Have you found a way
to leave everything
that you call your ground-
your ground of anger,
of rusting armour of indifference,
of the trauma the heartless giants planted in your heart,
the compass that shows all the wrong directions
and always takes you to the nearest cliff, again and again.
Have you found a way to be better, to live better?
I haven’t yet.
Yesterday I listened to a stranger talk for hours
about how it can be done,
how it will end when we want it to.
It made me wonder if maybe we are not yet ready
for this groundless life.
Maybe that is our only issue.
All that can save us is so temporary, so transient.
Yet the thing that ruins us, is ours to keep-
not like the sun, but like the demon that needs our skin to live.
I wonder if we just need to be needed that badly.
Is that why we choose to cry than to change?
Is that why we choose to hold onto the wave that is drowning us-
just because it is here, because it is ours till it kills us.
Among many other things I also wonder what made us like this.
To be honest I am afraid to know.
What are you afraid of today?
Do let me know.
“What do you know of prayers?” she asked,
as she held my hands together within her own.
I asked her “Don’t you know anything about me?”
and there appeared another crack on her hands,
there bloomed another rose in her hair
there was another smile – the “looking down” smile,
“you don’t know any better” smile,
“you will soon thank me” smile,
“I know you hate my smile” smile.
I tried to imitate it, to drape it on my own face.
Cause even if it didn’t seem like that, I loved her smile.
I stared at her smile
wanting to save it somewhere in me. I stared
at her small beautiful parts
wanting to un-see the person she is in this moment.
I am always trying
to forget how suffocated these moments with her are.
I am always trying to forget
that with her words of love there was always a plea,
a suggestion, a manipulation – to make me something like her.
Would it make me seem pathetic, petty, or romantic?
if i called her a poison. Though everyone here is a poison,
even me, but she is a poison for me, the only poison
that works on me. The only one I didn’t want a death from.
She tells me about another deity I will never believe in.
She tells me a bit more about saving, about faith, about her own self
that can never be broken, how even breaking can’t end her now.
I wished she was right, I wished there would be never an end to her.
I wished for all kinds of ends for myself,
even the ones without her. But in no version
did I invent an agreeable version of her that will better for me.
She has to be herself. Whatever that might mean for me.
I wonder if there would come a day like that, a day when
she would love me like that. Do I even want a day like that?
Can I even tolerate a change in her?
Wouldn’t that break me more than anything?
I get up and say something about “better things to do”
and she says something about “the dangers to the faithless”
and I can only smile for now
at this weird, beautiful, messed up part of our life
at our of differences, knowing of love,
at our knowing of faith in different things that save us in their own ways.
“You were almost my whole world”, he said,
waiting for me to say something-
an excuse, an apology, a lie that would make him
as important as I seem to be in his words.
His belated words are always beautiful,
his love always drips at the corners of every end
that I try to carve out of us.
Once it was an assurance to know all our ends are fake.
Once I was made of dreams,
once he was made of songs,
and now we are back to being mere flesh
that we can’t accept each other for.
Now we are pretty sure
we can live without dreams that hurt
and that there are other songs, better sounds
that won’t cut us up before we are dead.
Yet he tries to care for the one he no longer wants
as I try to stay silent for his sake, for my sake,
for an end that doesn’t drag on.
Or is it to look pitiful and arrogant in his eyes.
His eyes liked me best when I couldn’t be wavered,
when I seemed something more than just a needy heart.
I wonder why we try to look humans even as we part,
why we must show the faces we have grown to hate ourselves for
and act like lovers in pain, like this is the end of our lives.
When love was the last thing we needed,
seeing it was the only thing we were ever ready to give up on.
And when asked if my words could be relied on,
if what I wrote was true.
I answered, “My life doesn’t know truth
as much as it knows love.
But when it comes to love, my words fails me,
I fail myself, before anyone else.
Failing is nothing to be proud of
and failing in love is like filling oneself
with doubts and faults that never existed before.
I can never be myself again.
My standing up or my lying defeated
may make a difference to the world,
my truth might matter to the everyone else
but not to me.
To me, what matters is already lost.
Now I just get to live a life of pretense –
play house, play life, play hearts
with people who seek truth in wrong places- in me.
If I asked if you can be relied on,
if you know the meaning of words you speak.
You might answer yes to keep my heart, to be better at love.
You might answer no and I will know it to be true even as I smile.
But nothing you say actually matters
the world will end and we will end long before that
and I will end before you-
because of you
or in spite of you.
You might turn out to be my last true love
or you might be the last nail in my heart.
But if I write a poem on eternal love
of someone whose shadows roughly look like ours,
know it is a lie we will never live up to,
but also know it is what I saw in us
even if it cannot be called truth,
even if it won’t be us.
When I talk of the moon that shines on us in our sorrow,
as we promise to do better and be better,
I am again omitting something
that needs to be said.
Something that everyone reading us should know,
before they tell us the best course to reach happiness from here,
before they believe us when even we have learnt not to.
I am omitting that we are comfortable in our sorrows,
that happiness is an alien land.
We would rather break our hearts
than visit that place where we don’t fit in.
I am omitting that
we are obsessed about fitting in
as much as we are
about doing it without changing anything about ourselves.
So we will only be what we have always been.
I am omitting
that our love is primarily
about navigating life with heavy hearts
just to reach moments like these
where we feel we can be forgiven as long as we forgive.
The moon that shines on us in our sorrow
on the absurdity of this refuge that protects us from nothing,
on this love where there is no place for ‘better’.
