Young With Scabby Knees

Whether we be old or bald.


Notes from the Dark Side of the Moon

Truth and fiction: Poetry, prose and words.


I look at his fingers as they handed me a drink; they were bony thin, much like the rest of him. When not handling drinks, those fingers spent time scratching the crop of beard that he’d allowed to grow unfettered on his face.

I swallow the rum in three long gulps, unevenly paced.

I look at his fingers cradling a pen, plotting equations between the finite and infinite in one breath. He says the logic is flawed and I believe him because it is. He steps into a discourse on the theory of everything, stopping mid-sentence ever so often, stretched thin between confidence and the lack of it within him.

I lie on the floor imagining the arithmetic unfolding in psychedelic patterns on the white ceiling.

I look at his eyes, closed as they are, entranced by the music. He does not respond as I call him out because he’s lost in the one without us. We leave the room for a smoke, a view of the receding monsoon’s full moon sky and another stutter-ridden discourse.

I smoke only by way of three drags, each longer and slower than the one before.


Swan song.

We were
closet writers,
YOLO travellers
and capricious lovers.

Did you know they looked for us?
They looked and found none of our remains;
our ashes had flown away at the speed of the carefree wind
when our words did not.

We were
unwritten stories,
war-ridden skies,
and broken promises.

Did you know they looked for us?
They looked and found none of our remains;
our ashes had flown away to the place of stars, rain and no name
where our words did not.

We were
the silence in a library,
the purple twilight
and the coalition of feet.

Did you know they looked for us?
They looked and found none of our remains;
our ashes had flown away from the currency of lies
when our words did not.

We were really handsome
most of the time,
wonderful silver and gold plumage.
“Fascinating creatures, phoenixes.”
It’s a shame they looked for us
on burning day.

But in the place of stars, rain and no name,
did rise newborn birds with wings,
ugly as they were,
to fly
at the speed of the carefree wind
and to write
the truth as it comes.
It’s a shame we did not look for us
on burning day.




The moon stares at me as I stare at it. It hangs like a quartered orange high in the sky that is a strange, luminescent blue; and the clouds are something your dreams are made with. A lone star fights a losing battle. Dazed, I wonder aloud to myself: Let’s steal the monsoon sky.

Oh please, let’s steal the monsoon sky. I repeat.

lost + found

Her warm smile, the evidence to her soul, shines and stills her restless eyes. Her fingers, the deputies to her artistry, are cold and heavy.

Her skin, the wrappings to her bones, is lost in a tangle of folds. Her life, the forerunner to mine, finds that it ebbs away from him close.

Madness, really. – ii

Today, the first word that left my pen was a seven lettered one.

Madness is a realm so wide:
It holds not a you or a me,
Only but our two pennies’ worth of

Madness is an interlude:
It builds not between a you or a me,
Only within the walls of
yesterday’s dues.

Madness is a singsong trite:
It rings not a tune of a you or a me,
Only aches of tomorrows

Madness isn’t mild, you see.

Today the only words that leave my pen want to honour a seven lettered one.

Today it’s all I want to write about.

Madness, really.

July 6, 2017
A chair and a table, India


Madness, really.

Madness is a realm so wide:
It contains not a you or a me,
Only but our two pennies’ worth of

‘Take Your Broken Heart, Make It Into Art.’

I can’t hold a pen right and it isn’t because of the blisters. I haven’t held a pen right since I last wrote a letter to you; I never told you this. It’s a coincidence, I tell myself. The clouds are vicious white waves, the sky is a vast blue ocean and my limbs feel as heavy as lead. I sit in this chair with sheets of newspaper splayed out in front of me in a manner haywire. The coffee in the masked white cup is still warm. They didn’t spell my name on it right.

