Good That You Came.


It is good that you came.

Not good in a conventional sort of way-
Like I feel when I see my mother
After staying away for too long
-But just good. Like watching an eagle soar.
Or hunting for stones on a moss-covered floor.
Or tomato soup on a rainy day.

We stood at the door
And I wondered why your eyes bewitch me
They cannot even exist
I cannot even fly

It hurts that you left
Not the way it would if I lost a good book
Or lost my eyesight, for that matter
It just hurts. Like an old gramophone
That my grandfather used to play
Is lost to us now.

 

 

The Candle Snuffs


I sat on the bed and
Made little chits
To remind myself
How powerful this chance
Can be-
Could I ask for
One return ticket, please?
I want to take this
Journey in reverse
I’m travel-worn
My cloak is torn
I just haven’t seen
The worst of it

I felt the plush carpet
Rich beneath my feet
Something rose inside my throat
A promise or a declaration
Dying unspoken
I think of where I
Had been
And it makes me queasy
Why would I ask for life
To take me somewhere new?
Why can I not be content
Dying in a ten-mile radius
Like people used to

I opened a box of
Old photographs
Surveyed the field and compared
Graying hair, laughter lines
If these decades just pass by
I’ll take one for the team
And surreptitiously I
Understand the feeling
Of some day wanting to die

I talk to people I’ve known
My entire life-
They are different and yet
I see the very same things
Crowding on their living room floors
Filling cabinets with memories
Who will take these away?
And why and where?

So I draw full circle
These Jhodpuri slippers
The chicken-work suits
Or just a stark white sari-
It’s all the same
In the dying calls
Of that house-
To me
It will just be
The darkening of dreams
Looking at wizened people
Wondering when
The candle snuffs and
Where I’ll be when it does.

Refreshing: Just One of the Guys


 

This is one of the most wonderful things I have seen in a while. It rings with truth, it’s liberating. It’s just a little something:

“No matter how hard I try to be just one of the guys
There’s a little something inside that won’t let me
No matter how hard I try to have an open mind
There’s a little clock inside that keeps tickin’”

I cannot help marveling over how brilliant it is:

“There’s only one difference between you and me
When I look at myself, all I can see:
I’m just another lady without a baby”

Might I just add, as an after-thought: Kristen Stewart looks adorable and dorky as a guy.

Song on loop for foreseeable future.

Victory


She called your name-
From the stinking pit
You gathered her in your arms
The fire was raining down on both of you
For a moment at least, you were one
- You come back to the day
When a single word whispered on a park bench
Reminded you of the misery you had borne
It would no longer do to love
Life was only the fusion of days

You questioned morality, existence, harmony-
A letter read out in the name of someone
It bequeathed truckloads of ‘stuff’
You simply stored it in your kitchen
Thinking you won’t even use it on any day
-But the silverware was all good and new
There was crocheted table clothes
Old children’s books you re-read at night
There was magic in those memories
But you did not even know why

The little child lay in your arms-
You remembered her playing under the apple tree
She sat on a low wall, swinging her legs freely
The laugher that filled the house
Was turning into an agonizing shriek
-You weren’t even sure why
They said it was all worth it in the end
You didn’t even believe in anything
It was victory but it was utterly hollow

Of the Men


Of the men who adorn her nightstand
Some glitter, woozy in the dying neon lights
Like actors patterned onto a cheap television screen
Framed with cigarettes, tainted black-and-white
They are men from all walks of life

Some tall and pointed, thickening
With chest hair matted, double chins
Some ticklish, smiling, flirting, lying
Some whispering the words she wants to hear
Some role-playing life into a dream
A casino, chips and the reigning queen
On silver screens she wondered how
These things could turn out quite so hot

Of the men who fill her books with words
Nobody knows how many roost
In arcane, crazy wild parlor stories
She narrates to girlfriends when the party buries

Some perfect gentlemen, they open
Doors and ask her to be the judge
In random matters requiring arbitration
Some beasts with devilish horns of fire
And unconditional loathsome desire
Some taken up for no good reason
But capricious turns between love and treason
The jars are full of countless delights
Lining up behind her wall untouched
They hold the men she taught to cower
Forever entrapping them for her
Saying, ‘oh all is fair in love and war’

Don’t Answer


Don’t answer to the call
That the new day will bring a transformation
We are on bitter recall
With no room for further clarification
This senselessness will dissolve
If time becomes a pardonable officiator
I’ll erase these last few falls

Don’t answer to the call
It will make me feel worthless and dirty
Let all the pain stand tall
I’m ready to be painted in new hues of red and green
Although things will seem to crawl
We’ll trade the town and end the lease
These memories will be stalled

Don’t answer to the call
Sometimes silences are saccharine
There will be other balls
Infused with croquette, snippets and wine
Feelings that ought to enthrall
Will come to life and turn out fine
The world won’t seem so small

Poison


A perfectly fine spinning driedel-
I watch it speed through my dreams
A glimpse of finery; something special
As though someone has drawn up my life for me
Making me watch from a distance as I
Seek to explore the nature of what I behold
A poorly painted, faded impression
Or a precious child’s untamed hand at work

 

A daring game of Russian roulette
My fiery, fueled heart watches breath-taken
The unrequited coquettish charms of tragedy
Laced with charm I strive so hard and fast to win
Making me cry out from a distance as I
See the unmistakable chips fall right into a pattern
Deadly- should I seek to erase it
So I stand catatonically waiting for it to stop

 

An unending blitzkrieg of cruel questions
I watch in a sickly stupor, stilled by time
The agony of feeling these minutes tick by
As though something brilliant awaits the execution
Making me tremble with helplessness so exhausting
There is no room for ecstasy to be a part of it
I wonder if this is how life is supposed to feel
Or am I slowly drinking through a vial of poison

