Connections

Latching on through proximity I attach, sit, ponder
I cannot let go as I have entered through a forever revolving door
that bridges me to the universe
and guides me from star to star, in search of meaning

The planets will observe us as they always do, as some we see and some we do not
Rest assured, when their time will come to resurface, they will glow for us to admire
while others disappear into the depths of the galaxy
ready to emerge, at another time, on another day, for us to reexamine
as something we have missed

Advertisements

Sunday Spice

My mother’s spice tray sits planted firm in a warmly lit corner of her glowing kitchen. The ingredients inside are the determining flavors of her Sunday afternoon cooking spells; they are the essence of her culinary creations. Upon opening the metal container, the spices, of bright color and distinct fragrance, fill the room like invisible smoke seeking to capture hungry nostrils and entice diverse palates. The colors that coat the inside of the spice tray vary from mustard yellow to orange to black. Each color carries an eyeful of India at its core, the spices presenting a gateway to an ancient land rich with culture. The spirit of India is alive and thriving in my mother’s kitchen.

Small metal containers, arranged in a circular pattern within the larger spice box, branch off like a painted burst of sun rays, each emitting hot individual flavor. The rich variety and history behind these spices is not restricted to one region or to one understanding. They are representative of India as a whole, capturing distinct regional cultures in their unique tastes and use, together under one umbrella. They are a collection embodying rich Indian diversity, captured conveniently in one small box to preserve culinary tastes.

As the pungent powders are spilled, a collage of colors strewn across the kitchen top, the assortment of food is cooked under low flames. The food is complemented with pinches of integral spices that are sprinkled onto curries like a gentle drizzle on soil creating a thick mud. The house is steadily immersed in the savory scent of lamb, chicken and mixtures of vegetables. Cumin and coriander, red chili and turmeric, infuse the air, transporting the humble home through parts of India on its voyage to delivering the perfect plate of food to the dinner table.

The prepared food pulsates to life with the collection of spices bestowed upon it, breathing and embodying flavors considered wild to the unaccustomed. Within a few hours, after appetites are whetted, the stomachs are filled and the spice container is once again sealed. History, heritage and potent tradition in its most universally attractive form will lay dormant in the corner of my mother’s kitchen until the next Sunday feast of Indian home cooked cuisine.

A Long Way

Seated, I observe those that have managed their way in
Huddled throughout, we find warmth under a roof as we are carried along on this winding and endless path

I bury my head in books in search of words I might have missed, to great consequence
I submerge my ears into waves of the sweet sounds of music
Looking out through this frosted window, I have witnessed the cold dry air that harbors little mercy for those on the outside
There is a way off but I will have to push
There is a way out of here
But I must wait

For the pleasure is in the journey, not in reaching the destination

And so, I continue onward on this bus, from the first to the last stop

Relentless

Such is life, gathering in force
barreling down a barrage of experiences that we no longer fear, only await
as the doors rattle and the windows shake
Hold firm to the foundation, for we will not uproot, not quiver

Hurl at me your harshest of ill intentions
and I blow your way a kiss of forgiveness
for it is you who has shaped me
and it is through your unyielding nature, that I have made me

Gold

The silver spoon that sits in his mouth rusts slowly through the nights that have turned his days of famine to feast
the cup that was empty began to overflow, always at the least half full

Now, hanging on, caught between thought and food, contemplating when he
decided to stack his plate with whatever would come his way and bow to whoever filled it

Sell and market, command and conquer, for you will obtain the wildest of your desires at a price that is equivalent to the overfilled pantry of plates that elongate your malnourished gait.

Removing the tainted spoon that passes from his plate to his mouth, he will decide if his children are to eat from their own hand or whether he will pass on the silverware to the next generation

His children, born innocent as he was; perhaps there was never a choice between feast and famine

Panorama

The lens that captures this world in frames
Is simply situated in my two eyes
level on my head, wandering and searching through those that pass by
I seek and scope, greeted by young and old, fresh and withered

And so I continue to discover what I thought I already knew
Deeper to see past the shallow mirages that walk us to our gallows

Helsinki

The clouds linger low
forever present, ominous

They tease, they menace, gathering in weight and mass for yet another day
as piles of slush pepper the pavements, slippery sidewalks preying on the innocent as they march onward, work bound, bound by the blooming grey that hovers over slowly taking over the day.

I peer through my window in search of a horizon of sky blue clarity
that I find at the end of the thick fog
For I have learned to wait and follow through the mist

but whatever you do, don’t look up.

It’s always sunny in Helsinki

The Photo Booth

The vintage photo booth located at Central Railway Station was now one of the older standing establishments of the city center. A large off-white plastic box lined with black and red paint markings bore inviting words to those who passed by to step inside and capture the moment for a few dollars. The inner area of the box was shielded with a large black curtain that kept out light and provided privacy to those taking a picture within. Through the years passed, the thick black curtain had faded to a grayish tone. The paint markings had diminished over the box with letters missing from the scripted text. Through occasional repair and changing times, the large photo booth had remained untouched.

The booth had been used extensively in the previous decade by people both young and old on their days and evenings out around the town. Now, the seldom-used booth stood out as an artifact from the previous generation for the young people who would walk by, disconnected with this odd piece of history. With the invention of smartphones and social media, the photo booth had diminished in popularity. Infrequently, lone visitors would step inside to take passport pictures. The booth was now all but obsolete, and more recently, it failed to deliver pictures that were taken due to technical difficulties.

Steven, a handyman hired by the railway station, was responsible for dismantling and disposing of the photo booth. Though it had been previously repaired, the time had finally come to remove the piece from the station. Steven, like many who had spent their youth in the city, had memories of this booth. On more than one occasion, he had stumbled in with friends late at night to capture memories in ridiculous poses and expressions. Now assigned to remove the photo booth from the station, Steven saw it only as a sign of the changing times and progression into the depths of the twenty-first century.

Steven took to dismantling the booth, removing the curtain and unhooking the seats inside. He unscrewed, plied, and pulled apart the booth to manageable proportions in order to discard it. As he lifted the final piece of the booth that was the base, he stumbled upon photos of young couples and groups of friends that had gotten lost below the stall. Some were riddled with dust and grease, splattered with dried liquid and other muck that had found its way to nest under the large booth.

As he looked at the photos, Steven was startled to find one of himself. Picking it up, he observed the photo. It was a black-and-white print with him at the center, surrounded by old friends struggling to fit their faces into the small picture. Steven laughed in disbelief, dusting off the photo and taking a second look. He had no recollection of the night but was now reminded of his friends in the photo, some of whom he had not seen for years. This small stained photo, a distant memory, was now sitting in Steven’s hands where it belonged. A piece of his past tucked safely under the booth was now uncovered. Placing the photo delicately in his pocket, he continued working to disassemble the relic, shaking his head and smiling.

Note: This short fiction piece was published in “Diverse Voices Quarterly” in October 2015. Link : http://www.diversevoicesquarterly.com/the-photo-booth/