this house creaks
with a heaviness
tired of carrying the
weight of all the lives within it
someday i’m sure it will
crush me in my sleep,
and my breath will be easier
to ***** out than a candle
and so i dream, i dream of weightless things
of feathers and petals
of things with wings
—wings sprouting like plants
from the blades of my shoulder
oh, i ache with some lost tale
of survival i do not believe in.
this house is tinted eggshell blue
and the thing with feathers
is passing through,
holds me the way it holds
—so weary from the sorrow,
slipping into the rubble,
clinging onto my existence
just as one drowning man clings to another.
this is an odd poem
the only thing that keeps
away the darkness
is the light
i burn within myself.
so i have been half flame
half someone else.
this isn’t a way to exist;
it’s a way to survive.
it doesn’t end does it
it does, eventually
i don’t think so.
the falling never stops.
the feeling still sits in the
middle of me. it doesn’t end
or go away.
there are some things
we can’t change.
things that are bound to be
a part of us.
i just wish for a little while
cease to exist entirely.
i’d still be here even if you
whatever you leave unsaid
unsaid forever and all that
you have said
is eventually lost in time.
you only share the silence,
which exists when everything
else ceases to exists.
that’s sad isn’t it?
it’s a relief
there is only silence
from whence the voice spoke
the world above us
or perhaps, it is us that
as lost conversations with the void.
september crept up quietly
in the autumn wind
and you’re holding onto our movie
neon pink lights paint over your face
you stand with your legs crossed,
your hair up
im playing with a hair tie that isnt mine
snapping it against my wrist
like a reminder i keep forgetting;
there was an old song stuck in the back
of my head,
maroon scarf --some words
shuffling up with the heavy air
in my head i remember this like a polaroid.
september crept up slowly that night we stood like two trees waiting for spring
trying to fill the space between us
with something more than just dead leaves.
rough write up
on another note i miss autumn and summer has barely just started.
the sky is in flames
velvet to the touch.
in this glossed world of chaos,
i am the three shades of blue you will never see.
there are parts of me
pulled from me.
i am a streetlight,
an old pipe,
running water into sewers.
the dichotomy between us exists
when what plagues me cannot plague you.
there are spaces in you
vastly different from everyone else.
there are clouds of grief
sitting in your stomach
no one else can ever stomach.
––yet you pulled away from you
is still you, though slightly diluted.
our worlds are ending in different phases,
i see the sky is in flames
velvet to the touch;
you and i are standing under the same sun
with different shadows covering our own regrets.
you don’t have to know what will
survive after the fire.
you just have to believe something
this won’t save you
but perhaps, it will make the fire
lilac skies wrap around my head
and i can barely see over the tall grass,
it tangles around me
i can’t move i tell you
[you don’t understand
—everything around me suffocates me]
i am restless in pursuit of the sun
and perhaps, i might be lost after all.
once, in the middle of the night
my thoughts took me away
to a place so dark,
i spent seven years
swallowing my own sadness
and i struggle
does that make sense?
somehow it’s all in my head,
so how do i explain it?
that i am in a clear field
and the grass is what i imagined.
that the sky was ruefully lilac
and the sadness is what took my breath away.
she once told him that persimmons
are full of grief because she misses
something lost when she eats them.
persimmon trees were planted in the garden
after the death of his beloved.
consumed within his grief he would spend all his time
watching the trees.
One night, while strolling through the garden
and thinking of all things departed,
he saw the persimmon trees were in bloom––
cream-colored bells draped over him
and among them a nightingale
that began to sing.
every night he would listen and
slowly lower himself towards the roots
to rest against the tree, trying to recall
all of his fading memories.
and he would dream a dream of forgotten things
until finally, he fell asleep for centuries.
and all his bones turned to dust,
there, under the persimmons.
when dawn arose some centuries ago
the first of the fruit
plummeted to the ground
and the nightingale never sang again.
why should death run after me,
i am already five different shades of scarlet.
my breath runs warm
but the grief that survived after you
still lives within me.
i am that tear that somehow escaped from the soul.
the rest of me fades away as the journey continues.
what should i call such a loss, such a journey?
what i shall name that which was never named?
i am alive
but i almost die trying to exist.
i am awake
but my fate has been asleep
since i stopped remembering you.
someday you will know
the price of living half a life.
how it is filled with empty rooms, that have
enough floors to cover all your grief.
but no consolation for it to ever end.
it has enough walls to paint over
with white anger. blank. unending.
unyielding. white. anger.
but what is the point of this wrath, that leaves you
starving for the kind of warmth you only ever felt in a dream.
someday you will know
that perhaps, in protecting yourself from the hurt,
you lost a lot of beautiful things and people
who came with it.
you once told me
of your anger and sometimes
i wonder what you did with it.
did you bury it in your chest again,
let it turn everything within
you into smoke? did you ever
find a way to survive?
i only ask because
i am burning
with things i do not understand.
i only ask because my hands
are on fire,
and i don’t know where all this rage
is pouring from.
what lingers here, leaving only
once your memory fell through
and escaped from my hands like a river,
it is gold, forever now, because of it.
here, something once so dark
is asking me,
where is all this light coming from?
