A numbered poem for lonely people, again.

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1. Rumi said closed fists and outstretched palms were both signs of paralysis. I stare at my hands disappointedly. Is there where I start to die?

2. My love has always been a few syllables short of being your favourite poem. I’ve decided to stop writing altogether.

3. Ponds without ripples make me uncomfortable. I can only stand to see distorted reflections. The sky looks like it’s dancing.

4. Do artists feel less lonely when we applaud their sadness?

5. My friend’s brother killed himself without leaving behind a note. His family looks weighed down by apologies, none to give but one to receive.

تعكساك هزيمتك .6
your eyes mirror your defeat.

7. If you iron out human skin into a sheet, it’s enough to keep one person warm. I don’t think I am that person.

8. I will always be scared of crossing roads.

9. The first thing you will forget about me is my smile.

10. What if the shore is tired of the sea?

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To Arabella

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i am coiled like a snake on the kitchen floor,

i wait for you to swing open the kitchen door,

my breathing is shallow.

soon enough the screams that i have kept hidden under my eyelids

will start to reflect in my bloodshot eyes. 

my sadness traces a chalked outline of my body, like it wants answers,

i have none to offer, except for my mediocrity,

the overdramatic stage entry of my melancholy,

i find words but they’re too heavy, 

they feel like they’ve been used to describe apocalypses and burning monuments,

they sound too familiar and i’ve forever been afraid of strangers.
i am lost like a broken seashell along the shores of the sea of your all encompassing presence. 

i want to wait,

i want to live,

i want to try to touch every ray of the sun that drowns into your sweat and every moon that has stolen your shine;

but i can not. 

my fears aren’t at the bottom of your sea,

they are at the other end of it. 

so i make myself comfortable with the insignificance of my absence,

this unsolicited abstinence;

i only crave to touch your skin without you slipping away from my fingers;

have you ever dusted off sand from sunburned forearms?

it feels like i’ve been doing it for too long. 
i’m lying, crying, spilling blood all over the kitchen floor,

i try to picture you standing at the kitchen door,

hoping you’d remind me that i’ve missed seasons of your skin and i’ll tell you

i was busy making your side of the bed, just so you could collapse like a tidal wave against my toes,

but it’s late;

for me to ask you to return, 

for me to try to get up, walk to an old telephone booth,

call my past and say,

‘tell them you love them before they forget that you do’.

Epilogue.

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(i) So for loss 

I can’t frame you a sentence

Let alone a poem

Or god forbid (read: if only) an obituary.

(ii) So for death

I love you too much.

Don’t leave me, don’t go

You’ve made home in this chaos in my head, just stay.

I might never have the courage to bring you to life,

Excuse the irony, but I can’t seem to think straight.

(iii) So for love,

Are you death’s long lost twin? Fairer though, 

Making me believe just because you look the same, you’re still different on the inside. 

You’re not, and i trusted you enough for you to let me know

That you made a pact with loss;

That it will take care of my ashes

After love burns me down

After death turns me down.

Yellow.

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You say yellow, you say sunshine; and frames from Bollywood movies. You say ‘I Love You’, you say it like you mean it. You say yellow, you say stay. You say paint me, paint us, you say come let’s take a nap. You say yellow, you say cold flames, you say flowers. You say yellow, I say stop. I say poison. I say ‘I Love You’, I say let me kill myself. 


Wake up before the sunrays reach your skin,

And I know, I know you’re here.

Keep playing with these matches, 

There’s not a lot of time left before

We turn into ashes. Wake up. 

You know, the sound of your tears as they

Trail down your cheeks, they remind me how

Our angels get drunk too, and they paint the sky

In shades of tequila. Look at me. 

Look at me, I’m shifting silhouettes for you.

Inhaling poison, grainy smoke, so much chaos.

Can you hear this thunder, hear it roar under my quivering lips?

Can you break away from your toxic stupor, just to watch me?

Watch me fall from grace. These walls, look,

These walls that surround you aren’t white anymore, they aren’t white anymore. 

Can you feel me die? Can you touch me?

I’m a feather. Wake up. Look at me. 

I’m a feather, I’m flying. 

I’m a feather, I’m still breathing.

Almost. 

Duerma bien.

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“I etched a face of a stopwatch
On the back of a raindrop”

A room devoid of furniture, except for a cassette player mounted on a wooden stool. I lie here, exhausted after a long, uneventful day. She sits across the room, facing me, having smoked half of her cigarette. She loves this song, she said she always wanted to kiss me to this song. I wait for her to remember her promise, till then, I look at her simmering in her beauty. Aware of the magic she makes, aware of the forts that have turned to ruins without the influence of her presence.

“I heard an unhappy ending
It sort of sounds like you leaving”

She takes in a long drag, fills her lungs up with lethal smoke, exhaling softly these clouds of nonchalance infused with a throaty laugh. A cigarette dangling from the valley between her index and middle finger, her hair pulled away haphazardly from her face with an overused hair-tie, just one rebellious strand touching the nape of her neck, right where I imagine placing my lips, only to inhale the redolence of sweet alyssum from behind her ear.

