Saturday, April 15, 2006

Among Strangers

Who are these white strangers
Upright in starched aprons,
Flannels ready in scrubbed hands,
With bright smiles stitched onto their faces,
Their blue eyes fixed on messes
Round her mouth, their noses held
Against her leaking smell?

A white porcelain bath stands
Antiseptic on a wooden floor.
Thin fingers turn the tap,
Measure out the lukewarm water.
She climbs into a brief assault
Of yellow soap, then shivers, thankful
For release to a coarse towel.

Black shadows creep around
Rows of creaking metal beds.
Humped beneath two grey blankets
She thrusts her knees towards her damp breath,
Clamps her arms tight against her flesh.
At last her urine seeps out
Warm, familiar, spreading into sleep.

By Elke Dutton
(Taken from Writing for Self-Discovery
by Myra Schneider and John Killick)


The above poem was written by Elke Dutton, a participant in one of the writing workshop conducted by Myra Schneider a well-known UK poet. She started off with Flow-Writing about silence and afterwards focused on a small part of it, which she later developed into a poem. I really like this piece and so do a search for her background or poems in the Internet.

Unfortunately none is to be found. If you have any links to her poems please let me know. Thanks.

A friend of mine, Liz has bravely taken up the challenge and participates in the still on-going NaPoWriMo 2006. To be frank I am quite tempted to do the same though not necessary during the month of April.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Feared Drowned

Suddenly nobody knows where you are,
your suit black as seaweed, your bearded
head slick as a seal’s.

Somebody watches the kids. I walk down the
edge of the water, clutching the towel
like a widow’s shawl around me.

None of the swimmers is just right.
Too short, too heavy, clean-shaven,
they rise out of the surf, the water
rushing down their shoulders.

Rocks stick out near shore like heads.
Kelp snakes in like a shed black suit
and I cannot find you.

My stomach begins to contract as if to
vomit salt water

when up the sand toward me comes
a man who looks very much like you,
his beard matted like beach grass, his suit
dark as a wet shell against his body.

Coming closer, he turns out
to be you – or nearly.
Once you lose someone it is never exactly
the same person who comes back.

By Sharon Olds taken from Satan Says

Afterthought I

I had a very weird dream yesterday.

I dreamt that I was in a classroom. I think it was my primary school but I am not too sure. It was raining heavily and after a short while the water level reached the school’s third floor. I was standing near the window and saw a boy from the next class climbing out of the window. He started to run to-and-fro along the window’s extension, ignoring the dangers of falling into the water.

Anyway I yelled at him to get back in but he refused. Just then his teacher threatened to call the boy’s parents if he doen't get his ass back into the classroom immediately. In an act of defiance the boy jumped into the water followed by his teacher to rescue him. Surprisingly the boy was quite a good swimmer and swarm to safety. On the other hand his teacher seemed to have problems stay afloat.

After a while she stopped struggling and the water carried her motionless body away. All this while I just stood there, looking but not offering any help. I should have done something but I didn’t. I just stood there, watching.

Then I realized the rain had stop and the water subsided. The police came and out of guilt I rushed down to look for the officer in-charge to offer my help as I have witnessed the whole incident.

The officer told me the cause of death was not by drowning but due to the fall. Someone was crying behind me. I turned around and saw a young man in tears. The officer told me he was the boy’s elder brother. “Where is the boy?” I asked. “He has gone missing after witnessing his teacher’s death,” replied the officer.

End of dream.

It was really a weird dream.

(Window's extension: I am not sure if it is the right name but it is the extra areas just outside the window.)

Afterthought II

“Once you lose someone it is never exactly
the same person who comes back.”

The person you are today is not exactly the person you were yesterday or who you will be tomorrow. If this is the case, who is the real ‘me’?