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.
There was a lot of burning that day, I remember.
The black skies still cling
to the corner of my eyes.
But I don’t know fire as intimately as you do.
When I flip through your notebooks,
I only find essays made of water.
The color from my nails seep into the page.
They find the most fragile words,
the true and weak words,
words with a faint crack
similar in the shape
to the one that adorns your heart.
My nails, my cheeks become pale
as all my colors flow out of me,
as if by some urgent need,
to bloom over these words, over you,
to aid you in your hiding,
to shield you silently.
as you place the plates on table,
as you serve meals made of fire
in front of my body growing cold.
as you drag your feet
from the threshold of the door,
as you run towards the world,
as you swim back towards me.
Knowing, always knowing
that I also feel the weight of this water on us.
So you smile a bit more
and always rush to me to as if you are the lost child
when you also know the muddled one is only me.
I feel your doubts soften in my embrace
thinking of all that i have been and all that I ever could be,
all that you will ever love and never need.
And in my turn, I summon a smile thinking of what you are,
of the gentleness of your soul, of this genuine heart.
And just like our hands that are never still
trying to mimic and catch up to the heart of the other,
we are forever melting between these roles.
And because it is so,
because even this small me can save you with a smile.
I can love you even when you get wounded in my hold.
I can love you even with a guilty heart.
There are so many things that I wait to see again
and none of them will do my heart any good.
There are mountains and flags and footsteps
all settled into the sleep, lost in this busy blue.
Some call it drowning. Some call it the end of things.
Some wait for it to rise and become the lonely peak once again.
Some like me float my boat on this ocean
all dressed in sad flashy optimism
with my poor eyesight and a grainy foresight
ready to cry.
Some like me wait for the things they fear,
wait for the things that break, that tear.
All beautiful things of past are now buried
under a common grave with no stone, no epitaph.
I can’t tell apart my love from theirs.
My growing years, my diminishing heart,
the roads that I promised never to walk on,
the hands I promised never to leave-
they call it theirs.
They hold it in their arms
whenever after years of aimless floating
their boat gets caught by a shadow
that wants them.
Meanwhile I am afraid of holding back anything
that tries to stop me. Every pull frightens me
that I might love something that is not mine
that I will never know if this happiness is just
my sickness of water, sickness of search and waiting.
I can never look anyone in the eye
in the fear of seeing someone else’s tears,
in the fear of seeing my own corruptibility reflected.
And yet I can’t seem to end this search
for there are so many things I fear I will never feel again
if I end it all here.
Though they happen to be the same things
that I am incapable of believing in ever again.
Ice floats and ships sink
but the absolutes end here.
For this red sun, that seems
to sink together with us all,
is just playing a kind game.
It is will be fine. Just fine.
It will pretend to die
just for our sake.
Just like how it pretends to be born
so that we don’t feel alone.
It doesn’t know yet, that we feel lonely
in spite of that. That there are things in life
that can make us forget, that can cancel
the sunshine and the storms. There are soft things
that gets trodden upon,
there is a kindness that we can’t value as humans
because it doesn’t come from the one we want.
There are things with weight and never leave our heart-
Like love, like death, like subjective harshness of this world.
Like the unnamed thing eating our dreams,
Like the unmanned vehicle of luck running over us-
leaving us alive everytime.
The friend who forgets us so often
that we believe that we are ghosts, the rain of care
that we try to predict in the eyes of cold lover,
the floating bodies that we can’t recognize.
But we cry and in our tears we feel the remains
of the memory that we can’t access.
we only feel we must cry or we will regret.
So dear sun
forgive us if we don’t return your smile
as we thrash around breathless in water,
as we demand answers in a voice weathered by tears.
Forgive us if we forget
that unlike us you will probably die alone.
Things get forgotten
important things like you and the other members
of your life-filled-lifeless club.
That’s just how we are
but we realize it sooner or later what they were.
I can recall the days when i knew you tried to save me.
You almost succeeded. You were beautiful
even when my life was not. But even that helps.
We may not say it that much, but we have written a lot about you
in the papers you’ll never read.
I hope when you die the papers that are filled with your beauty
can burn to give you a few more breaths.
I hope it helps even though it won’t.
An echo, a heartbreak maybe,
something piercing, something invisible,
something not ours-
this is all that we are allowed feel
(as long as we want to feel).
She is everywhere.
She sleeps, buried under the heavy weight
of water and floating globes of life and
drowning boats and oil.
She is everywhere.
Yet her voice outlines every step we take.
Every dying step is a step lost to her name.
Running away is beautiful in this city.
The traces of our writhing, crawling, changing bodies,
painted on every stone, every wall,
doesn’t let us forget the dust of the world
we crushed by our hands,
doesn’t let us forget the word “home”.
All our journeys branch from her heart.
We sit huddled with our feet in water,
with our hands over fires dying out
and talk of her. Always her.
At my core is a sickness-
something hideous and wanting attention,
always wanting attention,
is like a net that catches everything of sea
including me, but there is no one there
on that broken boat of your body, to pull you or me
out of these cold waters.
Outside these cold waters
our dreams are running on pavements of romance.
They run on our feet, they smile with our teeth
but then you fold yourself around me
and in a shivering language remind me
that they don’t have our hearts
and maybe that’s why they have been spared our fate.
The river is finally running dry.
I heard someone rejoicing to hear this.
What is a river without it’s water?
I am told it is money, it is development,
it is more money.
Another colony, dozens of businesses springs up.
There is nothing to be sad anymore.
I walk on the roads trying to trace
the skeleton of what is lost.
Now, I know the names of few more rivers
that are nowhere to be seen on maps.
The numbers of such ghost keep increasing.
There is a language that no one cares for.
There is a city that forces everyone to leave.
There are words that don’t sound fancy anymore.
There is an accent that needs to be exorcised from tongues-
the identity of what we are is a secret,
something we can be killed for.
But it is the season, the world
where rivers dry out beautifully,
where aches turn into anger, into revenge,
into art, into denials,
into search for something new.
But rarely does it turns into tears.
How is it we have so much to lose,
so much that is already lost
and yet have so little to grieve about.
Are they finally drowning?
The sails, the flags, the songs
the party, and the expensive backless silks.
The rings and guns and blood shining.
They are finally coming for us.
We will again have someone’s face in front of us
at least for a while
and we will sing songs
that they have no choice but to listen to.
The cries and shrieks and the stories
that we had saved in us will not go waste.
They have not yet seen us
feets and feets below them
but somethings take time.
The water will fill them
but they will never grasp
the slow violence and its finality.
They will look above at the lost sky,
they will not know what they are looking for
as the concepts of hope and god and saving
becomes grayer in their head.
They will keep struggling
feeling all promises becoming breathless in them
and they will miss the point of saying goodbye.
We always do.
Darling, they are coming
our children, our neighbors, our dear strangers,
our ministers, our wood, our sky, our eyes,
our new memories.
Now we can die together and actually die
and not be haunting blue in this green ocean.
I missed living dear
but I missed them more –
everyone, everything taken away from us.
We have waited patiently, wishing them life.
We have prayed for them to stay away from wherever we are.
But now they are coming
and I cannot help but selfishly smile
at seeing everything coming back to us.
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.