I stand in the shadow
of the great palms
of the red tiles that grow out of its soul
I stand watching the world go cold.
The broad roads of this city made of dust,
the river made out the minds, out of dreams –
this is my home,
till I learn to break away from its spell.
My tongue feels heavy
with the growing names I am supposed to learn,
with all the things I must not be to be loved by them.
I am almost expecting new things.
“this is a good time to run away”, says my ghost-from-the-city-of-sea.
My ghost-from-the-mountains-green laughs
at how desperately I want to be understood, to be seen
and yet how furiously I try to erase everything of myself.
Everything in me seems to be made to be hidden.
I hide my trembling fingers.
I hide my desperation and the mess it leaves in its wake.
I prepare myself for another show.
The show of trying. My trying is so beautiful
in how it is always hoping to be disappointed.
I wait under the neon signs of misspelled words
and think about the storm that will never arrive.
I wait with hope.
I wait with arms fed up of trying.
On this new morning, as this new cold finds my old bones,
I think of you.
Today when your name surfaces on the silent lake
I do not row towards it, I do not push it down.
I stare and breathe as the water moves
you and me.
I stare, without making my knuckles red,
without holding onto you or myself.
The mist of time and the storms of words-not-meant
they rise and settle and we part,
just as we rehearsed,
just as we have performed a thousand times in life.
I look back and see only a sunrise of a color you’d like.
I float a thank you, a broken oar towards you,
a hope for your life and some peace for mine.
All that I have loved has been eaten away by time.
Your body, your mind is now broken
into thousand scattered restless dots of dust
so when I think of you, in my mind
you are the life of the light. So unlike your presence in my life.
You remain that even as I lose my grasp
over the meaning and texture of love.
I forget what we were really like.
So I often get to miss you. You often make me smile.
The howevers have replaced the forevers
and it is a beautiful change.
Now we can let the dying thing die at peace.
The fleeting feelings and their fragile wings
could have dropped and turned to dust with time
but there is something frustrating about slow,
about things that don’t end
when they drag their feet to the wrong doors
pretending to look for answers,
when everyone stares at faces they cannot bear to look at
waiting for someone to end things for them.
I am also guilty of all this,
of thinking that making new promises
will give me enough pressure, enough motivation
to follow through the life that I don’t really want,
of holding on
when I have no mind to continue.
However isn’t this a good excuse, a god-sent moment
to finally separate our stories, to forget this mess
that will never fix by itself or even by our half-hearted trying.
From wherever it may be,
if I keep walking straight
and try not to think of the destination,
eventually I feel the pavement turn to dust.
Slowly, stones dating to the oldest dates
in the recorded history of my life
start appearing one by one.
They sprout new mouths, they learn new words,
they grow into roads, into pillars,
into gateways, and into the walls of the places
where I am no longer welcome.
The fabric of present, my strange choice of words,
my skin that doesn’t belong to this time
all such things make me an alien, make me a pitiful stranger
in a place I know more than myself.
My laughter lives in those places,
with people who can’t find their way to me,
just like I can’t find my way to them.
I hold onto the walls when my tears start killing me,
I tell myself, it will be fine, if I just keep walking.
I tell myself, I will eventually remember my way out of this moment,
as I always have.
But now I can’t. I don’t want to. Maybe I am not meant to.
Maybe the answer lies in never forgetting,
maybe that’s the love I am meant to have.
Maybe waiting is the answer that will suit my weak heart,
since pretending can only get me this far.
I sit on the benches of deserted parks with my bloodless heart,
and I imagine melting here in this imaginary sun.
I feel happiness might have been something like that,
but I can’t remember it, even though it was once mine.
On the broken lines of bold white,
on the burning roads far away from home
I knelt down
in the heap of my skirt made of fairy dust
and disappointments of all kinds.
I found a pretty crack
with space enough to be something of its own
and with a style that you’d agree with.
With my fingertips already crying red
I wrote you name
in the best writing I could.
Your name that couldn’t fit
beside mine, or the scorecards with better marks,
or a business card that was not a part of scam,
or with a number that could for once be reached,
or the nameplate that you kept losing
in the sleepy playgrounds of our eyes.
