I and the Sky

On Friday evening, I took my SOS pill—
you know, the Slave Of Suicide one?
I picked up my planisphere obscured 
my phone's torchlight with a finger,
And instead of looking down from my balcony,
I looked up
looked up at him, Orion, the hunter constellation
My constellation
And held on to his belt.

I held on to his triple-star belt
And consulted my planisphere— I was going to try and find
not myself, but other constellations today
like my life depended on it
(because it did) after much trial-and-error,
I discovered I'd been mirroring him all along.

I'd been looking up at my hunter
the wrong way all these years
His bow is on the opposite end of Betelgeuse, you idiot
and that's why you haven't discovered anything else yet.

People ground themselves at the north star 
while stargazing
But I say the north star is overrated
I won't make a single star my guiding light—
my guide is a man made out of stars. 

And that night, I didn't feel my neck aching
(to be slit) from looking up for too long;
I was a child, my playground the night
sky, I learned the names of stars
and found constellations with my Orion—
Canis major and minor, Gemini, Auriga
(Taurus was concealed by the citylights)
I even created my own constellation,
I nicknamed stars;
I and the Sky
shared a lot of inside jokes that night. 

When I was done frolicking through the sky
and sitting back singing Space Oddity, I saw
that the most serendipitous of stars
had also been the dullest—
Very literally, 
In the darkest of nights,
the faintest of stars were the brightest of lights.

River Song had said in an episode of Doctor Who
that you love the stars,
but you don't expect them to love you back—
But sitting there in that chair I felt
The gusts of life through my hair and I realised,
I realised the stars did love me back.

On this day, when I was choking on my own brain
The day I was relapsing into the empty,
The universe embraced me in its galactic arms
caught me in its welcoming palm
soothed me with a forehead kiss saying, Look,
Look here, take out your forgotten planisphere
and today I'll uncloud your eyes,
so you can see all the patterns in the sequins embroidered
in this upturned black bowl that you've been missing.

And maybe it was just the SOS pill
Or the thrill
of finding paintings in the stars,
but in that moment, I felt them loving me back
filling my hollow body with their supernoval cores,
From a million light-years away, I felt loved.
Maybe it's temporary, or my hyperactive imagination,
but I don't care— I didn't pick up the kitchen's sharpest knife,
I didn't need anyone else that day
For the stars themselves had begged me to stay.

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

Beetroot

As cold water runs over my fingers I
look in the mirror and notice the crimson
staining my chapped lower lip
And a dot of it on the teardrop in the centre
of my upper lip it is
nothing but a stain from the shredded
Beetroot I ate with salt and lemon in the morning.

But this beet stain on my lip makes me feel
again, the beat of your heart
with my lips on your soft neck
My mouth feeling (the beat stain) pulse 
(running, running) of your vitality coursing underneath
My fingers
Clutching your shoulders
(running, running) down your bare arms
hot from your rushing blood but cold
to me
from the gibbous-moon gusts of the night.

The beet stain brings your hushed body back
Your hair, flying loose, a thin veil before my eyes
as your hands squeezed mine and your heart beat fast
(the beat stain) lipsticked mouth gaping wide
to let out quick breaths (too much for your nose)
and a moan echoing in finality with pain
as my teeth drowned in your yielding flesh
and my tongue tasted the blood
(running, running) like a river down my throat your heart

pounding out a final grand symphony reverberating
in the flamenco through your arteries, your veins
collapsing like your dilated pupils into kaleidoscopic irises
that were always too reflective
Of the beauty of humanity, your humanity
to ever comprehend my lack of it 
Or (the beat stain) secrets concealed in my canines
Until your heart stopped (running, running)

And the last vestiges of your delicate life
kept you from stumbling over forward
pushed you into my waiting arms
Your fingers still intertwined in mine, though limp
I touched your bluing mouth with my (beat stain) lips
and laid you down in the tall grass near the stream
Gently
My fingers no longer (running, running) down your sculpted body
but only the mud in the bank embracing you 
For evermore. 

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

Your basic love poem

Let me guess— you're in love and want to write them something
Something that'll impress them and send their heart fluttering,
Something like Ben's haiku for Beverly from It
Winter fire, January embers, that crazy romance shit;
But you ain't got a clue on how to poem
And you're not shallow enough to commission an Instagram poet
So you're over in your head and haven't got a clue?
Worry not, children, mommy's here to help you.

Let's start, we'll go top to bottom, then back to the top
Let your heart overflow and just write till you drop;
Don't worry, I'm just kidding, there'll be actual advice
That might just get you that dreamy sunrise,
Now open up your brain, listen, oil those gears
And insert your beloved's qualities over here.

