My mother once, not long ago,
Warned me that:
The fall that sinks deep into your flesh
And settles, like winter,
Inside the interstices in your bones
Shall be –
Like they do to the molested corpses
In a crumbling saffron city –
Nailed to a naked banyan tree
And burnt, without even a hint of remorse,
To the last wisp of bone
So that nothing,
Not even the gods that hide
Next to you underneath the crimson dust
Inside the empty brothels,
But the wounds on my skin,
That she used to stitch with her tongue,
Have started to bleed again
And they frighten me now.
It’s not as though
I didn’t understand what she meant,
But I was only a child – a broken one,
With multiple fractured bones,
Under the quiet influence of sedatives,
Couldn’t feel or recognise anything.
That memory, like so many others,
Still comes back to me
In small packets –
One word at a time,
And everytime that memory visits me –
Mostly during the nights where the moon
Strangles the voices of the wolves,
And the bare goddesses seem to bleed
All over the syllables –
The image in the mirror,
Like an endless crossword puzzle,
Becomes a little bit more clearer,
A little bit more comprehensible.
It hurts though
Like an uneasy shard of glass
Perpetually piercing an already scarred hand.
Is it okay to hurt while reminiscing
A strange part of your life?
Is it okay to feel homesick
While looking into the eyes
Of a complete stranger?
You can never return to the same home
Or the same city or the same country
Or the same people or the same season
Or the same memory
Once you have participated
In its rise or fall,
I don’t know why she burnt our home
When she left, like the mystery she was,
To the mountains of Himalayas.
She said that she needed some answers
To the questions none of us would understand,
So we just let her go;
There is no logic in trying to
Enfetter a spirit.
There are still some words that,
When I try to spit them out,
Wither, like the roses in fall,
Or like a candle during a cold day,
At the back of my throat
And the silences once again,
Like the fierce little wildfires,
Rise in the pores of my tongue,
Burning everything on their way
Down to the stomach.
I walk now in silence,
Barefooted and sometimes naked,
Among the remnants of the kisses
Stolen in the broad daylight
And the irrepressible sobs
That softly fracture the nothingness of the night,
Both of them trapped
In an inextinguishable fire,
To find a place where she would have
Taken shelter from the thunderstorm
So that I could sleep there as well
Just for a couple of moments
And hopefully learn to dream again.
There is nothing beautiful
About pain and suffering and heartbreak;
There is nothing beautiful
About a burning home;
There is nothing beautiful about poetry!
The crooked lines on my severed frame
Have started to show
And that’s how I know that something is coming,
Something more like an autumn,
But not quite intimate.
On the edge of a parched river,
Under the crimson shade of a Chinar,
With smell that of the lovelorn roses
And the burning pine trees
Suffusing the air,
I met an old man,
Burnt by the miles he had travelled,
Wearing a tattered mask over his visage.
He didn’t say anything and slept calmly
On the pile of rag he had collected.
A couple of hours later,
When he woke up to the warmth of the fire
That was spreading fast,
He whispered something,
Something that took me years to understand:
“In order to burn the wings of a fall,
One must know how to forget its scent,
Only then can you set yourself free
From its corroded clutches.”
“There is a land faraway from here,
Where, in the skies,
Birds sing songs for the ones without names
And the mountains carry the voices
Of the voiceless;
The only question they ask you
To enter its meadows is:
How many heartbeats
Are you willing to sacrifice
In order to be free?”
“Flowers don’t bloom from kisses and love,
One has to pour sweat over its roots,
But how long does it take for the love to
Burn the most beautiful flower in the garden?”
And then he left,
Stitching up his lips again.
He said a lot of other things as well,
But I don’t seem to remember much about them.
It’s okay to be scared,
Of the things you don’t understand,
Every now and then
I light a couple of candles in my room
In order to summon the saint
Who fell in love with you.
He never visits though;
People say that he has gone mad
Ever since he learnt about your death.
That was the kind of love you desired,
Fierce and tragic!
I see him sometimes,
Wandering the streets where they
Collected the rubble,
Looking for the little pieces of your past,
But he always ends up laughing or crying,
Was he there, inside his home,
When they molested you?
Was he there when they kept
Coming for you, again and again?
Was he there when they
Sieved your chest with bullets
And set his home on fire?
“What is the way to you?!”,
He screams sometimes
Until his breath becomes bloody
And his body falls onto the ashes
And everybody cries,
For you, your grave and for him.
It’s autumn now
And I seem to have lost my way.
There are birds everywhere, like death,
On the cold streets,
Dead or maybe in deep sleep
And I can’t decide which bridge to burn
And which not!
People who, at some point in their lives,
Found their way back home during autumn,
Used to whisper into my ears that:
“Sometimes the road less travelled
Is less travelled for a reason”,
But how do you find your home
Once you have failed it?
How do you sleep, or even close your eyes,
When you know for sure that tomorrow
You will fall (apart)