The fishes peep at me through the pink sewer grates, the filth and dirt and greed of city eating their eyes, the loneliness scratching at their fins.
I look at them as if they are a painting hung on an illuminated wall – the last standing wall. The vapors of dissipated life, dissolved flesh spread all around it – the waste of everyday life the waste of silent war.
But it lasts only a moment my gift of vision, my ability to detach only lasts so long. The hunger in my bones, once again, makes me look away.
I get up and walk. I move my feet to the beat of the song being spun in my corrupted mind I am tempted to increase the volume to find a pitch that resonates with the air here. The point where everything bleeds and nothing heals what will happen to me there, what will happen to all of us I wonder.
But I have walked these roads before I now know more than anything that I only yearn to live. Slowly, I have learned to protect my ailing tissues. I have learned to gaze lovingly at my broken mind. So, I press pause. I continue to persevere.
You look at me and I look at you the way broken things look at the hands of an angry god, the way complete beings look down at things that can never be their equal.
You and me, we take turns, learning to feel pain, to give pain reaching for the light in each other’s eyes, making copies of each other’s memories and spilling the ink on the originals.
You and me – we are children left alone unsupervised with this steel instrument of love. We now know of the blood and bone within our skin, thanks to this blade. We now know how to keep distance when nothing keeps us apart.
When we lose our color, our teeth of milk and cruelty, when the blade loses its shine and looks like any other rust of this world, only then we know the pain of having walked past a life we could have had, the journeys we could have walked, the meaning we carried in ourselves for each other sake, the meaning we never looked up, never cared for.
In every country, in every city, on every street stands a home that could have been ours. I am a daydreamer like that As I passed the house with an always crying child, as I passed the house with the overwhelming smell of incense, as I passed the house with singing reality shows played on repeat I only thought of the life we could have there. In my mind, we fit every house, we fit every role. Even if our body was stripped of every muscles and every bone even if we put back together the wrong way, even if we our heart were to be rearranged, in my mind we would still fall in love. That is how we had molded the spirit of our love- to be stubborn (if not right or just). But now there are years when I don’t remember you, and yet there is no sadness in me that is capable of ruining me. You are gone and I am trying to grieve for something I don’t particularly miss. As I pass the houses where our stories used to be staged I realize they are again the buildings of strangers that I am supposed to keep my mind away from. My sadness selfishly keeps uttering, “I need to love someone, someone who won’t do this to me. I need to love someone, to believe in love again.” I reach home with bloody nails and bruised fingers leaving behind bricks with our names scratched out.
This loud and constant dripping of doubts is this all I need to mute, to mask, the voices of people who have known me too less, who have loved me more than they needed to.
. . .
I am filled with fear, tempted to run away when they make sacrifices for my happiness, to stay by my side. I know what I feel should be love, but all I feel is burden- a knife that pierces my skin and feelings testing how thick is my concern, seeing how far it can go before it finds the cold bone hidden in me. I bleed to little and give up too soon. It all ends before it even begins. This all was a bad idea to begin with.
I find myself longing to look at the sun
and the morsel of half-cooked food
stays on my tongue
a little bit longer than it should.
The door opens with a sound of crashing waves
and so I know it is you who has come.
With my back to your face,
I smile to myself.
I have kept aside a portion
of this tasteless life for you.
The silent mornings, the passing time,
these aging bones-
don’t seem as bad as it did,
now that you are here.