agustdv

United Arab Emirates

[ a f r a h ]

far too nonchalant about things i should probably care about

Message from Writer

reviews pLeAsE. reviews without anything constructive are honestly a waste of your time, more than anything. be harsh or whatever when you critique me, but please do.

as for comments, they help a lot lol so if you drop a few, it would be highly appreciated.

Published Work

a contest maybe?




contest time!

i have been very fortunate to have such a pleasant and wonderful time on wtw, which includes the interactions with all 120+ of you! thank you for taking time to read my stuff, and for always being patient with my mistakes.

so, in light of all the free time i have now (ofc i don't focus on my classes), i'm gonna hold a contest. i know there are a lot more, well-crafted contests held by dedicated users, so its okay if you don't want to join in.

but in case you do decide to invest in this trainwreck, here are the prompts.



1) MACABRE PROSE [ 10 entries ] :

i am majoring in forensics, and that aspect of science is pretty unexplored in the prose and poetry community, in my opinion. so, dear writers, craft a piece filled with the most disturbing situations and details you can muster. however, keep in mind to not transgress the guidelines...

moon moon moon



midnight      waltz
        did you peep      through
pastel flower 
                        curtains
        amused glances                at the
innocent chests drowning
in                                    sleep
did you look at me?
        three decades too      early
                 for a memorial service.



i was far too                              intimate
with throat-shredding
                                                                    loneliness
the kind that sings to you
passive      apathy parties
cratered guests,                         you had
a      way   with the gifts, sneaky
solemn slithering
       moon 
                     light                        




 

react / ion


god, how i pined for the rain; 
how i wrote anthologies of desecration,
my hometown cracked like a skull split into
incomprehensible splinters. the glass cries tears
of beguiling gold; if only i had bewitched the 
carnal golden sands into staying. if only
the anatomy of me had forgiven the frayed
strands of nothingness crooning from
hot-wired eulogies. i wanted solace,
no matter how vicious, how volatile, how
chest-numbingly tranquil. 
no matter how
                                                                                    

                                                                      lonely.



 

error 404: hometown not found



birds chirping in hindi, voices laced with nectar, & i, a babbling instrument of baby fat & midnight tears. ahmedabad was unequivocally alluring; eruptions of gulmohar trees shedding golden blossoms on the pastel green masjid, the unabandoned comfort in watching my grandfather read his newspaper in the courtyard, crossed-legged, snowy santa beard. what a pity, what a misery that lovely, lovely place really was.


birds chirping in arabic, heat waves cascading like throbbing streams of blood, & i, a tiny towering stack of lies & inflamed fury. dubai was a dream that slithered between my immigrant fingers, postcards of glassy buildings & the finery i knew i could never seduce. there is an odd solace in accepting your lot in life; monumental agony, crumbling thrones, & how i fancied myself to be ozymandias.   



 

is anyone listening—



to the hammering rain in the earliest stench of summer?
to the shellshocked daydreams of an enticing warfare?
to the quivering copper strings in an orchestra of ghosts?
to the muffled prayers locked in the jaws of children pawed between the pews?
to the rainbow flags and the guttural screams of the fires that chew them whole?
to the mason jar of tears as the scale teeters into eating maladies?
to the immigrant fingers caressing prayer beads?
to the emptiness/ whispers/ coquettish catastrophes?
to the dissonance of plagued neurons?
to this futile collection of words?




 

growth / decay



hourglass of my dreams; 
infestation and vineyard mysteries 
perhaps, if presumptuousness was an illness, 
my brain would have collapsed 
from faux philosophies
being naive was irreparably lovely, 
ceaseless nightmares of burning 
civilizations on the precipice of nostalgia, 
how lamentable being a little older truly was, 
how rotten the corpse of a soul tainted 
with poignant mouth-foaming delirium
how, when the moonlight cried itself to sleep, 
i had no sorrow 
caving into my chest


 

d a w n



colorless agony/ this heatwave is/ enchanting/

birds overgrown/ a meadow of weeds/ and the sinking of toes/ crushed sand in empty/ colloquial mouths/ 

are you a stranger/ to the scent of/ doom?/ are you thinking/ of my/ bottomless daybreak/ words?/

god/ i have prayed/ mercilessly/ for a day like this/ to end



 

i want to quell the numbness in my chest so i get a part-time job


i

he plays the harmonica for suchi who is crying with her elbows glued to the white plastic table in the pantry, and i sit in the corner watching the tattoos on his sleeve breathe and suffocate under the weight of minimum wage. he plays the blues; mouth perched on the wind pipes, fingers pressed against the sleek metal body, eyes scrunched close. he is just trying to help her. in his own, coarse, uncouth, aggressive way, he is only trying to help.


ii

the security guard at the back door is
(a) angry
(b) punjabi
(c) awfully misunderstood
and when i get past my prejudice, i stand by her desk and listen to her talk for an hour. i want to while the time away, and she wants to heal without tears clogging her throat; a woman with a future, leaving home and hearth for a man miles away, ten years of love and nothing to show for it....

elena



i loved you/ charcoal eyes/ my lolita/ my muse/ i loved you even/ when your lungs/ annihilated/ every inch/ of our/ desecrated destinies/ i loved you/ as moths love/ the sensual scents/ of midsummer/ moonlights/ your tomb/ calls out to/ me/ tears sticking/ to my tongue/ numb skulls/ sullied gravestones/ i cannot live/ with/ out/ you/

they say/ rotten flesh/ smells/ like/ civilizations burning/ all the world/ turned inside out/ hailstorms of boulders/ pompeii/ but you/ my love/ are an effigy/ of the nothingness/ of tulip fields/ dancing sunlight/ and you/ a concoction of/ skin/ silk/ wax/ glass eyes/ just half of what/ you used to be/ but i still loved you/ in sickness and in health/ till death do us part/ 



/ and you are dead / 



 

hong kong



i am born from the land of salt marches and saffron, and learn to spin periwinkle studded fantasies in a country slick with sweat and oil. my eyes are accustomed to only two names on the atlas resting on my desk, afflicted by bathtub fingerprints and the harsh caresses of sunlight. 

a fondness for unscathed tourist shrines settles under my skin. so i turn to the inescapable lull of cinema, the reels and the blacks and whites and eyes that speak before mouths do. and it is here i discover hong kong. 

hong kong of the '90s. wong kar wai's hong kong. 

     and suddenly, i was maggie cheung falling for a man who only loved her for an hour a day, disguised under endearing smiles and smoldering gazes; i was takeshi kaneshiro eating thirty cans of expired pineapples, for it is better to have loved and lost, than not at all; i was tony leung in the empty...

metropolitan melancholy




i think i understand being lonely
in a city full of ghosts
now, more than ever
the enchantment of gentle
murmurs on public transport
lovers whispering under their
breaths, metros whizzing past
a walk of shame and unmet 
deadlines
being older is appallingly sad

maybe i miss how things used to be;
faux romances and the diaspora of my
feelings, encased in moments of
interlocked fingers, languid gazes
a head full of illogical dreams.
and i know how i remember it
is so much more bewitching than
how it really was; eluding memories
grinning at me naughtily as i
scramble to gather the vestiges of
sunny days
my beaming smile
my ringing laugh
my shining eyes
i lived in the past too much

follies are a second nature;
staring at the abyss
the abyss staring at me
singing to the empty blue seats
of dubai's cold, lonely metro trains
the ravine is exhausted of embracing
despairing souls, silver linings ceasing ...

tsundoku



tsundoku : the lamentable habit of buying books you will never read


the japanese are sensually articulate; tethered feelings
     waltzing through their dictionaries
a phrase for loneliness, another for the chilly breezes
heralding winter,
i ache, really,
there is a vulnerability that rends through my chest
how do they know what i feel? are they sorcerers?
are they brilliant wordsmiths?
are they the oracles of the old?
i think
they are in love, in agony, in pure
unrestrained, liberating
joy
like us—
but we build fortresses out of our heartstrings
concrete in the sultry form of blood and bone
we are too cowardly, too hurt to let strangers 
in;
counterfeit solace in a bottle of vodka 
and hollow sex, our eyes accustomed
to the neon, our lips accustomed 
to a foreign pair
i think we put glass to shame

irony, irony
we are all guilty of tsundoku 
in our own, unhappy ways
fifty books
thirty beers
and ...

jane doe





i wish my skin would stop the screaming/ the sinew smiles, cheshire, cheshire/ i have teeth/ a septum of monstrosity/ ribs and cages, stockholm syndrome/ lips dragging along the concrete/ a hollow moon for a skull/ aquarius fists/ my body is my prison/ tendons writhing in harmony/ stop breathing


 

i choke myself with perfumes to forget how you smelled



iii. a bottle of arabian oud smiles at me
untouched for months on my desk
i look past the quivering copper carvings
every morning 
as i hurricane myself through the house
eyes misting over the soft serene scent
i wish i could stop the swell of memories
colliding in my chest 
him, corridors
him, summers
him, fingers
him, him
him


ii. a bottle of arabian oud weeps
the fragrance of a daybreak 
and the tears of butterflies
i liked the gilded sheen glistening
on my wheat skin, honey rolls
and sesame seeds, the whiff of
you, corridors
you, summers
you, fingers
you, you
you


i. a bottle of arabian oud dies
encasing me inside its alluring aroma
the world and his wife couldn't replace
this stinging, bitter moment in time
a narcissist's mirror, glassy and true
and all i can do is think of
me, corridors
me, summers
me, fingers
me, me
me


 

you aren't real but i think of you everyday



i dream of you

intangible, faceless
a ghost of my desires
my mouth craves the animosity
only a lover that doesn't love you
can muster
you, who doesn't exist
lives on a pedestal of
ceramic and bone and 
the cement of my blood
i have carved you in places of
ritual and war
mockery and wealth
you are unattainable
and i pine for the subtle
ache of longing

love is too foreign
too stifling
i think i will never truly
understand what is not
meant for me
but sometimes
when the summer hits
my window pane
and the birds stare at me
through flitted feathers
i wonder if, perhaps
i could be so preposterous
to presume that i
might be the only reason
for every breath clinging to 
your lips, the madness 
consuming every waking moment
the singeing in your chest
the numbness clouding your senses
you breaking walls and crowns and
societal expectations
for somebody
who is just 
me
...

phantom limb syndrome




you've been stuck in my skull since i was thirteen, fourteen, fifteen; a tumor in the guise of a boy with corkscrew hair spilling over his pallid face. you talk to me in stairwells and teach me how to roll green tea joints; straight lines, tuck, roll, lick, stick. i am sixteen when a lilting, seductive numbness makes a home out of my brain cells, and you hold my hand in my empty room at midnight. there are days when i almost forget you, a figment of a figment of a figment of my imagination; irreparably mythical and so beautiful, my chest burns and hurts and collapses and cries. i longed for you, you know. i longed for you when i shivered on the floor, i longed for you when the water cascaded around me in the shower, i longed for you when i stuck my feet out of the window at three in the morning. 
there is nothing...

to make ends meet


trembling lips,
between the headphones and the charger aisles
the music on the loudspeaker swells
into incomprehensible tunes of sorrow
he almost bursts into tears
philippines dreams of the emirates
the awakening is bitter
cinnamon sticks of nine-hour-shifts
the toil is lopsided
the wage bare minimum
so i just stand there 
and watch his heart break


 

the camels and i whisper secrets in the moonlight




emirati deserts in the evening
are a colossal heartache;
the loneliness of the red dunes
the distant flickering city lights
the moon hanging low in the inky sky
the cars roaring past in silence
the power-lines guarding shadows
the camels curling up by thorn bushes
the haunted enchantment of being 

i think i both loathed and loved 
how barbaric, how cruel 
the endless days were
how soothing, how serene
the apocalyptic nights were
sweat and toil of the migrant
framing the edge of the universe
in black and green and red and white
tethered, anchored, listless

and for the longest of times 
i had convinced the nagging itch
at the back of my throat begging me to cry,
that it was acceptable to not belong—
passport stamps and nationalities
too indian for the emirates
too emirati for the hindustan
the subtlety of my existence
strangling me
i think of dubai and its wealth
on both sides of the gleaming...

i am no gardener but i would've done anything to grow you



gulmohar

the rickety sounds of wrought-iron gates/ my grandfather with a red bucket/ watering our clay flowerpots/ gulmohar trees behind our marble masjid/ shedding saffron blossoms with the lilting voice of summer/ and i/ nine/ like the cat's lives/ ache to carry this scent of lingering nostalgia/ between my roughened fingers/ the next morning explodes/ sunlight caressing my brown face/ gulmohar saplings planted new/ my grandfather grinning at me broadly/
i think i never forgot that


bougainvillea 

red-bricked villas/ ornate gates a symbol of my poverty/ i am not who i am/ fifteen and insignificant/ i look at the pink and purple/ feathery flowers kissing the wealthy fences/ i used to long to belong/ want to belong/ to own bougainvillea trees in my microscopic apartment/ my own/ naive way of screaming/ i am here/ i exist/ i craved the scents of gulmohar/ in the sweltering streets of dubai/ rose-gold-amber flowers singing to me/ at the far edges...

Seven Delights

rainbow rhapsody



firefighter

the sirens wake me up from the fretful gruel of my dreams. bland sunday morning light bounces off my pastel bedpost and i think to myself i should've closed the window, i can smell the smoke.

and i really do, even though the thick cloud of airborne carbon is miles away, colouring the pale sky in a hue of arson and destroyed steakhouses. bob's burgers is on fire, and sharjah's firefighting department can not salvage the toasted cattle shreds caving into toasted bread. 

when i drive past the charred barbequed grave later in the day, i gaze at the poster of the steakhouse's mascot singed at the corners. i bemoan the fact that i never really get to eat one of bob's burgers.



my name is fatima

i cherish morning treks if they aren't too hot (almost a rarity, considering i live in a desert) or too early (almost a rarity, but i do tend to sleep in,...

last summer blues



if you remember me, then i don't care if everyone else forgets. - murakami


//


it was a tauntingly exquisite day.
i remember something hurt; my chest, my ears, my fingers. i remember hurting. 
i felt wrung out; inside out, inverted. like photograph negatives.
even the shrill, pounding bell sounded strange. lyrical, almost. an eulogy for us, the ghosts.

my classmates dissolved into their chairs with a monotonous clatter. the door swung open, holding onto the infested hinge, creaking for dear life. like it always had. like it always had.

everything felt like the end that day. every single breath i took felt like i was losing something; like i was running out of time, letting it slip through my fingers, wet mud on an empty beach. helpless, helpless, helpless. i was so young. so, so young.
i wanted swallow this place whole; sun-kissed corridors, monochrome walls, doleful classrooms. sitting at the far end corner, the backs of my classmates...

