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Jun 2020 · 651
Say it with your chest
Anjana Rao Jun 2020
Say it with your chest.

Black trans lives matter.
Black trans lives matter.
Black trans lives matter.

There’s a lot of reasons
to say
No
to being in the streets.

Anxiety.
It’s a work day.
It’s dangerous.
What are you even doing there?

And you still go.
It feels more right
than being at your desk job
in a 80% white county.

So you make the drive.
You write numbers to call on your arm
tentatively,
hoping you don’t need them,
but it’s too late to turn back anyway.

Somehow this feels right.

And it’s hot.
The sweat is melting
the numbers off your arm.

And you’re hungry
because you didn’t eat lunch
and didn’t pack anything.

And your ex is here,
and you can deal with it,
but it’s still uncomfortable.

And you don’t know most people here
and there are so many white people,
and what are you doing here?

And in spite of everything
somehow this feels right.

You stand to the side.
Sometimes you can’t hear the speeches.
Sometimes you have to sit down.
Sometimes you lose track
of the friends you came with.

And there are
so many reasons not to be here.
But you’re here now
and you can’t turn back.

Say it with your chest

Black trans lives matter.
Black trans lives matter.
Black trans lives matter.

And you join the crowd to march.
You don’t know
where you’re going
but you’re going.

And as you march
at some point
it doesn’t matter
how many people are white,
because at some point
you feel it.

You don’t live here
but you feel it:
community.

And you are quiet,
recently wrote a whole article about it,
about how protests could never be your thing.
But then
you remember
what a black trans organizer said
before the march:

Say it with your chest.

Black trans lives matter.
Black trans lives matter.
Black trans lives matter.

And then
you are shouting too.
You are weaving through cars,
you are sitting down in the streets,
and cars are honking in solidarity,
and workers raise their fists
from behind closed doors,
and anxiety melts away,
because this,

this is important.

And it is hot outside,
your feet hurt,
you haven’t eaten for hours,
you’re thirsty,
and there were so many reasons
to stay home.

But you showed up.

And eventually
the march ends,
and you learn
that the police didn’t know
what to do about all of you.

And your ex thinks
you’re flushed with panic
but it’s not panic,
it’s adrenaline.

And your friend
thanks you for showing up,
and tells you
that your trans life matters.

You are not black,
you are brown,
and this is not about you,
you’ve always known this,

but for once
you feel validated,
you feel community.

And will there be victory
in your life?
You don’t know.
But your friend is waving the trans flag
out the window
and you are going to Burger King
and making fun
of white people,
of the police who couldn’t keep up,
and it’s enough.

And this was not without risk,
but this feels right,
and anyway,
if there is no risk
there is no reward.

This day will be over,
but remember
today,
and every day:

Say it with your chest.

Black trans lives matter.
Black trans lives matter.
Black trans lives matter.
May 2020 · 161
Charleston, SC
Anjana Rao May 2020
I.

Bless the salt,
not from tears
but
from the water
from the air
from the Spartina grass
that laps it all up.

Bless the Plough mud,
full of nutrients, exfoliants,
that'll have you sinking, sinking, sinking
if you dare to enter.

Bless the beach.
Bless every shell,
broken and whole,
still beautiful.

Bless every dead jellyfish I saw
washed up on the shore,
managing even in death,
and still deserving of life.

Bless the dolphins
who've made this place
home.

Bless every pelican
which must
hunt relentlessly,
which must eventually
die for the hunt.

Bless the Carolina Gold,
which in the end,
tasted like regular rice.

Bless the history of this place,
the good and the bad and the ugly.
May we not forget any of it.

II.

Remember.

Remember
what t felt like
to feel toes in sand,
salt in hair,
cold, cold water lapping at feet.

Look at a shell
and make it mean more
than a vacant home.

Remember
the hunger of wanting to know
everything about this place.

Take that hunger back North,
where you must eventually go.

Remember
what it felt like
to move your body
to see something other than
city streets and bars.

It sounds cheesy,
but you need nature
more than you know.

And
you may never come back here,
but
remember
you can always find it.

Find it.
Written March 12, 2020
Anjana Rao May 2020
I tell myself,
no more.
I will not see you again,
I am done, done, done.

Yet,
I find myself driving to you
that same night
with the flimsiest excuse.

Baltimore
you are an ex
I can't quite get over.

I keep remembering
the good times,
and I can't let you go.

We say,
let's be friends,

but
when we see each other
we never say anything
important.

Baltimore
I say
no more,
but I keep coming back to you,
and you,

these days,
you're indifferent.

We have one night stands
where no one comes
and I slink away early in the morning.

There is no coffee,
no breakfast,
no romance,
no anything at all.

Baltimore,
we're a habit
I don't know how to break.

Baltimore
I don't know
what I want from you,
what I need from you,
I just know
I won't get it.

Still,
I keep coming back,
keep hoping
one day you'll feel like home.

But Baltimore,
I know better,
and anyway,
don't you know?

Exes
can't be friends.
Written March 4, 2020
May 2020 · 594
Break Up with Baltimore
Anjana Rao May 2020
Baltimore
this is a love poem.

Baltimore
this is a break up poem.

Baltimore,
I remember
when I first
fell in love with you.

It was 2012
I wandered around the city
taking ****** pictures of street art.
Took free public transit.
Spent the afternoon
at the old, old red Emma's
back when it wasn't bougie.

Baltimore
I knew what you were
but I couldn't help it,
I fell in love.

Baltimore
I remember courting you,
thinking maybe I could call you
Home.

You
Greatest City in America
you
both
gentrified
and
run down
all at once.

In 2014
you held me
through my numbed out days,
through my drunken nights.

You
with your ****** transportation
that might or might not arrive.

You
with your gentrified Hampden
where I once heard a white man say he felt
"So safe."

You
with your burnt out building I climbed
with a girl
who'd one day leave me behind.

You
with your street cats,
street rats.

You
with the Royal Farms
that sold cheap Mikes Hards.

I could barely love myself,
but
I still loved you.

Baltimore,
I need you to know
that I will always care for you,
but somewhere along the way
something broke in me.

Baltimore,
you held me then,
still hold me even now,
but it's getting time
for me to move on.

It's not you,
it's me.

My restlessness,
my ungratefulness,
of what you've done for me.
My inability to value
potential stability,
potential community.

It's not me,
it's you.

It's all the same with you,
same scene,
same bars,
same parties.

Baltimore,
I love you,
I really do.

Baltimore,
I'm sorry,
but we need to take a break

long-term.

Need to start seeing
other people.

Don't cry,
it's better this way.

And besides,
you're not,
could never truly be
home.

Baltimore
this is a love poem.

Baltimore
this is a break up poem.

Baltimore,
maybe one day
when the dust settles
we can be friends.

But for now,
I need to leave.

I love you.

Good bye.
Written February 4, 2020
Anjana Rao May 2020
I'm near the door
of this queer party
scanning the stream of people
coming in.

For who?

For you.

Who else?

Person
after
person
after
person.

And then
there you are,

and my heart
does some kind of flip
even tho
I swear to myself
I'm over you.

I mean
I don't even think of you
that often but

there you are
and I can't help
yearning
for something
that'll never happen.

Tell myself
over and over and over
that I'm with someone better for me,

but she's white,
and never goes out,
and safe,
and you -

well,
you're you.

And we talk,
tease each other,
saying nothing
important.

And it's okay.
And it's not.

And later in the night
when you tell me
about what's happening at Otto
after this event
I hightail it there,

of course I do,

hoping, hoping, hoping...

And even now,
I sit in this coffee shop
waiting to go to an event
you said you'd be at and

God

I'd give anything
to be different,

to not want
what I can't have.

I'd give anything
to be more
than a moth
to a flame

to be satisfied
with what I've got,

but I can't help it.

I want
forest fire love.

Give me
forest fire love.

I want to be
burned alive.
Written February 9, 2020
Anjana Rao May 2020
My therapist told me that
you didn't seem like the Worst partner,
and it stung a little
But she was right

She had me list
one positive thing
one negative thing
about you.

It was easy.
You were
Fun
Emotionally unavailable.

The other night
I told a few people at the bar you work at
that we broke up.
They nod as if they saw it coming
but don't ask the particulars.

And in those moments
I felt held
by a community I never thought existed -
at least not
for me.

Even in my dreams
my ex tells me to moisturize.
The day after that dream
I wake up smiling

I can say what I want about you
but you taught me some good lessons:
Moisturize
Hydrate
Stand up straight
Don't think like a loser.

And weeks after the breakup
I still feel numbed out,
but there are all these things
that act as a battering ram
against my iced up heart.

Break me open.
Written September 12, 2019
May 2020 · 220
Poem for my ex
Anjana Rao May 2020
If love is a hit
I want another.
Just give me a bump,
let me feel that hight,
I swear it'll keep me satisfied.

