Names

1977c9d41d90d958857369bb2c8ef4d3
Artwork (not mine) inspired by Joseph Cornell 

Blessings
encapsulated into being:
an A, an E, maybe a D
or, perhaps, two Ts:

You grow into your name,
or maybe you don’t know
what it means. Google tells you
that you’re a “child of God”,
or “the Messenger of Angels”.
But I don’t want empty titles, or
non-definitive purposes. Neither am I
a word lost in the passages
of light, or meaningless verses.

The story spills, rolling about
from the dregs: pale pastures of bitter coffee.
Of two really bad wines –
a glass flute lies casually on its thinly, curved side.

A discarded button lies on the floor,
reflecting a pale bluish Singer hue.
Ethereal grandmother eyes, sandwiched
between ancient, jovial mischief
now sparkle as she takes to the tale:

“80 years of strife,
and of withered family life –
of the seas and of many lovers,
drowned in the jungles of Malaya.
A man that disappeared off the coast,
taken by two khaki-clad men:
who is to say, or say afoul
of these dangerous mice
that masquerade as men?”

Somewhere in between
the halogen lights
rests the slight pause
of her dexturous fingers,
the shadow looming

in the form of benign presence,
all in all, right in front of me –
she who wears them all,
clandestine threads
inpalpably woven in her blood:

she, half-hidden by the light
of the lamp, who gently
pokes the needle through the cloth,
humming the medley under her breath.

“I took you to the fortune teller
and he took a look at you –
and he named you right there, and then.”

But what does it mean, Mum?

She continues to sew,
the silence punctuated
by the scrape of the key.
The door creaks open
and a stilted gasp of light peers in.

It dances on her face,
illuminating buttonhole dimples,
tracing soft-worn wrinkles
and lifting her face
from somnabulant monsters.

“I don’t know, honey –
count it as a blessing from the gods?
But what you make of it:
that, I can say, such will be.”

Francesca

francesca_woodman
Image  by Francesca Woodman

The silent embroiderer continues to weave. The rain tinkles, their spherical bodies dashing themselves against the window panes.

Her needle; quick – sharp – is the sniper resting on the water’s edge. Then it dives in, that little pinprick of red, and a flame slowly flickers on the surface of cobalt silk. That sudden flare, the inevitable anger! She stops her work, startled.

Then it quivers; dilating in a spectrum of orange, and the sudden memory of a held-back slap inches its way to the surface. A tear-streaked face, painted in hazy shades of white and grey, keeps repeating: “No, mamma.”

She tilts her head, grappling with the memory, her eyes narrowing involuntarily. The hazy film continues, unaided. But the persistence of her laconic reply rapidly gives way to the explosion. The hand moves suddenly, from out of the corner of her eye, and a tingling sting radiates across her fleshy cheeks, stippling its anger across naive flesh. “But why, mamma?” And another slap. “But why?” Slap.

Then it dims to night, as if someone had turned the light down a notch, and a blanket swims into view. Its hunched folds, pregnant with a slowly ebbing warmth and some strange, pernicious yearning now seems to her like that distant glimmer of stars, brushing against cold, stiffened feet, offering some unfulfilled premise of yet another forgotten story:

But what? And why?

She touches the cool metal, that sits neatly in the clasp of her throat, that silent observer, yielding no truth to her curious fingers, but pressing down on that hollow at the base of her throat.

Her chair creaks. The damp air clings to her. She stops her embroidery, and looks out through the dirty windows.

The cuckoo, doomed forever as that instigator of abandonment, starts crying out its wretched call in the fading daylight.

© Zelda Reville


Again: hi.

Edit: Just realized that today is my 2nd year anniversary on WordPress. Damn, I feel old already!

 

You can bring me to the flowers, but not the flowers to me!

girl-with-bunch-of-flowers
Photo by Gül Kurtaran on Unsplash

There was a dude
who bought a bouquet of roses

for a girl he really, really liked –

but the colours that leapt before her:
January’s spring! Quivering arrows;

hiding their thorns
in crinkled, silver foil

brought not joy – but, instead –
dismay to her eyes.

Then the girl said,

“Never mind this awful Valentine’s Day cliche,
but there’s something you have to know:

“you can bring me to the flowers,
but not the flowers to me!”

The dude, surprised by her words,
only had two words to offer: “But why?”

She continued, her mature stance belying
the terra-cotta freckles on her little hands:

“You see, my hands may bring them warmth,
but not the sustenance they truly need:

some water, sunshine, earthworms
to loosen the soil – or, even better – butterflies!

So leave them alone in the mucky dirt,
because that’s what they really, really like –

and bring me to the treetop walk instead,
because – my darling – that’s what I truly LIKE!”

© Zelda Reville


Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all!

Pro tip: not all women like flowers, not all flowers are like women. Enjoy.

Snow

snow-mountains
Photo by Ant Rozetsky on Unsplash

This poem is written with relation to these quotes by Osho. Or maybe not. 🤣

“So I say to you, even to a well frog it is possible to communicate something about the sea. And if the messenger is really inventive, he can create devices to communicate. That is what a Buddha is doing, a Jesus is doing – creating devices to communicate something of the sea to well frogs. Because there is one thing in common – the water. If there is one thing in common, then connection is possible, a bridge exists.”

And this quote here could describe both the ecstacy and frustration that occur when we communicate with someone else.

“There are three hundred languages in the world and three hundred languages for rose; there is no relationship, all relationship is arbitrary. Cold is related to hot, well is related to the ocean. Their relationship, however indistinct, is there – real,  not arbitrary. But between a word and reality there is no relationship, they are not related at all. So you can have your own words, a private language, you can call anything by any name.If you like to call it something else, the rose will not fight in a court. And nobody can prove that their word is more correct than yours, nobody can prove it because no word is more correct or less correct. Words are irrelevant, they are not related.


