Mad

Posted in Rants and Random Effusions of Writeriness, Would Be Poetry on September 28, 2009 by Sherly Holmes

It seems, these days
in
the tedium of it all,
the mellow desperation,
it’s not uncommon for one
to go quite mad.
Not the kind to be locked up
in an institution, no,
just enough that
even walking down the street
makes you want to do something
extreme.
Mad with unexplored passion
or with living in isolation from the
exquisiteness
of quiet.
Mad with the omnipresent hum
of the working man,
that seems to keep turning into
a swarm
of mechanical wasps
taking jabs at you.
Mad with wanting to say:
Go on, punch me in the face,
see if I feel
a thing.”

Characters

Posted in Attempts at Graphics and Illustration, Photosomething and stuff on September 23, 2009 by Sherly Holmes

Photobucket

Grace

Posted in Rants and Random Effusions of Writeriness, Would Be Poetry on September 23, 2009 by Sherly Holmes

The foundation of our home
quivers beneath us,
the rest of it – decomposing,
speck after speck of dust.
We wipe traces of decay
off the furniture
every day,
though light barely washes in,
and clear patches of sky are
in short supply
under the embargo of the giant.
Even the fruit have dried up
on the old pear tree
amongst its last leaves
turned to untimely rust.

It feels as if we are
running out of grace.

Posted in Rants and Random Effusions of Writeriness, Would Be Poetry on August 20, 2009 by Sherly Holmes

lights are reflecting coldly on the boulevard
underneath my footsteps,
like sprinkled verses
hungry for a rhyme
but I don’t feel like a poet tonight
I walk along
and this instant is wasted
on me.

Walls

Posted in Rants and Random Effusions of Writeriness on May 11, 2009 by Sherly Holmes

There is no forgiveness in new walls. When the walls of a house are young, they do not know how to forgive, or perhaps, being new, they are so quick to offer forgiveness that it loses value. It seems that as the walls of a house age, and therefore become more entitled to forgive, they become less inclined to do so. With so many repeated mistakes witnessed over time, what would be the point of forgiveness? As time passes, forgiveness must be earned more and more painstakingly and after a while, not only is there no forgiveness left, no home to be found, but the old house begins taking revenge on its inhabitants, on the errants taking shelter between its walls. It is why houses where ghastly things have happened are haunted, the walls can no longer absorb the pain, can no longer remain quiet. There’s only so much one place can take.

Words linger and waver, cling like lint onto clothes, cloister meaning behind intricate bars, but four walls can define belonging in a world where the idea of home defies definition. Home in a suitcase, soup in a bag. There are doors we close behind us that act as shields, as dams; they acquire a force that can stop anything from reaching us. We all have a place we return to in order to lick our wounds. We all have that curtain covered spot or that opening behind the couch where we are beyond the reach of hostility, even if we have to invent it inside our heads after it no longer exists physically. And sometimes, we feel like we have found that place all over again, and wish for that to be true so badly that we don’t stop to think it might only be an illusion.

***

She feels dirty with years. A degenerating dirt that nothing can peel, purge or cleanse. Exhaustion fuels leave their mark on statues and ornaments, melt their features. It’s what she feels happening to her. She is discovering of late that her face is made of putty and invisible hands are remodeling it in grotesque designs. There are creases above her upper lip, the result of too much smiling, too much pouting; too much living. There are bags under her eyes and hanging on the sides of her chin. The skin on her neck moves like the folds of a curtain as she turns her head to look around, but the walls around her are sparkling white, like a young smile. Everything is covered with new paint and smells in that slightly acid, bitter manner that marks the rejuvenation of a house. With people, that can’t happen after a while. No amount of makeup or perfume can cover the marks or the stale smell of age. We are destined, as people, to build things that will outlast us. The Egyptians realized it early on and made a point out of it, a life’s purpose. Our buildings, if done right, will live through generations. Out gestures will affect others long after we’ve left their lives. Our children will bury us. As impossibly meaningless as we are, as we feel, our actions echo into a space that we are often unaware of.

The walls she is inspecting don’t belong to the house she grew up in; their history is not hers. She hasn’t even been aware of this place’s existence until a few years ago, when an acquaintance had casually mentioned something about its impending demolition. A lugubrious fascination compelled her to visit it, to see it before it was torn down. The tragedy of this building that had seen better days but was now only a useless relic of different times spoke to her loudly. She’d always imagined herself as a tragic heroine, someone with a destiny of quiet greatness just around the corner, but she was running out of corners to turn. She imagined herself as a benefactor, returning something that had been lost on the world to life and prosperity. She imagined the praise she would receive (posthumously, of course) when news of her donation of such an imposing and history-filled building to some charitable cause would come through. She fell in love with the idea of rescuing and being rescued, of devoting the so called years of uselessness of her life to something glamorous, noble and lasting.
.

