when something of this world
rushes past you
and you are nothing else for that moment
but the afterimage of what has gone by,
something that definitely was
unlike your own self
that never appears but only haunts.
I don’t know how people cope
with that overwhelming storm
the worlds that you can morph into
and all the things
that maybe you always were.
When you become a floating hat and its silent river,
when you become the knob of the radio,
the glass feeling the air before the snow,
the shredded corners of a letter that weeps,
the loudspeaker at the corner of the road
with its abundance of sound and silence,
the sundress peeled away,
the flow of time and fate.
I don’t know what to make of this.
I sit on tables filled with people
who know a thing or two about life
and they talk
as if they have always been their skin,
as if no one can be anything else
So I become the table feeling the soft elbows
pushing down some loneliness with its weight.
I become the napkin held in a fist.
I am now the sky looking down at me
and now the child that I lost long ago.
I am breaking and being taken over
by all the beautiful lonely things.
I feel I was probably made for this.
There are so many things that I wait to see again
and none of them will do my heart any good.
There are mountains and flags and footsteps
all settled into the sleep, lost in this busy blue.
Some call it drowning. Some call it the end of things.
Some wait for it to rise and become the lonely peak once again.
Some like me float my boat on this ocean
all dressed in sad flashy optimism
with my poor eyesight and a grainy foresight
ready to cry.
Some like me wait for the things they fear,
wait for the things that break, that tear.
All beautiful things of past are now buried
under a common grave with no stone, no epitaph.
I can’t tell apart my love from theirs.
My growing years, my diminishing heart,
the roads that I promised never to walk on,
the hands I promised never to leave-
they call it theirs.
They hold it in their arms
whenever after years of aimless floating
their boat gets caught by a shadow
that wants them.
Meanwhile I am afraid of holding back anything
that tries to stop me. Every pull frightens me
that I might love something that is not mine
that I will never know if this happiness is just
my sickness of water, sickness of search and waiting.
I can never look anyone in the eye
in the fear of seeing someone else’s tears,
in the fear of seeing my own corruptibility reflected.
And yet I can’t seem to end this search
for there are so many things I fear I will never feel again
if I end it all here.
Though they happen to be the same things
that I am incapable of believing in ever again.
Ice floats and ships sink
but the absolutes end here.
For this red sun, that seems
to sink together with us all,
is just playing a kind game.
It is will be fine. Just fine.
It will pretend to die
just for our sake.
Just like how it pretends to be born
so that we don’t feel alone.
It doesn’t know yet, that we feel lonely
in spite of that. That there are things in life
that can make us forget, that can cancel
the sunshine and the storms. There are soft things
that gets trodden upon,
there is a kindness that we can’t value as humans
because it doesn’t come from the one we want.
There are things with weight and never leave our heart-
Like love, like death, like subjective harshness of this world.
Like the unnamed thing eating our dreams,
Like the unmanned vehicle of luck running over us-
leaving us alive everytime.
The friend who forgets us so often
that we believe that we are ghosts, the rain of care
that we try to predict in the eyes of cold lover,
the floating bodies that we can’t recognize.
But we cry and in our tears we feel the remains
of the memory that we can’t access.
we only feel we must cry or we will regret.
So dear sun
forgive us if we don’t return your smile
as we thrash around breathless in water,
as we demand answers in a voice weathered by tears.
Forgive us if we forget
that unlike us you will probably die alone.
Things get forgotten
important things like you and the other members
of your life-filled-lifeless club.
That’s just how we are
but we realize it sooner or later what they were.
I can recall the days when i knew you tried to save me.
You almost succeeded. You were beautiful
even when my life was not. But even that helps.
We may not say it that much, but we have written a lot about you
in the papers you’ll never read.
I hope when you die the papers that are filled with your beauty
can burn to give you a few more breaths.
I hope it helps even though it won’t.
“the star you are looking at, that almost has your heart
is already dead long before
and even if you pray for her
it will reach her too late.
that is the nature of distances
that exists between us and them.
our prayers don’t matter
they will never get to hear it.
we can only stand here in this lonely grassland
and romanticize death.”
“or” he said, “we can send a prayer anyway
and hope that by the time it reaches there
something new is born out of all that is dead.
maybe when that young seed of something,
that will be made out of glowing organs of forgone star,
will hear us and pray
for the dying world of someone else.
maybe it will hear us and send us back something
a thought, a smile, a romanticized want to reach further-
to the sender of this futile love.”
On a staircase of stars
I sit with a cold drink clenched within my shivering hand
and nod back to the goodbye of another stranger.
I don’t remember him
but I know the lies I might have told him about me,
and the truth that he might have got to know eventually.
