Posted in Verses

Someone I Knew Died The Day Before

Someone I knew died the day before.

Someone I knew
Briefly, for a day,
Died,
Quietly, of age, at peace,
The day before.
Someone I knew died the day before,
While I drank and laughed and sang.
He took in his last breath
While I held mine underwater
And learnt to swim for the first time.
Someone I knew for but a day,
An year ago from today,
Died in his sleep while I lay awake
On a terrace, counting stars,
Till a rooster crowed.
An year ago from today,
He talked to me of a foreign land,
Of exotic fruits,
Of half-forgotten phrases;
Of borders and tongues that yielded to his heart,
And a war that heralded his return.
Someone I knew, and forgot about,
Died the day before;
A quiet blip in my universe.
He died, and so I remembered,
A foreign land, a phrase, a war;
Someone I knew died the day before,
And, in death,
Reminded me of life.
Posted in Verses

The Pleasures Of Travel

Long and winding railway lines

Fleeting scenes at the window side;

Sweaty tees, dirty jeans

And a breeze to cool the brow;

A friendly face, an open book

A charging port for the dying phone;

Hungry strides, misspelt paths

Flirty smiles off a stranger’s lips,

Wings and dreams, casual memories

And a home to return to.

Posted in Verses

Phantom

If I were to never gaze

At a mirror again

I wonder if my reflection would miss me.

I wonder if it’d spend long days

In the shadows

Awaiting my return.

If it’d search for the sole entity

That lay bare before itself

Without shame, or glory

Without a need

To put a name to each seething scar

As we nod in quiet understanding.

If I were to hide away

For the rest of my days

I wonder if my reflection

Would step in stealth

Out of dented vessels

Or cool clear waterfalls

To catch a glimpse of me.

I wonder if it’d spend nights craving

Sunlight and glitter

And the bending of light

Like I do.

I stare at my counterpart

As it traces the curves and plains

Of its bare body,

Inviting me to do the same on mine.

We relish each mole, each dip, each nascent wrinkle

And spill each other’s secrets

In that moment of intimacy.

I let my eyes wander,

Fondling the fantasy of the perfect companion

Only to have lights flicker,

And banish it from existence

In the blink of an eye,

Leaving me wondering

If it weren’t simply a mad woman’s dream

To seek company

In phantoms of the mind.

Posted in Verses

Enough

You and I –

We were never the stuff

Of gallant ballads

Of sweet fairytales

Of another’s lyrics.

You and I –

We were never the stuff

Of fantasy

Of ecstasy

Of lunacy.

You and I –

We never made for stories

Of mad desire

Of the heart’s allure

Of tales stellar.

Not enough photographs

Not enough video snaps

Not enough artsy scribbles

To make for a pretty picture;

Not enough montages

Not enough brush strokes

Not enough bokehs

Floating idly in the background;

Not enough of fairy lights

Not enough of stardust

Not enough of angels

Singing into the nights.

You and I –

We never could be

The stuff of poetry

Or whimsical daydreams.

But what we could be

Is real,

And that’s good enough

For me.

Posted in Verses

Some Day

Some day,

I’ll wake up

And stare at these lyrics

Uncomprehending;

Some day,

I’ll stop

Having to filter your words

From everyday banter;

Some day,

I’ll see all that lies ahead

And none that cowers behind;

Some day,

I’ll finally have forgotten you

And all you represent;

Some day,

I’ll break out unblemished

In to the sunshine,

Some day.

Some day.

Posted in Verses

The Wait

Did the rhythm of my heartbeat

Not guide your feet;

Did the warmth of my embrace

Not leave a trace?

Did the song on my lips

Or the sway of my hips

Not remind you of the dream

We redeemed?

Did the call of my footsteps

Not wreck your days

The dancing, the missteps,

My fall from grace

Did the chatter of raindrops

Misguide my hopes;

Did a heady mountain brew

Drive wayward you?

Oh my love, could it be

That I never did see,

How the paths I wrought

Were ones you never sought…?

Posted in Verses

Railroads

I see you
You see me.
The cool metal beneath our feet
As we walk on either side of a railroad 
Holding hands.

The same shudders pass through us
As a train rumbles in the distance;
The same wind that rustles your hair
Rustles mine.

We shower in the same rains
Wilt under the same sun;
Shadows of each other,
Bound by fingertips.

Parallel lives moving together,
Knowing we could never meet,
Not really.
Not really any closer than an arm's length
And not really any farther either.

But I suppose that's okay.

As long as I see you,
You see me, 
And we get to walk on,
Holding hands.

Posted in Verses

Stories

Are you the ghost of a dream

Or the dream of a younger self,

An obsession to be lost

Or a loss to be grieved,

A slice of my heart

Or a phantom in my brain,

The life of all my thoughts

Or the death of reality..?

.

I weave stories after stories

Of entangled memories –

A smile, a hug, a missed train ride,

Tears shed in the night,

A lonely song played on repeat,

Words lost when out of sight,

Days of eternal sunshine,

Coloured illusions of youth,

A wayward glance, a stolen kiss,

The taste of strawberries;

.

I weave stories after stories

Streaked with reds and blues

From the depth of every night

To the edge of sanity,

Stories after stories

Of what you and I could be

Even as my footsteps falter

And my fingers turn to dust.

Posted in Verses

She Replies

This is related to my previous post, although it does not strictly follow the other. These two together capture the tumultuous emotions that swirled within me after listening to conversations surrounding a molestation allegation. Why not earlier? Why anonymous? Why not a formal complaint? Perhaps this is why. She replies.

How could I? She replies

How could I come out with tales

Of rough hands and sharp nails

That grazed places it shouldn’t.,

Of hungry glances

That licked the smile off my lips

Drank the sway off my hips

Till I lay cold and motionless.,

How could I name

When I knew that shame

Was an inheritance

Meant to adorn my body alone.

How could I, when I know

That I can remember.

That I can remember

The time when I stayed out past midnight

The day my shirt hugged my bosom

And the skirt my thighs.

That I can remember

The one time I sipped on a cocktail

Of laughter and merriment

And spewed dirty secrets.

That I can remember

The rare ride I accepted

The white lie I once told

The kiss I once stole in high school.

How could I speak out,

When I know that if I can remember all this,

So can you.

How could I, when I’d rather

Build a tattered facade

Than dare see my vices on display.

How could I,

When I’d rather make myself forget

Than make you remember.

Posted in Verses

They ask

It was quite sudden, the uproar of WhatsApp status updates from my contacts yesterday. Repetitive screen shots of four words and a hashtag – we stand with you; #respecther. Soon the matter came to light, anonymous messages on a group page had led to the unravelling of a cascade of molestation charges against a senior. I mentioned it to two friends. Both of them reverted with the same question.. why now? With the world neck-deep in the Corona virus crisis, is this a good time? And in that moment I realized, questions are all that the world ever really offers someone who comes out with an ugly truth.

.

Why now? They ask;

Why now

When the air is clear

And bright is dawn

Why now when the world

Has bigger problems of its own

Why now??

Don’t you know? They ask;

Don’t you know

That scandals are to be

Dispersed like hot pakoras,

Crispy and spicy

For all to relish,

Not moist and mouldy,

Seeped with the sweat

Of nightmares

And bloodied, having

Lain for so long

At the bottom of your heart..?

Don’t you see? They ask

Don’t you see

Our extravagant empathy

Turn to smirks in cosy corners

That the pat on your back

Was but a social stint

At being politically right;

Did you think? They ask,

Did you really think

My dear naïve child

That we have answers?