I write, or I am written? Never would divulge on this journey’s end. Zillions of words written already, and zillions would come to be. In a living enthused, calm waters roar. A choice to make, writing or let go. For thoughts surround, bask at times, and others soak. Where do I then find, the season apt to sketch a character in this world to perform? Words are many and sentences range from cultures heaven or hell to strings or bodies made in secrecy. Those who could, most coherently, read and write, progressed. Rest dedicated themselves to living. There were towers of surveillance born in texts. Linguistic weapons charting out territories. And, as you are aware, hearts weeded out truths. Yet, we talk of freedom, in absence or engagement. Sometimes even in mute, a few characters shape stories to resolve this grief of the existential kind. Shrouded in stories our naked bodies. Woven and woven beyond, the literacy ages. Cultures and ornamentation evolve uncontained. To where we once claimed, our land, his land, her land, fatherland, motherland, Island…
A moonlit night over the calm sea. She sat quietly by the side on sand, where waters would greet once and recede. Meticulously placed her toes where the tides of this hour would always wash her feet clean. Far from her, on the remote end of the beach, fires and jubilations buzzed like mosquitoes in her ears. Her eyes though, fixed on the horizon, gleaming in moonshine, stars like diamonds floating in the sea. Rune had walked in mountains and forests once, where she had chanced poets prune their garden of words… Stare too long and a world comes to life.
“Why do we write?”
Banished once, some centuries amiss
Found in evergreen forest the voice
That speaks in melodies unheard
Each for the passing days
Food and water, shelter the smokes
Evening warm to skies azure…
Shine! Among stars so bright
That each whisper seals some more
Of breaths and waters compose
Lying on grass, seeks the lore…
When in currents, waters race. The united droplets bunch, sticking close, as if indivisible. Must have been the drop kind, that lasted a split second eternity. Sloth down to rest, forces range beyond… The end was never found. Only drops disappeared into frothy rivers. The mountain of writers, hence would never end. So had seen the country dream. A life inked to activity, always and beyond the general possibility. There were loud cries all around. Mist, the poetess, was dead. Or killed? We would never know, for all was lost to engine fumes and factory made clouds. She had moved higher up to the mountain in her primes. Trees, the other poets, gathered around her. She would weave worlds of mystery walking among them. We were the fortunate ones, who were born here in this magic. Mist would never speak. Birds would
render her platonic scales in rejoice of berries and fruits. They would announce all seasons, and weathers when it was time for her to leave. She kept coming back, but warmer each time. Rumour has it, her stories of the forest had fascinated souls in the urban jungle and they followed her to the mountain. Few writers stopped writing. For they accommodated Mist’s followers. They made food and beds for them, but could never understand what to do with their vehicles. Trees too were felled, because poets never had their say. They lived in silence of words fancy. Underneath mellow sanctions, dire chokings of smoke. They could be heard at night, the poets, coughing their way about the newly lined streets… Among them, the Drop, ventured all alone, reiterating tales of eternity. The world of letters progressed. Writers turned into content developers, creative writers into branding agents. And poets… Well, dismissed with a sigh.
Heartbreaks, they say, make poets. Had never known a heart, until the violent break. Would move rhythms many from one current to the other. Then became an everyday affair – flow, break, flow again, and break again. Why do these rocks insist on myself alone? I am among the waters, moving as one, breaking to one, yet many I see, as broken from streams. All around me. I am not alone. My fellow lives are not water; I have learnt that. Must protect my words from categories of land. I must, till the dying day, write to survive. My write to survive…
“I write because I have to.”
Quiet conceivably, writing creates a space of its own between what there is and what is seen. In this day and age, it is easy for us to perceive this space. The realm of words, as they say, is to be read between the lines. This was not always so. Writing was inscribed on rocks before it slipped onto the surface of paper. Inks would paint the cleaves on rocks. The words, thus, could never be questioned. Then ink spilled in lines and curves and emerged as sensuous handwritings on a surface called paper. Soon it was possible for handwritings to be printed on countless sheets of paper using embossed blocks. These days, we have replaced physical forms of writing with softer virtual screens and keyboards.
