Most of my days, are bad. Terrible. (Un)bearable. Not with you, no. Often in your company I do not have to set remainders to breathe and existing does not feel like a chore.
My faithless heart fills with gratitude and my bones creak in relief. I send prayers to heavens – prayers that ricochet off the clouds and nest between the wrinkles around your eyes. Oh, what a joy it is to breathe the same air as you.
I think I have forgotten how must the absence of sadness feel like. But I do remember how happiness looks like – a gentle hand on shoulder a kiss that feels like feather a sharp moan when you enter me a bite of blueberry ice cream a crescent of your lips that almost resemble a smile and your ten fingers & ten toes which melt into mine. Happiness looks so much like you.
My misery melts into a puddle in the pits of your collarbones. I shatter when apart. Is it an oversimplification?
What might I answer you – am I happy? What do I do? Tear my heart out, place it in you perfect palms, and say “Here, keep it.”
In the warmth of our embrace I have forgotten how sadness looks like and what a dangerous thing it is to forget the face of an old friend!
Am I happy? Rather the question is – could I be happier? Some questions do not have answers. A love like ours does not come with certainty.
You sleep with your mouth open. Now, the morning sunlight dances on your face. Today, I will swallow the lump of fear of loss and build a bridge to forever.
my lover once asked me why my hands are always balled up in fists as if want to punch the person next to me or if it is a peculiarity that I picked while growing up or if I simply like how my nails feel against the softness of my palm.
I am afraid I do not have answers.
why do I write poems with a pencil? why does my heart behave like a madman, wanting to jump off the bridge of my ribs? why does my stomach knit itself like grandma’s mittens, everytime that I think of living on?
how does one keep living on anyway?
I often find myself thinking of the end. Not in a gruesome, ‘send-me-help’ kind of way, though. I think of the simple things I hold dear and how they would shatter beneath my feet like delicate glass menagerie, break into stardust and scatter away in the vastness of the universe.
I have been thinking of all the small yet (in)significant deaths, uncountable funerals of dreams and hopes that one must host & attend while they live on.
How profound is the knowledge that today might be the last time my lips taste the coffee-stained lips of my lover. or this might be the last glass of wine that I pour with my friends.
how does one live on in the face of grief and loss and ephemerality which hangs thick & heavy in the air.
mad might not be an appropriate term to use. pardon me, what is the most politically correct way to say that I am going crazy?
every-(wretched)-day, the afternoon sun rises. light sieves through the dreamcatcher on my window whose colourful mesh now attracts flies and nightmares. the new day, in all its glory mocks at my miseries. in my room, gravity works in mysterious ways. my body – part sadness, part smoke stays pinned to the bed as if it has been shackled to the chains of doom.
my mother once said eating too much salt can make the bones hollow. is it possible that my tears seep through my skin and gnaw at my bones? is that why I can’t walk to the door? is that why my syllables melt away & my teeth fall off before I could cry for help?
my lover says he is worried for me. I reassure him. it’s not like I would try to take my life.
but tomorrow when I am gazing at the moon with a cigarette between my fingers and friends in my arms- I am lying on his chest and listening to the lullaby of his heart – I am grazing my fingers through my dog’s hair and resting on my mother’s lap – and death comes to me a gentle push, a burning meteor, a speeding truck nevertheless, a sweet respite…
it is the time of the year again; the month of empty streets when winds blow from the gardens of the Sun. the month of wilted Rajnigandhas and weary dreams.
it is the time of the year again; the winds from the land of Sun hiss through a crowded platform blow away a tattered cloth covering a woman’s corpse and throw dust in the eyes of her child playing beside. the month of dusty glass panes and festering wounds.
fumes of loneliness seep into my lungs melancholia makes home in my bones.
an envelope of dust settles on my books my grandmother’s old saree my father’s first polaroid camera and my heart.
when did I hold them last?
ambulances whiz past my phone chimes with memories of yesteryear. another night dawns. a crescent moon gleams in the sky.
In a different world we put the stars on snooze and stay in bed a little longer. Against the translucent curtains a streak of sunbeam breaks on your face into a thousand glorious particles of resplendence. Your fingers trace the longitude of my spine as my lips sleep locked with yours; the quiet of a summer morning only being disturbed by the whizz of air conditioner and our intermittent breaths.
In a different world we throw our phones into water and waltz to patchy jazz records endlessly, across the living room as the air saturate with the aroma of over-ripe mangoes & thai green.
In a different world we put our watches away and wash the dishes a little slower. I linger on the countertop dusting ash into a makeshift tray while we discuss the politics of love.
In a different world the flames of urgent passion are doused with the certainty of domestic. Surfeit with the mundanities of an ancient affair our bodies lie apart, away solitary in their togetherness together in their solitude. Our feet touch each other as your hands sheild my face from the sun. I turn around to fix my eyes on the stray grey brow and seek refuge in the familiar warmth of your neck.
In a different world I would stay the night week, month and the lifetime after.
On good days, I define my trauma. I remember & talk of it as a stubborn creeper I have sprayed enough weedicide on to not bother me anymore. I walk past the alleys of my past carefully avoiding the pungent puddles of abuse pushing past the demons- some, uninvited some, of my own making.
On bad days —- well..
(Pardon, how much trauma qualifies as bad trauma?)
There are days, the trauma robs me of my very last syllable. I turn a prisoner of my own parasites as they crawl between the membranes of my skin swiftly marking their pathways red with delicate cracker-thin lacerations. Blood & tears vapourise to smoke only to attain voices that I dread. The moonbeam breaks into sharp shards of glass faithfully reflecting upon faces – faces I had held & trusted faces I had loved the laughter on. Among them all there’s also a face I barely hold any memory of. As nightmares knock on the back of my head a stench of tobacco fills my nostrils. My throat burns with the familiarity of a distinct rum while a cacophony of muffled sobs hang heavy in the air.
