At 11:59, the World stopped


Everything marooned in its place

Nothing moving ahead


The silence of a disconnected phone lingers in an endless echo

Cigarette smoke clings to the wall in a grotesque fresco

Cubes of ice, arrested mid-clink, in Whiskey’s amber

The soft refrain of a maudlin song; now trapped forever


A lonely slice of still-warm pizza appears painted in place

The clock’s hand pauses in its relentless parade

The nagging hum of the refrigerator has lost its usual pace

A ceiling fan, in mid-revolution, stays its blades


A beam of light, from the moon outside, stands rooted

A spider’s web, in partial-weave, is convoluted

An open book waits, with twisted plot unraveled halfway

An angry man on the TV screen is caught between frames


Outside, a dog’s needy bark is in constant rewind-and-play

The bullying honk of a car refuses to fade

A traffic-light is stuck in red,

Moths death- dancing around a streetlamp; hover mid-sway


But then suddenly…


The traffic-light turns green; the street comes back to life

The music finds its beat,

The clock’s hands meet

And the World is back on its feet


It’s 12:00, and the World hasn’t stopped

Why does it go on?



At 11:59, you and I stopped being us,

At 11:59, My World stopped

I became stone; and our dreams, dust






 Love lays writhing on the dusty floor; dying a silent death,

Broken beyond repair, riddled by regret.


It isn’t alone though; it has company to see it pass

Friends, co-conspirators, brothers-in-arms,

All huddled around in tacit sympathy,

As it breathes its last


There’s that iPod with its belly-full of never-old songs,

They may well loop again, but without the same meaning,

Beside it, the stack of oft-read books with dog-eared pages,

Hiding shared insights that will never again be as appealing


Tucked in one corner, is that battered album,

Full of memories captured in film,

A motley collection of redundant yesterdays

Trapped unawares beneath its skin


Fluttering forlornly in the rear, is that pile of letters,

Laden with words once ripe and succulent with intent,

But now shriveled and dead-weights,

Like unwanted tenants that have overstayed their rent


Looming large is the dark, brooding flat screen TV,

It’ll someday continue to deliver its litany of laughter and tears;

Of drama and intrigue, of victories and defeat,

But now, none of these stories may ever feel quite complete


Amongst the dust, also crawl the smaller debris of this ruin

Carefully saved tickets to concerts and movies once seen,

The credit card receipts, the shared slippers, the abandoned cigarette pack;

The now-orphaned herd of stuffed toys and countless other bric-a-brac


Then there are the invisible mourners that hover quietly above

Ghosts of broken promises, tainted trust and of imagined future stuff,

And the echoes of so many perfect silences,

That; in their time said so much, but just not enough


They gather around and try to ease its passage to a happier shore,

Until, at the turn of a key locking the door,

Two sets of footsteps walk away;

And Love finally dies on the dusty floor.


The Devil and I

The Devil and I

Late last night the Devil came a-calling,

He appeared from within my second bottle of wine,

Wearing a hat and bow, looking mighty fine;

But also a coat of arrogance, rather appalling


Now, we go quite some ways back, he and I;

So, his arrival I met with little surprise,

I watched in silence as he took a seat,

And snapped his dainty fingers, to turn up the heat; causing my cat to beat a hasty retreat


Once settled, He looked at me with a Businessman’s eye,

And smiled a smile, nigh impossible to deny;

In a stately baritone, as seductive as it was rich,

He forewent the pleasantries, and began right away with his sales pitch


‘’Now, dear boy,’’ said He, ‘’we’ve skated around the park before, never reaching a conclusion.

I’ve been busy of late ‘tis true, after all, there’re so many of you willing to sell their souls; and for such paltry desires too.

But now I’m here for you with my undivided attention, and of leaving without clinching a deal, I have no intention.

For, battered and bruised though it is, you have the soul of a poet; and those crown jewels, I have in my hoard very few.’’


‘’So, tell me, my boy,’’ he went on, pausing to light a cigar that breathed out black fumes, ‘’what impossibility can I offer that is precious to you?

