Cheryl_tmb2Cheryl Braganza

11 of the poems were written between 1965 and 1975
and the last one, ‘Again a Farewell’ on 5th of May 2008,
on hearing the news of the death of her favourite  aunt in Hertfordshire two days earlier.

 

  1. Thoughts on a Wet Afternoon
  2. You and I
  3. Tribute to a Bedsitter
  4. Open Invitation
  5. Only a Broom
  6. Farewell
  7. Dedicated to a Myth
  8. Because
  9. When the Temperature Falls
  10. Relic
  11. Ever
  12. Again – A Farewell

Thoughts on a Wet Afternoon

 

It is damp and cold

Three days since the washing began
Not of my hand, nor my feet, nor my clothes
But of my hankering seed, so
Clogged with dust and smothered by
The heaviness of thick air.

It was the rain

Seeping into me as it did into the ground
I swallowed it with relish, for I was
Thirsty. Now, as I watch the slush and the dirt
Gurgle into nothingness, I scorn for
It is not free ? it will never be.
It will cringe into oblivion.

Before the rain

I foresaw my soul crawling that path. She
Breathes easy now; the continual drip of water
Uncovered the harder layers convention
Had built around her. She is liberated.
The seeds of rebellion will sprout. She will
Fight and confer, smile and abuse. Victory.

It is damp and cold

An eagle whines. I wonder why.
A crow caws. It is laughing at me, hilarious
That I am wrapped in thought. I want to hide,
I move away. He follows and caws again
Yelling ?Live life, don?t think it. Eat
Whatever it throws at you like I do. I never
Get indigestion?. With that dropping
He flies into the rain.

It is damp and cold

I am alone    with the rain

Too much alone

I lose myself    in thought again

***************************

You and I

I float above the ground, of different texture
A substance within a substance, entwined around
A harmony of knots and yet a single whole
Who looks upon its counterpart, its abode,
With an air of greenish smoky triumph.

This mould, my scavenger, how weak and humble,
How laughable that it should gather dust and lap up love
In every season; to swallow gall and reek with passion
To live for life as life had chosen, to lie awake in anguish
Uneasy, lest sleep destroy the only force that matters.

But in this void, my search is for a hidden world where
Mind and soul and body are one, devoid of puppet-shows,
Of plays and prattle, of love and time, of faiths ?of life
Where you will not exist, only I and the breeze
In our whirlpool of fantasy that you had called reality.

No thirst for God, no forgotten truths, no confessions
To poison my world, to tantalize, to disrupt. I alone to be
A sublimation of the past while you remain a stub, inanimate,
Awaiting your flight through all eternity. Keep waiting my love
While I gate-crash into that smog beyond the stars.

***************************

Tribute to a Bedsitter

Twelve by eight. Number twenty. Kensington.
Words flickering in the draught to the
Hissing of snakes in the basin, we lie sprawled
On the blue and delve into Tunes and Henry Miller.
He belches chocolates and froths coffee for other mouths.
The pink feather is intact. She blinks away flies, then stops
To peer through the Observer, a window to her world.

Time is constipated. We feed upon nudes and Picasso.
Irritants that make us squelch, gurgle and puke them out
Into the cold. They freeze instantly. Repose and a
Shuffle of eiderdown. A breath of the Beatles.

The boiling kettle is with it too. Coffee is dealt
And pompous Miller returns, disheveled. The air sizzles,
Luxembourg erupts. Words thud upon the walls, mere boomerangs,
As a corn-oiled landlady lurks in the coals outside.

I lick my letter closed. She sips hot chocolate and toys
with Sylvia. Suicide, the ultimate aim. Time has healed,
and in number twenty, they flicker no more. Like butted cigarettes,
crudely extinguished, they stifle into sleep.

***************************

Open Invitation

Only a Chinese lamp limping awesomely above, reflects
The slimy aura of the Far East. Six Germans hunch
Silently in a corner, mincers at work. A round man
Walks in and sits opposite. A reminder of a horse
I once loved. Through his glares, he is assessing me,
And gets nowhere. My knocked knees and wiry ankles
Turn his head to a brighter world on the adjacent table.

