Dean

You were my mentor and I appreciated you for your kindness and care.
You would sit with me every day coaching me in physics to make sure I would pass the exam. Boyles law, Charles Law, and more of that. The dive tables I got. But, it was your faith in me and perseverance that made me the diver I am. So, we dove, and someone died on that open water dive. His log book was filled with fear. It could have easily been me, if not for you, and your kindness shown to me. Thank you so very much.

Kasbewa Tank ii

Kesbawa Lake ii

The retreat is situated near a lake that is man made
We arrive as the crows take off from the trees
Surrounding us and baulk, screeching into the
twilight, the smaller ones are nervous
we can tell-can they tell
That we are nervous, too?

But not about the crows. About the retreat
And the disorder that we have,
although Viren
Is miles behind me as
he stays off the medication.
I have been on it since
May 2015 and it has changed
me in subtle ways.

The lady of the house
Wears a redda and hatte ,
she is concerned about our food,
which is good enough
but much better when we order
Pol sambal, kade paan, dhal curry, marmite,
an omelet SRI LANKAN style.
We sigh in pleasure

Oh how small our world gets,
so small that I listen to pod casts
From far away and hear
Michael been interviewed.

I walk around the lake this morning
for the first time since I’ve been here.
Mornings are cool
lots more walkers and joggers on the trail
but still clean and peaceful.
What strikes me is the light,
it has a similar quality when we walk late at night.
Crystal clear and soft. Trees are plentiful,
Coconut, Palmyra, Jak, Mango
and the incessant sounds of bird calls
of which Vernon would be able to identify.

I stare delightedly at a clothes line
strung between two trees and on it are the whitest clothes
I have ever seen. Waving slightly with the breeze.
A dress, 2 sarongs, a skirt, some dishtowels,
a pair of shorts. I am wishing I had my phone so
I could photograph the scene, make a postcard.

I break into a jog and look over
at the lake the lotuses in full bloom.
I spot a man boating on a rubber tyre
He uses a short paddle and has a bundle of
Rags tied on the tyre
He looks like he is about to light a pipe.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When your body starts to give

The art of ageing
Is to keep moving
Keep the blood flowing
The skin glowing
The hair bouncy
The teeth gleaming
The nails polished and shining
The muscles toned
The brain occupied and stimulated
Keep challenging yourself
Do what needs to be done
Cross things off your list
Love a lot, help a lot
Buy a lot, give a lot
Bake, make, play, create
Don’t be tempted by fate
Travel long distances
Take photographs and draw
Doodle the days away
When you feel your life
Is going astray
When you are sick
Meditate-go on a retreat
Be silent for awhile
Maybe 7 days maybe 10
How refreshing, then
To come back to earth
And hover above
the crowd
Frolic, drink, be merry
For tomorrow, you may perish
Ageing is relative we are all going
To die. How we go is what’s important
Go without a whimper or cry.
Go with love and all of life’s blessings.
Go in peace Go with love.

GRANDFATHER

Road Trip

Short days in Michigan
the leaves turn
colours similar to the ones
in that far away island during the
dry season — the red earth
hot underfoot — crackles
as the leaves drop
making a mound
Smoothies drunk in a café
contain this richness of
colour.
The liquid slides down
the throat and a coat is buttoned
Outside the air freezes
Smoke blows from the mouth
Cigarette tossed on the ground

The old man mowing his lawn
Wearing his slate cashmere V-neck with
holes under the arms, has never bothered
to get the thing darned.
It is the season to shoot
Gun in hand, A-k47 in another
Looking for Rabbit, Deer, Bear.
Somewhere a man is shot
Billy wears a brown, round, wool neck sweater
that keeps him warm.
and camouflages him well.
No-one mentions the time he was at
The creek – a body floated up, face down –
bloated and gross from
being in the river for over a week.
The sheriff hushed It up,
Billy was his son, you see.

