Part 10

She was a fake oracle. Back then, so much
was not quite real, so much was over the
top, it was hard to tell the difference. Not
that we thought about things like that.
The air was taut, stifling, fettering by
approximation, not that we knew about
things like that. Everything was accepted,
normalized. People were judged by the
company they kept, by the company
they refused to keep.

We tried and sighed inside cotton wool
bubbles. The Bay of Bengal comforted us.
Movie songs on cheap cassettes comforted
us. The pale stirrings of mistaken love
comforted us. Still, there were voices that
beckoned from a nameless beyond as if
the tree of discontent had broken through
the murky loam into the sun.

She claimed she was a fortune teller, of
sorts. She said I would never cross a sea. I
thought about her in Alexandria by the
Mediterranean, in Santorini, in Dover, in Cape
Town. When it felt like the fates whispered
in my ear. When birds roosting on that long
ago tree cried in unison. When there was
so much right and so much wrong and it
was hard to tell the difference.

Until we stood together at the edge of a
sea I cannot cross. A sea that demands more
than boats and arks and bridges. More than
the capacity for breath. More than mere
wanting. A sea that dares me to walk on
water. She was a fake shaman. And I, a
fake traveller. The water runs cold, deep
and without mercy.


38 thoughts on “Part 10

  1. As I respond to your provocative poem, part of my mind listens to a stirring violin concerto. Sometime back, I decided this concerto, the artist playing it, are beautiful. Nothing rational in this choice, simply a feeling, perhaps a feeling tied to a memory, perhaps the music takes me back into another story.

    Your poem does the same, words that carry me off to memories, to stories, to adventures and heartaches and love and wonder.

    Such magic, that mere words and notes can open the doors to dreams once imagined, sometimes lived.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. For me this is the most stunning episode (part) yet.

    I am reminded of the I Ching phrase ‘crossing the great water’ – always a huge, momentous undertaking from which one cannot return unchanged, if at all. And sometimes it is as well not to set out; sometimes we are told ‘nothing furthers’.

    I feel your last sentence viscerally.


  3. I resonate with the comment saying that reading your poem makes one feel the way we do hearing a violin concerto. This series is truly masterful, Rajani. Wonderful work. Something important is going on here.


  4. I was intrigued and wanted to see if you/she would cross the sea. I liked the walk on water image. I once had an astrology/geography map done and it showed that Ireland was a place of warlike Mars so I thought I would never go (the country of my ancestors) but I did and it was wonderful.


  5. We ask questions, usually in the hope we hear the truth. But sometimes where love in concerned, we hold on to pretty lies for far too long.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree with Sherry, this is a masterful series. Sometimes a truth is immediately evident, and sometime we have to write our way to it. (My current series delves rivers.) Our time and tongue are both polluted, so their truths are never clear — and sometimes revealed in duplications of the false (like the shaman and traveller here). There’s more to come, I’m sure …


    1. Thanks so much, Brendan. It might be a longer journey to that truth than I first thought, but like you said in your poem, it is necessary to search for, even if one doesn’t find it, the heart of the river one can grow wild in. Thank you for those lines!


  7. “Still, there were voices that
    beckoned from a nameless beyond as if
    the tree of discontent had broken through
    the murky loam into the sun.’; I think at this level there was nothing ake at all, not the oracle or the travels. We have to travel far to come home to the vast sea of our witness and heart. (I’ll find a day to brouse here in all the parts I missed in my crazy-stuck August.)


    1. Absolutely, Susan, that “vast sea of our witness and heart” is reached after a long detour. I so love the way you read a poem, opening it up in the middle. Thank you. Hope September is a lot less crazy!


  8. Read the first two…you have become more intense than the first time …first one is evocative of megha Sandesha for some reason . But waay more intense ..the second touched me even more fake oracle … reminded me of nat king It is only a paper moon
    Hanging over a cardboard sea
    again more intense . The fact that these images keep resurfacing again and again is great about these poems


  9. “She was a fake shaman. And I, a
    fake traveler. The water runs cold, deep
    and without mercy.”
    If I wasn’t hooked on this series, the lines above would’ve capture my attention. Who can read those details without wanting to know the people involved? Without wanting to know if, in the end, fakery loss to real being?


  10. It is a privilege to bathe in the rich imagery your magnificent work evokes in me ~ in a previous life I must have been a seafarer, a pilgrim, a desert mystic or poet because the longing in me rises to be one again with every chapter you have written and gifted to the Universe.


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