The blisters on my fingers and feet hurt the same today but the ones on my knees and calves hurt less. The nails of my fingers and feet don’t look chipped, not if you look at them the way I do – with eyes closed. To start walking an unknown terrain under the malevolence of the midday sun was a rookie mistake, I tell myself. The setting sun cast such a glow, such a spell when I reached the top that I did not feel the lead in my limbs until the morning after. The coffee in the masked white cup is starting to be cold. I hate coffee. I take it every time I sit in a chair with sheets of newspaper splayed out in front of me in a manner haywire.

I haven’t read a word of it, the newspaper – only doodled on its margins, trying to piece together awkwardly framed sentences. I tear off each page after having exhausted its capacity to be written upon, crumple it up and throw it inside the waste basket a few metres across from me. It’s good practice for target shooting and for letting go of your words. I’ve thrown my notebooks away; stopped collecting souvenirs as well. I only carry a pen in my pocket now and I only write when near a waste basket which isn’t very often. The fire and desire I saw lit yet suppressed in your eyes when we parted last are what keeps me going, keeps me awake at night and keeps me from waking in the morning. I’m stupid, I tell myself. It’s going to rain today although the sky is astonishingly blue. It’s the kind of thing that you’d say with equally astonishing conviction, which is the kind of the thing that I love about you. The rectangular piece of technology in my other pocket doesn’t vibrate as often as it used to. Curiously, I don’t remember when it vibrated last but I remember that I haven’t spoken to my family in 49 days, to my friends in 28 and to you in 63. I extract it from my other pocket, look at it and put it back where it was. I collect the newspapers and the pen, stuff one under my left arm and the other in my pocket, and start to walk away. The coffee in the masked white cup is virgin.

The pavement is so clean that I wish to take my sandals off and walk barefoot upon it. I don’t. I suspect that the pavement might even be warm. I walk uphill. I imagine walking past the emaciated middle-aged man with one arm unnaturally shorter than the other, the little siblings trading red roses for money and the young man with a truncated torso, as I walk past square duplexes built with concrete, steel and glass. I don’t miss you, I tell myself. I make stray conversations with pets and sometimes their owners. I make stray conversations with bicycles and sometimes their owners. I walk uphill, till the staccato of cement gives way to the crunch of grass. The view isn’t particularly scintillating or one that makes great poems but the summit is unmarked and forlorn. I sit down on a rocky ledge, spread my legs out and try to write a bad poem. Four lines in, I realise that there isn’t a bin around.

October, 2016
Somewhere, India


Corny poem 1.

What if I told you that the only thing real
is the hymn sung by every millimetre of your sun-kissed skin?

What if I told you that the only thing real
is the hammering of your brave porcelain heart, scarcely contained within?

What if I told you that the only thing real
is the flake of clear white snow on your weary fingertips?

What if I told you that the only thing real
is the words that pour out of your soul but never your lips?

What if I told you that the only thing real
is the turn of the wind and the canopy of stars that you are beholden to?

What if I told you that the only thing real
is the universe inside you?

What if I told you that the first time I saw you, I ceased
to be real.


Like slicing butter with a double-edged sword, your fingers cut through to my nervous system to set my peripheral neurons on holy fire.

Like electricity coursing through yard fences, your hands sparked in my body a few hundred volts of sensuality.

Like lightning tearing the sky asunder, your arms struck me with the burning radiance of a thousand silver satellites.

And ice turned vapour.


But for thirty-five seconds,
Can I weave a harmless dream?
Of a place where tomorrow brings true,
That what today hopes to do.

Please for thirty-five seconds,
May I weave a harmless dream?
Of a place where I love you,
While the shooting stars streak across the endless grey and blue.


A drip of cold sweat.
A corporeal tremor steeped in indecision and hate.
A swirl of words in a message laced with fire and nerves frayed.
A fluttering heart pounding against a frail ribcage.

A seed of doubt.
A hesitance congealed in my lungs and breath.
A restless energy curled around my feet and neck.
A knot in my stomach echoing in the ripple on my skin.

A twinge of shame.
A weight latched onto my shoulder blades.
A distrust of the tangible cradled my consciousness.
A warm drop of water pooling in my palms.

