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 want don’t 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 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 you 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.
She makes circles on the back of my hand. She writes “love” again and again on my skin so that I don’t forget her. She writes “love” again and again with her fingers so that she may not forget I am still not lost to her. That I can be different as long as she sees me for me and she lets me see an unaltered part of her once in a while. Few more alphabets follow of my name and hers and all the names we wish we could forget just the way we are forgetting to love even when that is the only thing we want to remember. I tap my fingers on the steering wheel to a song that plays only in the past, wondering why I learned these words that only give me pain, give her pain, give us only half of each other while we are missing more pieces than we were made of, why my losses are more than my being, why we have to stop here, by this cliff, every evening waiting for our ghosts to take a step back, to look back at us and see the happy ending waiting for them, why we are invisible to our ghosts who only speak of names and futures that we have grown to hate?
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 into you.
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.
twenty-six steps away from the cold end, we stand together as if we are both looking at a foe we must defeat together. a child passes us by with a yellow balloon. how misplaced it seems, this child in this place made of storms.
this is something i don’t want to do. our steps will fade into the deep end of this lake while the mother in me would summon the face of this child as a hope of what i could have had if I could endure a little bit more.
an invisible small hand curls around my fingers as your voice falters and you mess up our last song. the ghost of your future, whatever face they may have, have also arrived. so i put back the sweater on and you check the calls you must return as the ones who intend to live on only do.
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 the wind blows
there are no branches to shake,
no windows to rattle,
no forgotten clothes to be abducted from my backyard,
no ghost songs to invite me to new nightmares.
Only your imagined face,
that looks nothing like you these days,
in these lifeless eyes
Making you almost real,
making me wonder
what is the distance in time
that I must travel,
how much should I age,
how much should my mind wither,
for you to disappear?
How many sins I should commit
so that my hands are not stained
only by your tears.
Her head floats in the sea of sleep,
in the rising and falling waves of dreams,
in the island of blankets
that is kept warm only by her own body.
As the light in her room changes its hue,
the chill on her window
melts into the nothingness
that the day always brings.
Words and vision come to the surface of life
before she does.
She hears her voice
-“I hope this the day that makes
She dismisses it
as the ghosts that have overstayed.
Holding her falling parts in a life
crushed under the weight of its own hopes.
Our hearts are perpetually
in a time
that flows around us.
And our ghosts pin us to our sins,
while we yearn to be the person
we were a second ago.
Though our heart are
full of ashes and smoke
of loves we have burned with us.
We still hopelessly wish to be with the one
that we have destroyed.
We live in the distance
that no apologies can cover.
that many suffer
but only few endure.