the pain of living is a pain i invented

like a candle that is on fire
little men crawl and bawl and
die in hands wrapped in surgical gloves
the candle will burn but not into nothingness
vague memories of an ode to the assorted
wisdoms of foolish people – wiser than I,
but a fool is a fool is a fool – that said
energy cannot be created or destroyed
a candle then, that burns and burns a bloody
ruin into my head

there is no meaning to being, Dhruv,
no meaning to being if you’re standing on
the deep sea bed with kilotonnes of the
weight of the world upon school bag shoulders
no meaning at all; but we journeyed thence
didn’t we, we dreamed.
once I stole a dream and remembered
of course it was a dream, but of course it was real
a wise man with a candle flame that burned with
the heat of a million candles said so
once I stole a dream and the little pocket of
memory that hurt my head, that burnt my head,
that kills my head but ah, that promised me the breath of stars
perhaps that is what the candle burns into,
perhaps not, perhaps the candle burns into wax and
the metaphor doesn’t work anymore
perhaps that is what we burn into, Dhruv,
perhaps we burn into the breath of stars.

I stand in the cemetery ground, old flames but
new methods, and the dream is a dead man who’s
skull I have heard cracking a million times, each with
the finality of loss, and the dream is
probably making music with a peg of whiskey
and a packet of four squares around somewhere
father, dad, fucking daadi mooch, is it come to this
that your body that was so warm that day December 14th 2008,
when the priest told you to hug me, was colder than a spent candle,
is it come to this that on November 23rd 2014
I spent the day studying how memory would
immortalise a man?
bullshit. memory, kinda like the ash I held in my hands that day
when hari mama told me to dunk my face in the water
and I did and wished I could breathe it in, daddy, breathe in the
dream you dreamed and walk on that last bed of the sea and
breathe the breath of the stars, the ash went it’s own way, but
the memory stayed on, piggybacking into fantastic visions
and miserable hopes till that one day, I know not which day,
it died.

it is not dead yet – in a minute there is time
there was time and there will be time, because
death is not the end nor the beginning,
not life nor the lack of it,
death is not ash strewn in a little sea
or the songbird in the cage that is the world,
death is not sleep and death is not awakening
death is not the serpent that eats it’s own tale,
it is all that and more, so much more.

all this I’ve found in a desperate attempt
to rationalise, justify and understand
in a minute there is time, there is always the sceptre
of that clock that ticks it’s seconds, wibbly-wobbly stuff
of which I’m so tired, no more, hell with it
it is not dead yet, I am content
and the world is beautiful still,
and there is enough whiskey in the world for you and me
(fuck mcdowells though, crazy man)
and for all the devdans and for all the shyams
there is time now for many great songs
time for a poem about talking vegetables or two,
and perhaps for a minute there will be some more
to breathe the breath of stars and to watch the
aeroplanes take off as we walk together on the sea-bed.
it is not dead yet, I am content.


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