Man from the Past

You've come back from the past, haven't ya?
Rather, come forward in time, if I may.
For me.
Because you seem so familiar 

Like a neat culmination of all my unrequited loves.
Everything that I've lost, back in time,
I've found in you
The very exact qualities

How can that even be
An irony of that magnitude
Whoever said, time travel wasn't possible
Particularly in matters of love

And time is just a coordinate of continuum 
The fourth axis. 
Just like x, y and zee
Time is malleable and ductile

We can clap our hands
And move forth and back in time
As we wished
2007, here I come, 2021, here I am.

Now, finally that you're here
Regret not that you are late
Possibly by a decade, if not less
Be elated, that you've found me now, better late than never 

Now, we have the wind in our hair
Music in our ears
A funny sway in our gaits
As we walk down unknown alleys, 
We have an entire evening to create memories, that couldn't be



Crushed Paper

People think writing defines me. More or less. That I shall get away with life by writing. Prose poetry. About lost loves. And about the general vagaries of life. It's true, to an extent. Sort of a half truth.

Half only because I have repeatedly proved to myself that I lack the stamina for it. 

Nevertheless, when I open old closets I find neatly wrapped still unopened gifts. With notepads of hand made paper. With ornate bookmarks. The ones that have gifted them expect me to fill in their pages with an equally classy ink pen or so. Poems, may be. Some notepads have ruled pages, some are completely blank. Some have plain white rugged paper, some have fine lines and an egg shelly hue to them. Some look like straightened out crushed paper. 

People have been to places and collected such notepads as memorabilia from said places for me. I sometimes want to understand what must have been going on in their minds when they picked up these gifts for me. It's not that I have wanted earrings. But still. People come into my life and leave similarly. But they leave these notepads behind. Good old friends, college mates, admirers, paramours, if I may. 

If I went out now, looking for them all, I am pretty sure the world would have gobbled them up and in their chosen obscurity, I wouldn't find them. But a pinch of them, stays locked in those neatly wrapped gifts. Their odor intact between the sheets.

For Nina Simone. Happy Birthday. High Priestess of the Soul. 

Day-to-Day

I still think of life
As a multiple of days

I never think of,
Say, a week, a month,
A year, or a decade
Say

All I think of
Is the fuckin' day

In the morning
I pray that it be a good day
That we be saved from misfortune

At night, I pray
That we get good sleep
That we are alive and safe
When we open our eyes.

Isn't that enough?
Thinking of life
On a day-to-day basis
Sometimes, I count hours too

A day is the smallest unit of life
Also I am afraid to think of it in longer units

I live day-wise
Buy milk every other day
Do the dishes every other day
Do my laundry every third day
Or fourth
Have a drink once in a week, or oftener
I watch two episodes of Seinfeld every night
To lull me to sleep

I can't paint my nails, as often as I would like
But that's okay
Same with writing
But who cares?

All I care is that,
Did my day go okay?

I am not looking for flamboyant success here, or glory

But is life still livable, are we alive,
Did I see things I was shown
And most importantly,
Did I hear what I was told
And did I
Open I mouth even half as much as I would like

Very modest expectations

May be this lack of ambition
Has me impoverished
And I don't remember
When exactly,
I got into this business of
Counting days
And hours till I got to go home
To eat the dinner
Whose recipe I've been Googling
Since 5 pm

But I just am.

And I can't complain,
If I can have it this way
For days to come.



Saturday


She's dressed in three-fourths and a T. Her hair is braided thick and knotted up into a clutch. She's twenty three. This September. Sitting before the television, she's completely focused on her plate. Like, she hasn't looked up at the screen even once. Today's Saturday, it's the weekly off from her dieting schedule. Earlier, she used to take breaks on Sundays. But with Sundays being the days of special lunches and special  dinners, she began eating more in one day than she had forgone all week. So she included Sunday into her dieting schedule and took  an off on Saturday. On Saturdays, she ate whatever she wanted. All the junk. Rest of the week, she lived mostly on salad and low fat milk. 

All she had on her plate was a bed of white rice and atop that, three curried eggs. One is good. Two is too many. Three is beyond glutton. Three egg whites, three solid yellow yolks. To be nibbled slowly, broken down with fingers and mashed into the curry of numerous flavors. And to be licked off each finger with infinite delight. That delight, should fairly encapsulate the renunciation of the upcoming week, the agony that her taste buds would go through with meal after meal of cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce. 

All this for what! Slimmer thighs. Such that those old jeans didn't embarrass her as much. For that romantic interest of hers to spare a second glance. Too many reasons. No more brooding, she told herself. 

Outside, it began to rain, an unexpected afternoon shower in May. With the thunderstorms, et al. That familiar smell arose from the soil. She rushed to the terrace. Lines and lines of her clothes, leggings and scarves hung to dry in the free summer sun were half drenched already. She had done laundry all morning. Not for this. She gathered as many as she could and piled them on the floor downstairs. And then it began raining too hard and the breeze was unreliable too. She gave up on the rest of them. Still handing abandoned.