کائنات



a man is nothing more than the sum of
who he is in two quivering, fragile moments—
the waning, pale listlessness of midnight chimes
echoing across lonely hallways bathed in moonshine,
and the tragic scent of a lonesomeness felt so viscerally
in the heart of a bustling city


window panes glisten with tears as dawn kisses
the cold glass, playing peek-a-boo with shooting stars
all the universe weighs down on us, atlas for the
lost and the weary carving trembling smiles onto 
their feathery skins; how do you let go of 
the embers of agony tearing apart your insides?
tic-tac-toe for those who live
a funeral for those who don't


the world is unforgiving 
pretty pastels stained with
blood and spit and shit
and the sorrow of
you and i

 

syzygy


misfortune in threes;
you    and    i    and    you
effigy, eulogy, ecstasy—
who i was eons ago
looks at me now ruefully,
indifference perched on my
nose, the visceral urge to
cease my existence, a
poem of the past

me    now
is too young, too forgetful
i carry an unsung orchestra of
agony, who i was carving woes in
the curve of my spine, punctured 
shoulder-blades birthing dirty wings
icarus and i share the same fate of
making love to our follies
a sun, a sea
and misery





 

little me ate pencil leads and i liked it a bit too much



thick, congealed memory stamped into my skull, a full-stop of words carved into my skin; the wistfulness of staying up till 3 am to watch tom and jerry, and my brain leaking from my ears, i was three and awfully sad about many things, like being alone and smashing glass bottles onto the rounded egg heads of the passersby from my eleventh floor window; i was seven when i tasted death in the guise of my faber castell pencil, and i chewed my mother's and the pencil's head off— a rabid bitch in the heat at eleven, but it really was the heat, and dubai's sun was a tyrant burning effigies out of tar and concrete, and really, all i wanted was to cease existing


 

moonsalt asphalt





moonsalt; enslaving haste, shimmering heat, gas stations staring at the seconds collapsing from my hushed jaws in horror. scrambled eggs and exhausted mothers, the monotonic pangs of an incomprehensibly indifferent economy screeching through my weary ears. scrawled cherry knots and geometrical lines, lines of cocaine and country borders, 
spiraling agony, spiraling agony,
spiraling agony.



;



asphalt; roads in potholes, politics in remedies, dying and the baffling cost of living. the prophetess cannot predict this disarray, this disenchantment, this apathy. burning asphalt, and i swear i can swerve, but train wrecks are spellbinding. train wrecks are singing. train wrecks, wreckage and entangled rosaries, tasbeehs, limbs, graves.
cloudburst feelings. what will you do of them?



 

tantalizing tomorrows




the rift of time
and how all good things end; 
like sticky sweet nectar on the precipice of my fingers
i think i adored living here; intoxicating heat
and the adamant sands making a home out of my skin;
but the soaring skyscrapers encasing my hollow shell
tell me i am but a stranger 

i like having no home;
the abysmal enigma of blurred identities
migrant migrant migrant
the indian subcontinent yearning for me
i think i miss it too

and so, i cry,
with my passports disheveled, undone pages,
visa stamps and country logos, the airport
smiles at me fondly like an estranged parent.
perhaps if i looked closely enough, i would
smell my hometown again,
fractures in my mind;
the stinging scents of ahmedabad
the cruel, reinvigorating summers of sharjah
how immense the tragedy; i belonged to both
and yet
to none

is it possible to have no home?
maybe, if i woke up tomorrow
i will have...

my grandmother built herself an armour of fool's gold because she was horribly ostentatious like that #kickoff


my grandmother was a fool
rigid, gnarly bones encased in the calcium
of sins
she loved us a little too much
us, her eyeballs to the strange world
she could only catch wispy glimpses of
from the mesh window.
my grandmother had claws for fingers
and three decades of her life spent in
her creaky rickety charpoy
a wedding gift, she once told me
gleaming eyes drowning in salt water
the palanquin weighed down by her 
feathery, insignificant presence.
a bride always carries her priceless
possessions to her new prison
my grandmother brought her 
polished silverware
i) a plate beaten into thinness
ii) a pair of cups and saucers so she
could make her husband
chai for the rest of her life
iii) an odd ensemble of forks and spoons
adorned at the hilt with flowery
carvings
my grandmother also loved her 
disheartening utensils a little too much
wax and washcloth that kissed
their silver sheen every month.
by the...

رشکِ قمر


                                                                                                                                                           [ urdu ] : رشکِ قمر
rashk-e-qamar : beauty even the moon is envious of


i cannot call you an opus of the universe;
you, of languid gazes and stuttering whistles
echoing into the chasms of my arrested chest
you were always three steps faster;
lanky noodle noodle legs 
and an incessant stream of chatter
i was an encumbrance; too cold
my lacerating words
too warm, my furnace hands
and your shivering fingers
quelling the silence in that
ice cube corridor
you spoke urdu ...

p l a y l i s t



how i      remember 
it

how it 

was

;

i have a playlist of blues
that i croon to when i do 
the dishes;
suds to my sleeve, a foghorn
blaring in my stomach
i sing california dreamin'
and to nuages
the listlessness of my younger
days
creep up to me, slipping 
into the cracks
this nostalgia
is very much like waking up
from a sweet dream

i hate it.


sometimes, i listen to a song
at a pivotal moment in my life
and i delete it from my phone;
i don't want to diminish
how small and insignificant
i felt when i first heard it
i like that pain sometimes,
the corrosion of melodies
at the tip of my tongue
the wild-eyed summers
the chocolate melting in my mouth
the impromptu long drives, 
and me in the back seat
gazing fondly at the 
fractured idea of the people
i loved
far more than i should have
me,...

khudkushi




i come from a land of tattered maps
border lines spilling ink and blood
a strange partition; 
india
pakistan
and a nest of tongues
perched in mouths sewn shut

i come from a land of graveyard languages
eating the bones of symbolism and hate speech
in urdu, we have a whimsical word for suicide
khudkushi
khud; yourself, you, you, you
kush; to kill, a smothered life
and i always found it so ironic
how kush was one letter away from
khush; bliss, joy
the wry smile of this paradox
cheeky, in ultimate glee

i come from a land of animosity
catcalls in sleazy vernacular
underhanded compliments from 
mouths oozing of satirical lust
i lose sight of myself in this 
alphabetical haze
so both this poem and i
must come to an end


 





 

khudkushi



i come from a land of tattered maps
border lines spilling ink and blood
a strange partition; 
india
pakistan
and a nest of tongues
perched in mouths sewn shut

i come from a land of graveyard languages
eating the bones of symbolism and hate speech
in urdu, we have a whimsical word for suicide
khudkushi
khud; yourself, you, you, you
kush; to kill, a smothered life
and i always found it so ironic
how kush was one letter away from
khush; bliss, joy
the wry smile of this paradox
cheeky, in ultimate glee

i come from a land of animosity
catcalls in sleazy vernacular
underhanded compliments from 
mouths oozing of satirical lust
i lose sight of myself in this 
alphabetical haze
so both this poem and i
must come to an end


 





 

summer makes a home out of my bones



i


the cicadas screamed in an exasperating cacophony. 
it was deafening. 
trucks and their thunderous engines hauling monstrous construction materials bumbled from street to street; sunlight skipping along the sleek steel pipes. the red and blue bruised madness of the ambulance wailed at the nonchalant cars to get out of the way. the sun beat down heavily, an oppressively hot hand pressing down the backs of salarymen.

the blinding white sky. 
     and her
at the bus stop, aching.


ii


summers in dubai were infinitely annoying to amal. she hated the heat. she hated the unsettling feeling of never quite being dry, because she was sweating so much all the time. she hated how dazzling the days were, how she almost always felt like nothing was quite right.
like now, for instance.

on an average day, amal would commute to and from her university using a fatiguing combination of buses and metro trains, a journey that could take...

Star Wish

tar tears



the sky is ripping at the seams;
frayed cloudbursts and the peculiar way
matted hair reflects in the pavement puddles
tar tears
whimsical, almost wry
rains in january are puzzling—
i adore the blues stinging my eyes
a retribution for my chest bolted shut
bitter and sardonic.

in this throat collapsing bustle
there is no time for stargazing
i don't buy gilded journals;
predicaments encompassing
the pretty pages 
chronicling my years, a spiral of
quietus
and my tethered words.
the empyrean rebukes my
     indifference
but we are two asteroids in a galaxy
singed at the edges
and the stars do nothing
but watch.





 

Star Wish

tar tears


the sky is ripping at the seams;
frayed cloudbursts and the peculiar way
matted hair reflects in the pavement puddles
tar tears
whimsical, almost wry
rains in january are puzzling—
i adore the blues stinging my eyes
a retribution for my chest bolted shut
bitter and sardonic.

in this throat collapsing bustle
there is no time for stargazing
i don't buy gilded journals;
predicaments encompassing
the pretty pages 
chronicling my years, a spiral of
quietus
and my tethered words.
the empyrean rebukes my
     indifference
but we are two asteroids in a galaxy
singed at the edges
and the stars do nothing
but watch.





 

Star Wish

tar tears


the sky is ripping at the seams;
frayed cloudbursts and the peculiar way
matted hair reflects in the pavement puddles
tar tears
whimsical, almost wry
rains in january are puzzling—
i adore the blues stinging my eyes
a retribution for my chest bolted shut
bitter and sardonic.

in this throat collapsing bustle
there is no time for stargazing
i don't buy gilded journals;
predicaments encompassing
the pretty pages 
chronicling my years, a spiral of
quietus
and my tethered words.
the empyrean rebukes my
     indifference
but we are two asteroids in a galaxy
singed at the edges
and the stars do nothing
but watch.




 

0-9

kronology




nine; like the clock gonging in my chest, an agonizing pity party. it clangs humorously, and i want it to stop tearing my rib cage, but it doesn't. it stays, nestled between my bones, this appalling monstrosity. i think i like how it makes me feel.

eight; but i am long since past that age. i don't think about wanting to make myself happy, or smiling at strangers that look kind. i don't stare at the sky, building stories in the clouds; clouds, a cloud head, my head in the clouds. 

seven; the days, the absoluteness of my pain, the way i chop my hair off. i am in a rat race, gasping for breath, but these aren't my sins. mine are yet to be made. mine are yet to sing to the populace. mine are yet to be deadly.

six; the number on my math test. the lines yawn at me incomprehensibly, but i make do with i have....

india


"i am haunted by humans."

but i yearn for their philosophical intricacies—
the irony of mottled education 
oozing
like a warm      blister
on the b-side of a censored album.

the podium gleams; black and blue
a cheshire grin, the prime minister's gums
moving incomprehensibly 
like the trains leading to auschwitz—
     but we are not in germany
we are in india
spices and trade routes
     and
The Occupation
The Riots
The Bill
The Concentration Camps
The Segregation
The Un-Subtle Hate Massacres 
The Injustice
     and
The Criminally Mute Media

i sound accusatory
i sound bitter, i know
my mentor is my country;
barricades strung like fairy lights
outside my ancestral home
i think it would've broken
my grandfather's heart
if he'd lived to see this—
birth certificates tossed about
the protesters engulfed by the police
our religion a war crime

     and

his world burning
his world burning
his world burning




 

Lyrical Stratum

kalamity




KOE 

blank stares. you tell me they don't stop, they never stop. they don't stop when your voice screams itself hoarse, vocal chords ripped to a frothing mess of sinew. they don't stop when the crevice between your thighs stains itself an irreversible shade of crimson. they don't stop. they leer. and laugh. and laugh. and laugh.


KANASHIMI

it takes two hundred and fifty six days for you to leave the four-walled cement brick you imprison yourself in. your fingers tremble at the doorknob, ghosts tearing at your skin. i think you knew it then, didn't you?
you were never going to sleep in peace ever again. 


KOIBITO

its all these men and their maniacal fantasies. you, a pixie girl; him, a woodcutter. you, medusa; him, poseidon. you, in pain; him, on bail.
it is how it is.

lady liberty, and injustice. lady liberty, and injustice. lady liberty, and injustice.

 

Lyrical Stratum

kalamity




KOE 

blank stares. you tell me they don't stop, they never stop. they don't stop when your voice screams itself hoarse, vocal chords ripped to a frothing mess of sinew. they don't stop when the crevice between your thighs stains itself an irreversible shade of crimson. they don't stop. they leer. and laugh. and laugh. and laugh.


KANASHIMI

it takes two hundred and fifty six days for you to leave the four-walled cement brick you imprison yourself in. your fingers tremble at the doorknob, ghosts tearing at your skin. i think you knew it then, didn't you?
you were never going to sleep in peace ever again. 


KOIBITO

its all these men and their maniacal fantasies. you; a pixie girl, him; a woodcutter. you; medusa, him; poseidon. you; in pain, him; on bail.
it is how it is.

lady liberty, and injustice. lady liberty, and injustice. lady liberty, and injustice.

 

Lyrical Stratum

kalamity



KOE 

blank stares. you tell me they don't stop, they never stop. they don't stop when your voice screams itself hoarse, vocal chords ripped to a frothing mess of sinew. they don't stop when the crevice between your thighs stains itself an irreversible shade of crimson. they don't stop. they leer. and laugh. and laugh. and laugh.


KANASHIMI

it takes two hundred and fifty six days for you to leave the four-walled cement brick you imprison yourself in. your fingers tremble at the doorknob, ghosts tearing at your skin. i think you knew it then, didn't you?
you were never going to sleep in peace ever again. 


KOIBITO

its all these men and their maniacal fantasies. you; a pixie girl, him; a woodcutter. you; medusa, him; poseidon. you; in pain, him; on bail.
it is how it is.

lady liberty, and injustice. lady liberty, and injustice. lady liberty, and injustice.

 

a t l a s


tragedy is my oldest lover
taking the form of realization;
i, eighteen, the age anne frank never reached, a hammer to my skull and suitcases under my eyes
i think i hoarded tears
a litre for you
a litre for the clammy feel of december
a litre and a half for the child who believed in me
a dozen more for the saccharine dissolving on the tooth of my tongue
women on the battlefield two to one; prostitutes, healers
saving the skin, saving the desire

tragedy is my oldest lover
crown politics and the anarchy of a colonized territory
i came from a land of insufficient nightmares, 
my religion reduced to a burning qur'an and concentration camps
if i could sell my principles in these pressing times
i would—
i do
eyes turned away at the carnage staring at me
hesitant hands at the pocket change for poverty
lungs filled with sawdust and asthma
flesh and bone, plastics in the...

a t l a s


tragedy is my oldest lover
taking the form of realization;
i, eighteen, the age anne frank never reached, a hammer to my skull and suitcases under my eyes
i think i hoarded tears
a litre for you
a litre for the clammy feel of december
a litre and a half for the child who believed in me
a dozen more for the saccharine dissolving on the tooth of my tongue
women on the battlefield two to one; prostitutes, healers
saving the skin, saving the desire

tragedy is my oldest lover
crown politics and the anarchy of a colonized territory
i came from a land of insufficient nightmares, 
my religion reduced to a burning qur'an and concentration camps
if i could sell my principles in these pressing times
i would—
i do
eyes turned away at the carnage staring at me
hesitant hands at the pocket change for poverty
lungs filled with sawdust and asthma
flesh and bone, plastics in the...

a t l a s


tragedy is my oldest lover
taking the form of realization;
i, eighteen, the age anne frank never reached, a hammer to my skull and suitcases under my eyes
i think i hoarded tears
a litre for you
a litre for the clammy feel of december
a litre and a half for the child who believed in me
a dozen more for the saccharine dissolving on the tooth of my tongue
women on the battlefield two to one; prostitutes, healers
saving the skin, saving the desire

tragedy is my oldest lover
crown politics and the anarchy of a colonized territory
i came from a land of insufficient nightmares, 
my religion reduced to a burning qur'an and concentration camps
if i could sell my principles in these pressing times
i would—
i do
eyes turned away at the carnage staring at me
hesitant hands at the pocket change for poverty
lungs filled with sawdust and asthma
flesh and bone, plastics in the...

sigaro




you are an effigy of nonchalant affection
ripped jeans in the snug corners of a hollow december
i think you knew what i meant when i said nothing—
unsung feelings, glances laced with vitriol
you watched me sink into paperback novels
i lived in my head all the time


you did not understand me playing
tic
tac
toe

with my emotions, bleed as they might
for lyrical mastery 
and the intricacy of a sob story
but i reeked of apathy, really
fish dead eyes at screaming lovers
smug faces at tragedies
my apartment crying for me;
i think i was scary 


sigaro,
señor, won't you light it for me?
please close the door on your way
out
intruders love me more than you do.
you should dress warmer in december
and cry in the taxi home
and sleep under the neon lights
of a barman's generosity

maybe you and i are a hiccup
in this seamless anecdote of 
a perfect...

