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the ferryman's master hades me and good ol hades we go a long way back back to the times when we crawled on our knees with scruffy hair torn shorts and a shirt no we did not wear one we did not need one the sun yes the sun made it all hot and sweaty and sometimes almost unbearable we used to knock one-to-ones at the corner of the dark alley an occasional game of upmanship played by two one on one no audiences or maybe just a few he was meek mostly galvanized layer of scowl on the outside a fowl temper hammered into place out of necessity it is my duty he used to say i used to call his bluff i was the tough one the conniving one the one in my head the only one to put ideas in his head and thoughts that veered towards the extreme left of a shade card somewhere between


dark and very dark sometimes we used to sit on a pile of twisted steel and we used to wonder about the sculptor who so beautifully read and replicated our well-hidden temperaments but everything said and done we were just kids me and hades like a million others found sprinkled across the vast landscapes of wastelands the unneeded the unheeded like rotten furniture pathetically trying to justify the living in the living room with their carpets and fireplaces only here the only wood we had to keep ourselves warm were the bone-dry bones of a quitter who could not go on and it wasn't easy to use them we had to peel the wrinkled shrivelled dried up skin off them first and then make a pile and sit around it with our palms towards it and gather warmth as greedily as we could and then we would cusp our palms together to capture whatever heat we could we thought we could apply that fleeting feeling of warmth on our palms like a lotion across our entire body silly of us we knew


we knew even then as if we could and this we could do on a good day the bad ones mostly thankfully erased themselves from our memory and then there were days when well-kept boys and gals from the other side would come and visit us to see us exist in our natural habitats only they thought of it as an exotic museum of misery and pain and everything under them everything they stood upon and never had to see because never in their lives had they any need to look down and sometimes they would circle around us around hades more often than not and pull his shorts and call him names Plouton Plouton Look What Dastardly Thing This Scrawny One Has Got On they would say and sneer and hades would crawl into the crevice as far as he could he used to look at me for help but i his best friend used to look away out of fear that they would notice me and forget about him or along with him


pick upon me too and i being the clever one would go and hug and console and hold hades as soon as they were gone and their backs were turned we will get them hades i used to say we will get them one day you promise do you promise hades asked wiping his tears i do i said then take this coin and keep it safe someday you will know and you will be as good as your word and the promise you broke or kept keep this coin safe it will stand you in good stead and slipped away quietly back deeper into his crevice leaving most parts unsaid Jan, 2013


out of a whorl, into a rainbow a little something inside starts to whorl every time that little girl standing facing the sea stops smiling i stand at a distance and watch her it could be me or the sea either one or both who shrink a little and then i look at the back of her hand with which she wipes the smile off her face and whisks the tears away from her cheeks and i am filled with this inquiry so magnanimous magnanimous enough even for the sea that tiny little part of her the back of her hand holds so much together her smile and her tears and i stand at a distance and watch her and this non-believer of everything divine or anything great and lordly or heavenly me cannot help but feel weak and i summon my most effective words and conjure the most magnificent images to the best of my ability these words and images my efficacious replacements for a believer's prayers i whisper a wish


a wish which i wish is roaringly loud and heard heard by the Scales the one true entity that can claim superiority the balance of the nature which pampers and spiflicates all things while still cuddling them in her lap and maintains the randomness of this universe sometimes a gift sometimes a curse this is my wish and you cannot but manifest it this little girl weeping smiling standing facing the sea do you see her like i see her and do you see the back of her hand the domicile an uneasy unified and a harmonious one of her tears and her smile see it i demand with a clear eye under a clear sky in witness of the clear waters make a rainbow for her make a rainbow for her every time her smiles and tears meet and mate at the back of her hand this isn't asking much she deserves this much and this is how rainbows usually work don't they a single white light pierces a single drop like a lover does meet his lover and becomes a part of her


and then splits her into different colourful shades of her a colourful band which was hidden somewhere deep inside her you have the light her smile you have that drop her tears make a rainbow for her i demand you must and till this wish is heard i pledge before myself and her in spite of the fact that invisible is how she sees me that i shall stand watch her never leave i shall watch till the sea shrinks to the size of her tear and i shrink to nothing but i shall not move before that and i won't be able to move after i see the rainbow made for her till that happens she is i am the sea is and the back of her hand Dec, 2012


The ferryman