Is it 200 years of life you seek? Or is it the beloved who broke your measly heart that you want at your feet?

Or will it be untold riches, fame and power or an unending string of beauties that serve only you?

Is it one of the above, is it all or are there even more gains you can conceive? Just say the words and I’ll make them yours; trust me, for in my contract, there is no deceit.’’


I pondered for a moment, then looked him in the eye and offered my reply,  ‘’ Give me all of it or give me none of it, but you will not have the promise of my soul before,

You give me your word that whatever you grant me in exchange for it, will keep me happy evermore.

In truth, all I want from you is the gift of eternal Happiness for each moment of as long as I live,

Now compared to all the mountains you were ready to move for my soul, isn’t that just such a tiny morsel to give?’’


The Devil gaped and glowered, and then hemmed and hawed; for the first time since he entered my room, he seemed put out of his easy stride.

‘’What is this foolishness you ask for?’’ he roared. ‘’This ‘happiness’ is no real thing, it is but a fleeting illusion that occasionally flatters to deceive; but never does it abide.

It is some blithe spirit that you humans chase after all your life, and yet whenever you happen upon it, you find a way to drive away,

It is some curious chimera that all the riches, pleasures and fulfilled wants don’t  alongside bring, yet sometimes it blooms in as little and as tiny as solitary snowflake.

It plays by its own rules, comes and goes as it pleases; appears on a smile or even a sigh,

It is not something I have to give, and, I’ll have you know, neither does the Other Guy.’’


‘’So don’t waste my time with such frivolous fantasy, think again and lay your true desires before me,

Ask for that which you may taste, touch and feel, something to soothe those wounds, both seen and unseen;

Ask for lifetimes, requited love, riches, revenge and even redemption, if that your pleasure be,

Just forget about this fickle wandering wisp, which has never true to anyone been.’’


‘’Sorry, Sir Devil,’’ countered I. ‘’But my mind is made up after a listless lifetime of flirting with fleeting pleasures such,

If my soul you must have then you must first bind me to happiness, and from this demand I will not budge.

Give me all you offer, but only if they make me -and keep me – happy forever as long as I breathe,

For if I should henceforth feel even the twinge of sadness, this contract for my soul, you must cede.’’


The devil grumbled and showered angry sparks as I made clear my intractable disposition,

But for all his sleight and might, he abides by a code, and no doubt realized his untenable position;

So, with surprising grace, he doffed his hat and pronounced, ‘’I’ll return the day you rue this unfortunate decision.’’

Then with great dexterity, he dove back into the bottle of wine and made a rapid transition.


Late last night the Devil, in his spiffy coat and tail, came a-calling,

He brought along his bag of tricks, with lust, lucre and all such baubles replete;

But he learned some gifts we Humans must flounder and earn, then lose and retrieve,

And Happiness is for us to find, not for his kind to mete.

The courtyard of my Mind

Happy memories chatter and frolic under a patch of sun,

Of different ages, from different phases, but each having fun

The sad, bitter ones sulk in the dark corners, licking their wounds,

Watching and plotting, waiting for Misery to return


In the courtyard of my Mind…


There’s a rusty old swing there, still proud and spry,

Although it creaks a bit when Hope and Faith take turns to ride

A sprawling Banyan tree by the name of Will looms alongside,

Its vines are called Tenacity,

On its branches though, gnarly Regret also resides


In the courtyard of my Mind…


Out front is the little garden, speckled with the motley flowers

That blossomed with each Love of my life,

Some standing tall, some shrivelled now, some drooping, yet still alive

Amongst them also lurk the black weeds of heartbreak,

Sometimes threatening to overrun all colour in sight


In the courtyard of my Mind…


To the side, lies the sometimes-murky pool of humanity,

Its surface roiled often, by the pebbles of vice

But sprites of Good also live within in it,

And when left alone, they usually tame the errant tides


All of this I can imagine, there’s much more beyond my sight,

Some I hope to see someday, some I dread to find;

In the courtyard of my Mind.