My December Competition 2019

nobody loves december like i do




december breaks my heart.

~

the park opens, and so do the yawning arms of a slippery december. the scratchy voice in our tinkering car's radio announces that on average, it only rains five days a year in dubai. i take the statistics with an entire ocean of salt. my sweater budget, i decide, must therefore be spent on the cheap lychee juice boxes i buy at a small grocery store under my building (although i must admit, the official cover story differs wildly).

lychee juice is a cornerstone of my winter shenanigans. while most of my peers reasonably opt for weather-appropriate drinks, like piping hot karak chai or steaming mugs of coffee, i prefer the tangy sweetness of chilled lychee juice. it slides down my throat, knocking at every cell of my being with icy fingers, before resting in my stomach like an impish child put to bed.

in the course of winter, it becomes the norm to see...

My December Competition 2019

nobody loves december like i do



december breaks my heart.

~

the park opens, and so do the yawning arms of a slippery december. the scratchy voice in our tinkering car's radio announces that on average, it only rains five days a year in dubai. i take the statistics with an entire ocean of salt. my sweater budget, i decide, must therefore be spent on the cheap lychee juice boxes i buy at a small grocery store under my building (although i must admit, the official cover story differs wildly).

lychee juice is a cornerstone of my winter shenanigans. while most of my peers reasonably opt for weather-appropriate drinks, like piping hot karak chai or steaming mugs of coffee, i prefer the tangy sweetness of chilled lychee juice. it slides down my throat, knocking at every cell of my being with icy fingers, before resting in my stomach like an impish child put to bed.

in the course of winter, it becomes the norm to see...

My December Competition 2019

nobody loves december like i do



december breaks my heart.

~

the park opens, and so do the yawning arms of a slippery december. the scratchy voice in our tinkering car's radio announces that on average, it only rains five days a year in dubai. i take the statistics with an entire ocean of salt. my sweater budget, i decide, must therefore be spent on the cheap lychee juice boxes i buy at a small grocery store under my building (although i must admit, the official cover story differs wildly).

lychee juice is a cornerstone of my winter shenanigans. while most of my peers reasonably opt for weather-appropriate drinks, like piping hot karak chai or steaming mugs of coffee, i prefer the tangy sweetness of chilled lychee juice. it slides down my throat, knocking at every cell of my being with icy fingers, before resting in my stomach like an impish child put to bed.

in the course of winter, it becomes the norm to see...

My December Competition 2019

nobody loves december like i do



december breaks my heart.

~

the park opens, and so do the yawning arms of a slippery december. the scratchy voice in our tinkering car's radio announces that on average, it only rains five days a year in dubai. i take the statistics with an entire ocean of salt. my sweater budget, i decide, must therefore be spent on the cheap lychee juice boxes i buy at a small grocery store under my building (although i must admit, the official cover story differs wildly).

lychee juice is a cornerstone of my winter shenanigans. while most of my peers reasonably opt for weather-appropriate drinks, like piping hot karak chai or steaming mugs of coffee, i prefer the tangy sweetness of chilled lychee juice. it slides down my throat, knocking at every cell of my being with icy fingers, before resting in my stomach like an impish child put to bed.

in the course of winter, it becomes the norm to see...

melancholy becomes this mysterious man in whom destiny lives like a parasite


the ultimate love is cannibalism—
or so say the poets
annabel lee and lady lazarus
entwined; seraphim and israfeel
blasphemous retaliation
nihilists, alchemists
the rain cascades
sins drenched in a cloak of zamzam
the mother with a quivering child at her feet
the priest with a subscription to snuff websites
the orphanage with a lust for trafficking
this is anarchy
sweat trickling down tempestuous backs
bare breasts and the flashing negligence
of the prejudiced media
strange; this madness, this method
this grave robbing, this hierarchy
countries at each other's throats
an orange at the throne
trumping all ironies
oil in the skins of a smothered tribe
and my grandfather's aching smile
but the atlas is gathering dust
the libraries choking with flames
all of civilization encased in one fragile moment;
ah
i suppose there is some truth to what they say
that
the ultimate love is
cannibalism





 

melancholy becomes this mysterious man in whom destiny lives like a parasite




the ultimate love is cannibalism—
or so say the poets
annabel lee and lady lazarus
entwined; seraphim and israfeel
blasphemous retaliation
nihilists, alchemists
the rain cascades
sins drenched in a cloak of zamzam
the mother with a quivering child at her feet
the priest with a subscription to snuff websites
the orphanage with a lust for trafficking
this is anarchy
sweat trickling down tempestuous backs
bare breasts and the flashing negligence
of the prejudiced media
strange; this madness, this method
this grave robbing, this hierarchy
countries at each other's throats
an orange at the throne
trumping all ironies
oil in the skins of a smothered tribe
and my grandfather's aching smile
but the atlas is gathering dust
the libraries choking with flames
all of civilization encased in one fragile moment;
ah
i suppose there is some truth to what they say
that
the ultimate love is
cannibalism





 

melancholy becomes this mysterious man in whom destiny lives like a parasite



the ultimate love is cannibalism—
or so say the poets
annabel lee and lady lazarus
entwined; seraphim and israfeel
blasphemous retaliation
nihilists, alchemists
the rain cascades
sins drenched in a cloak of zamzam
the mother with a quivering child at her feet
the priest with a subscription to snuff websites
the orphanage with a lust for trafficking
this is anarchy
sweat trickling down tempestuous backs
bare breasts and the flashing negligence
of the prejudiced media
strange; this madness, this method
this grave robbing, this hierarchy
countries at each other's throats
an orange at the throne
trumping all ironies
oil in the skins of a smothered tribe
and my grandfather's aching smile
but the atlas is gathering dust
the libraries choking with flames
all of civilization encased in one fragile moment;
ah
i suppose there is some truth to what they say
that
the ultimate love is
cannibalism




 

nazron se khat likhna


azaadi
but the 9 pm curfew is a red herring
female, i tick on boxes 
my privilege unchecked
my clothes controversial
my femininity weaponized;
bargaining tools, leverages
they say to annex a country
you must first break down their women
and the men will follow suit
but all men have done
is disappoint
history, word of mouth
and unfamiliar mouths
on the sweet valley of kashmir
the occupation and unanswered phone calls
crying mothers with a generation of agony
perched upon their chests
the uncertainty of their sons whereabouts
knocking on their door at midnight
like policemen in plain clothes
off-duty, salute
the flag-post our gallows
and the schools our graveyards

the world is mute
tongues stuck to the roof
locked jaws, broken teeth
but the dentist is on vacation;
i am running late for my 
9 pm curfew when i pass by
him on the street
stop drilling, i think
stop thinking, i think
and just like that
i...

nazron se khat likhna


azaadi
but the 9 pm curfew is a red herring
female, i tick on boxes 
my privilege unchecked
my clothes controversial
my femininity weaponized;
bargaining tools, leverages
they say to annex a country
you must first break down their women
and the men will follow suit
but all men have done
is disappoint
history, word of mouth
and unfamiliar mouths
on the sweet valley of kashmir
the occupation and unanswered phone calls
crying mothers with a generation of agony
perched upon their chests
the uncertainty of their sons whereabouts
knocking on their door at midnight
like policemen in plain clothes
off-duty, salute
the flag-post our gallows
and the schools our graveyards

the world is mute
tongues stuck to the roof
locked jaws, broken teeth
but the dentist is on vacation;
i am running late for my 
9 pm curfew when i pass by
him on the street
stop drilling, i think
stop thinking, i think
and just like that
i...

nazron se khat likhna




azaadi
but the 9 pm curfew is a red herring
female, i tick on boxes 
my privilege unchecked
my clothes controversial
my femininity weaponized;
bargaining tools, leverages
they say to annex a country
you must first break down their women
and the men will follow suit
but all men have done
is disappoint
history, word of mouth
and unfamiliar mouths
on the sweet valley of kashmir
the occupation and unanswered phone calls
crying mothers with a generation of agony
perched upon their chests
the uncertainty of their son's whereabouts
knocking on their door at midnight
like policemen in plain clothes
off-duty, salute
the flag-post our gallows
and the schools our graveyards

the world is mute
tongues stuck to the roof
locked jaws, broken teeth
but the dentist is on vacation;
i am running late for my 
9 pm curfew when i pass by
him on the street
stop drilling, i think
stop thinking, i think
and just like that
i...

on how to say goodbye before your time



i first read sylvia plath 
when i am a fourteen year old
fettered brains and a gaping ache in my chest;
i begin to like ovens and their strange monstrosity
it could bake and take a life away


things whir past me after that;
chester and how he was still numb
jonghyun and the deafening catastrophe of dying in winter
avicii and how lost he really was


i think we take ourselves for granted;
skipping stones at the edge of drowning minds
we yell and shriek and claw at our skins
"help me," too difficult to choke out
red flags scattered in the wind
but everybody is
colour blind


 

wordlessly


ek.    

she shifted like an unforgettable song on a beloved playlist.


do.

she said she ate toothpaste and melancholy, and i am not sure i understand, but i let myself be caught in her reverie.


teen.

her skin is of the color of the unrelenting mountains; steep, deceptive, a head full of sky. she said i tasted like death, and when i look at her fierce tears when she kisses me, i comply.


char.

i like to think of her as a calendar. she spins a new tale everyday, and i struggle to breath under the tapestry of lies she weaves. sometimes, i hold her close and sing to her bones, and her lips caress my mistakes. sometimes, this is all we do, all we need.


paanch.

wordlessly, amongst other words, she begins to etch a goodbye in every step. when she looks at me, i do not see the constellations she carves in her eyes. instead, like...

i think growing up was a mistake



scrawny dreams in chalk dust
the blackboard smiles
and we, the size of a knee,
two hundred pennies
and gelatine capsules,
gummy bear vitamins
our mouths a licorice carbuncle
we terrorized our teachers
school is a second home
to  w r i n g  inside out;
our skins cried silently


bathed we are
cocaine penetrated follicles
"binge-drinkers" we proclaim proudly
this is a nightmare
a fluorescent adolescent
me and you and me in you
the pendulum wants to stop
and so do the vices cloaked
under an acceptable farce;
we call it rebellion
but we know it is too late
too sad
too little
sam smith's wailing voice
and us in a trance
we just stop sleeping;
shutters and eyelids rusting 
this is nihilism


poignant is our misery
and so we laugh
     and laugh
          and laugh
               and laugh 

 

tsundoku


tsundoku : the lamentable habit of buying books you will never read


the japanese are sensually articulate; tethered feelings
     waltzing through their dictionaries
a phrase for loneliness, another for the chilly breezes
heralding winter,
i ache, really,
there is a vulnerability that rends through my chest
how do they know what i feel? are they sorcerers?
are they brilliant wordsmiths?
are they the oracles of the old?
i think
they are in love, in agony, in pure
unrestrained, liberating
joy
like us—
but we build fortresses out of our heartstrings
concrete in the sultry form of blood and bone
we are too cowardly, too hurt to let strangers 
in;
counterfeit solace in a bottle of vodka 
and hollow sex, our eyes accustomed
to the neon, our lips accustomed 
to a foreign pair
i think we put glass to shame

irony, irony
we are all guilty of tsundoku 
in our own, unhappy ways
fifty books
thirty beers
and ...

hourglass




hourglass;
but the world is smiling haphazardly today, teeth and stones and hurricanes sung along, folklore and wisps of a dwindling pipe dream. 
you protest at the unrelenting boredom building a home out of your aching skin; the tinge of fear when a truck barrels past you into the innocuous darkness, like salt and tiramisu, like broken streetlights glaring at you.
i think you think too much, feel too much. two sides and a coin, empty clouds and umbrellas, perhaps i understand this grief you converse with, this ghost whispering over your shoulder as i try to help. i try. i try.



hourglass;
frail, old bones and childish grins, nooses on ancient trees coaxing you closer; the gingerbread man is on fire. 
you lose your guilt in fragments, tombstones wailing, stonehenge and concrete perching on your window-sill; you nearly give in. maybe you wanted to. maybe it would've been for the best.



hourglass; but the clock cries. there isn't...

sigaro




you are an effigy of nonchalant affection
ripped jeans in the snug corners of a hollow december
i think you knew what i meant when i said nothing—
unsung feelings, glances laced with vitriol
you watched me sink into paperback novels
i lived in my head all the time


you did not understand me playing
tic
tac
toe

with my emotions, bleed as they might
for lyrical mastery 
and the intricacy of a sob story
but i reeked of apathy, really
fish dead eyes at screaming lovers
smug faces at tragedies
my apartment crying for me;
i think i was scary 


sigaro,
señor, won't you light it for me?
please close the door on your way
out
intruders love me more than you do.
you should dress warmer in december
and cry in the taxi home
and sleep under the neon lights
of a barman's generosity

maybe you and i are a hiccup
in this seamless anecdote of 
a perfect...

sigaro



you are an effigy of nonchalant affection
ripped jeans in the snug corners of a hollow december
i think you knew what i meant when i said nothing—
unsung feelings, glances laced with vitriol
you watched me sink into paperback novels
i lived in my head all the time


you did not understand me playing
tic
tac
toe

with my emotions, bleed as they might
for lyrical mastery 
and the intricacy of a sob story
but i reeked of apathy, really
fish dead eyes at screaming lovers
smug faces at tragedies
my apartment crying for me;
i think i was scary 


sigaro,
señor, won't you light it for me?
please close the door on your way
out
intruders love me more than you do.
you should dress warmer in december
and cry in the taxi home
and sleep under the neon lights
of a barman's generosity

maybe you and i are a hiccup
in this seamless anecdote of 
a perfect...