(I'm never satisfied.)

I want to go back.

Want to go back
to the first time
you let me chill with you
while you djed.

To that first heady weekend
I spent with you.

To the first time
we decided we were dating.

To my birthday
when you treated me to sushi.

To the beach day
when I was surrounded by you and my bff.

God,
nostalgia is a drug
and I want the high,
nostalgia is an ocean,
and I want to drown.

Come back to me.
Come back to me.
Come back to me.
Written Nov 11 2019
Dec 2016 · 559
Untitled
Anjana Rao Dec 2016
Bless brown girl hair
that needs so little
to be so much.

Bless its curls and waves,
and every non-straight permutation.

Bless the way it will not stand down,
will not be contained
by barrettes or headbands.

Bless brown girl hair.

Bless how it grows and grows and
if you take a blade to it,
it will only come back
faster,
fiercer.

Brown girl hair is the revolution,
made a statement
long before white feminists decided to stop shaving
or dye their pits and *****.

This hair is ours,
not available for white hands,
not up for debate.

Bless brown girl hair,
let me be like my brown girl hair.
A title is still in the works
Aug 2016 · 492
Note to self
Anjana Rao Aug 2016
There are no rules of how things are supposed to go.

There are norms,
There are laws,
There are risks, but

there are no rules.

What I mean is
every single ex you’ve ever had
has talked to you one more time, one more time, one more …
Their comings and goings doesn’t change anything,
they will always and forever be

ex.

What I mean is,
stop asking yourself
what is going on in their brain when you both agree that
you shouldn’t talk, when they tell you that what you had was
not healthy,

and then
send you a selfie weeks later.

Note to self:

not everything has to mean something,
they do not want to be your friend,
you will never be friends

[you never were].

Note to self:

There are no rules of how things are supposed to go.

What I mean is
people come and go,
and reply and don’t,
and listen and don’t
and there is no one thing that you
should
do in response.

Note to self:

stop trying to drill the word
should
into your head.

What I mean is,

Should

has never changed a thing -
Not a feeling, not another person, not yourself,
only loaded you with
Guilt, guilt, so much guilt
that you think your back might break,
it’s hard to believe but,
you don’t have to carry that load.

Note to self:

**** them all,
you do not have to listen to and believe
every ****** thing everyone has ever told you,
you do not have to plead –
believe me, believe me, believe me
[and change]

to the people who’ve hurt you,
you do not have to prostrate yourself
to the authority figures
because they have more degrees and more success
than you do.

Note to self:

if it doesn’t work for you,
then it doesn’t work for you,

Listen

to your ****** up brain,
it is traumatized, produces toxins and noise and too many feelings, has been wrong, wrong, wrong, but

it has gotten you through.

Note to self:

it is okay,
it is not okay,
it just is.
Jul 2016 · 515
The Moon
Anjana Rao Jul 2016
Maybe they are right,
after all.

That I am
cold,
distant,
self absorbed,
off in my own world,
will not deign to come down.

I have been
shaped and marred,
scarred
by forces beyond my control,
so forgive me
if I seem a little

off.

Believe me, I have tried
to change my nature –
tried to be warmer, more attentive, more involved,
but I can’t seem to help
who I am -
always off in some state of
dissociation,
never can be bothered
with reality.

Yet
if I am so cold,
why does the ocean
reach to kiss me
unbidden?

What is this pull
I seem to exert
without even trying?

I keep my distance,
keep my secrets,
my insanity
buried under scabs
of ice and rock.
If I am a liar
because of it,
so be it.

Call me what you will,
your life revolves around mine.
Inspired by the Moon tarot card. I pictured the moon as a ****** trauma-babe
Jun 2016 · 667
The Tower
Anjana Rao Jun 2016
I am no architect, but
I dream big.
I’d been out in the cold so long -
who could blame a bit of desperation?
All I ever wanted was a home,
some scrap of safety, security.

I thought I could find home
in another person,
so I built a tower
out of possibility,
out of every bit of desire
salvaged from all the old wreck sites.

My bricks were your
attention and love,
my glue was my hope.

I had the foundation in place overnight.

-

I built but
you helped,
encouraged me,
made me think
that I could do this,
that we could do this.

We built the tower together.

-

you are my idea of home,
you wrote to me once,
and I believed you,
thought words and intentions
could be as strong as bricks,
would glue us together.

I am no architect, but
this time I was sure
that the foundations were strong,
that desire could translate to permanence.

But I ignored the cracks,
thought they’d seal themselves
on their own.

I dream big,
but my foundations
were shaky,
made out of finite temperamental material
that crumbles to dust
when disaster strikes.

-

Disaster struck,
and once again
I was out in the cold,
left to the elements.
Silences are as devastating
as earthquakes,
and my tower turned brittle,
crumbled around me.

There is no safety in towers
Inspired by the Tower tarot card
May 2016 · 432
Ten of Swords
Anjana Rao May 2016
If you fly too close to the sun
you might get burned.

Me?

I saw my chance
stretched out before me
and I jumped,
discovered I could fly.

Me?

I picked the sun,
paid the price
for the high.

-

I have known
darkness.

And yet
every time
I plunge
down,
        down,
            down,

it’s always the same
Shock,
and pain.

Oh God,
the pain.

-

Deep in the dark,
I curse the day
I ever saw the sun.

Better, instead,
to have been born a mole,
content to spend my life
snuffling about in the soil.

Deep in the dark,
licking my wounds,
I am certain that this
is the end.

-

Good bye to
trust,
to love,
to warmth.

Good bye.

-

How could this have happened?
I cry out to myself,
but when the tears dry
I remember.

Remember how
I am addicted to risk,
addicted to the extremes of feeling -
anything to escape
the Nothingness.

I always seem to be courting
the ones that carry concealed weapons
they don’t know how to wield.

And, me?

I am the perfect target.

-

I figure I deserve this,
and so
I make rock bottom my home,
try to get used to the dark,
try throw a cloak over
the light I've known
try to bury it deep underground.

-

I dig and dig and dig.
My blood goes cold,
I hibernate.

-

I hibernate
until one day
I find I can move.

My limbs work,
I am not as broken
as I thought.

-

I am cold,
I miss the sun.

-

So I shake off sleep,
and pack up my things.

I am not a worm,
not a mole.
Dark
was never meant to be
my home.

I turn
all the swords in my back
into a ladder
and I haul myself up.

-

Back on solid ground,
I begin to warm up.
This is a break up poem.
May 2016 · 1.4k
Estrangement
Anjana Rao May 2016
I have called you
the best
and the worst,
strange now,
that I call you
nothing at all.

You are everywhere, but
I guess that’s a lie.
It’s not you,
I don’t know you,
[not anymore].

No,
you have been reduced to
the echoes
of nostalgia,
echoes
that persuade me to stitch up the best
of the last two years
and, looking at my Frankenstein-like creation, say
I want to go back
when I know better.

Estrangement.

You do not contact me,
are no longer interested
in what I eat
or what I write
or what I feel.

Estrangement.

I have done my best
to scrub you from my life,
as if you were not a person,
but a stubborn stain.
I have deleted, unfollowed, thrown away
anything related to you,
not because I wanted to,
only so I could
finally
get it into my head
that this is well and truly

Over.

I am doing all the right things
I suppose.
Logicking my way
through heartbreak
once more.

None of my exes can ever be friends,
the same scenes are played out
until the bitter end, and you
are no exception.
Apr 2016 · 3.0k
Trauma
Anjana Rao Apr 2016
The worst thing,
most insidious thing
about trauma
is that
it doesn’t matter what anyone does,
in the end,
everything is,
(must be, has to be)
your fault.

Trauma is
a voice:
you should have known,
you should have done more,
you should have stood up for yourself,
what is wrong with you,
do you want to be miserable,
why did you trust,
don’t you ever learn?


Trauma is
you watching you
watching what you do,
watching what you don’t do,
watching it all go by.

Trauma is
a voice:
do something
do something
do something.


Trauma is
screaming at a pre-taped football game,
expecting a different outcome.

Trauma is
begging the fictional character to not open the door
when there is clearly a killer waiting.

Trauma is
the hole you keep finding yourself in,
whether or not you see it,
maybe you fall in,
maybe you dive in,
it doesn’t make a difference.

Trauma is
painful -
repeated openings of the same wounds,
hitting a bruise again, again, again,
watching the colors change -
but mostly,
it’s an embarrassment.

Trauma is
a voice:
This is fine.
You can’t tell.
This is fine.
You can’t tell.
This is fine.
You can’t tell.


Trauma is
your best kept secret.

Trauma is
the kind of ****** up
that can’t be named,
can’t be explained.

Trauma is
the kind of ****** up
that is too deep to be fixed.

Trauma is
who you are.
Apr 2016 · 430
Drinking Problem
Anjana Rao Apr 2016
You're not an Alcoholic but sometimes
you wonder.

