Train, its horn a descending major second,

down a half step -- Doppler effect --

and opportunistic caws harmonize above

a solitary walking man

who blows a tinny whistle,

its tones rise and fall

and fade into a rumbling calm,

exploded by roaming dog packs,

growling primal over space,

unlit alleys their territories.

Drunken consciousness yawns,

and inspires a thought after dreams,

inaccessible now,

sequestered somewhere in this place,

but a warning echo from afar

brings a charged blast,

this time a minor seventh,

chords running on the tracks:

it’s dawn.

Bright haze smolders

and faces radiate emotions,

joys and frustrations, a smile or frown

envelops clusters of arms, dishes, hair, laundry,

bare feet jostle under a single tap,

baskets sag; ceaseless cars nearby.

The scent of cardamom and cloves,

incense and peppered oil sizzles,

burns eyes to tears,

pools of blood and feathers

bartered over by layered fabrics:

magenta, copper, sapphire, gold, and skin and dust,

blend on a canvas resistant to interpretation,

but distant bells ring with conch shell invocations,

and determined crows find scraps,

and half-wild dogs sleep

in dirt, weeds, on cement -- anywhere --

exhausted and indifferent, starving,

while a meandering cow, oblivious,

chews grass.

Coal-stained structures,

brushed with faded colors,

a pastel from forgotten times

lived in for generations, reverberate

an infant’s cry, youthful flirtations,

and, frail, sooty coughs.

Men call,

selling newspapers, milk, or fruit, door to door.

While listening,

absorb the sweetness of young coconuts

and summon the thought:

Absurdity? Truth and beauty? A mockery?

Indefinable projections cycle in an afternoon reverie

and dreams touch all that is possible.

It’s almost the best sleep for man.

But sometime after

a jarring tritone stirs dissonance

and a vision:

across the road

through a dappled crumble in bricks,

beads of water,

and a tangle of vines and petals,