let's start over


"let's start over," he says
and my chest shatters into
a million slices of flesh;
arteries leading away
and to
my lonely brain
we are bathed in harsh yellow lights
a catastrophe in the shape of
four dozen cigarette boxes
we give ourselves lung cancer
because we cannot bear to label
our love
cancerous

i think i cannot live without him
a despicable habit, like brushing
teeth in the midst of a colossal 
war, muscle and sinew sticking to my
gums
he says, "let's start over"
and i really want to but i
think i'm hurting too much
he reeks of infidelity and cheap
vodka slipping through the 
soft folds of his shirt
he has a penchant for baring
his shoulders to people he does not
love; this is a strange madness we
annihilate each other in

he says, "let's start over"
and i wish i could
but i don't stay around to listen
this time


 

let's start over


"let's start over," he says
and my chest shatters into
a million slices of flesh;
arteries leading away
and to
my lonely brain
we are bathed in harsh yellow lights
a catastrophe in the shape of
four dozen cigarette boxes
we give ourselves lung cancer
because we cannot bear to label
our love
cancerous

i think i cannot live without him
a despicable habit, like brushing
teeth in the midst of a colossal 
war, muscle and sinew sticking to my
gums
he says, "let's start over"
and i really want to but i
think i'm hurting too much
he reeks of infidelity and cheap
vodka slipping through the 
soft folds of his shirt
he has a penchant for baring
his shoulders to people he does not
love; this is a strange madness we
annihilate each other in

he says, "let's start over"
but i don't
stay around to listen
this time


 

to cinema




i've been a patron saint of cinema since i learnt
nine times nine is eighty one
i drowned in the colours
and the skepticism of plots;
holes mostly, but plots and angles
the actresses deviant and bubbly
the actors detached
i've loved nolan and hitchcock and
xavier dolan
wong kar-wai, who makes heartbreaking
films, whimsical shots of gloomy places
i feel alive, really
i think it matters to breathe
or run away from the shackles
or take spontaneous trips
in the middle of the night
for an hour and a half
i am new
i am distant
i am there, but not quite
i am, i am, i am
i am whistling along to the tune
of people falling in love
such is the allure of that black screen
1.85:1 encompassing my fragile chest
i think i love films too much
too much sound
too much noise
too much to take in, to believe
but for one small, insignificant
instant ...

of mundane tales


my teeth feel like nails hammered into a freshly painted wall; white dripping, my tongue stuck to the roof, boarded-up windows, and my neighbor saying goodbye.
my dentist says i put up with too much pain; this tall, dark, stocky man with his competent fingers and twenty seven years of peering into tired mouths. he says i think too much and say too little, but there is only so much i can say with my mouth harboring a fugitive; gums, cookie cutters and a sweet tooth.
oh so well, the sun is beating down this little clinic, an exhausted a.c. and the trio of nurses who smile only till their lips, i wonder, wonder, wonder; do they get free dental checkups?
to love is to feed, and so we stay starving, me and my incomprehensible teeth.

chungking express




in a little film called chungking express
a man eats thirty cans of expired pineapples
and i wonder
do we punish ourselves for failing to recognize the
inevitability of certain things;
of love and loss and lust
amongst other insignificant elements?
do we purchase serrated knives and
sharpen them on our marble countertops
our very own taj mahal, a tomb of misery
an ode to our love?
i think we think too much and feel too much
exposed wounds slashed across our hearts
like a papercut for envelopes, snuggling in
letters we never write 
addressed to people we never 
loved
love love love
there is a numbing satisfaction in 
letting go, like petty children throwing
their mother's makeup from the windows
each time she rebukes them, we have to 
let go in the only way we know how to
be it building taj mahals
or breaking lipsticks
or falling in love
or falling out
or eating thirty cans
of expired...

chungking express



in a little film called chungking express
a man eats thirty cans of expired pineapples
and i wonder
do we punish ourselves for failing to recognize the
inevitability of certain things;
of love and loss and lust
amongst other insignificant elements?
do we purchase serrated knives and
sharpen them on our marble countertops
our very own taj mahal, a tomb of misery
an ode to our love?
i think we think too much and feel too much
exposed wounds slashed across our hearts
like a papercut for envelopes, snuggling in
letters we never write 
addressed to people we never 
love
love love love
there is a numbing satisfaction in 
letting go, like petty children throwing
their mother's makeup from the windows
each time she rebukes them, we have to 
let go in the only way we know how to
be it building taj mahals
or breaking lipsticks
or falling in love
or falling out
or eating thirty cans
of expired...

Flash Fiction Competition 2019

c l o s e r



The bridge yawns back at me; two gaping streets and cars whizzing past, glimmering, angry. Warm gusts of a gloomy summer slither through my hair, remnants of dried tears, my cheeks solemn and tranquil.

So I stop, and stare. The footpaths smile, brick and bone monstrosity, I am small; Lilliputian in pain. I begin screaming; profanities, hurling words like pebbles on windows, the people in the cars looking at me with trepidation and concern; I am trivial.

And then, it is over. This fragile, quivering moment, this silent bridge and my frustration. We become one; down-trodden, the beaten path.

n a n a



my grandfather had a flowing
    white beard, snowy skin, wrinkled like time stopped in a beloved book
my little hands could never reach up to
him, tall, like a lamp-post, a light house
happy sailors yearning to inch
    closer.

he liked to drink his chai
    five times, like prayers, his closed eyes breathing in the scent of
those unfurled darjeeling natives
light brown and toast on
    the side.

market places and his 
    gentle voice, bargaining, firm, his topee getting caught on the
low ropes connecting the small world inside
vegetable shops, milk shops, samosa
    lariyan.

my grandfather liked me a lot,
    the first grand-child, wrung out and tiny, like a fist
bobbing on his knee, he taught me to paint
taj mahal; we planted decades worth of seeds in
our humble back
    yard.

i type and type about him, backspaces ...

n a n a



my grandfather had a flowing
    white beard, snowy skin, wrinkled like time stopped in a beloved book
my little hands could never reach up to
him, tall, like a lamp-post, a light house
happy sailors yearning to inch
    closer.

he liked to drink his chai
    five times, like prayers, his closed eyes breathing in the scent of
those unfurled darjeeling natives
light brown and toast on
    the side.

market places and his 
    gentle voice, bargaining, firm, his topee getting caught on the
low ropes connecting the small world inside
vegetable shops, milk shops, samosa
    lariyan.

my grandfather liked me a lot,
    the first grand-child, wrung out and tiny, like a fist
bobbing on his knee, he taught me to paint
taj mahal; we planted decades worth of seeds in
our humble back
    yard.

i type and type about him, backspaces ...

of mundane tales


my teeth feel like nails hammered into a freshly painted wall; white dripping, my tongue stuck to the roof, boarded-up windows, and my neighbor saying goodbye.
my dentist says i put up with too much pain; this tall, dark, stocky man with his competent fingers and twenty seven years of peering into tired mouths. he says i think too much and say too little, but there is only so much i can say with my mouth harboring a fugitive; gums, cookie cutters and a sweet tooth.
oh so well, the sun is beating down this little clinic, an exhausted a.c. and the trio of nurses who smile only till their lips, i wonder, wonder, wonder; do they get free dental checkups?
to love is to feed, and so we stay starving, me and my incomprehensible teeth.

d r e a m s

 
"i try my best at sleeping but my dreams are unappealing." - the japanese house


there is an earth shattering ache in my chest when i wake up from a sweet
dream; the vast emptiness of what could have been. i bend and break, yew trees and the soft acceptance of thorns and how they hurt; to love is a catastrophe.

i cannot breathe; water clogged lungs, airways, bloodstreams and blood in streams; ophelia, sweet ophelia is my protege. i sleep like i live in the yesterdays; building homes out of distant men and rude awakenings. building homes out of disgraceful endings. i think yesterdays are my daydreams, muses of ballads, muses of poets.

it is easy to want to live when death is two inches from your nose; i dance with pinocchio and his mesmerizing lies. you have an aching scent etched into my skull, creeping through corridors and elevators, creeping into my skin. do you like...

d r e a m s

 
"i try my best at sleeping but my dreams are unappealing." - the japanese house


there is an earth shattering ache in my chest when i wake up from a sweet
dream; the vast emptiness of what could have been. i bend and break, yew trees and the soft acceptance of thorns and how they hurt; to love is a catastrophe.

i cannot breathe; water clogged lungs, airways, bloodstreams and blood in streams; ophelia, sweet ophelia is my protege. i sleep like i live in the yesterdays; building homes out of distant men and rude awakenings. building homes out of disgraceful endings. i think yesterdays are my daydreams, muses of ballads, muses of poets.

it is easy to want to live when death is two inches from your nose; i dance with pinocchio and his mesmerizing lies. you have an aching scent etched into my skull, creeping through corridors and elevators, creeping into my skin. do you like...

gutters



the crows smile. a murder, and two, and three, but the crows smile.
rain seeps into the foggy newspaper; of black nights and missing black women, sins blaring through the city; police sirens wailing, babies wailing, funeral processions wailing.

san francisco is on fire tonight.
the flames lick and lust, charred flesh and jealousy, the hijab cannot snuff out this inferno. but the hijab can speak. the hijab can incriminate. the hijab, and the convenience of a discriminated suspect. the hijab, and the death sentence.

neon lights, flickering, flickering.
he beams at her lone silhouette; a dissolving pill and beer pitchers, dazed slurring and torn clothes. morning, mourning, mourning; hangovers and unfamiliar genitals. there is only so much she can do. there are only so many tears left.

hymn, hymn, humming into the skull.
the cassock slips off the unholy shoulders; oh father, forgive yourself, for you have sinned. he is but a child; you, him. your fingers caress forbidden...

gutters



the crows smile. a murder, and two, and three, but the crows smile.
rain seeps into the foggy newspaper; of black nights and missing black women, sins blaring through the city; police sirens wailing, babies wailing, funeral processions wailing.

san francisco is on fire tonight.
the flames lick and lust, charred flesh and jealousy, the hijab cannot snuff out this inferno. but the hijab can speak. the hijab can incriminate. the hijab, and the convenience of a discriminated suspect. the hijab, and the death sentence.

neon lights, flickering, flickering.
he beams at her lone silhouette; a dissolving pill and beer pitchers, dazed slurring and torn clothes. morning, mourning, mourning; hangovers and unfamiliar genitals. there is only so much she can do. there are only so many tears left.

hymn, hymn, humming into the skull.
the cassock slips off the unholy shoulders; oh father, forgive yourself, for you have sinned. he is but a child; you, him. your fingers caress forbidden...

aquarius



aquarius, 
i am a water-bearer, a broken shoulder of consoled tears and empty comfort, i simply look at your misery and close my eyes. sometimes, you understand. sometimes, you let go. sometimes, i am allowed to breathe.

i throw apathy parties and blow unlit candles, an ode to futility and the art of bleak tradition. i break halos and promises and light bulbs. my words are f r a g m e n t e d

play, play, play around, play with you, play pretend. of fleeting lovers and dancing on glass, i put cinderella to shame. you come knocking on my door; melancholy caressing your eyes, time running away, time ticking tocking tocking.

"save me," you say, a ghost in your voice, a hollow ache in your chest. 

me? save you? what of me, then? what of me, me, me, me, me? i am alive too. what of me?

"save yourself," i say as coldly as possible.

but...

「 花 樣 年 華 」


middlemen, and i most certainly was one,
the second lover and the guidebook
laying down the laws of how you should
be loved, and why, and how much,
what love is acceptable (?), what love is
cathartic, what love isn't meant for 
you.

oh, but you always did what you wanted;
like not calling this love, like not letting
me understand you; your boring intricacies. 
i wanted to pick your brain apart,
fractures and fissures and your past
lovers; i'm sure they speak ill of you,
as i would.

middlemen, and i was always guilty, but
such is the selective sight of the ones
blinded by you and your tall, collapsible
lies. i taste their sonority in the crook 
of my teeth, but this song comes to a
weary end. all i can hear is my
blood thumping back into my ears.

i'm going to wrench your heart from 
that flimsy chest; you don't use it,
and i can have that...

Doorways

window



when the world begins to swallow me whole, i close my eyes.

i think i always had a penchant for darkness. the silent, gaping cavity yawning at me was never daunting. i liked listening to myself breathe in that pitch, pitch black.

so when the world begins to swallow me whole, i switch off the lights.

cold coffee and i are toxic lovers drunk on obsession. nothing makes me feel like it. nothing replaces the ache that runs in my blood when i dissolve myself in caffeine. the sugar clings to my teeth and tongue and throat, but i do not mind. i do not mind it at all.

so when the world begins to swallow me whole, i swallow my brew.

the windows at the end of my room smell inviting. when the clock strikes midnight, and the august breeze whistles by, i crack open the window and sit on the sill, feet dangling in the air, high, high...

last summer blues



if you remember me, then i don't care if everyone else forgets. - murakami


//


it was a tauntingly exquisite day.
i remember something hurt; my chest, my ears, my fingers. i remember hurting. 
i felt wrung out; inside out, inverted. like photograph negatives.
even the shrill, pounding bell sounded strange. lyrical, almost. an eulogy for us, the ghosts.

my classmates dissolved into their chairs with a monotonous clatter. the door swung open, holding onto the infested hinge, creaking for dear life. like it always had. like it always had.

everything felt like the end that day. every single breath i took felt like i was losing something; like i was running out of time, letting it slip through my fingers, wet mud on an empty beach. helpless, helpless, helpless. i was so young. so, so young.
i wanted swallow this place whole; sun-kissed corridors, monochrome walls, doleful classrooms. sitting at the far end corner, the backs of my classmates...

moonsalt asphalt





moonsalt; enslaving haste, shimmering heat, gas stations staring at the seconds collapsing from my hushed jaws in horror. scrambled eggs and exhausted mothers, the monotonic pangs of an incomprehensibly indifferent economy screeching through my weary ears. scrawled cherry knots and geometrical lines, lines of cocaine and country borders, 
spiraling agony, spiraling agony,
spiraling agony.



