The Mouthless Woman

The drip of a leaky tap

Has turned into a gush of blood.

I am terrified of time:

Its malevolent, fickle movements.

The night no longer embraces me

In its absolute blackness:

I can hear all of its voices now.

I fear if I turn just an inch,

They will tear my skin off.

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I find myself being afraid

Of so many, many things.

I am so full of secrets.

History’s pull is stringer now

I dare not imagine a future

Rid of yesterday’s scratches and screams.

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I fear I will turn

Into the mouthless woman

Decked in her father’s sweat

And her mother’s tired expectations.

The mouthless woman is dangerous:

She lets him have her life.

More importantly, when she finds a voice

It will only say, “Keep your eyes down, dear”,

“Do not provoke them, daughter”,

Or worst, “you’ll grow up to be just like me”.

What to Make of You

Writing 201: Poetry

Day#7 Prompt: Fingers, Form: Prose poem, Device: Assonance

I could look at your restless long fingers the whole day long.Your soft, fond fingers rubbing my aching back so tender, so gentle. Your nervous fingers, fumbling confusedly as you speak to someone you don’t know. Fingers that fail at tying my hair. Experts at holding me before I fall and dividing food. Fingers that lazily tap on your stupid phone. Make me feel loved, make me feel covered through their warmth, no, their heat, through all the different ways they know to touch. Scare me like nothing ever has or ever will when you are angry, the grip of your fingers so icy, so strong on my arm that I am choked. I don’t know what to make of you or your fingers: should I trust the warmth or the cold anger? Your fingers lay waiting and apprehensive as your mouth asks for forgiveness. My eyes are still fixed on your fingers to read what you’ll do next.

Dear Brother

BlogHer prompt for Tuesday, November 11: If you could permanently get rid of one worry, what would it be?

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Dear Brother,

They told me when before I left home

Cover your legs, keep your eyes down

Don’t get dark in the sun and

Get back before the sun sets.

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They say they worry for me brother.

Why do they not worry so for you?

Is life easier for you than for me

Advice and warning echoing in my head

Even after its been said, whirling inside

With images of wide eyes and shaking heads

At everything I do.

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Why do they worry so, brother?

Do you know what it’s like,

The weight of those worries?

Do you carry them with you,

All those people who worry,

When you step out, smile or do?

Because they are with me, even when I sleep.

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Dear brother, sometimes I want to be you

But then I remember what they worry for

They worry about what someone like you

Could do to someone like me.

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And then, I don’t want to be you

Not the monster who makes them worry

Not that gender that automatically labels you

As dangerous, making them worry about me.

Travelling through the Inside of a Skull

BlogeHer Prompt for Friday, November 7: Where is the one place you would never want to go on vacation that other people seem to love?

I do not know why people so eagerly want

To read the map of other people’s minds

And travel through the inside of a skull.

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Don’t they know that the way is not safe?

Full of dark, dirty secretive streets,

Their foundations shaken, cracks everywhere?

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The people so twisted, ugly and stupid

Ghastly shadows of what they are outside

Inside his head this is how he thinks of you

A rather smelly little shop, almost empty.

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The bed you sleep in after the day

So uneven you cannot sleep

The shadows the curtain sways to

Creeping into every corner of your head

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And when finally you leave that skull

And stop reading that map,

And come back to your own,

To realize with horror,

That place stands nothing in comparison

With the darkness of your abode?

The Day My Friend Cried

Writing 101: Unlock the Mind

This post is written in context of the flood that is ravaging Jammu and Kashmir, India currently. This is a personal account of a friend’s grief. If you can contribute towards the cause, please do.

I saw her cry for the first time. The person whom I thought was the strongest in the world. The person who goes through more in a year than what I have gone through throughout my life. She cried in my arms. As her sobs travelled up her body, I felt so inadequate trying to contain her sorrow in my arms. But I couldn’t let go.

Her parents hadn’t called her in five days. She didn’t know where her sister was, or half of her relatives. Were they alive and stuck? Had they been rescued by the army? Or, was it…too late? She didn’t know. Being away from it all made it harder. It was her land that was drowning, her people that were isolated. And all she could do was cry in my inadequate arms, trying to contain the sorrow within her. There was nothing she could do. Helplessness is the most painful emotion. It compounds grief and kills fleeting moments of relief. She was helpless because she was away. She was alone because she wasn’t there.

She scans the news every day. When I sit next to her in class, I see her refresh her screen every now and then. Her eyes are constantly drawn towards the unresponsive phone, as if staring at it would make it ring. For the first time, I see that the allure of Literature has failed to seduce her. As our teacher talks about Eliot’s existentialism and Hemingway’s sparse writing style, her mind roams, refusing to be captivated by words which she’d hung on to eagerly, earlier.

I do not know how to comfort her. I hug her as tightly as I can, trying to contain the sorrow, letting her know that she’s not alone. But when she looks at me and says, “What will I go back to? Everything will have changed. When the hard earth which I can feel on my palm begins to slip away from my grasp, what is home anymore?”

I cannot answer her.

What I Want to Say

I wish I could tell you

What I actually feel 

But if I don’t know the words myself,

How can I explain what it’s like

To be me?

 

I wish I could 

Make you listen to

Every insignificant detail

Of my unimportant life

And bore you with stories

Of everyday ordinariness. 

But if I can’t tell you the big things

How can I even hope to explain

Why these little things mean 

So much to me?

 

I wish we could sit together

One quiet evening and talk,

But what if words ended up betraying us?

Could we just look at each other

And listen to what is so difficult to be said?

 

Or will we end up just hearing

The sound of our own voices

Muting out each other, 

Refusing to listen, refusing to understand?

 

I will never know,

Because I will never say

What I want to say.

The Street Light

The street was empty, dark and desolate

Its quietness whispered something only I could hear,

And spellbound, I soaked in the colour of the night. 

 

The cold light from the ATM in the corner

And the occasional blinking car speeding by

Reminds me where I am, and my fear

Takes the colour of the street light:

A dull yellow, used to shining every night.

 

Yet, my legs refuse to move faster.

I pause for a moment, and shut my eyes,

Feeling the November cold brushing my ears. 

I block out the lights, the cars, until I feel

The magical perfection of the night,

In a way I can never feel when my eyes are open,

When my fear shines dully, like the street light.