Even when we know that this is a cycle of pain and deception
we revel in the fact
that this won’t end like everything else in this world.
I remember you almost every day.
I remember you when I wake up and cannot go back to sleep,
when my skin feels heavy and my eyes melt into tears.
I remember you when I find my way to the impossible happiness
that shouldn’t exist for someone like me.
And in those moments I do something worse-
I end up asking heaven for forgetfulness of some kind.
Even when I know forgetting won’t save you,
apologizing won’t save you,
charity to strangers in your stead won’t save you,
becoming a better person won’t save you.
But even then I remain selfish
Even then I wish for a painless way out.
I become guilty of one more crime
every time I wish to erase the memory
of you falling apart in my hands.
The more I wear my clean clothes,
the more the world believes in the goodness I now have in me;
The more I know that there is no way forward for me
just as there is no way back.
You still remain the unuttered name in my prayers.
And all that my prayers do
is to show me the hurt I can never take back.
The god who refuses to save you
is also the one who keeps me alive.
The answer to your question-
the truth you always ask and wonder about
somewhere inside me.
But inside me are many other things
that I have not been able to find till now.
And I would have probably invited you in
and asked you to help me a bit
if you were not better than me in every sense.
Just saying this makes me feel so cheap.
It makes me the person I am always trying to hide
and inside me things are a bigger mess.
There is a river of hatred and an ocean of guilt,
the walls of past that I paint over and over
but things just keep looking worse.
And though you hope to find a sky of love there,
though you hope to find a true love or a true end,
I would rather not be loved for the possibility of who I can be,
I would rather not be looked at closely,
or loved a bit more than I deserve.
And what I deserve is a piece of cake
that keeps getting smaller and smaller every day;
a cake I dare not eat, or even want .
I am afraid in my shrinking world,
there is no place for you
or anything called truth.
I come in the dark hours of my mood
and switch on the lights of empty cubicles.
and yet nothing works on me.
I walk past
the empty seats
seats that belong to people
I see everyday,
I smile to everyday,
who have never seen my smile in reality.
For few hours
I can be happy again.
I am free
to be alone,
to be miserable,
to be able to curse myself
but not being confused by the presence
of these people,
who are there for me
but not only for me,
but for everyone.
And not always,
but only when it suits them.
It is better that I am alone
because I don’t know
how to be thankful to them
without being bitter,
how to voice out the emptiness that flows into me
every moment I spend with them
and not feel hatred for the kind of person my words paint me to be,
how to wait for them with eager heart
when their kind words only remind me of monsters
that force their way into my life.
It is better that I am alone
It would have been better
if I could wear these feelings with ease,
without waiting for something to change.
“The sky is your canvas”,
the book to all ailments said,
“there is a joy in filling it up with life.”
But as I finished my 157th sketch,
as I finished my 300th one,
as I finished the one with no count attached
(the one I called “the limits that were stronger than me”),
as I write over all that I had drawn,
as the clouds dragged themselves painfully
crawling to some better place,
like everything else in my life
the sky remained unchanged.
And when I lost my hands to fate, to slow corrosion,
to the burden of creation,
to the lady in white who couldn’t even lie that “it won’t hurt”,
to the painful work of making up things that I want,
things that would want me back, or at least won’t walk out,
to the hunch that said something is seriously wrong
with the kind of life I have.
I wished for the man in the sky
to wake up and get to work,
to make me some rain,
to drop an ocean of crystal on this world,
to paint a heaven on this cheap sky of this miserable man.
Because trying on some days, on most days now,
feels like living against the wishes of the world.
I can’t help but break a bit, cry a bit
even when things are right,
because they right only because of my efforts.
Can you give me something that I don’t have to work hard for,
something that was made for me,
something that I can keep.
A thing, a person, a sign
that I can hold in my hand
that tells me that you want me to be happy,
that you want me to smile,
that I am not abandoned after all.
You held me as I broke again and again.
Your warm chest tried to hold me, to keep me alive.
I couldn’t cry anymore
I felt indebted to you I loved you.
You left me again
in the crowd that you promised to protect me from.
I called you, your number and you name-
becoming useless to me with each passing day.
I cried because
I felt cheated I loved you.
As my heart filled again, as it emptied itself out
you stayed in front of my eyes
in flesh or in glowing illusions,
telling me, nothing is wrong with me.
So I slept peacefully
you made me forget my incompleteness I loved you.
You told me love is supposed to be a pain anyway.
That this smile of mine that shined in spite of your mistakes,
in spite of your cruelty on my weary hopeful heart
was the only thing that made you believe in my love.
And again I smiled back
so that you continue to believe me
because I loved you.
There were moments, glorious ones,
when you were the most the beautiful human,
when you cried for me,
when you cried for the world,
when you tried to do something right.
I wanted to stand beside you
so that I could protect you somehow
because I loved you more for it.
I must face the world and myself alone,
without having to become something right in your eyes.
Now I don’t have to round up my every feeling
to a variant of love.
Now I can care for you, hate you
and see it as care and hate and a frustration without an end.
Now I can see you as the miracle and as the failure that you are.
Now I can be a failure myself.
I am not good at loving in the past.
I can only be honest.
Now I cannot look back at you
and call you my heart.
You were so much to me
that I badly wanted to be something that you want.
I kept on sleeping to keep your dream intact
and calling this love, when it clearly was not.
Even though it was probably something better than that.