;



asphalt; roads in potholes, politics in remedies, dying and the baffling cost of living. the prophetess cannot predict this disarray, this disenchantment, this apathy. burning asphalt, and i swear i can swerve, but train wrecks are spellbinding. train wrecks are singing. train wrecks, wreckage and entangled rosaries, tasbeehs, limbs, graves.
cloudburst feelings. what will you do of them?
 

vogel im kafig


;

"don't fear the world, it isn't there."

you've learnt the intricate art of tying nooses; one knot, two knots, maybe three for good measure. you like to ravage your kitchen's countertops with butcher knives, and i remember the way you laughed when i asked you if you liked the sound of the marble screeching under your catharsis. 

you tell me about phobophobia, and how you fear the living who live. i'm not sure i understand, but i fill your brain with words i think will help. in the end, however, i too am a slave to poetry. you stop fearing the things that don't exist.

instead, you listen to u2, and sometimes, me too. slowly, you begin to weave your pain into words, and all i do is pretend you aren't there.

vogel im kafig, i have been told, means bird in a cage, and when you decide you're never going to leave yours, you waste away.

so...

the boy i will never meet

;

because i do nothing but corrode in the name of love.

i like my windows open and treacle tart and the scent of the first drizzle on tar. sometimes, i let myself believe in things beyond my reach. i become tragic then.

for the longest of times, i have told myself that nobody will ever love me like i do. it is a double-edged sword; this truth, this sorrow. when the realization of my lonely bedroom crashes in, i will force my eyes into a straitjacket and play with the zipper. i like the melancholy. i like this. it is comforting. it makes me me.

you will be a hurricane. i am the inferno. we will annihilate each other. you will run a finger along the corner of my mouth, and it will take everything i have to not give in. you will not understand. i prefer you not to. to understand me would mean to chase me to...

i can't help but love your infidelity


;


and you love me just the same.

sometimes, under the veil of deception, when you kiss her, i can feel her fingernails scraping the skin off my back. in the forbidden arms of the cloaked twilight, you caress her face, and i begin to cry.

you still seem to like the way i sprinkle cocoa on your morning coffee; brewed and dark and bitter. when you put an arm around my neck and nuzzle your face in my shoulder, i begin believing in you all over again.

but the truth is, when you sneak home at the witching hour, i can smell last night's booze and rose petals and her perfume. i close my eyes as you begin to pull out your tie once more, a slave to routine, the hurried knots unwilling to let themselves go this time. 

pride. i am a woman of pride, i used to say. pride, prejudice, passion, poison. i wonder what kisses...

Refuge

refugee



the first missile tears through the skin;
skinning the embers of
a quenched country
alive
alive?

the mosques wail incomprehensibly;
god is detached, god is being called
to, god oh god, save us, save us, save us,
we have long since gone past
the ironic intricacies surrounding
our places of worship.

rubble and ash and soot; a second skin,
dissonance and graveyard wombs,
how does one die before living?
how does one pay for sins they do not
commit?
how does one accuse the invisible?

pogroms rupture the news headlines;
our children's bones strung across
border lines are too trivial for your
apathy, 
do you want a family too?
do you want a family too?

terror, terror, terror,
what of the terrorists terrorizing
the "terrorists"? 
or is your humanity selective?
is wanting to live such a
despicable thing?

refuge. refuge.
refugee.
refugee.

refugee.

 

hourglass




hourglass;
but the world is smiling haphazardly today, teeth and stones and hurricanes sung along, folklore and wisps of a dwindling pipe dream. 
you protest at the unrelenting boredom building a home out of your aching skin; the tinge of fear when a truck barrels past you into the innocuous darkness, like salt and tiramisu, like broken streetlights glaring at you.
i think you think too much, feel too much. two sides and a coin, empty clouds and umbrellas, perhaps i understand this grief you converse with, this ghost whispering over your shoulder as i try to help. i try. i try.




hourglass;
frail, old bones and childish grins, nooses on ancient trees coaxing you closer; the gingerbread man is on fire. 
you lose your guilt in fragments, tombstones wailing, stonehenge and concrete perching on your window-sill; you nearly give in. maybe you wanted to. maybe it would've been for the best.



hourglass; but the clock cries. there isn't...

hourglass




hourglass;
but the world is smiling haphazardly today, teeth and stones and hurricanes sung along, folklore and wisps of a dwindling pipe dream. 
you protest at the unrelenting boredom building a home out of your aching skin; the tinge of fear when a truck barrels past you into the innocuous darkness, like salt and tiramisu, like broken streetlights glaring at you.
i think you think too much, feel too much. two sides and a coin, empty clouds and umbrellas, perhaps i understand this grief you converse with, this ghost whispering over your shoulder as i try to help. i try. i try.




hourglass;
frail, old bones and childish grins, nooses on ancient trees coaxing you closer; the gingerbread man is on fire. 
you lose your guilt in fragments, tombstones wailing, stonehenge and concrete perching on your window-sill; you nearly give in. maybe you wanted to. maybe it would've been for the best.



hourglass; but the clock cries. there isn't...

moonsalt asphalt





moonsalt; enslaving haste, shimmering heat, gas stations staring at the seconds collapsing from my hushed jaws in horror. scrambled eggs and exhausted mothers, the monotonic pangs of an incomprehensibly indifferent economy screeching through my weary ears. scrawled cherry knots and geometrical lines, lines of cocaine and country borders, 
spiraling agony, spiraling agony,
spiraling agony.



;



asphalt; roads in potholes, politics in remedies, dying and the baffling cost of living. the prophetess cannot predict this disarray, this disenchantment, this apathy. burning asphalt, and i swear i can swerve, but train wrecks are spellbinding. train wrecks are singing. train wrecks, wreckage and entangled rosaries, tasbeehs, limbs, graves.
cloudburst feelings. what will you do of them?
 

0-9

kronology




nine; like the clock gonging in my chest, an agonizing pity party. it clangs humorously, and i want it to stop tearing my rib cage, but it doesn't. it stays, nestled between my bones, this appalling monstrosity. i think i like how it makes me feel.

eight; but i am long since past that age. i don't think about wanting to make myself happy, or smiling at strangers that look kind. i don't stare at the sky, building stories in the clouds; clouds, a cloud head, my head in the clouds. 

seven; the days, the absoluteness of my pain, the way i chop my hair off. i am in a rat race, gasping for breath, but these aren't my sins. mine are yet to be made. mine are yet to sing to the populace. mine are yet to be deadly.

six; the number on my math test. the lines yawn at me incomprehensibly, but i make do with i have....

0-9

kronology





nine; like the clock gonging in my chest, an agonizing pity party. it clangs humorously, and i want it to stop tearing my rib cage, but it doesn't. it stays, nestled between my bones, this appalling monstrosity. i think i like how it makes me feel.

eight; but i am long since past that age. i don't think about wanting to make myself happy, or smiling at strangers that look kind. i don't stare at the sky, building stories in the clouds; clouds, a cloud head, my head in the clouds. 

seven; the days, the absoluteness of my pain, the way i chop my hair off. i am in a rat race, gasping for breath, but these aren't my sins. mine are yet to be made. mine are yet to sing to the populace. mine are yet to be deadly.

six; the number on my math test. the lines yawn at me incomprehensibly, but i make do with i have....

0-9

kronology




nine; like the clock gonging in my chest, an agonizing pity party. it clangs humorously, and i want it to stop tearing my rib cage, but it doesn't. it stays, nestled between my bones, this appalling monstrosity. i think i like how it makes me feel.

eight; but i am long since past that age. i don't think about wanting to make myself happy, or smiling at strangers that look kind. i don't stare at the sky, building stories in the clouds; clouds, a cloud head, my head in the clouds. 

seven; the days, the absoluteness of my pain, the way i chop my hair off. i am in a rat race, gasping for breath, but these aren't my sins. mine are yet to be made. mine are yet to sing to the populace. mine are yet to be deadly.

six; the number on my math test. the lines yawn at me incomprehensibly, but i make do with i have....

0-9

kronology



nine; like the clock gonging in my chest, an agonizing pity party. it clangs humorously, and i want it to stop tearing my rib cage, but it doesn't. it stays, nestled between my bones, this appalling monstrosity. i think i like how it makes me feel.

eight; but i am long since past that age. i don't think about wanting to make myself happy, or smiling at strangers that look kind. i don't stare at the sky, building stories in the clouds; clouds, a cloud head, my head in the clouds. 

seven; the days, the absoluteness of my pain, the way i chop my hair off. i am in a rat race, gasping for breath, but these aren't my sins. mine are yet to be made. mine are yet to sing to the populace. mine are yet to be deadly.

six; the number on my math test. the lines yawn at me incomprehensibly, but i make do with i have....

0-9

kronology



nine; like the clock gonging in my chest, an agonizing pity party. it clangs humorously, and i want it to stop tearing my rib cage, but it doesn't. it stays, nestled between my bones, this appalling monstrosity. i think i like how it makes me feel.

eight; but i am long since past that age. i don't think about wanting to make myself happy, or smiling at strangers that look kind. i don't stare at the sky, building stories in the clouds; clouds, a cloud head, my head in the clouds. 

seven; the days, the absoluteness of my pain, the way i chop my hair off. i am in a rat race, gasping for breath, but these aren't my sins. mine are yet to be made. mine are yet to sing to the populace. mine are yet to be deadly.

six; the number on my math test. the lines yawn at me incomprehensibly, but i make do with i have....

ko-to-ba



 

i had a dream
i was dying but i don't think i minded, it felt cynically freeing, all that water flooding my lungs fiddling around with my skeleton, i think my femur resents everything i put it though, but please, i beg of it, do not fall short. i need you in unimaginable ways, there are sorrows i cannot speak of.
i think i overestimate how much i should be using commas, but i like how it makes me feel, stringing along indifferent and unrelenting ko-to-ba; unruly children, uncooperative customers.

i had a dream
but now i think i truly am dead
and i don't think i will ever mind.
 

Poetry and Spoken Word Competition 2019

ouroboros



epilogue; the world is an ouroboros. you begin at the end, judgement before examination, burial before birth. a tongue to the skull, i do not understand this. i do not want you to understand. i believe in loose ends.

cheekbones; i'll cut you in half if you don't stop talking. of course, i don't mean what i say. deviant, distant, detached; i observe. specimens on glass slides, lifetimes reduced to a statistic; this is the travesty in war. this is the tragedy in war.


scathing; words, words, words. my eyes are glued shut to my lids, two drifting instruments in this useless symphony. your voice is saying things, fingernails on blackboards, but paying attention is not my forte. making a living in murder is.


full stop; block, block, doorknob in my head the size of a shoe. it tells me to go walking; like a skipping stone across frozen water bodies, i need to keep up appearances. they tell you...

— to dream in syria

bonfire of dreams.

in a city riddled with rusted blades and torn hides, an army of ghosts lay glistening under the tired moonlight. tomorrow rains blood upon us in a macabre rhythm; silence and chaos in equal intervals, a requiem for the lost and weary.

bonfire of dreams.

we have sacrificed ourselves in this earnest sorrow, this yearning to find ourselves worthy of living. there is futility in this agonizing effort; a fate that is as ancient as it is true. the path to freedom is paved with the bodies of the children.

bonfire of dreams.

the night grows colder as the numerous corpses hung on gnarly trees sway gently. we can but hope to die in peace, to lay our aching bones to rest as our city is engulfed in flames.

bonfire of dreams, but we are caught up in a nightmare.


— to dream in syria

afrah 

A p o l o g y




​These days, I swear I see you in the slight shift of the curtains and the way the sunlight hits the window pane.


I see you in the smooth waves that come crashing onto the shore, and I see you in the sunflower field wearing your white summer dress, and I see you amongst the faces in the crowd when I spin my golden tunes and the world explodes, and I see you in the whiff of bitter coffee and the syrup of pancakes, and I see you in the way the moon kisses the skyline when it is lonely.


I see you in all these places and moments and I dance to the echo of your whisper when the wind blows, and I apologize.


 

Returning

s m i l e





A whiff of the grass, a solemn kiss with the sand, and it's like you've begun breathing again.

You take it in. 
It doesn't quite hurt like you supposed it would. It just. . . is. Like you had expected a plethora of transformations, an insanity behind the graffiti infested gates, a subtle sorrow in the withering flower beds. 
A soft breeze tickles the spaces between your fingers and the tree trunks that you touch achingly. You recall the scent of the sight of the memory tickling the edge of your desire; warm sweaters and the tangy taste of lychee juice; cloudy winters and the festival of depravity; sweat and love on the sidelines.

It hurts now.

You look over the barren landscape. You smile.




 

the end




icecoffeerings;
you spin yarns of hatred.
i am old fashioned and
prim and you loved me
all the same.



or so you said.



roses wilt, chocolates melt,
the kettle is screaming and
so am i;
despite the flower wallpaper
and the eggs sunny side up;
you sing to break glass.



i like what you said; 
that 
it is
the end,
not 
the end.


 

kill your darlings

There is no name for this fear; this ceaseless pounding inside the corner of your skull, the goosebumps dotting the precipice of your skin.

There is no name for a fear like this.

Instead, you swallow it whole; bones, blood, words, the corrosive fingers strangling the breath out of your lungs.

When the stars collide and your world begins to end, kill your darlings. Kill your darlings and bury them inside out— the soft curves of their intestines and the faint sorrow of their receding heartbeats.

Shred the agonizing lies and the faded posters on your bedroom walls that do not define you anymore. There is always beauty in pain.

If you wake up tomorrow and still don't have a name for a fear like this, dissolve your chest, and call it by your name instead.

kill your darlings

There is no name for this fear; this ceaseless pounding inside the corner of your skull, the goosebumps dotting the precipice of your skin.

There is no name for a fear like this.

Instead, you swallow it whole; bones, blood, words, the corrosive fingers strangling the breath out of your lungs.

When the stars collide and your world begins to end, kill your darlings. Kill your darlings and bury them inside out— the soft curves of their intestines and the faint sorrow of their receding heartbeats.

Shred the agonizing lies and the faded posters on your bedroom walls that do not define you anymore. There is always beauty in pain.

If you wake up tomorrow and still don't have a name for a fear like this, dissolve your chest, and call it by your name.

map




we like to dot our maps with the atrocities we imprint on the skins of our women.

silence; a virtue, a boon, a safeguard. when the alleyways beckon the sleeping beast inside us, we lurk in the shadows, aching to carve our vices in the crevices of your bones.

blazing is our touch, fiery are the fingers covering your mouth, and slowly, you learn to swallow the ache in your screams.

we smile at your helplessness. we caress your mottled hair and laugh about your futile attempts to save your life. 

when we read the newspapers, we rejoice the victories of kathua and unnao under our breath. we long to be of them; the ones who pray where they kill, the chosen, the celebrated, the shielded. 

like a disease, we infiltrate into your homes, and live one amongst you; your father, your son, your husband, you

you accept us wholeheartedly. we live in a country that tells you to.

saudade

 saudade (n) : a feeling of longing, melancholy, or nostalgia 

when i was thirteen, i preferred plaids over polka dots, wind chimes over dreamcatchers, and heartbeats over indifference. 


these days, clothes wear out faster than i wear them, the winds die down between the fractures of the whispering ghosts, and the hearts have learnt the lost art of sorrow. 


so when the world twists itself into the haze of the apocalypse, i cocoon myself in the poignant familiarity of nose rings, pancakes and the cloudy scent of a lazy tuesday, and i mourn the loss of the thirteen year old who believed in dreamscapes, poltergeists, but most of all, herself.
 

Walking

pirouette

.

