Youth comes after

"It's the month of poetry
and I have nothing to write about—
Each sunset and leaf
Each tempest and grief
already expounded on—
I'm all out of steam now
Everything I had to say, I said when I was young,"
I say.

And when were you young?

You have been old all your short life, my love,
When before today have you slunk
onto the forbidden fifth floor of that campus building
that no one even knew you could go to,
When else have you so overused
the phrase 'alone, but not lonely'
When else have you walked into love
with yourself, eyes wide open, voluntary,
and felt a quiet kind of thrill,
a cool kind of warmth
on art-and-coffee dates with yourself,
When, before today, has your ink not run out 
but your words have?

When else, sweet child of the rain,
have you yelled your heart into a mic on a stage
in a room full of 'chill' artists— if artists can ever be that—
Been hugged so long and so tight by a complete stranger,
felt like crying twice on the same day in the same place
and not romanticised it in rhythmless verses?
When else have you inhaled the pages of antique books
that you bought by the kilo, 
and been done with it in a couple of lines in a single poem;
When else have your palms run out of room
for fallen blooms?

When else, when before, my darling,
have you cheered at an acapella and a rainbow fashion show
with the person you're still too afraid to call 'best friend'
When else have you sucked at bowling
or fallen on your ass off a tiny skateboard
and felt your hand a jigsaw puzzle piece
as that boy helped you up,
When else has that fun girl from your class
been your partner in tiny crimes
or that chatty big-brother-figure classmate
called you the 'crouching moron hidden badass goth girl'
When else have you indulged in little adolescent pleasures
too unpoetic to write about?

For you, beloved of the winter stars,
time runs backwards.
For these are only the newest-born sprigs of youth
that you might think pruned away too quickly
even before they've had the chance to breathe,
and you will think joy fleeting technicolour
glitching in the old noir television set of life,
But to think joy a firecracker and sorrow a candle
is a bit double-standard, don't you think?

You are yet to pat the puppy's head a bit too forcefully
You are yet to set the milk jugs precariously close to the edge
You are yet to accumulate enough air in your lungs
to blow out that seemingly everlasting candle, I know,
But heart,
I have yet to see another still beating
after so often being beaten within inches of its life,
I have yet to cup a face in my hands
of someone so dimmed yet so alive.

Remember when your sister told you 
she saw the evening in your soul?
You have not yet felt young, oh you, beautiful old,
But what is more youthful than the evening
more brimming with possibility
serene yet buzzing with quiet current-generator hums
colourful yet perfumed with the greyed earth—
Don't you see? 
The dusk is yet to dawn.

I know it is unfair for it to be all rocks
and you barefoot,
For the tunnel so long and you exhausted,
I know you will keep retreating
into the familiar comfort you do not want
yet still, unbeknownst, cling to,
For I am but a corporeal hand for you to hold,
but I promise I will be enough
and will keep holding you even when you do not.

You are artist, my dear, not art,
to be strung up on a wall and admired,
You create 
to destroy some, to birth some, to feel some—
and feeling one does not incapacitate the other
as neither does a moment's absence equal annihilation
of the self, or peace, or joy,
which are just as worthy
as detachment, or chaos, or distress are.

'Happiness' has not stopped 
being a loaded gun of a word.
There exist still, inside you
vampires feeding on your blood
hellhounds baying for more 
servings of lava
Demons, nightmares all
that you have yet to catch in the net woven of language
The same language whose kite strings
have yet to set free seraphims
orchestrating pegasi hungry for flight
and moon gods thundering to be alive.
The ocean of thought never dries up, for you are human
And words can certainly not leave now;
In fact, they are yet to come
for youth comes after,
Unwasted on the young.

5th April/ (4/30)/ Free verse

Special thanks to Starninja‘s comment which I plagiarised inspired some of the lines in this poem.

2 thoughts on “Youth comes after

  1. Happy to inspire such lovely poetry. The ‘inspirational fee’ check is in the mail I assume 😉

    But seriously though, this poem. I felt it. In my gut. In my heart’s gut. Love it love it Love It! And I think that rare perspective that youth is yet come is super duper awesome.
    Whenever I feel old, I remind myself that these times I’m living in right now will someday be the “good old days”. Then I feel young again, even if my bones don’t. Thanks for this raw, powerful poem. Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Might take a few days to ship from the other side of the globe but you should get it in a few days 😀

      I am truly honoured you felt this so deeply. It felt good to feel hope and the inklings of youth in a long time. and I’m glad I could put a smile on your face as well with this.
      We writers, we’re all old souls trying to feel young, eh?

      Liked by 1 person

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