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  Jun 2017 Divya Padmanabhan
I can’t write this poem
I can’t write this poem because the last time I opened up to someone artistically they told me it was pretty dark and I should keep it to myself.

I can’t write this poem
I can’t write this poem because I was raised in a culture that was anti love and pro meaningless ***. I saw endless commercials about movies that glamorize a lifestyle in which your body is fulfilled but your heart is ignored and at that impressionable age I learned my heart came second but my allure came first and the less I cared that happier I would be and I carried that belief around with me the way I used to carry around a Bible as a child.

I can’t write this poem
I can’t write this poem because of the time that I opened my father’s phone to reveal a family secret I would hold to this day against my own moral instincts unraveling miles of insecurities wondering if I’m not a good enough daughter or if he stopped loving my mother or if true love was never real and although I had been taught marriage was my purpose, it was what I believed would make me happy, maybe rings aren’t enough to stay in love and maybe people’s feelings change and maybe no one actually has a “one true love” and that this purpose I had been taught was really an endless wild goose chase that only lead to broken families and lost souls.

I can’t write this poem
I can’t write this poem because sometimes I still wonder why I fell into an abyss of toxicity at such a young age. And when I say wonder I don’t mean a trivial ponder, I mean I contemplate every possible reason why the person who I once believed held the universe in her eyes would lie to my face, why she never kissed me in public and our love was always a secret, why she valued girls with blue hair but my blonde hair was not good enough, why I had to hide bruises from my family when I was still in high school or more importantly, why at the time, I thought I deserved them. These thoughts, this lingering paranoia that I am undeserving of healthy love, they muddy my interpretations of real life and distort reality and effect my relationships. My doctor would call these intrusive thoughts, my best friend would tell me they’re symptoms of PTSD, but I have come to realize that I’ve been burned and I am damaged and I hope to god I can recover.

But you,
Oh god, you
You can write this poem. You can be my safety net while I’m free falling in love. You can be the one to listen to my mental tilt-a-whirls, you can be the one that introduces my body and my heart, you can be the one that calms the storms in my mind when I’m questioning the love I’m deserving of. You are the one who makes sure I fall asleep in my bed after drunk nights, you are the one that still sees my value after acknowledging my flaws.
You can write this poem.
I have no wit, I have no words, no tears;
My heart within me like a stone
Is numbed too much for hopes or fears;
Look right, look left, I dwell alone;
A lift mine eyes, but dimmed with grief
No everlasting hills I see;
My life is like the falling leaf;
O Jesus, quicken me.
for Susan O'Neill Roe

What a thrill ----
My thumb instead of an onion.
The top quite gone
Except for a sort of hinge

Of skin,
A flap like a hat,
Dead white.
Then that red plush.

Little pilgrim,
The Indian's axed your scalp.
Your turkey wattle
Carpet rolls

Straight from the heart.
I step on it,
Clutching my bottle
Of pink fizz. A celebration, this is.
Out of a gap
A million soldiers run,
Redcoats, every one.

Whose side are they one?
O my
Homunculus, I am ill.
I have taken a pill to ****

The thin
Papery feeling.
Kamikaze man ----

The stain on your
Gauze Ku Klux ****
Darkens and tarnishes and when
The balled
Pulp of your heart
Confronts its small
Mill of silence

How you jump ----
Trepanned veteran,
***** girl,
Thumb stump.
"I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan's men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you'd return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)"
"You can do this"- I tell myself

I gasp for breath,
I am amazed and dazed,
Let me rephrase-

"You can do this"- I lie to myself,
(Oh, what a compulsive liar I am.)

I rush to my desk,
And my hands wait to be knighted.

Take it, feel it- and run it

D o w n,

Your beautiful wrists,
What a shame of your personhood.

My desk has seen the unabashed,
People call me a ******,
People call me a maze.

My mind sinks in turmoil,
And my hands seem like Calpurnia's dream,

It's terrifying.
But beautiful.
Self harm is never supposed to be glamourized.
Let's make these fingers play,
Across eighty-eight keys of wood and ebony,
In perfect, scale, rhythm and harmony.
Decipher the dots and dashes,
And break all the rules,
once you know all the clashes.

You could learn,
From the masters of this game,
Probably Beethoven,
Who played it with honesty and power;

Or Chopin,
Who played it with delicateness,
And poetry;

Or even Liszt,
Who played without hesitation,
          And to woo women;        
Or Rachmaninoff,
Who used his sizely hands,
To the fullest,  
Using clean moves and precision.

There are many masters of this game,
But I promise,
                     It's the only game which will keep you,               

*Till the very end.
Pianists are wonderful people.
  Dec 2016 Divya Padmanabhan
Come, my love, let's sleep.
Not just for few hours,
Not for many hours,
Not even for some weeks,
And not even for merest months.
Let's sleep altogether for years,
Let's sleep for many centuries.

Come, my love, let's hibernate.
Not forgetting immortality,
Not practising immorality,
Not overlooking modesty,
And just sleep together holding tight.
Like we do when cold descends,
Let's go to our sleep mode.

Come, my love, let's snooze.
Not just for few more seconds,
Not just for some more minutes,
Not just for bit more hours,
And kindle the dream in the long night.
Like we did when curse worked,
Let's go to our carefree world.
HP Poem #1332
©Atul Kaushal
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