“What do you think? What would he remember me for?”, I say,
“But anyway someone knows me,
is this enough to prove that I am present in my life”.
“Is it lonely there?”, someone asks from within me.
I think it is probably you.
And because it is you, I need not answer.
I don’t want to seek you in the skies.
So I sit staring at the world that starts across the street,
where I pretend you are. Where I pretend you will always be now.
I sit outside a palace of brokenness that is not mine.
My sorrows are not so glorious.
It all belongs to a guy who will soon be my friend of some sort.
Unlike me he is happy now,
but he cannot bring to dismatle this grandest part of his life.
He wants a sad lover in front of the corpse of his love. Even if it can’t be him.
In the silence of his beautiful grave,
everyone gathered again and listened to the poem that no longer moves his heart
and we cried in his place.
It was a poem on tides and moons,
on something no one wanted to call love
but something they still couldn’t stop talking about.
It was something like thinking about you.
It was something like being asked “is it lonely there?” by your ghost.
It was like wanting to answer “does it even matter to you?”
It was like wanting to answer “It is a pain you won’t have to ever know.”
It is not that I love the cold doors of strangers
nor do I want answers to the obvious, uncomfortable questions.
I am restless because everyone else is calm.
If only they would fret a bit, look puzzled,
cry for unknown reasons once in a while,
if only they also had the same questions that I do
or at least admitted feeling the same way
just to keep my heart,
then probably I wouldn’t feel so shabby and so incompetent
when I stood cluelessly in my life,
trying to act as if I know what I am doing.
When all I am doing is
watching things crumble and break.
When all I am doing is holding in my tears
waiting for someone to cry first.
I have seen snails and snakes
from a distance of two feet.
They were scary and I was scared.
Even when they vanished, I remained scared.
I remained scared
of everything that stood two feet away from me,
asking me, “Now what?”,
“Is it now, that you run and not look back?”
I have seen friendship
from the distance of words
I could never type.
I sent them new year,
friendship day, diwali,
doomsday celebration greetings
but I never sent them my heart.
They too figured with time
that they could live without me,
without this heart of mine
they have only heard about.
When I see them smile for me
across the street
that we both won’t cross
I wonder if I should smile back
and extend this period of pain, this pretense
or should I see through them,
to set them free
or should I walk closer, to fill their heart
with the horrid images of the real me,
to let them see the dying me,
to let them see the things they can’t do anything about.
Would they love me for real if I did that
or would they look me from the distance of two feet
as I ask “Now what?”
“Is it now, that you run and not look back?”
I am not lonely.
I am just fond of imagining you.
I prick my heart with the thought of you
and it bleeds ,
but only a bit.
Enough to show that it is alive.
Enough to tell me to go on.
It beats for you
and bleeds for me.
That is how fair my love is.
And this is why you’ll always win.
At a bus stand in front of mall (that I have never been to)
I learnt how to wait and how to live with disappointments
without making a big deal of it.
In the bracket of an hour, I grew smaller than I ever thought I could be.
“this is what love does to you, this is what love does to all of us”, all the voices in me lied.
I was again weary of the love that I had chosen and the person I had trusted
(“again” – the word that showed me the real reason why it would never work out).
I stood beside strangers on the crowded bus stand, awkwardly crying.
I counted these not-so-scary strangers who were trying to become one skin.
I pretended that I hated to be rained on as much as they did.
I pretended that I didn’t mind their warmth, that my suspicious mind was not at work again.
Hours went by, empty roads faithfully stayed empty.
I became more aware of the boundaries of my body
I became aware of the person who would never come looking for me,
who would look at the three hour long rain and still won’t wonder what happened to me.
We all stood there,
pretending to be the only human
in the group of zombies who had taken over a bus stand out of boredom,
who stared at the wide road, the darkness beyond, and the emptiness behind
as if their eyes were made to witness only this moment.
I closed my eyes and hummed something, anything
that could drown the presence of everyone
who knew the sound of my breaking heart now.
At a bus stand, that could protect no one,
we all dreamt of the worst- of the submerged road,
a rain that will never stop, the cold that would take us down for days,
children forever waiting, of the lightning we could hear but not see
of a love painlessly ending and a heart that shamelessly survived.
Yours is the name I take with
everything that feels like fate
but it isn’t.
I have walked towards you
every time I saw your face.
I have cursed my feet and my heart
when you left me again.
I can’t feel wronged,
because you won’t let me.
You have a way with my heart.
You know the hurt I cannot give you back.
I live in a lonely place
that looks a lot like your heart,
but only better.
the happiness you won’t give me
is for my taking.
I see you pining for my smile.
In my sleep
I matter to you as much as you do to me.
Only in my dreams.
Only in my delusions
exists the reason-
why it must be you.