The “sweet escape” is now more expensive
and better hidden in a packaging devoid of bubble wrap
and crumpled newspaper (how does that even work?)
I can no longer remember why it caught my eyes.
But such things normally do, so I don’t question it much.
“Such things” almost always refers
to things that I will always see and be drawn to, but never get near.
And I am not talking about the bare minimum semblance of love,
or the friend who must eat food without me to feel accepted in this world.
Now that is out of the way,
we can all imagine with utmost accuracy and pity
everything that is definitely on this list of mine.
Things I know the price of
because my pockets are empty.
The kind of empty a drop of dew feels
in front of a desert(even the smallest one).
This is not even a smallness fueled by insecurity or class consciousness.
This is the lens of pure objectivity at work,
which I sort of stupidly relied on to cure me, stop me
from showering my attention
to something that challenges my place in world
in the wake of release of a random new replaceable product in market.
which is sort of weird because
I do not know the price of the meal I eat
or the clothes I wear –
I feel them.
So I know better. I really do.
But the billboards that fly over the cities
-abducting cows, and UFOs, and fixed deposits, and basic sanity-
make me want to dial the number to someone, anyone
who can get me a card
that, I am told, can get me every luxury I do not yet deserve.
To my credit, I never dialed that number
simply because wanting something that was designed to be wanted
poking a hole into the balloon of my existence for it
In the list of more stupid things I can now “not want”
are grand expectations of a basic acceptable life, minimum respect,
of love, of family, of wanting a fair chance at a dream,
of food that tastes like food,
and air that doesn’t clog my lungs.
I am told that at a price one can have them all
but to the one who is barely afloat it sure is a stupid thing to want.
He broke my shackles with his blood
and took my hand,
my weightless hand, my almost wings,
and held them in the warm embrace of his own prayer.
As my hands created ripples for my own amusement,
as my hands broke the bread that I would now get to eat,
as I looked at flowers for hours at leisure,
and sang wordless songs without the fear of being heard
It was beautiful and sort of silly – his tears.
He cries at the smallest things
yet is unfazed at the moments that require tears.
Like this farewell, where with a smile
he recites his memorized list of wishes,
he recites the feelings of hope he has for the ones before him.
He looks at me. He looks at us all
and says “you are free. this is now a game without masters.
this is now a world where you are as good,
as deserving of respect
as anyone you stand with or stand against.
you are free. live. live such that
you would need no one to remind you of that.”
As we cried, he told us that
disappearing is what he always meant to do
that wanting his shadow around,
seeking his approval, and following his words
would undo everything he has done in this world.
Yet our tears won’t stop.
We didn’t know if these tears were of desperation,
of relief, of love, of being abandoned,
of being left without directions or heads that could
do the work of seeing and thinking for us,
in return of our submission.
He told us it is sometimes okay not to know.
He said it is okay to hate him
if it helps us to find a way that is our own.
It broke me to hear that because
he spoke as if being okay with being hated for saving
was an essential part of being good.
It was sad that he had to smile when he said it
as if he was not free to cry or complain for something like that.
Or maybe I have not understood freedom yet.
“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.
when i stood
in front of the respected uncaring adults
who could never see me,
beside the fickle-minded fun-seeking friends
who smoked ‘idgaf attitude’ every night,
holding the hands
of the demanding demeaning frightening voice
of the one i wanted to love,
the one i almost loved,
i knew how to smile.
i knew how to let them off the hook.
i knew how to care for all those
who don’t have to care for such things.
and so i make it through another day,
another month, another year,
trying not to break anyone anymore,
trying not to abandon anyone,
making a list of all things that were once beautiful about them,
convinced that this imperfect me deserves only suffocating relationships,
careful not to see hope in any short-lived moment of affection.
There is a lot
I have to ask for.
A lot I have to pray.
Knowing love is not enough
To live a life.
I’d rather ask for respect.
I’d rather ask for understanding.
I’d rather have a heart that adores me.
I’d rather have a heart that feels my pain.
I’d rather ask for friendship.
I’d rather beg for care.
Love is meant to be all this.
But somehow it isn’t.
Tonight I won’t ask for all
That I have lost to love.
Tonight I won’t ask
For a change of heart, a miracle.
For tonight, sleep will be enough.
Is that too much to ask?