It's not how drunk you get,
it's not even how much you drink,

it's the way you do it.

It's the way
you come back to the word
Alcoholic
like it's a girlfriend,
like it's a Lover,
like it's a soul mate,

like it's home.

It's the way
you keep telling yourself
that you need a break -
not Sobriety,
which you think
is maybe what you really need,
no,
just
a break.
But not drinking
is just
a little bit
terrifying,
and the zines you've read on quitting
aren't enough,
and in the end
you break your break
the day you make it.

It's the way
you don't need an excuse
to drink when you're out.
One, two, three, four drinks,
hey, if someone pays ...
once again
dissolving the barely formed
boundary you set with yourself.

It's the way
you sneak
your drinks
when you're at home.
Wine, beer, ***,
anything you can get
into your system
not because you particularly like
what's there,
but because
it is there,
because
it's something
and
you're not an
Alcoholic,
but you need
something.

You're not an
Alcoholic,
would be out of place in rehab or AA,
but sometimes
you wonder.
Apr 2016 · 1.9k
Safe
Anjana Rao Apr 2016
What would be like
to be
100%
safe?

I mean
to be that perfect combination
of visible
and invisible.

I mean
to be
left alone
while walking the streets.

I mean
to be
respected.

I mean to be a
white
straight
man.

-

I have to drill it into my head
that I love myself
as I am –
queer, ace, woman-read, brown, crazy, femme –
because if I didn’t
I’d never be able to leave the house.

I have to say
that to be otherwise
would be boring
so that maybe one day
I'll actually believe it.

But I cannot say
I have never wanted to be
100%
safe.

-

Today
I put on a short dress
I have never felt pretty enough to wear,
and walked to and from a café,
knowing what would come.

I kept track –
four honks, one leer, one whistle,
told myself:
                   you knew this would happen,
                     this is nothing,
                     you’re lucky,
                     it could be
                     so
                     much
                     worse.


It still hurt.

I practiced the motion
of flipping off the bird
as I walked,
tried to get it
as reflexive
as a cop with a loaded gun,
knowing
that it would make no difference.

-

To dare to be feminine in public
is to perfect
the art of looking straight ahead
the art of being hard of hearing
the art of fast, fast, fast walking
[just in case].

So often
we have to weaponize femininity
because that’s all we’ve got.
Mar 2016 · 1.8k
Dissociation
Anjana Rao Mar 2016
It happens imperceptibly
but you know it
when it’s in full effect –

Two’s company
three’s crowd.

It’s not
anyone’s fault,
not something
anyone decides,
just how it goes
sometimes.

Conversation
becomes
more and more
personal,
until it is clear:

You are not supposed to be here.

So you do
what you are good at doing.
You disappear.

-

See, disappearing?
You have it down
to a science.

Talk less and less
and then not at all.
Stare off into space,
perhaps fidget from time to time,
make small movements
to show that you
have not quite
turned to stone.

Take a while to leave.
It can’t be sudden -
you wouldn’t want to draw attention
to yourself.
[It’s awkward for everyone involved.]

Finally,
when you think you just
can’t
bear it,
get up to go to the bathroom
and never come back.

It’s easier than you think.

-

They will look for and address you
eventually:
oh good night, are you okay, you’re so quiet,
you should have said something, I’m sorry, sorry,
sorry.


The usual.

You will reassure them
when the time comes,
fold up your feelings
into a little origami crane
that you wish could just
fly away.

But for now
you can sit safely
in your invisibility.

-

You told your friend group earlier
that sometimes you thought
there was no point calling yourself
gay
because you just hated everyone.

It makes everyone laugh,
and even you find that you’re amused,
but
you don’t know if they heard
the hurt, the bitterness, the honesty of that statement
buried within your voice.

-

You watch
the way your two friends (with benefits)
are affectionate with each other,
the way one puts her head
in the other’s lap,
the way they play with each other’s hair
small kisses on small places,
the way they do these things
and see only each other,
as if all of this
is only obvious
to them.

It’s sweet.

You try to rouse yourself into
more feeling:
jealousy,
sadness,
hopefulness,
anything intense, but
everything boils down to
the same nothingness.
This is simply
another thing you
can’t/won’t/don’t have
[pick any verb, they’re all true].

-

And this is what
your life is:
trying to find ways
to make everything disappear.

Feelings – gone.
Desires – gone.
Expectations – gone.
Hopes – gone.
Communication – gone.

-

And this is what your life is:
Succeeding.
Mar 2016 · 1.4k
To Be Brown
Anjana Rao Mar 2016
To be brown is to
know racism in every shade -
internal,
or
external,
microaggression
or
aggression.

To be brown is
an inquisition,
every time you step foot outside –
“What are you?”
“What does your name mean?”
“Have you tried that restaurant?”
“Have you been back?
“What religion are you?”
“Say something in your language!”


To be brown is
the shame
of either
too much
or not enough,
that you try to
press down, ignore,
forget about -
don’t be so sensitive.

To be brown is
an investment,
the way you are always supposed to
rise and rise and rise,
have the opportunities of the west
and the values of the east,
marry a nice brown heterosexual,
go to graduate school,
have a good career,
earn more money than your parents did,
be safe and settled,
provide for your parents,
your parents,
who only pressure you
and push you
because they want you to be

happy.

To be brown is
diaspora,
the way your tongue
trips over the words of native languages
you never grew up speaking
because English was always taught
first
to generations before you,
the way you weren’t born with
any real community,
and even now
most of your friends
are white,
the way
you have to move in the world
hearing your name
mispronounced in every way imaginable,
the way you
scan the room
for any brown face
because you know
a brown person will
understand,
the way you realize
how often you are the only
brown body
in any space,
queer or straight,
the way you really are a
minority.

To be brown is
reclamation,
the way you learn to
find beauty in the brown and the hair
and the body type,
the way you learn to
let yourself feel Anger
at appropriation,
the way you learn to fight
for identity –
correct the mispronunciations
learn the language,
listen to the music,
cook the food,
wear the clothes,
go back to the country
learn the history,
do what you need to do
in your
imperfect
perfect
way,
****
what anyone says.

To be brown
is to be
enough.
Feb 2016 · 516
Shame
Anjana Rao Feb 2016
Such a shame, shame, shame

How much
shame can I endure,
is it possible to
die
from it,
because Shame
is killing me.

It's just
there's so much of it,
from
what I look like,
to what I believe,
to how I feel,
to what I like,
to what I dare to claim for myself.

Shame has seeped
into every pore of me,
and shuts me up,
and if you think I am
dishonest,
it's only because of
Shame.

You see,
Shame is there
every day,
loud, loud, loud
always yelling at me
always mocking me.

Shame reprimands:

How
Dare
you talk?

How
Dare
you take up space?

How
Dare
you desire?

How
Dare
you expect better?

How
Dare
you continue to exist?

Shame taunts:
They will all find out
how
Bad
you are
how
you've never wanted
to be
Good.

They will all find out
that you are a fraud
that you are a liar,
that you know
nothing,
that you are a
racist,
that you are
unaccountable,
that you are
actually White,
that you are
transphobic,
that you are
callous,
that you are
cold,
that you don’t
care,
that you don’t
feel,
that you break
boundaries,
that you break
hearts.

Shame is there to whisper to me
even on the good days:
you know,
they already know,
they are only humoring you,
you know,
the only thing you'll
ever
be good for
is to be a blank slate
for people's emotions.

You can't even do that
right.*

Shame
is an ice pick
chip, chip chipping away
at any worth I cultivate.
Shame
is fingers
pick, pick, picking away
at anything that dares to grow into goodness.

Shame
is killing me.
First line from Shame by PJ Harvey
Feb 2016 · 595
Untitled
Anjana Rao Feb 2016
You were never meant to be a
pretty girl.

The adults always said
you were so beautiful as a baby,
had such a natural smile,
had such clear skin,
[what happened?]

You could have been
Beautiful,
but you spurned
Beauty.
Gave her the *******
didn't even try to tame fingers
that ripped yourself apart.

In the end
the adults were right.

There came a day
when you looked at yourself -
really looked,
surveyed the damage
and suddenly
you Cared.

You wanted to slink back to
Beauty,
beg for her forgiveness.

But it's not so easy
and it's not so simple.
You never had the
discipline,
never had the
follow through,
always did have

commitment issues.

So you made a choice.
If you couldn't have
Beauty
you would court
her opposite.

These days you
give the ******* to
Beauty
every time you
dare to look good
while baring your wounds, your scars
like tattoos,
like fine works of art.

These days you
make offerings to
The Grotesque
with your blade
and your blood
and your bits of skin and nails.

And Beauty's opposite
takes them all,
and Beauty's opposite
is easy to please
and

you were never meant to be a
pretty girl.
Feb 2016 · 407
Untitled
Anjana Rao Feb 2016
In the movies this doesn’t happen.

