Friday, June 4, 2010

A Billion Beginnings

I must begin again,
over and over
from the scratch-
the long, red one-
on the left shoulder.
No, not there, here,
behind the ear-
see the scar? Open it!
Dismantle a few bricks-
you can place your finger in.
Feel it. A hard, papery wall.
Dig, claw, and clear the web,
bring a sweep, storm it clean.
The swinging doors never close-
but sway in the midnight breeze,
Come on, go on, go in.

Trace the elusive echo-
the tear on the fabric of present.
Past is the viscous oil, lazily floating,
at the bottom of an oval jar.
Upturn, shake, squeeze-
let it trickle, seep in through the tear-
become a tear and dribble down-
fill the limpid frame
with the tired resonance of long ago.

On a night
a hundred moons ago,
arced necks assembled
and watched the drama unfold-
of death, silence and blood.
Played out on the tarred dust.
Muted video, as though of-
a grainy sequence shot
with a clandestine camera-
it filled the amazed eye.
Blood black on the monochrome body,
broken, bend and lifeless.
A mass of destroyed ego.

It splayed out, sucking in all shades
inhaled breath, motion and emotion-
a slow shutter, a prolonged exposure,
a moment stilled, petrified
captured and stored
wrapped up in the shroud of past.

How memories can be conjured up!
When near-asleep, or sipping tea,
chewing a crumbling cake,
perhaps the sight of the empty cup
or of a spittle-speckled street.

Indelible streaks, looping footage-
playing over and over again,
emitting numerous beginning,
identical starts, like the morning anthem-
singing in all radios,
across the sub-continent.
On sooty walls, tea shops, shelves.
A systematic chorus of genesis.

I dread these snakes,
reptiles of still-born time,
fate and haunting irreversibilities-
biting their own tails and spinning out
unending beginnings, impossible endings-
the hours go on and on and on.

- Jeena Mary Chacko