“The Picture Album” and “The Sound Of Rain”

At our last creative writing forum, Muhammad Kasule captivated the audience with four poems, two of which utilize the topics of memory and nature to convey  very dark but true aspects of human life. Read “The Picture Album” and “The Sound of Rain” below.

The Picture Album

Muhammad Kasule

She rocked back and forth in her velvet chair
Listening to the soundtrack chime
From The Count of Monte Cristo
Being watched for the first and fifteenth time

She turned to see me and flashed a smile
As if she’d been waiting for me to come
Always obsessed with meeting new people
But that was simply mum being mum

The Leather album, skin old yet tough
Sides withered from the past use
Memories that she always adored
Of Life before she turned recluse

But today she was mum as before
Cheerful, happy and loving friend
A pillar to hold during the lows
I thought would stand until the end

I pulled a chair and sat in close
Placed the album upon her thighs
We began to flip through the pages
Reliving all those care-free Julys

She loved to look at the Italy trip
It reminded her of the wide-eyed girl
Who ran from home to be with a lover
That she thought would be her whole world

She told me she couldn’t recall his name
But clearly remembered how she felt
His curly hair, and sweet dark eyes
The intoxicating way he smelt

His accent sounded harsh on his tongue
But delicate lips soft on her own
Leaving shivers that ran her skin
Down her spine, caressing bone

The next couple of photographs
Were of her winter wedding day
White dress matching the snow
Black suit and eyes of gray

She told me how nervous she was that day
Until she fell in his tight embrace
That melted the worries of tomorrow
Replaced with the happiness of today

She missed dad, it told in her eyes
It was the whole world against them two
She felt that they would last forever
When he brushed her cheek and said I do

The next few pictures were of summer
Just after I got my college degree
We went to the beach to celebrate
Splashing about in the warm sea

We spent the day’s final lights
Staring out into the sea
With our feet buried in the sand
And quiet winds blowing leaves

Mom and I set the out plates
Dad on the grill, supposedly the ‘best’
That day we dined on burnt steaks
But still enjoyed them nonetheless

She laughed remembering the bitter taste
Yet we ate with a smile, just for dad
He loved the grill that didn’t love him
But bitter steaks beat seeing him sad

We sat for what seemed only a minute
Laughing and crying at memories gone
I loved seeing her as she was before
She hadn’t been mum in so very long

The last page had a single photo
Of baby me with the biggest smile
On her lap, in her velvet chair
Back when it was still in style

A small tear fell on the page
As she broke into a soft tone
Mumbling to me and also herself
Her wish to have a kid of her own

Her tender fingers graced the photo
Yet I wonder if she really cares
She doesn’t know who sits beside her
And I wonder if that’s something we share

She didn’t forget the wedding
She didn’t forget our day by the sea
She didn’t forget when we went sledding
As happy as three could ever be

All she forgot …was me

 

 

The Sound of Rain

Muhammad Kasule

Dawn was pulling up over the hills
Still silence rode in the air
Except for the rumble of tire on dirt
And soft mumblings of desperate prayer

We were extra bodies to help the push
Our lives to balance on a thread
For honor and country, a noble cause
But what’s that mean, if we’re dead?

We huddled up inside the trench
Scared to look, and see the death
As if closing our eyes, for a time
Would bring us home still carrying breath

Above the trench, the soil’s red
The scream of pain ringing clear
So for what reason, do I rise?
Over the trench, above the fear

My hands were shaking, building sweat
Heart slunk up in my throat
Mouth dry yet tasting fear
Fear of names Azrael wrote

Fear that aimed at all I saw
Eyes dodging always alert
Why should my life be forfeit?
I don’t wish to help dampen the dirt

There we were, all huddled close
Lead raining above our heads
I turned to look upon their faces
Slowly beginning to see their dread

Boys still with peach fuzz cheeks
Yet eyes with the thousand yard stare
Fingers shaking on the trigger
Dry lips moving in quiet prayer

Is this the very last time we’ll feel
The warm sunshine upon our skin
Is this the  very last time we’ll hear?
The quiet whistle of sailing wind

The last time we’ll see the sky
A delicate yet piercing blue
The last time that we’ll cry
For loved ones, with whom we grew

And sadly it was the last time
For many of us peach fuzz boys
And sadly it’s not the last time
They’re plenty of other new convoys

They honored our bravery
By inscribing all our names in stone
To show that we’re not forgotten
And that our sacrifice was known

But we really are just names to them
Or even better, little white pawns
That way it makes it easier
To have dry eyes once we’re gone

They called us pride of the nation
And spoke of all the glory to come
Supposedly invincible
And to no force, we would succumb

But they never told how very
Fragile life could actually be
Nor of the fear that always follows
After they were done with me

I can’t forget the screams of pain
They leave me sleepless nights in bed
I used to love the sound of rain
Now all I hear is the bang of lead


 

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One thought on ““The Picture Album” and “The Sound Of Rain”

  1. Pingback: Clark Writer of the Month: Muhammad Kasule | Clark Writes

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