"pirouette"

;

is what you said when she stumbled in an apocalyptic haze; a soft sheen of glaze and sweat caressing the crook of her neck. i wish you'd just held her then; amidst her torn feet and her incoherent rambling.

instead, we sit by the sidewalk and watch her set herself on fire; sooty, ashy steps, trudging into the inky night. i smile as she struggles to twirl, easing herself into her broken stilettos. when she looks at me, i hide my heart behind my chest and watch her slowly kiss you. you snake an arm around her waist, and  tango to edge of the horizon.

when i traipse back to my den, jaw tight and eyes glassy, i find her sitting at my doorstep, clutching her tired knees and whispering to herself.

so when we pirouette inside; one agonizing foot-fall at a time, i let myself bleed in sorrow, because she is here and we...

cassiopeia

when he asked her, "where do we go from here?", amidst the vast loneliness in the canvas of painted stars and the songs of planets ringing in their ears, she stopped twirling forever.


instead, familiar with the agony of abandonment and scars of torn dancing shoes, she smiled at him; interstellar in her existence, the stardust clinging to her in desperation. 


vanity, encased between the spirals of her bones and the soft sheen of her veins; vanity, like cassiopeia of the old and gray and dead. when he looked up, orion at his finest, it was like they brought stars home.


so when he asked her, "where do we go from here?", for the millionth light year, all she said was,

"we will say goodbye."

blood; thicker than water

breathe

;

you tell me.
except, i really can't. it caresses my sinew and bones; your words. when you ask me what i'd do if i died, i can't help but close my eyes. i know all about what you do, you corrosive troglodyte. 

a fine woman you have made me, amidst the averting eyes and sinful quotations. solitary is our hatred; you cry about the person i have become, and i rage about the person you are. i do not think you understand the crevices in my skin that you have etched patiently under the cloak of concern. 

wordless; you barrage me with an avalanche of sharp intonations, your voice a missile. when you tell me you love me, bile hugs the soft enamel of my teeth.

you will always make me the atlas of your follies. i like to breathe, and you like to snuff it out.

this all i can dare to say.

i can't help but love your infidelity


;


and you love me just the same.

sometimes, under the veil of deception, when you kiss her, i can feel her fingernails scraping the skin off my back. in the forbidden arms of the cloaked twilight, you caress her face, and i begin to cry.

you still seem to like the way i sprinkle cocoa on your morning coffee; brewed and dark and bitter. when you put an arm around my neck and nuzzle your face in my shoulder, i begin believing in you all over again.

but the truth is, when you sneak home at the witching hour, i can smell last night's booze and rose petals and her perfume. i close my eyes as you begin to pull out your tie once more, a slave to routine, the hurried knots unwilling to let themselves go this time. 

pride. i am a woman of pride, i used to say. pride, prejudice, passion, poison. i wonder what kisses...

物の哀れ

物の哀れ: (n) mono no awa-re, japanese; transience of things, a transient, gentle sadness at their passing



wistful; like the scarlet strings of fate.
encased in glass jars, this faint sorrow;
a montage of laughing children and 
summer showers and hair billowing
in the wind.


wistful; like the frailty of childhood.
skeletons of tears and whispered secrets,
naive promises and unreliable futures.
we could have done so much more,
my friend.


wistful; like the pale walls of our classrooms.
etch memories; wood, chalk, conversations,
we are one with the dissipating ages.


wistful; like the lingering gazes of who we used to be.
phantoms of foggy winters and sweaters,
hallucinations of a better life;
we should have left while we still had a chance.


wistful; like the melancholy in our bones.
mono no awa-re, mono no awa-re,
glass, chalk, you, i,
mono no awa-re, mono no awa-re,
why have we disappeared?



...

The Unknown

fernweh

fernweh: [n] an ache for distant places; the craving for travel


i do not know about the world.


when the wind inches closer to the cherry blossoms and soothes them into a downward spiral, i might begin to cry.

it is a hiccuping dream; to trek my way to a teeming city where nobody knows who i am or what i have done. the scent of exuberant people and the burning taste of snow on my tongue and the melody of broken rib-cages whisper to me ever so sightly; lulling me towards the place they promise to be.


when the reflection off the bejewelled lanes of winding alleys dance on my face, i might begin to cry.

i might drink steaming coffee under a lonely bridge when the night is aging, and the stars kiss the horizon. i might carve my name on graffiti-infested walls and take polaroid pictures of wind chimes. when i pass by a school, i...

i can't help but love your infidelity



;


and you love me just the same.

sometimes, under the veil of deception, when you kiss her, i can feel her fingernails scraping the skin off my back. in the forbidden arms of the cloaked twilight, you caress her face, and i begin to cry.

you still seem to like the way i sprinkle cocoa on your morning coffee; brewed and dark and bitter. when you put an arm around my neck and nuzzle your face in my shoulder, i begin believing in you all over again.

but the truth is, when you sneak home at the witching hour, i can smell last night's booze and rose petals and her perfume. i close my eyes as you begin to pull out your tie once more, a slave to routine, the hurried knots unwilling to let themselves go this time. 

pride. i am a woman of pride, i used to say. pride, prejudice, passion, poison. i wonder what kisses...

the boy i will never meet

;

because i do nothing but corrode in the name of love.

i like my windows open and treacle tart and the scent of the first drizzle on tar. sometimes, i get the best of me and let myself believe in things beyond my reach. i become tragic then.

you see, for the longest of times, i have told myself that nobody will ever love me like i do. it is a double-edged sword; this truth, this sorrow. when the realization of my lonely bedroom crashes in, i will force my eyes into a straitjacket and play with the zipper. i like the melancholy. i like this. it is comforting. it makes me me.

you will be a hurricane. i am the inferno. we will annihilate each other. you will run a finger along the corner of my mouth, and it will take everything i have to not give in. you will not understand. i prefer you not to. to...

the boy i will never meet

;

because i do nothing but corrode in the name of love.

i like my windows open and treacle tart and the scent of the first drizzle on tar. sometimes, i get the best of me and let myself believe in things beyond my reach. i become tragic then.

you see, for the longest of times, i have told myself that nobody will ever love me like i do. it is a double-edged sword; this truth, this sorrow. when the realization of my lonely bedroom crashes in, i will force my eyes into a straitjacket and play with the zipper. i like the melancholy. i like this. it is comforting. it makes me me.

you will be a hurricane. i am the inferno. we will annihilate each other. you will run a finger along the corner of my mouth, and it will take everything i have to not give in. you will not understand. i prefer you not to. to...

when you wake up, he will have disappeared

;

cold; slithering through the metal shackles encasing his nugatory existence.

you cannot stand to admit the harrowing comfort the knowledge that he is an inch away gives you.

it helps you string your eyes close and un-stitch them open at dawnbreak. you comply when the sun crashes onto your irises; resonating with the echoes of silence.

he smiles at you each morning; bruises knotting the catastrophic distance between his chest and the soft curve of his cheekbone. he tells you it hurts to smile, but he does it anyway. it is endearing; he has substituted words for the glimmer in his eyes, slow steps to the edge of sanity, an affinity for melancholy.

he tells you about wanting to escape, and you can all but burst into violent tears. he sounds naive; a child yet to be burnt in the furnace of the tragic ways of fate. when he tells you about wanting to escape, you nod humorously...

when you wake up, he will have disappeared

;

cold; slithering through the metal shackles encasing his nugatory existence.

you cannot stand to admit the harrowing comfort the knowledge that he is an inch away gives you.

it helps you string your eyes close and un-stitch them open at dawnbreak. you comply when the sun crashes onto your irises; resonating with the echoes of silence.

he smiles at you each morning; bruises knotting the catastrophic distance between his chest and the soft curve of his cheekbone. he tells you it hurts to smile, but he does it anyway. it is endearing; he has substituted words for the glimmer in his eyes, slow steps to the edge of sanity, an affinity for melancholy.

he tells you about wanting to escape, and you can all but burst into violent tears. he sounds naive; a child yet to be burnt in the furnace of the tragic ways of fate. when he tells you about wanting to escape, you nod humorously...

Walking

pirouette

.

"pirouette"

;

is what you said when she stumbled in an apocalyptic haze; a soft sheen of glaze and sweat caressing the crook of her neck. i wish you'd just held her then; amidst her torn feet and her incoherent rambling.

instead, we sit by the sidewalk and watch her set herself on fire; sooty, ashy steps, trudging into the inky night. i smile as she struggles to twirl, easing herself into her broken stilettos. when she looks at me, i hide my heart behind chest and watch her slowly kiss him. he snakes an arm around her waist, and they tango to edge of the horizon.

when i traipse back to my den, jaw tight and eyes glassy, i find her sitting at my doorstep, clutching her tired knees and whispering to herself.

so when we pirouette inside; one agonizing foot-fall at a time, i let myself bleed in sorrow, because she is here and we...

Love in 13 Words

we won't speak like this again

love has let us down, and that is all it will ever do.

Walking

pirouette

.

"pirouette"

;

is what you said when she stumbled in an apocalyptic haze; a soft sheen of glaze and sweat caressing the crook of her neck. i wish you'd just held her then; amidst her torn feet and her incoherent rambling.

instead, we sit by the sidewalk and watch her set herself on fire; sooty, ashy steps, trudging into the inky night. i smile as she struggles to twirl, easing herself into her broken stilettos. when she looks at me, i hide my heart behind chest and watch her slowly kiss him. he snakes an arm around her waist, and they tango to edge of the horizon.

when i traipse back to my den, jaw tight and eyes glassy, i find her sitting at my doorstep, clutching her tired knees and whispering to herself.

so when we pirouette inside; one agonizing foot-fall at a time, i let myself bleed in sorrow, because she is here and we...

Walking

pirouette

"pirouette"

;

is what you said when she stumbled in an apocalyptic haze; a soft sheen of glaze and sweat caressing the crook of her neck. i wish you'd just held her then; amidst her torn feet and her incoherent rambling.

instead, we sit by the sidewalk and watch her set herself on fire; sooty, ashy steps, trudging into the inky night. i smile as she struggles to twirl, easing herself into her broken stilettos. when she looks at me, i hide my heart behind chest and watch her slowly kiss him. he snakes an arm around her waist, and they tango to edge of the horizon.

when i traipse back to my den, jaw tight and eyes glassy, i find her sitting at my doorstep, clutching her tired knees and whispering to herself.

so when we pirouette inside; one agonizing foot-fall at a time, i let myself bleed in sorrow, because she is here and we are...

fitoor


fitoor: (n) urdu; obsession, passion, madness



i will chase my dreams 
    into the collapsing drains of
        torn nails and withered flowers;
            penance.


i lull you to sleep in
    the dark; piano notes
        screaming; pain, pain,
            will you stay anyway?


fitoor; run into the arms
    of this psychopath's tonic
        easing into your skin; so
            when i say goodbye, you
                decay.
 

In Motion

blues

blues, creeping through the crevices of his skin; hiccuping through the faint words of a tethered voice. 

blues, exploding behind his closed eyes; vibrating chords and singing glass and screaming roads, a taut smile and dancing sins.

blues, eliminating the strained sorrow; between the glistening curves of his bones and blood, and the etched melancholy of a dwindling regret.

blues, whispering to him; lulling him to nightmares, stabbing the fragile sheen of memories, healing the broken records of poignant days.

blues, wounding his parchment skin; inching closer to his numb chest, transforming his marrow to ice, a disease.


blues, blues, blues, blues.

fitoor

fitoor: (n) urdu; obsession, passion, madness



i will chase my dreams 
    into the collapsing drains of
        torn nails and withered flowers;
            penance.


i lull you to sleep in
    the dark; piano notes
        screaming; pain, pain,
            will you stay anyway?


fitoor; run into the arms
    of this psychopath's tonic
        easing into your skin; so
            when i say goodbye, you
                decay.
 

Monster Flash Fiction Competition 2018

A K U M A

She smiles. She smiles like a madwoman. Sometimes, she takes off her red coat and stilettos and she smiles at her children. When she dances to the blues, she ties up her hair in a knot of lies and slowly eases into the armour. She likes baked casseroles and bourbon and her nights out, and she likes to smile.


She is always smiling. When she makes love, she strokes the edge of his rib-cage and smiles when he quivers under her blade gaze. When her son refuses to fall asleep, she plays with his pudgy fingers and coos to him slowly. When she smiles at him, it almost feels real.


On wintry nights, she plays the harmonica to Rolling Stones. She lights pine cones and makes heavenly scones and soothes the agony out of her dying dog.


I understand her. I understand what she means when she says she is in pain, but I cannot stand her,...

Monster Flash Fiction Competition 2018

A K U M A

She smiles. She smiles like a madwoman. Sometimes, she takes off her red coat and stilettoes and she smiles at her children. When she dances to the blues, she ties up her hair in a knot of lies and slowly eases into the armour. She likes baked casseroles and bourbon and her nights out, and she likes to smile.


She is always smiling. When she makes love, she strokes the edge of his rib-cage and smiles when he quivers under her blade gaze. When her son refuses to fall asleep, she plays with his pudgy fingers and coos to him slowly. When she smiles at him, it almost feels real.


On wintry nights, she plays the harmonica to Rolling Stones. She lights pine cones and makes heavenly scones and soothes the agony out of her dying dog.


I understand her. I understand what she means when she says she is in pain, but I cannot stand her,...

hiraeth

it feels like coffee.

i like the way i let myself feel these days. it is a slow brew of acceptance; a breeze of goodbye knotting through my hair. painful, invincible, apologetic; i breathe in and out and in and out and in and out.
i like the way i ease into my new skin; carve and shred and chop and stitch the old sorrows. my fingertips on fire and legs half buried, i like to flow with the streams in my veins.

it feels like coffee; bitter, tyrannical, insomnia.
i like the way it feels.

Solastalgia

दर्द

दर्द

is what i feel these days.

muddy snow, raging rains, soothing fires; i wonder where have we gone wrong. it take two to love, two to live, two to kill, and somehow, we are two times too close to the end.

this is nostalgia; of fateful conversations and stolen kisses under trees, of baby's-breaths and misery, of burnt feathers and suppressed insanity.

i like to think that what goes round comes back twice. i like to think of the scorching winters and frigid summers and somehow, i understand the urge to rebel, the urge to repel, the urge to kill. i understand what it means to change with the seasons.

dance with the devil, they said. dance with the devil and the world. dance with the devil and the world and yourself. there is no room for three in a space for two.

dance with the world and yourself; dancing across the razed meadows and the...

物の哀れ

物の哀れ: (n) mono no awa-re, japanese; transience of things, a transient, gentle sadness at their passing



wistful; like the scarlet strings of fate.
encased in glass jars, this faint sorrow;
a montage of laughing children and 
summer showers and hair billowing
in the wind.


wistful; like the frailty of childhood.
skeletons of tears and whispered secrets,
naive promises and unreliable futures.
we could have done so much more, my friend.


wistful; like the pale walls of our classrooms.
etch memories; wood, chalk, conversations,
we are one with the dissipating ages.


wistful; like the lingering gazes of who we used to be.
phantoms of foggy winters and sweaters,
hallucinations of a better life;
we should have left while we still had a chance.


wistful; like the melancholy in our bones.
mono no awa-re, mono no awa-re,
glass, chalk, you, i,
mono no awa-re, mono no awa-re,
why have we disappeared?




wistful; like mono...