“You look like you’ve been for breakfast
At the Heartbreak Hotel”

She notices me looking at her intently; like a predator, waiting ever-so-patiently for the right moment to pounce upon its prey, ripping it apart, devouring it bit by bit, first skin, then flesh, then soul. She adjust her T-shirt so that it covers her bare body down to the mid of her thighs, and draws an inhale that lasts a little more than two seconds, must be thinking of something I wish I knew about. Holding conversations with her is a chore because I never know what to say in reply to her colourful stretches of silence; I have grown to accept these wisps of smoke that escape her sanguine lips as answers to all the untitled poems I’ve written to her.

“If you’re gonna try and walk on water
Make sure you wear your comfortable shoes”

I want to displace myself, a little, just to relieve my right arm from the burden of my entire upper body. I decide against it, her presence is staggering enough to encompass the energy of this room in her watered-down eyes. I let her do the moving, the breathing, the laughing. She cherishes the last pull from her cigarette, and slowly sweeps herself up; and as she stands, the most beautiful miracle of anatomy that my exasperated eyes have ever lain on, a poisonous fog outlines her face. She emerges from within it and walks towards me, looking like an angel, moments away from taking me by the hand and stepping into heaven.

“I heard the news that you’re planning
To shoot me out of a cannon”

Her face is inches away from mine, I want to kiss her, but I remain still lest it pulls her out of her self-induced trance. I wait as she counts her breath on my lips, as she inhales and exhales and stops to smile. I want to kiss her, but not yet, not before she is fatigued by this playful ritual of moving her lips against mine, close enough to touch but not caress. I feel her hand on my chest, grazing along my skin to find a heartbeat. She treads upwards, her soft palms just about to touch my throat. She hesitates for a moment, but eventually reaches her destination. She is patient, calm, benign, she doesn’t want to cause me any discomfort. She laughs again- her beautiful, aromatic laughter- simultaneously dipping two of her fingers into the gash on my neck and then fiddling with the knife that lay beside my body. The same fingers that held her cigarette. My blood is still wet on her hands. She finally kisses me, passionate and firm, almost as if asking me to come back to life.

“Your waitress was miserable
And so was your food”

She gets up from above my carcass, wipes her bloody hands against my sleeve and turns up the volume on the cassette player. Singing to herself, she pulls on a plaid skirt and untidily tucks her T-shirt into it as she fiddles around for another cigarette. She finds it. She lights it. She inhales, sighs, exhales. I want to kiss her again, but I know I cannot. I try to remember how her first kiss felt like. It felt like cough syrup on a feverish tongue; and her last, like resurrection after my untimely demise. She steps out of the door, her smile tells me that she will never cross the threshold to enter into my house of grief again. I watch her leave, I think she whispers something. I hope she said she loved me. I love her. The only farewell I needed was this, the one she had so lovingly bestowed upon me. The song stops playing.

“Oh, piledriver.”

Exeunt.

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​Let me pick up from where i left off

Let me finish, this time, i finish.

I start by resting down your feet 

They have been dangling in mid air for too long

To remember gravity 

Give them some ground and then

I move towards your hip

Nudging it a little towards the left so that

It doesn’t bang against the furniture as you

Dance carelessly in your bedroom

And then i hold you by your waist

As an excuse to feel your skin against mine

And to fit in all of my excuses

In the curve of your spine 

Then letting my arms find their way to your shoulders

I press down a little for they

Must be tired of standing straight

All this while, dear strong woman of mine

Sliding down your arms

With sunsets in your veins

That slip around your forearm

Filling themselves up in your fistfuls of fight

And then i detach myself at your fingertips

My nerve endings gently kissing yours

And i exhale. 

I’ve signed off every letter now,

And our bodies have had their closure.

It’s about time you leave me, honey,

Close the door as you go.

I wouldn’t want to bear with another

Incomplete goodbye.

A size too small.

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nothing ever seems to fit.
not those jeans you would have killed for.
not those dreams that play on repeat.
it’s a funny story you say as his hand absent-mindedly rubs against your thigh
and tell him about the time you tripped and fell into a drain
but like always, nothing fits
not his hand in yours .
not his laughter in your ears.
not his breath trying to fill the hollows of your collar bone.
you wipe your eyes on the back of your hand
a black smudge that you know so well that you don’t need a mirror
to see how bad your face looks or a tissue to wipe it off
then again, nothing fits
not your ever ringing cell-phone in the back pocket of your jeans.
not your grunge rock playlist with the soft murmur of the wind.
not the 23 reasons they gave online for being alone.
you search the dictionary for the one word you hate the most
death
the action of dying
the state of being dead
the end of something.
it still doesn’t fit.
not the definition Oxford offers you.
not the hesitation you see in the mirror.
not the fear you have of moving vehicles.
there is blood in your mouth
loud banging on your bedroom door
one word in your head, ‘exeunt’.
nothing fits still.
not your obsession with Shakespeare as you die
not the metal you taste in your own blood
(you thought you were a rock chick)
not your bad puns with the horrified shrieks from your mothers aged body.
see,
nothing ever fit you.
not even you yourself.
but your picture somehow did
in the obituary section of the newspaper you never read
‘she was a happy child, but she wanted to be dead.’