We missed you.
We missed you.
in the conversations
where we thought only of you
and yet couldn’t speak of you.
We thought of you
always with an ache,
always with a heart that wanted more of you
while wanting to forget the little that we had.
I wrote your name
and ran my fingers over them again.
A kid knelt down beside me
offering me a smile as he took in
a pain he couldn’t understand.
Today, of all days, I was not allowed to smile.
I walked away wondering
if he knew you,
if he now lives in your name,
if he knows someone who wrote like me,
who wrote words that will fit nowhere but here.
Your name could be anybody else’s.
You could have lived like everyone else
There are no dances waiting for us,
no innocent moments of sunlight,
no darkness or headlights striking our windows,
nothing worth the wait.
We are stranded here in this life.
We are stranded on a planet
far away from our home-
a home that becomes more and more beautiful,
the more we are convinced there is no way back.
Here the days are longer than our lifespan combined.
Here we record 50 goodbyes to ourselves a day.
The air, the hurricanes,
the rain, the smile,
this peace of mind
just luminescent chemicals
that delivers more than its promise
of a near death exhilaration.
The rainbow of lies is our constant sky
the friend we cannot live without.
It is the only thing
that helps us live with the dust of betrayal
that settles on the clothes left out to dry-
another thing we much dust away and forget,
another thing we must do to be called a “good sport”.
I sit here knitting another version
of my beautiful glorious past,
another tribute to the world filled with rare ordinary
and you sit across me
complaining about what the world has come to
as you paint my brain to match the new you-
one less insecurity in this perfect world.
You are gone
and I try to hold the spoon like you used to.
I chew my food with my left molars as you did.
The ghosts that I have wronged, that I have forgotten
now include half of my teeth, teeth you would have never used.
You are gone
and you are happy (probably).
So I memorize name and phone number
of your every friend,
I recall the fondness you had for them.
I wear your feelings when I meet them,
I wear your feelings even when they won’t fit me.
I wonder if they noticed how I was spilling at some places,
how I was non existent in other folds-
folds that used to hold you so well.
You are gone
and I am gone (or that’s what I think).
I am my work, I am my songs,
I am the adjectives you made for me,
I am the report cards, I am the dust that settles on it,
I am the afternoon TV shows, I am the language I don’t understand.
I am what I am fond of.
I am mostly just you.
You are gone
and I fear
there is no one that can
stop me from growing
The memories I burnt away
have turned into spirits, into thoughts
that hold me back from naming and keeping this happiness
that sits at my doorstep, waiting for my love.
And though the shadows of my past are tied to my legs,
though they rattle on empty roads
and never let the the dust of my life settle.
But ‘it is not so bad’ is also a sentence
that I have learnt to say with ease
and I sometimes even mean those words as they leave my mouth.
For there is a doorstep where a heart like yours
waits for me to heal, your wait makes the plant of trust
grow in my heart again.
Every morning I find myself, my lips
a bit closer to the the words
that only you deserve to hear.
We believed (or wanted to)
that this world where we won’t be staying for long
will be always there,
will the stay the same
even when we leave.
That our eyes have captured something eternal.
But even the stars that we believed in
were in fact dying,
so far away that we didn’t even know.
Would it have mattered even if we knew?
Would we have cared for an end that we won’t live to see?
So even when I see that we are breaking,
even when I know it will come apart,
I know we don’t need a forever,
just bit more time.
We just need to vanish into dust
before we watch our love die.
Some part of me is lighted up today
in the light that is most probably your doing.
And when the light hits the less cared for parts of me
contrary to the expectations and images of
decay that ate me away and the dust that filled me up,
what I see is an empty expanse.
I see you ready with the tools to build me
something more prettier, something more comfortable,
something more me.
You wait for that picture to reach my lips.
But I don’t have a picture yet.
I don’t know what to build here.
I am in love with this sweet emptiness,
this fresh start that I thought I would never get.
Can we just sit here for a while in this innocence
that would be soon tainted by us.
You say, “We have all the time in the world.”
No, we don’t.