Evanescent


Broke free on the understanding that
Everything on this page of dusky memories
Was just reduced to a single line of unfathomable melody
Tangled, broken, tragic.
Crisp but uninspiring

Lived life on the terms that
Everything felt was a misunderstanding from which arose
A tale of adulterated emotions caught in a ring of fire
Woeful, lustful, heart-breaking
Harmonious but not synchronized

Understood love from the derivation that
This tangential exchange was like an ill-fitting jigsaw
A broken recorder that still lets you make out all the words
Chaotic, unapproved, temperamental
Ethereal but absolute

Saw death as the welcomed sigh of a sufferer’s salvation
Like the utterance of a syllable’s worth of betrayal
Would cause the earth to shatter underneath a torrent
Irrelevant, mysterious, self-sustaining
Hardening  but ultimately evanescent

 

I Told Someone Once


I told someone once
About an incident that makes me cringe still- a camera with images flashed at my face
And an underhand comment which gave pleasure to the speaker
And the first question they asked me was, ‘what were you wearing?’
But it doesn’t matter. I learnt clever ways to bypass the undesired contact
A carefully held folder. Or arms across your chest
But then they wonder what is underneath anyway
And I inch away if there is space but if there isn’t. I can’t.

I feel like walking out every day in a  knee-length dress and shoes
I feel like wearing figure-hugging tops
Or a loose tee with shorts
Every time I head out that door
Instead I always put on baggy jeans and a t-shirt
And wrap a scarf around my breasts
So that the men who stare with licentious eyes
One hand on their crotch and the other rubbing over their thigh
Thinking things that I cannot perhaps imagine. Won’t.
They know I can see them, they know I know
But that gives them a weird sense of satisfaction
It makes them feel powerful, thunderous even
It thrills them, pumping them on
So I pretend to have no deeper thoughts
Than the speed of the tarmac rushing beneath the wheels
And I look on with a straight face

A girl friend once told me
To call out to the men who call out to me
When they make sport of driving past on a fast bike
Slowing down just enough to gesture or cry out
As though they are adrenaline-fueled demi-gods who own the world
But if I do, I know what they will think
Here is a woman with an attitude, a woman who doesn’t know her place in the world
And she must be taught

I think about those woman
Who must suffer a hundred times more than me
Because they aren’t protected by secular views
Or empowered with the knowledge of their own worth
At least I do not feel worthless. Even when I feel violated.
At least I do not feel voiceless. Even when I feel powerless

And then they make jest or pass comments
They talk about how snubbed they are
Why is this discontent our fault? Why is their libido thrust upon us
As though it is a self-conscious denial of their personal greatness?
Do they think we have no desires like they do?
They laugh at us if we express our needs
They call us sluts and believe they can have us
But if we turn away
They call us worse things because they consider it an assault on their manhood

And the good men are tired of hearing about these things
They feel as if it’s all a puff of smoke with no substance
So even if a famous woman talks about being abused
She is called out for seeking attention or told to stop complaining
Because apparently, even an ex-boyfriend has unremitting rights over us
Just because once upon a time we loved and let them touch us
It seems as if a contact that a woman allows is valid for life
That is why men on public transport grope
And why rapists revel in the invincibility of their thrusts

I know what those glances and snippets of conversation mean
I know what some men are saying to me, without saying it at all
I feel, in the courtesy of those of the opposite gender
Who aren’t out for such ulterior motives, their sincere goodness
Women can often sense these things you see
But then I have to shake off my conviction that men are good too
And look at the whole wide world with the same glasses on me
Because if I make one mistake or one wrong judgement
That could be the line between life and death
And I know it. I don’t know if I could live with it

The way some women do
Moving on beyond the pain
While people enumerate the various reasons why their actions could have been responsible for what they suffered
Look beyond the personal relationships for just a moment
At those who suffer every day under the burdens of a patriarchal world
I’m not asking for remittances
I’m only asking for a balance
How am I to segregate the good from the bad
When the tiniest slip-up can cost me everything?
Would I rather take that risk
Or put up walls around myself?
Which would be the wiser thing, do you think?

I was eleven the first time I realized what it would be like to be a woman
Not because something wonderful happened
But because a schoolgirl in her school uniform
Was leered at by a strange man smoking a cigarette
I have not forgotten that incident still
Many would argue I should
Why victimize yourself?
Well, it reminds me of what it means to be a woman in this world
Despite talking about feminism every night
We fight these demons every day

I come from a family where I have been loved
And taught to dream as much as any boy
And pampered in the same way
But the question that comes to me when I talk to people
When I step outside
When I deal with strangers every day
Is: Am I empowered?
And what about the women who are worse off?
Who come from homes where their needs aren’t understood?
Where the men don’t even stop to consider how hard it is to bear children
Or go through puberty
Let alone everything else
So, tell me Internet:
Is the debate really, truly over?

 

 

Secret


I don’t feel a single bitter streak
There’s a secret held between us
And in a sacred, twisted shriek
It may just choose to defile us

The sun and moon- they rise and fall
Like naked portraits on the wall
They dance before my eyes and I
Watch every day just turn to night

I don’t feel the touch of magic
There’s a festered secret between us
Almost painless but like a tiny prick
It may just choose to define us

The nightingale- she hears my call
And in the darkness imitates it
And silently but bit-by-bit
My life slowly translates it

I don’t feel a blessed hand on me
Just a cold, flat secret sitting still
And from far away a few frosty voices
Sing laments, sweeping in for the kill

The light and dark- they choose to stay
The truth eludes me; she is playing truant
And like a trump card tucked in far and away
The secret turns into an echoing chant.