The river rises,
another flood is here
and I haven’t yet learnt to swim.
My friends are again at my door.
They knock, then they start crying.
They tell me about the happiness I can’t see,
they try to predict what you
would have wanted me to be,
and all I can do is laugh at it all.
My laugh, it must be as frightening to them as my tears now.
For even as they send me pics of kittens and quotes,
and stories saved from fire, stories filled with hope,
I hear their panic from the other side.
They know that just taking your name
had undone the strength
they tried to feed me for months.
And since now they can’t breathe
everytime I close my door, everytime I refuse to speak –
I am another hell to them.
And since I can’t let them break over me –
they are another pillow pressing on my face.
I hope for them to let me own my sadness.
I hope for them to not see and not know my pain.
But they do, they feel so much of me
that I have to open the door,
that I have to let them hold my hands.
I tell them that I’ll live no matter what
and they still tell me that it is not enough-
they want me to be who I was.
I can only smile at their cruel hopes for me.
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.
the leftovers of last night
fill my fridge.
“never to be ruined”
is what i would want to believe.
but i do not have the patience
to wait and see.
i do not have many things in me-
lacking of sorts, but not as deep in feeling.
it is fine as long as it doesn’t reach me.
it is fine as long as it doesn’t reach me.
i step away and sit down
it the unnatural unnerving glow
of all that was delicious once.
on the floor beside the broken fridge door
i wait for my hunger or desperation to return.
i wait to see what i loved in the love
that is dying without me.
On Sundays, I wear the purple summer dress
that I once promised myself I would never wear.
I paint my nails, I color my lips, and I open the windows in me.
I become someone I was taught to hate, I try to break
my hatred with my smile.
I let myself be reigned
by the greed for beautiful, sweet, shining things.
I think of all the things I have tried not to want.
I let myself be the delicate vulnerable woman
that is easy to love, easy to idolize,
easy to abuse, easy to blame, and easy to hate.
I tell myself that it is not my fault,
but the more I live the harder it becomes to believe it.
I fall asleep on the floor where first I tasted blood,
wondering why I can never give up on this dress, this dream
that has given me nothing but hurt.
The soap slips through my fingers
and falls onto the floor
(a floor that in my mind is never clean enough).
I wash the soap vigorously,
till it becomes half of what it was.
My teachers would be proud
to know that I take germs somewhat seriously even now.
Even now, when I am sure of only of my loneliness*,
such ghosts of primary school science don’t leave me alone.
*My hands are too small, I have been told many a times. Maybe that’s why this happens so often. But still I guess it happens to all. I can never know for sure though. No one I have ever met talks of the soaps that slip. Maybe that shows the state of my friendships, how I end up feeling weird, feeling alone about the things, in experiences that are supposed to be normal and common.
you always gift me red sonnets.
and i always kiss you back,
the color of my lips fading
in front of acts of affection.
i put them on my bed
as i sleep on the floor.
i stir my soaking noodles
with a branch broken
from this bunch.
i bite the sides of my mouth
make myself cry a little bit more.
I hear sweet laughter
from far away (from the floor above).
Leftover light from that bright world falls on me.
But it is not mine.
and it seems I am not allowed
to love anything that is not mine.
It seems no one can be mine
until I constantly try to please them,
chain them to me, make them dependent on me,
do their chores, worship them,
read their minds and say only what they want to hear,
be only what they want me to be.
Is this how I make this person mine?
or should I wait for someone else
to put me on a pedestal for once?
I don’t think that would be love though.
But what do I know?
I have tried doing things right every time
and look where it has got me-
passed out on floor,
yearning and envying another’s happiness.
I will give you a list houses
that once used to be my home
and addresses that are the only memory
that has not been blurred
or manipulated by my mind.
If you ever want to find me,
You will see the line of trees that
framed my sunrise
and almost dry riversbeds of
round white stones, where
I slipped once (or more).
You will see the duststorms,
and the heavy rains
I stood in.
You will see the the intersections,
I could never quite cross.
But all this you see,
is not me.
If you want to find the ‘me’,
‘me’ that I do not know of,
that I cannot give you,
And look for windows I sat by.
Look for the cold floor I lied on.
Sit there and think of a girl
who never felt quite like a person,
who could look at what lay ahead
that neither the path, nor the journey was hers.
Who only wanted a room flooded with
gentle light of drowning sun,
and songs that could make her sadness beautiful.
These lines that
connect to my heart,
pass through landscapes
devoid of human presence.
This frail thread
passes through valley of flowers
that have no color.
Through balconies overlooking
desolate streets and
sky crowded with stars.
Through stairs leading to floors
that no one visits.
Through the branches of old trees
broken in the storms.
Through abandoned toys in locked rooms
with no owners.
Through the warm sheets
where I rest with my dreams.
and bring loneliness of the world
that lies beside me,
while I wonder
why do I feel so hollow inside.