Full stops as Hurricanes.

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Fashion me,
and this crisis.

the guy in front
spills coffee on his shirt
and he sighs in frustration,
I laugh
blushing in acknowledgment.

we sit side by side
in the parlor
2 hours and we leave
he sighs off again
his hair an ugly mess.

we have sat down for coffee again
but my lips desire something completely else

signing off
he holds my hand again
like in the bookstore
in an empty aisle.

he left about 4 days back
and probably thought that I died
but I am alive. Very much.
Only wondering if he too was just
another reflection of a man.
I saw, six years back.
Hatred, the same.
In both their eyes.
Pitch black, their stone cold hearts.

Artwork by Manjit Thapp.

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Garden.

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Now
I steal facts
from your history
As if they were secrets at a factory.

And annoy the gardener
at your father’s house
every time the machines rumbled,
Moaned, or cried.

Now again
When the leaves have fallen
and sprung again
In spring.

I can feel them
just the same way
I felt your soft breath on my neck,
the last time we kissed/ made love.

Only this time
the opportunities are low
and I have allowed this transition
from touch to just the wind that touches my skin.

What do I know of love,
after all?
Except that you, my love
are the flower that takes the longest to bloom.

O heart, smile or cry, but never shatter.

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Today seems like just another rainy day, sometime in the month of July. When my house used to be enchanted with the smell of dahlia and jasmine, with a scent so strong that I can still smell them in my Mumbai flat, where the seasons change just as fast as the person living in the slum right outside my flat and not a single flower has grown over the past 6 months of me moving in.

Mother hated the fact that I loved gardening and the fact that I liked dancing in the rain like a girl. But it was always very instinctive to me as if my hands had always known the art to birthing these beautiful flowers or as if my feet sprung to the act of dancing all on their own when they heard the rain drops falling on the cemented road we had outside the house.
It rains here too, and I can still hear the raindrops; I dance too, but very rarely.

It has rained the entire day today but it doesn’t sing for me anymore. It never did after I moved out of my grandmother’s house, I wonder if it sings for the house anymore. Its rubble now, I hear and I fear the house withdrew into silence long ago. Maybe even before I first moved in. Among books and birds, I grew into a house that shone every night with the moon and the stars and woke up even before my grandmother. How often do I wish to go back, maybe just for the air that must have frozen at its place, or to peep right through the windows with those thick steel railings? Maybe too often.

And if nothing, maybe in the wild despair I can still smell the rain on the thick grass that must have grown, right across the bedroom I shared with my grandmother and sister. But oh my darling, do you really believe in any of this? Can you really believe that I lived in such a house, Can you believe that I loved this rubble once?

“In the quiet, the children could hear everything that the house had to say. Even when it was perfectly quiet for everyone else. They heard stories of their grandparents moving in and of their own first steps. The house would giggle too with the children that played within.  And the children were proud, and the house ever so loving.”

But today when it rains, I have no memories of my childhood, or of the urge to dance in the rain anymore. I desire sitting by the window in my desolate flat and stare outside. I desire to be locked in and never let out. I desire nothing but you, not even the momentous pleasure sex brings with itself. And I know I ask for a little too much but trust me I’ve always been like this.

You, my lover, are a cruel irony to my love, akin to wild things that decide their own fate, like the dead leaves that float in the air, in a forest away from anyone’s gaze; you recognize me but care not. And I stand beneath the gaze of onlookers, the moon, and stars that are forever young and old, and have loved many who died in their presence. Memories cuddle and run away, these memories who are souvenirs of our love. And the moon and the stars, rule over my endurance, leave me to die: my longing lost, recognized but flown away by the wind.
You remain in the air.

“O heart, smile or cry, but never shatter.
Endure the agonizing pain of memories,
and survive.”

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Justification.

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I can categorically list the number of times you have been misused, unheard and trivialized. And as much as I might write about you, you are not a metaphorical representation of the moon or the sun, and my pen doesn’t help. You are real flesh and bones, and the real you craves for coffee on Sunday summer mornings and likes sitting alone sometimes. You too crave for sex, with people whom you have just met and you also forgot my birthday once. You are not perfect, of course, you are not perfect, but you are not a gross indecency either. You are truly and finally someone I can love and my love demands to be written down on the most beautiful sheets of paper I own. My love demands to be handwritten on postcards that I have collected over the years for this moment and sent over the distances. But you see my love is also a little selfish and narcissistic, and since we are not in a brilliant and beautiful relationship, you are just another story I can tell myself before going to bed. One of those stories that demand to be told again and again.

Artwork by Manjit Thapp.

Dates.

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You and I,
We,
are here to look
and celebrate all eternity
in this deafening silence by the sea.

Sometimes we laugh,
and sometimes we cry,
after a momentous celebration
of us making love and of these short odd
Dates.

And when you and I are not close together,
We remember these days and moments
and know that life was always so well
that even the moon smiled as it saw the stars
Falling down.

 

Artwork by Manjit Thapp.

These days.

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There is a very peculiar reason why some of us choose certain words over others, ‘it matters’- and so you run past the world, searching, until you find it, or not. You sit down on the couch and inevitably sleep, it’s a weird sensation, almost like a needle sticking to your sensitive skin, ‘it moves’ and hurts. You still haven’t found the right word. When you wake up, you only have 18 minutes to find the right word, before Kit barges through the door, your editor, looking for just that right letter, essay, article, poem, story or you. But this is the story of just one of these days, when you lie down on your own couch searching for words, before finding a new place to find words in, maybe tomorrow, or the day after. Writing is hard these days, let alone the rest of your life.