Monday, September 18, 2017

thief

You stole from me
The one place in which I felt safe enough to
Pour my heart out
Without having to worry about
The consequences

You stole from me
The one place I was comfortable enough
To be honest
Tell the truth
As it is

But if I were to tell you
About your offense
You would just laugh and ask me

  Have I ever made threats?
  Ever raised my voice?
  Hit you? Hurt you?
  All I did was
  Watch your every move
  In the place you are most yourself
  And you've forgiven people
  For doing much worse

But what you don't understand is that
You've taken away the safety net I had
To protect me from all these crimes much greater
And now, when I fall, there's nothing to catch me

I hit the ground
My bones break
I bleed and bleed
And you just sit there
Watching

Overstaying your welcome

Why are you still here
Overstaying your welcome
Don't you have someplace
Better to be?

It's been too long
Since you left me with
Skeletons and scars
Holding on to what you don't want

And if you insist on staying
Make room for others
It gets lonely sometimes
Left with only memories

Saturday, September 16, 2017

It's all on you this time

You know that you can always talk to me, right?

And when I did
You told me it was
All in my mind
I was, on purpose,
Making life difficult for myself
I was being stubborn
Refusing to be happy

I am the shoulder you can lean on

And when I cried about
The loss of something
That meant the world to me
You told me to
Move on
This was just
Part and parcel of life

Friends tell each other everything

Is this why
I only found out about
That great big thing
That happened in your life
Through a status
You posted on Facebook?

I will always listen

Is this why
You didn't give me the space
I demanded from you
Over and over again?

Just let me in

I'm shutting you out now
And I won't take the blame
Because it's not me
It's all on you this time

Thursday, September 14, 2017

And you ask me why I won't let you in

This is what people do

They barge in through the door
Leave behind a trail of
Muddy footprints
Let taps drip and drip and drip
Leave unwashed mugs and plates
In the sink
They sleep on beds you just made
Mix up your perfectly organized books
Shatter the silence with their voice
Disrupt the life you've made for yourself

And just as you begin to
Warm to their presence
Like them
Love them, even,
They walk out the door
Leaving behind
A mess for you to clean up

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Fully booked

Don't you understand
That my heart
Has no space
To accommodate
Anyone else?

Do you not notice
There is no equivalent of a
'Rooms available' sign
For my heart
As if it were a motel?

Don't you see
How hard I'm pushing you away
Trying to be subtle, kind
But telling you
To leave?

Do you not know
That love
Of a romantic kind
To me
Is just a waste of time?

Why then
Do you keep banging on the door
Asking to be let in
Even though
You've been told to leave?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

After a while

It becomes easy after a while
To pretend you're okay
So that no one knows
How much you are hurting inside

It becomes easy after a while
To lie, to smile
Make everyone believe
You are on cloud nine

It becomes easy after a while
To pretend the ground shakes no more
That your world is still
Quiet like it is for them

It becomes easy after a while
To stage a play
So that no one notices
When you slip away

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Friday, September 8, 2017

Without me

I worry sometimes
That I stripped you of
Any happiness
Smashed all your
Hopes and dreams
On the ground
Covering it with
Shards of glass
So you had to be careful
With every step you take
I worry sometimes
That you no longer smile
Your eyes no longer shine
You can no longer love

But then
Worse
I fear sometimes
That since I left you
On the side of the road
Like trash
You've built a life absent of any trace of me
That you've
Without me
Found happiness

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Facebook friends

We are friends on Facebook
We like each others posts sometimes
We share posts the other has shared
We've been friends for months, years

Whenever I'm in one of those moods
And delete whoever I'm not really friends with
I skip their profiles
I let them be on my friend list

And yet, when we stand within arm's length from each other
We don't recognize, we don't acknowledge, we don't smile
We don't say we like their outfit even though
We go back home and like a picture they posted that day

This is what we are now
Friends
But not really
Strangers on Facebook

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Silence

Silence for a week

As a fever crept up on me
When I wasn't looking
As blood test after blood test
Showed a decreasing platelet count
As medical jargon was thrown my way
And no one was quite sure
If I was going to be okay

As I sweated and then shivered
Swallowed pills that didn't go down smoothly
And threatened to come right back up
As I slept and slept and slept

As I shut myself out of the world
A headache making me cry in pain
Every single inch of my body
Aching for god knows what reason

Silence for a week

I had that at least
For a week
Seven days or so
My mind was too busy
To let you crawl your way to the front
And so

Silence for a week

And as twisted as this sounds
Thank you for that

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Two is company

They say three is a crowd
But there's just the two of us
So everything should be fine
But then
Deep in my mind
My heart
If you search long enough
You'll find him
A third among us
A flag to claim
The most important parts of me
His territory
And no matter what you do
Or say
Or are
I will always consider
Him and I company
And you a crowd

Hasn't it been long enough?