After known, never recognised
This place I call home
In senseless might.
Patrols loud sometimes
Echoes of silent frontiers
Midnight sleepwalking angels
Quieter perfumes on the road
Despair the season groom
My walk lost too soon
In warmth of violence
Sources keep receding
Glaciers were not found
Rivers unabated in their resolve
To go and keep going
Regardless the reason
If movement is the truth,
Why hold hands
And ask to stay?
“I write because I want to be a poet.”
Rune sat drenched, planted in sand. Her white gown, soaked in salty waters, could not be differentiated from her thighs. In fact, her waist was half buried in sand as well. She had lost sense of her presence on the beach to such an extent that she did not shift away from the higher tides. It took considerable effort to stand and to start walking. Away from the buzz, she strolled past the last fishermen boats along the beach, and mosquitoes appeared like giant fireflies from this distance. Breeze was rather strong here, and in no time her white dress and hair were found flowing sideways to their rhythm. Almost abruptly she stops and turns around. Nobody was there. Not a single soul. There was just Rune with a very strong impression of being watched. Her body was no longer dancing carefree to the breezes. A definite restraint loomed all around her to counter this gaze.
Oh Ghosts!? Who would know otherwise? Placed within words the territories and conquests of land. When Kings ran out of words, a book allegedly governed land, air, and water. Conversations flourished around the book. Protectors and custodians were proclaimed and different books became the law on different lands. Revolutions were hence, all made in good books. A promise to rearrange the strings of behaviour. Disciplines contested their existence. Spoke of the world and universe. To imagine, to ascertain, to change, and to manipulate were born each victorious in their resolve. Save the believers, all dedicated themselves to learning. To know and tell. The conversation infinite.
“I write so that you know.”
Drop frequently roamed around with his friends of different disciplines. Three ladies and two other men gathered where Drop had invited them. The last known sight of Mist. She was seen here in the days of young cinema and tea time conversations. Tallest of them all, Sylvia had an eagerness to know, but she would never allow it to break free from what her elders had inscribed on her. She listened carefully and glanced at faces of other friends, none of which appeared keen on knowing Mist. “They would all express their acknowledgement of Mist’s greatness just to keep Drop afloat”, she thought as she looked for perfect rock to place herself on. Conversations soon reached the sublime for Drop, and he couldn’t keep the other drops from trickling down his face. Ron, particularly astonished, announced his departure to behind the bushes for a quick leak. Everybody could hear him laugh, but no one mentioned that on his return. Dane and Elise held Drop in their arms while Sylvia and Bryan discussed their options for lunch. Ron resting on a Deodar trunk lit a cigarette and looked at the sky through the mesh of leaves and branches, puffing rather at irregular intervals. Elise dusted her maroon pants and picked up her bag. Drop had stopped weeping now and Dane perhaps in caution stuck close to him.
“We can have lunch at my place and go out for drinks in the evening.”
“Sounds great! I will come”
“Is there no way other than writing?”
“Yes, you could click photographs…”
“But I don’t recreate worlds…”
“So it is Elise and I at Sylvia’s place. Ron, Drop, and Dane?”
“Who said photography does that?”
“I think I will stay in the forest with Drop.”
“Yes, I will stay here as well. See you later!”
“Come! I will show you a picture.”
Inside a sweeter refuge, clans most elated. Hoots onward on the railway line, the evenings in ferrous lanes. When on the terrace we slept, stars abound and stories. Into midnight, sometimes early morning, would go on and recite days in childhood fantasies. Yes, we were all children then. Pilots, doctors, accountants, engineers, and artists together with Paris, New York, and Tokyo laden dreams. None of which could foresee, broken flowers in Granny’s garden. Reprimands in the morning, all dreams set aside. We grew up, protecting flowers in Granny’s garden…
Perhaps writing felt real… Although the reality of writing is as real as the one outside writing, we have confused ourselves to developing theories of a non-differential union between writing and the world. Thought has evolved around the presupposition that words and things are one and the same. Alternate thoughts emphasise the distance between words and things. An alteration of this kind, tries to bridge in the distance with conceptions of a relation. There must be something in the tree for it to be called a tree. An enquiry of the rebellious kind, would never indoctrinate words as predecessors of thought and vice versa. Words as names of things, chart out realities for us. It is in these realities we confuse and contest our words with other realities and worlds. Such is the story of writing, an infinite conversation, between ever changing dialogue partners.