Her next door neighbor, her aunt, screamed from her side of the balcony after the power went off. It was pitch dark. She switched off everything. Lightening was known to damage electronic devices. And obviously, her mother wouldn't be able to buy them a second television or a second air conditioner. She unplugged them all and sat on the bed, quietly continuing the remnant of her meal in the dark. 

Remember & Write


On early mornings in December
I witness,
Sisters in tow from upstairs
Rushing down with school bags & lunch boxes
Their hair split into twin braids
And tied in white ribbons
So neatly, so neatly
I can never be a nihilist again.

Life must have some reason
Some hidden order in this chaos.
It must. Because of those braids
And the bed of flowers

Here, you know.
They haven't got marigold or gerbera, I believe
All they've got is chrysanthemums & roses
In that paucity of variety, there is infinite beauty
Heaps of roses, blood red, orange, pink, magenta
And chrysanthemums yellow and white
Those hawkers, stuck in your peripheral view are omnipresent
And they make life feel akin to
A bed of roses & chrysanthemums

And even if you don't buy yourself a bunch for Valentine's,  that's okay
It's alright. It's not the end of the world
Until it is.

That your poems don't rhyme, horribly
You couldn't care less

What matters is that you remember and write
Like a mild insomniac beyond caffeinated midnights.
Remember & write.

To pay bills and die.

Stars come down to my bed
On some no moon nights
They glitter like insomniac jellyfish
And keep me awake too, and thoughtful

On Sundays, as the westbound sun
Dries my afternoon wet hair,
Clinging to my shoulders
I reluctantly give in again and think

What am I letting go, to become who I be

Which layer of me, be the true layer, like I were an onion
Every peel, and a new color. From dried and coffee brown, to orangish red and pinkish yellow, and the wheatish stem of the onion be my untamed soul.

Am I numerous persons, all at once
Or am I a process, and every day catalyses me towards my core being.

I know, it's impossible and untrue.
We are all tame, mostly, mere domestic beings, victims to carefully cultivated routines that keep us from thinking.

To pay bills and die.

But when a westbound sun, quietly dries my hair, I've gotta think.
Think on an endless loop. Think towards no conclusions. As the rest retire to siesta and my lunch awaits, getting cold.

Anathema

Drunken slurs.
A woman once was
The funny caricature in her ex-lover's poem
She sat feet outstretched in winter wind
On a January midnight
Old Monk in her hands
A glass with a square base
Fit into her hands like magic
Ice cubes clinked 
And it was all that moved
She spoke in indistinct 
Drunken slurs
As he drew her that night

Eight years later,
That ex-lover is a father
Of the child of another woman
And everyday, he dotes
On his naive daughter,
Who knows not one bit
Of what life holds
And packs her lunch box,
With the purple butterflies on it
And takes her pictures

The woman with the Old Monk
Eight years later,
Down the line, or so
Contemplates freezing Old Monk 
Into cubes in the tray, to drink that then
Such that it doesn't water down
And that her passing out each night
Take not as long

Simultaneously,
The woman tries to write a poem
About the new daughter, and the butterflies
And the utter obscenity of fates and heartache
Her drunken slurs, not much coherent.

The passage of eight years
Has been as cruel as healing
Everything happens for a reason
And yet, for no reasons at all. 

How they became whoever they did,
They would never know. 
But they did become their own.
Anathema. Anathema. Anathema. 

Thirty

Is it indeed deliciously befitting to lose everything, indeed. Aging is losing something everyday. I stare at the mirror. At my pale midnight reflection. And lather coconut oil on my cracked feet, this winter has been harsh, particularly. Where my eyebrows meet a wrinkle has permanently appeared, I worry a lot. The eyes look exhausted, dreamless. Of course, it's midnight. That being my alibi, I dissolve into a dream. Suddenly I am eighteen again. I am young and plump. I write poetry about how my hair looks like a tree on above my head. About seeking out my shadow from amongst the shadows of dozens of trees while walking back home on late nights. The street lights dazzle me. I wean myself off my infatuations by writing their names on pieces of paper and burning them in candle flame by the window ledge. Turning love into ash by some warranted act of karma. Exploring newer ways to dispel the many jinxes of unrequited love. And learning to accept my body, of course. Everything that I came with. My bulging thighs, messy hair, my dusky tone, overall anti-delicate-feminity. That was at least a decade before the phrase body positivity was even phrased, and I was fighting my own mighty battle. And losing everyday. 

I was losing then, as I am losing now. I am thirty. It's a gorgeous age to be. Fucking gorgeous, mind wise. You have seen just enough of the world to start taking the right calls on it. To stand on your own two feet, somewhat. To have a place of your own. To quote from poets you have fallen in love with. To laugh quietly when you hear a book you read being discussed. Thirty is as good as it gets. 

But on certain midnights as these, now that you don't stare at the moon much, you stare at the mirror slightly longer than usual to notice the loosened skin on eyelids, the sagging arm flesh, the extra flesh in the wrong places as goes by acceptable mysogynistic standards. You feel maligned. Wronged. Abandoned. Depreciated. 

So many years have gone by, so many of them. So many films watched, songs heard. So much prose written. So many many miles walked. Yet nothing has changed. At the end of the day, pretty is all you gotta be. #ohfuck