(A GROUNDED EXPLORER’S LAMENT)
A map of Africa on a blackboard plain
chalk-drawn by my own hand
into coastlines, deserts,
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
a shower of dry colours
drift and merge with the chalk dust floor
awaiting the after-school broom.
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,
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,
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.