Creation

Creation is beautiful.
I pick up my brush and try to paint a dream
Layers and layers of imagination
Till it’s plastered thick enough to be real,
Tangible
Till you can feel
Like you do in a museum of art
Where you go against the labels
Which say ‘do not touch’:
You touch
You touch the dream again and again
You take it in your hands and mould it
Till the sculpture is as perfectly
Expressive
As the poetry you like to read
– the poetry I lose sleep over
Trying to get the words just right
I fight
The entire world to keep it alive
And coming
Flowing and gushing
A waterfall of words
Stringed together to make your soul sing
Like you do to the music I play:
The piano
Is black
And white
And anything but grey
when I play
Tell me
If you hear the colours
That I thought of
And I’ll paint you a portrait with them alone
And you’ll tell me
it looks like Van Gogh
And sounds like The Weeknd
Because they’re the only names you know.

Creation is ugly.
Some mothers die in labour,
trying to give birth to the ideas
They’ve carried inside for so long
Like a song
My art
The book you’re writing
Which never comes out
Because nobody fights to
protect the baby
Once it’s born
Everyone wants a free
copy
Or tickets
and paintings to hang
on the walls of their rooms:
They’re decorated without the guilt
of freeloading
You’re downloading
All that music for free
Well, what you don’t realise is that
Creation
Is expensive
Exhausting:
Takes the baby months in gestation
And the birth of a brainchild isn’t always painless
We’re penniless
You and I are friends and
Somehow, I owe you my art
Because of it
So you ask me to paint you
In colours of selflessness
And irony
Have the ideas forced out of me
Words coloured carnelian red dripping
from my brush
My body cut open in
A c – section
Because that’s how an artist must display
Their affection
For a friend
And for art.

You tell me how mothers like me
Are proud
To see their brainchildren grow into
The respectable,
decorated
with accolades and recognition
I’ll tell you how they ache to be respected themselves
to for once be nicely painted by society
the colours bright and flowing
and not having to resort
to self portraits.
I’ll tell you how artists
Give the last drop of their milk
To save the child
Which nobody cares for
Till it’s in a pageant or
on TV
And the net worth is a million bucks.
I will paint myself starving
And sing about how you can see my ribs
More than my soul as I play
And you still won’t get it.

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Paint

[ This piece was written for, and has previously been published by, The Infinity Of Mind ]

 I feel small, sprawled 

On the floor

Eyes low and unfixed:

Eyes watering, vision 

watered-down 

like a mixing jar for paints;

Like a desert waiting for the rain,

Unfulfilled 

(Overdue)

A hundred years may have passed 

Like this. 

Everything I see twinkles

Because I rub my tired eyes 

Because of the brashness of 

Reality

Because beauty 

Is grainy to the touch:

My head is spinning in a waltz

And I 

Can smell the colours

On my brush as it once touched your face 

On a canvas 

Embroidered with your name;

I wish I could see it

Trace the letters with a glance 

Or two

(Three syllables)

They had me undone

(I want to unlearn)

The feeling of them 

rolling off my tongue:

Can I?

Should I?

Will you

Lift me off the floor 

Paint tears on my neck 

Of cobalt blue 

Before you 

Pour thick wine over me 

And press a painting knife to my back?

I know you

draw me with my

Cheek against the hardwood 

As I listen 

To the sound of your feet 

To the sounds of the world beneath –

I hear you breathe 

And smell your colours again

Fading 

Faint 

(Blood, salt and ecstacy):

Does my image plead 

And cry –

Are your eyes 

as unfocused 

as I?

Do you listen 

As the desert wasteland speaks:

Don’t throw me down 

To the floor again 

It’s all that I 

Can see.

The Finish Line 

 

To the future –

I hope you and I are flying.

 

I write about the race against time

Which I keep running for, and I’m

Wondering why it never seems to end

As my aching feet of despair portend:

 

I long for hands to hold, and to be held,

For stories of happiness unparalleled

But alas, no hands are held in running race –

There’s hunger for victory, not love’s embrace.

 

Oft I gasp for breath, wonder if anyone else

Can see it, or feel the music of my pulse

Which rises and falls and makes me a whole,

A river running to peacefully end at its bowl.