The clock tower chimes:
Four unique times.
Another bead of sweat, down that treacherous spine.

Ah, fuck it.

You are the master of your fate
And the captain of your soul.


There’s a fire, a fierce one.
It’s nestled inside of my heart; it yearns as it burns.
It flickers, splutters and roars.
But there’s another one.
Outside in the world:
One that scorches all that it touches as it burns.

And tonight,
I accept both of them,
I accept them.

I accept that a fire burns in me
and that another burns the world.
I looked for absolution but tonight,
I know that I shall never find it.
I accept the smoke.

I will spend hours watching dusk melt into night
and night into that unimposing dawn.
I will look for stars, and sometimes
I’ll find them.
As I will the northern lights, and
every explosion of blue, green and white.

I accept that man, woman and child shall suffer:
Of their own accord and
by Lottery.
I tried to make sense of the world, its order
but tonight I know that I shall never find it.
I accept the noise.

I will lose the lines I liked the most
from books, poems and prose.
But I will remember that ineffable emotion which stayed
with me after reading them, holding each close.
As I will the humility felt towards an unknown hand and
the universe at large.

I accept that all that we touch, feel and see is ephemeral:
a ripple in the tide of time.
I searched for the Point Of It All but tonight I know
that I shall never find it.
I accept the sands.

I will walk as far as my own two feet
carry me.
I will be enslaved by music and lust,
and the restless wind in your letterbox.
As I will be by the sigh on your lips
(that unyielding confidence laced with tacit longing)
the smell of your skin
(that freshly baked something made off a clay oven).

There’s a fire, a fierce one.
And tonight, I begin.


May I take you up?

Down here, I’m a swirl of sound decisions and mad impulses:

To taste the sky, the moon and the canopy of white and green, to bleed it all into words and into art, and to suffer from the incapacity of reproducing it accurately so.

To walk endlessly till the edge of the flat earth, and then on the other side of it too.

To be swathed by the saliva of one who knows unconditional love like no other.

To lay on the ground until dawn, connecting stars into imaginary constellations – stars that seem to send secret messages to one another, forming an impregnable fortress of celestial mystery above us.

To be largely unconcerned with the movement of little green pieces of paper’.

To stand along the seashore with the sand slipping away below – ceaselessly onrushing water all around – and the sun painting away with delicious colours that never existed before so.

To form waves in the passing breeze with the curves of my hand and arm outside a vehicle window.

To throw you down on the lunar surface and commit interstellar perversion’ yet to disregard the ineffable yearning to be loved, to be held and to be saved.

To stand atop the world, finding the universe inside me but losing it at the same time.

Pray, tell me which of these seem sound to you and which do you deem mad.

Down here, spring smells of apples, sir, and it is as intoxicating as it is beautiful:.

The lingering last kiss of winter that melts into the sweltering welcome of the summer haze.

The March sun that slightly scorches the back of my hands and neck (whilst I try not to think of how I’d rather be burnt by your warm skin, nails and teeth).

The restless swishing sound of the wind among the trees outside my window every night, imitating the restlessness in my fingers, heart and toes.

The smattering of rain upon my sill that wakes me before every sunrise, perplexing me with the furious demand to string letters together.

The nervous promise of good things, endings and beginnings that enraptures every cell in my being.

The crossroads.

The curve of your back, the whites of your nails, the insides of your palms, the calves of your legs, the creases upon your brow, the shadow of a smile on your pressed lips, the light in your eyes and the droop in your shoulders.

It’s a short way up to the lunar surface, sir.


