The fishes peep at me
through the pink sewer grates,
the filth and dirt and greed of city
eating their eyes,
the loneliness scratching at their fins.
I look at them
as if they are a painting
hung on an illuminated wall –
the last standing wall.
The vapors of dissipated life, dissolved flesh
spread all around it – the waste of everyday life
the waste of silent war.
But it lasts only a moment
my gift of vision, my ability to detach
only lasts so long.
The hunger in my bones, once again,
makes me look away.
I get up and walk.
I move my feet to the beat of the song
being spun in my corrupted mind
I am tempted to increase the volume
to find a pitch that resonates with the air here.
The point where everything bleeds and nothing heals
what will happen to me there,
what will happen to all of us I wonder.
But I have walked these roads before
I now know more than anything
that I only yearn to live.
Slowly, I have learned to protect my ailing tissues.
I have learned to gaze lovingly at my broken mind.
So, I press pause.
I continue to persevere.
It takes an eternity.
It takes the courage of fighting
thousand bloodless wars.
It takes the the cruelty
of scratching through my own wounded skin,
breaking my own ribs that were made to protect
the soft things that keeps me alive.
It takes stupidity and few seconds
for my fingers to reach your lips.
You look up. Your gaze says something
that I do not understand.
Such beautiful hopes and possible disasters
come alive in your face.
My fear comes to the surface of my eyes
swimming in the black oil
glistening and waiting to burn.
“Long time ago” is a dangerous neighborhood.
All its season are holograms of perfect world,
the illusions of rain and snow and sun,
the illusion of hearts still beating under the non-existent skin.
The technician of this a weary magic
lives beside the empty park in the middle of my heart.
He knows the perfect days to make me cry, to make me see.
He invents new people, new details.
Sometime these are fake stand-ins for the what he has lost
in his war against me, all that I intend to forget.
Sometime they are what I failed to realize,
people I didn’t get to love.
Most days I can’t tell the difference
between the words I have forgotten
and the ones I will never hear
has post offices with stamps of words I no longer mean
stuck on its wall.
There cars and houses and roads and rivers
owned by people who will never die.
They all gather on my birthday
in the cemetery of one grave.
They sit on the endless green grass with their picnic baskets,
with the kids I will never have, with the pets I will never keep
and look into the eyes that will never look at me.
They smile knowing something I will never know.
In the rubble with nerves hiding sparks,
in the nest of sleeping explosives,
again it is you.
Again you are here to prove something
by doing something unasked for.
You build a place for warm tea,
for all our shivering ghosts to haunt.
You place the chairs that are not chairs
but buckets that cannot hold anything now.
There are chairs that are lying around just fine
but you don’t want them.
You don’t want the old purposes eating away
the beauty of all that is left behind.
You console the ones holding onto what is no longer there
but you don’t want the ones who want a way back to what it was.
You ask us questions with your bleeding lips
you want us to answer with something real,
not just words.
“You are cruel”,
you laugh when we say that.
You make us leave everything we are
just so that we can finally sit on empty buckets
thinking about the hands we cannot hold,
thinking about hands that are no longer hands.
“The city is no longer burning”, you tell us
as we place our empty glasses in front of our empty eyes
and tell us it is fine if we don’t believe it now.
“Sleep. Dream and stay for a while with the molten and bombed,
the lost and the dead that still have your heart.
Take your time.”
As we lay awake in our heart-wrenching grief,
as we lose ourselves to your favorite world of sleep,
you stand beside the fire
that keeps us alive.
You stand beside the fire
that is not actually fire
but your heart
that burns like sun.
We wanted to tell you, “You are kind.
You are too beautiful for this world.
Have our heart and burn it instead.”
But we couldn’t .
We knew these things were easy only in words,
that these were things we couldn’t do, yet.
That we have not smiled and laughed with bleeding lips,
helping while being hated.
That we were too selfish to be you.
the i cannot see you
without this night,
for you are not my sun
but only it’s reminder.
i can be the person you love
only as long as you love be back,
as long as my heart wants to forget the past
and the owner of my heart.
in your glory
i always fall short.
i yearn to love someone like me,
someone who plans the escape route
while uttering the words
of half-hearted embellished confession.
i don’t want to be healed
my scars are my name
that i fear to lose
as much as i fear losing you
as much as you want me
you should learn to hate me more
your benefit of doubt is wasted on me
as is your love.
i have so many reasons
and so many feelings
that are at war with each other-
a war that i wish you’d win somehow.
i do love you
in some conditional yet selfless way,
there is a sincerity in my love-
a sincerity that won’t do your heart any good.
They forgot to teach me
the most basic thing-
to know which side I should take
to keep a check on papers, to see sense
when someone tells me what is politically right
and to agree when they tell me that identity is everything
not only mine, but of all those who live on same piece of land as me.
They forgot to tell me to fight and argue
in the name of and for the sake of people
who didn’t care about the fight,
who were fine living the way they did.
I ended up believing
that I could just exist without belonging to any shore
and maybe make my own
and pray that no one joins me
and turn my life into something to live by.
How could they have overlooked this ,
didn’t they foresee how I would sit awkwardly
midst strangers and have nothing to say
about how the world was run.
Would they consider me silly,
would they think that I am shallow
if I was thinking about the fictional character from a story
and his conflicts?
Would they judge me if the story in question was not about
wars, rivalry or mid-life crisis
but one of romantic ones with cheesy lines
that everyone seems to detest?
They should have told me to memorize lines from papers
and opinion columns
and pass it as my own,
when I was not interested to form opinions
on topics that seemed to be of grave importance to others.
I should know better than to write poems on love and sadness
when people are dying around me.
But I don’t.
I think I may have been brought up the wrong way
and there is nothing I can do about it now.
But I am not even sure whether
I want to fix the things
that I asked to feel ashamed of.