29 May 2017

Who could have guessed, Marcus? He was like an old crumpled railway timetable with a black and white routine. Bathing in the river at four, dripping all over the polished mosaic, prayers rumbling in his throat, the ash smeared on his forehead white as the midsummer sun, he had gods scrambling out of their beds, so they would be ready to receive his prostrations.

And the day she arrived?

The men sitting on the porch dropped their cups of steaming filter coffee, the newspaper immediately turning stale. Around the house, children, women, maids, all trapped in the most inopportune freeze frame, playing, pushing, scrubbing, pouring, walking…only the television talking to no one in particular.

Enough embarrassment to pass around?

None! He brought her in like a monsoon cloud leading the rain, his wrinkled hand on her fragile arm, beaming like a full moon night, their slow shuffling steps walking straight into eleven open mouths. Then he asked for tea, in English. His wife, who could barely hear in any language, frowned at him incomprehensibly before a strange composure kicked in. The accusations started in the evening. The lady moved into the guest room that night.

And the wife?

She shrugged. She smiled. Then one day, she brought out the little blue trunk from her cupboard and showed the children pictures of a strange young man. With a pipe in his mouth. Stars in his eyes. Beaming like the full moon.

What did the children do?

Lit up cigarettes and asked for tea. In English.

all that smoke, all those mirrors
a fading ember
pretends to be a forest fire

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26 thoughts on “29 May 2017

  1. What would I feel if my father caught the spark? And would it matter? I have those pictures of a handsome young man with a pipe in his mouth. Theoretically, I want him to spark more as he enters his 90s. In reality, how I would face him. But here, I love how you invoke the essence of colonization–the foreign takeover–with the English and the tea. Subtle and deadening.

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  2. wonderfully contrasting images…i specially like the man’s forehead ash bright as the midday sun and the young man pipe in his mouth and star in his eyes…and of course the summing up in the haiku…

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  3. Wow, thisis an unusual Marcus poem indeed, and ireally like it. Especially the wife shrugging and smiling, and the young and older versions of the man beaming like the full moon.

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  4. Oh I love this! A really cool addition to the Marcus series 🙂 especially like; “He brought her in like a monsoon cloud leading the rain, his wrinkled hand on her fragile arm, beaming like a full moon night.”

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  5. I am always amazed (when I visit here) of your powerful descriptive writes. You are truly gifted.
    Love the subtlety of tea and English, the influence carried on…
    Anna :o]

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  6. I find your writing truly fascinating. I admire the skillful way you weave your stories: the flow, description and allusion all make for an excellent!

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  7. Your concluding haiku reminds me so much of our current U.S. president. (I wish it weren’t so.)

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  8. One Marcus poem was all I needed. I immediately started following you, and then kept reading and couldn’t get enough. What a marvelous concept for a series of haibun poems. You MUST publish a chapbook of these if you haven’t already. I can’t wait to read further and further down your blog to find the beginning of Marcus.

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    1. Thanks so much Sarah. Am delighted you like the series. You made my day! Haven’t considered publishing them yet… I’d love to hear your feedback as you read more.

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