Hour 7 — The Night Train

The night train is a special kind of creature
A great metal beast that speeds through the dark countryside
Swaying rhythmically
So many dreams in motion
An entire population in limbo

I’m sitting at the window
Watching the pinpoints of light rushing by
Captain Kirk must’ve felt something like this
When Mr. Sulu took them through warp speed
When the stars went by,
Did Spock feel anything?

Against the sky I can make out the silhouette of a hill
The hill seems to be beckoning to me
I too am tempted to disembark at the next station
and find my way to the hill
Another time, perhaps… I say to myself
The night train sways with gentle laughter

Hour 6 — A Green Friend


I spoke unto the great big tree
Growing by the road to Infinity
And when I asked for a true friend
A clump of moss was all it had sent

I tended the moss with water plain
We had friendly chats in a casual vein
And in time, there had grown a forest vast
To serve the earth unto the last

Hour 5 — A Testament to a Tragedy

I knew Lucy since she was yay little
A demon in human form she’d always been
With her crafty smiles and
her thoughts frothing with trickery

Our family never took much heed of Lucy’s many mischiefs
Caught up in their own business, they let her be
She repressed her subconscious need for attention
By making strange friends
Goths and misfits, hanging out in shady, underground clubs
Listening to their dark music, sung in guttural undertones
Her outlook pessimistic, her lifestyle stank of nihilism

Our folks took notice when Lucy’s grades started falling
(Of course I could plainly see her downward spiral
But nobody paid any attention to my snide remarks)
The cut her allowance, her car privileges were withdrawn
Lucy rebelled by turning to chemicals
Her friends too were on the same path
to the mire of apathy and self-destruction
So no help there

Last week they found Lucy
Lying in the canal behind the factories
The neighbors and the police swarmed into our house
When tragedy strikes, people are drawn to the carnage
Like carrion flies to a corpse
Apparently, Lucy had overdosed
Her ‘friends’ had dumped her body
in the chemical-infested puddles behind the factory
To confuse the cops
She was 15

I miss her terribly
I knew her since she was a kid
She was family
But, being a cat
There’s only so much I could do

Hour 4 — The Dwarf Song

We are the Dwarves of Grivenweld
A stronger beast you’ve never beheld
We never cry, we never fear
We’re veritable strangers to despair
And when the fight is upon us
We’re not known to stall or fuss
And we love to eat our boars and deer

Elves are friends, and trolls are foes
Our strength and might, our enemy knows
We never forgive, we never forget
We stay alert for any threat
By day we toil, by night we sleep
Summers we sow, in winters reap
And we live our lives without a regret

And when our day is done
We’re buried under the sun
We, the Dwarves of Grivenweld
Many a troll our axes have felled
Our treasures are many, our sorrows few
This our song, we sing for you
And now we must retire to our earthly bed

Hour 3 — Stale Dreams

In the forest by Silvercreek lake
My old man has a log cabin

Growing up, we have always known about it
Every other year, for a few days, he would be gone
With his friends, fishing, and what not
“Gone fishing, yessir,” mother would drawl at the dinner table
Like it was supposed to be funny
in an observational sort of way

I thought it was a nice excuse to get away from it all
The cares of a family man, the city life, the stress, taxes
For a few days every year, if you can make it, otherwise,
“There’s always next year,” he’d be placating over the phone
To us he’d say, “Hey, maybe we guys could go one day,”
“A proper family vacation,” he’d try to sell us his second-hand dreams,
“Nothing like a fishing trip to cure the blues, do you a bunch of good.”
Mother would laugh rhetorically from the kitchen
Banging the pots and pans
to make up for the words left unsaid

All that was before the great cancer got to him
In a couple of years he transformed into a wraith
As if under the spell of an evil sorcerer
He died, I went to college, brother went to war
Dad’s tackle lay in the shadowy attic
A prop for intricate spider webs

As for the log cabin, I never really got to see it
After brother came back, mom got sick
with unpronounceable afflictions
Medical euphemisms for old age
Brother started his own business
Tactical multi-tasking between
The logistics of refrigerated trucks and
Taking care of mother

Couple of years back, I too got married
Have a hyperenergetic kid now
Things around the house perpetually seem to be
in varying stages of destruction
Off late, though, I have been thinking
About the log cabin by Silvercreek lake

Maybe, one of these days, I’ll take the family along
Or alone, perhaps
Would be good if some of the guys from college
could come along…
There’d be fishing and beer
And the shared sense of nostalgia
Which comes from getting away from yourself

One of these days, let’s see…

Hour 2 — The Morning After

Early morning
I sit at the table
Groggy and hungover
from last night’s debauchery

My saintly roommate comes in
He screams “Good Morning!”
His words bounce around in my head

I can barely look at him
The daylight blinds my sore eyes
“So, how was last night?” he enquires
I mumble, “The usual, we went around town,
drank at half a dozen places, who cares…”

My friend, a stranger to vices, looks at me
With merry wonder in his eyes, he asks —
“If you’re so miserable, why do you drink? I don’t get it.”

I look at him, the uninitiated simpleton
How would he even begin to understand
The sweet, relentless grip of temptations that call after hours
The soft moonlight’s spell, which brings out the Mr. Hyde in you
The bittersweet irony of living multiple lives

No, I decide, I wouldn’t be able to tell him
That it’s a lie vampyres can’t stand daylight

Hour 1 — Life in the Deep


I am a stone
A rock of unique contours
and striations

Broken off the crag
The cliff at the far end of the shore
Our old home
A few hundred we were then
However, over the years, we have moved away

Since our break
We have travelled many miles
These past few decades
From the coast to the basin
To these sea waters, green and blue

My purpose, I often think, is probably to provide
A surface for the gentle algae to grow
To feed the fish
The lovely tiny creatures
Colorful and frolicsome they swim

Our brothers, my fellow stones, we are gradually moving
Towards the great fall, they say
Where another ocean waits for us
below these waters
There, the fish are grim and vicious
We are told

But I don’t worry too much
Being a stone
(of favourable mineral compositions, I might add)
I strive to serve
And serve happily


Hello Fellow Wordsmiths,

I’m Aayan Siddiqui, 34, from India. Love to read and write. Have a thing for the surreal and the absurd. Here for the half-marathon. Still kind of braille-walking around the site, figuring out the where, when and how of the actual event. The comments (and replies) are helpful, many thanks. Well, see you around!

God bless 🙂