Freeze the frame

The last embers of the fire die out

Red, orange and yellow fume into white

As life ebbs away

The fragrance of being fully permeates

The chloroform of unfeeling

Words shivering

Voices whispering

The unexpected hour of reckoning

The resigned acceptance of the inevitable

The childish observations of the realist

The hoping against hope of the eternal optimist

The cold humor of the gallows

‘Let’s laugh it off while we can

After all, we’re not dead yet!’

The apologies of the risk taking adventurist

The gratitude of the practical and objective

The promises of eternity

From the mouths of mortality

The hostile confessions of trapped emotions

The dying declarations of the fleeing soul

The sound and light show ending

The slipping away of human hands and love divine

Oh! Hold on, hold on tight

The reason to live is going quiet….

embers

An ode to childhood

An ode to childhood

Ah! The simplicity and innocence of childhood,

The ignorance of being,

The pink of health,

The make believe of little props,

The plastic crowns and princesses of hearts,

The fullness of feeling,

Our beautiful bests.

Oh! Let’s return to innocence,

Let’s retrace our steps,

To our original and authentic selves,

Sans make up, dresses and shoes,

Laughing, giggling,

Smiling ear to ear.

mirror

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Who will you be?

Amidst the checkered landscape of life,

The raining heavens and the cloudy moods.

A cold steel pyramid of success,

A towering symbol of love and romance,

Standing proud and tall,

A lighthouse for miles,

A beacon for all and sundry to look up to.

The humble human shield,

With room for only one or two.

When the world turns upside down,

A red ark turned inside out,

Remaining open and exposed,

Wearing an outward garb,

In colors of the human heart.

Feeling, filling to the brim.

Who will you be?

umbrella_rain_splash

Just for Fun

Back to the beginnings

This is a poem I wrote when I was ten years old and studying in Grade 5 at Alexandra Park School, Harare, Zimbabwe. I was one of the 10 pupils in Grade 5-7 from our school who were awarded honours for our submissions to the Annual Allied Arts awards for which every year school children in Zimbabwe would put forward their best prose and poetry. My poem was subsequently published in the school magazine Alexicon, Onward to Renown 1990.

As I look back, I realise that this is perhaps where ‘My Journey as a Creative Writer’ really began. I am reproducing it below:

Flowers

Flowers are beautiful too,

Daisies and

snapdragons yellow and

blue.

Roses in dresses of

pink, red and white.

Wild flowers growing

just out of sight.

 

Delicate snowdrops,

bluebells so neat,

sunflowers and lilies

growing in the heat.

The iris and lotus

down by the stream.

The crocus and tulip

in fields of green.

 

Sweetpeas that climb

up on the wall,

marigolds growing

bright, strong and

tall.

Of all the flowers

that grow in the world

I love the rose with

its petals curled.

rose_in_the_hands_202283

No Rhyme, No Reason

Fair Warning : Amateur Poetry Ahead!

Is it a goodbye, an ending, a closing?

Is it moving away or moving closer?

Forging ahead,

Teasing,

Left contemplating,

The realm of possibilities

Yearning for more,

But standing still.

beach_footprints_mamaia

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

TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT

Routine, mundane,

Closed space,

Clinical,

The relaxed comfort of darkness,

Calm and efficient voice,

A blinding light

Looking into the distance,

Concentrating mind at a point,

Heart taking flight in the veil of night

Unspoken dreams and fantasies closing in,

A momentous forgetfulness,

Drowning out the physical reality,

Is it right?

Is it desirable?

The undeniable knowledge it’s possible,

What weight of surprise brought this to the fore?

Floating fleetingly,

Till all is bright again.

partial_solar_eclipse_2

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

I make a wish list

Never knowing that it would come to life in a split second

The universe listening closely

Agrees to turn it into reality

My ideals come closer

One by one

Yet taken by surprise at this sudden turn of events

Elation!

Never knew it could feel so good so soon

How do you want it to play?

A deep breath

What have I wished for?

What path brought me to this present moment?

Never dreamt far enough to know how it ends

Left speechless, thoughtless

Time’s up!

A blunt break-

Have I just been taken for a fool?

Yes! No, maybe

Left In a daze

In the heat of the moment

Wondering was I not ready

For my prayers to be answered.

cassiopeia_a_cas_a_supernova_rest

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

The stage is set

In colors of white, blue and black.

A soothing voice

Sings a haunting melody

In the shadows of the night

Of

Frozen love

Forgotten promises and commitments

Of

A human heart

Bone chilling,

Melting, thawing,

Slowly trickling

Everything solid disappearing

Under the day’s blasting spot light.

frozen_waterfall

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

Dedicated  to all those who DANCE

Let’s play our favourite music

Let’s escape within and without

Let’s get in step with our inner rhythm

Let’s sway to our own beat

Let’s put our guard down

Let’s be comfortable in our own skin

Let’s take this small simple step

Let’s ease in

Let’s loose ourselves

Let’s have fun

Let’s plug in

Let’s unfurl

Let’s leave our inhibitions behind

No one’s watching

No one’s listening

No one’s holding us up

We are alone

On this date

Body, mind and soul.

dancing_flames

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

Pack up

Leave all that is familiar and comfortable

No matter life’s thunderstorms

The crackling lightning

The torrential rains

Come with whatever little remains

Hold on tight

Even if the mist does not clear

Bring your heavy heart

Bring your hiding tears

Let them rain

That they clear your vision

Destiny o so glorious lies in wait

In readiness to accept and love you

Soaking wet

Battle wounds and all.

