Saturday, November 18, 2006

'why would you do that?' she asked.
'its beautiful. it's a picture, can't you see it? the lights perfect, with the salt and the napkin, the lines between the shaker and the tablecloth,' he said.
'no, but you can't just knock things over because you think it looks better,' she said, pushing her plate to the side and wiping an errant crumb from her dark, creased lips, the simple silver ring she always wore glistening for only a second as it caught the lamplight, like fire and the night.
'why not? simple, little things. a salt shaker overturned, a step missed, a note skipped, a t left uncrossed,' he said. 'would you take even that?' he added, bitterly.
'so what if it's beautiful? you don't understand - beauty won't make your bed, pay the phone bill. and beauty certainly won't take care of you, a. you're so spoilt - you don't even realize how bad it is, how terrible it's been. all you care about is this beauty, a photograph, a paragraph. it's like you folded in on yourself, that day (so many years ago, now), and you've never seen another person again. they're all just actors, props, pieces, and you're always constructing something. but you don't see anymore.'
he was quiet, then. outside the window he saw a black bicycle being wheeled, it's tires flat and its rider staring at the ground. he followed the man's progress across the street, pausing every few seconds to look up and see where the cars were, but never changing his pace or his step. a held his breath until he had finally, magically, reached the other side.
'i think that underneath the surface of every action, every moment, there is something incredible. and i think that if we ever want to live our lives as anything approaching extraordinary, we have to..have to look for that seam in reality, every moment, every day. and sometimes it's tiring and exhilirating all at the same time, and at others it is simply draining, to look for that colour.
'take that woman, there. you're right, am. i can't even see her. it's like she's blended into that ever so intricate woodwork behind her, and i'm trying so hard to see the colour in her eyes but i just can't. is it judgemental to look at someone and say that you think they're unhappy? because i think you're unhappy. incredibly, tragically unhappy on a level which twists your skin inside out, and won't let you escape. and i'm so sorry, i don't know what else i can do or say, because maybe i am selfish, but i will not twist and turn in on myself in order to get you to smile. because..and understand, it is not a smile i am after. not for myself, and not for you.
'i think that life is an incredibly complicated process that incredibly simple people excel at. i think that if people stopped for a moment and breathed, they wouldn't necessarily be happier, but they could sleep. and i think that we are all someone, and so often we forget that. you forgot it, am. i promise you, i remember you as being so colourful, so incredibly vibrant. but since then, it's like you forgot how to paint, the same way i forgot how to speak. and i'm sorry for that, i am. but not half as sorry as i am to see you, today, like this. the truth is, i will not make you happy, am. i'm sorry, i won't do it. and not because i can't, but because i refuse to paint on you, as if you're just raw, white pulp.
'you said that beauty won't take care of me, but i think you're wrong,' he said, as he held her hands, like a child's, within his own. 'i think you're beautiful. and i want you to believe that, because there is nothing i can do or say that will ever approach the beauty of people. it's not about a word, a phrase - it is not about what hands do or lips say, it is what people feel, inside them, underneath skin and flesh. and i feel like i've never spoken to your soul, but i'm doing it today. i'm sorry...maybe i'm not what you need me to be, but i will never let you be anything less than everything you are.'
she started to cry, but stopped herself, because it was if he was suddenly a stranger. someone who had come into her house dressed as someone familiar, who had broken all the chairs and glasses, the tables and doorways. and she didn't want him to see her cry, because she realized that she didn't want him. she wanted someone else, and the man in front of her would never be less than a stranger again, on some level, because he never spoke, before this day. he never even introduced himself.
she took her hands from his, and began to get up.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

the hotel ruthe used to be a dormitory for a jewish school in vienna in the early 20th century. i could see why, the rooms were depressing as all hell. the beds were all bunked and pushed together against the far wall, next to the single tiny window that let in almost no light. through the window you could see the back alley where the hotel's front entrance was. some hotels like to have a fancy lobby and uniforms, but the hotel ruthe wasn't like that at all. it was cheap, and it was exactly the sort of place my father always booked for us.
we were on 'a family vacation', which made no sense to me. we never did anything together when we were at home, why should putting us in some old city where a bunch of people ruled a bunch of other people from make any difference? apparently we were supposed to bond over seeing new things together, but we never wanted to do the same things. my mother wanted to go to every single museum she could find, my father was only interested in old buildings and my sister just wanted to shop. all i wanted to do was sit somewhere quiet, but that never happened
that keeps happening, somehow, with my family. everyone wants to do something else, and no-one ever gets to do what they want, because we're always 'compromising'. that's a really strange word - its supposed to mean that everyone gets to do a little of what they want and a little of what other people want, but i've learnt that it just means that no-one gets to leave the hotel.
so anyway, we're in vienna and we're arguing (as usual) as to where we want to go today. my mother says we should go to some cruddy museum about the hapsburgs, my dad just wants to spend all day at some cathedral. my sister was sitting, poised at the edge of the conversation, waiting to ask where the nearest mall was. i wandered off from the lobby into the breakfast area. there was this really old guy there, he must have been atleast seventy years old...i mean really, really old. he had white hair and brown spots on his face, near his eyes. he was wearing an old grey coat. i always remember that coat, for some reason. anyway - he called me over and gave me a big toothy smile.
'so how old are you, young man?'
i hate that. i hate it when people start off a conversation with asking how old i am. i'm goddamn fifteen, does it matter? he doesn't really care...he just wants to talk to someone. stuff like that really gets to me, when people start off a conversation with something stupid and mundane that they don't really want to talk about. i mean, if he'd asked me what i dreamt about at night, maybe i would've been interested, but he just asked me my goddamn age. guess..i guessed yours. anyway. my point is that its not important.
'fifteen. how was your life?' i asked him.
he looked at me sort of funny, like he was taken aback. i get that alot. 'that's a very strange question,'he said, and turned to finish his toast.
'only as strange as asking a random kid his age,' i said. and i walked away. just like that. i do that, alot, i realize.

