An echo, a heartbreak maybe,
something piercing, something invisible,
something not ours-
this is all that we are allowed feel
(as long as we want to feel).
She is everywhere.
She sleeps, buried under the heavy weight
of water and floating globes of life and
drowning boats and oil.
She is everywhere.
Yet her voice outlines every step we take.
Every dying step is a step lost to her name.
Running away is beautiful in this city.
The traces of our writhing, crawling, changing bodies,
painted on every stone, every wall,
doesn’t let us forget the dust of the world
we crushed by our hands,
doesn’t let us forget the word “home”.
All our journeys branch from her heart.
We sit huddled with out feet in water,
with our hands over fires dying out
and talk of her. Always her.
In the age of breaking,
all my classmates
swarmed to the dead pools in summer.
They ironed their skin with the heat I couldn’t bear.
With a smudged color on their lips,
their never resting pupils,
the pamphlets of their anxious laughter
that they passed to each other,
the crumpled remains they walked upon
they looked like imitations of greek statues
and love stories gone wrong.
They looked like people who joke about drowning and dying
and the love that killed them in their sleep.
“They are too young to know about love and pain”
someone said on TV,
even as we built an ugliest everlasting fire
out of the promises the world couldn’t keep.
I didn’t think that
I ever wanted to do such a thing.
But then it has a sense of it’s own,
a logic that keeps changing its shape-
it is wings of warmth, the fire in heart.
It is the fire that you want to get away from,
the endless trail of ashes that follows you.
It is your thought and voice and life spent away
only for the sake of a fire to burn even more of you.
On some days the fire is too magnificent, too beautiful.
On those days I feel it was right,
may be the only right in the world,
that everything of mine should belong to this light.
Is this how gods are made?
Is this how loves are lost?
Is this how I create a life
that I can’t bear to look at?
But can I abandon it all?
With his cold shoulder
melting into mine,
with his metal teeth and lips
soldered to the my mortal butter paper skin,
I trade his heavy existence
with my slowing heart.
He becomes a little more human, little more weak.
as I become a little less cold, little less teary eyed.
We both become a little bit of everything –
a mess of feelings and colors sitting out in cold storms
pretending to dig for ancient meaning on each other’s skin,
pretending to be furnaces and burning lighthouses.
Slowly I plucked each tooth of mine,
I tore my tongue out
and he called me beautiful.
He called me beautiful
so I left my clothes roll down.
I let my skin, my guards, my skeleton
touch his floor.
I sat there watching him
build a fire out of it all.
The fire was too cold for me
so I didn’t smile.
He told me he only speaks the language of rough,
that his heart beats and falls slower than the rest.
I told him I have known many like him.
I told him I didn’t mind.
He seemed to mind that a bit
but he also seemed to be a bit relieved.
As I sat under the the waterfall
of his blue curtains,
I felt thousands of eyes
at my back, behind windows that couldn’t be closed.
There were always windows behind my back
anywhere I sat from the day I was first told
that I was the type of beautiful
not worth keeping and staying around.
filled with lust, question, resentment
filled with hatred, filled with violence,
filled with sweet words for my ailing heart,
filled with knives for soft skin, for the right time,
were my burden
so I knew
at least this was not his fault.
I asked him
what he could give, what he could make me forget.
He didn’t answer and seemed a bit lost.
I wondered if he also couldn’t think or speak clearly,
if there were eyes on his back
that he never spoke about.
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 sit on the cold boulder
and film everything, just like I am told.
I am told, only for today,
I should stop sewing myself up haphazardly,
messing up the live-stream,
and talking about things that will never happen.
I have been told to put a hold
on the wonderful manipulation that does no good
to any effort my mind puts
in fixing things back.
My mind doesn’t like me much, understandably.
And I don’t like the idea of fixing anything- a harder concept.
Maybe that’s why I burn as my mind looks around me.
Maybe I should actually stop, when I am told to
but I don’t want a way out, I don’t want to look.
“i promise not to hurt anyone but me”
“i am fine like this. don’t take my tears seriously.”
“please don’t mind the doctor’s note.”
“please don’t mind the smoke in this room,
it is a temporary solution to my emptiness,
till something worse comes along.”
There is an exit sign that flies far away from me.
There appears a road
that it eats itself up .
There are bridges that I have cried over
and the fires that no longer burn.
Everything of beauty that I had in me
I have lost it here.
I have burnt my body, nerve by nerve,
for the sake of peace and love.
Let me live here
near the ashes of my past selves
near the life that cannot be,
around things that can’t be helped.
so as the last effort to rescue me
they came in,
dressed in the ultimate cool lifestyle.
they handed me all the tools that i might need
to break away from the ‘sad’ in me.
they filled me up with clocks that told the wrong time,
told me that i would get used to the thrill of it.
told me to scrape down
whatever stands in my way to happiness.
told me my happiness should now be
keeping an eye on the better guy, the better job,
better photos on social media to highlight the same,
weekends in lightless room with strangers.
when i became nauseous from too much change,
when i ran into the fire
to save the idea i had of myself,
they held me back,
told me i would develop a taste for such things
i just needed some help, some influence,
some liquid courage, some castles of smoke,
guts to throw away everything that doesn’t serve a purpose.
they told me to talk like the ones who hurt me
and to call it empowerment.
I walk past houses
that are too silent to be there.
Another drop of tear
lands on my hand.
I dare not stop and look.
I fear I might end up finding
my own home that I had left.
In my eyes I might end up holding
the face of the one
whose sorrow I can’t still bear.
I once lied,
“I will love you forever”.
I fear I might now find the love
that I didn’t have then.
I fear I will ask you
for everything that I do not deserve.
So I lie once again,
this time for your sake-
“though my heart is cold,
love is not the fire I need”.
Across the street
lived the giants.
The green giants-
who waited for rains to cry,
who waited for the night to speak.
Thankfully the windows
in my temporary home
were small and few.
Thankfully it was always cold,
that awful cold
that makes you want to sleep
for a long long time.
So I slept and slept.
I ate whatever my mother cooked.
I waited for her to tell me
what I am to do with my life.
While the kids I never spoke to,
went into the home of giants
to put them on fire,
I slept and cried in my dreams.
Because tears on my real skin
would make this sadness more real.
Real sadness demands reasons and explanation.
Real sadness demands proofs.
to stand among them-
the ones who have learnt
how to live and die quietly,
to forgive easily.
I waited for the day
I would grow roots,
the day when I could smile
at my falling leaves.
I waited for the day
I could become one of them
and not the cruel outsider that I am now.