She asks you if you’re gay
Because your brother raped you.
You tell her no.
You’re attracted to her.
(Skin, bones and furious passion)

I look in the mirror
And sometimes I can’t recognise the eyes that blink back at me.
I look at my hands
And wonder who they belong to:
I, me, myself.
(Or so I am told)

He asks you if it’s cool to be gay
Because “girls mostly do”.
You tell him no; what kind of girls would they even be?
You wished to tell him how much you lost trying to understand those feelings;
Tell him it isn’t as easy as crossing off a box under sexual orientation on your Facebook page, is it?
There are no books, movies or friends to turn to.
You’re attracted to a girl
And you have not a single damn idea how that works.
(Female skin, female bones and furious passion)

So you think of writing it down:
Step by step,
A user manual.
For posterity.
For everyone who was neither the best friend nor the girlfriend.
For everyone grasping at straws, satisfied with scraps
Between labels:
Only for a moment to feel sane.
(Fuck the Kinsey scale)

I look in the mirror
At the strange face, the fallen snips of her hair are being broomed away by a strange man.
I flex my fingers
And the reflection in the mirror flexes hers too.
I, me, myself – with shorter hair.
(Or so I must believe)

You ask yourself: is this relief you feel?
Because you’re capable of crushing on a boy
And you can fit inside the given box,
Seek advice and rarely hide.
You tell yourself – does it matter?
You’re attracted to him.
(Far beneath the skin, deeper than bones and curious-er than passion)

I look in the mirror
And the face that stares back is unsightly and wearied.
I bunch my fingers into a fist
And try to feel the pressure as my nails dig in.
It is I, me, myself.
And no one else is allowed in.

There are many miles to walk on
Some promises to break, many more to keep.
There are constellations to trace, skies to taste and poetry to bleed to the moon
Some lines to be remembered, many more to be forgotten.
The bands of blue that arch above, change colour as steps are taken one after another
Some take you where you wanted, many more everywhere else.
And no one else is allowed in?

“Priori Incantatem”

Listless: we yearn for motion.
Poetry: we punctuate our silences with.
Dreams: we pursue skylines unseen, only imagined.
Words: we seek that which renders us bereft of speech.
Emptiness: we long to fulfill it.
Bargains: we barter alliances for experiences.
Tremors: we defy and differ, doleful but disparate.
Nights: we slumber among the soft tufts of clouds.
Dawn: we rush into its arms, calm yet warm.
Thought: we think as we walk and breathe as we run.
Moments: we live (or so we’d like to believe?).

The sun plays coy though it’s a clear blue sky. The night closes in and I can hear whimpering dogs resign to the stillness it brings. The morning lifts off its misty veil and the colours return to the world one by one. The darkness cloaks the earth and the stars light up the sky like dying embers.. one by one. These intrepid footsteps carry me forward.. on and on, into the unknown, riding pillion with the wind. The excesses and that unquenchable thirst rage against one another, as I toss, turn, tumble.. seemingly forlorn. The pitter-patter of the unseasonal rain matches the pace of my steps. The leaves dare not rustle even as the winter breeze caresses its corners. The river of rainwater charts a course and I follow it. I hold my breath lest the trepidation in my heart betrays me.. and I wait. The sun bows before the rain and thunderclouds gather in. I feel the silence press upon my skin, rebuking yet entreating. I abandon the river as it branches out, dividing and multiplying. I lie still.. and weave dreams and conversations, aromas and scenes, a white snow and a celestial blue-green.. slipping in and out of consciousness. I exhale a deep sigh, preparing for the uphill climb as an impending storm threatens to tear the sky asunder. I close my eyes to relive the fears, the hopes and the iron cage of reality that bears down upon us. I reach the small summit, and feel the rain drops, like pellets from the sky, fall against my face as I paint myriad worlds with eyes closed. I feel the heat of this burning world. I feel a yearning that could rent the brewing storms with the intensity of an explosion of a million splendid suns. I sleep. I sit.. awake.

It isn’t sudden but it is total. It is consuming but we dare it to be final. Come. Let’s disrobe ourselves of our naivete and step into that scintillating moonlight so that we may see the pith of our natures unmasked, bathed in the purest of lights.

We were foolish and we were brave. We penned our stories and wept in our graves. Come. Let’s disengage ourselves from our daydreams and swim across that valiant sea so that we may learn of the stillness in our fires, awash with the deep serene blue.