anyway, i don't even know why i'm talking about vienna. that was years ago. we're sitting at the kitchen table - my mother and father are fighting (again). i drift off like that, whenever they start off. usually i'll let myself go into some memory or other. it doesn't even have to be particularly happy, or really good. i just like to go somewhere else, you know? the funny thing is that wherever i go, they're always fighting. i's true. nothing changes. most of the time i just think about leaving whenever their voices start getting louder, and then suddenly im in this other place, some memory or other. yesterday i started reliving this time my mom bought me a cricket bat, when i was a kid. it wasn't what i wanted at all - she just picked up the first bat she saw, without even thinking about it. i she got me something, but she could have atleast goddamned thought about it.
don't get me wrong, i love my parents. they're always there, and i know they really care about me and stuff. i just wish sometimes they'd think more. i wish everyone would think more. sometimes i think they know me about as well as that guy in the grey coat, you know? they just want to know that i've got food and water and all that stuff. i can't remember the last time i sat down and talked to my parents about anything. they're always fighting, for one, so you can't really sit down with've got to do it separately, when one of them is gone. and i don't know..i don't want to make that effort. i just kinda wish they would sometimes. i mean, they're parents.
you see? i did it again. they've stopped fighting now, and everyone at the table is looking at me funny. that's usually how i know a fight's over, when everyone looks at me drifting off and starts yelling my name. i'm not crazy, even though i did go to a psychologist once. she said that i just had a particular kind of coping mechanism, and told my parents to try and get me more involved with other kids. that didn't really work, though, because other kids and i don't really get along. i mean don't get me wrong, i've got friends and stuff, but i don't really talk to people that much. turns out most of them don't have that much to say, and sooner or later i get tired of asking them stupid questions like 'how old are you, young man?', and then they start looking at me funny, too.
anyway. i'm going to go up to my room and stare at the stars for a while. i've got a telescope (they bought it for me last year, for my birthday) and everything, and i really like staring at random galaxies. i don't know why, it makes me feel ok. even if people are looking at me funny, i feel ok when i look at the stars. i guess its got something to do with how big they are and how small we are, or something. i just get this really connected feeling, you know? like i can feel every single particle of dust in the room, and see how it connects to the air, to the sky, to the clouds, to the trees, leaves, earth, house, bed and me. that usually makes me feel really good, and then i can sleep.
i can't ever get to sleep, normally. it takes a really long time, because i'm always staring at things. and i don't like closing my eyes. it's not like i'm afraid of the dark or anything, i just don't like closing my eyes. i mean, if i'm awake, then i want to have my eyes open. so i end up staring at the ceiling of my room alot, at night. it usually takes a few minutes for my eyes to adjust to the light, but after awhile i can start tracing the cracks in the ceiling. i like doing that - making patterns and connecting the cracks. this one time i remember doing that, and then the next thing i remembered was being outside in the lawn, and my dad was shaking me. he kept asking me if i was alright. i didn't know what was going on..i asked them how i got there, and they said they didn't know. i must've sleepwalked from my room.
i guess freud was right about the subconscious, then. i always liked being outside better than being inside. that time in vienna, i actually went back to the lobby where my parents were arguing just in time to hear my sister's interjection about the mall. i just suddenly didn't want to be there anymore, so i left. i went straight out the front door of the hotel into the street, and just started walking. to nowhere in particular, just walking around. i like doing that, looking at people and places as i walk around. i didn't really speak german, but i could make out what some of the signs said, and so i found my way to the subway. i just took the first train that was coming. the system in vienna's really different from anywhere else - they don't really check you for a ticket or anything, it's all sort of on an honour system. i just got a train, just like that, and headed off. there was this older guy sitting next to me, must've been forty or fifty. he had a paper bag in his hands, and kept taking swigs from it. he smelt of alcohol, so i just kind of got off at the next stop. then i took the escalator back up to the street, and starting walking back in the direction the train came from. i walked for a while, and then i saw all these buildings that looked sort of familiar, and then i realized that i was back near the hotel ruthe. so i went in, and my mom and dad and sister were all sitting at the lobby, looking dead worried. they hugged me and kissed me and then they started yelling at me, asking me where i had gone, why i hadn't asked them, how i could be so irresponsible, all that. but they were crying, too, because they were glad to see me, i guess. i didn't really respond or anything, i was still trying to figure out where it was we were going, that morning.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

[for you]

we forgot to leave
i can't trace
your start, your end
(you are
a non-issue)

[driving back from
the beach, your hand
in mine
in yours.]

do you want to go
a little
crazy, tonight?
ill lose my mind,
and move,
like you've never seen before.

all this,
and i only ever mean to say
the one thing.
between my letters is a place
you know how to get to.
is it lonely where you are?

i'll take
this dance, if you

-february 12th, 2006

Monday, October 09, 2006

when i was a child, with little hands and big fingers, i believed in god. life, however, made no sense. money plants, for example, did not have paper leaves. rocks fell at the same speed, but petals never fell the same way twice.
as i grew older, i started hearing god in the rain. it was very soft, at first. like white noise and grey skies meeting, you had to strain to hear her, push your ear right up to the glass, let your breath form patches of condensation before your eyes that came and went, rhthymically, with each breath you took and gave back. not everyone has the luxury of being soaked, allowing him to wash over you.
like most whispers, god (contrary to popular belief) is very easy to block out. you simply have to ignore her. he doesn't go away, she only breathes. between this drop and the next one. and the next, and the next, and the next, until your skin is covered with it, until it forms streams on your bare back, finding its way through rivers down your arms and off your fingers, jumping off to join the next drop. and the next, and the next.

you can drown out whispers, with drops. but next time it rains, listen for the silences.

wrappedupandtwisted. like tongues and lips, like hearts and skin. follow the silences.

