UNTIL THE LIGHTS COME BACK ON

When the power’s out

And the house we call home

Is engulfed in a deep penetrating darkness,

Each of us independent beings

Living under a single roof,

Wander out of our worlds

And gather in the living room

Like moths drawn to a fire.

 

In those hours of silence,

Conflict hides under the depths of the dark

And the pain from the years

Dance around the candlelight

Celebrating an unknown occasion,

Maybe because they can finally roam free

Without anyone noticing.

 

And the four of us occupy our sofas,

Sitting at various heights,

Our silhouettes like fluctuating heart rates

Against the yellow walls.

 

It’s a restricted peace, we know

Bound to the confines of the darkness

And exclusive to its limitlessness.

There, there is no need to escape

And no place to run.

There we are us,

 

Us, until the lights come back on.

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DEFEAT

I gave up on them a long time ago

 

Let  the  truth  drip

Like  honey

Graze  your  lips

And  down  your neck

To the space between  your  breasts

It will be hot and burning

Sizzling

Like a fire burns beneath it.

Pop. And. Sizzle.

Slow. Rhythmic. Confusing.

Slow then fast

And faster and faster and faster

Sizzling and snaring,

Snarling, biting, clawing

Blood and tears and broken skin

Flesh beneath, bone under

Gnawing and clawing

Burning  burning  burning

No answers, no treasure beneath it all

Just questions

Relentless, evil

Questions that will not stop screaming

Your mind a scrambled mass of noise

No one to calm it

Silence sits quietly away,

Close enough to tickle,

Too far to grab.

 

And the bones, they sizzle,

Slowly powdering away

Ashes and dust,

Bones and flesh and skin,

And a fire beneath it all.

 

I gave up on them a long time ago.

SOME DAYS

Some days

She could feel the weight of the world

Pushing down on her shoulders,

Her wing-like collarbones

Shedding blackened feathers,

Their fragility exposed

Under brute force.

On those days

She seemed to fold into herself,

Back slumped so that

Her knees dug into her chest

Leaving marks

Like the stains of a coffee cup

On white marble.

On those days

Although her breath

Caught in the wrong places

Like a break

In a sentence,

Abrupt and uncalled for,

Although her body shivered and shook

Under the weight

Like an earthquake on loose land,

Although every inch of her being

Screamed resistance in every tongue,

On those days,

She gathered the fallen feathers

And straightened her spine,

Dug her nails into the ground

And pushed herself off of it.

And just like that

The world knew nothing of her sorrow.

DRAWN OUT

Now that the old memories have been clouded over

With the shadows of the now,

I find myself wishing-

Wishing I could pull out the good days

From the tangle of memories you hold in your palm,

Draw out those threads

And run them across the length of my fingers,

Carefully push them through a needle

And weave them into the fabric around my shoulders.

Until you cannot see one thread from another

And the colours seep through skin and muscle,

Leaving a warmth only nostalgia can provide.

GAMES

Let’s play pretend.

You can be man and I can be girl.

So, of course, you can be dismissive,

You can ignore, you can choose not to listen,

You can stay away mentally, choose to forget,

You must shut down emotionally, of course,

Close doors to conversation and embrace denial.

And I, I’ll be the one who gets hurt,

I’ll bear the brunt of your choices,

I’ll cry myself to sleep countless times,

Hold your cigarette in my hand late one night

And wonder how it could give you,

And take away from me simultaneously.

I will walk past you without looking,

And feel tears well up watching you around me,

I’ll try to forget the memories,

Bury them in places no one will ever get to,

I will watch the disintegration, the collapse,

Of a relationship that the world filled with clichés,

And I will learn to survive,

I   will   learn   to   survive.

THERE

There’s no space anymore,

Just noises and people.

And I, I’m in the gaps,

In the pauses between words,

In the silent sighs and unseen tears,

I’m in the by-lanes and turns no one takes,

I’m in the breaks in sobs,

I’m the one in traffic,

Who thinks he can slink by without anyone noticing,

I’m the stuff they write in brackets in screenplays,

I’m the aside, the prop behind the real show,

I’m in the nervous shaking hands and shuffling feet,

I’m the candlelight in an electrically lit room,

I’m the tiny, tiny sliver of glass that no one swept away when the vase broke.

I’m the silent breakdown no one knows about.

I’m the things that go unnoticed,

But matter nonetheless.

BACK AND FORTH

There’s an air of anger that hangs between them now. Thick with unspoken words and quiet simmering rage it lies- a path with dying flowers; one that neither chooses to use to get to the other. Every interaction is shrouded with veils of naked child-like pain- almost completely and beautifully vulnerable, but for the walls the two have built in silent defense. They know that the walls are shields and barriers simultaneously. And somewhere along the way, both decided that now,  the shields are worth the barriers.

THE FORGOTTEN FILES

There are too many dates,

Too many marked days

On tattered calendars lying in bottom drawers

Of rusty metal cupboards,

Days marked out in red and black and deep purple

For memorial services and candle marches.

You don’t give them names,

They are numbers in a death toll,

Statistics and coloured bar graphs in a presentation

At work or in forgotten files,

They are blurred images of photographs

Next to flowers leaning on cracked walls,

They are the manifestations of your fears

For your loved ones,

They are newspaper headlines and

Random names in well-designed paragraphs,

Written and edited and filtered and scanned,

Copied and copied and copied

Until one reaches your doorstep, crisp with newness,

To go with your morning cup of chai.

They were lives and humans,

Flesh and blood and warm breath,

They were wives and husbands,

Family and friends,

They were happy and sad and anxious,

They were feelings and desires and love,

And they matter beyond your realm of selfish care,

They matter because they were them,

Not because they could have been you

Or someone you knew.

They are more than what you imagine,

Human lives behind the shadowy ink of print,

And though it was them that faced the fires,

It is your vision that is blurred by the smoke.

#5 RESOLUTION

There is a heart,

Badly damaged.

It has been hurt too much,

Sometimes by its own doing,

But hurt nonetheless.

There is a shattered box,

The cobwebs within it ripped apart,

The thin wisps hanging shamefully-

Ornaments no one will ever really know.

A hammer lies fallen among the debris,

The centre of a powerful ripple,

Unknowingly destroying everything in its wake.

There is a girl

With scattered thoughts,

Crouching in pain, holding her chest in her hands,

Holding it together like a bouquet of flowers

Whose scent holds mysteries of untold stories.

She is picking needles out of her skin

One after the other,

And blood gushes out like water in a broken dam-

Finding freedom in unlikely places.

It does not hurt her, her tears are gone,

She is wounded, yes,

But the fears are gone.

#4 FALLING ACTION

When you hold your breath for long enough,

When you keep the secrets in long enough,

You forget what it’s like to live without them.

You forget the normalness of rhythmic breathing,

And the freedom of your lungs-

Rising, falling, filling in, letting go.

You forget what it’s like to live without the pain,

Without the angst, without the agony.

She used to feel like thick clouds of smoke

Were clogging her airway.

But now,

The smoke has cleared.

And the truth

It lies bare, naked,

Vulnerable.