Sunday, 26 December 2010

The Picture

But though they are gone, the night is full of them; robbed of colour, blank of windows, they exit more ponderously, give out what the frank daylight fails to transmit- the trouble and suspense of things conglomerated there in the darkness.
- Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway


Elie found an old picture of her mother while taking a stroll in a wood.

The art of wandering is mainly to seek for the astonishment of winding up in an unknown destination. To wander in a familiar place, on the other hand, is to contrive yourself a complexity with which it foretells a even more astonishing outcome. Elie took a stroll in a wood of the vicinity, an upset girl searching aimlessly for merriment.

Some writers come across their rebellious phase in their early developments. Others' extend to the day of their death, to whose scatter-brained relatives' dedication of a rather deadpan elegy might even induce some hollering rage from under the soil. Elie had a rather awful Christmas so she compensated it by a desultory walk in the wood- that sounds fairly practical for sure. But then her usual doggedness was obvious. Instead of resorting her angst to some excusable assails at wild lives, she coaxed the nature to spawn surprises. For the nature, with the sight of those trembling weeds manifested their apparent shock, it was the bittersweet tantalization before their final moment.

It is beyond moral discipline when one pries into the other's private affair so persistently that the action almost mirrors that of a mouse snooping for its bolthole. It better be satisfied once it settles fuzzily in its hideout, or with its perseverance the wall will soon be collapsed. A good story is made veritably good with its proper distance to the readers. The stimulus of mystery incites the readers' inquiring-eyes into where it is parasitized. It also sets tingles to the writer's pen which at times probes ruthlessly into that poor victim. All of you idiots spear the heart of the story and devour it greedily nonetheless thus it was some elixir!

There goes without saying the story's reluctance to unfold some personal subtleties of Elie's mother, her time with Elie, her maternal relationship with Elie, her role in Elie's family, her personality, the cause of her death, her death. It can only be revealed that the funeral was held not far from Elie's house. A small gathering of about thirty, consisted mostly of their extended family. The whole ceremony went as swiftly and serenely as that very day- no wind blew, no birds sang, nor any tears shed. Only the irregular throbs of Elie's heart was audible, and the sound was only privileged to her ears.

Scenes switched forward to the present day and Elie stood holding her mother's picture in the middle of a well-familiar wood. Tentatively Elie stood twisted the picture in her sweated palms. The earth, a roaring silence. It is believed that some people are so discreet that even their subsequent reactions or emotions require considerable time to deliberate about. Elie was no prude but she was neither the one who would easily compromise to abrupt overflow of sentiments. To save her from such an awkward quandary in which she could feel all invisible eyes fixating at her, how she wished the picture would turn into a mere block of ice, and melted unaware.

If the theory of the readers constantly being dismissed as outsiders is intenably sound, then it can also apply to the relationship between Elie and the picture. Although the picture cast her mother as its heroine, it gave no lights of welcoming when first picked up by Elie. It creaked with complaints in Elie's hands, and even if it was being laid gently, its demanding address to the wind made them suspected of a dangerous liaison.

Elie found it hard to muster up her courage just to take a look at the picture, although through glances an outline of the story behind was roughly made. Her mother was presumably in her early twenties. Beautiful as a flora, effortlessly won many hearts of men in town but powerless to challenge her parents' authority. Most probably her mother was made to sit in front of the cameraman, the only man in her life that really delved into her mind. Killed her and cooped her up in a frame peremptorily, with a single click.

But how strangely the picture dominated the presence of Elie, and rippled her emotions into tumbles. The power of the practically-lifeless, the immobile- like currents under some tumultuous waves. Elie still stood there, wooden-eyed, indecisive of her next step. For most spectators, this scene has almost got on their tethers end and the possibility of the ending to be inexplicably parodied is what they dread the most. Elie heard their worries, their indignation, but the residue of her astonishment had yet known to simmer down. Instead, it made Elie to turn her head and browse everything around her offhandedly. Trees, red dirt, sprouts, trees, weeds, barks, trees, trees, weeds...

Some said the boundary between fascination and boredom is never too difficult to tread over. It is the sweetness on your tongue which vanishes in a pace prevails that of you lingering on the flavour. It was partly with the aforesaid and partly with the pardonable fact that the sky was darkened. Elie decided to leave the wood, but first she must divest herself of this bundle. This picture, which mingled with her palm-sweats, had already entangled into a scruffy paper ball. The mixed feeling of both reluctant to throw away the picture and desperate to rid herself of it truly pestered Elie. How those two feelings from opposite poles could bring out the exact, heart-wrenching effect?

Not a second late. Elie eventually threw the picture away, but most unfortunately for the readers the story has yet to stop here. Like every crime story with the culprit trying to narrow-escape the red-handed scene, their groping for exit incurs some tugging-back. With every angle and every inch of the deformed picture trying anxiously to grasp Elie's hands, she shook it off in such a violence as if the picture was some fatal virus. The picture laid, at first tumbled somewhat but gained no further speed, back to its usual place. The crease of the picture encroached onto her mother's mouth. There with Elie's appalling eyes she saw her mother finally cracked into a smile. A smile that could live automatically on the face without any companies or embodiments of the other features. A smile that seemed more into the observer than the picture itself.


Elie took a big gulp of the soup and it stuck in her throat like a bundle. She vowed she would never venture into the wood again.