The lovers don’t dissolve into nothing
after visits and good times and bad times and pet names and words like
safe
and
Soulmate
and

The One.

They don’t break up and
stay that way.

In the movies,
there’s unconditional love
and sometimes it’s tragic but
it’s always
unconditional,

But me?
I’m not the unconditional love
kind of grrl,
I’m only a grrl with

bad habits.

Pick my lip, my leg, pick my arm until I see red,
cut my arms up because I’m bored,
play games with my meds,
swipe my parents’ alcohol,
fall in love with
crazy grrls,
fall in love with

Impossibility.

-
I want to be able to Love forever but
wanting to talk to you
is only another bad habit,
only wanting another hit
to get the high before the fall.


See for me,
love is a high
and a


                                       crash.

There is no in between.

-
I want to be able to Love forever but
when I say I miss you
there is no feeling
when I say I want you
there is no feeling
when I say your name
there is no feeling.

I know now.
There are no soul mates.
There is no One.

(there is no one).
Feb 2016 · 480
Voices
Anjana Rao Feb 2016
These days,
you don’t talk to anyone.
You hear the offers,
and you refuse to take them,
refuse to give anyone
the satisfaction
of helping.

[What could they do,
what could they say?]

These days,
you don’t reach out
reply as much as you have to
when approached,
and disappear into dissociation again.

You don’t feel bad,
you don’t feel sad,
you don’t feel.

Only tell yourself that
they don’t need you
and you don’t need them.

You’re alone.

But not lonely.
Your brain is home to a chorus,
there’s never a dull moment.

How could you ever be alone
with so many voices in your head?

There’s the querulous one of anxiety with her constant,
whatdoidowhatdoidowhatdoido?

The heavy, lumbering one of depression, who only mumbles,
Who cares? None of this matters.

There is the babble of Mombrain,
a hodge podge of toxic sludge that
at this point,
is not cruel but
almost comical:
You’reuglystupidbadloserfreaksocialmisfitliarliarliarug­lystupidbaddesperatepatheticracistunfeelingcoldfuckyouyoulazyburd­enonsocietyfuckyou.

There is the matter of fact one of Logic Brain.
She is the one who
has to do damage control, works overtime to
make you appear Sane, Articulate,  Good, Better.

She is the one who guides you through
every
single
action.

Get out of bed.
Now brush your teeth.
Now make the bed.
Now take a shower.
Now put on clothes,
Now eat - you have to eat multiple meals.
Now take your meds, don’t be a child.
You are going to get things done today.
You will be Fine.


But the whisper
is the one that interests you,
scares you,
thrills you the most.

She's the one you never shut down.

She is cool, suave.
You can never see her, of course,
but she is the girl you could never be.
She is
so close,
so seductive -
just                  out of reach.
She breathes into your ear:
crash the car,
jump on the tracks,
fly off the bridge,
stab yourself to watch the blood,
drink the nail polish remover,
chug a whole bottle of whiskey
and down some pills,
just like the old days,
remember the old days,
you were sure you would die?
You can still Do It.


Ideation always whispers,
but the whispers are so loud,
feel so
right.

She tells you:
You think I’ll disappear, but
you and I,
we’ll always be going steady,
I’m not like those other girls,
the ones who rip out your heart,
who never say sorry when they need to,
who use you and expect so much and
leave when they’re done.
Baby, with me
there will never be any surprises
no heartbreak,
no drama,
no manipulation
no uncertainty.


*Baby,
I will never leave you,
I am the one constant.
Come into my arms,
let me hold you tight
and never let you go.
Jan 2016 · 1.5k
Uncomfortable
Anjana Rao Jan 2016
I'm sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, I should leave, I'm not good, why do you like me, she'd parrot again and again, coming and going and coming and going and I will love this love forever and I don't want to lose you and soul mates and we're going to be okay and we're safe to each other and sorry, sorry, sorry and you should abandon me and coming and going and stop calling yourself honest, and are you sure you have bpd, and coming and going and one day there are no more sorrys and coming and going and I can't take this and coming and eventually

going.

"Here are some snippets and poetry I wrote" my ex says in an email some days after I've drunkenly reinitiated contact with them after a year of nothing and the "snippets" go back and back and back, 2015, 2014, 2013, and we both confess to having read each other's blog and they will end up refollowing me on every blog they have which is all well and good but I am still scared and wondering why I seem to always go where I don't belong, why I am always trying to open some Pandora's box and they have said they never get over anyone, they have called me their muse and I want to tell them that I am not their muse, I am only myself, my best friend tells me to be distant with them after I tell her about the drama with them that I managed to handle and I had started writing a poem to them but now I think I'll just close the unsaved document, I only sent them one poem but I don't want to send any more, it would only encourage them, maybe encourage me and that's all I ever do - encourage people who end up scaring and hurting me, but hey at least I get content from all of it.

"I miss you" ze tells me, ze sends me hearts and initiates contact and likes every stupid thing I ever post on Facebook, and when we're around each other everything is fine, and my best friend tells me ze would date me if I let hir but I can't do it, I can't casually date, not a white person and not now, not after all I've dealt with, I think I just want to be alone forever now, and ze is so nice to me but I just can't reciprocate when we are not in the same room, and I don't believe hir is really autistic or bpd and I never know why, and ze is the best of all of hir anarqueer friends but there is something so off about all of them and they are good entertainment from afar but these are the kinds of people I would have been so jealous of when I was still at smith and always hurting from my perpetual anonymity among the hipsters I realized I would never be a part of, and I have accepted that I will always be invisible among white hipsterqueers but sometimes it still hurts, "community" is ******* and I don't believe it could ever exist for me, but that doesn't mean that I don't sometimes want it desperately.

"Let's go to Tuesgays," my best friend announced last night, and I roused myself up because I knew she wanted to go and wouldn't go without me, she told me as much when we were walking in the dark trying to find the club, and I gathered up all the bits of naivety and hope and the maybe it will be okay amidst all the fear and fatigue and I assembled the bits into a shoddy structure that blew away an hour later and I'm sure I ruined the night but she didn't tell me, and she bought me pizza but the pizza was too much and I don't want to perform at an open mic and I don't want to spend money and I don't want to drink but I do anyway and I don't know why I do all these things I don't like doing, building all these unstable structures that just fall down in the end, and I don't know what's wrong, it's not her fault, I just wish I were dead.

"So fill me in on these last five years. How's life?" I didn't respond to the old high school friend who I wasn't even particularly close with them and once I thought it would be cool to reconnect with friends in high school but every time they ever try to contact me now all I think is "go away, go away, go away," and it's more intense with men, he texts me this morning, days after I delete the text, says, "You were the first person that ever wrote on my wall on facebook, remember? I never forgot that," as if that's supposed to make me feel something, what I want to say is "hi I'm gay and crazy and not the person who wrote on your wall in 2007 and I don't know what the point is in contacting me," but I will hold my tongue because I can't say these things, I will continue to not reply, just like I don't reply to the old men I meet who send me emails or add me on Facebook because maybe I am their only friend and it's not their fault, it's mine for talking, mine for trusting, for giving away my email and poetry so willingly, always forgetting that slightly sick feeling I get afterwords, that's what being uncomfortable is, that feeling that something is wrong, wrong, wrong, and you're stuck and it's too late to go back but something is wrong and you can't put your finger on what is wrong, what is wrong, what is wrong with you, why can't you be nicer to the people around you, why are you writing this at all, stop feeling this anxious, stop feeling bad for no reason, stop feeling

uncomfortable.
Stream of Conscious prose/poetry written around 1/27/15
Jan 2016 · 934
"We are my favorite poem"
Anjana Rao Jan 2016
in awe of the marginalized
in awe of the QTPOC
in awe of the survivors
in awe of the femmes
in awe of the fat
in awe of the trans/gender non conforming
in awe of the creators
in awe of the disabled
in awe of the ones who don’t/won’t/can’t recover
in awe of the ones the world is trying to shut up, lock down
in awe of the ones who didn’t make it
in awe of the ones who did
in awe of all of us

I
love
us
thanks to Leah Lakshmi Piepzna Samarsinha for the title and last lines of this short little survivor piece
Jan 2016 · 304
Morning
Anjana Rao Jan 2016
I wake up late
[it's always too late these days]
Yawn and the day yawns wide open,
whispers: "oh, but think of all the things you could do."
I don't much care for this life:
this boredom,
this suffering,
these atrocities,
but that whisper propels me up
like the shock of an alarm clock:

again, again, again.
Jan 2016 · 790
Death
Anjana Rao Jan 2016
Oh Death,
you my favorite card,
you my wildest courtship,
you who broke me open,
coaxed me into spilling my secrets,
and now,
you are gone,
leaving wreckage behind.

But wreckage is not
annihilation.

