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 river is finally running dry.
I heard someone rejoicing to hear this.
What is a river without it’s water?
I am told it is money, it is development,
it is more money.
Another colony, dozens of businesses springs up.
There is nothing to be sad anymore.
I walk on the roads trying to trace
the skeleton of what is lost.
Now, I know the names of few more rivers
that are nowhere to be seen on maps.
The numbers of such ghost keep increasing.
There is a language that no one cares for.
There is a city that forces everyone to leave.
There are words that don’t sound fancy anymore.
There is an accent that needs to be exorcised from tongues-
the identity of what we are is a secret,
something we can be killed for.
But it is the season, the world
where rivers dry out beautifully,
where aches turn into anger, into revenge,
into art, into denials,
into search for something new.
But rarely does it turns into tears.
How is it we have so much to lose,
so much that is already lost
and yet have so little to grieve about.
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
to be human is to float like a single cell life
devouring pieces of digestible meaning,
splitting and cutting oneself without blood loss
into something more manageable.
to be human is to lose your legs
to the ideas of nation, families, and lovers.
to be a human like me is to look at
herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, scavengers…
and wonder what hunger feels like.
it is to order love at every other restaurant
waiting for the taste of pain to grow on me,
while i mimic strangers stranded on far away tables
and hope what i am learning is not another dead language.
when you slipped into my arms
and tried to tell me stories
in your broken language,
when you got all your numbers wrong,
when you touched my face
with your tiny hands,
i almost forgot
that you are not mine.
i shouldn’t have.
I am not talking about
enhancing my likability here.
But just to be taken seriously
I need to like certain things,
I need to act certain way.
I need to fill forms
whenever I meet someone new,
whenever I meet them again.
Am I capable? Am I an intellectual (of the right kind)?
Am I still childish?
Am I still unable to follow the conversation
that is not spoken in the language I follow?
Am I still reluctant to give up on all the things
that are no longer relevant.
Am I now ready to listen and only listen
to take in
the version of a world that is more widely accepted.
Am I finally aligned with the opinions, interests
and common hatred that bonds us?
Have I grown weak and weary
of the silence that I am put through?
Have I realized what I could do, whom all I can befriend
if I break myself in image of my oppressor?
We live in different fragments
of this broken world.
Soon we will forget each other,
like we are forgetting the worlds
where we don’t belong.
Soon we will only speak the language
that the other won’t understand.
Have you become acceptable in the eyes
of your neighbour?
Do you feel adequate?
I hope so, it would be a shame
to lose all this, and still not find a home.