Tomorrow, I will walk on the lilac skies of hope hop on a bridge of rainbow that leads to the Sun and whisk myself a frothy mug of cumulus. Tomorrow, maybe, just maybe I will look my trauma in the eye and smile my way past it.
But today, canoeing alone through the velvet labyrinths of the night has to be enough – one row at a time.
• Somewhere in Japan a craftsman fills the crevices of a broken pot with golden lacquer: kintsugi – to repair with gold a beautiful art of celebrating scars.
Somewhere, a few lifetimes away my lover kisses the bruise on my calf.
The pot & I are one.
• A child’s tricycle bell chimes in distance as we lie against each other lulled by the gentle exhaustion of lovemaking. It puts me in awe how perfectly our hearts, minds, and bodies are designed to fit- like specks of stardust floating independently in a galaxy of solitude only to come together – significant in their own insignificance in the grander scheme of the universe.
• The world is a blueprint of serendipities a gorgeous mess of people waiting to cross paths with each other. Yet what a privilege it is to stumble upon you- a pair of arms to collapse in eyes, to spill dreams into a heart to call home.
• To write using bullets is a weird way of writing poems. To write poems is a weirder way to manifest love. One can only hope that the muse gets them right.
• Again, to call this love is an understatement. A strange four lettered word to suffice for what’s raging in my blood. Do I love you? I (will-bruise-and-break-myself-multiple-times-to-be-touched-by-you) you. I (shall-keep-floating-in-oblivion-until-I-find-the-brilliance-of-your-smile) you. I (will-build-a-new-world-only-to-run-into-you) you. I (fuck-bullet-fonts-I-will-take-real-ones-for-you) you.
1- wake them up with soft kisses
as the sunlight hits their face
and breaks into a thousand particles of stardust.
take their hand and
lead them to the mirror.
undress them slowly and gradually
to let them chew & digest
their own reflection.
make sure that your fingers run
all over their scars:
the thick blue-black one on their left calf
from the time their father pressed their skin
against the exhaust pipe of his bike;
the knot of the tissues
where the slits on their thighs meet;
the stretch marks on their shoulder blade
from an era when anorexia starved them to
‘four-sizes-down’ in high school.
Then, in a blink, all at once,
reveal your body
in all its resplendent pristinity
Watch then revel in your body
and look back (down?) on their own.
Leave a kiss on the corner of their lips
and walk away.
Do not speak a single word,
2- as you both fight
and shatter expensive cutlery and cheap dreams,
make sure that you do not slam doors and leave.
make sure that you stay back
to make them a cup of hot chocolate
and sit by their side
as they cry on your shoulders
and struggle to hide their guilt away
beneath your neck.
take their head in your hand
and hear them apologize
and thank you and apologize
over and over again
and as they do so,
lightly, whisper into their ears
that how you are different from all the other lovers
they had taken in the past.
Repeat it religiously after every single fight
every single day
between gasps of love-making
so that when you leave,
they won’t be able to kiss another pair of lips
without feeling the warmth of your tongue in their mouth
that they won’t be able to frame a sentence
without making it sound like an apology or a thank-you note.
drown them in gratitude.
3- when they go on a trip
stop tending to their house-plants
abandon their pets.
give their cat a nice tuna meal
a bowl of warm milk
and leave it to its fate
in a distant neighborhood.
when they get back,
tell them that the cat ran away
and you spent days in despair
searching for it
and you are sorry
for when you were out looking, the plants died.
they will be so busy cooking you a meal
and blaming themself,
that they’ll forget to grieve over their pet.
what could be crueler
than snatching away one’s chance to mourn?
before you eat the food they made
season it generously with remorse
and say how you should have brought
dogs & succulents instead.
make everything about you.
4- listen to them, always.
listen as they tell you
how they spent their nights inside the cupboard
when they were eight
hoping to escape the cacophony of their parents’ arguments.
listen as they tell you how their old lover ridiculed them
for reading too less
for eating too less
for fucking too less
for being, just too less.
and the next time you want to talk,
scream, at the top of your lungs
till they crouch on the ground
eyes closed, hands on their ears.
make sure that there are no cupboards in the house
and ask them if they think that they are enough.
pry & feed on their weakness.
5- and even though you have mastered enough ways,
the trick is never to kill and always to keep.
make love to them in old bookstores
pour them rum in their favorite mug
dance with them to Presley
remember the exact number of peppercorns to grind into their morning tea
and never leave.
with enough time and food,
animals in slaughterhouse too,
begin to believe that they are cared for.
humans are no different.
some people are hungry for love
or anything that remotely resembles it.
stay. pretend. stay.
I see the world in white and black.
I have never known colors.
The asphalt of the night
bites gently into the
vanilla of the day,
like edible liquid charcoal
in a glass of white froth;
like a hungry amoeba
engulfing its prey.
I see the world in white and black.
The universe exists in absolutes.
Out beyond the paradox of black hole
lie hidden the theories of a white hole.
No one is in the quest of a unicorn island,
I see the world in white and black.
The way I like my coffee;
on some days, I go all black, no sugar
on some days, I pour out the bottle of cream
though later that day,
I lock myself in a bathroom and puke my guts out:
anorexia is real.
I have memorised the recipe of my life.
5 tablespoons of melancholy,
a quarter tablespoon of joy;
a dash of Kohl on sleepless white canvas,
there’s no place for grey.