Oh Death,
you paved the way
for things I never thought possible,
razed the worst to the ground,
without even knowing.
I can feel the seeds of something
new and good
spring up within me.

Oh Death,
I don’t want to die.
Written a while ago inspired by the Death card in my Universal tarot deck
Dec 2015 · 654
The Hanged Man
Anjana Rao Dec 2015
They strung me up.
Not by the neck,
that would be
too quick.

No.
They intended
a slow torture for me,
bound one foot,
bound my arms.

I heard a voice:
Escape is possible
if you want it.


And I was alone.

At first I struggled.
Swayed back and forth
from the wind, and the weather and the
pain,
to no avail.

But eventually,
I learnt to just

Stop.

If this was my life,
So be it.
I was not going to provide
a show of my misery
to any God.

I saved my energy,
learnt to live with seeing the world
pass me by,
learnt to see things
from a different perspective.

Torture?
This was nice,
relaxing even,
I could hardly feel the pain,
could block it out
almost entirely.

Perhaps this is what I wanted
all along -
an eternal break.

Fool that I was,
I failed to realize
the torture was not physical
but mental.

Slowly I grew bored
in contemplation,
in limbo,
in apathy,
in atrophy.

I remembered the voice:
escape is possible,
I remembered
everything I wanted to do
everything I still yearned to do.

All the beauty and the goodness
and the possibilities of Life
made me ache,
and I could not block it out.

Suddenly I saw:
this was not torture
but a test.

My time of suspension is up,
These are but ropes,
not chains.

I know the way out,
and I am not afraid.

There is work to be done.
Inspired by the Hanged Man card in the Tarot of Ages Deck, some of the words I used to write this are in the tags
Dec 2015 · 620
Knight of Cups Reversed
Anjana Rao Dec 2015
My philosophy has always been simple:
Don’t ask
Don’t tell.

I am the expert at lying
by omission.
No,
not lying exactly,
but
wouldn’t you agree
that what you don’t know
can’t hurt you?

Don’t worry about me,
I’m Fine,
always fine.
I can handle myself,
I always have.

Feelings?
I don’t know what you are talking about,
I am a robot,
feelings simply don’t
compute.
You’re knocking at the wrong door.
I have nothing to tell you,
[not anymore.]

Look a bird!
I can manipulate any conversation
away from me,
just by distraction.
The trick is to let people
talk and talk and talk and
forget,
so I can check out.

No one knows the difference,
and I am called a good listener
for doing nothing.
No harm done.
All anyone needs is a blank slate
to talk at.
I can fill that role.

Honesty?
Don’t talk to me about honesty,
what good does it do?
Why should I be honest?
It’s no one’s business anyway.

My philosophy has always been simple:
Don’t ask,
Don’t tell.
Inspired by the tarot card from the Tarot of the Ages deck, some of the words I used from the manual are in the tags
Dec 2015 · 419
The Fool
Anjana Rao Dec 2015
Loving you was like
walking off a cliff –
not walking, but
running.

I saw the warning signs,
knew what could happen.
I do not blame Fate
for my own actions,
this was the chance I took.

To be a fool
is to trust
[again],
to be a fool is to
Fall.

And I fell.

Loving you was like
flying.

The height was so great
that I felt giddy,
thought I would never fall,
thought you could catch me,
thought the things you told me
were enough,
were permanent
were safe.

But loving
is never
Safe.

To love
is to be the Fool.

Let me always be the Fool,
let me always be crazy,
let me always be open,
let me always take the risk,
I want to fly.
A poem inspired off the Fool card in my Universal Tarot deck.
Sep 2015 · 1.1k
Strength
Anjana Rao Sep 2015
At the end of the day
it is us -
the sensitive, the women, the marginalized, the empaths -
who are sought out.
It becomes our job
to tame the beast.

Our job to
endure, educate,
be patient, compassionate.
Our job to put on a good face,
no matter what we might feel,
to not expect or accept pay,
unless it is in the form of gratitude.

We cannot be lions,
cannot raise our voices
and bare our teeth,
for that is not good behavior.

That might terrify.

Call it an overreaction but
when we use our voices
we are ignored,
put down,
locked away -
“tamed.”

But we are a force
when we are loud
and when we are quiet –
you will remember us
before the end.
Written in response to the tarot card Strength.
Anjana Rao Jun 2015
1.
Nothing is stable:
not moods,
not relationships,
not circumstances.
It is better this way -
when things are bad
do not say “it gets better,”
which may or may not be true.
Say it gets different.

2.
People are not always
going to be there for you
when you want them to be,
they will be busy or sick or asleep or indifferent.
Words do not equate to action.
Words can just be fillers.
“Love” does not always mean good,
“Love” does not always mean support,
“Love” can be in name only.
Love is something
entirely different.
You deserve Love.

3.
“Don’t ask, don’t receive,”
is the way it is.
You must always make an effort
to initiate friendships.
Even so, don’t expect them to last.
Know also
that it is not your fault if/when they fail.
Nothing lasts forever -
this is okay.

People who Know
will sometimes ask how they can help.
If you don’t tell them
they won’t do anything,
won’t offer suggestions,
will probably offer other things instead:
apologies, anger, their own guilt.

If you cannot explain well enough,
be prepared for no change,
no aid,
nothing.
They are not mind readers,
after all.

For some people
explanations won't help,
will not make them
understand.
Let these people go.

4.
If you state a boundary,
and it cannot,
will not,
be honored or remembered,
grit your teeth through it.
Know that it will be okay soon enough,
but always remember
your triggers are still real.

5.
If you engage with acquaintances,
you must find the balance
between Distrust and Hope.
Not too much hope -
that would be naïve,
set you up for a hard[er] fall.
Not too much distrust –
that would make you
Bitter,
Unpalatable.

You must play nice
with everyone,
walk on eggshells
if you must,
but even then
know you will never please everyone and
prepare for the worst.

6.
You will never be prepared enough.

7.
You will learn
what is necessary
and unnecessary
in your life,
how to make do
on very little.

This is a blessing and a curse,
this is the way it is now,
but it does not always have to be this way.

You are allowed
to have wants and needs
standards and expectations,
even if it feels Wrong.

If they cannot handle you,
you do not have to keep them
in your life.

Having very few friends
is not Bad or Wrong or Abnormal.

You can do without
most people.

8.
You do not have to
empty every word of meaning.
Being empty
is a way to stay alive,
but it does not have to be this way.

9.
Your intuition is valid.
Do what feels right,
do not spend time regretting.

10.
You are not weak
like your mother says.

**** your mother,
**** mombrain,
**** every single person
who has hurt you and put you down.

You have survived
23 years of heartaches and breaks,
exquisite forms of torture.
You are strong.
Sometimes it gets so bad I have no choice but to turn to affirmations.
Jun 2015 · 499
Shades of Hurt
Anjana Rao Jun 2015
You’re an artist -
you say you’ve gotten back
into painting?
When you’ve got the time,
give me a palette:
mix me shades of hurt
so I can paint my own landscape.

Mix me hurt
and shock,
some unexpected hideous color:
“I can't believe they said that to me.”

Mix me hurt
and fear,
a shade that makes you sick to your stomach just to look at.
“What will happen now, how will I survive?”

Mix me hurt
and anger,
some hot bright uncomfortable,
in your face can’t miss it color:
“How could they? **** them, **** them, **** them.”

Mix me hurt
and letdown,
this one’s a dull color:
“I thought....
but I should have known.”


Mix me hurt
that’s just sorrow,
the deepest shade of them all,
escapes poetry, escapes all words -
I won’t even try.

Give me the shades of hurt
and I will paint you a landscape of my life.
angst
Jun 2015 · 374
untitled
Anjana Rao Jun 2015
Hidden bottles under the bed, hidden *** toys, hidden pills, hidden emotions,
there are many things I can talk about
when I think about what I’ve stowed away.

Honesty is often yoked to Openness
by people who don’t understand.
When angered, they use words like
sneaky and liar
as tools to pry me open.
“Stop shutting us out,”
they'll demand,
like they deserve my truths.

But what they don’t realize is that
I am not an open book.
I am
a gentle fragile thing.
Handle me carefully
and I will shock you
with how open I can be.

But know
that I will snap shut
at the first sign of danger,
go back into hiding.

I am not an open book
and there are things you will never know.
think of this as a survival poem
Jan 2015 · 583
Non Response
Anjana Rao Jan 2015
It’s not Dislike,
not Snobbery,
just
Uneasiness
that makes me leave
well intentioned messages


                                                      ­               hanging.

A question:
Why do you even want to talk to me?

A series of justifications:
-We aren’t close,
-We’ll never be close,
-I have too many hang-ups
-I hate casual conversation.

A silent plea:
Just stop trying,
live your own life,
give up, go away,
I have nothing for you,
you who can find others.
It’s not you,
it’s me.