Monday, September 04, 2006

i dare you to look out of your window and see something beautiful. they promised you the rain, the power (in your small hands) to change the world, if you just watch and wait, and take over when you hear your beat (getting faster). but that never happened, did it? they never did whisper the last bit into your ear, about how whenever a generation makes a promise, whenever a collective gets together to tell a someone a truth, it's inevitably a lie - because there is no collective truth, morals and no soul to sink into. there is only the you and i. and when you kill someone, there is no judge and jury, no god in heaven and no devil in hell - there is just you and a corpse.
because whenever you see a them, they're never actually looking at you - they're looking at each other, because someone is bound to be somebody. but there're so many thems, so few somebody's, in a world where we don't rise, listen, see, hear, speak, taste, feel.
do you think love is just an emotion in your mind? do you think that joy doesn't have a taste, that hatred doesn't smell of something? if for one moment in your life you can say that your skin didn't define your boundaries, that you were able to fly, would that be enough? no - it is not enough to just live. because life is significant, every action is a war, and everything has a side. it is not enough to simply go - you've got to take it've got to fly, every moment. you've got to sink, let the mud ooze between your toes, let it choke you, let it fill your nostrils, let the stench of it drive you mad - because that's as significant as the wind, as the sea, as the birds, mountains, oceans and the sky.

i dare you. to look out your window and taste something beautiful.

Monday, August 21, 2006


two little children, with four little hands and twenty little fingers (eight and eight and two and two), of which they use only the two. bent around each other, possesively, as if all it takes to protect a soul is a tiny turn of flesh, creased at the edges.


i would never want to take that away from you, you realize, she said, turning to him. there is a particular honesty in eyes, where you can see souls and words aligning.
i know, he nodded. his eyes were closed - he hadn't opened them for hours, now. he was looking at the sky, as lovers do.
good, and her hands squeezed his.

his, that were so stretched, so taut. his hands, which had seen for his eyes, when they were closed. the creases where his life lived, where she had found him, where he had -

there is a point at which only hands can tell what hands have done, what hands have seen. it lives near the soft pouch of skin created between thumb and forefinger, where we become webbed. feel it, now. touch it, with the thumb and forefinger of the other, caress it, breathe it in. see it.


feel the words. taste them, roll your tongue around them (gently, violently). they're yours. they'll ask you what they mean, but you know where they live. close your eyes, and see.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

he saw orange, as the afternoon spilt itself onto the grass, the trees, enveloping the red brick and caressing the leaves it filtered through to touch the ground.
it's as if one day the words just stopped flowing, like a river taking another path, choosing another valley; so that every time he opens his mouth, as if to speak, all his sentences are silences, and his thoughts turn in on them selves, folded and unfolding. the truth is that there is nothing worse than being mute, unable to open your mouth, unable to form the words that want nothing more than to be said. which is what words do.
yet everytime he turns around, there is another silence. every time there is a pen, there is an empty page, as he realizes that it is not that the words have left him, it is that he has never had the words for this, he has never had the hands to envelope this, so while he may be inside it, he was never given the actual words to describe it.

there is nothing more cruel, for a writer.


except his eyes. they burn.


Monday, June 26, 2006

Act I
Sc i

The Scene: Two young men in an (almost) square grey room. The door is on the far wall, is closed and has a slit in it at eye level. They are dressed in jeans and full sleeved button downed shirts. That is to say that they are decently, but not formally, dressed.

a: perhaps we should go check on them?
b: to what end?
a: (pause) finding out where they are?
b: (walks upstage, sits on the edge) yes..but what’s the point?
a: action!
b: lights?
The lights dim, a spotlight appears on b…he shakes his head, disconsolately
b: no no…it’s all wrong.
The lights return to their previous state.
a: well I’m going to check on them.
b: i hope you drown.
a: (hurt) come now – (consolingly) they said they would call for us.
b: yes, they said that.
a: they will.
b: will they?
a: (simply) ofcourse.
b: (pauses, then in fear more than anger, but with both) what if they don’t?
a: they will.
b: you’re sure?
a: yes.
b: how?
a: because.
b: (exasperated) that’s no answer! look at the facts –
a: what facts?
b: the facts of our confinement. we have two young men, a small room painted in a dull and tasteless grey, an unlocked door leading to an unlit corridor which shows every likelihood of leading to another one exactly like it, and so on, ad infinitum, ad nauseam. Further, they have little recollection of how they came to be in the aforementioned room in the first place. there was….a party. do you remember the party?
a: not very much of it. I remember…no.
b: must have been a good one. where was i?
a: isn’t that the problem?
b: “came to be in the aforementioned room in the first place.” As a means of linking their indeterminate present and their uncertain future they find a note on the ground, near the door. read me the note again, a.
a: (taking a white piece of paper out of his pocket, neatly unfolding it) “You will be sent for.”
b: is that all?
a: that’s all.
b: no signature?
a: no.
b: no ‘Dear Sirs’?
a: no.
b: (hopefully) a return address?
a: no.
b: (unashamedly hopeless. He is deflated) philistines. uncivilized ruffians.
a: I’m going to go out there. will you come?
b: what if we’re sent for?
a: I hadn’t thought of that. why don’t you stay? in the meantime I will hunt for whoever it is that is sending for us, and remind them of our existence.
b: you’ll get lost.
a: how can you be sure?
b: because you spent four hours in the supermarket yesterday, hopelessly circling around aisles eight through seventeen inclusive, and then somehow ended up at aisle twenty five, with no recollection of eighteen through twenty-four. I am sure of very little in my life, particularly with regards to strange notes in strange rooms, but I am certain you will get lost.
a: it’s a possibility.
b: certainly.
a: very well. we’ll just sit here & rot, then?
b: it seems to boil down to that, doesn’t it?
(a pause)
a: (brightly) why don’t you go?
b: no.
a: whyy? [there are two y’s there for a reason]
b: (giving a bitter smile) because.

