Loving the Night

You never understood why I love the night like I do

Maybe you never thought about things I love –

Only what I could and couldn’t do.

And the nights were definitely dangerous,

You had decided.

Soon, I started avoiding shadows for you.

.

Now I discover myself again in inky skies

The stars kiss parts of me you never saw

And I smile, because I can never explain

The allure of obscurity to one who glows

Under the gaze of the sun.

.

I, who wait hungrily for sunsets,

How could I have dared to love

The prodigy of the sun?

I, who am wrapped in darkness,

How could I have thirsted

For your burning touch?

.

Tonight, a cool wind

Strokes my bare arms

My burns are fading now,

But I wonder, if you still shiver

In places I touched with my cold hands,

If you still secretly yearn for shadows

And long to return to the cave of my embrace.

Don’t Call Me at 4 AM

Don’t call me at 4 AM

The thirty seconds of that call

Will fill up the hours of today,

And I will think of you more often

At a time I’m trying to forget.

.

You’re friends with strangers now –

They don’t call me when you want help.

Or maybe these friends aren’t to blame –

Maybe I am not the one you think of

When you are drunk, or want when sick.

.

I had turned invisible, I know that now.

You found pleasure in white and blue lights

On your lap that reflected in your eyes

While I sat next to you, hoping

My smile could light up your eyes again.

.

Don’t call me at 4 AM.

I used to draw a list of things

To tell you about – little events

That would be consequential

When I shared them with you.

.

The lists lie unopened –

It doesn’t matter.

I cannot read their contents anymore.

.

Your number stopped lighting up

My phone’s screen or my face

A long time ago.

It was more of an emergency number:

Call when sick, suicidal or dying;

Expect a response only when my tears

Can hold you hostage before they dry up.

.

Don’t call me at 4 AM

When you couldn’t call me every day

Or at 9 PM twice a week.

The phone didn’t ring, your voice

Never told me to stop waiting.

.

I don’t wait any longer.

Thirty seconds should not fill

The hours of today with regret

When an entire year lies naked –

Covered only with memories

I had to stretch to every corner.

.

Don’t call me at 4 AM

My sleepy voice isn’t for your ears

You cannot fill up today’s hours

Before you cover up for an entire year

That lies too cold, clinging to a past

Which no longer means anything.

How to be Shady

Walk around in sweatshirts that fit your boyfriend

Arriving for a lecture, your classmates must question

If you’d been down with dengue, or better yet,

Who the hell is that person?

Sing passionately while you walk down the streets

Stare back at those who look at you

Don’t post on social media, but stalk

All those who splash their lives onscreen.

Haunt places no one goes to, gaze lovingly

At the dull glow of your laptop.

Earphones must be plugged on at all times.

Avoid eye contact. Widen your eyes.

Get semi naked at home and groove

To songs by artists who’ve committed suicide.

Write a bit of sorry poetry –

Sleep with a sinister smile plastered on.

Surrender

Surrender is momentary

When in the ecstatic gasps of love

Nobody tells you about the after effects –

How everything you’ve let go

Will bite into your skin, making you

Cry out in pain, close your eyes

And beg for mercy, for no judgement.

.

You never knew your chest would ache

No matter how far you stretch that smile

Never knew familiar things suddenly stop

Imparting comfort, and stare at you

With round, strange eyes.

.

I tell you do not surrender

Don’t even give up an inch of yourself-

Those little parts are so integral

To hold you together.

Let go of people if you need to,

Give up things that don’t please you –

But hold on to you, you need to.

.

 

Let’s Dance

Let’s dance dance dance

Barefoot on top of all the mess,

With watery smiles to show we don’t care.

.

Let’s dance dance dance

Hold me close, let my lips touch your shoulders

So that the things that are shaking within me

Feel steady for a while, just a while.

.

Let’s dance dance dance

I don’t want to look into your eyes tonight

Don’t want to see for a while, just a while

Let’s keep swaying, the world’s stillness

Terrifies me. Hold me close, let’s dance.

.

We might be strangers now,

But in a moving universe

When I can lean on to you and close my eyes

I can almost be happy.

.

Let’s dance dance dance.

 

Light and Dark

 

I remember sunlight singing through your eyes

You surrounded by people, all in love with your brightness.

I saw you glow every day. You are beautiful –

And under that glare, you could see it and be happy.

.

Me, with eyes that drown the day in its midnight depths

Listening to dead musicians to feed my insomnia,

In love with Russians two centuries old

And euphoric from spotting two faint stars

Blinking in the clouded, dull Delhi sky.

.

There’s only so much the day

Can make love to the night.

When your brightness licked me up,

There were very few to mourn;

For who loves the dark more than light?

.

Maybe the night’s whimpering

Wasn’t heard in the day’s glee.

But I felt the empty spaces

That the shadows used to occupy –

My black tears didn’t count for much

In the dizzying radiance of your embrace.

.

Few cry when the night dies;

But it is a death, nevertheless.

 

The Novel I am Writing

I am writing a novel.

I haven’t written a single word,

But it has begun.

I’ve swallowed it;

I need to push it out.

It’s going to come out distorted,

But it has to come out

Or I’ll choke.

.

Tonight is strange

There’s that vague pain again

Clutching my chest with bony fingers

I feel tonight has infinite possibilities

But here, in my room,

Infinity is, yet again, too far away.

.

I erase the pain of the unwritten novel

And the night that quietly beckons me outside

By promising myself another night like this

Though you know, as much as I do,

How rare nights of infinite possibilities are.

.

Yet I sit in, coward I am,

Drenched in a sense of unworthiness

No amount of smiles can erase.

I lay bare tonight, and I’d rather not see

What I look like.

.

The novel mostly will never get written

And its pages will choke me

As my body folds in slowly

And crumbles, the delicate pages

Crying out through my wrinkling skin.

.

When I die, will I be remembered

As a person who loved words

But feared rejection so much

She never touched her beloved?

That is the saddest epitaph.