Twenty-Three


IMG_20150323_215520

Early morning swim. Pot painting.
A group of happy, innocent, wonderful, beautiful children.
Lots of smiles and hugs.
Two birthday cakes.
An amazing cookie jar.
A bunch of cards for a wishlist.
A pile of novels.
Some delicious Shawarma.
An around-the-city bus ride in the sweltering heat, with parching throats.
A plunge, straight into the mud, followed by a fire scare, a group of guards and some impromptu singing.
The longest walk EVER, with whimsically over-imaginative girl friends and the beginnings of what could be a cliche-laden
horror story, if we care to put our minds together and actually pen it down.
And the final emergence into ‘civilization’.

This was one of the most random birthdays ever; most of it was completely unplanned, unladen with expectations and unexpectedly fun. I got some surprises and got to give away some great things to people.

The best part was, I got to do everything I’d expected to do today and additionally, a lot more was squeezed into it than I would have thought possible. Low on fanfare and rich on experience!

Thank you for all your birthday wishes and for understanding exactly what I needed today and giving it to me in the best way possible. Maybe the trade-off for getting older, is knowing what you need and having people who are able to give it to you, not because it’s good for them but because it is good for you.

I’m too tired to write any more tonight but I just wanted to get this out of my system right now, while it’s fresh.

Spring Confessions


We crossed our lonely hearts
Pulled lilies out of graves
And tore up letters into mulch
Turned old lovers into paste

I heard your drunk confessions
On a forbidden, dark porch
With little drops of blackened vodka
To lighten our glowing wounds

I taught you coffee highs
And fought wars through our single wall
You chaperoned me up the alien road
And warded men’s glares off with your charm

Over months of warm smiles, you pulled
Me out of endless steep reveries
When the sun would shine but I was caught
In webs of my own misery

You were high, I was low
We were aliens on a bed of snow
How unwanted and scantily-clad
From the elements of that long-drawn cold!

Sometimes I still dream about
What miracles the phone can do
But then I see the glacial pace
At which we seem to drift away

Now I’m simmering on a log of wood
And the riptide drafts different calls for us
And I know sometimes chapters begin again
But this is how they must all end.

This poem was not supposed to come out right now and it’s about someone who is far from my mind at this hour. Yet, it seems to have had a slightly uplifting effect on me. It swam to the surface of my brain upon a host of memories that were hurting and so I felt grateful to one of the few people who had anchored me (and been anchored by me at the same time), for those two years. We had our ups and downs, like everyone, and yet these are some of my recollections.


I am…bursting at the seams with thoughts and words but afraid to put them out onto paper, afraid about how best to express them and whether there is any point in pouring anything out at all. I see words in my dreams these days, sometimes I’m creating poems like visions in the air but they are gone by the time I wake up. Sometimes I am lucky enough to flirt with an idea that popped up somewhere in my head but being to lazy to right and furthermore, afraid that words will soften the ethereal idea into something earthly and worthless, I content myself with putting them as a memo on my phone, to be scrolled through at will but not converted into anything more structured.

How I long for the freedom to spread my wings out of this hidey-hole and live some of the dreams I’ve been seeing. Most of my dreams for this lifetime are soft and positive, meant to heal and build up. They are all selfish at the root, of course, because that is the only reason I am seeking them at all. But they are meant to do good and yet, it is astonishing to realize how much resistance good ideas face, inspite of the goodness grown-ups preach to us since we’ve been little children. Do good, do not steal or tell fibs or hurt anyone or be selfish or undisciplined, we are told as we stumble through our little life rituals. But when it actually is within your power to perhaps affect someone or something in a small and good way, they will stand in your way and tell you it mustn’t be done! I find this strange irony hard to bear.

I lost heart midway during this vent. I’m still going to put it out there, as is. Cheers.


Your skin, burnt like coffee
Your eyes, mad with agony
We picked up where we left off
Only, weakened by our crawl
Into this torrid nook; I felt
Strangely damned.

Black Space


In the black space
Where my thighs meet
The sudden sparks had come and gone
And all that stayed was charred and burnt
Someday, maybe I had known
The wisps of white that spooked me and choked me
They had come on winter days, with dew
With the smell of coffee and the sound of rain
And that little red smelly trickle down my bathroom drain

In the black space
Where my thighs meet
The sunlight broke down every time
Afraid that in the sinewy dreams that fluttered beyond
Like butterflies on the mirage of a plateau
Lay the uncertain blinking highway lights
It had come on a brittle, unreal day
With sounds of a motor running through the night
Fresh and resounding like silence in my ears

In the black space
Where my thighs meet
Softly, the epiphany had come true and nobody
Questioned the flow of time, for it was only moving forward
Unlike me, clutching love stories and tea cups stained pink
With the silly strokes of strange lovers inside me
It had rung on a spiraling day, when waves
Of pain had caused a dampened pillow to smoothen down
And curled hair swam in the watery sink

Lair


I tore apart, I tore apart
The red scarf, the dramatic act
And piece-by-piece it arose
Il est charmant, from the sea at Peros

Bare, hair- spare me your lair
I am only an Angel, you surmise
But I- fallen light, young, fair-
Had not yet seen twenty summers rise

Snatched from under the chandelier
I thought of your mask, your lair
My spotty, eternal, paternal pain
Swallowed it, wishing you were here again

Slipping into the painful task
I sang lullabies until your mask
Fell- your face edgy, broken, dead
And I was almost lost upon that bed

Sun rises against the Persian shore
He gave me back my flair
My voice, my very soul
I smuggled from your lair!

Moods of Love


I.

The sunshine
On her waistline
Blue-grey on the ground before me
Turned the dew drop jewels invisible
Drowning in a woman’s curves
I understood how no ornament could define her
I understood why she never tried

II.

There were two things he told her he wanted:
The cream atop the American dream
And a girl batting her eyelids, the color of milk
She whipped the yellow emulsion
And drank the liquid that remained
Tied a blindfold upon his eyes and
Told him to wait.

III.

He took years to find me
Years when I trampled over brambles
Bare knees and untied laces in the wilderness
Whistling like the bluebird
He came out at night though
And imitated the owl’s hoot
So we met at dawn and found a glade
To practice our little bird songs

IV.

Did I tell you, your limbs
Like shoots from soil, grew straight out
Found me. Got entangled.
Pulled apart the hairy edges of my skin
I’m the torn-up remains of a troubled soul
The signs of your massacre all over me
You fled like magic, I cursed you
You found my lips, I burned you.

V.

Would you trace the inward arcs my breasts make
When we’re kissing under a light post
When we’re kissing and people stare
When we’re kissing and someone smokes
When we’re kissing and the day is gone
When we’re kissing and it’s almost dawn
Could you tell, with each kiss
What havoc our love is
And how to tell it apart
From the one tearing the world.

VII.

Your birthday was a beautiful day
Ninety-nine candles and one, just for a joke
I wanted to say I loved the way your dark hair fell across your forehead
And I was broken without you, like one-half of a whole
I wrote the words; my poems a half-cooked treat
The eggs were plunged deep into the cake but
You cried when you saw the candles
I don’t know why they had told me once
“Women like their men with a sense of humor”.

VIII.

They mocked me when I read out my first poem
I was like cold water poured on a hot rock
This sensation was new, it was horrifying
The purity evaporated in a single dry fizzle
Today I note-
A single-lined book at the foot of the bed
And simple verse
And steaming coffee
Your arms allow me to grow old fearlessly.

IX.

I don’t want to know
If there is a God in the night sky
Your simple faith crushes the soul out of me
It is cold out there in the universe, I say
We aren’t part of any great mystery
Don’t console me with nothingness
Don’t console me with anything at all
I am inconsolably lost to this universe
To this life and to all others beyond it
I hold no claim to any foreign truth
I’ll follow your footprints into the mud and from my humble hole
We can gaze at the stars-
You’ll see magical possibilities, I’ll see balls of fire
But I’m content because you will still console me
Until my hair turn grey.

X.

The clothes lay on the floor
Like waves brought to a halt against a shore
They trembled because the distance between them
Felt unreasonable
How could one little act be so magnificent
That the universe stopped pulsating
And became a mere portrait
On the drab wall of reality
Whoever built it was a fool!
But oh, such a passionate fool.

