Marching Ants

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See the ants march. Marching in line by twos
In obedient never-ending ever spending
Turn-bending lines
Mending. Being led by none
Being laid out long and
None knows where the
Blind ant goes, with, with a little
Or without force.

Short-sleeved tired uncle, hold that
Buckled carcass, your buckle-blown bag.
Gaze out the glaze of the dust-starched bus.
Let no thought arrest you, watch the people pass
On the sidewalks. Jostling; fighting for space
Eitherways; but, let no thought hold back you
For these thoughts can scare that moment’s substance
Out your brains. It rains – drizzles

And your umbrella sits tugging the leather.
Stare out that window. The bus crawls,
Like an antler seeking claustrophobic ground.
The vehiclical stagnant honkers pierce,
Colourless hands idle rest on gears.
Tonight, they hope, we’ll cease to fear; to hear

And I heard, I saw, what I thought before
I saw I heard: that it is maximum, overdrive:
Chethana newses what’s live at 55.

Stare out the glass, then, dull colours blur
And that’s a place you will be, where you
Once were – a place you’ll be, among these
Shimmering women in no-see-thru sarees
Tummies protrude like a nagging desire,
Kerosene the fire. In the six O clock sweat-soaked
Shirt-smelling salmon-stock
You’re lucky if you’re seated. Lucky if you’re standing.

A trishaw’s stopped by the Cargill’s, two people
Hang around a puppy. Someone’s jabbing the wrong end
Of a broom on its face. These are days, dog days:
Puppy tries to fight the broom off its face
But it’s poking. Jabbing. The men, in their thirties,
Hi five. They are joking the evening away.
A cigarette is lit. The puppy bites the wooden stick.
Another jab on the side. Yelp, puppy, fucking yelp.

Every time we sigh side lights crawl by,
Where my hand goes for comfort, a moment’s
Satisfaction granted – your daughter could have stopped me
If she really wanted. But it’s our world – this space,
In the fatiguefumes of this long day’s ending spirit,
We draw, sunflower-search each other for comfort.
Another halt. Another exit. Another body
Recycled dust once the moment’s past.

Ah, yes – new stone’s been laid for a flyover.
A thousand acres of wasteland improved by night.
25 kilometers gained. FM news tunes his hour at 25

Though he’s a desperate looker, no spare for his booze,
The news pass in waves of varying lengths,
Says hi to our grateful dead in graves.
“Blood Camp”: stares a glue-sucked poster
From a streetlamp where a cyclist chats to a cop
Totally screwed from his shoes to top.
Blood Camp – at the Faculty of Medics,
11th September. That’s 9/11.

Good people giving blood, students forced by existent,
Half-existent or non-existent pressure to
Turn in a pint of blood out of sheer pleasure and
In more unfamiliar, little-known, half-lit, demi-devolved
Geographic patch – lost to either, lost for neither, blood camp
Bursts out. Restriction-less eruption, flow directionless
Thick blood warm. Just that. Red ants stop, observe, and their
Instincts know where they blow where the juices go.

Did she know, then, walking home from the quarry,
In that all knowing so-called omniscience of a woman,
That these garlic-in-bee-honey roads to Rome carry the Gods?
In that so-called omniscience, the flesh tearing like a knife
On the soft of a salad leaf, the faster-than-the-eye-ball
Mutation and of half evoked dying sentiments, never revoked
In that dying moment – did she know it, then?
If not, with that kind of omniscience – what’s the point, anyway?

No – the microphone held against a half shaved jaw, says “No”:
Everything’s just fine. It’s just the inevitable. Public views
Assorted. Compiled. Strained. Aired. I watch the news.

“This – a flyover?” sniggers who’s come from abroad,
Passing over the Jeyraj thing near Kelaniya, he asks me
This: is this that flyover challenging Guinness: really?
Under the bridge cascades seaward husks of discarded coconuts,
Bags, half-torn shoes, murky juices, many a dozen dream.
Lost generations carrying kids, look up and beam.
I answer not the Visitor this time. I look straight ahead.
What with can we redo their ignorance, that he suggests, be pricked?

Parading metal. Traffic jam blinks lights for miles ahead
And I’m recalling sincere past scenes with you in bed.
“So, banks are crashing” the Visitor informs me:
“The States have had it” and, with a knowing nod, I signal that I know.
Get down the bus, uncle, short sleeves cheap thread,
Perhaps, who knows, tomorrow you’ll be dead. Dead of
A tumour, or as rumour has it, of malarial spree
And if it is not you, uncle, it even might be me.


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