物の哀れ

物の哀れ: (n) mono no awa-re, japanese; transience of things, a transient, gentle sadness at their passing


wistful; like the scarlet strings of fate.
encased in glass jars, this faint sorrow;
a montage of laughing children and 
summer showers and hair billowing
in the wind.


wistful; like the frailty of childhood.
skeletons of tears and whispered secrets,
naive promises and unreliable futures.
we could have done so much more, my friend.


wistful; like the pale walls of our classrooms.
etch memories; wood, chalk, conversations,
we are one with the dissipating ages.


wistful; like the lingering gazes of who we used to be.
phantoms of foggy winters and sweaters,
hallucinations of a better life;
we should have left while we still had a chance.


wistful; like the melancholy in our bones.
mono no awa-re, mono no awa-re,
glass, chalk, you, i,
mono no awa-re, mono no awa-re,
why have we disappeared?




wistful; like mono...

“In January”

In January

january, january,
like poetry, you begin with
whims and nonsensical dreams.

january, january,
you spin tall tales;
chances, memory, destiny.

january, january,
frigid people and frigid
lies; frozen bus seats and
bruised eyes.

january, january,
pursed lips and your lilting
hypocrisy, spiralling out of control.

january, january,
opportunities; you reek
of catastrophe.

january, january,
like poetry, you snuff
out in misery.

k n e a d


molasses and mint chocolate,
frothy hate and rancid
affection.



saccharine sweet ecstasy;
coffee beans and honey,
tangy tea.



eat, eat, eat this
catastrophe,
green like thyme
and envy.



crushed ice cubes and 
soothing vodkas; you 
dream your way to
purgatory.



vanilla; like your
intentions, stained
deceptively.



a palatable journey
of bitterness; like the
coffee i make and the
words you say.



k n e a d -



the flour
and me
and me.

In Motion

blues

blues, creeping through the crevices of his skin; hiccuping through the faint words of a tethered voice. 

blues, exploding behind his closed eyes; vibrating chords and singing glass and screaming roads, a taut smile and dancing sins.

blues, eliminating the strained sorrow; between the glistening curves of his bones and blood, and the etched melancholy of a dwindling regret.

blues, whispering to him; lulling him to nightmares, stabbing the fragile sheen of memories, healing the broken records of poignant days.

blues, wounding his parchment skin; inching closer to his numb chest, transforming his marrow to ice, a disease.


blues, blues, blues, blues.

Album Review Competition 2018

Hospice

Hospice by The Antlers does to you what most books struggle to. It weaves so compelling a tale that it digs a caving hole of ache and refuses to let itself heal; because despite how isolated it seems, in reality, it could happen to anybody. Anybody at all.

Peter Silberman, the lead singer of The Antlers, describes the album as a story of an emotionally abusive relationship, and is, to an extent, autobiographical. Self distributed in 2009 as their first concept album, it was received with rave reviews and placed at number one by NPR on their list of top ten albums of early 2009.

The album, chronicling a co-dependent, corrosive bond between a cancer patient and her nurse, begins with Prologue; a wordless segment of long-drawn breaths and haunting symphonies. It is a tentative foresight; already, you can begin to hear the patient's desperation mingled with the church bells and piano notes, that rise urgently by the second.
...

s a y o n a r a



hey. does it hurt?
i wonder. sometimes, when 
he can't fill the gap between your
heart and mine, do you go to bed with
a damp pillow and an artist's nightmare
under your eyes?


what a day to explode. 
do you mind? can i take the 
feathers inside your futon and turn
them to icarus' wings, so that you end 
up dead, in an ocean you didn't know existed
because you flew too close to me?


do old playlists do to you
what they do to me? i hear 
the first vague tunes, and all i can
think about is how even pulsating
crowds can't make the singer any less
sadder.


it's in the suave smiles and
coyote kisses. it's in your hubris
and my hugs, and they incomplete
each other like caramel on a snowy evening.
we don't fit, we don't belong, but it was 
beautiful while it began and lasted.


so this is a sayonara you deserve;
empty,...

Returning

s m i l e




A whiff of the grass, a solemn kiss with the sand, and it's like you've begun breathing again.

You take it in. 
It doesn't quite hurt like you supposed it would. It just. . . is. Like you had expected a plethora of transformations, an insanity behind the graffiti infested gates, a subtle sorrow in the withering flower beds. 
A soft breeze tickles the spaces between your fingers and the tree trunks that you touch achingly. You recall the scent of the sight of the memory tickling the edge of your desire; warm sweaters and the tangy taste of lychee juice; cloudy winters and the festival of depravity; sweat and love on the sidelines.

It hurts now.

You look over the barren landscape. You smile.




 

wordlessly

ek.     

she shifted like an unforgettable song on a beloved playlist.


do.

she said she ate toothpaste and melancholy, and i am not sure i understand, but i let myself be caught in her reverie.


teen.

her skin is of the color of the unrelenting mountains; steep, deceptive, a head full of sky. she said i tasted like death, and when i look at her fierce tears when she kisses me, i comply.


char.

i like to think of her as a calendar. she spins a new tale everyday, and i struggle to breath under the tapestry of lies she weaves. sometimes, i hold her close and sing to her bones, and her lips caress my mistakes. sometimes, this is all we do, all we need.


paanch.

wordlessly, amongst other words, she begins to etch a goodbye in every step. when she looks at me, i do not see the constellations she carves in her eyes. instead,...

Intentions and Invocations

m i s f o r t u n e

hello.

you have just begun, and it seems like you haven't changed an ounce.
i learnt to accept that. i have learnt that tides shift beaches, not lives. i have learnt that earthquakes destroy, not build. i have learnt that years only age you.

i suppose, you might begin where the previous one left off.
please be gentle in the way you hurt me. please blare a million sirens before you drop bombshells of misery. please smile at my follies.

here's to you. here's to misfortune.

wordlessly

ek.     

she shifted like an unforgettable song on a beloved playlist.


do.

she said she ate toothpaste and melancholy, and i am not sure i understand, but i let myself be caught in her reverie.


teen.

her skin is of the color of the unrelenting mountains; steep, deceptive, a head full of sky. she said i tasted like death, and when i look at her fierce tears when she kisses me, i comply.


char.

i like to think of her as a calendar. she spins a new tale everyday, and i struggle to breath under the tapestry of lies she weaves. sometimes, i hold her close and sing to her bones, and her lips caress my mistakes. sometimes, this is all we do, all we need.


paanch.

wordlessly, amongst other words, she begins to etch a goodbye in every step. when she looks at me, i do not see the constellations she carves in her eyes. instead,...

wordlessly

ek.     

she shifted like an unforgettable song on a beloved playlist.


do.

she said she ate toothpaste and melancholy, and i not sure i understand, but i let myself be caught in her reverie.


teen.

her skin is of the color of the unrelenting mountains; steep, deceptive, a head full of sky. she said i tasted like death, and when i look at her fierce tears when she kisses me, i comply.


char.

i like to think of her as a calendar. she spins a new tale everyday, and i struggle to breath under the tapestry of lies she weaves. sometimes, i hold her close and sing to her bones, and her lips caress my mistakes. sometimes, this is all we do, all we need.


paanch.

wordlessly, amongst other words, she begins to etch a goodbye in every step. when she looks at me, i do not see the constellations she carves in her eyes. instead, like...

Album Review Competition 2018

Hospice

This album does to you what most books struggle to. It weaves so compelling a tale that it digs a caving hole of ache and refuses to let itself heal; because despite how isolated it seems, in reality, it could happen to anybody. Anybody at all.

Peter Silberman, the lead singer of The Antlers, describes the album as a story of an emotionally abusive relationship, and is, to an extent, autobiographical. Self distributed in 2009 as their first concept album, it was received with rave reviews and placed at number one by NPR on their list of top ten albums of early 2009.

The album, chronicling a corrosive relationship between a cancer patient and her nurse, begins with Prologue; a wordless segment of long-drawn breaths and haunting symphonies. It is almost like you can already begin to hear the patient's desperation, mingled with the church bells and the piano notes that rise urgently by the second.

Next comes Kettering...

Signing Off

y o u

Dear me,

It is funny, how awful you felt the whole time. It really is, because you aren't naive anymore, and you know that Decembers hurt the most, despite its deceptive beauty. The cold seeps into your bones, and you smile through the war.

It is funny how you finally have realized that the only thing that has changed is the day. You are still angry and still not doing the things you want and still aching like a fragile rose. Except the petals have long since withered, and it is only your thorns that keep you alive.

You have done well. The heartbeat graph almost went straight three times, but like the cat, you have nine chances. Sixth is a dream, sixth is a dream, sixth is a dream. You probably will use it all up this time; floundering and sad, but you accept me all the same. You accept my flaws and you have done incredibly well learning...

Album Review Competition 2018

Hospice

This album does to you what most books struggle to. It weaves so compelling a tale that it digs a caving hole of ache and refuses to let itself heal; because despite how isolated it seems, in reality, it could happen to anybody. Anybody at all.

Peter Silberman, the lead singer of The Antlers, describes the album as a story of an emotionally abusive relationship, and is, to an extent, autobiographical. Self distributed in 2009 as their first concept album, it was received with rave reviews and placed at number one by NPR on their list of top ten albums of early 2009.

The album, chronicling a corrosive relationship between a cancer patient and her nurse, begins with Prologue; a wordless segment of long-drawn breaths and haunting symphonies. It is almost like you can already begin to hear the patient's desperation, mingled with the church bells and the piano notes that rise urgently by the second.

Next comes Kettering...

y o u n g



I do not know what to tell my younger self.


Sometimes, I am apologetic. I tell her a thousand whimsical excuses. I tell her about a life she does not know yet that she will not have. Hypnotically, I carve lies in her skin. Unflinchingly, she believes me. The guilt stains my rib cage.


Sometimes, I am melancholic. A poignant sense of drunkenness courses through my bloodstream. She coaxes me to her collarbones, and I close my eyes. Sometimes, this is all I do.


Sometimes, I rage at her foolishness. I mock her for wanting to live, to breathe, to smile. I tell her she will amount to nothing. Unflinchingly, she believes me. The guilt stains my chest.


Sometimes, I am nostalgic. She feeds me with distorted memories. I am crushed under their immense burden. In those scant moments, I tell her I love her. Unflinchingly, she believes me. The guilt stains my fingertips.


I will smile and smile and...

y o u n g



I do not know what to tell my younger self.


Sometimes, I am apologetic. I tell her a thousand whimsical excuses. I tell her about a life she does not know yet that she will not have. Hypnotically, I carve lies in her skin. Unflinchingly, she believes me. The guilt stains my rib cage.


Sometimes, I am melancholic. A poignant sense of drunkenness courses through my bloodstream. She coaxes me to her collarbones, and I close my eyes. Sometimes, this is all I do.


Sometimes, I rage at her foolishness. I mock her for wanting to live, to breathe, to smile. I tell her she will amount to nothing. Unflinchingly, she believes me. The guilt stains my chest.


Sometimes, I am nostalgic. She feeds me with distorted memories. I am crushed under their immense burden. In those scant moments, I tell her I love her. Unflinchingly, she believes me. The guilt stains my fingertips.


I will smile and smile and...

tragic



little ripples dot the surface of the ocean; the epicenter of the earthquake they like to call themselves. a sharp wind whistles by; softly entwining between their hair as it continues on it's journey. 

faint beams from a distant lighthouse far, far away flood the sky. waves crash onto the shore violently; foam dissipating into the sand, a tangy odor prevalent in the air.

the three of them sit by the shore, backs resting on the rocks framing the cove, watching the sun beginning to set slowly. the waters recede periodically, the soothing melody of the seas filling their ears. birds flock home overhead.

a fragile moment encased in glass.



because we're tragic, taehyung. 
you and i, and everybody in between. we don't know the stories, but we're okay knowing that everybody is just as sad as we are.
there is beauty in what we do. the destructive kind. the fatal kind.

because we're tragic, taehyung.
we don't need happiness....

tragic



little ripples dot the surface of the ocean; the epicenter of the earthquake they like to call themselves. a sharp wind whistles by; softly entwining between their hair as it continues on its journey. 

faint beams from a distant lighthouse far, far away flood the sky. waves crash onto the shore violently; foam dissipating into the sand, a tangy odor prevalent in the air.

the three of them sit by the shore, backs resting on the rocks framing the cove, watching the sun beginning to set slowly. the waters recede periodically, the soothing melody of the seas filling their ears. birds flock home overhead.

a fragile moment encased in glass.



because we're tragic, taehyung. 
you and i, and everybody in between. we don't know the stories, but we're okay knowing that everybody is just as sad as we are.
there is beauty in what we do. the destructive kind. the fatal kind.

because we're tragic, taehyung.
we don't need happiness....

c o f f e e





glass, glass, glass
mahogany on my sheets.



you reek of lies and truth 
and i can't discern the 
skeletons.



you sing like you are in
pain; cymbals clashing,
bells clanging.



learn to breathe a little;
your heart 
explodes rhythmically.



if you can, please
make a coffee sometimes;
black and bitter,
just like



you.



 

k n e a d



molasses and mint chocolate,
frothy hate and rancid
affection.



saccharine sweet ecstasy;
coffee beans and honey,
tangy tea.



eat, eat, eat this
catastrophe,
green like thyme
and envy.



crushed ice cubes and 
soothing vodkas; you 
dream your way to
purgatory.



vanilla; like your
intentions, stained
deceptively.



a palatable journey
of bitterness; like the
coffee i make and the
words you say.



k n e a d -



the flour
and me
and me.

k n e a d



molasses and mint chocolate,
frothy hate and rancid
affection.



saccharine sweet ecstasy;
coffee beans and honey,
tangy tea.



eat, eat, eat this
catastrophe,
green like thyme
and envy.



crushed ice cubes and 
soothing vodkas; you 
dream your way to
purgatory.



vanilla; like your
intentions, stained
deceptively.



a palatable journey
of bitterness; like the
coffee i make and the
words you say.



k n e a d -



the flour
and me
and me.

k n e a d



molasses and mint chocolate,
frothy hate and rancid
affection.



saccharine sweet ecstasy;
coffee beans and honey,
tangy tea.



eat, eat, eat this
catastrophe,
green like thyme
and envy.



crushed ice cubes and 
soothing vodkas; you 
dream your way to
purgatory.



vanilla; like your
intentions, stained
deceptively.



a palatable journey
of bitterness; like the
coffee i make and the
words you say.



k n e a d -



the flour
and me
and me.

syzygy



syzygy (n) an alignment of three celestial bodies

I like to think of you as a catastrophe; an alluring collision, an enchanting misery, an exquisite aftertaste.

In this purgatory that we like to call our haven, your touch soothes the ravaging flames that lick my skin. For an eternity, I thought I would be enoughenough to wash over the footprint-studded shore that you had let your ribcage become.

