Futility of Dreams From the Bottom of the Sea

the moments between life and death

Image pixabay

Not everyone who dies gets the funeral they deserve.

They fished his body out,

White balloon flesh flaked off on

Grappling hooks, not malevolent

Not kind just flinty black

— All utilitarian, you understand —

He was not frozen not clammy,

Nor cold, as though not even conceived

Nor imagined, roundly denied acknowledgment,

Even that of a squashed frog, and so much

Silent rain running with horizontal

Precision into a liquid continuity,

Like Chinese water torture protracted to

A slug’s lifetime of quickening

Death on slow slime roadways, but

Texture nevertheless,

choked on unremarkable

Lives in an enormous court of law.

Hull of a luxury liner was the

Backdrop to a falling body

Stripped in that instant of all morality,

Choices and deities,

Realpolitik and aching

Nuances of love.

Unquestionably, they were free, his

Caterwauling hands shaking off

Coal dust: It was a red-blue-yellow

Sunday picnic of paper lantern kites…



Ripping explosions inside steel plates!

All serrated in silence of gaping entrails,

Teal thunderclaps, scattered blood of

Bat bites on blind nakedness

— Thinking of those things felt like that —

But now he wanted to sleep,

Float amongst old coins and northern

Wildflowers under a cool sun…

But sludge, silt, bundles of madness!

Tailored terror gags and teeth

And nostrils, ears filled with deaf

Sand and starfish tears on

Dead of deadest black, not

Hematite, tar or obsidian but

So black that it breathed,

Rise and fall and breathed again like

Phosphorescence of a jaguar’s


O Danyal, Danyal!

The blind have eyes all over

And the deaf, songs of absence,

A flight of eternity

Caught in muffled amber.

He had nothing!

He had had nothing.

An abacus out of hell.

Flaccid arrows flung at dread serpents.

And in the meantime,

Tick tock tick tock played on.

In the reek of an abattoir

Everywhere he looked, flesh

Streaked with crimson and chalk

Veins swallowed his eyeballs

Up to his clavicles, now sitting on

A brotherhood of sea urchins drenched

In squid ink.

Mountain snow fretwork of

Milky green shadows, or

Japanese tea ceremonies:

Fears remain the same he said,

As he hit the sea.

Not everyone who dies gets a funeral.

In another place a soldier

Leapt up like a black crepe ribbon

Against a red sun, heroism

Hammered deep into his

Sternum and died in a ditch.

And on the breathing that glimmered like

Phosphorescence on a jaguar’s stealth,

Sprang horrified whispers,

Fatal deadbolts.


there had been wisteria in bloom

Amongst light in unexpected places, and

Recurrent dreams of a lost mother’s

Wheat smell bosom, heavy and warm,

Cataracted rumblings within glacial ice and

Such orange rain on pungent walnut!

…Then shared histories within

Felled mango trees and piles of passion

Wove themselves around a decanter

Brimming with stars, floating votives,

And you breathed jaggery on the refined

Salt of her body as plumed fruits crisped in

Forest fires, then it was a cruel winter and deer

Stripped bark off a birch tree….

By the water’s light, even if

Exhaust fumes were metal casket clouds,

Her eyes were full of fireflies, and

Dreams of undressing amongst


And oh!

What a yellow

Moon rose that night!

They fished his body out

He was John or David or Lars (so white)

Amer, Peter or Troy but to me he was

Danyal because I have never

Known a Danyal —

But I do not know you,

I do not want to know: One less

Mountain to carry, one more


O Danyal Danyal!

Prisoner of freedom

No one knew you

Your dreams will wait……

Multimedia artist, writer, poet. ‘Celebrating other lives, I am a sparrow in the shadow of a rosebush...’ faridahaque@gmail.com

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