I would be busy scanning the shelves,
my hands clutching
a carelessly torn paper
that mentions in your clear writing
all that is essential
to nurture tiny special things
like childish loves and high-flying songs.
I would walk down the aisle
to the music of wedding march,
to the noise of tiny wheels ready to dismantle,
unable to find anything to save anyone.
The remedies for a body
that has known the laws of gravity too closely,
the bottles that can hold happiness gifted by visiting dreams,
the stickers of cracks to be pasted on the dams holding us back-
they are no longer sold here.
Like a typical maid running out of a ball,
with no prince, no magic, no new fate tailing her shadow
with my back adorned by lights of structures
that now only sell numbness
and the promise of easy breaking down,
I face the streets that are oblivious to their own dissolving.
I face your absence once more
to remind myself why nothing works anymore.
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.
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 walls gave birth to new ghosts
and the chill in our lungs
grew as a garden of hyacinth.
Whatever remained of our suns
was now dying with us.
“Give in to the end with grace”
said a detached cold voice on screen.
So in my remaining breaths
I tried to write something wise about life
but somehow it all came back
to those few names
repeated again and again,
it somehow came back to not wanting to die.
I looked at her across the room
as she ran her fingers through the spread of cards
with a smile that still brushed against my heart
like a butterfly with one wing of metal
and other made of light.
It doesn’t make sense that this all has to end.
Someone out there in the snow
continued to sing about heartbreaks
and the glory of this release
and yet what wouldn’t I give
only to feel another despair of love
if that is how she could live a little more in me.
I light lamps, sow seeds of lighthouses
in gratitude for this weak flesh
that can build itself anew, in spite of the nights
when all the warmth in the world evades it.
I chant the names that don’t belong on my lips
with boundless grace and bitterness and longing
and not die from the memory of having lived.
I sit content and complete
knowing my breaking cannot forever stay in me.
I smile with relief,
knowing nothing would hurt as it should, as it does.
I write another poem of love,
knowing nothing I love will be loved well enough.
I look back at our old odd selves and find the heart to smile
knowing that the list of “beasts and wonders extinct” – only grows longer.
the bird of possibility, decorated with arrows,
sits on our broken shoulders
and asks us what we see there
there – where we are not
something fragile still sleeps in us
our hands reach out to always find a sure warmth
something made of feathers hugs us back
a gentle sun kisses our wearied eyelids
and yet the dream doesn’t dissolve in your hand
i dreamt of you today.
today i was a lost child
digging through the mist
with my fragile bleeding lonely fingers
for the name of the one i love,
the one i didn’t get to love enough. this name,
seated in the golden shrine of autumns, was nothing like
the name i remembered. the rust was eating away its mass,
the reality was tinkering with its gravity. holding it now,
felt very close to embracing an illusion.
light and time pass right through it
as if they are illuminating and revering
that never was.
i am starting to forget, i realize.
The stones are in full bloom this morning
the heavy branches, my heavy arms,
this remaining bark hiding my old skin
invites new birds to make few homes in me.
The rivers born in the last frozen quarter of calendar
they fall, like leaves,
like pieces of heaven – the shrunken oranges
greeting the tarred roads as the old anxieties
swim to my surface, to greet me with a forgotten word.
My body gets to know ground in new ways.
My blood gets to know another skin.
The arm of a stranger, an unwanted breeze
holds me hostage and tells me to flower gently for once.
My skin gets to know rain in new ways.
Maybe tomorrow I could be born
without the morning storm of sadness.
There is always a tomorrow to try again.
All the stories and songs and
in this part of land, at this end of life – they are all about
the boat and its wood, about the shine of its old surface,
the sound of water it carries even as it sits on the dry
dying land, burning for hours and hours.
Hours not measured in the cups of water nor in the shadows
that refuse to fall in spite of all the light,
but hours measured by the cries of gull, the number of sails torn,
the diminishing weight of the men,
and the the silent wrath of all the glorious water.
We ‘the ones rooted to the shores’,
we sing from the shade of generous trees
to ‘the ones who only knew the abundance
of salt and wounds and undying dreams’,
trying to understand their alien love.
We sing of them and their hateful dreams,
of the tears they forced us to swallow because
they couldn’t love us if we wanted to be their shackles,
we narrate these unchanging facts every morning,
we dig a new grave for the same person again and again,
with each hole in earth as empty as the other.
The monsters brought their shadows
as they climbed into my bed
and I gave them stories
that promised to make them human again.
I had talked them into the idea
of change and love and the broken petal
that became a flower overnight
in the embrace of a care so fierce it
that nothing in the world could stay broken
once they knew its warmth;
just liked they talked me into
the ideas of strength and hiding and the stones
that teach the skin of blood, bruise and eventually a strength
so stubborn that it can never be separated
from our bodies, our sorrows, and our will to fight.
But many hours and a sleep and a love later
we still found ourselves staring at the
broken windows of hope,
and the stone of disappointments
melting in the morning light like snow.
Each half of our heart now wouldn’t stop crying
and begging for the other half to change.
Every part of us was now contending with each other
on the monopoly of truth, the right way to love,
and the safe ways to die. Our surety of self was evaporating
faster than ever. We were being broken from inside,
scattered for good, while our skins now knew the same battles
of keep up a form, keeping our reality hidden.
But now we could at least now sit in a room
and look each other in eye and smile,
knowing we could never be separate from each other.
Knowing there is no hell or heaven we would go to alone,
no forgiveness only granted to one.
There was no sin or or grace in this kingdom of cries,
there is no beautiful escape from this knowledge of life.
The frame of winter breaks
the snow drips, flows, and climbs
like a relentless silver creeper,
like a god finally on its way
to end the reign and terror of heaven.
Our eyes stare, amazed at the cold white spiders
running across the face of the sky;
the music and the metal dissolving the distant names,
dissolving the knives we decorated our heart with.
We could all feel an equal summer light
embracing our backs silently.