Once I was told
by my own shattering image
that I would learn to laugh at this moment.
It was not a pleasant sentence to hear.
It reminded me of all the sentences
that are manufactured in the factories of peace.
you will forget this bruise.
you will forget those words.
you will forget this love.
you will forget this face.
forgetting is what you really want.
far away from every “here” is the place you want to be.
It reminded me of all the meaningless words that were born
everyday in the mouths of strangers –
words that awkwardly held me not knowing who I am
or why I must be consoled
but convinced something in me should be put to sleep
before it learnt to cry in the audible ranges of pain.
There are too many words in this place.
Too little heart.
There are too many people who look like they have known pains
that I might never have.
But they are the same ones who want to bury things
that are only broken.
So I am going to run
towards every “here” out there,
towards that lesser life filled with loss.
A life where things that are lost are allowed to matter.
In the rubble with nerves hiding sparks,
in the nest of sleeping explosives,
again it is you.
Again you are here to prove something
by doing something unasked for.
You build a place for warm tea,
for all our shivering ghosts to haunt.
You place the chairs that are not chairs
but buckets that cannot hold anything now.
There are chairs that are lying around just fine
but you don’t want them.
You don’t want the old purposes eating away
the beauty of all that is left behind.
You console the ones holding onto what is no longer there
but you don’t want the ones who want a way back to what it was.
You ask us questions with your bleeding lips
you want us to answer with something real,
not just words.
“You are cruel”,
you laugh when we say that.
You make us leave everything we are
just so that we can finally sit on empty buckets
thinking about the hands we cannot hold,
thinking about hands that are no longer hands.
“The city is no longer burning”, you tell us
as we place our empty glasses in front of our empty eyes
and tell us it is fine if we don’t believe it now.
“Sleep. Dream and stay for a while with the molten and bombed,
the lost and the dead that still have your heart.
Take your time.”
As we lay awake in our heart-wrenching grief,
as we lose ourselves to your favorite world of sleep,
you stand beside the fire
that keeps us alive.
You stand beside the fire
that is not actually fire
but your heart
that burns like sun.
We wanted to tell you, “You are kind.
You are too beautiful for this world.
Have our heart and burn it instead.”
But we couldn’t .
We knew these things were easy only in words,
that these were things we couldn’t do, yet.
That we have not smiled and laughed with bleeding lips,
helping while being hated.
That we were too selfish to be you.
I planted the idea of a happy family,
a happy tomorrow,
into the eyes of my mother
with breaking tips of my pencils
against her granite eye lashes.
I told her the story about the boy
who is ever so sad
because his parents didn’t care enough,
who weeps on his empty birthdays,
who weeps into my heart.
I tell her I am not so fine myself.
Maybe she didn’t hear me clearly,
cause she didn’t stop
her daily charade of writing her “the last letter”.
I cleared her bed, her table, her words, her being
from the perfectly modeled replica of world in my mind.
I showed her, “Look, this is how I will look
with you gone. Look, look at what you must not do to me.”
She pulled me close, and held my hand for a bit too long,
a bit too tenderly
as if letting me know, telling me
“Look, this is how I look when I am alive.
Look, look at me pouring out of myself, dragging my feet
even till the end. Look, look at what I can no longer live as.”
And I stood there for a long time,
slowly understanding things I possibly couldn’t.
I stood there for a long time,
till my mom’s face was replaced by that of the ever so sad boy
as he held me, letting me cry into him
for the hundredth time.
you are now
just a butterfly
in the unruly garden of my life.
you were once the laughter in our home.
your hands were once as warm as mine.
you were so many things,
the one who knew how to make everyone smile,
the one who could soothe my heart
with a kind understanding glance,
the one who never cried
(now I guess you must have cried,
knowing how you left us here like this).
they told me
you were too weak to live.
i gulped down their answer
even when i knew they were lying.
i was afraid of knowing the real reasons,
i was afraid of knowing what I had overlooked.
the soil was so soft in my hand,
the day they buried you.
i cried through my meals for days.
no one consoled me.
no one told me things will get better.
no one told me to grow up.
and something told me
i would never grow up.
You were almost like that neighbour
who listened to sad songs at 2 am
walking me up, shaking me up to my own sadness
and as I cried I never knew if you also cried
or was I crying your share of tears as well.
Have you finally gone to back to sleep
taking my blanket of sleep with you?
And I sat up all night
staring at the moonless sky.
I consoled myself by believing that
reliving my pain
would somehow reduce yours.
I would welcome you into these
arms to cry out your grief,
If only I could leave my bitter heart behind
that only wants to be consoled
and never wants to care for anyone else.
That only looks at the world
to look for a face
who would take the blame for what it suffered.
The trees don’t whisper,
don’t console me with lies
that they have heard too many times.
They tell me that this sorrow won’t go away
atleast not without me.
That there will be days I will look at
the empty chair opposite me
and my coffee would taste of tears.
Days when I would wake up
with a blanket of despair over me.
That I will stop at certain words
and certain names,
and feel too broken in this happy world.
That I would stop taking certain roads.
Stop going to certain places.
So that my ache in my chest
won’t eat me up.
There will be day
when I would have given up
on all that I was.
And sure enough
the sorrow went away,
taking away everything we were.