The crowd is pleased. There is much cheering. But these chords would please anyone; that’s why all the songs are written in them.

And then us in the middle of all that. We know the lyrics, and so of course we yell it out loud. Alice? Who the fuck is Alice?… (Alice is right here, at the next table. But perhaps she chose the name herself.). We don’t the like the songs, and so we yell again. What do people see when they look at us? Probably nothing at all. Just another fragment of the crowd, a bit of rise and fall in the din. Just visitors, strangers, travellers in one way or another. Back they go to their conversations. We’re good. We’re invisible. It’s grand.

Tonight, I find peace being alone with the moon, in the comforting darkness of home. I watch the moon take its time to slip higher and higher into the sky, pulling and lifting away the weight of my worldly burdens. The moon shimmers and glows, beckoning to me across and over the world below. It is a direct connection, unfailing and pristine, unaffected by the imperfection it can surely see from so high up. It has nothing to say, but just by being there, being perfect and beautiful, it convinces me that this cannot be all…this slaving, this constant gulping and adjusting, this relentless draw to succumb to the entrapment of emotion, and the impermanence of all things…Is this what believing feels like?    

Landscapes

Imaginary

May

Minute after minute, and no stillness in between.

August 2014
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