Monday sunset

It’s five fifty pm, on a Monday. Everything is red. In each of those vehicles sitting still in traffic, drenched in impatience, there are people with names and lives watching. Seeing the sun fall, they’re all realising that another day in their lives is over; That whether you won or lost, all you get to take home is yourself. For some of them this brings a quiet jubilation, for others it is slow hell. 

This is why often, sunsets and sorrow go together.

2017, Sundown, Judge Floro. Malolos City, Bulacan River.

Midnight man in Bambalapitiya: part 4

Was that you inside your face?
You said you had a name,
but it wasn’t Midnight.
 
Carrying a house on the back you said
you’re going to build a shack on promised land – it was free,
and it’ll have a wife and windows facing the sunset,
coloured walls, a bed and other sensible things.
 
You’ve remembered you have a son, who also has a little son—
I guess breeding makes sense
because when there are no more empty spaces left
you never have to look at yourself again.
 
I wanted to ask why, but it’s a wolfish world
and asking why is rude and unwarranted.
So I said I’ll come by
and visit you sometime.
 
I went left and you went right.
The city moaned in smoke, heat and grime
and under my feet the Earth started shaking 
because somewhere, somehow, a saint had died.

Image: 1917 Russian mask by unknown


A memory revisited on Independence Day

You signed on a piece of paper, 
swore on my sacred altar, 
and bowed to the earth I came from,
but, then you laughed.

You said your god is kinder
that he made us all equal
but, when I said I’ve already met her in the trees
you laughed.

You said my skin was blatant
my songs and dances absurd
but if I dressed and acted like you 
I could be forgiven.

But then, 
when I hated, like you, my own people,
and grew dead to my kinship with the rice flowers
you still kept me outside the door, and you laughed.

And there, on the other side, I wondered;
about you, your laugh, and your conscience;
and, about your tall house with a roof 
that stood afraid of the sky-fall.

But, I wouldn’t dare laugh at you.
and my rock, sand and water brain knew
that things move in cycles,
and, that’s good reason to fear the weather.

1868, Ceylon stamp; Ceylon Government.