You linger
Still
In my mind
Like the stale breath
Of a smoker
Who put down his last cigarette
A long time ago

Friday, July 7, 2017

Fine print

If you had ever loved me
Then it must have been like the fine print
Terms and conditions
We all agree to without even glancing at

Friends?

Would we ever have been able
To remain friends?

You with your refusal to admit
You led me on
That it was you who
Took that first unnecessary step

And me
Stupidly unable to follow instructions
Stupidly breaking the one promise we made each other
Stupidly falling in love

Would we ever have been able
To remain friends
When your heart had not an ounce of love for me
And all mine had was love for you?

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Medusa

In the beginning
Your touch was soft
I felt safe
And we left the world behind
Walking
Hand in hand
The wind followed us
Making my hair dance
Almost like the snakes
On Medusa's head

And just as I was
Starting to love
My life with you
Your skin lost its softness
And your touch bruised me
We were now walking against the wind
Which carried fine sand with it
Making my skin burn
My eyes water

And I knew the end was near
Because as if afraid of
Turning into stone
You could never
Look me in the eye
Anymore

Friday, June 23, 2017

Opposites attract?

I don't care for opposites anymore

Opposites attract?
No
People are attracted to people
One being black
The other being white
Doesn't matter
Because the greys
The yellows, the blues
The pinks and other hues
They all fall in love

And happiness?
The opposite of sorrow
But those who are sad
Rarely look for happiness
All they want is to not be so sad anymore

And the calm that follows the storm?
Sunshine after rain?
A smile instead of a frown?
Love instead of hate?
War ending in peace ending in war ending in peace
Yin and yang?

Why not the forgotten
The usually unnamed
That lies between
The storm and the calm that follows
Rain and sunshine
A frown and a smile
Hate and love
War and peace
Yin and yang

That's what I want

Because
You and I
We aren't black and white
The sky and land
Right and wrong
Hot and cold

You and I
We are something else entirely

Monday, June 19, 2017

More than usual

I've been missing you more than usual these past few days
And maybe that's why I haven't been writing as much as I used to
Because everything I want to write is about you... about us
And I promised myself I won't drag you into my words anymore

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Handholding (again)

He held my hand
And that was all
But it felt like a million fires
Were being lit
In my heart
You, the replacement
Touched me in so many other ways
But I was nothing but a matchstick
Long burnt out



(Sort of a continuation of this poem here, although the 'him' and 'you' are different people)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Handholding

I don't quite understand why
The memory of his tongue
Doing the tango in my mouth
Is less repulsive than
The memory of your hand
Reaching for mine.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

It's okay to cry

We are ashamed of our tears
Because we are told they are a sign of weakness
And no one wants to be weak

But there's nothing wrong in feeling this way sometimes

We all have moments
When we can't take the next step
Because we feel a tremor in the ground beneath us
And fear it will slip away
Right beneath our feet

We all have moments
When we are so afraid
Because everything is uncertain
And we know there's no safety net
To catch us when we fall

We all have these moments
So why should we be ashamed
To admit
We are only human?

It's okay to be afraid
It's okay to be tired
It's okay to be weak
It's okay to cry.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Listen.

I will always listen.
My doors, my heart, are always open.
You know where to find me
When and if you need to talk.

They offer help now
Now that it's too late
Now that they know
They won't have to listen

Because they don't
They don't understand

How can such a beautiful person
Do such a horrible thing to herself?
No problem is so unsolvable
For you to cause such grief to your family.
She was so young
Too young to die.

For a minute
I beg you
Listen

Listen
Without assuming
Listen
Without judgment
Listen
Without comparing
Listen.