Two bell-bottomed waitresses ply to and fro, confusing
My serious deliberations. A Liu Shao Chi crosses my vision,
Sulking under a shining, steaming skyscraper. Ah, food!
Howling Jags accompany this beaten summer and the air
Hangs heavy on our little nitch in London town. Justine
Lies tenderly by my side, blending notoriously with the
Chilli sauce, which, like her, was born to rot guts.

Here we all are, bellies lined with noodles, bundled
Sheepishly in this Chinese bowl with no windows. No doubt,
An offering to some oily god who feeds on us with chopsticks
And season us with bitter herbs of sloth and ficklesness ?
Gentle, milky torture. Come, you who read this, why are you
apart ? Join this labrynth for shunned fun in the sun,
What you may call, a taste of l?infers perhaps. Prost !

***************************

Only a Broom

A broom from India. My only link
With the past, a symbol of that gawky existence
Where man must bow to sweat, dirt and blood
And suffer solitude in guilt.

No charm to beguile, no scenic beauty unspoiled.
You must waddle in grit and relish in
Filth to unveil the core of India whose pores
Stink with corruption, her staple diet.

But within her deepest walls lie a hurricane
Of sweet tears, bubbling, sparkling, thundering
From virgin mountains, lashing out her cause,
Clamoring and existing for that cause alone.

How gigantic must thy soul be, India, to endure
Such miles of strength in insolence, of crowded
Solitude of darkness in sunshine, of misery
In truth. And yet you are devoid of love ?

Confide in me and my damp soul that I myself
Might rise to the heights of your mountains
Seep into your waters and flow into that valley where
Only nature lies and brooms extinct.

***************************

Farewell

In this bursting meadow, now a dream, we met after
A long empty winter of drought and silken mists. The stars
Were witness when you appeared from the shadows and awoke
In me blushing blossoms, smiling birds and floating grass
That fed my hope, gently pushing me to mingle
With the gods in their blurred, rolling pastures
Of divinity.

In confused contentment, we lingered, hands conversing,
Souls converging, silence echoing silence, till the
Pregnant blossoms melted into mud and the birds ejected
Their melancholy in tears that soaked us
With emotion and left us victims of our wanting selves
Splintererd with feelings, red, green and blue, so harsh,
So flabby, so mundane.

The heat excels and we have deserted the gods. But that is
Nothing. The grass has yielded to hay, the trees to coal,
The fruit to birds. The sparrows have fled to the horizon,
Where you like they will descend with the sun into the night
And awake refreshed in a meadow far away from memories.
Until that time, smile with me, while I lack words to leave you
Never to be with you again.

***************************

Dedicated to a Myth

We loved you Chantelle-maybe it was I not he
Who stubbed you out beneath the grit
Before you ever smiled or cooed or sucked. Stupid me.

I learned to know you too late, little one.
Like he. Like a thousand others. Another pink umbrella
Abandoned on Bus 211. Irretrievable.

Where are you now Chantelle ? Tell me that I might
Approach you for comfort. Lost property office? Cling to me
A withering ghost running beserk in Beaconsfield, torn, dissipated,
alone

The rotten chewed-up seed of a rosy apple mauled by
Hell?s incisors. Black magic. In Parc LaFontaine now, strange winds

Slither between lovers and shadows reflect a day one August when you were born.

I loved, Chantelle, with vigor, with force.
You saw it all, you there cuddled up beside the pebbles
Writhing with the worms. Is he the culprit or I ?

Quick, out with it. Or does a victim never judge
Those who leave their prints on mottled doors in Chinatown,
Or Sherbrooke Street, or NDG.

Are you warm, Chantelle ? Sorry about the trip to Mexico
In our secondhand Mini. Come, let?s dream of panchos, of tostitos,
Of sombreros and never stop. What is your verdict ?

Another summer. I?m heading north. No destination.
Mumble out your answer to the world and only I will hear it.
For old time?s sake, remember ? we loved you.

***************************

Because

I threw a stone at the sunset. It cracked
And burst into a million fragments which emptied
On the sky and trembled down, like deep tears.

No tracks were left in the scowling blackness; only
A pale perfumed silence which excited the hounds to give
Chase in slow motion. They never returned.

