Prose Poems, Stranger than a Sun
And then finally when night stood still, an evening, its reign of suntrance years, of wealth, wilderness and glory of many campaigns left in a river of subterfuge, its long sinewy columns rolled down the glitter in a night borderless on stealth and stubbornness. I have been living years of such understanding, that one day in a cover of duress and despair, time might conclude a hasty retreat, its tiny droplets may not even join and sections of unrepaired horizons would differ as nights and evenings revise a no-dissolving pact. The Volga at Tatarstan had refused time and again to curtail the living with the living, different voices sharing a confluence of similar strengths, Tartar warriors stood on banks stretching to sea, and the sea to many a skies holding aloft such spoken memories such relived lives. I had even forgiven you, you who once called upon words to reopen old forgotten closures. In an ageless complete, you are the reversal, you remain the scroll, and you are the substrate of my many lives.
Hillbrow at Johannesburg faces darkness with such ferocity; lights clamour over each other’s shoulder holding a falling sun, for here there can never be any nights. Forever evenings scream in shrill rejoinder, a clay complexioned Ethiopian girl with a long neck revises proximity from a cabaret number. Men from Abuja listen with shaking heads, some even recite silently. Colors of evening find asylum on foreign surfaces. The scarred white girl rolls her eyes and gives voice to expanding vessels. Living is defiance. Illumination is not just a street here and curtains part revealing revelry of age old explanation. It cannot be the same as it was at Gwalior or even Old Delhi. Each living stays far behind in closed alleys and assembling those, leaves foot steps that can never return.
Living and loving is a distant rite, I had often agreed to. Like a stranger living, loving too returns in such uneven evenings and dawns. Like the river bells or boatman’s voice traversing the dark, like the ruins at Hauz Khas in a sudden flutter of pigeon wings, like the crowd at Karol Bagh talking to people behind us, loving is sleepless in corridors, in trains when a blue azure sky turns maddeningly grey. The first drops of rain I could never catch, you decided then the victor is still pardonable. Defeat is loving and loving, the first drops of rain slipped past our many lives, many a times. Defeat is your eyes, your smile, your silence in such sand stretched storms. Living itself remains a defeat of times, eras always build up again.
What would you say if I tell you that I am back again? Again shall we ever decide, closeness can it stay as a legend, a Pashtun legend, dust and stories make even beautiful burials. Going back means untelling many such legends. Barren as it is on such bad lands, life once moved balanced perfectly on dewdrops. Dryness remained covered in sheaths of our talking. And in such moments once happened, surfacing again takes even longer. Yes, what did you say when nothing was really there except us. What did you say when a sky hiding us just turned back, what did you say when loneliness of a raven flashed once in the dark. What did you say then?
Yet we are forever lonely. We were lonely even when we were together. Your sudden laughter at an afternooncafe in Connaught Place on that day made people turn and look at us. Your whispered smile said, Aren’t we all structures, trying our best to resemble each other. It was then my turn to laugh, spluttering Nescafe on your face. Loving was the ultimate loneliness then struggling to keep up with desperate evenings. And as we shared our nights of gentle violence, gentle killings, an evening took us back repeatedly to where we had never lived. This is the evening I try to share with you today. When the train comes to a screaming halt, these are evenings we could never correspond. Loneliness takes us over again with an avenging belief.
Tartar Warriors -- Xia Taptara