Monday, December 08, 2014


Yes of course, I know best. No one feels it in their veins quite like me.
How can you not know, when you look deep into me like that?
Ok, ok maybe you're right. I did not do so well. And time is running out.
Question is, what should I do now? Just muddle along?
Or strive harder to somehow balance the checklist you gave me long ago?
There is so much to fix all around me. Its overwhelming.
Then there's the stars and the frothing seas and my coffee and my cupcake.
Simple, sweet, intimate, rewarding, meaningful.
I'll think about it tomorrow, I'll sort it out.

You're really screwed up, you know that, dont you?
I mean, for goodnesses sake. The writing's been on the wall.
Its been staring you down impatiently to be read and recognized.
I am giving up. I am giving in. I am giving away.
Here is my strategy for my nemesis. Ignore. Shrug off.
Sucker, go away! No more. Thats it. I wont play your games.
New rules, new hair cut, new dress. Its Christmas!
Mmm I can smell the rich, soft, liquored, delicious fruit cake
And the glowing warmth from grandma's ancient fireplace
And our shadows meshing against the silent walls!

Ordering in time is insane, stupid, boring.
The contextual order, thats important.
How my brain stacked you up next to the paisley throw!
How I pick these earrings and know you'd have loved them
If you were alive to see me wear it today!
And my new red shoes hurt my heels, who's it all for, anyway!
I am going on a vacation. no I'm too busy with the busy work.
Miles to go before I sleep, but I'll sneak in a day dream for now.
Gosh, I'll think about it tomorrow, I'll sort it out.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

You never caught up with her secrets, did you?

Kisses you never shared, occupied her mind
And she cried over breaking up with you
You never caught up with her secrets, did you?
Your unborn children filled her house with laughter
And mischief and romping and sweet-smelling sighs
She saw bits of you in them and cried
You never caught up with her secrets, did you?
Years went by, and the highs and lows of life
You walked side by side, old friends
Lonely, out of step, with private needs
That steeled, scarred and charred your souls
Both guarded their wounds with admirable conviction
You never caught up with her secrets, did you?

And at the end, when you saw what it was
You hadn't cared to see before
It was all too late, it was too far left behind
Past conversations resurrected uselessly in your mind
Thoughts and gestures ricocheted around
A kiss, a tear, lost and found
And you try tighten your grip, willing this to stay
But wisp by wisp, it flies away
Away, away, beyond recall.
Wish you'd caught up with her secrets, don't you?

"...what of the song you wrote in love?
Once upon the moon above?
What of that sweetness that still endures
Linking her soul namelessly to yours!
Intertwined you'll remain
The pain will go, went the refrain
If only you could find yourselves again
In those forbidden gardens midst the monsoon rains..."

Monday, September 01, 2014

Why I like Ayn Rand?

In this recent frenzy of listing books that have influenced you deeply, I found several mentions of Ayn Rand. It was certainly on my list. It is a bit unusual though because most of us would generally side with the liberal school of political thought. To me, Ayn Rand will always be special because she made me realize that our notions of good versus bad is not so black and white, early in my life. That is a bit of a strange statement, Rand being such a relentless Puritan. However, truly, processing her re-categorization of every notion of virtue was actually a pretty confusing exercise. One that was thrilling nevertheless, because of the unique perspectives it offered to my mind.

For example, I already knew how the immediate circumstances or the local context could color an act. I have stolen a cookie when my partner wasn't watching and told myself I could live with that deception because I was hungry and that made it alright. But, what I never quite grasped before, was how the distant circumstances or the global context such as the far reaching consequences of an act or the deep rooted philosophies of the doer, could also color an act. Feeding the hungry is always good, isn't it?

Ayn Rand made me realize why not to feel driven to feed the hungry. How pity, is a disgraceful emotion, most disrespectful of the human spirit. I realized how important it is to leave the fed with a sense of renewed purpose in their lives and not just a full stomach. When I see the United States struggle with its image despite the many acts of altruism it constantly engages in, I feel like there is a reason they suffer this fate. They just feed the hungry and they are done with it. Most no-one is better off from it other than the corrupt middle-men perhaps. They expend minimal effort in spreading the philosophy of self-reliance, in teaching people who the US really are, other than big bully with the fat purse - and so that image endures. I have seen so many who live in this country unaware and uncaring of the philosophical principles this country was founded upon. You cant breed loyalty out of thin air.