On tiptoes, the forests burst into shards of color
Curtains of gold, copper, grass swinging
So royal in the breeze, floral flames.

Like a knife, the burning embers peeled nature of it dignity
Clawing at the soil for acceptance ? dissatisfied lovers
Who die before they are killed. Drained. Twisted.

This is my symbol of time, my symbol of why. Enough
to fling the heart back into its locket of anguish. How
Tender an illusion, how fearsome this fate, when we are alone.

But this is beauty in sorrow, a landscape of floral griefs
Soon to be mown out and left tragically naked. Why did
I throw that stone ? I know now. Autumn beckoned.

***************************

When the Temperature Falls

The temperature stumbles into icicles
As moving icebergs on the street fall silent
Exploiting lined pockets or harboring canine collars
Measuring each careful nimble step.

In buses they unload their tense muscles
Sniff at musty air, no care, that passes by like
Fishes thriving in dirty water; hands held high
in nazi salutation, entwined, engloved in silver bars
to keep equilibrium, their eyes revolve and tumble
through the day gone by. No smile, no movement
of the lips nor heart reveal statues jerking from one
museum to the other.

The degrees accelerate and the commuter disappears
Into the orifice of the mountain as newspapers shuffle,
Scarves unwind white necks and red faces; frozen
Landscapes dance by frozen windows, unseen, unfelt,
Unloved and smoke oscillates before frozen eyes.

twenty below, thirty below and the steaming night
Rises high into the clouds forming above the city
A giant glittering rosary of hazy stars

***************************

Relic

Fling a whisper to the stars and watch it fall. It came
That night, while the lights nuzzled on the fir, op art boxes
Lay languidly below, the clink of heavy glasses emerged
And arid gullets copped down the spirit of the season.

Montreal was awake to it all, awake in silence, waiting for me
To stage the act. No one knew. They never perceived that
It had at last begun. A picture blotted in my senses, coiling
Gnarling incessantly. Product of the white past.

ails topped with white, cream falling over black strawberries
Little moving insects that claw each other?s tails in a
Forgotten chain. Lurky grotesque figures rampant in the blizzard
Fluorescent spikes. Caged, they sulk at me and wonder.

Why the window mists. I tax no brains. I only behind pale glass
Search this complex. But the eyes yield and a blank page drills
Deep, deeper into my furnaceof dreams. Bells tinkle on FM. I try
To seize. My palms are empty and the jagged mirage appears.

So the search continues.It has led me through long,tired deserts
On to a purple island. There I dodge life and raindrops
Till the snow comes each Christmas night, pressing on this giaand
Freezing my soul. White relic on white sand.

***************************

Ever

Adam was born, then Eve, then I
And now I?m left
To wonder why.

The stars, the trees, the sunsets too
Visions of love
Hateful to few.

Happiness lasts so short a time
Is happiness an exile
Or is it a crime?

Sorrow, the core, the heart, the soul
What treasure of feeling
Of beauty, unfolds.

Dad died, then Mum, now I
The purpose of life
Accomplished ? SIGH.

***************************

Again  – a farewell

She is a shooting star – no not Bollywood –
you know that sudden light that appears in the sky
that startles and brightens up the darkness,
then disappears and reappears
again and again and again

She is that hint of brilliant white
brandished by the artist’s brush across a seemingly sombre canvas that stuns the viewer with delight to
return to admire the painting
again and again and again

She is Andante, Grazioso, Vivace all rolled into one
dancing daknis in flowing sarees, jingling anklets and pulsing rhythm across our field of vision
that spreads rhapsodies and smiles so wide they envelope
us in sweet joyous moments
again and again and again

She is Ulysseeta, the restless traveller
floating on streams of clouds, of boats, planes, rickshaws, everything that moves back and forth in Time
that seeks to pick and gather blossoms of mogra, lotus, oleander
for the fragrant home altar,
again and again and again

She is Kuan Yin and Lakshmi, bejwelled deities,
turning kaleidoscopescompassion, love, giving, forgiving, giving, forgiving,
giving, forgiving.
She is embodiment of a soul that trembles
of a heart overflowing
again and again….
and again .

***************************
© Cheryl Braganza – May 5, 2008.