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CHALK-DUST MEMORIES
(A GROUNDED EXPLORER’S LAMENT)



A map of Africa on a blackboard plain

            chalk-drawn by my own hand

            into coastlines, deserts,

            jungles, savannahs

stuns me, quells my lectern words,

compels ancient dreams that flutter forth

            like last October’s moths

            a sign-language pantomime

            of airport adrenalin, passport glories,

            the thrill of new-discovered lands

all of it over now.

A few broad brush strokes erase the memories

            free-falling

            a shower of dry colours

            drift and merge with the chalk dust floor

awaiting the after-school broom.

___

 
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GOD'S-HEAD SOUP AND OTHER FINE DELICACIES



Tonight I made a left-turn

when I should have made a right,

and came upon an empty street

above the city blight.


"The Avenue of Truth," it read,

"and Magnitude of Man."

– A street I'd never seen before.

I paused, to understand.


A diner, here, with haloed sign,

its doors were open wide.

An Odyssey of hunger pains

projected me inside.


"A seven-course Creation, sir,"

the serpent waiter hissed.

He offered me a menu

then dissolved Himself to mist.


I turned the page to look inside.

Such wonders lay within:

Koran, Koan, and Testament,

and pressure-cooked I Ching.


Reflecting on roast Reverend,

Apostle cordon-bleu,

my sense of time was altar'd

when I smelled the Rabbi stew.


"Tonight the lamb is crucified,"

a Pan-Am Pilate grinned.

His gaze returned back to his meal,

– some Karma, freshly skinned.


Some sautéed Sikh-kebabs

or wiccan watercress on toast?

A soda-pop baptismal font

and deep-fried Holy Ghost.


The Buddha bread with Christian crusts,

and yellow Yin-Yang yams?

Or Aphrodite apéritifs

with steaming Hindu hams.


I munched on Shinto crackers

spread with Vishnu-in-a-jar,

while Tom and Dick and Hare Krishna

sat around the bar.


So many meals, so many truths,

this world, – a coloured dream.

My swirling head grew moist and cold

as fresh Islam ice-cream.


They brought me catechism sticks,

Jehovah soup-du-jour.

But now I'd lost my appetite

and stumbled for the door.


"Come back, my friend," the Owner called,

"for lunch, some other day."

I closed my ears and gunned my car

and drove myself away.

___