Then into deeper woods remain three friends. Unaware in unison, hearts somewhere weaved the cause of Mist’s regeneration. We would write and write, until we find Mist again – No one said this, no one heard. Hands, yet inked together, held together. It rained hard that afternoon and nobody has heard of the three friends ever since.
“I write because it is the law.”
Who will ever read what I write? There are so many books already. Everything that could have been said, has been said. I will not make it to the legends of great writing. If I tell them that I don’t like Game of Thrones, they will kill me. I know Byron from Wordsworth, I cannot write like them. I write like I can. Isn’t it beautiful to write from the heart? I must be blind to skill. I have to learn how to write. I make lots of grammatical errors. There are no more cigarettes. I will kill myself. Maybe then they can read what I write. But then I will be dismissed as a lunatic. Who cares! I will do what I have to do, without worrying about what others think. I am a great artist. The first one alive to write the way I do. Isn’t that literature enough? I have my own
story. I write this story and I am the lead role. I am what I write myself to be. The one and only. Poet, Philosopher, or scientist.
“I will write until I die.”
Fine pictures of thought
Set mirages in sight
The caravan walked for miles
Water and food delight
Long winding roads
Valleys and mountains high
Dear traveller of mine
Eyes lost to skies
Sit by sometime
We’ll toast to the cries…
Beauty has forever been around. Few have recorded her in words and few have created her out of words. However, those who write are never left free of themselves. For the poet writes and is written. Writing, much like other aesthetic forms, involves a multidirectional nature. In the two recognized directions of self-identity, writing offers a field of passing or slipping identities. The fundamental premise to understand such instances of the slip is the knowledge that a writer is a writer for as long as the writing self is writing. The linguistic possibilities of inertial silhouettes of writers emerging in past or future do not write. They simply are vestiges of once an intense movement. Writing, in this sense, is the movement celebrated as present feelings, thoughts, or stories. The possibilities of a writer self-emergence cannot be denied on both ends of this differential movement – I write or I am written. The difference between these two possibilities is that of immediate and deferred self-identification as a writer. However, in the infinite conversation that literature is, a writer is constantly slipping. Slipping into situations, conversations, designs, groups, discussions, or feelings. Now, writing in a situation would mean either narrating the situation itself or conducting the situation as a role in it. In both these cases writing is immaculate creation, which can be differentiated on grounds of the awareness in its performance. The immediate awareness of creation is what scriptures refer to as God. The deferred awareness of creation is what is referred to as Human. Hence, it is possible to realize both God and Human in writing. And yes, both of these selves are performances of beauty, which are coded in writing.
“I write because I can’t.”
She kept looking back as she made her way to what once used to be a lighthouse. The ruins are now inhabited by a few artists who like to keep away from civilians. Rune attended all the concerts here and frequently read out her writings. This night she needed refuge from the gaze that kept following her. Although she was frightened beyond abandonment, she kept walking as if she wanted to let the gaze know that she was not aware of its presence. She even made sure to inspect the sands for any object that would come in handy as a weapon of defence. She had made it to the stone assemble now and the ruin was only some hundred
meters away. She could see the bonfire like a small oil lamp trying to range its light through a mesh of dancing vampires. The gaze seemed to be nearing, so Rune quickened her strides. This might have been the reason why she lost track of her pursuit. Stones beneath her feet suddenly disappeared and she could not save herself from falling into a ditch overflowing with weeds. The gaze could no longer be sensed, but strangled, Rune made a few desperate attempts to free herself from the weeds before she lost all will. She was bored now. Even through her feet touched the depth of the ditch, she was not sinking. Her head was well above the surface and free to breathe. She could even turn in all directions, so she decided to spend some time looking at the stars which from here appeared exquisite. There was less of sky and more of stars. The moon did disturb the starry night behind her field of vision, but that did not matter much here. The sky was lit abound with stars. Two