 

But I only run in a want to stop running

I run in search of an undefined something

Not found without life and much ado;

I draw the finish line, and name it ‘You’.

 

Time builds its course up and up

And a faint determination helps me to lollop

Through it all – even the rough affection

I run along, not losing direction.

 

I write of you, a glimpse of colour in the grey

Flashing, beckoning to meet me halfway

Promising you’ll stay put, patiently wait

Where you would, even If I slow my gait.

 

And I shall let destiny be the ink to my pen

And guide me to the very moment when

On your shoulder I will find my shore

And run I will no more.
 

The Leavers’ Song

I will leave soon 
Like the rustling wind in winter that makes you shiver. You want it gone, but once it passes you will be really cold. 
Put on a jacket. Put on another. 
 

I can’t promise to take away the knives buried in your front. Believe that there are none in your back – I made a shrine out of it (and no one stands armed in places of worship). 
The knives were meant to cut butter. You were soft, despite all the churning. 
Forgive me. 

 
There will be a breeze, perhaps a blizzard, that reminds you of the way my hair flew around, and of the destruction in my eyes. 
The house you build next without me will brave all storms. Make a home in it. 
 

You will remember that you waltzed with the winds as your feet dug into mounds of sand. You will find grains of time trapped between your toes and in the back of your mind. 
Don’t put the ashes of my anamnesis in the river of your sorrow. Build me a grave along the banks, let time bury me as you kill it. 
Walk away from the sea of the dead.
 

I can’t promise to take all your memories of myself along. You will be born again, an infant baptised – always reminded and made aware of the sins you needed to be washed of. 
Rise above the dogma. Become a non-believer.  
Forgive me.
 

I will leave soon  
You will take your heart someplace safer, and let it beat.
I will take what you will never miss – a dine-in bill, a ticket stub, the mark on my shoulder, myself.

An Apology 

If I could turn back time 

And undo all the mistakes 

that I have made with you 

I would –

And time 

would keep on turning 

And turning 

And turning 

And we would both disappear behind it 

being another mistake.

 

If I could turn back time 

And save you from the heartache 

that I washed on your shores 

I would – 

And time 

Would watch me work 

With sorrow 

And regret 

And more sorrow 

As I destroy your memories, the very thing 

That I have been 

Trying to save.

 
If I could turn back time 

And see you just once again 

I would 

apologise

For every single tear you shed 

And every wound I scratched 

With every breath I have

In me 

And maybe 

Just maybe 

Time will let you forgive me. 

 
– I can not rhyme but I mean what I say 

The (pur)suit of Pretend  

I wonder aloud to the stars at night

What would become of me if I decided

To do my thing and disappear out of sight

I wonder — heaven forbid

That I ever use that power called will

And leave this suit behind

And find my mind in a walk uphill

In a crumbling quest to unwind.

 

For what will my mind muse about

When its only fantasy is fulfilled

Its potency to think of a new one I doubt

Exhausted from having done all it had ever willed:

Would the noise of static in my head sound

like flies abuzz on a hot summer night?

Would I be empty, albeit unbound

Albeit knowing that I did what felt right?

 

I often think of the paradoxical

I think of the monotony of existence

The reason for its importance is fairly simple:

It keeps itself at a distance

For when my life is consistently monotonous

I don’t need efforts to keep myself living

As the slightest change breaks it, and thus

It keeps my self from leaving.

 

But alas, my heart is a dreamer drowning

And my mind is a lifejacket deflate

Mere dreaming of a happy life doesn’t solace bring

Yet I continue to wear out the sordid life that I hate

Though unhappy with the way everything is

I am stacking problems on a distant shelf

The world isn’t so short of paradoxes

I think I am one myself.

 

I usually end nights wondering how I’ve worn

This suit of pretend contentment for so long

It sticks to my skin, my fantasies are lorn,

I am stuck living in a realm I know is wrong

And the rest of my life flashes before my eyes:

A mirror of the time I have lived through

Above my misery I am unable to rise

And will die bereft of dreams coming true.

 

Only I am to blame for my indecision

On one hand, my firm resolve on another

While I see my lack of will with derision

All will be lost if my wishes I try to further

So I lose my nights to painful wonder

And I still live on under this tiring guise

In the day I tear my dreams asunder

This suit I wear, It is my size.