The truth is,
I don’t particularly want
new friends
anymore.
I can barely hold on
to the ones I have.
Dec 2014 · 972
Canandaigua
Anjana Rao Dec 2014
I taught you
how to say my name correctly
Uhn-juh-nuh
and you taught me
how to say the name of your hometown
Can-an-day-gua.
A fair exchange,
perhaps.

Canandaigua.
Town that manufactured
Arbor Mist,
the cheap artificial wine I bought
[being the only one of drinking age]
that we drank
all summer,

well,

until July
when everything fell apart.

In August
When things settled down
when you decided that
you didn’t love me anymore,
we issued that age old
empty promise exes make:
“We’ll still be friends.”
Exchanged a few Facebook messages
and that was that.

I was never in love with you,
but
you still made it into my zine,
and I still think of you
from time to time,
visit your Facebook page
as if...

well, who knows?
It’s always the same with
everyone I used to know,
but Over is Over,
no social media changes that.

When I see that name:
Canandaigua,
I think of you,
but it’s just another name
and you’re just another Over.
Dec 2014 · 634
Not Your Good Crazy
Anjana Rao Dec 2014
Not your good crazy.
Self-absorbed.
Selfish.
Stubborn.
Won’t trust, won’t trust, won’t trust.
**** your “help”
**** your advice,
I can do it on my own.

Start stop.
Start stop.
Start stop.

Hide the pills,
hide the bottles,
hide the truth,
lie and lie and lie,
it’s easy, it’s bred into me.
It’s exhausting but
I will run myself to the ground,
because I can.

Not your good crazy.
Wallow and dwell
in my hole
I’ve made home sweet home.
Glorify and hate this state
all at once,
make it a part of my identity.

Crave the labels,
crave the bad,
crave the harmful,
crave the instability,
crave the things that hurt.

What’s hurt to me, anyway?

Not your good crazy.
Not interested in Better,
not interested in Useful,
not interested In Practical,
not interested in Good,
not interested in Recovery.
Not the way you mean.

It’s all a game to me.

Not your good crazy.
What state will you find me in?
It’s a mystery to all of us,
I aim to confuse,
Aim for Anti-hero.
Angel or Devil,
All or None,
you can’t pin me down.

Not your good crazy.
Dec 2014 · 691
Reflection
Anjana Rao Dec 2014
It’s too bad, I suppose.
Was I supposed to say more?
Yes, of course I was,
what a question to ask
when I know that in the end
I’m always an overwhelming

Under-reaction.

[There’s a reason I never got bullied in school.]

I wonder why
I keep the letters,
the old poetry
when none of it makes me feel
anything at all
but
I guess all documentation is
in memoriam.

-
It’s too bad,
we couldn’t be
Civil.

[But of course,
Civil is never what you wanted,
I should have known better, my fellow borderline.
It’s all or none.
It’s always been that way.]

I think about you from time to time
not with anger,
just with,
well, I don’t know.

I don’t suppose
we’ll ever talk again.

The difference between you and I
is that if you cut me off,
I get the picture.
You say you’re done,
well,
say no more,
I’m gone.
There’s no need
to embarrass myself
again.

The difference between
you and I
is that I don’t cross
Boundaries.

-
Tonight
I find myself
rereading your poetry.
I do it from time to time -
strange to think of it
as illicit, Bad, Facebook stalking,
when we used to know each other.
[Seemingly.]

This one,
one of your many published poems,
is supposed to be about
Me.
That’s what you told her, anyway.
She didn’t get it,
and neither did I.
Even now,
there are not enough references to hold on to,
and the meaning is still lost on me.

[I was lost to you, a long time ago,
but that’s how it goes I guess.]

-
Found your soundclound page
[the only place I’ll hear your voice again]
and it’s strange
to see a picture of you
Smiling.

Your last words still buzz around in my head:

…I am so done trying to be your friend
…selfish,
…I deserve better


I don’t think
of you as smiling.

-
It’s too bad,
I suppose,
that I keep thinking
we could have been something,
that I keep thinking
it could have worked,
that I keep thinking
it could still work,
simply because
we had things in common.

Of course those things were never enough,
but what can I say?
I’m an idealist to the end.

-
It’s too bad, but
I am never going to forgive you.
Nov 2014 · 2.5k
On the Subject of Trust
Anjana Rao Nov 2014
How do you begin
to talk about trust,
when every thought
that swirls around in your brain
has additional questions
attached to it:
                         is it real?
                         is it made up?
                         is it rational?
                         is it an overreaction?
                         is it temporary?
                         is it permanent?
Tangled root systems
of the same questions,
for every thought.

And I haven’t even
started on
Feelings,
[that’s a different poem
altogether].
-
How do you begin
to talk about trust
when, for starters,
you can’t trust yourself.

Grow up,
with silence
and
shrugged shoulders
and
the helpless statements of:
I don’t know, I don’t know, I just don’t know,
in response
to all your scientific parents’ questions –
questions peppered with
“logical”
and
“rational”
and
“you understand where we’re coming from
…right?”

and
eventually,
every time you think or feel anything at all
and have no explanation,
you’re left with one question:
                                                        how can you not know?
                                                        how can you not know?
                                                        how can you not know?
-
Say a word enough times
and it starts to lose its meaning:

trust
trust
trust
trust

Is it even a word,
or just a lucky combination of letters?
-
How do you begin
to talk about trust
when you’ve been let down
not once, not twice, not three times…

well, what’s the point of trying to recall,
when you’ve lost count of the times.

It would be one thing,
if you knew
why you’ve been abandoned,
or why people hurt you,
or why everything gets to you so often,
                                                                       [is it you or is it them,
                                                                        is it you or is it them,
                                                                        is it you or is it them?]
but it’s the not knowing
that makes you realize
that people as a whole
are:

Unpredictable,
Unreliable,
Untrustworthy.

You’re not usually too angry about it,
this is just Reality.
-
This is just Reality, but
it’s the not knowing
that kills you,
closes up your heart
in a certain kind of way
after a while.

Oh,
you’ll talk to people,
if you must,
say whatever seem to be the right things,
be the listening ear they need,
if that’s what’s required of you,
be good, understanding, kind, empathetic,
to the best of your ability,
but you won’t Rely on them,
won’t accept statements of
I can help.
That’s a different story.
-
If you can’t trust
People.
[Forget about your family, the ones who supposedly love you,
with their helpful advice of “get a job, be useful, it’ll make you feel better.”
Forget about the docs and therapists, the ones who supposedly make it better,
with pills or overpriced talking sessions.
Forget friends, the ones who supposedly are your support system,
with “I’m here for you” and “I can help” that lead nowhere.]
then what you are left with
is trusting yourself
out of necessity.

And you’re back to where you started.
Today my therapist asked me to write about trust and I hate writing prompts but I can write poetry and I can write about my trust issues for pages upon pages so this is what I came up with, and I figured I might as well post it here since this is basically my sad poetry site.
Nov 2014 · 1.1k
"You See I Want A lot"
Anjana Rao Nov 2014
You see, I want a lot,
but verbalizing
is Vulnerability
and in my head
Cynicism is stronger
than Idealism,
always the big bully,
always laughing in its face.

[Don’t laugh at me.]

You see, I want a lot.

I want art -
all kinds of art,
and not just art,
I want "bad" art,
made with good – the best – supplies,
And I want it up on the fridge
because look,
we made it,
and that means
everything.

I want homemade zines –
Happy zines and sad zines,
food zines and PATB zines,
and everything in between.
I want homemade patches,
homemade clothes,
homemade food.

I want poetry
and essays
and writing anything at all.
I want nice journals
and nice pens.

I want music -
I want to walk into rooms
filled with instruments.

I want nature.
I want Beauty
in all the small things.
I want flowers.
I want a garden,
I want it to be alive with things
all year round.

I want a nice kitchen.
I want herbs by the windowsill.
I want good meals.
I want meals we ****** up
[because we don’t bother with recipes]
but try to eat anyway.
I want frozen pizzas and slushees
and too much candy corn
when it gets to be fall.

I want days of too much coffee.
I want London Fog days.
I want rainy days and
“A handful of puddle”
on repeat.
I want days of lying in bed doing nothing
whether or not we’re sick.

I want travel.
I want days of wandering around cities,
getting lost and
letting our feet
find the way home.
I want unplanned adventures.
I want abandoned rooftops
I want heights.
I want intuition.
I want Hope.

I want friend therapy.
I want solitude.
I want connections.
I want trust.
I want closeness.
I want safety.
I want stability.

I want Honesty.
I want vulnerability.
I want communication.
I want patience.
I want consent.
I want accountability
I want active listening.
I want remembering boundaries and triggers.

I want love -
any kind of safe love:
I want all my friends
to be my significant others.

I want shared meals,
shared feelings,
tea parties and tear parties.
I want good days,
and I want bad days -
the calm and the storm.