Rand taught me how the why was as important as the what in whenever you choose to act and just not for you, but for all parties in the equation. I learned it is as important to teach someone integrity as it is to teach them math. No lasting good can be done without initiation into the right philosophy. I think this is the essence of what I took home from Rand's writings.

So tell me, what did you take home from Ayn Rand?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The beautiful Yosemite

This is my fourth time at Yosemite. A place I come back to again and again. I love to watch its many deers; either grazing inches from me, or, among the tall grasses in the meadows; a place where I had an antelope skirt me by in supreme nonchalance; where I saw my first wild bear family - a mom and its cub rushing across a distant creek for a fleeting, unbelievable second.

Every time I go back, I learn a little bit more about what it is to be in Yosemite. To close your eyes to complete quietness and listen to the leaves rustling in the wind. To smell a faint oak in the air. To soak your eyes with the green. To stare up the tall pines and sequoia trees. To gaze in wonder at the sheer facade of the stark granite ranges. To hear the rustle of its many waterfalls. To trek up to one and be overwhelmed at its sheer force, to catch the frothing amongst the boulders at its feet. C'est Magnifique! I play deep woods sounds sometimes at bed-time. And then there's falling asleep to the sounds of Yosemite. With the crickets' songs or the occasional pattering of the rains on your tent roof. To listen in the darkness and learn to relax.

Night skies at Yosemite are a feast no photograph can ever capture. A wide open sky of starry brilliance bequeathed to life on earth. What a pleasure to lie down and star gaze and wonder. To wonder at the milky way. To wonder at the light from the stars that started light years ago for you to catch them tonight. To sit on the board walks and transcend into another world where you forget to be full of yourself.

Yosemite is many things for many people. There's the happy campers with their camp fire songs and merry making. The seduction of liquor and fire, an ultimate release. For me, beyond of that, it is an opportunity to enjoy silence, to enjoy solitude. The chance to truly slip off of the grid. No cell phone, no email, no internet. There's the changing color of the sky, there's the company of my husband with whom I dont need to talk to communicate. This time there was also some of Grappelli to spice the air. The little time I had felt like eons. A meagre two days offered a soothing balm to the invisible signs of struggle of my brutal city life. Viva Yosemite!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Could I wear those pearls?

It was cloudy outside. I was in that undecided anti-climactic frame of mind that this weather often will induce. Sort of lost and wanting to get away; where, I couldn't say. Unable to concentrate I tried to clear out my desk. And then an email came. It was short with a simple request, politely worded as always. I looked at it wistfully; undeniably happy because it was a missive from you, and also somewhat dampened by the onus of the task. Feeling more and more numb really, as more of the reality of the task sank in. I had known it was coming. I don't understand this strange inertia I sometimes get stuck with, about tasks I know will wind up with me. What a silly instinct it is to cover your face and pretend what you don't like does not exist. Anyways. I tried to refocus my tired spirits. Shortly after, I realized I had better leave. It was no use. I wasn't going to be able to work anymore today.

As I drove home, it started to drizzle. The traffic thickened and slowed. My mind drifted to a conversation from this morning. You spoke very well; but then you always do. I like the way you use your words. And although I speak the language well enough, I could never use them with your elegance. Sigh! I love how you leave people feeling calm and yet empowered to reach for things they hadn't wanted to reach for themselves before. And you do it with such an understated style that it does not feel like the world now rests on their shoulders either. I wish I could put you on someday, over this drab of a self that is me. No, no, strike that last bit. I am special too. Even if I miss your jokes often, am awkward every other minute, seem to freeze up like a deer in your company at times.. just because.. just because I take the time to appreciate what you are all about.. beyond the calls of politeness or self-interest.

You do disappoint me, you know? More often than not. With your reticence. Or is that wisdom?! Typically, you leave me with the feeling that while I do the job, there's no way I have distinguished myself so far as you are concerned. I haven't the talent. For the better or worse, how you work me up to the throes of happiness or despair is my secret, my burden, my damnation. Pity, that! Not just for my sake either. You have made others fall short for me. And my burning ambition is to make others fall short for you. Can you even understand that?