Ashes to Ashes

The battlefield was bordered by a manicured hedge ,

And all the violence which seduced men into abandon 

Took place outside it where the fallen

leaves had blown to with a gust of hot wind.

Most warriors would choose a battle ground clear of trees, but ours was oak-panelled with marble flooring that wouldn’t let the blood of the brave and broken soak through. We lit the torches and the bedroom candles, and watched the flames dance on our skin. Lamps dripped oil into puddles on the floor as we looked on and breathed in the heavy scents of ambrosial sconces that crystallised in our lungs — naïve little soldiers, we didn’t know that armour was supposed to be worn on the outside.

The light from the scented candles cast shadows on the wall behind it — the wall offered no protection, with the offender and defender on the same side. The hungrier twin of candlelight rose higher, uncaring for the velvet curtains which protected themselves from the fragrant flames with help from the winds. The curtains rose and fluttered with their benefactor, and from the doorway they looked like war flags, waiting to be dyed red with violence and to be trampled upon.

By us.

 

Weapons sanctioned by the office of wrath were invisible 

To the onlookers, who wondered why there were

hints of a smile on our dirt-streaked faces even though 

We were being drafted to the army of the enemy.

 

We were knights-in-training and we thought that our wooden swords were harmless, but splinters from wood could hurt almost as much as rusted blades buried in one’s back. Our naked backs were smooth, except for the welts where realisation had struck us hard. We wanted to survive the onslaught and so we encased our hearts in iron cages and called it an armour; we donned heavy helmets so that our minds were actually prisons. Canons were loaded as our fingers caressed each other and found only cold, hard metal where a heartbeat once was. We were knights-in-training, and so, we mounted our high-horses, not caring that all of it would crumble to dust when we really went to war.

The candles had reached their last drip of wax and in some parallel universe — some other battle — we would be smearing it over the slightly sweaty contours of each other’s backs, because the wax never left welts like those whispered lies did. The sweet fragrance was turning pungent and we couldn’t help but wonder if this was supposed to happen as the candles burned out and the wicks turned black. The fire in our eyes wasn’t a reflection of the sputtering flames in front of us. It was almost cruel how the torch burned brighter as the candlelight was eclipsed.

The cry for battle clung to us like icicles in the cold 

which remind one that touching ice often feels like burning

And as it, perhaps involuntarily, escaped our throats 

We were anything but we, with you against me

Offences were many, and our perceptions pierced by the shards of broken glass behind which we were each other’s attackers. We could crush the shards underfoot, if not for the candles we had lighted that smelled like death in retrospect. The whispers, which escaped us while we were against each other and the oak panelling, had now escaped their wooden sanctuary to haunt us. Our union boiled over us till it was just invisible vapour weighing down our breaths — it was here that I understood the fact that I couldn’t vouch for you any more, for gaseous particles drift apart to infinity.

In all the wars we had waged in our heads, we had only been two sides of a coin, the tip and hold of a spear, but now they were two separate weapons — a dagger and a stick. We were two separate weapons, pointed at each other, like busts of Caesar and Brutus carved out of the same stone. I could only find myself choking on my own destruction, while you were building a bunker with your pillows and closing off the gates to trust. Like a deer in the headlights, I was caught off guard, denied access to both your doors and my own. My ammunition and the strength to use it was locked behind my mistrust of myself — and surprisingly, after all the drills, not of you.

Surprise and cowardice had me taken aback, but terms of war 

were clear as day: the battle would start irrespective of how I

had prepared, for unlike more pleasant things 

It didn’t take two to declare.

 

You kept on building bunkers apprehending a devastating fat man or little boy to drop whenever I flew over you in vain, for I didn’t bother getting into the aircraft at all. I was a failed soldier, a sham warrior, and while you settled on a fight for survival, I only wished I could do the same — wished, but never acted. I was sucked into a hurricane-like dilemma and swirled inside with the hope for it to end in a black hole.

Every night that I had pulled away from the kiss first was not a preparation for a possible coup d’êtat , but a declaration of my inability to train for war. The arrows we had aimed at each other in smaller skirmishes came back as missiles — launched, as if, by mischief rather than purpose. You decided to fight against what you could see approaching for afar, the several crushing tonnes of heartbreak and rust. I let it go through me — ashes to ashes, dust to dust.