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

Daily Prompts

Zen and the Art of Sustenance

zen

 

“It’s been a dry spell.”

“Oh. For how long?”

“Quite a while. I think it’s back.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“I’m not. It’s only a guess.”

“Be patient. You have written before. You will write again.”

“Maybe. I don’t know.”

“How do you feel?”

“Barren.”

“It won’t be long before you’re fertile again.”

“You think so?”

“I’m quite confident.”

“So what do I do until then?”

“You will write magnificent trash and create fool’s gold.”

“But what’s the use of that?”

“Well, you can’t become an overnight sensation.”

“I know.”

“Writing is like this: sometimes the words drip slowly, like a leaky faucet. When that happens, you need to get your hands dirty by reaching in and pulling out the dirt.”

“And then?”

“Even after you’ve unclogged the tap, the water will be muddy for a while. But soon enough, it’ll flow, crystal clear.”

“So this blankness is just temporary?”

“Yes, but so is lucidity.”

“So what endures?”

“Your desire to create.”

 

 

Via Daily Prompt: Temporary

Daily Prompts

Love, Specifically

“I love you” is so passé.

 

Tell me

I smell like melons

In the summer and pine

In the winter.

 

Point to the mole

In my little toe and whisper

That it is but one star

In the constellation of my body.

 

Do a magic trick and

Pull out a syllable

From behind my ear, grinning

“Love is the word of the day!”

 

Although we may be snuggled

Warm beneath the covers,

Expose those secrets-that can’t be

Kept under wraps.

 

I’m not one

For sweeping conclusions,

Don’t be so general-get down

To the specifics.

 

Via Daily Prompt: Exposed

Daily Prompts

My Name is Eggplant

As the clock strikes 10, he briskly walks in to the department to serve coffee. Once he enters, his gait is slow and careful. His face is scrunched up in such concentration that a sweat bead on his forehead stays frozen, afraid to drip until the very last cup is served.

His footsteps always make a squelching sound, as though he walked for miles in the rain.  Several times I run to the window to see if the sky parted, but it is the same dry soil every time.

One day I went to the pantry to grab a biscuit. I saw him sitting on the edge of a stool, waiting for a call from someone in the department. As soon as I walked in, I was met with a blast of hot air. I leant against the counter and asked him casually, “What’s your name?”

“People here call me Eggplant.”

“Eggplant?” I mused, taking in his bright purple uniform. The connection was easy to make.

“Yes.” he replied with a grin that didn’t quite meet his eyes.

“Wow, it’s so hot in here. Don’t you at least have a fan?” I asked, looking around. Inside the office, where the AC’s were perpetually whirring, we escaped the summer heat unscathed. I didn’t know the conditions outside were so starkly different.

“No, we do not get such facilities,” he said quietly, looking down at his shoes. The shoes that squelched from the sweat which accumulated while sitting stifled in a humid pantry.  His life was measured by the distance between the pantry and the department. A distance that was so small-yet made all the difference.

He is back again, and it is almost 5 pm. His tray is laden with snacks and sweetmeats. After he serves everyone, he walks away, empty-handed. His tread is slow as always, and now I know why. It is to savour those extra few moments inside the AC-cooled department, before he returns to his post at the pantry. As he exits, I catch Eggplant pause near the door. He leans briefly against a wall, yearning to blend in, and sit there forever within the cool cracks. But his purple shirt is too bright, too unmistakeable. Then he is gone.

He will be back tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, with the same old squelching shoes and bright purple shirt, and if anyone cares to ask, he will reply, “My name is Eggplant” resignedly.

 

Via Daily Prompt: Lifestyle

Daily Prompts

Heaven-sent Angle

geometry

She thought about him. Again. About how he had always told her that her face was perfectly geometrical, but towards the end, never looked her square in the eye. How her palm didn’t feel smooth and oval in his hand, but rough, like an uncut diamond. How his embrace didn’t go all the way around her, stopping short at a semi-circle. How his touches evoked a sense of sharpness, ones that reminded her of acute angles.

She wanted none of the geometry without the symmetry.

Then it began to rain with such a vengeance that it began hailing. She wondered if hailstones fell when clouds wept a little harder, more forcefully. She touched the tears on her own cheek and wondered, if humans cried the way clouds did during hailstorms, would lumps of salt trickle down?

 

Via Daily Prompt: None