Your dream come true

Only a breath away

It never is too late

For the honest truth

Forgiveness is for the taking

A heartbeat away

So cross the bridge

Come on over

Catch up and embrace

Join hands

How long can you runaway?

Stop and stay.

enhanced_rainbow

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

Your smile

Warms from a mile

You are my relief

You are my release

When you pick me up

My spirit soars

When you lift me in the air

I forget the cares of the world

When I am in your arms

I feel safe and sound

When you read my mind

Everything is warm and fuzzy outside

When you hug me close

Hearts melt

When you are so adorable and cute

Everything feels right with the world

For a moment the ice breaks

Sworn enemies smile

And bridge the fence

When I am in your embrace

I can reach for the stars

When I am in your arms

I finally

Feel at home.

teddy_bear

Short Story



FINDING NEW WATERS

We are sitting drinking coffee. The holiday season is upon us and all around us. He is excitedly discussing plans for his New Year party, how every year he pulls out all the stops to make it the most happening party among his family and friends who look forward to it all year through, how he is so excited that I would be partying with him this year. I am listening quietly, when suddenly he asks me, what my favourite song is, with a mischievous twitch in his eyes.

I am thinking this was bound to turn up sooner or later. Sooner it is. He seems to have taken for granted that I would be coming to his party. Even though just yesterday I had told him that I would try but I have to see about workload at the office and not being sure if and when I would be free. But I can’t keep stringing him along anymore. As it is, he is floating away with his ideas. So I do. His smile freezes midway. I stand up to perhaps feel stronger but find myself looking down at the floor, avoiding eye contact. When I do look up I see the sadness in his eyes as I tell him I have to work late and won’t be free.

I start frowning. I fiddle and tuck my hair behind my ears. I am talking even with my hands. I find myself fumbling and bumbling as I make my case. I am a weak lawyer but he does not fight my guard. In fact, he is convinced so quickly, I feel ashamed with my victory. He is obviously disappointed but is so understanding. I have got it out but I don’t feel any relief. I shall have to bear the burden of spoiling his plans .How will I live down his disappointment. He leaves with a resigned look. Some shopping errands to do for the party is his parting excuse.

*****

The next time we meet I am relieved to see he is his usual smiling self. I am talking about character and how it explains everything a person says and does. He disagrees. When I ask what he means, he puts it out simply and plainly, that he had run into a colleague of mine and found out that I was actually taking a half day off, and how he wanted to hear the truth and for us to face things as adults. I realize then that his smile was actually hiding the wounded look in his eyes.

I am surprised but decide not to deny it any further. It is time I came out with the whole truth. I tell him about my tradition every New Year eve – the midnight meditation at the meditation centre and ringing it in with fellow devotees. I tell him about my faith and tradition and how it is as important as his tradition to celebrate and party with his friends and family.

I also tell him how I am different from him, and am not a loud party person, how I don’t like loud deafening music which threatens to split your eardrums, how you can’t really talk with or listen to anyone in all that din, that in all my life I have been to a disco only once and not liked it. That since I neither dance nor drink or smoke, I figured would not be much company to anyone in that crowd. That I would feel so out of place. Out of my element. How I shun the atmosphere that builds up when people can’t handle their drinks and get giddy and then rowdy. How I am always afraid things might get out of hand. How uncomfortable and awkward I feel. How I would feel so different from the people around me. How I would feel like a fish out of water…

All through, he listens carefully and nods in understanding at the end and tells me he would never want me to give up anything for him or stop being my natural self. I smile in relief.

******

It’s only a little after lunch but the metro station is crowded, it seems everyone is in a hurry to reach home early to prepare for the New Year eve festivities. We had our last meal together this year at a cozy little restaurant and he is now waiting with me until my train arrives. Everyone is jostling for space to stand. We exchange hardly a word or two. Each is mulling over what our final words to each other should be. The train pulls in. We realize that we may have chatted all afternoon but even now there seems so much left that we meant to say and do.

Just as the magic of the moment is upon us, we brace ourselves. For nothing. The train door opens. The gentleman that he is, he ushers me in quickly so that I may perhaps get a seat. And the moment slips away. All we manage to say is Happy New Year. The door closes as we exchange one last look that perchance our eyes will read what we could not speak.

******

The festivities of the night are well under way. Everything is perfect. I have all my family and friends. Good food, drinks and music. The decorations are a sight to behold. Yet my mind is elsewhere .I can’t seem to fully enjoy anything tonight, when I abruptly decide I have to leave.

