Wednesday, January 9, 2013


the ferryman's master

me and good ol hades
we go a long way back
to the times
when we crawled 
on our knees
with scruffy hair
torn shorts
and a shirt
we did not wear one
we did not need one
the sun
yes the sun
made it all hot
and sweaty
and sometimes
almost unbearable

we used to knock
at the corner of the dark alley
an occasional game of 
played by two
one on one
no audiences 
or maybe just a few

he was meek
galvanized layer
of scowl on the outside
a fowl temper
hammered into place
out of necessity
it is my duty
he used to say

i used to call his bluff
i was the tough one
the conniving one
the one 
in my head 
the only one
to put ideas in his head
and thoughts
that veered towards
the extreme left 
of a shade card
somewhere between
dark and very dark

we used to sit
on a pile of twisted
and we used to wonder
about the sculptor
who so beautifully
read and replicated 
our well-hidden

but everything said and done
we were just kids
me and hades
like a million others
sprinkled across
the vast landscapes
of wastelands
the unneeded 
the unheeded
like rotten furniture
pathetically trying 
to justify the living
in the living room
with their carpets
and fireplaces
only here
the only wood we had
to keep ourselves warm
were the bone-dry bones
of a quitter 
who could not go on
and it wasn't easy to use them
we had to peel the wrinkled
shrivelled dried up 
off them first
and then make a pile
and sit around it
with our palms towards it
and gather warmth
as greedily as we could
and then we would cusp 
our palms together
to capture whatever heat 
we could
we thought we could apply
that fleeting feeling of warmth
on our palms
like a lotion across our entire body
silly of us
we knew
we knew even then
as if we could
and this we could do
on a good day
the bad ones
erased themselves
from our memory

and then there were days
well-kept boys
and gals
from the other side
would come and visit
to see 
exist in our natural habitats
only they thought 
of it as an exotic
of misery and pain
and everything under them
everything they stood upon
and never had to see
because never in their lives
had they any need 
to look down
and sometimes 
they would circle
around us
around hades
more often than not
pull his shorts
and call him names
Plouton Plouton
Look What Dastardly Thing
This Scrawny One Has Got On
they would say and sneer

and hades 
would crawl
into the crevice
as far as he could
he used to look at me 
for help
but i 
his best friend
used to look away
out of fear that they would notice me
and forget about him
or along with him
pick upon me too

and i being the clever one
would go and hug and console
and hold hades
as soon as they were gone
and their backs were turned
we will get them hades
i used to say
we will get them one day

you promise
do you promise 
hades asked
wiping his tears
i do
i said
then take this coin
and keep it safe
you will know
and you
will be 
as good as your word
and the promise you broke 
or kept
keep this coin safe
it will stand you in good stead
and slipped away
quietly back deeper into his crevice
leaving most parts unsaid