Lights Fade.

Sc ii
Still the room. a is walking it’s perimeter, carefully placing one foot after another, as if walking a tight rope. he takes a few more steps till he reaches the corner. b is sitting with his back against one of the walls (the far one, probably). he has rolled up his sleeves, as has a.

a: (triumphantly) twelve feet by thirteen.
b: it is extraordinary.
a: that it is not a square?
b: that this is the fourth time you’ve measured it out and given me your results, and each time you show no signs of having any memory of having done it before.
a: eh?
b: never mind. perhaps I only think I’ve seen you walk around this room and meticulously measure it’s dimensions with your size ten shoes three times in the past…how long have we been here?
a: since we woke up.
b: no…time…(confused, he is looking for his watch but it is not on his wrist, or in his pockets.) where is my watch?
a: (absently…he has started measuring the room again) not on your wrist?
b: yes. my watch is on my wrist, precisely where it is meant to be. that’s why I’m asking you where it is, because it is where it should be.
a: (he has reached the second wall) ah, good.
b: (getting up) stop it!
a: (startled…stops) stop what?
b: tiptoeing around the room as if you’re on a high wire!
a: (matter-of-factly) I’m measuring it.
b: yes..but didn’t you just do that?
a: me? this room?
b: yes.
a: no…ofcourse not. why would I do it again? (resumes measuring)
b: (sighs, sits down again, stares at a wall) there must be a reason.
a: …
b: there are reasons for everything. even if they’re not very good, even if they make no sense, there must be some justification. it’s the pointlessness I can’t stand. give me something to rebel against, and its all suddenly beautiful. but you can’t fight against nothing. there’s too much of it –
a: twelve feet by
b: thirteen. (a is shocked, b continues). I mean we’re not even confined, technically. the door’s open, we’re free to leave.
a: how did you….?
b: (waving him aside) let’s go.
a: what if we’re sent for?
b: hang it.
a: where will we go?
b: outside. somewhere…we’ll find something.
a: (seriously) what’s the difference?
b: we’ll find a way out.
a: we might be sent for.
(a pause, and they busy themselves – a starts counting bricks, b stares into space.)
a: I’ve got it!
b: really?
a: each horizontal row of bricks is merely shifted right (or left) by half a brick from the row above and below it. therefore each row has the exact same number of bricks (disappointment is creeping into his face and tone as he realizes what this means)….therefore counting them one by one is incredibly…stupid.
b: oh. yes, that.
a: it’s ok..(he puts an arm around b’s shoulder)
b: oh I know. we’ll figure something out, eventually.
a: I’m sure we’ll find something else to count.
b: (giving a a stern look) I need to get away from you, for your own good.
b exits, through the door. he looks left, then right, then goes left.
a: oh well, air’ll do him good. (sitting down, staring at opposite wall with look of intensity, suddenly revelation and a smile)

Lights fade.

Sc iii
The door is still open, as b left it. a is in the exact same position.

a: 534…535…536…
Enter c, who peeks in the door stealthily before coming in, obviously not considering a much of a threat.
a: 537…538…539…oh, hello…540…
c: could you stop?
a: 541…sure.
c: were you counting the bricks?
a: yes, actually.
c: Save yourself the trouble…if your cell is like mine, then there are-
a: 577 bricks.
c: (looking at a suspiciously) how many times have you counted these bricks?
a: why would I count them more than once? that would be silly.
c: but you were just…I mean, I heard you…
a: (sighing) if b were here he’d say it was extraordinary.
c: that there are 577 bricks?
a: that I’d counted them eighteen times. you called it a cell, right now.
c: well yes. that’s what it is.
a: you don’t think the unlocked door defeats the purpose a little bit? it couldn’t, for example, just be a room?
c: A square-
a: -almost square-
c: -almost square grey, plain brick room with no amenities save for a door with a slit in it such that a jailor, to pick a profession at random, could easily peek through to keep an eye on those inside it is called a cell. that the door is unlocked is obviously an oversight on the part of whichever fascist runs this place.
a: and the note?
c: adds insult to injury.
a: I quite like it, actually. gives one hope for the future.
c: what?
a: hope, you know…something to look forward to (taking the piece of paper out of his pocket with a grand gesture and in a grander voice saying:) “You will be sent for.” it’s practically an invitation!
c: is that what yours says? show me that (she snatches it from his hands). so it does.
a: (puzzled) why? what does yours say?
c: (taking an identical piece of paper out of her own pocket) here…read for yourself.
a: (reading, his eyebrows and astonishment rising with each line) oh dear. that’s a little…crude.
c: I especially love the bit about my mother.
a: yes….um….they certainly seem to have done their research. she must be very…err…flexible.
c: it isn’t true!!
a: oh…ah…of course not. that is to say, I would never even consider it for a moment.
c: it suddenly occurs to me that we haven’t actually met. my name is c.
(she sticks out her hand. they shake (hands, not…nevermind))
a: a, pleased to meet you.
c: how long have you been here?
a: (brightly) since I woke up.
c: you’re not terribly bright, are you?
a: no, I chose to be happy instead.
c: good choice.
a: (positively beaming) thank you. so what’s your plan?
c: my plan?
a: oh…I’m sorry, I assumed you had one. you seem like the sort of person who’d have a plan.
c: I did. unfortunately it began and ended with getting the sound of that infernal counting to stop.
a: ah…sorry. I didn’t know anyone else was here. except Them, ofcourse. and b. you’re not one of Them, are you?
c: Them?
a: (coaxingly) perhaps you’re here to send for us?
c: (flatly) no.
a: pity.
c: yes. sorry.
a: it’s ok. b will be back soon. I’m sure he’ll have news.
c: who’s b?
a: a friend of mine…he went out a little while ago to get some air.
c: oh. (pauses) does he have a plan?
a: no, I don’t think so.
c: pity.

