Vitriol


The lights flashed, the camera shone
Pink lips and cheeks of gold

On the edge of a reasonable shriek
My women’s parts were examined, weaved
Into a thickly plait of cheek

I was the carbon on your palm
From the bills you paid to keep me warm
Your fingers itched and blisters formed
And then there came the storm

You thought the grass was overgrown
I was the acres full of worms
Your muddied arms arched my spreading form
And left the broken roots unborn

I was pretty on my own; you thought
I needed to be thrown
I was a harpy playing traunt; you made
Me hungry for the thorns

I was the christening of the dying leaves
That rustled by the pond
I was the keeper by the creek
Guarding promises long gone

I was the sinking of your teeth into
A vial of dark vitriol
I cried my tears of acid
As night melted into dawn

Twice


I see you twice

Once from the gap between my eyes
Where opaque shadows grow limbs and shake
Their sleepy torsos wide-awake
And then from the land where
Fiery-eyed dragons ride an orange moon
And underneath the sea bubbles its blue-green froth
Lending teeth to my skin

I see you twice; you are
The silhouette on my window shield
And you are the little fairy
Tying totems to my wrists

I see you twice; you are
The grains brazing my skin on a sandy road
And you are the blue-grey tinge
Lighting up my mobile screen

I see you twice; you push my hair away
And you find me new ghosts to slay
I see you twice you turn my memories into stone
And warm my body’s hardening clay

I see you twice; you turn off the lights
And on the pillow my heart trots to life
You pull me off the cliff alive
And shield me from the invasive flight

More of Nothing


There seems to be an underlying theme of ‘nothing’ in my poems lately. You could ask me why. I wouldn’t know. The poems are few and far between these days and not as wonderful as I would want them to be but the creativity still oozes out once in a while and perfection is, of course, unattainable. So I continue to pour them out here.

I did nothing
I burnt
myself black
Charred black
Categorically
It was a planned event of decades
And it belonged to someone else I think

Why mourn the death of one
When I could mourn that of a dozen?
I did nothing
I earned
The reputation of a woman lost in dreams
Lost in something pungent
Lost in that land of steam

The colors moaned, their vibes
Were only remnants of something deep
I did nothing
I stirred
A movement out of those dead leaves
I kissed and sang the wind
And poured language into the void

The kisses made little beasts come alive
And choking love and sound, they grew
I did nothing
I plucked my eyebrows
And made new wishes by the dozens
A gallery of frozen dreams now rests
In that ocean of emotions

I did nothing because it felt right
It was not worth the pain
It was not worth that light
I did nothing and I hoped to fall
But I didn’t because
Nothing meant nothing at all.

Felt Nothing


Their tongues lashed out, those memories
Those city lanes and the vapid, rapid transformation
Of a square into a circle-
It was gone in a crisp second
As if the strands of my life decided
To weave themselves and all around me
A plane descended- straightened, stiffened, deadened

I grazed my thigh, becoming a stranger to myself
The touch felt alien, disconnected
Like I was vibrating with uncertainty
Getting ready to scatter my atoms through the air
It was not a question of existing anymore
It was not a question at all

And that was when I knew
I felt nothing.

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell


*Spoiler Alert: I let my thoughts free-flow down below*

There was something about this book that brought me back to it, after all these years. I thought about how long this book had been on the top of my favourites and yet, the reasons why that was true were fading from my mind. So I picked up my tattered copy again and read. And when I finished I knew that this time, with the consciousness of a full grown adult, this book would stay etched inside me forever. There is something so powerful about Gone With the Wind that no other book can compete with it in my mind.

It is only in retrospection, that you realize that Gone With the Wind is, in essence, a love story. Until you’re done turning the very last page, all you can appreciate is the perfection with which the novel captures every complex emotion that can ever exist. Love, loss, hatred, death, pain, hunger, hatred, jealousy, selflessness, ruthlessness, dedication, honor, hopelessness, despair, longing- I cannot think of a single emotion that I ever felt that is not covered within these 1000-odd pages. To even try and summarize something so rich and complex, is akin to pulling at the threads of humanity’s entire existence.

The beautiful country belle Scarlett O’Hara has one thing on her mind: the heiress to acres of cotton fields of one of Georgia’s best plantations, she has been raised to capture men with a host of fine airs and graces which men seem to like. She can have anyone she wants but like a child, her eyes are set on one dreamy-eyed young man she can never hope to understand. Even as the worst she could then imagine starts to take shape, something far worse rears its ugly head across the horizon- the Civil War. Caught between death, illness, destruction and fear, she fights to fight against the few things she can discern with every fibre of her being. Her constant contradiction within herself is a fight between her distinct maternal and paternal inheritance. And soon, everything she had ever known starts to crumble around her, leaving the reins in her hand.

The ruthless Rhett Butler is a self-made man but not the kind Southern hospitability would ever allow into their drawing rooms. In Scarlett he finds something he never thought to see in a charming, well-bred young lady: a fight for life, childish desires breaking her apart from the inside. And so he adds gently to the storm brewing around her, lifting her on the crest of a wave she doesn’t even see.