The man was someone’s son too.
remains cried over by mothers
Of son’s they can’t recognise
The Sheriff wore a red wool sweater
beautiful to look at; a man with manners
The County respected him.
The sole reason the body story was
Buried. His word was final.
The army commander’s word
Was final, too. No identification, woman.
We bury them all together

Autumn in Michigan, meant road trips—-a six pack of
Molson in the car– Ruben sandwiches, girlfriends.
We’d sing to Joni Mitchell and Carol King—
perfect tunes for a fall sunset
that seemed to last forever. At night, Deborah Harry
blasted from the CD deck the stars shining brightly.
Autumn in Sri Lanka meant the north east monsoon
We hit the road a case of Heineken in the jeep
Vernon driving east stopping at all the security
Check points. Men with guns probing
Ethnicity an issue and the case of beer slowly emptied
By us, thirst parched and scorched
The dry zone beckoned.
The landscape: endless, stark, beautiful,

Murugan’s country like no other.
the sun set’s in the west
stopping every 100 meters looking for
elephant, deer, bird life of all description
army blowing hot. ID, please
Red brown yellow orange
cocooned us as night fell
yet, the incessant stopping.
Petrol was running out
Finally, over the bridge to the Bay.
We drove right up to the the beach
Full moon directly above in the sky
We could almost smell it.
Off came our sticky clothes,
To dive into the warm Indian ocean
It was midnight 16 hours later
The seduction was dazzling
The salt water melted off our bodies
The beer, finished

We did not need the moon or headlights to show us the way.

she wore her purple sweater, made of Angora.
It smelled of perfume: Opium.
At Last, San Francisco
We drove to Full Moon Beach.
Threw our sweater’s off
And with it our youthful emotional angst
The water was cold.
We could very well had been swimming in
Lake Michigan—
Except for the unforgettable Road Trip.
2261 miles of it.

words of wisdom from a wise woman

listen to your body. i don’t mean that as a recommendation to say or not say something, i mean it quite literally. you said your body is trying to tell you something. so listen. for now, that’s all you have to do. find a quiet place once a day, sit comfortably and turn your focus on your body, the feelings that arise, where they are located, how they feel, what sensations they bring, whether the feeling(s) shifts. just that. when you get into your head, remember to just go back into your body. breathe into any pain or discomfort you find, cry if that’s what comes, take note but don’t dwell on any thoughts that come up. then, in real time, when you start feeling anxious or whatever it is you feel–off to the loo or wherever you can hide to sit with it alone for a few minutes in your body, not your head. breathe into the feeling and let it express itself in your body. let it express itself, it’s probably old suppressed stuff that just needs to be felt, that is demanding to be felt, to be released. 

i think sometimes we think doing is an answer to how we are feeling. at least that’s my own personal misconception. i think feeling is the answer to how we are feeling though. not that i succeed 90% of the time, but when i do, it’s a relief.

Being Brave

Bravery manifests in many guises. John was tired of fighting–he was assigned to the front line–and was terrified. But, like all his comrades, he put up a brave front. Besides, he would never let his side down, by playing the coward. He wanted respect and men in the front usually got it. It’s basic, the respect, that is. So was the fear. He had enough; he was drafted, he had no choice so here he was, some people in his platoon still left, and all he could think of was he going to be next? It was dark, he had no idea where he was and didn’t dare to light a match. The smell of decomposing flesh was nauseating. He put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a piece of Wrigley’s spearmint gum. He unwrapped the wrapper and carefully folded it into the smallest possible design he could and put it back in his pocket. Sort of like  a keepsake. Something to remember this moment by.  He was chewing the gum when he heard  rounds of fire coming from the north: enemy direction. He hit the ground the same time that his buddy was hit. The firing stopped. He felt icy cold and the deafening silence was unreal. It was then he noticed that everyone around him had been shot and he was completely an utterly alone. The illumination in the sky was sufficient to show the carnage.

He put his hand in his pocket and felt for the wrigleys spearmint wrapper that he had folded umpteen times. He felt secure by the touch of it, a moment of normalcy in what was an insane situation*. War sucks. His dreams of coming back a hero, medalled, to show off to his family, friends, girlfriend was insignificant. What was he supposed to do now? He rubbed the wrapper between his thumb and forefinger; thinking, thinking. In shock and, not a soul in site. The quiet was relentless.

So he did what any brave men would have done. He took his rifle, stuck it into his mouth and blew his brains out. The last thing he remembered before pulling the trigger was swallowing the piece of paper.

—————————————————–

Endless Preoccupation

fascination comes apart
when lovers meet
where do they start
missed phone calls
unread texts
forget the bullshit
snooker the rest

games played
only one
what is left
is the noonday sun.
drunken glasses
evening’s come
forget the masses
where is the fun?

sleepless nights
naked in bed
tossing and turning
politics unfed
desire vanishes
struggles to remain
what once was
is no one’s gain