Orange ribbons fall around me
as she unveils the fruit, her nails digging
into the speckled skin, the juice drips down to her elbows
before smudging into the ground and
the air is a citrus canticle, I am singing songs about tomorrow.
There every sunset was an orange muse,
the sun a tangerine token depressing to the navel
of the sky–
peeling its colors behind the winter clouds,
bitter–sweet in saying goodbye.
Beneath a copper veil my nails sink into my skin
and reams of four form crescent marks
in the palms of my hand;
that winter has passed into years,
and the oranges taste different here.
i found a collection of old letters
between the books of your bookshelf.
stories between stories,
ink dried on the hands
for the one to read
beneath the lonesome night.
some history lies open on my lap
it knows nothing but your words,
i am silent
the night is dark again with the ink of yours eyes,
another moon passes over me in phases
a nightingale sings with its throat full of longing
somewhere under this dark are my hands holding my heart
to my chest
a softness is breaking in silence
and there was a mirror in my dreams full of you
a white doe’s eyes gazing at the hunter
Ammi told me about fitrat,
the day my cat almost jumped
over the fence to catch a bird.
“why does he always do that,”
i mumbled under my breath.
“it’s in his fitrat and we can’t change that.”
i looked up surprised she heard me at all.
“Ammi, what is in a person’s fitrat?”
Ammi was quiet and then replied,
“it is a person’s nature to never be satisfied,
no matter how much he has, he always wants more.
he will spend his whole life hunting after his desire
but this is a thirst that can never
he is restless and dies restless.”
Fitrat: Urdu word for the inherent nature of a thing or person
I hear voices singing in the name i left behind for you to wear,
sickly sweet voices stuck in throats so rotten, come running after you, dragging your feet into the ocean.
i would join in the depths but i’m running out of breath, i’ve seen so much of death, i’m afraid i might be next.
i swear, i swear my love, I am no traitor, but since my very birth they’ve doomed me for something greater.
and i’ve learned to run from everything that trembles these bones —i swear, i swear my love, i’ve never known the feeling of coming home.
—sirens are singing the song of my prophecy, i don’t dare turn around this time, forgive me.
i'm still coughing up dried leaves
from last autumn,
coaxing out those last goodbyes
before my breath runs cold.
if i'm telling the truth, i'd tell you that
it stills hurts,
that sometimes during the nights
i forget where i am and
i think of you breaking, again and again
and it kills me like it killed you.
and all i can do is
scream half-asleep begging for something
for some change i know i won't get.
but i can't say that,
instead i tell you that this is all
everything eventually heals.
every loss, that pierces your heart like a
bullet shot twice,
For centuries a throne room lies in waiting
For a king who has lost his way home
The land grows barren,
No sign of hope is left
In the depths of the sea
Sirens sing of a prophecy,
Legend has foretold the coming of
When a man learns to stand
On his wounded legs,
In front of the thing he fears
Without running back
A throne room lies in waiting for destiny
To light the empty lantern
A crown sits on top of a vessel
Who sees nothing but his loss
In the lines of his own two hands,
Blood like water
Runs like a river,
Down from his legs
To the ground beneath his feet,
Where shall he ever find the courage that he seeks?
Loosely inspired by the Fisher King
a boy is fleeing
from the flames with
embers at his feet,
he chokes on the nostalgia
of the lost
swearing it was the last
time he'd ever go back,
a boy flees from
and yet, these flames
never seem to leave his
his hands turn to smoke
during the night,
like a cry for help
before he’s all burnt out.
your hands bring roses,
like a red death
hurtling from space
right into my palms.
i know this gesture
all too well, i have seen
a night emerge
out of memory with your
across the blood moon
time wanders the hollowness of my
roaming like a lost bird
through the skies that ache.
it carves out years and centuries
until nothing but the era of healing
must take its place.
time wanders within me, searching for something
to bridge the path between what was then
and what is now without killing me.
and when the era dawns upon me, at last
my hollowness will bloom white roses,
instead of red,
until i am nothing
but a fading beauty covered
from head to toe
in all that you call –– healing.
i find it harder and harder write, which is why i'm always falling behind.
how does one continue his journey without looking back to see what he has turned from? he cannot.
for he is tethered to his past, no matter how far he runs from it.
he is bound to run back to the thing that broke him, just to see if, after all this time, it still does.
excerpt from an incomplete poem
are not eyes they are
pools of yearning,
solemnly running through
reflecting everything in you
this is why you keep your gaze down
it is not that
you are not separate
from me which makes me restless;
it is that you are of me.
that i see you
and with you is my aks, reflection.
what nature of vanity
is this, my love —i look to you and see only myself?
