The Ocean and the Sky


She loved the ocean.
She spent months in deep sea,
Atop a titanic metal straw
That tankers sipped oil with.
She loved hydrodynamic metaphors.
Her poems were letters in bottles
Bobbing along sharks and dolphins
And plastic islands of use-and-throw.
Her angry sunset dissolved in brine
And precipitated again at dawn
With a calmer colour on its cheek,
Profiting from a good night’s sleep,
While she drowned in dashboards
From one dawn to the next day’s dusk.

I loved the sky.
I spent months in open air
Among perfumed leaves that carried
The fresh fragrance of inhaled stories.
I loved aerodynamic metaphors.
My poems were kites on yarns
Flapping along crows and cranes
And exhausted clouds of pipe exhales.
My nights blanketed the cold sky
With a moth-eaten bedsheet
Whose orifices swayed in the breeze,
Ever so gently, never too much,
Twinkling the light that passed through,
Twinkling again in my starry eyes
As I wrote down what they told me.


She often dove under
To understand the primitive
Evolution of our modern nature,
Hidden deep in our layered spirits.
She loved the quiet underneath
So much that she’d angle low
Even on buoyant occasions.
Though, when her refracted reality
Seduced her into treacherous currents,
Or, when the pressure got too high,
Her inner gyroscope centered her,
And brought her to an even keel.
Soon, she’d slowly surface again,
Periscoping with silent insight.

So, when I landed in her life
And shredded her level sea
With my reckless rotor blades
Without ever touching it,
She said she loved how I hovered
Through a pressure far lighter,
But far more temperamental,
Offering little resistance to the pull
That threatened to crash my soul.
She loved how I could lift her off
And take her places, securely
Strapped in, but yet so free,
To witness the vast generosity
Of the primordial soup underneath.
She also enjoyed my little game
Of sculpting nimbuses into characters,
And sending them on different paths,
Nimbly pitching and yawing around
Far above the clutches of real life.

She said she could even strip
Herself from her ocean home
And go see our parent lands,
So long as I was there
To pick her up and carry her,
And pull my own weight too,
For she would have to push back
In waves of loving ferocity
To erode the shoring resistance
We knew we would meet.


The rocks on shore stood firm
And cautioned us against us.
They asked the girl of great depth
And the boy of airy worth
If on our magic carpet rides,
We both forgot to remember that
The ocean truly meets the sky
Only at the horizon –
That infinitely elusive illusion
That has doomed many a romantic?
Everywhere else they merely touch
Each other on the surface,
Tension keeping them apart.

We rebelled against this design.
We stormed the land together,
Uprooting heavy trunks of tradition.
She tried her all with all her might
To tsunami into me and stay.
I tried my all with all my might
To typhoon her up and hold.
We managed, together, to declare
That we’re a force to reckon with.

In all that storming, all that energy,
Who we were was changing fast.
The calm and depth and freshness
We loved so much in each other –
Sacrificed or traded off or bartered,
Depending on whose word you take.
She no longer noticed when I lifted her
For that was now the expected thing,
But when her depths pulled her back,
She said I had let her down again.
I kept cursing my ungraspable being
Or protested how unfair she was,
And I raged the more, to lift her more,
But she was scared of my thunders now,
Scared of how her self darkened in me
Charged up now, discharged again,
Its flashes dazzling reality.
And so one night, she bid goodbye,
And retreated into the doldrums.


They talk of the calm before the storm
But never of the calm that follows it,
When people pick up their lives’ debris
And question the comic-book reality
Of alchemical collateral damage,
Of shielded lives now shattered,
By Ether’s patch-eyed Wrath,
By Nature’s one-eyed Fury.

I take my gaseous self now
And try to fill some quieter voids
In someone’s frothy morning coffee,
In someone’s spongy weekend cake,
In someone’s tired bicycle ride
On a three-day dirty oxygen diet.
And though I cannot know her now,
Though I know not what she does,
I sense my blues mirrored in her.
I know beyond a cloud of doubt:
She will always cradle a bit of me
In tiny bubbles throughout her self,
As I will cradle a bit of her
In tiny vapours throughout mine.

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