The conversation has effectively drifted to a halt. c sits down where b was sitting, in the exact position, staring at the same piece of wall. a does the same vis a vis his old position, and starts counting bricks again.

Lights fade.

Sc iv
a is sitting in the staring-into-space spot, c is measuring the room.

Enter b.

a: b!!
b: I don’t want to talk about it.
a: I haven’t even asked you anything yet….don’t be so grumpy. how was your trip?
b: I don’t want to talk about it. who’s the girl?
a: oh, that’s just c…she doesn’t like numbers and doesn’t have a plan.
b: sounds like someone I once knew. hello, I’, b.
c: thirteen feet by-
b: twelve. (sighs). yes. square one. pleased to meet you.
a: did you find anything?
b: more grey corridors than you can shake a stick at. and I did.
a: shake a stick? where’d you find one?
b: it was a metaphorical stick.
a: cool…can I have it?
b: (sighing) yes, a. here. (hands a an imaginary stick, turns to c) we’re not completely crazy, I promise. well I’m not , at any rate…though miles of grey have a habit of making one question one’s sanity after a while.
c: it’s ok…atleast now there are three of us. well, two and a half.
b: yes..right…err…so?
c: we can stage a rebellion!
b: ah. be my guest. and just what/who are we rebelling against?
c: whoever it is that is imprisoning us!
b: ah, right. them.
a: (aside to b) she’s been very excited about this rebellion thing.
b: well I’ll tell you what I’m going to do for you, c. I’m going to do you a huge favour and let you go on without me.
c: what?! why?
b: you see, its very simple. if I walk down one more grey corridor, turn one more grey corner and see one more endless grey corridor disappearing into the distance, I will, most likely, wring the neck of whosoever should be within arms reach.
c: oh…that’s easy. we’ll put a in between you and me.
a: what? no..
c: (coaxingly, as if to a child) c’mon, it’ll be fun…we’ll play with sticks and find loads of fun things to hurt Them with. It’ll be an adventure.
b: (sternly) he’s not stupid.
c: oh come on…
b: maybe you’d better go lead your rebellion, c. good luck, god speed and all that jazz. let us know how it turns out, won’t you?
c: fine. atleast I’m not just sitting here, waiting for a miracle.

Exit c.

a: (shouting behind her) hey! you’ll need the stick you’re going to fight Them! (waves imaginary stick at her, and then looks disappointedly at b) I don’t think she wants it.

b settles down to his old spot, against the wall, staring at the opposite wall.

a: b…
b: (looking up from his stare) yes?
a: thank you. you defended me!
b: don’t read too much into it. I’ll still wring your neck if you start measuring this room again.
a: I wouldn’t dream of it. err…b?
b: mm?
a: why did she say we’re waiting for a miracle? we’ve got a note. we’re going to be sent for.
b: (sighs) yes, a. we will be sent for.

b stares into space, a begins measuring the room.

a: 1…2….3…

Lights fade.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

- kitty & the UA -

Asad R. says:
one thing WarCraft teaches you is the balance between micromanagement and letting the damn unit do it's job
Asad R. says:
my parents need to learn Warcraft.
anarchy [take me for a little while] says:
anarchy [take me for a little while] says:
thats possibly the greatest thing i've ever heard you say
Asad R. says:
dude, i've blogged about it
Asad R. says:
Warcraft teaches you a lot of things
anarchy [take me for a little while] says:
(forca barca...rallying cry for FC Barcalona
anarchy [take me for a little while] says:
Asad R. says:
the most important of which is multitasking.. not the immediate multitasking, but the slightly longer than instant multitasking)
Asad R. says:
why the fuck and HOW did i close your parenthesis

Thursday, May 11, 2006

- karachi -

slip in, why don't you
between the commas and punctuation
and tell me a little story about
you and i
that i've never heard.
c'mon baby, take a chance with us..
(jim can come, but he'll have to sit in the back)

she kissed the wind,
i chased the sunrise.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

it was the kind of day when the world should end. should meet itself coming backwards and turn itself into the kind of thing we only dream about in stolen moments, dreams we snatch from the ethereal. the trees were crying, laying a carpet of white on the ground (that's how damn beautiful it was), and i sat down for a while and listened to them sighing.
the kind of day when the world should end.

h came by. he smiled at me, lying on the grass, and asked 'what happened? trouble in paradise?' i just glared at him, and turned back to the sky. the sky never lies to you, you'll realize, on a day like today. sometimes i go as far as to think she chooses her colours with her children in mind, that she cries when i cry, and not the other way around. we all aspire to be..something. but we don't realize that that something is already there. h taught me that lesson, actually. it's a story, but not for now. h stared. i stared. we both lay there, for hours, it seemed, before he finally got up, dusted himself off (something's changing).
'im leaving town,' he said. i asked him why. he said it was his time. he had been meaning to, for a long time, and the only reason he hadn't was me, actually. he thought i'd needed someone around. he was probably right, we've had some strange days. but h was always bigger than this town, and i couldn't stop him. he said f and l would take care of me, if i needed anything. that i didn't need his kind of conversation anymore. i laughed. i always did, at him, somehow. i don't remember our last words, because everything that led to that point was so much more significant than any 'take care', 'be good', or goodbye.

