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As dew under the rays of the sun…

August 10, 2011

“Your feet are big, but I can still wrap my hand around them” she heard the voice coming from afar, and she knew the steady pressure she felt around her ankles was not a dream. But she was outside it, living a distant pieced together mosaic of a life even as she walked among them. She heard, she saw, but she felt nothing.

“Mm” she replied, non-committal yet present to the acceptable social extent. Her every waking moment was a struggle now in fitting in, a battle to prove she was real. I hear, see and speak, she thought, and that must mean that somehow I exist. Every conversation now was a struggle to dig her claws into reality, a kite straining against the manjha and yet knowing separation from the maker was certain death.

What was death, really, she wondered – an altered state of reality at best, and nothingness at worst. Or the other way around, depending on the life you’d had. So, really, this is the one shot we have at making it work – and, it comes with no guarantees. People who worked hard didn’t always find success. People who gave selflessly didn’t always find love. And people who screwed up didn’t always pay for it.

“Let’s go see the Salvador Dali exhibition this weekend” he said. “it’ll be fun”. She smiled, a half-smile that didn’t scream yes, but didn’t mean no either. She knew she would go, if he didn’t ask her again. It was a strange tug-of-war between them… she was dead certain she could not spend what remained of her life with him, but she wasn’t fully ready to let go either. It wasn’t fear, but it wasn’t far from it. Inertia is what it is, she concluded – the familiar is comforting, and I am too tired to seek a new life.

Even as she sat there, wide awake and acutely aware of his every move, she was conscious of a strange sense of being disembodied – floating above herself, orchestrating every sigh and watching every movement. Each time he questioned himself and pulled away, she dug the claws in deeper – and everytime he was pulled closer, she deliberately took a step back.

And all the time she was cognizant of the unfairness of it all… he had laid his heart out for her, and while she wasn’t trampling all over it, she wasn’t handing it back to him either.

“I don’t love you, you know” she heard herself say. She looked composed – a storm was raging within, as always, and she still managed to look unaffected. Except her eyes – dark pools of whirling dervishes, they gave her away. With an oriental inability to veil the drama, her kohl-lined eyes betrayed her. She meant it “I wish I did… our lives would be so much easier. But I don’t. What do I do?” she asked plaintively. She was not asking him to let her off easy, or offering an excuse. She really had no idea how to move past her inability to feel. And she hoped he knew a way out.

His lip quivering as he spoke, he tried his best to be matter of fact “I have infinite patience, and I’m willing to let you take your time to make up your mind. Mine is made up, and I know I’ll wait for you – as long as it takes”, he breathed.

Was she a coward, she wondered. She couldn’t be with him, her every fibre fought it, and she couldn’t say no either. She longed for him to find a way out for her, and knew equally well he wouldn’t. He cared too much. She could no longer stay detached and watch life pass by – life had decided to stop and knock on her door, she had to answer. No was easy – equally disturbingly, yes was easier.

She took a deep breath, and answered the knock after what seemed like ages. He stood at her door, laying the stars at her feet and holding the promise of the whole world in the palm of his hands. All she saw were the silky threads of a web. She was the freshness of mint sprigs, the ephemeral momentariness of dew, the shadowy silhouette of daydreams. And he was the earth, solid and permanent. She belonged with him as raindrops belonged with government bonds. When life touched her, she sublimated. And he was life.

Her decision made, she shook her her sadly “I must go”. As she said it, she faded, as softly as the haunting strain of a loved melody falling gently on ears straining to capture an unencumbered soul…

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A Sliver of Silence

July 8, 2011

The infinitesimal pause,
a sliver of silence you exhaled,
as you cleared your throat
and willed me to look at you…
what did I think I’d find?

The palette varies,
dusty browns to fiery reds,
the medium from canvas to space
– and yet, the brush strokes are the same…

The unvarying, unwavering theme,
the haunting refrain from long ago,
an unchanging reality
painstakingly played out on stage after stage
draws to its predestined end.

Each time I hear the curtain call
I’m a step closer to the edge –
each pair of eyes that tear away
leave behind fewer tears,
fewer dreams, and far less hope.

See me, I mutely implore…
see me, and see through me! –
The timid blush of dawn reveals
what withering dusk defined…
your image echoed in a sliver of silence
– nothing else,
nothing less and nothing more.

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Illusions

December 17, 2010

A fragile past unwinds
frayed threads, they remind
silken fetters subtly bind

And a heart
my beating heart, it yearns
while supple skin learn
the way memory burns

The stench
the putrid stench adheres
my porous soul, it sears
and nothing, my friend,
is ever really as it appears…

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When two become one…

December 4, 2010

Twin souls, lost and sundered
two visions hung in space
two moments that interlace
Two notes still unrendered

One heart breathing as two
one song echoing two tales
one whisper lifting two veils
oneness – just me and you…

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What if….

