Once she had a bite of my fate she became a restless ghost. She looked like all my ugly wishes staring back at me but she had a beautiful smile so it was more bearable to my eyes than to wear my own desperate words on my unsightly lips. She looked out of place, but in a good way as if she was the invitation to some place where my light won’t die. Even in her voice it was my own words that asked me to leave, that told me to love for the last time. As my shrieks danced in the empty corridors she planted a seed of eucalyptus in my palm, she covered my hand with hers, and covered our hands in dirt. She told me how, for years, only the smell of eucalyptus could calm her mind, it made her believe that there was a gentle cure to every disease that hurt her heart. As she spoke such words that were not extraordinarily sad I felt my spine become soft. I dreamt of her leaning against my back relieved of her every pain and maybe it was the only beautiful wish that has ever been born from my heart. Once I touched the shadow of her heart I grew and bloomed and learnt to be the one who waits, heals, loves, and breaks without bounds.
a blue cloudy sky over a banana plantation. the only word to be heard – rebellion. someone is crying far away. another round of bullets leave the shaking hands of the one who can’t seem to stop crying. now he must die just like me. he rests his bloody head and its murky thoughts on me. in this last afternoon of my life i drift into bouts of darkness, without fear for first time, with the company of only his confused memories. will this be my last dream – his life? even in his head my homeland and its afternoons are beautiful. he has a face that he doesn’t want to forget, he has childhood home he can always return to but he didn’t, he regrets it now. he remembers the red color that his sister stopped wearing on her lips once her heart was broken badly. how he kept it with himself, as a symbol of happiness that he can’t have only for himself. there are ports on rainy days and buildings that became sadder at night. he once painted the window that would never open to him or anyone else for that matter. he cried when another nameless woman was found lifeless on the last page corner of newspaper and the window never lighted anymore. there is a cafe filled with few bombs that didn’t go off where the only one spared was him. he doesn’t want to be spared anymore. i wonder if he thinks that he can have happiness when he ends. i wonder if i will be able to smile on a rainy day, even if i am born again.
my feet relentlessly insist on burning themselves for the sake of summer mood.
i wear a shirt too big for me. a wear a smile a bit too small. i wear the worry of my parents on my neck.
i feel their fear when i smile back at strangers. i pretend to be the sand that no one can hurt. i pretend to be the sea that doesn’t end. i pretend no man in this beautiful scene would hurt someone like me.
but my feet, they burn, they bleed. my feet that only wanted freedom from the moment i was born, now they make me feel like the mermaid who was not wise enough.
i feel like i am losing a part of myself every time a stranger asks for my name, every time they accidentally touch my skin to fill me with shame and sin. i pretend to be cool, to be understanding, to be blind as i feel like the monster that brings out the worst in people. as i erase my memories everyday to put faith in people whom i find hard to trust.
I wonder ‘me being right’ at what point of time it became synonymous to finding out that his heart is empty- my name washed out by the waves of the other girl. The girl whom he swore is not his type. “I was right”, I said as my hand trembled with anger and then fear as I waited for the reply, for the apology, a missed call from those whom I should not forgive. But the way my heart is breaking if only they would tell me that they still love me I could have held them close to my chest and thought of them as my family, as the blood that I couldn’t part with. I would have learnt to pretend that I was born with a dagger on my back.
I was right, I understood as I saw few more pictures not meant for my eyes. (these days there are so many things that are not meant for my eyes), as I try to digest the unfamiliar rage in his eyes, as he breaks and breaks and breaks every moment we had When I ask him “if should I stay around? if he’d change his mind?” he tells me he doesn’t know his heart and walks out into the night.
When I switch on the TV I almost expect to find my name in red, my body in red laying on the carpet that he loved but had to ruin for a good cause, for a greater love. This me, my death must be side effect of his love. His love is all that matters now. His love is not our love. Our love is an obstacle to the happiness he can almost reach.
She calls me up again to tell me how to gracefully give up. I hear him behind her, I feel his despair in her voice. (Must be true love.) I hear him hum a song in the background, a song that I have never heard. I hear the ruffle of his clothes that he moved from our life to her home one betrayal at a time. I hear what I don’t want to hear, what I always knew- they don’t want my forgiveness even if I gave it for free, I must mend my life by myself. No past love will do it for me.
he sings the most beautiful song. so beautiful that the sky becomes a reflection of the heart that he can barely carry in himself. the words on his lips they break, they sound different, feel different, they sound like the first cry of a baby- the violent coming to life. they run and collide and shatter against the rough indifferent surface of this dying world, a not-so-bad world. he becomes a not-so-bad singer. as he runs out of breath and love someone places a coin of gold in his hands. he means to feel grateful for this compensation, but all he can do is hold his tongue, hold his tears. hold his bitterness in himself and sing another song dreaming, waiting for an honest reply, a genuine care, an understanding gaze in return for laying bare his humanness.
the metal melts on my tongue. this must be the fever that everyone warned me against. now i will never know how to die properly.
i used up every drop i could find on this planet to make the broken trees in me grow. and there are so many, so many skeletons with stunted growth.
i read we need not only the sun, but also the leaves, the green to make something that can fill our stomach. that light by itself can only gift hope . how long can one live on hope? just long enough to hate everyone who has a piece fleshy fruit stuck in their teeth.
the only way to live properly i am told is to become the the tailcoat of someone better than me. i must make someone’s life easy, must become a photocopy machine for their blood, must cry silently into the sink as i clean the dishes at night to live a proper life.
but it is too late i guess, i have lost the plan i was told to follow obediently, the only color that remains on my skin are the ones i was born with, the unflattering shape of my body won’t be bought with the coins of love in any shop, my finger, my unshapely hands have become un-holdable.
the adjectives, the rumors, the sad future of mine they falls like pieces of metal on my ears everyday and yet they are not the words i can say, or accept. these word, this metal melts in my mouth they say i will die a sad death, that i will die as i have lived – by myself.
Though the sky is filled with lights the nights on this land are lonely as ever. Again I am in love with a part of sky, with things that we call heavenly only because they are out of our reach, only because they are not ours to keep, because every god seems to love them more.
I end up on websites or with books that say “this is how the universe looks” “this how the stars are born” “this is the most beautiful cloud you will ever know” “this is something your tearful eyes can never see”. That for every drop of light there are an expanse of emptiness which we cannot imagine. That we are small and we are insignificant.
Funny how the love for things that I thought couldn’t possibly hurt me also takes me down the same path. The path that I walked once holding the hands of someone made of flesh plastered with signs of caution and warnings.
But it is different now. I guess the difference lies in who tells this news to me. If I am nothing, if this hurt that I feel because of you is of minor importance, if I have a life that will be easily forgotten, then I do not have to kill myself only to be remembered well. And maybe, just maybe I can forgive you for being human and myself for not being humane enough.
My mind that understands is chained and crippled by its understanding. It only tries to understand new words by comparing it to what has already written or read. It only understands feelings in terms of the pain it has given or all it has suffered.
So when I stand in front of the doors of a poem feeling the sting of December winds on my back. When I ring the doorbell and hear from other side “May I come inside?” I immediately know that this not something that I understand, that there is a difference in reading as if sitting on the couch in a stranger’s house waiting to be entertained and reading as if I have let the stranger in my own mind and allowed him to change the view I have of this world.
Some poems are not just poems.
They are voices that never die
because they have never been born.
They are ghosts that we have always wanted to haunt.
They are names we give to our own suffering,
a closure that only we can give to ourselves.