Mistakes are like fists full of firewood, waiting to be struck -
We light up like saffron fused matchsticks,
draining with tears the color of grinding lightning.
Every time things get heated, I get lost
in the mist of not knowing enough
Everything we know gets lost in the distance
because the distance casts spells of mist that
Climb up all my windows and screens,
my view becomes pigeonholed bleak.
Your cowry-shell smile is now cast away in waves of doubt
Our mouths are now perpetually filled with
retorts soaked in vinegar, heavy breathing and static squabbling –
this is what it feels like to be the one who loves more from a distance.
Neon lights from salt rusted beach buggies, gypsy camels and a faint memory of dollops of colour reflect under the milky moon that hangs unnaturally low.
In the car window, the reflection of her pensive eyes are overlaid with the mischievous moon, and a vendor selling animated light toys skip like stones that never sink -
ceaseless ripples in the unconventionally eerie and curious night.
They say the moon has this unnerving attraction to the earth -
a pull, compelling and persuasive. Like a tangled ball of yarn it is unkempt, woven out of threads of enigmas. Each of us having a loose end of the intermingling threads tied around our waists, like our own invisible axis.
Every time our thread is tugged, almost like a reflex we are compelled to look up like a reminder that we might live on earth - on the ground, but our eyes, minds, and our souls are infinite.
A longer performance piece with music and imagery
Across the street,
Live the community of the old.
a network of inbreeding
left the branches of the family tree
entwined like a pipeline of too many years
that swim through the convoluted paths
sealing in the contents,
preserving the past.
Long bedraggled tresses
brush close to the latticework ground
Not a comb has come close
To break the wild knots that weave.
Nets buoy their authenticity
the world survives
on bowls brimmed with metal screws
The phantoms of depletion rise,
They are weightless, until
and they tumble,
They get caught between
The wisps of eternity.
Illuminates the evergreen leaves,
The bulky necklace of frozen memories
Decorate my stiff neck
I am a victim of too many days spent
Watching screen protected versions of nature
that I forgot how thin skinned leaves really are
How the nervous system of enigmatic veins
hold DNA of their ancestors
Now, bathed in evening light
When heat from the stars erode from the sky
They are nothing but silhouettes of the past
Faceless, like torn out pages of a history book
shunned for its omniscient wisdom
so that the ashes can be planted
burying the past in the ground
standing still in the present
but reminding me,
the future is always as high as the sky.
You had become an expert at
Helping people go
You knew exactly what they needed
if they were going to palm tree skies or
to breath that always looked minty fresh
You had become an expert at
You knew exactly how to gauge
The potential of the suitcase according to all
Scheduled meetings and recreational activities
You had become an expert at
Letting things through
You knew exactly how to pull
The thread through all his loose buttons
While you waited for him to come back.
You sewed back his negligence
with fingers suppressed with haldi*
That pushed deep into your nails like
A home remedy for faster fingers,
You watched reruns of who’s the boss
Reversed gender roles and Madhuri dixit.
When you ran out of buttons to sew you
Opened up the windows so the dust can
Bake you a cake on the shelves
So you could eat it all on your own,
with one clean sweep. It is your birthday.
Everyday the clock is like a see saw
you sit on all alone
while he is on a swing set with his
feet pushing the ground he knows
how to move on his own
how to touch the sky -
you were never taught
how to be your own friend.
But it is never too late to make friends.
Have you ever tried the slide?
there are no limits
To how many times you can climb
So slide, glide
let go of gravity,
undress from reality
We keep shedding like the moon,
glowing like torches inside us
that help us stand out
from the crowd.
take your turmeric magic
and build a fire with the friction
of your spine and your mind
sprinkle it on
the crackling heat...
we all need fire to keep us warm.
*haldi - turmeric powder
you decided to go back
your mind on rewind
back to the days
where you were basking in praise
“she’s so clever with her impeccable grades.”
Through chai-flavored breath, the news pervades
But even before their breath can recover from the first cup of tea
Another piece of news comes buzzing like a bee.
The news and their views float like paper boats
Clumsily they drift as it climbs up their throats
So easy it is for them to decant their advice,
Sometimes your personal opinion will more than suffice.
Now you sit prepped for the role you were made to obey
A woman, a daughter now you are made to relay
‘What a clever girl with a gifted source!’
So they decided its time for the accelerated course!
‘We like your daughter very much’ they said
A phrase young girls will always dread
‘It’s a good family’ your parents thought
So what are we waiting for! Let’s tie the knot!
Race past the basics, hypothesis and theories
Blindly trusting rulings without any queries
Your books, like yourself hold back their views
for being a daughter you must first pay your dues
They’ve found the divine answer so you can stop discovering
Your starry eyed youth reflected in the flashy hovering
Of women picking apart your choice of dressing,
While occasionally passing on their blessing
Bright scorching lights hang over your head
Your blush and foundation gradually spread,
Your proud family greets the guests with glee
You’ve been promoted to the next level, without a degree!
back on track
after two daughters you are finally twenty one
I guess we’ll just have to try again for a son…
“hmm what did you say” you ask so dazed
your complexion is dampened as you’re perpetually fazed
you keep staring down a path so dark and deep
a path made void when you took the leap.
A doctor? A poet or maybe a vet
But before you could decide the table was set
neatly laid out like a routine
now you can’t even recall when you were a teen
dark hollow rooms become your resort
lying in bed and brooding is making your sanity contort,
from what you were and what you have become
you wallow in distress as you have become numb
to the cries and needs of your child
the sounds that have you perpetually riled.
So I continuously wonder what brought upon such fate
She is a person before anything, especially a mate
Do not define her life before she grows into her skin
Only self - satisfaction brings upon that grin -
The one that we strive for throughout our existence
The one we proudly flash against any resistance
So give your girls a chance to stand on their own
Become their own person so they can never bemoan…
Or maybe sometimes they may
because us girls have our days
You know the ones that make all men say…
“Please God just take me away!”
So little girl I pray for your revival
you will find new meaning for your survival
“it’s never too late!” might be trite
but it is essential to help your mind ignite
and just in case you ever fall through a crack
always carry self worth in a backpack,
So you are always buoyed,
against the cavernous void.
it was the time between what now and what then.
I lost my precedence like my guitar pick
camouflaged under the leaves of my bed sheet.
It was there but it was hiding
You don’t know how to hold the chords yet
so how will you play the song.
It was teaching me
To take steps before I leap
But I thought,
I’ll just strum with my thumb.
My clumsy strumming
Slashed against the metallic ringing
My fingers, too young to press down hard enough
And the cavity in the body
amplified my mistakes -
A hollow rhythm of deceit,
Became the soundtrack to my life.
So I filled in every hole
And I did not pick it up,
and let the strings rust away
like an old memory…
Until you bought me my new guitar
I learnt how to play it,
The right way.
Filled the gaps in between with careful strumming.
I learnt how to hold the strings before
I jumped to any more conclusions.
I practiced through the hard parts,
Now I can sing when I play,
Coordinate my voice with my body
My mind is more seasoned.
My calloused fingers - a promise
That I can press as hard as I need to
To ensure that our song never plays out of tune.
The match struck and I ignited,
My heart melted like strong cheddar cheese
with juvenile hope.
You taught me how to nurture my smile -
Let it run free.
You were the guide who helped me relocate
my laugh that got lost somewhere
on the left side of my brain
Every time my smile tries to fade,
Like comfort food seeping
through my punctured happiness,
Your fondue jokes take me back to that day,
like the burning cheese
that seethed into love.