Their never-ending tussle and their presence in each other’s lives is at the heart of this breathtaking piece but surrounding it are questions of morality, of vitality, freedom, peace, love, humanity- questions of existence itself. What would you do if your whole world is torn apart and you are left to rebuild from scratch? If every little thing you hold so dear is shown to be worthless by your conquerors and your way of life challenged with a brutality that puzzles you? Would you throw back your head and fight fearlessly and unscrupulously like Rhett and Scarlett or fall back, knowing you do not belong in this new world like Ashley or be a shield for your loved ones, acting as a bulwark against everything they love, without questioning their motives, like Melanie?

And yet, by the time I turned over the last page, what stayed with me the most was not the horrifying sunlit scene of Melanie’s torturous childbirth at the inexperienced hands of Scarlett O’Hara, nor the long and hard months of hunger-struck toil with which Scarlett rebuilds her plantation into a modest farm, nor her months of work at the lumbermill while pregnancy bloats her figure, nor her widowhoods or her marriage to Rhett or the miscarriage or the loss of her favourite child. What hits the most is in the end- how beautifully the loose ends of her life come together, woven into a picture she can finally read. How much sense it all makes, the wrongs that seem right: the light in Rhett’s eyes, her long and hazy thoughts about Ashley and her hatred for Melanie- they’re pointing her home! That is when you hope with her and you forgive her her long list of errors because she was driven by the horrors that swept through her. She was a child put into a terrible world and left to fend for so many people. She who had been trained for balls and men-baiting and eye-batting and wearing silk gowns and having stays keep her waist at eighteen inches! You see how her defenses had sprung up and you forgive her yet in the end all that is left for her is her adage, ‘I’ll think about it tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day’.

Rather than a review, this post became a sort of musing. I cannot explain why this book has such a hold on my body and soul. I think it is because every paragraph paints such a picture and the pieces of Scarlett’s life are so complex, so real and solid. The scenes stay with me, the characters stay with me, their stories fill my heart with love and sadness, their struggles become my reality and the excuses they gave, the way of life they supported becomes a helpless blotch on history’s page.

I shall return to Gone With the Wind over and over again, as long as I live, this I know.

My Eyes Are So Open


My eyes are so open now
I put the midnight blues to shame
And blowing in the wind I turn
Out that fiery flame

My eyes are so open now
I twist rotten lies around
Until in the books I read it seems
Are the only conflicts I found

My eyes are so open now
I can look right at the sun
And tell it to find another skin
For mine is hard to burn

My eyes are so open now
I feel emotions fly by
And I don’t question their existence
Just snap away at the ties

My eyes are so open
And yet I forget
Amidst the rising waves of dust
That twilight turns to night
I’m still whispering at the cosmos
Hoping vibrations in the dusk
Will carry through the expansive space
And make the stars twinkle bright.

Someplace New


Take me to someplace new
Where the roaring ocean mixes
White and grey within itself
And the sky is silent like the poem
I’ll write under it’s sullen gaze

Take me to someplace new
Where my tame heart can breathe out
Wild fumes of flaming smoke
And I can watch the world raise itself
To the edge of a promise

Take me to someplace new
Where cotton flower turns gently
Into the whispers of the wind
And ever so often the country breaks
Into a melody freshly churned

Take me to someplace new
Fuse darkness into something magical
Let our sorrows enchant the gods themselves
Until tears of madness rain down
And drench us we’re clean again.

A

Lens of Lies


My thoughts were born in tangents
They were pools of reflections
And darkened in the mirrors
I knew I didn’t beget them

I was whispering to the wind
A fool
Cowardly to scream my fears aloud
I stitched them in a bag and stuffed
My lungs until it blocked the sound

I writhed in my dreams
I turned my body inside out to show
The world the bloody stream
That twisted knots within my soul

I snapped the wires of peace and controlled
The strands with just my mind
I strangled every little detail grown
In the danger of that vile fight

I strode outside, a calm without
A screaming woman within
And from the centre of that sound
I began to rebuild my dreams

The hazier the world the more
I longed to hold it in my arms
And cradle like a little babe
The haunting cries of people long gone

I simmered on the surface
I broke upon my life
And with wondrous eyes, inspected
The world beyond that lens of lies

Horizon Ends


If i were stuck
In the spaces between your fingers
Digging in too deep
Raving on about the pine trees
I grew between

If I were mobile like a shooting star
On the crossroads between your life
Spitting out fire
Showing off the tiny sparks
That made us

If I were perfect
An evening wind for your summer
Whispering beautiful truths
Caressing the burnt skin
That hurt your shoulder

If I were all that
Would you follow my buzzing thoughts
And meet me where the horizon ends?

Unfrozen


The first time I opened my eyes
And  you were standing there
I saw a mirror whisper back
A face of scarlet fear

I didn’t know that one hello
Would strike me like a sword
And strings of silvery emotions
Would stir a lovely chord

And I knew I would forget you
In the haze of buzzing life
As the world was flaming, tearing through
My stomach like a knife

The men I saw, songs I sang
Echoed on the brink of night
Like twinkling stars, the stories I heard
Just lent a little warm light

The taste of coppery blood in my mouth
And I forgot why I was stranded here
A wave of pulsating memories gone
And it was hard to shed a single tear

On the crest of a new day
I met you in a dream
There was a vague anticipation emptying from the sky
And like a winter river I froze, prepared to say goodbye

The summer sun shines down upon
This flat and long city again
And somehow as my skin turns brown
I simply stock away the pain