it must have been late by the time i got back. l had gone to bed, only f stayed up to meet me at the door. she was so beautiful, framed in that doorway, yellow lamplight lighting that red dress. always the red dress. the kind of red that was almost on fire, but stopped short. it'd burn you if you looked too long. i stared. must have looked terrible, because she took pity on me. turned around, went back inside. i made myself some chai, turned on the radio. the news. another rally, another protest. another hundred people dead, another thousand gone unreported. thing's don't change when i come home. i've heard that radio kill millions, over the years.

i went to h's room. it was bare as the day we moved in. i've lived here so long i don't remember ever not having this place. he wasn't the first to live in that room. j had it for a while, and Q before him. things come, things go. if there's one thing i've gotten used to, in time, it's been goodbyes and hellos. i'll put an ad out in the paper for it tomorrow. let's see what i get. maybe i'll get lucky. haha, haha.

i don't remember falling asleep, but i must have, because it's morning now. i had another nightmare last night. i won't give it to you, but i woke up dying. l came inside. she held me, in a way that i think only she knows how. i dissolved into her, because i'd got nothing left in me. we stayed like that, for a long time. she made me breakfast, looked me in the eye, and told me that it was going to be alright. just like that. i told her that h had left. she said she knew. i smiled. she never did like him..they never got along, and she never understood why i spent so much time with him. i couldn't explain to her that i needed to live both sides. she..accepted, but she never understood. which, i suppose, is all one can expect from love. i hope he finds someone else, as he found me. or, rather, the other way around.

the light's streaming in, through the windows. l must have done that. she loves doing little things like that, she know's i'll notice. f is sitting by me. she's got a hand on my shoulder, as i write. i can feel her seeping into me. i need to breathe. cut loose, somehow, you know? where's my exit, where's the turn off? did i miss it already? i'm waiting, here, for something. f's whispering in my ear, now. she's telling me that she loved h, but never understood him. she thought he was too obscure, came from too many angles. she's says she's pure. and she is, too.
i've removed her hand. i can't ever bear her touch for too long. she burns me. she's still talking, but i'm trying to drown her out. i'm staring out the window, at the light.

i think i'm going to go. i think it's time, i think it might be good. i don't know, but k moved out a long, long time ago. haven't known it for so long that certainty's drained out of any pore that belongs to me. but i can take a chance, i've always been able to do that. that one's mine, lives in my room. i'll take her with me, let her lead me.

i don't know why it is that i've chosen you, but please, don't forget me. i want someone to know that there was once a boy named z, and he believed in everything. that he let things live in his house and eat his food, because in a sense he would use them to understand who he was. that this boy needed to leave, because life is more than what you feel.

i love you.



Saturday, March 25, 2006

Thursday, February 23, 2006

im not accustomed to standing here
telling my piece of the truth
that piece
that truth
that can't keep pace
with the thought
the lie
the death
in each of us
its never about us
the you and i
and the him & her
the it of it all is that we never
to see the
things we know
to believe
in a river, that flows.

down, down
to that place
im going
where the devil doesn't bother to hide
and where an angel won't tap
tap me
on the shoulder asking me to be brand A
and not C.

to a city where the day isn't day
night doesn't mean the moon,
its a frame of mind,
a point of view,
a perspective
im being constructive

and im standing
telling my piece,
of the truth
whether or not it suits
your passion
your place
your faith,
quantities of yes and no.

im not a hero
don't look at me
that way
that look
that face
im not
the end of the world.
the death of the soul
the fall of control.

im not going to be
your bulletproof
your heartstopping
im going to be mine
because im here.

take my hand
ill take you
down to that place
you want to come?
that city
that light
that dark
you probably won't see it
stop following me.

and im going to take over the world
and give it to you
on a silver platter
not because i want
but because its something to do.

drown in my words
im going down
and when the winds rushing
and the pace is hurting
and the fall is coming
and the end
im going to turn around
and do it again.

dying. you talk to me
as if
i were leaving
but im already gone
left through the back door
all you've got now
is the words
in a place where you can visit
if you want
to see the truth
the lies
the death
and the little bit of the end of the world
that i carry around with me
in my back pocket.

- write your own damn disclaimer -

Thursday, February 09, 2006

winter's child was
wrapped in fingers
and words (s)he
never let be

don't want
to go away
(tell them)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

- the most romantic song of the decade -

gotta leave town
got another appointment
spent all my rent
girl you know i enjoyed it

ain't gonna hang around till there's nobody dancing
i don't wanna hold hands and talk about our little plans,

cold hard bitch
just a kiss on the lips
and i was on my knees
i'm waiting, give me
cold hard bitch
she was shakin' her hips
that's all that I need

gonna check her out
she's my latest attraction
gonna hang around
wanna get a reaction

gonna take her home cause she's over romancing
don't wanna hold hands and talk about our little plans

cold hard bitch
just a kiss on the lips
and i was on my knees
i'm waiting give me
cold hard bitch
she was shakin' her hips
and i that was all that I need

cold hard bitch

[dedicated to all the beautiful people]

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. it is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. we ask ourselves, who am i to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? actually, who are you not to be? you are a child of god. your playing small does not serve the world. there is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. we are all meant to shine, as children do. we are born to make manifest the glory of god that is within us. it is not in just some of us; it is in everyone. and as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. as we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

-Marianne Williamson

(now if you insert a few nuances about god into the spoken word, and if you take out that rubbish about being enlightened (some of us are not striving to be enlightened, we are simply trying to live), you may have something. never take anything at face value, just because it reads well. because it's beautiful. you have a truth. find it.)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

it's almost impossible,
like the rain,
or daisies
(do you remember?),
like our hands (tracing
invisible lines on each other).
i know your secrets
(they are mine),
and there is fear,
in our voices,
when we touch,
but we will not stop,
(because it is like the rain).