Aks: urdu word for reflection
do you see how brilliantly
the light from the other side
shall i carry the veil of my soul
towards it? shall i fly gloriously
into as it cascades in abundance?
oh, shall i meet the warmth i have
been starved of at last?
finally it is near, near enough to engulf me,
do i dare disturb this peaceful wakening?
sink to the bottom
of my stomach, rotting
like old, over-ripened fruits
with seeds of doubt growing
after a lifetime
a voice emerges from
the depths of the past,
and with its arrival
a memory that has slept
out of grief,
awakes once more with
hope tucked under both arms
the shades of your emergence
stains the nights
i have spent in suffering
with a light,
i swear there is a new
dawn grazing the ocean,
awaiting in the
golds of your eyes, hiding in
the shadows of your words
some people never stay
long enough for you
to say goodbye.
sometimes they leave quietly
while you are lost in thought,
some people leave as if
they never existed.
they leave you with nostalgia filling in
empty spaces between your words,
a knot tying
to your chest,
a heaviness settling
another goodbye wedged to
the bridge of your throat,
some people leave
not knowing how
much they left behind
i run into mirages so often
i am no longer sure of reality
there lies an empty well
no matter how much i fill it
it never fills
my hands have turned red
carrying buckets of regrets,
it digs deeper with every
sharp intake of a breath
sometimes the sun
is so bright that
my eyes play tricks on me,
i see oasis’s in places they
a flickering lantern
by your door,
i think it is in hopes
of my return
but i run into mirages so
often... i am too weary to run after
you, for surely you’ll
disappear the very second
my fingertips start to reach
i have travelled
with parched lips splitting scarlet,
crescent eyes wandering the skies
searching for a meaning
that cannot be found
something like courage sleeps
tentatively between my brow,
my hands reach within me and
come back shaking,
both palms filled with fear
yet i do not dare lift an eyelash
at fate, it tests me as it must,
i suffer as i should
this is the life of a musafir, *
a journey of the self that never ends, a pain that lives almost infinitely
and every breath
that passes, passes through in breaks
*musafir: persian word for traveler, wanderer, passenger, etc.
feels unfinished but i’m okay with it
there are places so warm
that they are not of this world.
rather they seem as if they linger
in the realm of
a colossal sanctuary veiled
overflow with rivers
running with the sun on
their backs; glinting in speckled
gold and silver armor
with a warmth no one is
ever able to touch.
you are breathtaking
with every turn i turn,
there is no place worldly enough
to contain you.
you are so unreal i am sure, i
must still be dreaming
a dream i dreamt so long ago.
some memories are difficult to
forget because they
hold such warmth
within them; so much light
that you are sure it must be what
keeps away all your darkness.
i think that is why some people never let go.
like me, i still hold onto
you as if i cannot separate
my life from the smile on your face.
and that is why, despite the ache,
i hold your lost love within me.
that is why, the pain of letting you go still
lingers in the notches of my back, the space
between my lungs, and every bone in me
lives with your loss.
you once yelled out all
your secrets into the cold of the night,
thinking that your words
were swallowed by the void
but the night carried your
secrets, poured them all down with
that fell onto your streets,
until every alleyway knew the words you
stitched to your chest
you run from place to place,
never staying long enough
to catch a breath.
what keeps you on your
toes, wanderer? why are you so afraid
of the thing you love the most?
why run city to city, when you know
you can never outrun your truth?
tell me all about your
what love have they seen
to make them break with such color?
for their beauty aches with
the brilliance of stars.
veiled in tinges of blues and greens.
it is as if they have swallowed
the sorrows of the seas
so much magic in you,
i forget you are human
your hand does not meet mine
all the way,
it is just close enough for
me to feel its warmth
this, this my love is a story
unlike any other
it will break this gossamer sky apart
* please, don’t look away just yet *
your eyes meeting my eyes
is a reunion
that even the silken moon waits
how do i tell you
how unworldly i feel in your presence?
are we infinite for a finite moment in time?
is this our death?
i never grasped the tranquility of
it until you spoke
to my soul so softly,
i must have,
surely i must have,
i must have died
my poems are getting considerably cheesier, apologizies
they say to me that patience
is a seed, covered in the soil of the earth.
plunged in darkness.
buried like death with the hope of life.
but no one knows that better than me,
for i have been waiting for
something i will never receive.
i tend to my roses,
knowing that they
have wilted and withered
into the warmth of the earth
yet i still wait for the bloom,
like a sign of redemption,
but the death of roses has not a drop of life.