I want to lay down my arms,
once and for all.
Call a truce with myself.

I want to look upon
the wreckage within me,
clean it up the best I can,
let the broken parts heal on their own
accept the parts that don’t,
and build a Home within my heart,
imperfect as it is,
so it won’t matter
where I go or who I’m with.

I want to say,
“I am not Afraid –
of my parents
of the expectations of capitalism
of the Future,
of growing old.”

I want to say,
“Yes, there are unknowns,
yes, there will be fear,
but I will be Okay,
I do not have to die
because others did before me.”

[I want to say yes.]

I want to say,
“I do not have to prove anything
because the right people will understand,
and those are the people who matter.”

I want you near,
and if not near,
a voice on the phone,
synchronized meals,
these things will do
in the mean time.

Drag me out of bed for cookies,
let me be sous chef,
Kitchen kitten,
familiar,
scientist ****** wife.
[If you must call me that.]

You see, I want a lot.
And Idealism
is sometimes all I have
To keep me alive,
a wildflower that won’t be killed.
And if you want to know the truth
I don’t want to **** it -
I don’t have the heart.

[Don’t laugh at me.]
This is an older poem and written to a particular person so some of it might not make sense because there are references here and there. I mainly wanted to post this because believe it or not I do have a few poems that aren't doom and gloom and being super sad. And actually I still do feel like this if/when I have Good Days, which seem few and far between. Blatant plagiarism in the title from Rilke, sorry dude, I hope I did your [translated] line justice.
Nov 2014 · 1.3k
Free Write: Object
Anjana Rao Nov 2014
At first I thought it was a mini book,
but the moment I picked it up…

No, just a piece of art.
Just art?

Still important, yes,
but what could
"Very Different Animals"
by Frank Sherlock
be about?

I was to find out,
clips removed
and awe regained -
What a surprise!
What lines!
                     "Refigure
                      a strand of DNA
                      & you might
                      understand Me & I
                      are very different animals"
Suddenly my respect
for this art piece is
elevated.

I picked the Best object
I want it, want to keep it
a 5 minute free write
is not enough to describe this.

I scar words
and the meaning
is gone,
I always need
more time with words
                                        "What
                                          is the nature of this
                                          nature?"

I scan quick
for lines I could recycle
lines I could hold on to
I'm always grasping
for words,
that's what we writers do.
I skim the pages
and then
it all starts to feel like its all nonsense,
writing is funny that way
and if I only had more
time to read
[there will be time,
there will be time]
there's never enough time.
A free write/poem if you will that I did a few weeks ago in this free writing workshop I've been sticking with. The idea was to pick an object and write about it for 5 minutes. Mine was a tiny handmade book. Again, I made a few edits when I typed this all out.
Nov 2014 · 863
Free Write: On scenery
Anjana Rao Nov 2014
When you walk into this room it's always like a little tornado hit it. You could find a mix of things lying around at any time - books, outer ware [hats, sweaters, the like], at least one journal and a pen or two on the floor, in addition to the collection of writing instruments on the unused children's desk. But above all, there will always be at least one instrument out of its case  a guitar, ukulele, penny whistle, always within reach, though rarely played. Comfort objects. This is still a child's room though the occupant is  no child [just look in the drawers, behind the bed, under books, secret places to discover more Adult things.] The walls are a light green [her mother had picked this color though the kid had wanted blue] and really, the only reason the occupant can handle living in this room semi-permanently is because of the art, poetry and books everywhere.
This was a free write I did yesterday for this writing workshop, I guess I'm posting it because why not? Admittedly I did a bit of editing to it. Take a guess at whose room I'm talking about...
Nov 2014 · 920
You get used to it.
Anjana Rao Nov 2014
You get used to
How are you?
and
Hope you are well!
and
overapologizing
and
I understand
and
long distance friends saying
I am here for you,
as if they could actually be physically there
as if they could give you what you needed
and as if
you could even articulate
what you really needed
and as if
they could read your mind
and somehow Know.
                [Nobody can ever Know,
                   Hell, you don’t even Know.]

You get used to
working up the nerve
to tell everyone
about what you can’t
handle
                     [It’s a laundry list]
and you get used to
your requests being
Ignored or Forgotten.
               [What can you say?
                Everyone forgets.
                And who are you to ask,
                everyone else handles these things,
                so can you.]

You get used to
Hopelessness
and
Guilt
and
Fear
and
Anxiety
and
Restlessness
a­nd
Boredom
and
instability
and
Suicidality
[but have you ever Attempted? the docs will ask
and you get used to know knowing whether to say
Yes or No. ****** if you say yes, ****** if you say no.]

You get used to
extreme idealism
followed by
extreme cynicism
and
helpless anger
and
illogical
and
hot and cold
and
all these endless cycles
and
saying goodbye
to concentration,
academia,
reading,
the things you once loved.

You get used to
the names
and
the insults
that are not
Abuse
because you are not from a “broken family”:
too sensitive
and
selfish
and
lazy
and
self absorbed
and
practically white
and
Not Indian at all
and
What would you do
if you didn’t have us
to go home to?


You get used to
the excuses
and the tears of your mother:
"Don’t be mad at me,"
and
"Think of how we feel."
and
"What would you do
if you were us?"
and
"You have to try to
Communicate."
    [You couldn’t possibly want this. You have to try.]

You get used to
Meds roulette
and
off and on therapy
and
explaining the whole sordid story

over

and

over

and

over

again,

your med details memorized
without you even trying,
and
nothing ever making it better
and
just feeling crazier at the end of the day
when the docs ignore you half of what you say
and the psych ward sends you home
with a bill and a piece of paper
that helpfully says,
“Depression with Suicidal ideation.”

You get used to
putting Dreams in the closet,
despite being told
that you’re allowed to dream,
and
huddling up
in your own closet
despite being told
that you can be Out and Proud
and
locking up all expectations
for Anyone or anything
or heaven forbid
the idea of
*** and/or Romantic Relationships,
                       [You are Asexual out of necessity now]
throwing away the key,
or at least,
burying it deep, deep, deep
where you can’t reach it easily
                   [You can’t afford those luxuries anymore]
You get used to
Lying
to anyone and everyone
whether it is necessary or not,
and
Not being Accountable,
despite telling people that you are
“trying the sobriety thing”:
          [oh my god, what a ******* joke]
sneaked wine
or spiked drinks
or whatever is cheap and available
every night when you are at home
chased with a klonopin or maybe two
[what’s the difference to you, they don’t even work]
because you are used to
no one noticing
[during the right hours]
and
you are also used to
Not Caring,
or
Tempting fate,
or
Playing the Game
with no rules
Call it what you will
[it’s all the same]
and
Not caring about
whether people stick around
or not.
[They never do, nothing can last,
it’s just a fact.]
You get used to
the “advice”:

Well if you just left the house and were social
and
Well if you just cleaned your room
and
Well if you just did things for other people
and
Well if you just stopped hanging out with sad people
and
Well if you just tried reading or watching Happy things
and
Well if you just stopped spending so much time texting
and
Well if you just got off the Internet
and
Well if you just Eat Right
and
Well if you try to Do Things
                                        [You must *always
be doing things in this house.]
and
Well if you just got your license
and
Well have you tried Exercise?
and
Well have you tried Yoga?
and
Well if you just got a job again"
and
Well have you even bothered contacting these people who could help?

You get used to
just calm down
and
not knowing what to say
when you hear:
whywhywhywhywhy?
if you happen to breakdown
in front of your parents,
which happens more and more
now a days.
[How can you not know?]
You get used to
saying “fine”
no matter what –
the worse you feel
the more *fine
you are
because you are used to
Never feeling better
no matter how much you
“talk about it.”
[Yes,
You are Fine,
because you should be,
you will be,
this is No Big Deal,
it could be worse
"you are not from a broken family."
]

You get used to
holding back information
and
not reaching out
and
letting friendships wither
and
not trusting,
without knowing why
and
everything losing meaning
and
everything disintegrating
sooner or later.

What can you say?
Things change,
people leave,
people change,
feelings change,
you change.
What can you do?
If you’re a heartbreaker
then
you get used to that idea too.
[You secretly love the idea of
Hurting everyone else around you.
Maybe that makes you Abusive.]

You get used to
Every poem
ending up like this,
they’re all recycled words,
recycled themes,
recycled misery,
and, after all,
a dead white guy said
“there is nothing to writing
all you do is sit down
at a type writer
and bleed.”

[You get used to bleeding.]
-
But most of all,
you get used to
not being used to
Anything at all.
Long sad poem I wrote recently, hooray. I actually sent this to my therapist and she was pretty cool about it, but we didn't end up talking about it much oh well.
Oct 2014 · 2.0k
The Monster Within
Anjana Rao Oct 2014
She feeds on Fear.

