Daily Prompts

Bulletproof

rain

What was the need to create

Guns and bombs when

The raindrops today fell like bullets-

Isn’t it so much better to die

In natural warfare?

Wearing raincoats or

Carrying umbrellas does not

Make you bulletproof.

 

Via Daily Prompt: Create

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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

Uncategorized

Lava

lava

They are afraid of you, and they will never admit it.

Sometimes you’re ablaze, because the sun has temporarily set to rise again in your eyes. Other times they’ll shake their heads in perplexity, you will blink and all that will be left is a dull, incandescent glow.

Lovers pour their hearts out to you in pretentious poetry and plastic roses. Even the chocolates they feed you taste like margarine, not butter. Their kisses feel sticky, like cello tape-how else will they shut you up? You see, people dismiss things they don’t understand.

Before you sleep, they will remind you that pillows are for smothering your thoughts, your ideas, dreams…and feelings, what are they?

But you won’t die a soft, feathery death.

You’re tired of only standing by the edge of the pool. You muster up enough courage to do a cannonball. You’re tired of skirting the edges, so you hit bullseye. You’re done with being a molehill because really, you’re a mountain, a volcano, poised to erupt. And when you do, the doubts will be set adrift amidst the lava, and you will feel content because you finally woke up and decided to wear your passion on your sleeve. You will remind yourself daily that no matter what, you will never roll up those sleeves.

But people will still complain.

That you always set things on fire.

 

Via Daily Prompt: Adrift

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

Uncategorized

Before you send this to voicemail…

tele

Hello.

Everyday, I hear a million conversations. Many of them are unspoken.

I consider it a painful privilege.

I often dwell on all the calls that never went through-calls that were disconnected even before I began to ring. Calls intended to convey emotions that somehow got lost in transit.

Some people pick me up and don’t say anything. They vacillate between sighs and silence. Between sigh-lence. They finger my little black cable listlessly. I curl around their fingers imperceptibly, to offer solace in the best way I can.

Then there are those who pick me up to rehearse what they want to say. Deaths. Breakups. Unwanted pregnancies. But they never get around to making the call. They leave me behind with the weight of their untold secrets.

But I’ve enjoyed a fair share of happy conversations. Promotions. Marriages. Birthdays. Listening to their squeals of pleasure, I produce a burst of static, unable to control my own excitement. But I take care not to cause too much disturbance and ruin the moment. There is only so much we can do as inanimate objects to partake in moments of joy.

I remember no names. Only sentiments.

If you were to take me apart one day, you’d see a vault of thoughts. Perhaps you’d find some of yours too.

And so I sit, for time to come, replaying conversations that don’t belong to me.

You always speak into me, through me. But someday, will you pick me up to just…speak to me?

 

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