Daily Prompts

Birth of Nations

Hello Amma,

I caught you standing in front of the mirror, with your shirt lifted up. I watched you watch yourself, and I felt many things. Most of all, I felt wonder.

Your stomach looked like a globe. Round. Spotted. Uneven, like the map-man had run out of ink in some places, or pressed down too hard at others. Amma, you contain nations.

A thin coat of melanin covers that sphere. But when I look closely, I see the green of trees, the blue of oceans and the red of love.

Somewhere in that ball, you are home to the sun, moon and stars-the celestial circle of life.

You are glorious.

Do not worry when you pull your shirt down, and see it stretch over the bulge. I walked out of there once but-instead of leaving you empty, I left you full.

Amma, in your girth

Lies the birth

Of nations.

Via Daily Prompt: Glorious

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Daily Prompts

Don’t Need a Seatbelt

bus.jpg

This is what you say when you see me: That my smile tells you stories of a lifetime, stories you would read and reread everyday. That words don’t pour out of me just when I speak, but when I try to smooth my hair that inevitably stands up in oblique lines like the Japanese alphabet, or when I grow silent in those moments I’m creating poetry in my head. 

You fell in love with me, quite ‘literary’.

This is what I tell you every time I see you: My organs shift like gears inside me. My heart revs up, and my lungs become warm enough to start a fire within me. My joy resounds like a foghorn and my feet turn to wheels. I never have to worry about the traffic light turning red, because our love is always green.

I always preferred to go places on foot. But I fell in love with a bus driver who lets me ride without a ticket because I’m his favourite passenger.

Via Daily Prompt: Passenger

Daily Prompts

Noodle Fangs

You promised me you wouldn’t that day.

We went to your favourite Asian restaurant. You had worn an orange dress with a collar studded with rhinestones. You’d ordered pho, and I still remember how a noodle dribbled down your chin, making you look like you had a squiggly fang. You were animated and your hands…they were always moving, waving, creating imaginary shapes in the air. I would know later that those shapes meant something.

We came home late. While I quickly flipped through the TV channels, you called it a day. Or so I thought.

Sometime after I came in, you were fast asleep, your cheeks still tinged with the wine we had drunk. As I was about to switch off the bedside lamp, I noticed your hands-there were traces of charcoal. I sighed. “You’re incorrigible,” I thought to myself as I set out to find your latest sketch.

It didn’t take me long to find it, it was propped proudly on my study table.

You had drawn a picture of us: you, drinking pho and me, laughing at your noodle fang.

I guess some promises are meant to be broken. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Via Daily Prompt: Trace

Daily Prompts

Muse

chaos

You’ve finally given up on the muse who promised to come, but never did.

So you take a walk to clear your head, ambling along like an untethered cow. The sun is dipping, cloaking everything in partial shadows. But you’re caught in between, half-illumined.

You see children leap over potholes and garbage heaps-and hope that they don’t vault into adulthood too soon. You pass a bevy of tittering women, and stop to stare at their faces. Caked with an illusory whiteness, you wonder whether they realise that their kohl-lined eyes betray ancient sorrows. You want to tell them that youth is a farce of time.

Several hands string flowers together but you cannot discern their perfume-the atmosphere is wreathed with sweat, tears, staccato outbursts of laughs and the pungency of unfulfilled desires. You stand there, realising that there are no stand-alones, only amalgamations.

As you keep walking you are jostled, assaulted by sights, smells and sounds, and you understand that this is how it has been, will always be. The world is a chaos of colours, a web of dreams and a swamp of uncertainties. You, the artist has seen and felt much-but not overwhelmingly so. Inspiration sometimes traces its sensuous fingers up your spine or rakes its nails down it, but you will endure both sensations to reproduce the curious things that have touched you.

You cannot be a child playing hopscotch, hopping from one box to the next, carefully avoiding the lines. You must be brave enough to step on them-they are the artistic boundaries that cannot be explored by anyone but you.

You hold your thoughts close, but your ideas closer.

And that is when you know that all along, you were your own muse.

 

Inspired by Ben Okri’s novel ‘Dangerous Love’ previously titled ‘The Landscapes Within’.

Via Daily Prompt: Farce