And this snow –
born in the cold:

the shade of an old man’s beard,
marking transitions –

the pearl, glistening,
spread open, all opportune
nestled between hinges.

The untouched language
of  Indian textiles; before
purple and gold existed –

the bare glint of a pebble,
all lonely on the sand.

How could I even try
my hand at comprehending?

There’s 50 words for snow,
but no single word
to cut to the absolute bone.

Ruminate all you want,
come up with dialectics
till you go blue in the face –

but still,

 

“All this snow –
always born in the cold…”


I’m really, really enjoying this book…and really, really enjoying this rain….

Ripples

ripples-and-light-on-water-surface

An infinite keyboard,
on which raindrops
play their circular melodies –

instead of do-re-mi-fa-so,
or A-B-C-D and E

we hear ‘plip-plip-plop-plop’

and little sampans
drifting,

in their
uncertain ways.

© Zelda Reville


 

Ayahuasca

 

woman-lying-in-the-shadows
Original image by Valentina Aleksandrovna on Unsplash.

i

How, best,
to persuade myself,
that the dark
was only the sonorous prelude
to a devastating new dawn?

How best, then,
to swallow
my owned ennui,
tasting as bitter as the medicine
it was supposed to be

where you could feel
it going down the throat,
working its twisted magic
around that seductive word:

“This is you. That is definitely you.”
“Why don’t you? Why can’t you?”
“You! What did that person say!”
“That’s not you! Defend yourself!”

As the first spit
of bulleted words
come out of reflex,
allowing cynicism’s seeds to win the war –

Thought patterns of negativity?
Nope. Nope!
Welcome to my new positivity!

ii

Now let’s take the other roundabout.

Maybe I should
sip gently at grief instead,
taking it for a flute of champagne –
which Ol. Mrs Diddlydum thrusts
into your shivering hand, saying:

“Plum, and plumpest
of them all –

the entertained always pull
the biggest strings.

So, of course,
the most bigoted capitalist

makes for the best agony aunt!”

Tell me, then –
who spins the purple umbrella,
while coaxing
the most virile tongues
to do the dirty work?

iii

 

All the woodwork
of the old,
the bastardizations
of the new –

Is this now
the only exception to everything:

a strictly allowed diet of blood, and only blood?

Reading Naked Lunch – Chapter 2: Setting

fish-market-man
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Need to jolt your mind? Chapter 1 of Reading Naked Lunch is over here!

The salon appointment arrives, twirling its skirt of forced gaiety on a Sunday morning whirl. We quickly set off, passing by tired aunties resignedly pushing their little aluminium trolleys filled with fresh produce from the market. Blue, pink, metal – Tudungs, hijabs and bobbing, unwashed hair. Pimply faces. Eyes squinting under a merciless sun. Mynahs squawking, pigeons going about deceptively innocent businesses.

My bad sleep last night means that I find myself trudging through a slightly hallucinatory state. This is soon confirmed by a speedy ball of barking cinnamon fur weaving itself through its owner’s legs, nearly tripping him up. Trying to get a hold on my own fatigue, I mutter: “That is a poodle. A dog.” Goddamnit. I need more sleep. The acrid smell of coffee, interweaving with the simpering smell of condensed milk, drifts my way, an invisible seduction rising from the hovering pinpricks of light in the distance. This is where the coffee shops call home. This is also where I call home.

I breathe in and get punched in the face for my efforts with the stench of hot oil. Thankfully, hunger never discriminates. We turn to the right, walk down the hotch-potch variety of shops and stop at the second-hand shop, gazing past stagnant pools of antiquated junk that has now invaded the vacuity in front of the next shop like some malevolent virus. Cassette players, music CDs, sad-looking branded fashions, silver watches eaten by the time of rust…

The shopkeeper, a little lady with red hair the same shade as her sprightliness, smiles at us and we exchange polite banalities. I look at her crimson hair, nails and smile. Red lips disappearing into the void of pink flesh, where the lipstick fails to cover her paleness, enveloping its voluptuousness over little, sharp teeth. I think she looks a little like a vampire. I catch myself in time, just before the words leave my mouth and into the beautiful yonder of a potential social blunder. My internal alarm screams at me: YOU FUCKING IDIOT –

We open the door. A little bell tinkers. Again, another assault on the senses by sharp hydroxide, the ceaseless chattering in dialect, hairdryers screaming up a storm…dear god. I sit down and take off my spectacles. My uncomfortably naked eyes starts to squint under the fluoroscent glare. To make up for it (fuck knows why, honestly), I start smiling vaguely at my reflection. I make out two panda-shaped blots in the Impressionist lens of my myopia.

Shit, that could have been a grimace. Horrified, I quickly revert to blinking obscurely at my own visage. The torturous procedure of hair relaxation soon commences, but only after an hour since the lady besides me takes up much of my hairdresser’s attention.

The perfect time to start on my book! I lean back as much as I can, squirming in the fake leather seat as I do so, and open my book…


I love the immediate sensory thrills of the wet market in real life. Dried cuttlefish stinking away in large styrofoam crates, the raucous calls of stall owners hawking their wares, having a speedy breakfast of soybean curds and fried dough fritters on a particularly cramped table…

A Cup Of Water

caffeine-1869720_1920
Photo from Pixabay

Cylindrical circumstances
moulded my body
on this grey-lit morning;

and a fruit fly
hovered over my disaster,
compounded eyes wondering
if this was a disaster of fate,

or of my own making –

but not I.

© Zelda Reville


Sorry about the lack of updates – I’ve been diving into stuff about the eclipse! I didn’t get to watch it, but I’ve been looking into the mythology and deeper meanings behind it. Watch this space!