It scorches every pore on our skins but endows us with sweet abandon. It leaps from our souls in twos but burns coalescing into one. Come. Let’s chase the winds, the waves, the northern lights and the summer skies so that we tire not from the length of our days but the brevity of our lives.

We tasted blood and trembled with treason. We forged liaisons and forwent some. Come. Let’s bury our beating hearts and throbbing temples here so that atop that small summit, we are replete with the silence of the ineffable emptiness in our lives, warm beneath the watchful stars.

Can you dare to measure the heat and violence of this beating heart caught and tangled in this body?


The little things that she does,
And sees, and knows.

How I wake, bathe and leave;
Meals to remain unfinished.

How I take my tea: with biscuits plenty,
No sugar, a mug at least.

How I carelessly lose things and blame her;
Rummage through my desk to find them.. later.

How I hate lipstick and things around my neck,
And weddings, Playing my Part in Things;
How I can almost be manipulated into all of it,
With a few of her choice words and a degree of cajoling.

How I take my salad, generously laden with cucumber and a slice of onion;
And drink coffee only when I have to stay awake.

How I don’t like an ounce of noise on Sunday nights,
And that I barely eat on Monday mornings.

How I like her cooking, her experiments with food,
And secret gastronomic pursuits that only we understood.

How I stayed for her,
And then again.

How she stayed for me,
And awoke in the middle of the night to make sure I didn’t not sleep.

How I never tell her about marks, grade points and things such,
But like to see the rage rise to her temples when she chances upon them from sources other.

How I like reading, and the door to my room closed;
And drinking milk after dinner, cold without ice.

The little things that she did,
And saw, and knew.
I now take notice,
When it matters not.


Tell me your dreams, your fears, your screams
I’ll tell you mine, unchecked, untrimmed
I don’t promise empathy, love nor loss
I guess you seek none of those yet so much more
I listen
I’ll listen with keen eyes and lips sore
To your darkness, your light;
To your madness and the demons you fight
I’ll listen
But I also implore
Why relive our dreams, our fears, our screams?
Why begin to unravel from within?

Scorch. And burn.

One more minute
Dream a stolen dream

One more minute
Pledge a silent scream

From the cracks beneath your skin
To the tides rising above the brim
Dream a stolen dream

I see blistering pain in your eyes
The rage engulfing them, pry
Unravelling, seething
I see your pale unblemished skin
The undead coldness within
Scorches and burns
I see your ragged breathing
The shallow whispers hoarse
Bereaving, still disbelieving

Time doesn’t make it better,
The memories come back stronger
A touch, a smell, a glimpse
A pursuit to persist
The footprints stand still

Two Thousand Breaths.

1560 kilometres
Two strangers and a whirlwind ride
A nod, a prod, a story to tell
A gun, a shot, a battle-wound bright
Toe to toe, blow for blow
From the nave to the chaps

Two strangers and a moonless night
A skit, some lines, unprepared witless
Candour, banter; torrid song and dance
Word for word, to and perhaps fro
Nocturnal, fervent and unplanned

Two strangers and two weeks
What do we learn in so little a time?
Two strangers and two hundred years
Do we learn everything in that much a time?
Two strangers and two texts
What do we say in such short a space?
Two strangers and two thousand breaths
Is it enough to befriend and revel?
Two strangers and 1560 kilometres
Can dream a stolen dream
One more minute


You wrote, you spoke, you rekindled hope
In milli-heartbeats
You shivered
Unshrouded, undead
You swayed
The other shoe tattered and frayed
You gasped
The insides bled
You fell
The tide on a winter’s swell


You breathed, you smiled, you sighed
In milli-heartbeats
You stared
Hapless, scared
You stayed
Awake, unawaited
You resigned
Brimful, bereaved


You awoke, you swore, you rose
In milli-heartbeats
You asked
You lied
You lived

A bargain
Let’s begin again

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