I got honked at. What the..! A colleague who was on the next lane was trying to let me know that he has spotted me. I smiled back. And then tried to stare ahead. Unfortunately I couldn't pretend I didn't see he was bringing down his windows. You moron, I am not interested. Go home. We made some small talk straining our voices; for goodness's sake, we were on the highway! And then I was able to thankfully maneuver an escape. I shouldn't be rude with him, I admonished myself. He was, at least, always trying to be my friend.

Had you left for the day, my thoughts wandered back to you. Have I imbibed any of what I like so much about you? Is it even possible? Sometimes, it makes me sad, because I feel I am boxed in because of the box I am in. There is no escape. Circumstances often give us a mantle that few can look beyond. But then there are those moments between us. Of complete camaraderie, instinctive understanding. Real or imagined, I couldn't say. It does give me a place to stand. It allows me to hang on to the belief that what we share is real. And as I move on I take an exclusive bit of you for keeps.

Monday, June 09, 2014

A Little Something

Keith stood alone on the waterfront. The lagoon stretched out before him, lovely and shimmering in the evening breeze. The sun had gone down a bit earlier. The sky was a dull orange rapidly turning purple. A flock of sea gulls were resting some ways from him. Keith searched the rocky bank of the lagoon, looking for something.

He had been working late hours pretty much all of last month. Tomorrow he would present his findings. He felt weary. What he had for tomorrow didn't seem like good enough. How was his new boss going to take this, he wondered for the umpteenth time. God knows, he was trying! An involuntary sigh escaped him. It is what it is. He purposefully started running. He would run up to the Mariner Point, a good three miles, and then back. That was his routine. A sea gull started to glide on the skies next to him.

Keith loved his jogging. This unstructured bit of solitude gave him the opportunity to brood aimlessly. The exercise helped him unwind. He never felt lonely in this desolate windy patch he ran every evening. He felt comfortable in his skin as he jogged, enjoying the rhythm of his own gait. It was a special feeling. But today he was a bit uneasy from the start.

From a distance, he saw some boys fishing in the lagoon. As he passed them, he thought he recognized some trout lined up near the water. Keith never liked the artificial blue they added to the lagoon to keep the algae growth down. He mused dubitably about the catch. He did like trout. His wife would love a fresh catch if he were to take these home. Those boys would be too happy to sell, he knew. But he went past the boys and kept jogging. Maybe on his way back if they were still there.

Suddenly he thought of Luce. Luce Dickson would know how to position his case for tomorrow. She always had the right words. Maybe he should invite her to the meeting to back him up if need be. Should he call her now or perhaps after he gets back? Will that be too late in the evening? As he continued to muse on these lines, something pounced at him from the dark. Keith did not know what hit him.

A medium sized black dog, also on its evening exercise, had jumped up at him. He hadn’t seen it coming in the dark. Keith stumbled and fell to the ground. As he had been jogging pretty vigorously, the momentum from the fall hurt him quite a bit. But he was numb to that pain. Keith was acutely afraid of dogs since an ugly incident when he was four. It had gotten better with age, but never went away. Thrust upon him thus, he was back in his childhood in that moment. He began to sweat profusely and froze up with terror. He lost his voice and could not cry out for help. As he stared at the sparkling eyes of his attacker with bared saliva clad gums and teeth, nausea filled his mouth. And then, the dog was off him as suddenly as it was on. A sea gull had poked the dog and it was off shooing at the new target. Keith watched the gull brave the dog and draw it away helplessly from the ground. Few feathers and drops of blood hit him as the dog snapped at parts of the bird he could reach.

The owner had spotted the commotion and came running toward his charge. The gull was able to fly away safely. The man apologized to a trembling Keith. His dog was apparently trying to play with Keith, seeing him jogging away. It’s the dog thing to do. Keith felt too drained to be angry and just wished the master and his monster departed soon. Slowly he rose and retched. He drank from his little bottle of water that he always carried. He rested a few moments. He pulled out his phone and dialed Luce. He tried to distract himself from the hideous few moments of the past by thinking of business. Why hadn't he thought of Luce before? Luce and Keith spoke for some time. He felt better afterward. He finished the remainder of his jogging mostly in a slow trot, but in relative peace, resigned to whatever was in store for him. The trout was of course wholly forgotten. .

