Writing is hard
I sit down and start writing. When I stop, my fingers hurt, my head hurts, and I'm starving. Wow, writing sucks.
A few days later, I casually read through what I wrote, and I can't believe that something so nice came out of me. Not bad, huh?
Of course writing is hard. It's creating something out of words, and sometimes you don't even know how it ends. We're pouring our own hopes and dreams into the pages.
Eat bitter, taste sweet.
Where I come from,
The trees are sculpted jade
The sky bears a stolen shade of robin’s egg
The air is as humid as a troll’s armpit
And the earth, richer than a king
Its jewels vine and shrub.
The men are dark
The women are but fair
But surely ’tis the color of a raven’s wing
That adorns their flowing tresses.
And are those not tea-leaves
That wreath the hills far and wide?
Farmer, fisherman, doctor, lawyer
We are but one
And that is Sri Lankan.
I am the earth, your mother... Listen...
I see the silver and the black, I see the red that slowly eats up the green
I see the gaping holes in the loving shade I gave them
To protect them, to protect my children from the brilliance of their sun.
I see the poison they mix into my life-blood, I smell the rain that burns my skin
I see them digging, digging into me
I watch them dig their grave.
But it will be my grave, too.
The sun is their father, I, their mother;
His love is fierce, but mine is gentle
And so it is I that must die by them.
Death by wheel
I have a fear of the wheel.
Last year, in April, I went to my grandmother’s house for New Year, and my cousins were all there too.
I’ve always been a bit girly, so it is my bad luck that all my cousins are boys. I hated their games and fighting.
But I always wanted to belong with them, so I tried to do what they did. On that particular evening my eldest cousin brother had gotten a new bike, and we went into the playground behind the house to ride it. I have a feeling it was because of me too, because I wanted to ride it, but every time I got involved with something, it ended in me getting hurt. They were being careful.
But there was a cricket match going on, we couldn’t ride it there. So we took it to the other side of the house, where the road was.
I’d been to my grandmother’s house very often, but I didn’t know the neighborhood very well. All I knew was that my grandmother’s house was on a bit of a hill. My cousins took turns riding it down the hill and then back up. Then, finally, they allowed me to ride it.
I’ll say this for my cousins; they weren’t much older than me, just a year or two’s difference. They let me get on the bike without much reluctance.
For the first fifty yards, everything was fine. I carefully cruised down the hill at a snail’s pace, and then tried to remember how my cousins had turned around while they were going downhill, because I sure as hell couldn’t. The bike just kept going.
I hit the brake button but it was wedged somehow. I was slowly edging into full-blown panic. The bike was picking up speed as it went; I was going really fast now. Frightened, I tried to put my legs on the ground, but the bike was too tall.
“Help!” I screamed, crossing the border into absolute panic. I was hysterical. I hated the road anyway. I always swore I’d never learn to drive when I grew up. Now I was just whizzing past houses and people so fast. I didn’t want to end up in China.
The brake was wedged, the bike was too tall.
Maybe I’m going to die.
The bike was still going, with me clutching the handles for dear life (which wasn’t going to last much longer). I wonder what the passers-by saw.
Then ahead of me, I saw trees. The branches of trees near my feet.
Shouldn’t the branches be near my head? Maybe I was losing it. Going mad.
Then, as I got nearer, I saw that the road suddenly dropped off into a cliff. I couldn’t even imagine the drop. Those trees looked ginormous, and they were growing from somewhere far, far down.
I stared at the trees coming closer and closer, terrified. Adrenaline filled me, but there was nothing I could do, no way to save myself.
The bike toppled over the cliff. I was thrown off and slammed into a tree with the force of a jet.
Everything went black.
Poseidon’s minions come to shore
In raging storms that shake earth’s core
Enfold ships and swathe men in watery ropes
Aiming to destroy and shatter our hopes.
But when they reach the lip of land
They see what we built
The sight of the buildings rising higher and higher
It brings them guilt
And they break,
Break on the rocks that guard the shore.
Immortal beings-they cannot die
Even if the seagulls cry
But they break into salt and sea wind
Waves that swirl to shore.
The sickness spread through the tribe, and they buried more every day. Painstakingly decorating each corpse with ritual silks, placing two coins on the eyes, following tradition to give them a better life in the afterword.
More died, and more were buried with silk and silver coins. The tribe grew grew poorer and poorer.
The last to die were those who starved, and they had no silks nor coins in the afterlife.