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.
When you found my door
I was in my workshop
in the middle of chiseling and crafting my memories
Now I am half made up and half real
and there is no point of opening this door
and forcing you to accept a half that you won’t like.
The moment I pass any door
a part of my brain whispers-
too many people,
watch you step and watch your tongue,
lest you want to be branded as one of those women
that you are are and aren’t at the same time.
For if you are not careful enough
you will soon believe everything that people say about you
as you are doing right now.
Right now only half of you exist in this body.
I know this because that is what I was calculating
in the class of areas and volumes,
as teacher taught how we determine
the volume the water left at in a cylinder of flesh
once it starts leaking from all the words that have pierced it.
Or that’s what I heard at least.
I got had good score for that class
and I got called many more names.
A little more of me seeped out
and now I am less than half of what I was.
I know this because I have lost my friends
(maybe they see I am no longer me).
I know this because my heart no longer protests
when I hear people calling me by wrong names.
All that you don’t know of,
all that I fear
stands behind the door,
waiting for the right time to ring the bell,
to call you out for a moment
so that it can tell you about
the mistake that has been made.
has brought you someone with deeper love and better heart
and shows her off as they new discovery, the new fact,
discusses with you how to go on about correcting
all the text, all the promises, and all the future plans.
I look at her, looking at you
and I see what I must have looked like
when once I found your door
and was happy to find my rightful place.
While you nod your head along
how to tell me that I need to get going
that there is not much space for misunderstandings
and no time for crying over what must be done.
Yesterday, I loved you.
Yesterday, you loved me back.
Today, my depth are the new shallow.
Today, you can only give me as much attention as
a passing cloud in the sky.
The crowd, every crowd-
they exhaust me
and frighten me.
They take away air around me
and tell me to leave myself at the door,
if I want to come in.
They like to stare a lot,
they like to condition my mind, my eyes to look away when they stare.
Is this the point
where I am supposed to sit down with a sigh
and tell a sad story-
about how I was wronged (isn’t everyone?),
how they never apologized,
how there was nothing to apologize for,
how people find it easier to support the one in wrong,
how it is easier to hate myself that to hate so many people.
The most painful but convenient words that I can tell myself-
“maybe they were right” “i took it too personally”.
How the result of telling someone all this
are more words like these-
“you are not the only one, it happens, it is normal”
“don’t make a big deal of it”.
Is there any end to what one must hear and suffer
just to give an explanation that people want so badly to hear
and are more desperate to brush off as weakness of my own character.
You are a thorn in my heart
that only hurts, that only digs deeper
when in rare moments
I find my way to doors in my life
that can’t be opened now
and I stand helplessly in front of you
whom I no longer love.
When you utter the same words
but they sound different
and I realize that I have never been around
to notice this change.
We may walk in a present
disconnected from our feelings in past.
We are nothing to each other now.
Your sorrows are no longer due to my mistakes
and I feel nothing but relief for that.
an unfulfilled dream breathes in me
refusing to die,
for it is happy to have you around.
Sometimes the hatred, the bias that
people around him smoked
sticks to his clothes, his skin, his tongue
when I come near him.
He can wash it from himself with a sleep.
He can leave it at the door, when he steps in.
But I can’t wash it out of my mind.
In my mind
I mix up the person he is and the person he has to be.
But I realise that I do not know the person he is,
I only know the person he has to be for me,
I only resent the person he has to be for others.
The person he is, looks at me from his corner of eyes
and this stranger looks at me
not across oceans, not across roads of fate,
but across the versions of us filling up the space between us,
the versions we can never throw away.
This stranger looks at me and gives me the smile
that he has to wear for me.
For me to realise the love I have for the the days
I share with this person who spends his days with me,
loses his ways with me and grows old with me.
I smile back becoming the person I have to be for him,
becoming the version I love the most.
The lost all gather
at the same door as I.
They shout, yell and cry.
Praise and tell lies.
To be taken in.
To be cared for.
To be chosen.
To be looked at, even once.
Do they also feel smaller
for standing here and waiting,
for asking things whose void eats you up.
that has a fondness, an appetite
for the ones who can’t unlearn caring.
Which becomes bigger
feasting on the silent phone,
on unifinished conversations,
on the hollow rumours, on the dirt on your name,
smeared by people
who know better
but continue to do worse.
The void for things,
that even when attained,
outgrows the want that creates it.
Is there anyone
who has got what he asked
and stopped asking for more.
Who has found himself
by asking and pleading for acceptance,
by being nice and patient,
by cutting themselves up
to fit the template
of someone else’s ever growing void.
She looks at the clock.
The time tells
in 4 hours her husband has to leave,
she woke up too soon.
She wakes up and looks at the clock again.
In 20 minutes he will need his daily tea,
he sounds bitter all day
if it is not the first thing he sees.
She will have minutes to cook what he likes,
to check his ironed clothes and polished shoes.
Few more seconds till the door closes
leaving her in his house,
surrounded by his belongings,
and with the clock that has no plans for her.
and sits till she can’t feel this sting.
She looks at clock once again.
9 hours more for him to come back.
“You’ve become an accomplice in your own annihilation and there is nothing you can do about it. Everything you do closes a door somewhere ahead of you. And finally there is only one door left.”
― Cormac McCarthy
Now I am not sure what this quote exactly makes me feel. But every time I read this, I see in front of me that one door left. It fills me up with a kind of relief and fear at the same time. It is as if every small action of mine will change my life in a drastic ways. It is like choosing a destiny that I cannot see. Irreversible nature of my decision, the narrowing of the world to fewer door, fewer dreams, fewer options is frightening. But it also fills me with a sense of responsibility and control. It feels like a power that I do not know how to put to use, but it is still a power. Like a blind person walking on a minefield, where even having eyes may not be of much help considering the chaos that surrounds me. Even if a portion of choice is in my hand, I do have a say, but not much. I cannot turn back and look at all the doors I can’t go back through. I am just left with that one line I am travelling (many that I can’t), the line my decisions create to that last door, the line we call fate.