Just listen for five fucking minutes
And then you'll see
That no one is ever too beautiful to die.
No one is ever too young to die.
Family isn't -shouldn't be- the only reason to live.
A smile doesn't always stem from happiness.
And even if it does,
Happiness is temporary.

Listen
Before it's too late.

Switch

Apparently
There's a switch in my mind
Which lets me
Change how I feel

They say I keep it switched off
Even though a simple
Movement of a finger
A flick
Can switch it on
Flood my life with light

They say I'm being difficult
Trying too hard to be different
Seeking attention
Starving for it

And I'm not
So I look for this switch
When my thoughts are all tangled
And nothing makes sense anymore
When my entire body itches
The back of my knees
The inside of my elbows
When my fingers don't stop trembling
And I feel disconnected
When I see things
Even in the darkness
Things that don't exist
And it terrifies me

But I can't find this switch
That they promise
Will make me feel better
I can't find it
No matter how desperately I search

Friday, June 2, 2017

Hurdle

Like a hurdle
I can't jump over
Or walk around
You stand before me
Refusing to move
Refusing to let me go on with life
To move on
Almost afraid that
I will forget
All the pain you caused

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Lurking

It isn't fair that
The people who tore you apart
Left you hurting
Never really leave you
Because they lurk beneath
Memories of better days
Waiting until you expect them the least
To pounce on you
Again and again

Embrace

It was almost as if you knew
How easily I would break
If you didn't hold me tight
One hand on the back of my neck
The other on my breast
Keeping me from tipping too much to the back
And falling out of your embrace
But you should have held me tighter
It just wasn't enough
Because
One minute I wanted
Not you
But what you could give me
And the next
I didn't
And you suddenly repulsed me
Your touch repulsed me
And I snapped
And broke
And nothing you did
-promising to be gentle
-giving me as much time as I needed
-asking me what I wanted
Nothing could put back the pieces
To make me as whole as I was
Before I shattered
In your embrace

Dam

I built a wall around my heart
A spillway in case I needed to let it all out
But it remained shut
Holding everything inside
And then you came along
Told me there was a need no more
To hide behind the wall
I had built around my heart

So I yanked it open that spillway
Which I hadn't thought of in a while
And waited and waited
You too, waited and waited
And nothing flowed out
Not a single drop
The sun had dried it all out
And now there was nothing left in me

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Clot

There's a clot
Beneath my skin
Made of what
I'm not too sure
But there is pain
Dull but constant
Near my chest
It hurts
And this clot
Blocks the air
My lungs need
Not filling them fully
It hurts
I try to breathe in
1... 2... 3... 4...
Breathe out
1... 2... 3... 4... 5... 6... 7... 8...
But I can't
There's nothing filling my lungs
And this makes my heart
Slow down
And my skin tingles
I feel faint
I can't breathe
I can't function
And everything is so loud
Echoing in my head
Chipping away at my skull
Maybe my head will explode

I want to use something sharp
A blade, a knife, anything
To cut open my skin
So I can reach in
Pull out the clot
Just so I can breathe once again
But whenever I place cold steel against my cold skin
A voice inside my head whispers that
Nothing
Not even this
Will make it alright

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Temples

It doesn't take long for things to change
And so I'm not surprised by how much has changed
Since I was a child
How things were just five or ten years ago

We were taught that white was the color
To wear to a temple
Because it is the color of purity
Because it doesn't hurt the eyes
Disturb the peace

We were taught to cover our bodies
Cover our arms
Our legs
Show as less skin as possible
Out of respect to a place of worship

We were taught to wear clothes that didn't
Hug our bodies
Like we cling to things in life
But hung loosely
Like a flower that so easily can be plucked
From a tree

We were taught to be quiet
And calm
You don't run in temples
You don't shout
Time slows down
And you don't fight it

These were never rules
But guidelines
Things we followed
Because they made sense

And now
When I go to the temple
Not even every full moon
But once in a blue moon
I wonder where these lessons about
What to wear
How to behave
Have gone
As an ache intensifies in my head
As I sit away from everyone
In the shadows
In white clothes
Two sizes too big
Straining to hear the sound of the bo leaves
Rustling in the wind

Out of speakers
Installed around the temple
A monk's voice
Booms and echoes
Exorcising the calm and peace
The temple is possessed by

The sound of sand crunching
Beneath feet
Running here and there
In a hurry to
Offer flowers
Light joss sticks
A race to finish first
This act of faith

Children scream
And giggle
Playing games
Around the white stupa
That is bright and white
Against the dark sky
And a few steps away
The bo tree sighs
Yearning for some quiet
In this place for worship
Meditation

And as I sit there I see
People dressed for parties
And summer days
Blouses with sequins
Shining like the stars above us
Men wearing shorts
Unconcerned about any dress code
Because
Men can wear whatever they want to
Right?