Just as I open the door to leave, lo and behold, she is standing before me about to ring the bell .Is it my imagination or is she really here in flesh and blood? Surprise written on our faces and eyes twinkling with joy. Words fail me until she asks me if I was leaving, gesturing to the car keys in my hand. It’s then we learn that each of us had aborted our plans midway to meet each other. It was time to try new things and make new traditions together.

Someone calls to ask who has arrived and I remember to invite her in and not keep her standing at the door. I take her hand in mine and walk her around as she tells me everything is breathtaking and beautiful .Our hearts are smiling today. Our faces are glowing with love.

The music is loud and I whisper into her ear “We can stay as long as you want and then I thought I would come with you to meditate.” She relaxes and beams at me.

We can both come half way, neither needs to leave their path. Different colours can come together. Not to forget, according to Darwin, all life emerged from marine life-hence to some extent we are all fish out of water. We all need to evolve. Fish out of water can swim together towards new waters.

 dolphins

 

Character Sketch

Ready to write your own character sketch. Let your character speak. Write a 150 word piece of writing where your character introduces themselves. Consider the following as you write character name, accent or dialect, background, your characters personality and outlook, how other people view your character.

You could include any of the details you made a note of and may also include the points mentioned above.

CACTUS

“Which one do you want?” asks the gardener.

“I just said I want to look around first” I snap.

“We need some time… we’ll call you once we decide.” My mother pacifies him. We are shopping for plants at the nursery as she insists they would make my place look more hospitable.

As I walk around surveying the plants, she runs her hand through my hair.

“Look how shabby you’ve become. If only you would get a nice haircut and shave that long, shaggy beard. And I wish you wouldn’t drink so much .Whenever I call, you are watching a game on TV. You need to go out more. How will you meet a nice girl? And would it hurt you to not wear sneakers and a tracksuit on a date? Just the other day, Christine saw your photo in my purse and said you looked really handsome. She couldn’t even tell you had a limp…”

She goes on and on. I switch off.

“Are you even listening?”

“Yes, Mom, I am .And tell him I want this one.”

“What? Cactus? Who keeps cactus in the house? It’s all spiky and ugly. And it does not look the least bit romantic.”

“So? Why not?” I insist I’ve made my choice.

Finally after much quarreling, we leave with two cacti and one homely green.

Later I google the meaning of cactus. I learn that cactus stands for endurance, standing up to the test of time and the elements, extremely determined, representative of the ability to adapt to situations and environments.

Not bad company I’d say.

*****

The photo portrait I have based my character on was of a guy, perhaps European sitting on a chair in front of a TV (an old TV black box). He looks young and handsome, has a long face, a long beard and looks in need of a haircut. He has a can of beer in his hand .He is wearing a sports T-shirt, shorts and sneakers. The TV is placed on an old marble top table. He is flanked by tall cacti plants and in one corner there is a leafy plant. The floor is basic and there is full wall screen landscape painting behind him. The rest is my imagination.

desert_cactus_landscape

Show Don’t Tell

friendship_hands_friendsShow don’t tell. Deanna and Beverly are best friends. Deanna is an ordinary 15 year old who is sure of herself and very independent. Beverly on the other hand is a 14 year old who has a very low self- esteem. She has a boyfriend who is nineteen and knows he could get away with anything because Beverly lets him do whatever he wants to do.

“Hey girl, What’s up?!”Deanna breaks me out of my revelry with a slap on the back as I shut my locker.

“Hey, you scared me! How many times have I warned you about not sneaking up on me.”

“Anyways, you missed the first class. Mr Richard said it was an important topic for the first term.”

“Meh, Mr Richard’s a bore, I can’t stand his class. Besides you forget, I am head of the poetry club, I could teach him a thing or two about creative writing!”

“Oh, you better hope you get a good grade.”

“Yeah, yeah…Now, come on! Give me the juice on your date with Joe last night.”

 “Well, I wore that black dress. You know, the one that makes my waist look slimmer.”

“And it was going well till Claudia walked in. He could not take his eyes off her or his mind off her for that matter. Soon enough he said he was not feeling well. So I told him he could leave early.”

 “Of course you did. And well, what did you expect? They are of the same age, in the same college. I told you he’s not over her, you are just a convenient rebound. And you are way out of your league. Quit before he breaks your heart.”

“But he said I am pretty and intelligent and more mature than all the girls he’s met.”

“I am sure he did.”

My First Writing Assignment

Our first writing assignment was on Opening lines.We were to write in about 100 words the opening line of a story.

This is what I wrote:

IF ONLY…

My brain is on auto dial. Keep it together, keep it together, just a little longer. You are a big girl. This is a public place, people are watching. Don’t cry and make a fool of yourself. It takes every ounce of self- restraint to stop the tears from welling up.

Oh my God! What’s happening? Why? Oh why did you wait so long? You should have said it earlier. You had your chances for a while now and you finally blew it.

As they walk into the sunset, arm in arm, I exhale. Did I have no chance or was I only a second too late…

sand_heart_and_ocean_187066