At the right turn
I faced another street
where someone I know once lived.
For all I know, their present
might still look like my ‘once ago’.
From where I stand and where I see
is their “what a nightmare,
thank god it is not true/thank god it is not me.“
Maybe with their shocked and sorrowful faces
they will ask me this
“Tell me it is not true.“
and I will probably tell them exactly that
because I do not want them to think
“thank god is it not me“
or “god has been kind to me. god loves me more.“
Because maybe then, in that moment,
I may hate my lovely friend and my lovely god,
and the lovely lives that I am not part of.
So I take another turn,
seeking other roads-
roads where the ones I knows,
the ones with question
do not have to look at me.
And I do not have to see my tragedy, my loneliness
paint them as villain
when they are not,
when maybe they are the only ones that care.
On most days
I desperately want to believe
that everyone else are humans,
just like me.
I write it down in cursive,
under the shadow of my incomprehensible muttering-
“they are not as bad as they seem.
you are not as bad as you think.”
I wrote it again and again
knowing I would never believe it anyway.
But I continued to write these lies
because I still wanted to make an effort.
Because I hated everything I could see, the reality that shouldn’t be,
things that needn’t be this bad,
this life where lies were the happiest part.
It hurts a bit more naturally
and less violently,
now that betrayal has a range,
has not one but many faces.
Now I need not figure what I did wrong.
All the boxes are checked:
family, family, friends, not friends,
people who marked my skin with their name
to own me
while i slept in their arms
(another golden cup added to collection of people hard to get,
people who won’t die if thrown away or left alone)
loves whom i am tied to,
the ones who demand smile and sometimes a bit more,
always a bit more.
They know the feel of my hand and love how it heals.
They hold my hand in their sleep
in their nightmares, in the storms of passion
that they need a person to aim at.
They break my wrist
in my nighmares, in my awareness of my fruitless love.
When I am at verge of crying,
they tell me to not give them a hard time
and to act like the refuge that I am supposed to be.
So I tell them “I love you”
and this lie hurts a little less everyday
as my heart becomes the stone pedestal
all my loves stand on.
The dead world lives through her.
Her escape is a door left open
for the violence to spread,
or so she always believed.
When she saw someone who reminded her of love,
saw that the fragile bird of happiness
would choose sit by her window and wait for her to sing back,
when all that could make her feel safe and somehow better
smiled at her and asked her name.
She would remember how from her skin and her mind
grew trees of fear every night.
The flood that has left her land
loomed above this forest.
Anytime the cloud would burst,
the past would burst through her smile,
and all would be lost.
Today, tomorrow, day after,
on an afternoon when she would forget about it all,
on a beautiful day like that
she knows she will find sorrow again.
So she stays quiet and writes a softer tragedy
of a girl who could never tell her name
to anyone who chose her hoping for happiness.
as i get inside the crowded bus,
a phone rings.
a ringtone just like yours.
has the world shrunk to the size
of the tragedy we created,
that i find you like this?
i know it is not you,
but it could be.
so i do not turn back.
it could be you,
so i try not to cry.
this is not where
walking away or breaking clean
should lead to.
at least not back to you.
at least not like this.
not on the day i finally felt
that i could move toward a new happiness.
why did you come back?
to tell me how i am not worthy of anything good?
to tell me no one can love something like me?
to tell me how thinking is unhealthy for love like ours?
to check if my skin remembers your anger?
to tell me to speak softly, to submit to your wishes
if i wish to be forgiven for your mistakes?
why did you come back,
when you don’t even want me?
I walking around this planet
talking about survival
as if I actually lived to survive.
There are many who do
but they are not the ones who are filling the world
with papers filled reeking of envy and tears.
The ones who are really desperate,
who really fear extinction-
disappear as they fear
without leaving a trace of the hurt
that had so engulfed them.
I think I have it better.
I know I have it easy.
My pain though has become my life long mission
it only drinks me up sip by sip,
never finishing me in one gulp
but to leave me alive and thriving in the illusion
that the only one suffering in the world is me.
If it does nothing else
at least it feeds my ego
to think of myself as some lost cause
and I think if it was not for this belief
in my great suffering,
I might have seen my life for what it has always been.
Realizing the reality of my life would have been greater tragedy for sure
and maybe that’s why I held on so tightly
to the illusion that I was already in one.
I cannot digest
all that I read and find to be true.
Some portion of every beautiful art
hurts my heart.
All the tragedies and even forgettable bruises
could have been a play set under crimson bloodied skies
but they are not.
They happen in spaces that looks like the one
we might have passed through unknowingly.
They happen under the smiling sun
who are supposed to read depressing statistics in magazines
and tell themselves that they are fine as long as
they are lucky by comparison.
The street is lined with houses
that have forgotten how to breathe anything
There are broken windows
through which I see hopeful eyes staring and crying
trapped in homes that
reek of wait that yields more wait.
The street is lined with trees that never grew.
The roads cling to the snow that never melts.
We all have learned how to go deaf to cries of help
(that’s what growing up means?)
and walk home to our own tragedies-
some we suffer, some we create
and some we never stop.
How unaware we are
of the dreaded future,
how close it lurks.
And how our tragedies
step over out footsteps
that we left behind
when we tried to flee it.
How in the most unsuspicious moment
it will grab us, till we know of nothing but pain.
How beautiful is each minute
in which I evade the pain
that I deserve.
Struggle isn’t tragedy. It is necessary to say this because too often the former is conflated with the latter.
– “On Impractical Urges” by Ayana Mathis