The place had had its share of nameless glory long ago, but then again, so had she. It had been one of the hundreds sumptuous houses built in its age that was supposed to mark the prosperity of one of the many families nobody remembers anymore. As anonymous as its many owners, and just as distinctive, it has spent a century and a half being passed from hand to hand, one less appreciative than the other. It was almost collapsing when she saw it first, to decay and ruin, to disinterest, wallowing in its own lack of tragedy. A mirror of herself, she thought. A reflection of her own decaying self, but one that was in her power to fix and render appealing again.

The building is more than a century old, having spent its early days drenched in the incestuous boredom of the Victorians. Things might have gotten more interesting as time went by, but they didn’t. The only kind of entertainment to be found was a sort of derision for all things apparent, a fascination with the faintly unapparent. Things whispered in corridors and done pressed against walls in unused quarters. Visits that broke spousal chastity. Passion bitten lips masked with lipstick. New wallpaper stuck on top of the old, signaling a new beginning. Acceptable eccentricity and repression. Longing and reverence. Excess and ruin. Young dreams and crude awakenings. Ruin and the remainder of the initial family getting scattered in different directions, packing their bags and leaving, regretfully, begrudgingly, obstinately. New owners coming, all spending some time, and then departing for the next one to arrive, each leaving the place in worse shape than they had found it. Until there was no-one left who wanted to live there, except for the visiting rats that would find lodging inside the ornate woodwork.

And just as the building had been condemned, she came to turn everything around, unaware that all she would be able to bestow on the house was another century or so of lackluster irrelevance. While some things ache with the pain of their own tragedy, or of that of those around them, others suffer from their perpetual inconsequence. The day after day triviality of bourgeois life, the weight of propriety can take their toll on places and things, rendering them dry on the inside, dusty on the outside, and unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Who would have thought houses were similar to people in that way? That while some wish for nothing other than anonymity and tranquility, others long for the exceptional and suffer for its absence?

The bedroom had been the last room in the house she had renovated, saying that she didn’t want to move in until everything was in perfect order, and as that was the first night spent underneath her new roof, a feeling of contentment seeped through her entire body with the help of the lavish old wine she’d bought for the occasion. She fell to sweet sleep, cradled by thoughts of all she had achieved in this house and slightly dreading the sadness she knew would creep in the morning after, upon realizing that there was nothing more to be done. In her dream, she could walk through walls and through the layers of history of the house, eavesdropping on long silenced conversations, witnessing hidden gestures, deciphering coffee stain pictograms to hidden treasures and unfolding layers of wallpapered history as if they were the pages of a book. After a while, an unsettling feeling began creeping in, that strange uneasiness one feels when a dream is about to move into nightmare territory, but she kept going, eager to discover more, unwilling to wake up to find the magic gone. Soon, the layers of wallpaper became more and more difficult to unravel, sticking to her fingers like membranes, penetrating her skin with tiny spores. She could sense every inch of the house, every nail poking at the walls, every vibration as cars passed down the street. The sparks in the fireplace turned into stars and behind them appeared a black hole, gradually swallowing them and everything around, pulling her in, despite her resistance. And then, in a final coup, the wallpaper began wrapping itself around her, first making it impossible to move, then adhering to her face, mouth, eyes, ears, stopping her from breathing, from seeing, from hearing, mummifying her in pastel stripes.

They found her the next afternoon, dead in her bed. Dead in her sleep. The easiest way to go.

Railway Harmony

Posted in Would Be Poetry on April 28, 2009 by Sherly Holmes

There was a snail crossing the heated railway track
like a fakir walking on hot coals
like Anna Karenina when
she laid her neck on that same
searing old line.
The snail left behind a
translucent
pellicle that reflects rainbows
on good days
and will wash off on the bad,
not a mean feat for a snail.
She, instead, overdid it with some colors,
there was no full ranged palette in her remnants
just a harmony of red.

No Title Yet

Posted in Would Be Poetry on April 27, 2009 by Sherly Holmes

I’ve heard about the addictive powers of
writing,
of people
shooting up poetry or prose
(name your poison)
in small, cathartic doses
in subway stations and greasy bars
or whatever other insalubrious setting
their doped up minds would conjure.

I’ve heard of people overdosing on
Proust or Plath
spending the rest of their lives staring
blankly, seemingly fascinated by the air in front of them
unable to communicate rapture
per fault of their fried synapses.

I’ve heard you scribbled a haiku
on your cornea
in a fucked up needle point
exercise,
you wanted it there to stay,
your own kind of rose colored glasses
tattooed in front of your iris.

I’ve heard this long ago
before they locked me up in this
insensitively white,
padded room
for fear I’d blow out my eardrums.
You see, my friend,
I’m a sinner too.