An intimate memory of childhood

A rusty Humber rattled along
the gears designed on the steering wheel column.
The man driving the car was whistling,
tea bushes sweeping by the curvy roads
6 or 7 hours and they were still going.

The driver shifted gears,
the girl in the back seat kept staring at the steering wheel, and
wondered why the gears were designed to be there?
this detail was taking up her thought process.

The Stars had come out now.
5 degrees north of the equator
there was Venus, then the big dipper and little dipper
there were other forms she recognized
but could not recall their names. Polaris?

Still those tea bushes, still the gear shift
alongside the steering wheel.
Without warning a hedge appeared. Tall and dark
a row of them—and then: St Leonards Estate.

He stood tall, his beret cocked on his head
his long shorts grazing his knee. Waiting by the door
insouciantly leaning against the wall.
whiskey in hand. The kids stumble out
doors opening, spilling out biscuit crumbs,
cream soda bottles, specks of vomit, a pillow.

A bath!  The adults shot a cursory glance as the kids were
whisked away by their nannies.  mother barely acknowledging them,
father accepting a glass of drink from his host.
Clothes were peeled off bodies as they
got into their baths, two together. The water hot.
Soothing, the journey forgotten.

 

 

Komari Beach with Tash and friends

The ocean: vast, blue inaccessible
Cliffs stand tall form a barricade to the beach
My brain won’t let me walk
Boys use arms to fashion a seat
Helicopter blades circle,
the clouds help lift
My form—in its infancy of weight—
I am whizzed by, the lads and I
Hot sand beneath our feet

They lay me on the pristine beach
Friends prance, waves dance in the sea.
Overhead; high clouds, shape into shells
Heat, sun, air & salt water combine to bliss.
Crystal clear clarity mimics a winter night:
The moon, full, the trees barren.
A branch cracks and falls.
Except it’s the tropics. The height of summer.
High noon. Remind me of my first kiss.
Surrender to this.

Road Trip

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.

Isabella at 21

IMG_9744

Isabella at 21
Is very beautiful
kind and all woman
she nurtures, she cares,
for everyone.
Her nature from birth

Has a sunny disposition.
She is also very smart
(she doesn’t think so)
But, we know so.

Her self-depreciating characteristic
Is typical of a Ceylonese
Especially from an Anglican
School
Such as Ladies College.

Isabella is a bella
The belle of the ball
In my book for sure
I would cast her
As the central character
She is unique

Extremely likeable
And resourceful.
21 years old.  I’ve had the
pleasure of spending
quality time
with her in Melbourne
for a week.

I note that she is interested in most things
Especially the arts
After we shopped we sat down and listened
To a musician busking
She then pointed out the MOMA exhibit
And there is one in Brunswick.

She has left me now in Melbourne.
She has gone back to Brisbane
I’ll be leaving on a plane
This Friday. Back to where I came from
Where Isabella was born
CEYLON

Heart heart

Heart heart

Deep in my heart a wedge does lie
I’m willing to throw a dart to hit it clean and fair
Instead I breathe, breathe deeply and sigh
The cause of the wedge is mine—let’s try.

Was it the afternoon I drove back from Galle?
Hail! Thunder and Lightning quite a scare
Voice on the radio warning us to go with care.
the highway is dangerous to drive anywhere.

Wait! is the wedge my children? My poor mother, too.
My husband, Dom, my in laws? ‘How do you do?’
A lost love, another life, what could have been?
it’s  bittersweet now, all that I have seen…

The wedge comes and goes.
Tears pour down my face, I am thankful for god’s grace.
To analyze the pain, sitting in the car in the rain
One goes back in time, breathes, the mind arace.

To gratitude: of course, I’m grateful! So what if I’m Fey?
The wedge is lodged, embedded deep. I long for the comfort of sleep
Not yet, not there, the exit is quite far. Stay awake!
Don’t fall asleep. Keep breathing the wedge out, however deep.

At last the exit, I take the turn, drive to the booth to stop.
Pay my toll and on my way, keep breathing the hardness away
And suddenly, I am aware, that this feeling of a wedge
has disappeared, is not there?  was it the stress of the drive?

Maybe. Could be, should be, yes! Driving is difficult
When one can barely see, the car in front, the road, a tree.
The rain is ceasing, the breathing is easy
At last: Home. the dog runs to greet me.

Unpack my bag get on the mat
Do a few yoga poses, here comes the cat!
5 kittens to feed all are shivering.
My body feels better, no more dithering

I draw a bath then into bed, take meds, then cover.
Dream of mayhem and accidents oh what a shower!
I suddenly wake up to another day. Stretch and yawn.
The wedge has gone, the sun shines bright. Oh how I love, love, love the light.

N.S.  APRIL 15, 2018