there are times (i admit
when i want to keep you in a little box,
with me,
but then i realize,
that i already do.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

- revised, but only slightly. it's older than you think. -

He carefully placed (not dropped) two cubes of sugar in the coffee, and stirred it until the swirls of white disappeared into monotonous, deep brown. Presently, he allowed a laugh to escape him.
"What's so funny?" Kamil asked.
"Oh nothing. Nothing terribly interesting, anyway."
"Enlighten me - I was always interested by the mundane, remember?"
"It's just funny. You, me, us - I haven't seen you for years, but here we are. And I can't help but thinking: what's the protocol?"
And Kamil laughed, too, because he realized the ridiculousness that distances create.
"You see what I mean? I don't get it. Everywhere we go, everything we do, there's some sort of order, some sort of prescribed rubric to fall back on. But where do we begin?"
"The issue here is your apparent dependence on what society thinks you should say, Ali. It isn't society's fault that it didn't equip you for this conversation."
"Oh come on, it can equip me on how to deal with the highly unlikely scenario of a sinking ship with only one more berth on it's lifeboats, and myself and a pregnant lady the only ones still on board, but it can't tell me how to talk to someone I was great friends with once upon a time?"
"You give the woman the place on the lifeboat, and wait for the water to swallow you. Ofcourse."
"What if I don't want to die?"
"Completely besides the point. The rubric you so seem to desire demands it. Now shut up and die with some grace, damn it."
A smile arched across Ali's face, again.
"Always with the grace, Ka - always with the grace."
"Ofcourse 'Always with the grace.' Take that away, and what've we left?"
"On the one hand its extraordinary how much you've changed, and on the other its incredible how much you remain the same below your skin."
"I'll take that as a compliment," Kamil said, his own smile widening.


"Give it back!"
"No..calm down. I just want to look at it!"
"I don't care, it's mine! You'll break it!!"
"I will not, for Gods sake."


"I have a cunning plan."
"Do you really?"
"Ok, so it's not very cunning, but it's a start."
"Let's hear it, then."
"You desire a rubric. Here it is: tell me a story."
"A story? Will any story do, or does it have to have a certain number of dragons and maidens in it?"
"Your story - the number of dragons and maidens is wholly dependent on your experience," Kamil said,"Though I warn you that I'm not apt to believe them if they do make an appearance. Based on my experience."
"My story? You know me, dude - no story. Very uninteresting life. We went to college, I got a degree, got a job, a fucking big television and lived the trainspotting dream," said Ali, laughing.
"You're telling me we've got nothing at all to catch up on? Yes, that makes perfect sense.."
"Nothing significant."
"You didn't get married, did you?"
"Shakal dekhi he meri?"
"That not withstanding. What happened between you and Sana?"
"We broke up."
"Ha! So we do have something to catch up on. I didn't know that, and therefore there is a discrepancy between who you were and who you are."
"No...Really? You expected us to be trapped in stasis, perhaps."
"You know what I mean..get on with it."
"With what?"
"With what we've been talking Your story."
"What is it with your insistence on my 'story'? I don't know - I lived, I worked, I studied, I partied. I partied alot, actually. Drank a bit, smoked alot, and then not at all. Got a job, lost a job, got another job, and now I'm here. Happy?"
"Point taken. It just seems that it would be...simpler."
"What? To have stories?"
"Yes..I suppose it would. But I'm afraid I've got nothing for you - you'll have to worm it out of me," he said, eyes twinkling.


"Are you crazy?!"
"Are you crazy?! Saeed Anwar is ten thousand times better than Tendulkar!!"
"No man...have you seen Tendulkar play? That guy is amazing."
"You're just an indian-lover, that's your problem."
"What?! Don't you dare.."
"Indian-lover, Indian-lover!!"


They stared at the table for a good bit. It was getting to be dinner time, and Kamil broke the silence.
"You want to grab a bite to eat?"
"What time is it?"
Glancing at the clock above Ali's shoulder, "About ten."
"Shit..yea, no wonder I was getting so hungry. Kidhar jaana he?"
"I don't know. Does it matter?"
"Ofcourse it matters. Everything matters."
"Not really. But it should."
"Yea. Probably."
"Kamil..we are desperate need of sustenance, and I vote rolls."
"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
"My mind is nowhere near that filthy, Ka.."
"Abey ulloo ke pathe. Jafri's chalein?"
"Jafri's? Is that place even still open?"
"I have no idea, but there's just one way to find out."
"Man, that's on the other side of town. Tumhe pata he kitni der lagge gi?"
"Have you no sense of history? No sense of occasion? Look at us...the great Ali and Kamil reunited, and you're quibbling about distance to get to eat the food of the Gods."
"I don't recall ever seeing any Gods eating there."
"It was a figure of speech."
"Must have been rather dirty, unemployed type Gods.." he muttered, as they made their way to the car.


"Ka, uth."
"Kyun? Kya masla he?"
"Dinner scene. Get some clothes on."
"Raat ke do baj rahe hein, yeh koi waqt he dinner scene ka?"
He shrugged, "Call it spontaneous. Asif ne call kiya, abhi. Kapre pehno, we're leaving in five."
"Is my mother asleep?"
"Acha. Get the car, mein aata hoon."


"Atif Aslam?! Man Ali, I'm disowning you. Tumhe ho kya gaya he?"
"Oh shut up - you still haven't lost your sound snobbishness?"
"Sound snobbishness nothing. This is Atif, for God's sake..what happened to the days of knowing keh Ali ki gari mein Doors sunein ge?"
Ali shrugged, "Times change."
"Acha don't sulk."
"Sulk? I never sulked a day in my life."
"Right..right. Not even that time when I beat you on Sports Day?"
"You didn't talk to me for a week...I couldn't believe it," Ali said, not bothering to control his laughter.
"Yea was important to me, for some reason."