For their hair, use some adjectives from that shampoo ad last night
You know it gets all tangled but about its shine you must write,
Now move on to the eyes, drown in their swallowing deep
Just ignore the dark circles they get from too little sleep,
You could throw in a line about the nose— well, not much there
Just insert your beloved's qualities in here.

Now we come to wanting to kiss those soft moist lips
You don't mind they're actually chapped as potato chips,
Tell them how holding their hand makes you feel the warmth of the sun
Yep, that's a good line, make a little note, hon,
Don't mention fireworks— of clichés you must steer clear
And insert your beloved's qualities in here.

Time to move on from the pretty face, warm hugs and embrace
That person inside you want to be with all your days,
Maybe they're smart and sincere, to which you tip your hat
Or they're a total dumbass and you love them for that,
Whatever their personality, just imagine them near
And insert your beloved's qualities over here.

Now romanticise the sound of their voice
When you listen to them talk, everything else becomes white noise,
Oh, it's actually nasal, shrill or guttural? Then focus on the conversation
Or lie and paint them as Morgan Freeman's imitation,
Don't write the sappy 'sweet nothings' you wanna whisper in their ear
But insert your beloved's qualities over here. 

Last, talk about how their presence makes you feel inside
Maybe you feel safe, happy, and bring out your better side,
Or maybe you turn into a clumsy bumbling fool
Or become a pretentious jackass in your attempt to look cool,
Don't be cheesy and say you want February 14 with them each year
Just insert your beloved's qualities in this poem here.

2nd April/ (2/30) / Not really free verse, I think. Rhyme with a refrain?

Ode to Skin

You, the fabric that covers my bones
In all its tanned brown glory
You, the canvas of my emotion
And also its shelter.
For you are the thin line, the boundary, the border
Separating, protecting
This convoluted rabbit hole of an inner world 
From the outer one.

You are the curtain, the doorway, the membrane
The universe must sear through 
Before it sears me.
With all your intricate layers 
That you cast off and renew
You are the shield
All scars must get through.

You are the vessel, the marionette, the coffin
That encapsulates my soul in its worldly warmth,
Packing supernovas and blackholes and a gooey conscious
Into a five-five body for the cosmos to comprehend,
The sluice gate which confines my cyclones in
And lets my tsunamis slip through in solitude.

You are the companion, the slave, the master
Born with me, liquid milk, you
are what the world touched first. 
You'll live through the hormonal hurricanes of my youth
Till finally the liquid milk unfolds its wrinkled layer
To be blown on and pulled off by the icy warm fingers of death
And dissolved in the flames of earth's remembrance.

You are the yielder, the rebel, the healer,
Submitting your forests to razed
And your land to cut or dug or burnt           you
Endure it all with nary a sob
And yet, you are strong. 
You are strong, not malleable,
For you never give in, my beautifully stubborn rebel you
Come back,                        slowly,                              quietly
Your silent rejuvenation your powerful protest. 

You are the transmitter, the receiver, the storer
That feels the elements and etches them into itself
Memories and secrets only you and I know;
The raindrops that slip under the umbrella,
The wind in my face on a bicycle ride,
The yellow warmth of the winter sunshine,
The soft dewed grass under a tree in my toes.
You            
are what turns moment into memory.

You many not be pretty, or uniform, or perfect
But that is why you are human
You are tangible
And most importantly, 
You
Are mine.

Vectors

Cycling in the rain today

Instead of a thought experiment, I tried a Physics one.

For a change, it worked-

If I went a certain speed, the rain didn’t drench me.

 

They talk about the beauty of Physics

But you see, the rain is not beautiful

Because of physics-

Vector additions and relative velocities

Could never capture it,

A single arrow and a Greek letter

Just aren’t enough;

Because even though they’re three-dimensional,

The rain isn’t.

Continue reading

Mahogany-Brown

Mahogany-brown, heaven-sent,

My love

A sublime work of art

Perfect, so perfect.

 

Cloaked in black, like the night

My love, mahogany-brown

Every curve fitting in mine

The piece which completes my puzzle.

 

We don’t need violins and pianos,

My love, mahogany-brown

Symphonies play in our embraces,

And in the brushes of our fingertips.

 

Hollow inside but full, so full,

My love’s mahogany-brown

Richness flows into my soul,

Cathartic, lifting me from the world.

 

And even when my fingers are callused,

My love’s mahogany-brown

Smoothness will never roughen

Because immense purity is untouchable.

Continue reading

क्या कोई कविता…

उस दिन जब दुनिया ने मिलकर

प्रेम-पर्व मनाया था ,

नफ़रत ने भी पुलवामा पर

मायाजाल फैलाया था।

चाहे उन कायरों को संपूर्ण देश की

बद्दुआ लग जाएगी,

पर क्या कोई कविता उस माँ का

आँचल फिर भर पाएगी ?

Continue reading