He stood a moment gazing at the now dark rippling waters, back at the spot from where he'd begun. A half smile broke on his face. A sea gull was homing in on its favorite rock. Keith watched it with gratefulness and satisfaction. Keith wouldn’t discuss the encounter with the dog with anyone. He was rather embarrassed of his affliction. A bird, perhaps this very one, had saved him tonight. It had become a habit for Keith to watch this particular one perched on that very rock, every evening. It had bothered him to find it missing earlier today. Keith stood looking at it, trying to spot the broken feathers or other signs of struggle. He couldn’t really tell. He took a moment to look into its eyes in the dark. The bird seemed to stare back in silent greeting. Keith felt his heaviness lift. It was going to be alright tomorrow.

Route 51

They traveled the same route for almost a year now. Marie cannot remember when it started. Somewhere along, she had begun to take notice. Somewhere along, he had begun to belong to her. And then, he wasn't there on the bus one day. Marie kept looking hoping to spot him. Each passing day, she waited for him to show up. He never did. Marie struggled to come to terms with the change.

The reality of this infatuation was sadly brief. A mad grab at hope, jostled close on the crowded bus. There was the one day she had felt him graze his body over hers and unable to move away. “My stop’s coming”, she’d whispered to him, wanting him to somehow prolong their moment. “A lot of folks get off there. You’ll make it”, he’d whispered back, willfully misunderstanding her. Undeterred, she’d drunk in his cologne, stealing eyefuls of the crease of his lips. And that was all. It felt kind of empty and strange, missing him. Marie sat on her bus, playing with the little bits of this man stuck in her heart.

Duke had begun to sense Marie’s obsession with him some time back. He felt a vague sort of narcissism grip him every time they crossed paths. He would smile at Marie a little extra sweetly, almost unconsciously. Marie picked up the appreciation in Duke’s eyes when she took a little extra care to dress. Duke remembered her now and then with a bit of regret. He had left town for good on a sudden new assignment from work. A spectacled woman passenger on his new commute reminded him of Marie. The girl in a short green dress with highlighted tresses shining in the sun. Marie sat remembering Duke’s deep hazel eyes and the riot of freckles on his face. A sigh of regret escaped both lost in each other’s thoughts.

Several years now into different lives each, Marie and Duke have come for dinner at Rick’s rib shack this evening. They see each other and feel a bit restless as each tries to place the other with a name and a context. It’s that man from route 51, realizes Marie just as her husband returns to their table. Duke turns toward Marie again and notices the man approaching her. “Hey!” He’s off the bar stool in an instant coming toward Marie’s table. “Man, what are you doing here? Whoa!” gushes Marie’s husband clearly excited to see Duke. Apparently these two had been classmates for years, having grown up from across the street from each other. Duke accepts Rob’s invitation to join them for the rest of the evening.

Being in consulting, Rob travels a lot and will have to catch a flight later tonight. The couple had decided to eat out to celebrate Marie’s birthday in the little time they had. The evening progressed warmly. The old friends reminisced easily and regaled Marie with hilarious escapades from their days. Time flew and then Rob was shrugging into his jacket as he kissed Marie on the cheek, ready to leave. “Honey, just relax. I know you love desert. Do that here and Duke will keep you company. I will be fine taking the cab.” He’s glad to leave a bit early as the possibility of traffic had been worrying him a wee bit at the back of his mind. He was glad he was not leaving Marie alone. Duke was family.

Marie eyes Duke’s double banded wedding ring askance, as she sips into her cappuccino. It’s a later addition, not from her time, she’s pretty sure. Has Duke recognized her? She can’t tell. The four past years have not been unkind to him. She finds it difficult to focus as she struggles to block her memories of an imaginary relationship with this man. “You’re very quiet”, observes Duke. This young woman had increasingly impressed him over the course of the evening. First, he was curious because of a resemblance he’d noticed with someone he felt he knew. Now, it was just Marie whose company he was enjoying. She was clearly intelligent and had a great sense of humor. Rob was a lucky fellow.

Duke drunk deeply as he emptied the last of the wine and then slipped in the next question, “Is it hard, having Rob travel so much?” Marie says it is not. Her life is pretty irregular too. Her hours are brutal when she’s on a commission as days merge into nights until her work is done. So Rob’s schedule suits her fine. Duke remembers his recent quarrels with Lara about his lack of engagement in their three-year-old marriage. “Where’d you meet?” he asks on an impulse, as he looks up at Marie. “Route 51”, rings silently in his mind, as their eyes meet and the years fall away.