November 17, 2010

There once was a boy who strummed
he played to please the crowd
– in his heart he held one riff
that he never did sing aloud.

The corners of his red glass frames
gleamed in the blinking lights
– in his heart a soft ‘what if’
he breathed into the nights.

“What if –
the red were blue
the false was true
you were here
and I was… you.
What if?”

A girl she sat, chin in her palm
with a never-wavering gaze
– in her eyes the earth’s own calm,
a stillness that was ablaze.

He said,
She gives him roots, she gives him wings
she holds together the seams
– and every note that he now sings
are scented with her dreams.

But,
“What if –
the red were blue
the false was true
you were here
and I was… you.
What if?”

And so he
Returned to where it all had begun
deep in the lonely hills
and that one riff he then sung,
played till his fingers stilled.

That one riff he strummed alone
where the rhododendrons grow
that melody would soon be gone
fading with the melting snow.

The hills echoed,
he hummed no more…
“What if –
the red were blue
the false was true
you were here
and I was… you.
What if?”

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Wrong…

November 8, 2010

The sun is high, the skin is peeling,
And through the holes it is revealing
The rotten core your words were sealing
For so long.

The air is damp, my world is shrinking
To two blind spots I see, unblinking,
While my mind, it keeps on thinking
I was wrong…
for so long.

The tears they fall, the orbs are burning,
And these thoughts, they keep returning,
I was wrong—my guts are churning—
All along…
I was wrong…
for so long.

The steady beat, it does not falter,
Only perfidious fate will alter
My course of action at the altar—
Sold for a song…
all along…
I was wrong…
for so long.

The promises, they’re torn and broken,
Even though they were never spoken,
A speck of dust their living token
To prove we belong…
sold for a song…
all along…
I was wrong…
for so long.

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Alone amidst the crowd…

November 7, 2010

Sometimes, even among friends, there is a sense of loneliness and desolation that grips me… silence, pulling me close in a choking embrace, stills my vocal chords and I am taken outside of myself – there I am floating a few feet from reality, watching the human drama unfold, and I see myself barely able to open my lips and utter a few inane words. I am there, and yet not really there… I see, I hear, I sense, but I don’t feel. Or maybe, I feel so much that the only way to stop myself from being swept away by a tide of unseemly emotions is to distance. To escape.

Years pass, and still, the theme is always the same. Escape. What is it inside me that drives me to run away, to seek cover, to pull on my boxing gloves and feint an attack – everyone sees the wide smile, and so few notice the brimming eyes. As the years pass, the disguise only gets better… and the grip on reality less tangible. I used to question myself, to understand what I was escaping from – now, I run away because that is all I seem to know. To hide is to be safe – from hurt, from loss, from being attached.

I asked myself a long time ago, in a verse entitled ‘Of numerous loves’, which kind of love was greater… and I have yet to find an answer. The older I get, though, the less likely I think it is for me to find that one love where I see myself as an equal.

I give… and I cannot change that. I just find myself incapable now of personalizing that, of establishing a connection where I feel entitled to receive. I give now, freely and without expectations – more accurately, with the expectation of detachment. Trust is so alien to me now… be my friend, my friend’s friend, but do not expect to know me. Ask of me what you want, and need, for the moment – you will seldom be disappointed. Ask me to reveal myself to you… and before you know it, like the fish diving for deeper waters, I’ll be gone.

Today, more than most days, I found myself escaping – into my mind, and out of reality. I found myself questioning my worth, the value I bring to my friendships… and it’s no surprise that I came up short. Some people bring solidity, some bring adventure, some warmth and others humour. Some just hang on – and that’s what I was doing, I think.

It’s days like these that I miss my old friends, the ones who know my masks from my reality, who see through my pretenses and whose generosity of spirit makes them love the flawed, fractured mosaic that is me. Friends with whom I don’t have to be hot or cool or any other temperature – I can just be. And it’s days like these that I miss dad the most – where I knew, no matter what, that someone cared enough to make sense of my world and hold it all together, to defend and protect me at all costs. I feel stripped & defenceless now, have felt so for many years, and the only escape is inside me.

I miss you papa… everyone has an agenda, and I find myself woefully ill-equipped to handle it. I am trying so hard to be rational & to cultivate detachment… but I am what I am – my heart is laid out for all to walk on, and I bleed just a little every day. I have gotten so much better, though, at pretending that all is ok… at pretending my wounds are healed. And then along comes a day like today – a casual conversation, and I can no longer delude myself. The curtain is ripped, and I can barely hold it together through the evening. But I must. So, like a good soldier, I squared my shoulders and did the best I could to hold it in till I stepped back into the house. I miss you for you who were… and I miss you for who you thought I could be……