Your frail arms, the waves and curtains of your skin, these carved brackets hugging your smile- give them to me. Place a shadow of such blessings on the weary crown of my future. Tell me the story about your bent bow, about your magnificent spine that sings stories about the lost string, about the vanishing tear-stained targets. Teach me how to grow. Teach me how to live. Welcome me as you always did with your overflowing love and your running out time. Tell me how to love this world even as I leave. Teach me how to love this eventual inevitable fallout of elements that make up my body and mind. Hold me tighter in your sleep, leave me a bit more of you, so that I won’t be starved, so that I don’t grow bitter, till the time we meet in our new skins. Even there I will carry in me the grace of the life you have lived. Welcome me when I come to you again.
the towers are open to the public now. the crowd can now crow and row and climb to the better views- a softer light, a smaller distant world, the illusions of gods growing on our own earthly skin. this radiance was supposed to mean something else, something more, something new though. but these deafening footsteps, this meaningless chatter, these houses now growing like shrooms, the clothes now drying on every step, the resurgence of life and the blooming bruise, the grass growing, the herds living and dying in the shade of the tower- they only make me cry. even in their most wretched moments they still remain things i can’t have. the singular monument of hope and its playground of chaos and me, the only child who doesn’t belong, looks up at the promised sky, feeling a new hollowness creeping. feeling myself break for the same old things in new ways.
The abyss holds a celebration today. There is a relentless sound of chatter and song, of footsteps walking out of sync heading this way.
This way, this place where we have always been stuck a step before the end, a word before silence. This desolate space, where we live and breathe and learn to never rely on lungs or love, it is a festival here.
The balloons of hope are learning to fly in this heavier air. Small innocent hands are sculpting something better than hell out of all this fire and light. So much is possible today. Anything can be lived.
Today the empty cold sky looks down with envy at all that should have been unbearable. Today I look down at myself and see something lovable in everything that made my heart crumble once.
Even in my nightmares I had a home, I had the warmth of my own love-yearning heart whose selfish haunting was more powerful than the sorrow of the world itself. Even when the night came and killed the song of every bird. Even when god abandoned my shadow, even as I dreamt the eyes I loved drowning in blood, floating towards my end. I could live, I could still write poems under the light of my pain.
“I had it when I didn’t need it, when I wasn’t ready to face my own needing, cause my feelings for the delicate and genuine seemed hateful to me”,
out of everything that I tried not to know, you are the one most precious to me. Mostly it is because I didn’t really look at you so I have only these regrets to measure what you were.
And my regrets grow heavier with every encounter I have with this world that is filled with people like me. My regrets grow heavier even though I was so well suited, so ready to live and thrive in this real world, where you were destined to fail and wither and lose all that false light your prized.
My regrets grow heavier, the more I realize how much this world needs you and your friends, with your false beautiful ideals sewed on your skins. You would laugh if I told you about the people I meet everyday, people like me who can’t come in terms with the world they have chosen. I face their expecting eyes, I feel their hands searching in me for a glimpse of the world they have burnt. But maybe because it is you, you won’t laugh at it. Maybe you’d cry, cry in our stead, cry for all that we cannot cry for.
When they search for miracles in me I feel like a house with hidden doors and floors with bodies holding goodness lying breathless within. I fear when they find you behind every door- a miracle with your face, an end with your smile- then even these regrets won’t be mine.
So I try to be of use to them all the time hoping that they find the face of kindness only they know of, only they miss, the one only they want back. So that at least our mad hopes, will remain our own till the end. So that we gain nothing but remember everything and that remembering makes our hands, our hearts soft and breakable and beautiful like yours, like everyone else like you who did a world a favor by just existing.
The light – yellow, diffused, and scattered – falls here everyday on the cold marble of my home. It is winter already, which means there must be places on earth now where turning on taps is a useless exercise, where a whole street wakes up early to remove the snow piling up in them, around them, snow continues piling far away from their settlements where there is no need to clear them, where the weight of snow doesn’t suffocate anyone. There must be places now where people are forgetting things one by one. Remembering an unreal ocean of fierce light, forgetting ever being there. How many places have I forgotten already? I move two chairs into the circle of warmth and wait for the evening cold to reach my skin, to end this dream. I stare at the empty chair. I draw myself sitting there, staring, as if I cannot live without an empty space beside me. What was that space once? It was something warm with skin and heart and voice. It was light in human form, it was the most beautiful life. But that empty chair in the sun, has been empty for so long it couldn’t possibly have been me who existed when it was something more than that.
“Does rust affect plastic dreams?” I ask my teacher in my sleep. She takes out an axe and starts cutting down the first mouth filled with wrong answers. Two rows away she wipes her brows and folds her sleeves, she takes another deep breath before she checks the attendance sheet and finds the next dream to kill.
She tells me I should think more and ask more and ask the questions that help me live. She looks at the metal that grows out of my pores and gives me another chance. She says only if I would try to be better than the people I am clinging to, I could grow up to be her. I look away from the blood that flowing down her neck, the parts of her that she intends to kill by holding other’s breath.
“What about my mother’s arms, weak weak exhausted arms? Are those my telling signs? Does that mean I don’t have to worry, that I am just someone next in line? What about you? Do you rust like me? Would the color of my rust, would my weakened heart make me worth protecting, make me deserving of kinder words?
She told me “It will not get you respect or equality, if that’s what you are looking for. It can sure get you love, of some kind, for some time but it is just a matter of time before you see the end that only you can write. And you would end up writing it cause that painful end would be more truer and more yours than any love that you find by compromise.”
As she walks past me, smiling lovingly, as she spares my life, that now she owns. As she dissolves my only way back, I realize too late, that my chaos and my doubts were more hopeful than an answer like this that promises pain to everyone else but me.
As I grew up, whom I hate changed constantly, it changed more frequently than my dream for future roles.
Maybe that’s why I was so particular about what I hate and I did it with fervor for the first few years.
But as time went on that hatred turned into just another silence – my refusal to speak with anyone who I wanted to hate.
And now it has transformed to hating people while I pretend to get along with them. Curling inside with anger at the same jokes that I feel compelled to laugh on.
It is not an easy thing to do but it is still easier than all the alternatives. (The alternatives are my nightmare.)
Because even though my hatred has grown over time, I also find it in me that space to accept people at their ugliest, not loving them, just accepting that they too can live here, be here and do what I hate, and telling myself that I have to be fine with that.
I have come to hate this side of me the most – this cowardice dressed as generosity and understanding, where I do nothing but smile as my blood, my ideals burn and collapse.
Maybe that’s why I have hated myself most, with constant determination, without doubt. This hatred is my only light – my anger at myself, for not doing enough, for taking up fearing my uncertain volatile feelings and views, my own voice, more than I fear this world.