they will not bring with them the hope
for a new day
no matter, no matter
how long i wait
a dying man finds the light in his last breath. even after years spent in utter darkness, his eyes touch the light so softly
he arrives to his death with a flickering drop of hope and pours it into his grave before he lays.
they bury him under the cloak of the night with the earth running over his shoulders, encasing him forever within her
and the drop of hope that filled his grave turned his very being into dust.
the very dust that sits in the parting of your lips.
i am afraid of fate.
for it seems that i have found a light in you.
i am terrified that you might become the message of my death,
that you might be what turns me to dust.
you spent most of your
life watching people leave
even though they meant the world
and you never get used it.
it still hurts.
every goodbye ever spoken
wakes you up from your dreams
and in the middle of the night
you look up into the sky,
will it ever be you who’s leaving
and not the one who’s left
during the nights
i barely scratch the surface of sleep
before the sun pours over my eyes,
reminding me of another day i cannot
bear the strength to carry
i am stuck, it seems, in two different worlds
wedged between the conscious
i am a nomad wandering the
middle ground of two realities,
caught in the crease of two pages
of the same book
i am bound to nothingness
or perhaps nothingness is bound to me
an ache sifts through me,
drawing out the years from my life
leaving me to count my days in sighs
during the night,
sleep leaves like an old friend and
i cannot stop the tears
when he says his last goodbye.
maybe i am better as just words
better as a faceless,
hidden under the cloak
something as intangible
as the air you breathe
something like an illusion,
like a mirage painted in a dusted
i am better off when
i almost cease to exist
sometimes i think
i can say goodbye to anyone
because i said goodbye to you
and that nearly killed me.
but it is only when someone
i realize how empty i will become
and i cannot bear the thought
of losing another person
i expected your loss
to make me stronger
but in truth, i break at the very
sound of goodbyes
you have doomed me to
cling to people,
however little i have of them
last night my mother
held my face in her merciful hands
and told me to smile.
i looked into her eyes and saw
so much worry, my heart sank deeper
for her sake
i lifted the corners of my mouth.
"there," she says, "this is not the age for sadness."
she kissed my forehead, parting with a blessing
may the night pass over you well."
the night shall pass, however it does.
but mother, dear mother,
how shall this sadness, for sadness has no age
to the one who called my name beautiful
and ran into the night with it,
you left me with nothing in my
hands except a few words of
goodbye that i still can’t
let go of
sometimes the night breaks open
upon me like an old wound,
i can almost hear the darkness
call out my name
but i don’t dare walk down
that path again
my heart has been restless,
sleep abandoned me in a dream
where your loss embedded itself
like a body in a grave
to the one who called my name beautiful
and ran into the night with it,
i have been searching for something
to fill this void, but nameless things
never seem to do
somewhere out there
is the truth,
ask the sun on my back.
my mother says
marriage is a war
she never stops fighting.
she warns me of sacrifice.
the ability to bend my back.
to stretch my limbs.
to bite my tongue until it
this is how she taught a
so do not worry.
when we meet
i will be ready.
i’ve been fighting all
kinds of wars my whole life.
just ask the sun on my back,
this is the truth.
i’ve got battle scars to
prove it too.
[when mothers teach their daughters to submit to the will of someone else, it becomes the unpardonable sin]
look up ‘the unpardonable sin’ nathaniel hawthorne
last night i dreamt
a bullet escaped from your lips and
seared its head into
the crook of my neck
and i stood there in scarlet,
my last thought before i woke
painted my veins with life,
“i will survive this.
i will survive you.”
even in my dreams you are the death of me
a yearning in me
begs to go back to a place
that no longer exists.
i am lost in the shadows
of time’s eternal fold,
aimlessly wandering from one world to the next.
aching to meet your ephemeral being somewhere in the Between
i write words on
but i know they will only bloom on the
dawn of our reunion
and i have said my farewells
to the night you left me in,
i rose like smoke
smoldering against the sun
it is dawn again,
but i am alone
perhaps, at last, you have lost your
way to me
lost your way to me, just like i knew you would
there is something in the way you hide your fears, the way you burn your darkness
the way the shadow of your nightmares
dance across your face
the way you say you’re
but every letter is hanging with a thread
there is something in the way you hide your fears with a ghost of a smile,
i try to believe
you’re telling me the truth
but i know what grief does,
how it changes you
this is the art of drowning,
i can see it in the way your lungs are burning
but you don’t dare scream out,
you don’t even put up a fight
the waves are consuming you,
but with all this fire you still can’t burn out an entire ocean
you can’t escape from this one
this is your fear
this is your death
this. is. how. it. goes.
sometimes i think i can almost see
a flickering light from the corner of my sight
and i think it is hope with eyes like fire glinting
but when i turn my head to look
i see nothing but a heavy
breath filled with regret
and grief floods through me again like blood