We’ve fled the city with its memories Of breaths and names, and instead left behind Our fickle footsteps lost to every breeze And found again beneath the weight of mind. I teeter on a slippy edge of time As teenage chatter drowns the car I’m in In laughter that must constitute a crime When fused with snores designed to waken Jinn. There is no thinking I could ever do While in this otherwise efficient train, No headphones block the sounds I play unto My mind which never falters to retain The garbage that once heard stays on repeat Until I’ve gotten off this blasted seat.
The first, when tragedy befalls a soul Through sudden death or grievous injury, Through feeling quite a measure less than whole When comes the hurtful loss of dignity. The second, when a soul is drenched in praise With all its humbleness exposed as wealth That in its terribly intricate ways It attributes all greatness to itself. The third, when heedlessness sets heart on fire And pours despair abundantly as fuel But then the inward eye, it drowns desire And sends its soothing waters up to cool. This is the day, now is the time to cry To let your love return and cool your eye.
New short story, The Sound of Bangles, is up on Channillo. Matthew Lambton of the East India Company matches wits with an elderly lady in a hamlet on the banks of the Yamuna. — — — 1763 Somewhere Between Agra And Azizpur The cool water revived Matthew Lambton. He blinked to adjust to the afternoon sun stinging his eyes. He wiped the water from his face, and almost immediately winced as the pain at the base of his neck returned. The memory of what he endured resurfaced. He sprang up on one leg and peered around him with the exaggerated wariness of a hunted animal. The trees swayed silently in a soft breeze. Sun beams pierced the thick green ceiling of the forest and found their soft destination in the dust. They were gone. He had counted six brigands, armed with knives and sticks. His mount was gone as well, with all the West-African trinkets he had hoped to take as gifts to Azizpur. Also gone was the youth he had employed as his guide. He cursed himself at his imprudence in breaking protocol and ignoring the oft-repeated advice he had heard over the years to be wary of strangers. “Paani peeyoge?” Read more.