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Nicky Goodman

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prose poems - Trapeze/Coconuts/Serita
By Nicky Goodman
Wednesday, July 18, 2007

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Goa poems, India -


I stopped for a Barman on the sand, resting - a philosophical kind. He debated happiness, dis-ease and The Questioning Mind.

"Are you happy now?" I put my maps down, we drank; watched a couple tie a thin red line between two coconut trees, elasticized and weighted at each end. "Have you ever walked the Trapeze, my friend?" and the Boy stepped up onto the heat of the wire, an artist, his arms surfing the bounce from above. "Yes, of course..." he said, "but only when I'm in love! Pointless to think of your feet - you must put your soul over there - and go toward it..."

The Girl fell. Again and again she hit the ground. Was her thinking wrong, the red road too long, her strong mind not on the other tree, too often looking down? "She's not in love, but it can be found in the instant she is equal to the stars; the stars and tree will talk - and, like you, she will walk when she doesn't want to be here anymore." I guess he meant love is written in the stars, something like that; I wrapped my maps in a scarf.

We smiled, watched the couple untie the thin red line, watched how they strolled a while hand in hand, down to sunset. Happiness? Of all my footsteps, I'm just so glad we met.


I have my jungle and when it is in limited colour, I appear to simply laze around in the shade, picking the legs off spiders, making daisy chains. I've been told again and again it's a luxurious pastime as neither pays. It's hobbyist, it's child's-play and I can't stop the coconuts falling, breaking tiles on the terracotta roof.

The rain in Monsoon has its own kind of truth but I'm packing up the legs and the chains, getting out of here. Banana leaves are tumbling brown as I take my jungle with me, packing paints, rolling canvas, leaving town, giddying-up to find a brand new second hand room.

There have been signs you see, just movements. When there are animals around, familiars are easy to come by, dead or alive they slither on the ground, through legs, hop onto shells, fill the sky with messages that I place, neatly folded, in this case. Combination padlocked, broken at 000 from the start, and locked to prevent the escape of legs.

Anything that touches the skin is only really active for twenty minutes. Absorbed, evaporated - washed, after twenty minutes the skin seals. Those twenty minutes add, and nature's breezes are absorbed so that I have become more and more at one with this place. The rains do evaporate, which is why I have locked the case.

I have no fear at the airport. I will have packed wisely, weaning out the weight, balancing the bags, and carrying all the precious things that may just break. If my luggage is lost or stolen, so be it, and that's the truth - because I can't stop the coconuts falling, breaking tiles on the terracotta roof.

Serita, your sari is beautiful..

Serita, I say your sari is beautiful and you throw your eyes to the sky, laugh, push my shoulder ' but it is a beautiful turquoise; fades of coral and frayed golden threads snag the fiery sand. Spread out on Gujarati cloth, are end of season hometown wares: spiral shells and stories, t-shirts and tales. You flick antique beads of tiger-eye around my neck, call me friend and take my hand. It fits, so.

Your jewels filigree towards me and we speak of craft; of gems; gold, metal, women and men; of the silver clasps, loops and rings, stamped by authority at home. 'Is he a good man?' I ask, and you say softly, yes. For a moment, your almond eyes have the ocean in them, the fiery sand, and when you turn to me, I can see the green flecks of your back home mountain land. You are feline, elegant, and delicate, and a survivor of lives, an astute businesswoman sat in her beautiful rags.

The shade has moved away from us. We spin the creaky palm umbrella, and a sand-sleepy tanned cow turns and yawns. "No people again today, nothing. Only families of skinny cows, and they don't want my jewels! I try to smile, and for a second, I cannot imagine you bullied by anything, except nature. You need to buy pills for your Angina, and the worry in your eye is a secret.

I feel the tourist appear in mine and look down, but you see it. "For a traveller who frowns; this tiger-eye is old antique; worn bead for Shiva, and good. You will see what you will do, and me the same." She turns a bead. It is quiet here, together. Tonight there is a fire on the beach, and tomorrow, I catch my plane. I turn a bead. "Yes, turn the bead, like that..." she says, smiling.

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Reviewed by Ruth Rey 7/21/2007
Only knew Serita of these three, but am in awe. Marvellous prose, Nicky, and so nice you have perhaps stopped tweaking these? Do NOT touch!
The rhythm in Coconuts givs me shivers. Trapeze is perfect and what a super metaphor.

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