People pull at the back of their tshirts
As they sit down
As comfortably as they can
In those skin-tight clothes
That seem to have shrunk a size or two
Since they bought them
And are of so many different colors
The only white that can be found
Is among the flowers they offer
Or the pahan thira that burns slowly

And I sit there wondering
When this place that made my mind calm
Made it easier to breathe
To think
To understand
Became a place that is so loud
It makes my head ache
And I wonder how
In a country that boasts of its
Rich Buddhist culture
The only things at peace in a temple
Are the lifeless statues of the Buddha

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Impatient

.
If you weren't so impatient
It would have been you who was shown the way out
But you couldn't wait
Not even two weeks
And so it all happened
The other way around
You told me to leave
And I had no choice
And since then
I've been asking people to leave
Before it's too late

Because what's worse than being abandoned
Is having to walk out the door
Before you are ready to say goodbye
.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Men don't belong in the kitchen

Men don't belong in the kitchen
Where onions are chopped
Making tears flow
Where karapincha sizzles in hot oil
Getting ready to drown in a delicious curry
Men don't belong here
Where food is cooked and served
By the women
The women who run the kitchen
The household
The unappreciated backbone
Forgotten engine
Men don't belong here
Where they eat as much as they can
Without caring if there's enough food for everyone
Complain there isn't enough salt
The food isn't warm enough
Chicken instead of fish would have been better
And then belch
Proud of how loud they are
Just men being men
And then they wash their hands
Watch a little TV
Go to bed content
Not for a second wondering who will
Wash all the pots and pans
Plates and spoons
That are piled high in the kitchen sink
Men don't belong in the kitchen
Because that's where women belong
Where they cook and clean and
Eat only what's left over
Even though their stomachs scream for food
Just as loudly as their feet scream for rest


And a boy
Too young to know where he doesn't belong
Asks his mother
If he can cook that day
Although he doesn't even know
How flour and coconut and water and salt
Turn into hot hot roti
He does know that
His mother is tired
Too tired to cook
But she says to him
Don't worry about it
I'll make dinner for us all
Go and do your homework
And anyway
Men don't belong in the kitchen

Monday, February 20, 2017

Hair

Why did you cut your hair
They still ask
Although it has been weeks
Or even months
I can't quite remember
Anymore
But it's been long enough
And yet
They keep asking me
Why did you cut your hair
It -you- looked so much better
Before

And I just smile
Tell them I was sick and tired
Of all those curls
But what I was really sick and tired of was
Not what was on my head
But in the heads of others
That made them assume
It was oh so totally acceptable and understandable
To make the silliest jokes
Say the crudest things
Stare as if I was not even human

And now that my hair is no longer a mess of curls
That make people stare
Ogle
Call out to me
I'm invisible
I'm a plain Jane
That no one bothers to even look at

And that's exactly why I cut my hair
Even though that's not the reason I give you
When you ask me why I cut my hair

Monday, February 6, 2017

Rain

You were standing in the rain
A thousand people around you
A smile on your face
And that's when I knew...


A woman stands next to you
Her bag pushes against your elbow
As she bends down slightly
To hold her umbrella over her child's head


A man rushes past you
Holding up his briefcase
To keep away the rain
From soaking him completely
Although already
He is pretty darn drenched


A child giggles away
Turning in circles
He'll soon be dizzy
His clothes
  secondhand
Cling to his thin body
As he spreads his arms wide
Catches raindrops as they fall from the sky


And there you stand
Looking straight at me
A look in your eyes
One I've never seen before
And that's when I know
You are here to stay

Friday, January 13, 2017

Someday

Someday
I will read these words
And blush
My cheeks turning red
Like fire
Because how could I have been so silly
And written such cheesy poems
How could you have
Such an effect on me?
But today, here, now
My mind is filled with thoughts
That will make a future-me cringe
And a future-you laugh