Elie vowed that she would never venture into the wood again.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Frank Sinatra, "A Foggy Day"

* Frank Sinatra's songs are widely welcomed by any occasions. They are like puddings, with various different toppings.

Some become broody in their early teens,
I took it further by pining for a life as a hermit.
As my age progressed,
the hankering only got more severe instead of blurring away on a blotting paper.
How the social scene has steered to the vulgarity plays a crucial role in consolidating my dream.
It is as if the whole place was turned into a massive barhouse,
the most outlandish and unwelcomed ones belonged to those who steeled themselves on their sobriety.
The desperate measures those heartbroken ones took to leave their beloved home,

and transported themselves to another place where they still succumbed to supreme drunkenness.
Being hemmed in an overwhelming scale of grimness and solitude,
they sozzled.

I appreciate shirking the work of being a submissive recipient of news for a day or two,
but my equanimity can only withhold a short while before I pucker my nose again to snoop for fuzziness.
It is as if a furnace could never sustain its unlikely renovation into an icehouse.
It would squeak, or sometimes, implode with complaints.

The fire in my heart spurs me on;
it also terminates the surreptitious path to a flinching reclusive life.
The aforesaid is not some paragon for some self-edifying cause,
but a rather firm declaration:
that a cat can never exude her prowess,
until she catches a mouse and claim the victory.

Until then,
all the mice must watch their backs.


"My tale is done. There runs a mouse: whoever catches her may make a great, great cap out of her fur."- Brothers Grimm, Hansel and Grethel

Saturday, 18 December 2010

T.Rex, "The Visit"

* Marc Bolan took a visit to one of his many dreams which was scattered with inexplicable patterns. Logic played the unwelcoming intruder.

I had a dream last night of the world turning into one of those settings in Harold Pinter's plays.
The world was practically normal; virtually silent with no other characters except myself.
The grave silence of the setting foregrounded the fastidiousness of one's ear.
The intermittent sound of a flushing toilet was acutely audible, interspersed with the throbs of my heart.
Suddenly a shadow fleeted through the window.
The queerest happened as I presumed the passing figure as a mere harmless passerby.
I, who is always suspicious of things, be it only a absentminded glance, succumbed to the mysteriousness in an enigma-rousing environment!

Then, like every other dream, my legs jellied.

Some spend the day muse about the most improbable,
or squander their doubts on trivialities.
The others seize their day permitting the hours slip through their fingers;
never panic too much even when the sky is a few stories lower.
Cast either of the two in my dream,
and make that passing figure an ominous assassin.
With or without notice,
both will be assailed

like a daisy being trampled in a wasteland.
The writer bears the sole witness.
Meticulously he details the process of the daisy's final moment on his notebook,
embellishes it with florid language and fantastical imagination.
He is at pains of saving the poor daisy's life,
the scene of her termination be the only prey on his mind.


"Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:- Do I wake or sleep?"- John Keats, "Ode to a Nightingale"

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Antony and the Johnsons, "Thank You For Your Love"

* Overload compliments will make the singer eventually reach into a crescendo of gobbledygook.

Victor Hugo once said that complimenting someone is like giving her a kiss on the veil.
Smug and flattered she might be,
but the kiss is merely stained on the veil, that damnable membrane.

Somebody has told you to rub those compliments into bundles of snowballs
and throw them all away when the monsoon came.
But your eyes are glazed over by the glistening beauty of the snowballs,
therefore you keep them, after much deliberation, and rather witness them inundating your corner.

Or people begin to complain to you that they can no longer see your face,
for the veil has lost its transparency with smears of kisses.
Little did they know, neither could you see clearly of your way.

Hold back your tears.
You should never let loose a drop.
Until you climb up that pinnacle,
and let the insurmountable altitude trigger your lachrymal gland-
you caress that little diamond drop gently in your cupped hands.


"Maxine honey, whoever told you that you look good in tight pants was not a sincere friend of yours."- Tennessee Williams, The Night of the Iguana

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Johnny Cash, "Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound"

* Johnny Cash's rendition of Tom Paxton's classic is hemmed in with grits and veils of smoke.

My train of thoughts always goes thus when journeying:
the nervousness propels the churn of my stomach growling for inexplicable hunger.
The mixed feelings of excitement and premature homesickness trigger multitudes of music notes in my ears.
Numerous music notes, play incessantly and intermittently, rush to and fro, like flies in net.
The melody blurs out with the increase of its speed.
As a result they all turn into awkward glossolalias,
the alien language I speak in some alien lands.

I love a journey without an end:
the prolong of one's expectation,
the expectation one relishes- I suspect it to be the only moment that is truly of one's own, the time one can truly relax.
I love a journey without a destination:
it is a reasonable excuse to shirk one's daily responsibilities and take upon adventures,
small scaled notwithstanding, life itself can be adventurous anyway.
And more expectations yet to come.

Because where you will land in might be none but a disappointment,
a disappointment that deteriorates your weary body,
a disappointment that makes you stare back several times and notice the unnoticeable:
the fly, the traces of smog, the red dirt on the bench, the candy-wrapper which hampers your way.
So you long for another journey.
That is how fickle lovers do:
they live in expectations,
they live without destination.


"Dull sublunary lovers' love
(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
Those things which elemented it."- John Donne, "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning"