Do Not Enter

(A tribute to my room, which is unimaginably messy but very dear to me)

Books barbed hooks worn-out dolls with
hair frizzled out from lack of touch, clothes
new and old hanging loosely off a mix of
arms too fat and thighs which don’t fit anymore;
bowls of half-eaten breakfast (a victim of the
rush-hour), jades and lipstick reds and rings and
necklaces, earrings nestled carefully in porcelain
cups, cobwebbed memories framed on walls,
gathering dust from lack of use and
don’t forget the cigarettes and unpaid debts,
rows of souvenirs from secret dates,
pillows stained with covert encounters
with Jack and Johnnie, hanging posters yellowed
by teenage prophecies, and silks and crepes
and papers crinkled with stories lost in failed
relationships, alarm clocks on tables,
tangled in cables, old records wrapped with
with affection in quiet corners, and unopened
drawers of forgotten secrets, whispering prayers
from nights spent sleepless, old journals that speak of
love forbidden and perfumes arranged in rows
but carefully hidden, and a door that unlocks this
cautiously guarded territory, it’s all so real and
fake and fast and furious, a land out of reach
of the ever mundane and the never curious.

Storm

The storm leaves me in ruins, a
delirium that ink can’t define, my heart
thumps to the narcotics that I
gulped down with fervor, garnished
with a carefully curated intoxication, a
storm in the wilderness of my senses,
the lightning leaves brazing reminders
of everything that leaves me in shivers-
(deaths, unkept promises and
unkempt souls and the likes)
flashing like fireworks
in the dead darkness of my heart,
the wind, oh the wind scrapes my
rotten pieces off my parched skin,
only to bare me to the perspicacity
of reality, the rain silences
the commotions of empty graveyards
in my veins where
the restless souls of unfinished
stories walk, the sky at war with
itself, sending a fever down my spine,
warm, just enough to keep my
cold dead heart alive.

The Day After You Left

The day after you left it rained. I despised the very first drop that fell on my skin, like an unwanted intervention from above trying to rob my existence of the vague traces of yourself you left on me. Your smell, for instance. The kind that never made a big deal of itself, a beautiful concoction of everything you were – your morning coffee, your favourite shirt, the smell of the old dog-eared book you always had in your bag. I wish I could bottle it up though, your smell.
I remember how you loved the rain, and I, the sunshine. When we were caught unawares in sudden summer rain, when I was busy looking for a roof, you insisted we walk in it. You held my hand as we did, and watched me let my guard down for you. The first time we made love, the rain pattered against the glass pane, a prelude and encore to the music we wrote to each other’s bodies. You traced your fingers around my curves and crevices, hillsides and valleys, from my nape to my spine around my navel and waist… you sent electricity through my nerves. That night as the thunder roared outside, I wrote poetry to you. And many nights after that.
The day after you left it rained. I sat on the floor with all the poems I wrote for you and the letters unsent, strewn around me. I never let you leave you see, for you were very much there, in all the metaphors I caged you in, in my words and ink. Maybe I knew you would leave one day, in your habit of fleeing from whatever you lost yourself in, in your whimsical escapades. And in my habit of always being prepared, I prepared for your final disappearing act too, by not letting you disappear from the words I hold most dear to me.

The yellowed parchment has very efficiently caged the moments before you closed the door behind yourself. That was my final letter to you, the one I did send, but never got a reply to. The one which has bottled up my smell within it’s creases — the smell of cheap wine, for I had ensconced myself on the sill of a lively liquor bar one night. I never liked it, but I went there anyway hoping I’d see you there. I watched couples dancing with their arms around each other, basking in the wild promise of an unknown eternity. I watched young men trying to woo girls in sparkly dresses. I sat there and wrote to you all the things I wanted to say to you, but never could because I was never the risk-taker. I never told you that you were home. I never told you that you lighted fireworks in my heart every time you laughed like that. Or how my lips had become attuned to yours, so much so that they now feel bare and lifeless. I never told you how were the only thing I loved more than words. Do you know how much it hurts waking up alone? I guess you do, for I imprisoned that infinity in the letter for you to make meaning of.

The day you left, it rained too. That day, you put on your rain boots and opened your umbrella before closing the door behind yourself. I never understood why.

Moments

 

 

I wonder how unfair it is for moments to be ephemeral, to pass by us like trains whizzing past dainty stations, like a wind that caresses our skin and flesh but leaves no trace of it behind. I wonder how it would have been if we could somehow clench our fists and lock them in our fingers, freeze them and box them up in jars of wishful reminiscence, only to be able to open the lid someday when we are old and frail and let these moments waft into our senses and nourish our deprived sensibilities. I wish moments weren’t so transient all the time, I wish they weren’t just a whirlwind, a blur, but an elixir that can fill the chasms in the verity of our being. After all, life is but a mere patchwork of moments itself, some torn and worn out, and some vibrant in their existence, some dead and in fond remembrance, and some yet to be born.

Grey love//

I don’t believe in black-and-white love. The kind of love that just comes into being without much preamble, drives you all kinds of insane and leaves without a trace in your soul. Like a storm it keeps your senses in whirling delirium, and leads you to destruction. I have felt that kind of love before and all it led me to was disappointment- disappointment that I failed to hold on to it and it slipped out of my fingers like grains of sand, that I fell short of what was expected of me to keep the fire burning so majestically, that it had to end. I have come to believe in grey love, love that crawls under your skin slowly, the kind that makes no great deal out of itself but kindles hope in the darkness of your soul, keeps you warm in the ice-cold of your heart, ignites your spirit to run away from the shackles of your past. It comes with no wild promises of forever, no instruction manual, but runs through you like a wheel; never ending nor beginning, ever-spinning wheel. In the incessant interplay of vices and virtues within you, it keeps you sane and the only casualties that this love brings are the bits of naiveness that nestled inside you once, and leaves you not in ruins, but only stronger.

Why I Do Not Write About Myself

Somebody once told me to write about myself, and even though how seemingly commonplace that piece of advice was, it took me by surprise, mainly because writing about me, putting myself in the spotlight of my own poetry, had never really crossed my mind. I always thought one can never be the muse of his own art, but can wait instead, for someone else to come by and make a meaning of them that’s worth the ink or the paint. My poetry caged my emotions like circus lions, put up on show but never realized to their full power, my poetry was always for others to relate to, for others to gasp and awe at how beautifully I could speak THEIR mind (if I could, at all). It was only recently that I realized that in my mission to prove my poetry cathartic to others, I forgot about what they meant to me; on the same note, here’s a confession- I lie in my poetry a lot. Alcohol, for instance. Despite all that I write in the lines of ‘The liquor burns my throat like fireworks, lips lackluster from the liquor lullaby, waiting for the day when love won’t taste
like the last sip of whiskey  and the flood of fire in my veins,’, the blatant truth is that, I HATE alcohol. Despite how I JUST romanticised the throat-burning, at the risk of sounding prudish or kiddish, lemme just say I never found any solace in liquor whatsoever. Maybe the acute bitterness is just an ‘acquired’ taste, and well… I haven’t acquired it yet. I do like the feeling of being drunk though, and how it shuts down the overtly efficient lying mechanism in the back of my head, lets my thoughts flow in an uncensored strain instead, lets me be the most undistilled and raw form of myself; however this whole romanticisation of something I do not like is solely because of what I said at first; the need to make sense to others before I can make sense to myself. I fail to segregate the two lists- of things which I love and the things which I ‘should love’, the things which make me ME and the things which make me the ‘chill girl-next-door’ (because evidently ‘me’ and ‘the chill girl-next-door’ aren’t exactly synonymous), I want to be the cool girl in the ripped jeans with a Heineken in hand going on and on about how excited she is about the Civil War movie, when in reality I am just the ordinary skirt-girl who’d choose a plate of tandoori chicken over booze any day and would probably rant about how much she loves Andrew Garfield in The Social Network, uh, not in Spiderman. I am the girl who isn’t exactly a fan of the fancy/poetic 3a.ms. because honestly I can barely stay awake that late; I am the girl who prefers a sunny day over the rain, because the bright sunshine makes me feel new, while the rain just catches me unawares without an umbrella and leaves me in mud-stains and usually with a bad cold.
The art of being oneself nowadays comes with the very art of taking a risk. When I say ‘leave it ya, you’ll not understand me’, as an excuse to why I do not write about myself, it’s not because I’m some abstract incomprehensible piece of art, but because writing about myself would mean taking a risk  I’m not ready to take. It would mean undressing myself of socially-acceptable facades, it would mean opening my fallacies to unsolicited scrutiny, and segregating the things I love from the footnotes as to why I shouldn’t like them because aren’t really ‘cool’, it would mean baring the stamps of my ex-lovers on my skin only to be greeted with either sympathy or salted wounds; when I say you won’t understand me, it is not about you but about me. And maybe I will write about myself one day, when the very fallacies and stamps and scars become my muse and something worthy of ink; a piece of art, a piece of me which people can gasp and gaze at, and say, ‘it’s beautiful.’

Recovery

Recovery- transcendence, a
transformation, slivering off
of damage and peeling off
of scars; scars that
once burned and ached,
a fiery reminder of a
time when vulnerability
led to a delirium in your
senses, tossing and
turning in the bed of
nightmares of never
returning to normalcy;
but finding solace
in interminable
agony, comfort
in maladies; recovery is hope
taking flight from an
imbroglio of crippling
helplessness, a
calm in your frenzied
veins inflamed by the
wars fought but lost
to a merciless
reality; recovery is
lessons learnt and
unlearnt, it is
a one way route
to finding yourself
and never
returning.

Gnawing violation

It was only when
your teeth gnawed against my skin
that I realized
I didn’t want to do it anymore. My silence was
not acceptance, but
acquiesce, gentle and
suggestive; and even
though I whimpered to your touch exactly like you ordered me to, I never
liked your hands
going down from my navel into my loins trying to
make them their own. My
silence was not pleasure but fear, fear of what
even any inadvertent resistance may do to my body…because my body
was no longer mine to
begin with. I lost it to you, the very day you
crawled into my bed with
my birthday present in hand, and I ran to you the
six year old that I was…
and instead of your arms embracing me in affection,
they probed my skin and my curves and roamed on the
hillsides…and I knew not
of ways that violation was
affection but you insisted it
was, only until I could
keep it a sweet secret and
let open my body
to the fire in your loins. My
flesh is still inflamed from
the day you hit me with
your cane because I
pushed you away. But I
want you to know this- my
womanhood is not for you
to relish, or devour or to dig
your malicious claws in. I
shall not drape my form over
you and wait for you to make
meaning of me. Your sixty-three year long malicious existence does not
make meaning of me.

I do.

To The Girl Who Loves Everyone But Herself

She walked with
an air of measured gaiety and
carefully veiled frailty, her
skin charred by the naked flames
of her own desires, tells everyone
she’s crazy like her brand of
crazy was a circus lion to
be caged and showed off, but
never realized to his full power.
She was eccentric in the way
that she stretched her palms
out, asking for more- not
love or solicitude, even though
that would have been a fine
thing to ask for-
but for pain and incompleteness,
for kisses and breathlessness, for
tears and helplessness,
she was selfless
in the way she served her
heart for the world to ravage
in it’s vicious hunger and for
reality to stain with cigarette ashes,
vodka breaths and drops of salt water
reacting to gravity.

Her existence is starving.
And yet, she has
too many to
feed. To many to
foster. Too many
too much to be loved
to be able to love
herself.