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.
the trees sway behind me
they tower and droop and die
above the cold parked cars.
i hear the sounds
that i couldn’t till last night
it is music to my ears
and “warnings of ruin” to my mind.
the green monster, the metal carriage,
and their lonely helpless master
face the direction of ocean.
if we were bigger,
if everything before us could melt,
if i could understand distances,
if i could drive
we could have met a love by that ocean,
we could have called ourselves friends
in that molten world,
i could have told them about the human dread of dying,
we could have laughed over it,
and the tree would have held me and my broken and beaten car
in its motherly gaze
and we wouldn’t worry whether this happiness
could heal us or not.
Fog swims over my study table.
The glasses grow cold and old
Again I forget to drink the medicine,
the milk, the love that fills my phone.
Like I forgot to get vaccinated,
to close the door, to wear something warm
even after being reminded
how easy it is to die.
Someone is waiting for me
to say the words I do not mean.
But they love me
so I try not to hate them for that.
I sink back into my chair.
I sink somewhere in the fog.
I try not to struggle too much.
I try to live with all my heart
but it is so difficult.
to accept, ingest anything.
to forget that I am drowning.
every time i found love
i felt as if all my tears have been forgotten.
but forgetting is not erasing.
it seems i cannot let go of anything that easily.
these joys can only shield me
from what I have suffered for a moment
while my soul is a lonely beautiful night,
a backdrop for my sadness to dance.
my sadness is the only part of me
that remembers the best part of my life.
my sadness is the only part of me
that will remember the best parts of you.
love it well.
Now that we are an year apart.
Now that everyone has been talking about
new beginnings and second chances,
I let myself be myself,
let myself be swayed
at the hope, at the thought of the ONE.
But being myself
also means to be keep my heart broken.
It means to leave every crowded room
to find the corridors where I can be finally alone
with the mistakes I am about to make.
I hold someone who could have been you but is not.
I cry the same tears that once made you pity me.
I jot down a name and a number
and a weakness, a need
where I could fit myself into.
And as I lay in bed
I feel something sad and beautiful in my heart-
an end that I am creating for myself.
This is how love has always been for me,
so I let it be and smile
as I kiss another stranger
who won’t be able to save me from anything.