shooting stars down, she started counting. Three, Four, Five, Six… The seventh count was disturbed when something firm struck her feet. It could have been one of her hard shelled friends from the sea, but it did not resemble any natural shape in her touch. She reaches for it and picks it up with substantial strength. Whatever it was, was on placed on her head like an earthen pot filled with water. There was no way she could have seen what it was standing inside the ditch. She had to leave her stars and move out onto the rocks. This time even the weeds did not retaliate. She was gentle this time. She wiped off the mud and muck, out appeared a casket wrapped in a thick plastic sheet. She quickly unwrapped the box. Perhaps she had found the lost treasures from one of her childhood stories. She knew they did exist for real. She closed her eyes and then opened the casket. But she did not feel any shimmer on her eyelids. “Ornaments definitely lose their lustre buried like that…”. Her hands touched the inside of the box. It was all dry. Inside, cantered something wrapped in another plastic was placed. She quickly opens her eyes. A notebook it was. She gathered the box, all the plastic sheets, and with the notebook held close to her heart she took a final glance at the place just to be sure. Rune ran faster than she ever had that night. On her knees in front of the fire, none of the artists seem to react. They were all busy dancing to the glory of Luna. Even Rune did not bother calling out to anyone. She flipped open the brown hardcover of the notebook: “Waterhole – The Drop”.
Far from the everyday
Notes to silence
Song of the Lorelei
Lulls to sleep mistaken sailors
Braving the storm and tide
Whispers a place to hide
All the ships at sea
You missed my heart
High on mountains
Among the trees
White, the royal tempest
My breaths release.
“I’m haunted by the ghost of writing.”
Repetition then became the philosophy of the everyday. To re-produce in performance the writing once lived. Tools were made to decipher and dissect classical writings. Those spirited
meters, masculine and feminine stresses, and lofty rhymes were cast on paper as knowledge of a poem. Words were bent at times in iambic lanes; forcibly so, sprits perished. Corpses of words in pedantic placed schemes of rhyme… A desire to perform the classical truths of beauty. Drop made it to the shores, unheard. Coherence was lost in midnight haze and love demises. Fear and prejudice rains in this mountain of writers now. Forests rejoice quenched of their thirst, million days old. Even factory made clouds could not hold the drops back. Drop was once among them. Flowing in streams sometimes, rising to skies at the sea, and with other drops falling back to join the streams. From window glasses to blades of leaves, and from mountains to valleys, the Drop had places to be… A friend of mine mentioned the other day, that books were the waterholes of cultures. Perhaps filled by eyes that did not want to hold back. Nor the hands, and the will to write…
The human performance concludes with a dissatisfaction of the writing self. The God is complete in creation; the human feels incomplete. For humans feed on the vestiges of their god in reflection. A lot has been said to address the humility of a human, but knowledge of the self and realization of gods are too potent to inflict progress and competition. Thus, there is always a contested performance of perfection. The writing of the real kind that can write itself. The writing machine. We have calculated meters and meters of lines, explored the spaces between them, and taught ourselves the classical stanzas. This knowledge has been programmed into calculators that can compute poetic stances much faster than an organic being. The classical human poet has now been transformed into a machine. Are machines humble as a human? If they were, they would be human… The performance of a machine is to repeat classical performances of perfection infinitely. Or rather for as long as the performance is choreographed by a human.
“I write for people.”
Greet the velvet muse
Our hands soaked in ecstasy
We have fates sealed
And all truths dared
When in courage
Speak the lost tongue
In forests of whisper
And beaches of surrender.
She was the air I breathe
Held me fixed to the leaf
Would wake in the morning
Her white embrace
Oh Mist, would you for once rise?
Help them wash their eyes
Those drops are stowed
Pining to be …
The ditch was cleared off weeds and dug deeper. Rune sat collected, the notebook in her thighs. A moonlit night then and since. Waterhole for slipping drops and lovers of mist. Meet Rune when you like. Don’t live with her, visit her often. For everything that can be said, is yet to be said. Her deep sunken eyes are still sinking. She writes and is written. You will find her at the waterhole. Quietly sitting and offering water, the elixir of life…