I am over my creative standstill. I decided to welcome myself back into the folds of magic with a collection of small poems that reflect the moods of love. The hour it took to create these was a happy one. Hope you liked them!


You looked at me from atop your ivory tower
Your glowing, wondrous, shimmering tower
With your spidery, spindly arms reaching down towards me
Like poisonous tentacles, wrapping softly
In a beautiful, warm embrace of death

And I thought traversing the ocean would be enough to find you,
Swimming from A to B. You would be the lighthouse.
You would guide me
In tune with the countless, endless open bleeps
That helped you weave a legend through the rocks

This was before they found you.
Before they cut out the only real thing inside you
Before you forgot what it was like when the world was terrifyingly new
And your raw, throbbing heart faced everything with iron fists rising ten feet high
To break through whatever it is that you felt weakened by

But look at yourself. You don’t see what the Tempest left behind
‘She was only trying to help’ you say, ‘She only made me stronger.
She made me a man.’ You assert. ‘She defined me. She gave me the courage
to be whoever I wanted to be’. But who is that, I wonder and there is no reply
You know you must be brave but you know not why
You know you must live and not die but you know not why
You know too much but there is too little you actually know
Your flame dies suddenly, as though inspired by a torpedo
You decide to let destroy the lives of those who aroused you
So you watch from your tower and I try to remind you of when
You played hide-and-seek in the mud, pretending to be monsters at war
Pretending your invincibility grew besides your innocence
I try. But I know it’s too late.


When your foot was still at the door, I promised myself I wouldn’t let myself get carried away OR give anything the power to own me. It is interesting how quickly we forget the promises we make to ourselves.

Over the past two months, I have let a tide of emotions knock me off my feet. After spending the entire 2014 in building a sturdy foundation for myself and letting dreams push the directions I chose to step in, I felt like I was choking when I was actually closer to fulfilling those dreams than I had ever been. There never can be any progress unless the expectation grips you from the inside.

Right now the one question I am asking myself is not how I can let the optimism seep back into me. I know I can do it. But there is no way to know how long that will last. A week? A month? Another half-year? And what then? I have identified that the words and impressions people make on me hit somewhere far below my skin. The trick then, is to get RID of that absolute dependence.

I had been making big plans for what I wanted out of my future. But a little stumble is ALL it takes. And then you’re lying on the floor, seeing the world in a whole different perspective. Everything is blown up to gigantic proportions and you’re just a tiny organism crawling on the ground. The sun’s light is too far away to reach out to and the birds you see flying across the sky are merely tiny silhouettes you can never hope to join. Not from down below. But the worst part of the entire process is that you forget what it had felt like when you were standing with your feet firmly planted on the ground, getting ready to take flight. You forget that there was even a possibility in your head, of making things right for yourself and for others around you. You forget what it was that had helped you hold on for so long! The demons circling around your head tighten their orb of blackness because they realize that your sun is just a tiny dot, somewhere far off. On this far-flung, miserable island, you feel the same pain that you did before, but now it is hurting you more because there is nothing to distract you.

And so, what I need is to be able to have that independence from the people around me. Enough sense to follow my own needs without letting other people sap the energy out of me. I don’t know how to do it but I’m getting back up on my feet now, or so I hope.

Ennui


I’m an old soul. I live in the moments between the moments, when life is silently transitioning from one event to the next. In the gaps when the air is quite still, there is no meaning and only a stillness which cannot be translated into anything concrete- that amorphous meaninglessness is the real truth and we only see it when the noise dies down for a few moments. Like when the first gust of wind is done blowing golden-brown autumn leaves to the earth and is waiting for the next wave to add to its carefully constructed piles. And when the psychedelic frames of images that burst in a crowded, loud room subside before the next boom begins to rise like a far-off train gaining momentum. Those undefined moments which can have no meaning assigned to them for humankind, betray what seems to me to be the deepest mystery of our existence- that there is nothing to behold ultimately, but that elusive silence we wish to run away from. Ennui can be our only real state of existence.

And when you ask me what I seek, when I’m done trying to fill the hollowness inside me with all sorts of things- music, books, art, thoughts, experiences and love- I’d still be burning with the same ennui that set me off in the first place. That fire will only die when I do.