Saturday, 12 November 2011


There must be something
called transparent time,
whose segmenting and segments
slip through the world's fingers
and settles in hearts;
moments that stutter
unrehearsed words that surprise lips
and call for a gathering
among pages
that refuse book-marking.
there must be, i believe,
night-blue textures
awaiting stardust sprinkling,
a little magic that makes
these colourless time-slivers
now and then.

[From the collection 'The Underside of Silence', shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award 2009]

Friday, 11 November 2011

She and I

Amid news stories and fairy tales
news room gossip and editorial direction,
in the to and from of my passing
in glance, random word and the swapping of jokes,
in the unplanned way of elements
and reasoning of a madman,
I saw her.
she was not waiting for me, nor i for her,
we were just passing through
through a nation and a century.
an accident,
nothing more. 

I was waiting for myself
and she,
she waited for herself. 
we ran into one another
and ourselves.
said our apologies.

And day after day
from heartbeat to heartbeat
in the now, the evermore and
worlds and years iIve inhabited
and those that took up residence
in my heart
with or without invitation,
there's a girl
who never arrived,
a girl that went away
and a girl that never will leave
the pieces of heart-made paper
as such I use to
paint her face
from a time I remember.

[From the collection 'The Underside of Silence', shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award 2008]

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Snake Charmer

And in the end
once the long day's work is done
and applause has disappeared
into other conversations
and night-plans,
once snake has charmed
and monkey entertained,
does charmer steal away
into dream-box and wonder,
'who was the player,
and who the played;
who was monkey and cobra,
where are my scales,
where is my tail,
did I bring them home,
or were they used
to gift-wrap audience
and celebration?'

*Inspired by the photograph, taken by Piyumika Pathirana

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Devotees at Ruwanweliseya

These faces
that of child, man and woman,
carrying karmic signature
devotional intent
talisman of learned history
and unconscious genetic strain
of event, personality and metaphor,
are they the same mix,
more or less,
of those who came before
and will they come again
and again
until final erasure?
These footsteps
silenced by chant and babble
are they different in texture
sansaric print
weight of veneration
in blend of tenderness
and callosity,
as those of the first flower-giver?
And the flowers,
were they similarly fragranced
century to century
through blood and marriage,
rupture and benevolence?
Did the flame enlighten then
in eruption, flicker and death
as it does or does not now?
There is time and time
heart, sinew and thought
the play of the kleshas
resolve and resignation
a sil-suwanda connecting millennia
like pirith and thread,
break and continuity;
unities defying description,
as it was
and will be.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011


They come and go
these waters from long ago and tomorrow
captured now in ice,
now drawn from a child’s bubbled joy,
and then again from epileptic froth,
decorated with plasmic red,
gathered from a continent and a cloud
spit and polish
a whale’s breath and a butterfly wing;
they come to wet sand, erase footprint,
leave trace as line and dampness --
and in the brief residency
and momentary caress
sand says ‘mine’
and spray just smiles. 

[*Inspired by Piyumika Pathirana's photograph above]


Monday, 7 November 2011

Ode to a boat untouched by time

Between the visited and to-be visited
the embraced and the longed for
the place we came from and those which await
the before and after of wave-break and sunset
of dawning of death
love and solitude,
among yesterday’s archaeology
things traced and extrapolated
in the unexplored seabed of dream
amidst thought-shoals unnamed
and currents that dodge anticipation
there is a moment that invades sand
examines the woodwork of being
where madness unites with sanity
lover with lover
where broken dreams scramble into awkward image
where random clicks and structured browsing conspire
to reveal, hide, corrupt and erase,
designed for indescribable grip
and cleansing
by abandonment.

[Inspired by this photograph by Hiranya Malwatta]


Sunday, 6 November 2011

Life is brick-made too

The one-bedroom, toilet and kitchen,
rudimental household-start,
the many layered mansion
the forbidding wall
fortressing against intrusion and envy
the house of the ill-willed and generous
Tyrannical and warm-hearted
the corporate towers of the blush-less
the temples of justice
where collar-colour and bare-necked
get castled or acquitted
as per swayability,
the residences of gods, demons and belief-systems
those articulators of faith and credulity
yes, parliaments too
they are all blue-printed in brown
frilled with scar and callous
obliterated even
in labour’s immemorial clays
unseen, unseen, unseen.