Feeds on past insults and old rotten words.
Feeds on what ifs?
and “what can I get away with?”

Oh, she’s a clever one.
She can be a dragon and a terror,
but more often than not,
she’ll make herself real small,
like a tiny kitten.

Nibble away at all that is Good
without me noticing.

[Just call them love bites.]

Meows:
“play with me,
play with me,
I need the attention
and you aren’t doing anything

Important

right now

If you love me,
play with me.

Make me purr.
Sure I scratch
but you don’t really
want me to leave.

Make me purr.
Sure I scratch
but no one will know the
difference.”


Get her purring
and I am no longer
myself.

She is satisfied,
temporarily.
[Always temporarily.
She’s always hungry].

And me?
Who knows what I am,
when she’s in control,
except convinced
that I love poisoned claws
digging into my soul.

I’m used to her,
I love her,
I swear.

[I’m used to her.]


The thing about
Monsters
is that they can
shape shift.

This is no Disney movie,
no horror story,
no evil step-mother
to contend with
and vanquish.

A simple battle
between Good and Evil.

Monsters are not
black and white.

It’s all a mess of colors,
you see.

-
Maybe the monsters within
are not even truly
Bad.

Only:
afraid,
hurt,
wounded
abandoned.


Trauma’­s
last defense
against all that
accumulated Hurt.

Maybe
the monster within
can be

tamed
disarmed,
declawed.

Turned back into
a kitten again.

Tough,
playful,
protective.

But not Destructive.

Not a Terror.

Not Deadly.

-
Don’t say for sure
that there are no monsters
lurking within you.

Mine are loud.
Yours might just be
dormant.

-
[Tell me about your monsters within.]
This one was actually kind of inspired by something my ex [who doesn't want to talk to me ever again as of a few days ago, go figure] wrote a year or two ago.
Anjana Rao Oct 2014
This is more than “block” or “hide posts.” No, this is permanent, this is calling it Quits, this is “we cannot be civil towards each other after all, we cannot bear to even potentially see each other on our newsfeeds.” Unfriend. We are not Friends. We are Over. Unfriend means “out of sight, out of mind.” Is it a feeling of relief at the finality of something that wasn’t working, or a sinking feeling that yet another relationship has gone down the tubes? Probably a sick combination of both – unfriend means you’ve both finally called a ***** a *****. Given Up. “…I am done trying to be friends with you,” written in the Final message. Is anything really Final? It’s hard to know. Human relationships are messy. We try to cut people off when they hurt us. Unfollow on tumblr, block phone numbers, delete them on skype, unfollow on twitter, but sometimes we run back to each other when we cool off, despite ourselves, we think, no, it can’t be The End, it can’t be Unfriend, we had things in common, we had something, surely it can’t be Over. Can't we try again? But “Every new beginning come from some other beginnings end” as a song goes, and some endings are necessary. What we don’t want to admit to ourselves is that not everyone is a Good or healthy person, no matter how many chances you give them. And maybe some relationships are doomed from the start, maybe it really was your fault and you are just “incredibly selfish,” maybe it was their fault, it was probably everyone’s fault somehow or another in the end. There is a drop down option on facebook called Unfriend and when it’s finally utilized, no one really feels good about it. All it means is that it’s time to move on, once again. Find someone new. There are other fish in the sea.
Written as a part of a writing prompt in the style of "There is a button on the remote control called FAV…" by Claudia Rankine
Oct 2014 · 387
Spit Back
Anjana Rao Oct 2014
Be careful what you say to a writer
you are not exempt
from being weaved into my work.

I
Spit back
Spit back
Spit back
Don’t think
I won’t spit back
your words back at you,
good,
bad,
ugly.
I have nothing to lose,
I have nothing to prove to you,
I am not desperate
to be liked by Anyone,
not in the long-run,
not once I get Hurt,
not once my defenses are up.
I promise you that.

My pen mightier than any sword,
my pen mightier than my soft voice.

Be careful what you say to a writer,
because I document everything.

And these days
I neither forgive,
nor forget.
This is a time for angry poems I suppose.
Oct 2014 · 664
Venom
Anjana Rao Oct 2014
you know what,
never mind.

I’m so tired,
so done,
You hurt people so recklessly

you know what,
never mind.

Incredibly selfish.
Incredibly selfish.
Incredibly selfish.
so incredibly selfish.

you know what,
never mind.

I’ve had enough
Had enough.
I hope someday you realize
you do things wrong,
too,

but like --
really realize.

you know what,
never mind.

It is incredibly
heartbreaking
to try to get through to you

You want to hurt people

you use your avoidance
and self-destruction
to hurt people.

I’m so tired,
so done.

you know what,
never mind.

The way things are now,
I don’t see how we could ever be anything

Real.

you know what,
never mind

I am
Done
Done
Done
with trying to be friends with you.

You have hurt me
irreparably.
I deserve better.

you know what,
never mind.

Good luck with everything,
Truly.

you know what,
never mind.
none of these are actually my words, just my formatting, so this is probably incredibly passive aggressive. I just don't care right now
Oct 2014 · 978
SOC: October 16, 2014
Anjana Rao Oct 2014
I've never been an exhibitionist. Fame and money have never been my goals. If I played music it was for myself, softly so no one could hear. If I made art, it was unassuming doodles on scraps of paper that didn't matter. If I wrote, the final pieces were buried away, whether in journal pages or word documents in neatly organized file folders.

Social media changes everything.

Suddenly, everyone has a voice. Suddenly I'm thinking, why not my voice, what's wrong with my writing?  Sure, I didn't get an English degree, I hold no MFA, but plenty of people write online, after all, it's just the Internet.

"It's just the Internet." What a catch 22 - in my head, it's either "Don't air your ***** laundry, no one wants to know," or, "Go ahead, air your ***** laundry, you're a speck of dust in the grand scheme of things, who's going to care?"

I've never been an exhibitionist, but social media changes everything. You have a thought? Tweet it. You like a photo? Pin it. You have an opinion? Post it. Facebook, tumblr, ello, Hello Poetry, wordpress, blogspot - there are so many venues, take your pick. The world is your oyster. Express yourself.

Fame and money have never been my goals. And I don't say this in an attempt to be original. I don't say this with the idea that I'm above anyone who'd want either. Because let's be real, would I say no to being paid to write? Of course not.

No, what I'm really after is something else. Connections. If I unleash my thoughts into that strange universe that is the Internet, maybe, just maybe, I'll get something back, a spark, a "message received." Not a "Hi, how are you," but a "Yes, I understand. Let's share stories."
Oct 2014 · 1.2k
Stereotypically Crazy
Anjana Rao Oct 2014
I've always talked to myself,
but these days
I feel stereotypically crazy
the "I should be locked up for my own good"
kind of crazy.

I don't know how long
I spent in my room
laughing until
there were tears in my eyes.
Twice I made a move
to leave the room,
twice I collapsed laughing.
I wondered if I was actually crying,
But no,
it was laughter.

Laughter,
because my god,
it's all so **** funny.

I counted my Klonopin today.
She told me to ration them.
I took four on one day
three on another,
if I skip a day or two,
I'll be able to take
four on a different day.

It makes sense in my head.

Without the Klonopin,
I'm angry again.
She asks if I'm thinking
about eating today,
"not really idc"
An "I care" response
only elicits
"Sorry about that,"
too much of a coward to say
"That's not my problem"
or better yet,
"*******, leave me alone,
go tend to your partner,
or datemate,
or whatever the ******* call them."

Maybe I don't really mean it,
but there's only
"*******"
in my heart today.

I won't take the Klonopin today
so I can drink wine or a beer
or whatever is cheap.

It makes sense in my head,
as I continue to cackle to myself.

Who the ****
do you think you are,
Kerouac?


It's all a joke to me.
I walk and walk and walk
and I buy a too sweet coffee,
instead of *****,
which I tell myself
I'll buy later.

I can behave,
if I'm in public,
only emitting
a tiny chuckle
from time to time.
Everyone here
is absorbed in their lives.
No one will know the difference.

It's all a joke to me.
After I wrote this poem I got ****** with a homeless man, make of that what you will.
Anjana Rao Oct 2014
Cat-like, I've always described myself as cat-like. Don't tell me what to do, don't expect me to like you, come too close and I'll scratch you, I'm not joking. Don't expect me to like you, I don't trust you, it's not you, just on principle, I'm no schizophrenic, but you never know what people will pull on you, you never know, it's safer to not trust, how can I trust with all this anxiety in me, people aren't safe, there is no safe space.
Ah, but give me a beer, give me a whiskey, one, two, I stop counting, and nothing matters, I'll come up to anyone who bothers to give me any attention. Whiskey gives me that high until the fall, but oh! what a high, just a moment of peace.
I signed up for a writing workshop and we had to pick two words from a list, and write on the theme Paranoia. My words were "cat" and "whiskey."

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