Silence for a while, as the lights flew by and familiar roads swept into distances known once.
They turned left.

"Oye, isn't that Basit's old house?"
"Yea..I think it might be."
"Kya huwa uss bunde ka?"
"I don't know...last I heard his family shifted to the States."
"You remember that night of double-sarri?"
"What night?"
"Man, how can you forget? The night we played from six in the evening till six in the morning. Yaad aaya?"
"Arey haan - kitni chai pi thi humne? There was supposed to be dinner, at some point..we just kept playing till the sun was suddenly, inexplicably, in the sky."
"Yea man...what a night. What I wouldn't give to be back, sometimes," Kamil said.
"Yea. and reckless. Those were the days, man..we were dreamers. This city was our canvas, and we painted our stories on it. Everywhere. People see schon circle, and they think of directions, but I think of the time we hid in the fountain from the tullas."
"Correction, people do not see schon circle any longer."
"That's could they tear it down? The thing's a landmark, its a part of my life. Yet, with the flourish of some civil planner's pen, it now has ceased to exist. Everything's changing."

Silence at a traffic light, another mangled soul clawing at the window.

"Have you ever felt disconnected, Ali?"
"How do you mean?"
"I'm not sure - but life is so fluid, so fleeting. You and I, we're just here for a blink of an eye in the cosmic scale of things, our place here is really rather insignficant."
"And your point is..?"
"My point, Ali, is that all of this manifests itself in a distinct disconnection of the soul with life."
"Hum khaane keh liyay ja rahe the, aur tum 'soul' aur 'life' pe aa gayay ho.."
"Don't you see?" Kamil said, turning from the passenger seat, his voice more vehement, almost violent with meaning. "None of this matters...I mean we're just here for a short, short time and we make what we can of it before everything moves on, cleans up, shifts forward, and some of us are left sitting back here in a city that does not exist any longer, trying to live a fools life. It doesn't matter."
"Tumne kya socha tha keh yeh shehr humara intezaar karre ga, Ka?"
"Mein sirf shehr ki baat nahin kar raha."
"Tou phir?"
"Zindagi - have you ever felt lost in memory? It's harder and harder to come back, each time, until you find that you're returning to a present you don't even belong in. "
"Is this about coming back home?"
"Partly. But partly it's just about home being a state of mind."


"Here we are."
"If you say 'yea' again, I'm going to smack you."
"I'm a man of my word."
"Yea," Kamil said, grinning.
"This is wonderful. You're leaving in the morning, and we're going to sit here saying 'yea' to each other all night."
"You expected something more dramatic? A speech, a heart-rending sonnet, perhaps?"
"Time's up. Got to go. You take care of yourself. And always remember: Don't Inhale."
"Yea. When do I see you next?"
"I don't know..let's say never."
"Never it is."


"Don't you think it's time you got over that, Ka? I mean all night we've been talking about the past. Which is great..was great, whatever. We had some great times, and I'm not taking away from that - but you've got to live the life you've got, right?"
"Yeah, I know..its nothing serious, just leave it."
"No, somehow I get the feeling that it really is."
"I don't know man...sometimes I just get the feeling that we've lived the greatest moments of our lives already, that it's all downhill from here. What's the point of going gently into that good night?"
"The whole 'live-fast-die-young''re not serious? I mean yea..we've got lives now, we've got stuff to do, and hell..yea, it isn't as much fun as it used to be, but it's still life, right?"
"Life in a box-"
"-is better than no life at all."
"Sometimes I think that without Stoppard your conversation would wither away."
"I'm just...not all here, anymore. I mean, I came back here...I made a conscious effort to come back, because I love this. But I get the distinct feeling that it isn't even love, anymore. You can't love something that's forgotten your name. Everything's...just memories. Tainted. The people have moved on, the lights have moved on, and I'm standing here thinking whether the life I'd come back for never really existed in the first place."
"Nothing stops, Ka. Nothing."
"Yea. It's a shame."
"Oh well."
"So what now?"
"Sounds like a plan. Next left."
"I remember! I'm not that old. Yet."

The road was just as crowded and the sign said Jafri's, just the same way as in memories of late nights and unauthorized escapades. They drove right by - the unlit neon and dusty, fallen shutter shaking lightly in the wind.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

- tell me, when will the river run green? -

a, exasperated: who are these people?
b: ordinary people under extraordinary pressure, a. what the hell do you expect? Grace and Consistency?

the insider
notes, the second
young writers face a particularly nasty predicament - they can neither afford to sound jaded and staid, for there they lose their 'edge' (as if we're all somehow hewn from rough rock. which we may be, if it comes to that), nor can they ever slip into childishness. and the trick is in finding your own niche without caring a damn whether some other young writer somewhere thinks 'what is that? he sounds fifty..', or if some old hand throws the paper away muttering 'kids...they haven't seen anything, don't know anything.'
the tragedy is that they are both right. we've seen just enough to begin our sentences, but not enough to end them - and there we lose ourselves in the space between letters.
there is no period at the end of this sentence
to those who look to the stars, and find salvation in their enormity and the self's own minute-ness in the 'general scheme of things', to those who fly at night when no-one is watching, and who fall only when the sun rises, i have words. they tell stories of daring, and they speak of not falling back on the sky as an excuse, but holding yourself to it's standard. there is so much beauty.
you're beautiful.
even broken glass shines.
sometimes it's alright to test yourself by fire - but there'll always be someone waiting on the crest of the hill, wishing you didn't have to. love is when they let you hurt yourself a little bit, if only so you can trust yourself a little bit more.
we're all in a cycle. hold yourself to the sky.