When People Move Away

When people move away, and you’re still in the same place

The same place turns into something strange:

It feels new because you seem to know nobody,

But it is still new because the new place excitement just isn’t there.

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When people move away, you finally realize

How your mother felt when you left home.

The phone calls are rituals, obligations,

Like a habit which when stopped hurts the other.

They don’t depend on you so much any more,

Don’t tell you what they do, and leave out the details.

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It sometimes scares you, always makes you sad

Do they not remember any more, the little things

That made things work? And sometimes, you wonder

If you’ll be the first they call, like they always did,

When nothing is going right, or they just want

A bit of love, a taste of home, a long hug…

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Or would the geographical barrier have succeeded

In separating them from you? Will you be strangers

Who smile uncomfortably at reunions,

And make small talk about separate lives?

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What makes relationships last, things work?

What makes the distance go away, so that

When you finally meet, it feels like home again?

Like the most comfortable love in the world?

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How to Fall Apart

You do it slowly, agonizingly

Remember the past as if it was

Another life, until it becomes so.

Realize that a photo changes

Every time you look at it.

Watch your phone, waiting

For it to ring, for loved voices

To fill your life with their stories,

And sigh when the phone never rings.

Sit somewhere solitary, probably with a view

Of an orange sunset fading into purple.

Feel parts of you that you thought were true

Leaving you, and feel the burn of it,

Like a bruise you realize you had

Only when it stings you while bathing.

Pin your expectations on something hazy,

Like people, or conversations, or the past,

And tell yourself again and again,

Life is not how you want it to be,

But still keep hoping for it to be.

In Memory of an Assault

Disclaimer: Not autobiographical

.

I wanted to scream when you were done with me

To rage and kick and pull out your hair and bite you

In my dreams I slap your face and watch it dissolve.

When I sleep I see a different world,

One where you live in a muddy pit

Dug from all the hot anger I felt.

I am vindicated in my imagination.

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In real life, I cannot scream,

Not when I see you. Your photos.

Emblems of your successful life.

Your clueless, perfect, nuclear family.

I want to cut you with my words

I want to laugh as you repent

What you’ve done, hidden for so long.

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Instead, I am forced to shake your hand

And be nice to your family

And answer your stupid questions

About my life.

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I watch your happy life.

Why is it that I am the one who hasn’t moved on?

Will I go to sleep everyday, exhausted from the ordeal of the everyday,

And wake up in the middle of the night

To feel your hands up my thighs?

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Why am I the one tired?

Why am I the one broken?

Why are my sentences incoherent and mundane?

Why is this a terrible poem?

The Lovely Lady in Grey

Writing201: Poetry

Day#6 Prompt: Hero/Heroine, Form: Ballad, Device: Anaphora, epistrophe

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The children loved to wait in the way

Where walked the lovely lady in grey

Their lives were mostly sad blues

The lady’s smile gave it a brilliant hue.

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The children were poor, you see

Their clothes were torn and dirty.

But when walked the lovely lady in grey

They felt the beam of the brightest part of the day.

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The children in wait every morning lay

For there walked the lovely lady in grey

She brought food, she lingered a while

They loved it best when she would smile.

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The children led rough lives in mean streets

And slept cold beneath tattered sheets

So when here walked the lady in grey

Her smile was like a pretty bouquet.

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One day the lovely lady in grey looked in the mirror

And decided life wasn’t worth living with all the horror

Her death mattered to few, no flowers on her grave except

The wayside flowers picked by the children who wept

For the lovely lady in grey.

The Photograph from Another Life

I stumble upon a photograph of you and me

You’re younger than I can recollect, and I am barely three

Your arms are around my brother, and around me

How deftly you hold us both, and how sweetly my brother smiles!

….

But why does my face freeze like I’ve been caught by surprise,

As if I was submerged in ice cold water?

Why do my eyes, which shone with such a childish happiness

Suddenly seem dull and sucked of reasons to smile?

Had it already started by then?

I don’t remember, I can’t remember

When, where, why, what I felt, why you did it

All I can see are your hands finding their way

Beneath, under, down, below

All I have are frustrating fragments of doors closing

And recurrent dreams of hands roving.

Now you see me, you smile.

I wonder, do my eyes still lose its glow

And my smile choke short

When I reply to your questions,

When I play the part of the perfect girl child?

I wonder why your hands couldn’t stop moving

Why they found rest

Only in places no one else visited.

I don’t know how I’ll feel the next time I see you

Now that I have realized

What happened behind those doors

When my mind was too young to form into memory

All that you did to me.

Will I be angry? Will I cry?

Or will I just feel tired,

So tired that all I want to do

Is curl up and sleep,

Like I did after those long afternoons

When I was three?

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.