His easel houses the small, semi-oval
balcony, a precariously jutting block
of reprised tiffs between parted lover
and muse, often leaving his sanctuary
shabby like the gutters below echoing
reminders of a deadline to keep, a date
with the rural realities of his town
sunken by fate. Petite, pre-aged women
scampering; the sounds of their footsteps
tiny like the mice that languor on sills
for scraps of food otherwise scavenged
by men in bins of emaciated fortunes.
He watches the women hurry to work;
some he imagines to be collectors
of fortunes by virtue of a wink or smile,
whilst others in the grim, stiffed fingers
that tap diligently at a row of keys
of letters they wish secretly to use instead
in a play of coquetry to win un-laboured.
The life of each told through movements
of feet or pain emanating from sombre eyes
searching the path they walk for voodoo
or miracle coins to overturn overstayed trials.
Some men linger, leaning on fungal walls,
lowered hats over their unabashed ogling,
a foot propped up against the wall,
a broken twig of a dying branch resting
between roving lips like a fancy cig;
or amongst others sit with a coughing violin
or chipping flute, like parked vendors,
some retired, some ailing, others whiling,
chattering tall tales of youthful ambitions
now turned stale of vigour. They record
their neighbours’ or family women’s
routines; knowing intelligently of the money
to be earned by each house at month’s end.
…having sipped in, instead of a rich brew,
the vapid, recurring scenes of the day,
he glances at the dried palette of colours
chapped and parched hung lopsided
by his canvas, his mind white as blank
carpeting a potentially vibrant effusing
of a better tomorrow not hugely unlike
the morbid today; brings a cup of water
to refresh the paints, if not his spirit.
Umm-e-Aiman Vejlani has been published in a few print and online magazines such as Red Fez, Boston Poetry Magazine, The Commonline Journal, eFiction India, Tongue Magazine, and Voices de la Luna. She also writes children’s poetry for the website http://www.bolokids.com and lifestyle and opinion articles for http://www.hackwriters.com. She also writes (and has been published) under the pseudonym Sheikha A.
Simple but meaningful
thank you for reading!
Wonderful and so rich in detail!
thank you Robin!