April 29, 2017
April 16, 2017
Vitriolage sounds heady as perfume, earthy as privates on parade.
But a word you’d think to find next to décolletage, inside the Moulin Rouge
Is French for burning the skin off – and more: taking a face and making it unmade.
This one’s lucky: seemingly a squirt of blackcurrant, dry-dripping down her cheeks
It’ll fade, in time. Absorbed, in time, as plain old jealousy and pique.
But if your face’s fully bathed in acid, even ‘recovery’ is emptied of normality.
No make-up can make up for its effects: indelible mark of desire, thwarted.
Permanent marker of respect – inverted, warped and grossly distorted.
In Paris and long ago London, this was passionel, chemical and industriel.
Later, out East at least as far as Bhopal, the criminal commuted from factory to familial.
Now entering the century of the selfie, effacing others has found its way home
In the âge of Instagram, vitriolage comes into its own.
John 20: 6 Then Simon Peter..went in to the sepulchre and saw the linen clothes lie, and the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but rolled up in a place by itself.
On Sinhalese New Year’s Day – Avurudu to you!
The mountain came tumbling down; down upon the dolls’ houses
With people living in them, tucked into the foothills of Colombo’s
Municipal rubbish dump at Meethotamulla.
‘There is nothing to be done’, Vladimir declares to Estragon,
Waiting For Godot on the slag heap of everything-we-know.
(Or is it the other way around? Does it matter?)
At least those n’er-do-wells would have needed a tree to hang from;
For some, shifting ground is all it takes to make strange fruit.
Twenty-one dead in Meethotamulla, toll rising
Like black water coming up through the floorboards on Friday afternoon
And then the earth moved…..
Then a wave of people came to raise their fellows from the grave.
Of some houses the landslip had rolled away the front half,
Others were taken from behind: prised open to public gaze,
Delicacies of private life made even more delicate
The daily grind, ground down still further.
Open to failure, open to failing better.
In the suburbs and shanties of Sri Lanka
There are burial clothes neatly folded
And everything is still to be done.
- With apologies to Basil Wright