poems

Sunday best

I pace

Throwing windows open

Moonwalking across rooms

Playing a jarring melancholy that hums along the floors

Staring back at my dry aesthetic

Ripping through cloth to find the right lie

Thrust in steam and scent

Molested with intoxication in older shades

Mona Lisa painting now

And then I pause

My feet forget how to pace

Standing high, jewelled

Breathing in the obscure lyric

Imagining a simulation

Where everything is the same

Except for me

And it looks so much better now

Quieter how

This is probably what Van Gogh’s left ear felt like

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poems etc.

Woman

It was a thin wire

Spindly thin

And she walked on it

Carefully fast

With her pink clown shoes

As she tried to keep

Her diminishing locks

From prying into her one eye

For the other eye

Was a blind glass

The beautiful Nazi blue

 

They gave her

 

 

So, with her tired arms

And bony fingers

She wobbled

The deadly waltz

With a sly hoop

Dancing on her neck

And twisting into her hair

 

Holding her back

 

 

And the hall gasped

As she spun

And almost slipped off

Unexpectedly

But the greased line

A loving mother

Kept her bleeding heels

 

Steadily sloped

 

 

“It would be a miracle if she made it”

they whispered

in between their thin mints

and garlic popcorn

 

Two tickets for a dollar

Tampons were more expensive.

my life

Alaska

I scanned it…

Twenty times today.

That was three more than last time.

And last time was last month when I said happy birthday but I could see through those straight lines that you weren’t as glad.

And ten times more before that.

When you told me how to get over you, as if cutting you off was it for me.

It felt like it was more for you.

And I guess I seemed pathetic then, but I could never be that.

Because nothing could convince me to cash out on all the hours.

And all the effort I burnt…

To light myself up, once.

To give up on all our conversations and everything I wanted to see. To hear. To feel.

Wilted.

You said you wanted to know me more.

And I guess I was the water that killed the wick, because I was out before we could even work.

The scented candle slowly spent itself on the crumbling wood of my time. Stained with indecent rot that filled me as it left you.

And you’re coming back tomorrow. But the scan tells me you’re not worth melting for anymore.

I just wish I hadn’t wasted my match on your cold golden eyes.

Because my box is almost out of sparks.

And its getting colder in Alaska everyday.

poems etc.

Bondage

With every echoing moan

I forget our war against the patriarchy

And now

I’m swamped with these moments

Where I’m more animal than woman

And with each lyric of my night

I wonder if its wrong

To be this submissive

To feel power in losing control

I wonder if my sisters would 

look at me different

With hot purple sex bloated on my back

And

I wish I could be honest  

About my color

But when I wake up

I don’t know how to explain tough love

And hide from you

Because its this sad confusion

That whips me harder than them 

And its in this chaos

Where I truly lose myself

And fear finally hits my floodgates

Enslaved to an undying sadistic culture

Tied down with no safe word

my life, poems etc.

Outstation

We went like we came

With loud speed and uncertainty

But long walks and daybreak took us in

And with the sun we rose

Finding each other in the mountain air

And calm lakes from another time

Suspended in moments etched within rocks darker than night

We floated home on a cloud

And closed our eyes

my articles

Chawl

 Zakir’s chappals slapped the concrete as he walked back home, exhausted. For him home was a hole in the wall. A hole shared by his mother and baby sister along with a host of crawling guests that visited unannounced. A hole that smelled like burnt rotis and sewage. A hole that was carved out by impatient hands on a small budget. The walls of Bombay had many such holes and many Zakirs. Too often had Bombay seen these drooping shoulders supporting sunken cheeks and beady eyes. And too often had Bombay lulled itself to sleep to the sounds of their snores and silences. Snores that oft wheezed into silences.

Zakir was one of the many ants living in this wall, united by the moments of our community. Where nothing was yours or mine- it was always ours, even if you didn’t want it to be. So when Manto bought a television set in 1983 Ameena aunty broke a coconut on its frame. The good wishes split the display into two worlds and nothing had ever been as exciting as the ‘83 world cup on a buffering display of perpetual suspense. Like many other things at the chawl, its defect made it ours more than theirs. And so when the one-eyed dog walked into our walls for the week or when the rain outstayed its welcome, we did not complain. Because like the brick and cement, these glitches of poverty were all that we owned and all that made us feel safe. Because while they drank milk out of packets every day, the only milk we had known was the one Allah gave for the early six months of life. Because while we stank of hell and sin, the familiar musk of penury reminded us of all things we were and loved.

And so we remember, through the symphony of cracked backs and shouting children, that we have enough. That while we are more mortal we are more awake than the shiny people racing past our lives, afraid that destitution was contagious. Our deaths are ours and so are our births. The missing are never talked about and nor are any other plagues. We battle disease and dance with infernal fires that knock down our doors- chasing us. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of the print, so we never bothered with a paper. The roll count before sleeping was the only progress report we needed, Zakir’s chappals reminding us that we were alive.

my life, poems etc.

Smoke

The pink child met

Some purple infidels

And in them did she confide

But come sundown

Purple became brown

And rainbows ebbed into darker skies

With the pale sickle

Bearing witness 

The pink lit angry flames

Between porcelian teeth

And with each pull

The smoke swirled 

Within her smiling memory

Then come scarlet daybreak

She mixed with the Gray

And walked amongst damned purple 

Pink now gone 

The little fawn

Was devoured by the screaming lion