I light lamps, sow seeds of lighthouses
in gratitude for this weak flesh
that can build itself anew, in spite of the nights
when all the warmth in the world evades it.
I chant the names that don’t belong on my lips
with boundless grace and bitterness and longing
and not die from the memory of having lived.
I sit content and complete
knowing my breaking cannot forever stay in me.
I smile with relief,
knowing nothing would hurt as it should, as it does.
I write another poem of love,
knowing nothing I love will be loved well enough.
I look back at our old odd selves and find the heart to smile
knowing that the list of “beasts and wonders extinct” – only grows longer.
as his goodbye, he said to me,
“i don’t want to be yours.
but never stop being mine.
never forget me.
you promised to love me all your life.
be my happiness.
let your tears,
let my shadow reign over your heart.
be my happiness.
never chase away the rain that i am leaving in you
never look for another heart.
be my value, be my worth,
be my pride.
you don’t have to be my love
to have a place in my life.
you can be nothing to me
and still be my treasure at the same time.
i don’t want to be yours
but it would heal my wounds, my ego
to know you will be broken without me
your brokenness will make me more complete
than your love could.”
I sat in the shade of a tree that had no fruit,
no yellow buds, no promise of any spring.
Some broken ants with their broken sense of direction
crawled to me, and stared at me
as if their answers lay in my broken being.
My being, they say, are just colors-
the brightest colors of everlasting longings.
They say I am not even a half of a being,
so I cannot wish to complete or be completed
as long as I am me.
But now that I have stopped waiting,
stopped begging for a use in this world,
I feel that it is okay to exist like this.
I feel I can look back at the ants,
at the ones I can never complete
and tell them I don’t have their answers.
I feel I can tell them my truth
without wanting to “not exist”.
I drew her shadow on sand.
She stood still, her tiny shoulders
and ribs (that thankfully can no longer be seen)
moved gently with each breath.
Each tiny breath
like the wave that swept in,
like her laughter used to be.
She looks at me and asks if it is done.
I nod. I meant to say “almost”.
Just like I had meant to say “stop”,
or “please don’t” or “take me and spare her”.
She doesn’t wait for my answers anymore.
She skips over the boundaries of our shadows.
Her outline of me drawn in shaky fingers,
looks like a human being pulled apart
beside her own shadow – a child, complete and perfect.
But she looks at her shadow and calls it weird,
just like how she called the ocean weird.
the smiling children in the glossy magazine were weird,
a chocolate bar without an occasion. without a reason were weird,
the memories of home she wanted to forget were weird,
the days she walked to school with her friend
and the days the sun went down as she slept over the
struggles of homework were weird.
She sat down and tried to come up with an answer for my “why”.
“the ocean is so huge.
as huge as, all the things i can’t have
but once i had them. it is weird.
it is weird how this ocean is mine now,
the breeze is mine along with the sky
but i don’t want them.
you have memorized my shadow.
you keep bringing me back to life
but you tear up so easily as if even you don’t believe yourself.
as if you don’t believe in me .
sometimes i feel that this ocean is our gift to each other,
it is our heart free of our bodies.
sometimes i believe that i am here and you are here
and the world where my head can rest in your lap
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.
He stepped down from his ‘cloud nine of the day’
as I stepped out from my house made of last drops of rain
and at the intersection of fleeting memories
we fell in love.
That is what I tell my friends
when they ask me about the moment
I was tempted to end the sadness of my life.
I tell them about the words I borrowed from his lips,
his borrowed tongue that helped me eat a bit more.
How I taped his adjectives on my mirror
so that I wouldn’t have to look at myself.
They sit with me on the table
I can’t bear to share with my love.
They stare at me, as I ask them what to wear,
how to hide my poison, how to hide the crack at the elbow,
the bruised collarbone, the split lip,
the ache in my heels, my frayed wings,
my broken voice
and all other reminders of what love has done to me,
and what more love can do, if i just let it in again.
They tell me it is all healed.
They tell me it is all past.
They hold their skin against mine to make me see
that the cracks are all in my mind,
how everyone looks just like me,
how everything wrong with me is now the norm.
And they laughed
when I looked at them with concern.
They dropped me at the restaurant
and vanished at the farthest bend of the road.
As I dragged my feet towards another story
that I will never get to complete,
another tragedy that suited only me,
I looked back and tried to think of all the things
that these kind friends of mine suffered
as they hoped and wished and lied to themselves.
The exceptions they now considered normal,
the wounds they cannot even see,
the pain they cannot call pain,
the love they cannot bear to leave-
I tasted these facts
in every spoon of artificial sweetness
I fed to my mouth that evening.
The red birds and blue flowers
are back in our world, it seems.
Again I have become part cloud
and part smile and grief.
I wonder if you woke up
as the light that only knows to cry,
as the indifferent sun again.
A day like this wasn’t supposed to happen,
not now, when we are almost complete by ourselves.
A day on which small impossible love like ours
sings out from nameless graves buried in meters of snow.
I go back to sleep
wanting to forget things that must be done today,
dreading to walk into you,
hoping to walk into you,
knowing that I would love you again,
especially on a day like this where I am too broken,
when I am too much myself.
Days like this make me belief that I would end up with you
no matter what.
That even when I run away, even when I cry because of love,
even then maybe I want only one thing-
to be with you.
In the shade of a fruitless spring-less tree
as I tried to recall and write down
all the phone numbers I once knew by heart,
I looked at the sky
and laughed for thinking too highly
of myself and thinking too little about my heart.
That is the last thing I remember
before I was possessed.
Oddly I always remember this point of contrast
marked by the last tear I actually cried.
Whatever now had made home in me
that I could be complete even if I stay as who I am,
that I could stand in this world
witnessing beauty, love, companionship, faith, life
and be happy
even if it could do nothing for me, even if they were not mine.
Someone, who couldn’t possibly have been me,
lived my life in my place from that moment,
and I never had to wonder again
if I am allowed to live like this.
I never picked up another paper I threw in the trash.
I now never tried to play the role of the one with bigger heart.
I was finally free of hope, of love, of being myself.
Now it was the work of whoever wanted this body,
whoever wanted my life.
the green pastures
the white fences
the perfect fake loving gaze
the debts of kindness
the half that never completes itself for once
the ornamental lackings of my being
the personal sun, the privilege to look away
and never know the heart of one who can’t
the greed such that I can’t stop receiving
the ideals that I can live without,
ideals that are already falling short
my monstrous growth, my falls from grace,
everything that I say I don’t need
all that I cannot give back.
It is easier for me
to be kind,
with a life of hypocrisy,
with a guilt weighing down my heart,
with the smile that I can get only because
the world is unfair.
It is easier for me to smile
at the knife stuck in my back.
It is easier to forgive
when I cannot forget my own blood stained hands,
my own reckless selfish heart.
Sit beside me
while I sleep.
Put your hand into my soul.
I do not not where it is.
Maybe you would have to find it first
before we can start with anything.
But finding this soul
would be a start in itself.
In my dreams, become the air
that insists on not letting me fall
when I try to jump to my …
You know what I want to say,
Don’t let me complete such sentences.
Help me find
what I have lost
to my grief.
Maybe in what I have lost
lies my will to live,
lies my hope to love you better.