Do you love him like do? Arms open wide; come on, ignite.

In this melody for two, there isn't any space for a misfortune in threes.


 

tragic



little ripples dot the surface of the ocean; the epicenter of the earthquake they like to call themselves. a sharp wind whistles by; softly entwining between their hair as it continues on its journey. 

faint beams from a distant lighthouse far, far away flood the sky. waves crash onto the shore violently; foam dissipating into the sand, a tangy odor prevalent in the air.

the three of them sit by the shore, backs resting on the rocks framing the cove, watching the sun beginning to set slowly. the waters recede periodically, the soothing melody of the seas filling their ears. birds flock home overhead.

a fragile moment encased in glass.



because we're tragic, taehyung. 
you and i, and everybody in between. we don't know the stories, but we're okay knowing that everybody is just as sad as we are.
there is beauty in what we do. the destructive kind. the fatal kind.

because we're tragic, taehyung.
we don't need happiness....

tragic



little ripples dot the surface of the ocean; the epicenter of the earthquake they like to call themselves. a sharp wind whistles by; softly entwining between their hair as it continues on its journey. 

faint beams from a distant lighthouse far, far away flood the sky. waves crash onto the shore violently; foam dissipating into the sand, a tangy odor prevalent in the air.

the three of them sit by the shore, backs resting on the rocks framing the cove, watching the sun beginning to set slowly. the waters recede periodically, the soothing melody of the seas filling their ears. birds flock home overhead.

a fragile moment encased in glass.



because we're tragic, taehyung. 
you and i, and everybody in between. we don't know the stories, but we're okay knowing that everybody is just as sad as we are.
there is beauty in what we do. the destructive kind. the fatal kind.

because we're tragic, taehyung.
we don't need happiness....

tragic



little ripples dot the surface of the ocean; the epicenter of the earthquake they like to call themselves. a sharp wind whistles by; softly entwining between their hair as it continues on its journey. 

faint beams from a distant lighthouse far, far away flood the sky. waves crash onto the shore violently; foam dissipating into the sand, a tangy odor prevalent in the air.

the three of them sit by the shore, backs resting on the rocks framing the cove, watching the sun beginning to set slowly. the waters recede periodically, the soothing melody of the seas filling their ears. birds flock home overhead.

a fragile moment encased in glass.



because we're tragic, taehyung. 
you and i, and everybody in between. we don't know the stories, but we're okay knowing that everybody is just as sad as we are.
there is beauty in what we do. the destructive kind. the fatal kind.

because we're tragic, taehyung.
we don't need happiness....

dead petunias


dead petunias,
we are alive,
water us, my love,
feel us, breathe us,
our glorious scents, 
our drowning life,
we are only as young
as how long the
sun will let us 
be.



and now, the ivy, you
come for her 
fragrant hand, you
are so afraid of her
thorns, you forget
how dangerous
you can be too.


so we, we are infinite,
and loud, and vibrant,
we sway your world, 
we fill your gaps, between
the lines, and then
you pick us out, 
piece by piece,
until all that is left 
of us is what we 
first came
from.
 

syzygy



syzygy (n) an alignment of three celestial bodies

I like to think of you as a catastrophe; an alluring collision, an enchanting misery, an exquisite aftertaste.

In this purgatory that we like to call our haven, your touch soothes the ravaging flames that lick my skin. For an eternity, I thought I would be enoughenough to wash over the footprint-studded shore that you had let your ribcage become.

Do you love him like do? Arms open wide; come on, ignite.

In this melody for two, there isn't any space for a misfortune in threes.


 

tragic



little ripples dot the surface of the ocean; the epicenter of the earthquake they liked to call themselves. a sharp wind whistles by; softly entwining between their hair as it continues on its journey. 

faint beams from a distant lighthouse far, far away flood the sky. waves crash onto the shore violently; the foam dissipating into the sand, a tangy odor prevalent in the air.

the three of them sit by the shore, backs resting on the rocks framing the cove, watching the sun beginning to set slowly. the waters recede periodically, the soothing melody of the seas filling their ears. birds flock home overhead.

a fragile moment encased in glass.



because we're tragic, taehyung. 
you and i, and everybody in between. we don't know the stories, but we're okay knowing that everybody is just as sad as we are.
there is beauty in what we do. the destructive kind. the fatal kind.
because we're tragic, taehyung.
we don't need...

tragic



little ripples dot the surface of the ocean; the epicenter of the earthquake they liked to call themselves. a sharp wind whistles by; softly entwining between their hair as it continues on its journey. 

faint beams from a distant lighthouse far, far away flood the sky. waves crash onto the shore violently; the foam dissipating into the sand, a tangy odor prevalent in the air.

the three of them sit by the shore, backs resting on the rocks framing the cove, watching the sun beginning to set slowly. the waters recede periodically, the soothing melody of the seas filling their ears. birds flock home overhead.

a fragile moment encased in glass.



because we're tragic, taehyung. 
you and i, and everybody in between. we don't know the stories, but we're okay knowing that everybody is just as sad as we are.
there is beauty in what we do. the destructive kind. the fatal kind.
because we're tragic, taehyung.
we don't need...

tragic



little ripples dot the surface of the ocean; the epicenter of the earthquake they liked to call themselves. a sharp wind whistles by; softly entwining between their hair as it continues on its journey. 

faint beams from a distant lighthouse far, far away flood the sky. waves crash onto the shore violently; the foam dissipating into the sand, a tangy odor prevalent in the air.

the three of them sit by the shore, backs resting on the rocks framing the cove, watching the sun beginning to set slowly. the waters recede periodically, the soothing melody of the seas filling their ears. birds flock home overhead.

a fragile moment encased in glass.



because we're tragic, taehyung. 
you and i, and everybody in between. we don't know the stories, but we're okay knowing that everybody is just as sad as we are.
there is beauty in what we do. the destructive kind. the fatal kind.
because we're tragic, taehyung.
we don't need...

tragic



little ripples dot the surface of the ocean; the epicenter of the earthquake they liked to call themselves. a sharp wind whistles by; softly entwining between their hair as it continues on its journey. 

faint beams from a distant lighthouse far, far away flood the sky. waves crash onto the shore violently; the foam dissipating into the sand, a tangy odor prevalent in the air.

the three of them sit by the shore, backs resting on the rocks framing the cove, watching the sun beginning to set slowly. the waters recede periodically, the soothing melody of the seas filling their ears. birds flock home overhead.

a fragile moment encased in glass.



because we're tragic, taehyung. 
you and i, and everybody in between. we don't know the stories, but we're okay knowing that everybody is just as sad as we are.
there is beauty in what we do. the destructive kind. the fatal kind.
because we're tragic, taehyung.
we don't need...

s t e n c h




In the smooth grooves of our door and between the ridges of the marble platform in our kitchen and the paneled walls, I swear I can smell the scent and the stench of your love, and it relieves and suffocates me all at once.



The putrid remnants of you and I in a large, empty house where the cold seeps in through the ceiling and the floors and the glass. I want to hear the way you laugh; like metal on glass, and now I have broken windows, broken crockery, broken mirrors, and my maniacal howls chills people to the bone and blood and cell.


 

syzygy



syzygy (n) an alignment of three celestial bodies


I like to think of you as a catastrophe; an alluring collision, an enchanting misery, an exquisite aftertaste.

In this purgatory that we like to call our haven, your touch soothes the ravaging flames that lick my skin. For an eternity, I thought I would be enoughenough to wash over the footprint-studded shore that you had let your ribcage become.

Do you love him like do? Arms open wide; come on, ignite.

In this melody for two, there isn't any space for a misfortune in threes.


 

r u n



Ah. It's beating. Hard.
It is making itself felt.


What kind of sadness it
Is when you see happy 
People?


It is high school and the
Bitter-sweetness that comes
Along with it for a ride.


The joy of leaving and the
Sorrow of being left are 
Two exactly same things.


So run.
Run, run, run. 
Run as much as you can,
Before you can't.


 

sugar



What manner of evil is it when you look at life and can't breathe? When words don't flow out of your fingertips like they used to?

What do you do when your footprints recede into the ground, and all you hear is a faint echo what could have been?

It's not hard. It's not how it used to be, when being locked was better than freedom, when it hurt to face things head-on because we were too young.

Youth is overrated because the only thing you can do is let it slip away when you have it, and drown yourself in a bundle of regrets when you don't.

These days, it's uneasiness. An early taste of sadness that will follow this moment, of failure, of repentance. We look up, and there's the sun shining like it always has, unaware of the war that rages in our blood.

This is how it will be. This is what we signed up...

r u n



Ah. It's beating. Hard.
It is making itself felt.


What kind of sadness it
Is when you see happy 
People?


It is high school and the
Bitter-sweetness that comes
Along with it for a ride.


The joy of leaving and the
Sorrow of being left are 
Two exactly same things.


So run.
Run, run, run. 
Run as much as you can,
Before you can't.


 

electric, electric, electric



Electric, electric, electric,
You stole my heart away on a
Stormy, negative night.





Fuses, fuses, fuses,
We're burnt inside out, we reek
Of smoke, I think it's beautiful.





Switches, switches, switches,
You touch me, and I light up like a
Broken bulb on the sidewalk.





Wires, wires, wires, 
You control the strings, and god,
This is the best aftertaste.





Bulbs, bulbs, bulbs,
On a dirty bathroom floor, you sit,
And my arms wrapped inside your chest, we drown in our smell.




Electric, electric, electric,
We end where we began, on another stormy night,
When one broken bulb told another goodbye.


 

sugar



What manner of evil is it when you look at life and can't breathe? When words don't flow out of your fingertips like they used to?

What do you do when your footprints recede into the ground, and all you hear is a faint echo what could have been?

It's not hard. It's not how it used to be, when being locked was better than freedom, when it hurt to face things head-on because we were too young.

Youth is overrated because the only thing you can do is let it slip away when you have it, and drown yourself in a bundle of regrets when you don't.

These days, it's uneasiness. An early taste of sadness that will follow this moment, of failure, of repentance. We look up, and there's the sun shining like it always has, unaware of the war that rages in our blood.

This is how it will be. This is what we signed up...

dead petunias




dead petunias,
we are alive,
water us, my love,
feel us, breathe us,
our glorious scents, 
our drowning life,
we are only as young
as how long the
sun will let us 
be.



and now, the ivy, you
come for her 
fragrant hand, you
are so afraid of her
thorns, you forget
how dangerous
you can be too.


so we, we are infinite,
and loud, and vibrant,
we sway your world, 
we fill your gaps, between
the lines, and then
you pick us out, 
piece by piece,
until all that is left 
of us is what we 
first came
from.



 

Flash Fiction Competition 2017

syzygy



syzygy (n) an alignment of three celestial bodies


I like to think of you as a catastrophe; an alluring collision, an enchanting misery, an exquisite aftertaste.

In this purgatory that we like to call our haven, your touch soothes the ravaging flames that lick my skin. For an eternity, I thought I would be enough; enough to wash over the footprint-studded shore that you had let your ribcage become.

Do you love him like I do? Arms open wide; come on, ignite.

In this melody for two, there isn't any space for a misfortune in threes.




 

Returning

s m i l e




A whiff of the grass, a solemn kiss with the sand, and it's like you've begun breathing again.

You take it in. 
It doesn't quite hurt like you supposed it would. It just. . . is. Like you had expected a plethora of transformations, an insanity behind the graffiti infested gates, a subtle sorrow in the withering flower beds. 
A soft breeze tickles the spaces between your fingers and the tree trunks that you touch achingly. You recall the scent of the sight of the memory tickling the edge of your desire; warm sweaters and the tangy taste of lychee juice; cloudy winters and the festival of depravity; sweat and love on the sidelines.

It hurts now.

You look over the barren landscape. You smile.




 

Inferno



I'll be unlocking the door pretty soon.
Please be there when I do.
In the corners of my house lie unforgettable
Memories of various words spoken in the
Heat of the moment.


This is what I will have chosen, with
My nose in the air, and a growing
Bag of mistakes; if you're Santa, I'll
Be the reindeer lifting both our burdens.


Snow, sleet, hail. All of it will be in our minds,
When what we say will strip each other
Of the very skin we are so proud of wearing.


Ah, yes. This is how it will be. Should I still
End before I begin? Should I stop singing
Before the chord was even struck?


Because my pride is intertwined with my
Chromosomes, I will go on to my misfortune.
I will be my undoing.


This is what is set in store for me, what
I have created in the dark depths of
My soulless imagination. This is my...

Flash Fiction Competition 2017

syzygy




syzygy (n) an alignment of three celestial bodies


I like to think of you as a catastrophe; an alluring collision, an enchanting misery, an exquisite aftertaste.

In this purgatory that we like to call our haven, your touch soothes the ravaging flames that lick my skin. For an eternity, I thought I would be enough; enough to wash over the footprint-studded shore that you had let your ribcage become.

Do you love him like I do? Arms open widecome on, ignite.

In this melody for two, there isn't any space for a misfortune in threes.




 

Returning

s m i l e





A whiff of the grass, a solemn kiss with the sand, and it's like you've begun breathing again.

You take it in. 
It doesn't quite hurt like you supposed it would. It just. . . is. Like you had expected a plethora of transformations, an insanity behind the graffiti infested gates, a subtle sorrow in the withering flower beds. 
A soft breeze tickles the spaces between your fingers and the tree trunks that you touch achingly. You recall the scent of the sight of the memory tickling the edge of your desire; warm sweaters and the tangy taste of lychee juice; cloudy winters and the festival of depravity; sweat and love on the sidelines.

It hurts now.

You look over the barren landscape. You smile.




 

Flash Fiction Competition 2017

syzygy




syzygy (n) an alignment of three celestial bodies


I like to think of you as a catastrophe; an alluring collision, an enchanting misery, an exquisite aftertaste.

In this purgatory that we like to call our haven, your touch soothes the ravaging flames that lick my skin. For an eternity, I thought I would be enough; enough to wash over the footprint-studded shore that you had let your ribcage become.

Do you love him like I do? Arms open widecome on, ignite.

In this melody for two, there isn't any space for a misfortune in threes.




 

Flash Fiction Competition 2017

syzygy




(n) an alignment of three celestial bodies



I like to think of you as a catastrophe; an alluring collision, an enchanting misery, an exquisite aftertaste.

In this purgatory that we like to call our haven, your touch soothes the ravaging flames that lick my skin. For an eternity, I thought I would be enough; enough to wash over the footprint-studded shore that you had let your ribcage become.

Do you love him like I do? Arms open widecome on, ignite.

In this melody for two, there isn't any space for a misfortune in threes.




 

c o l l i d e




Your blood and bones and skin.

It's like they tell me— come on, collide.



Sometimes— when the sun dips under your fingers, and when the ice cream melts in the wind, and when you smell of raspberry and cocoa butter, and when I sing off-key, and when your laugh sounds like metal on glass— I think to myself, oh no, I love you, and my heart sinks. Your fingerprints on my skin; tracing the bumps and ridges and the scars. 



I think to myself, I could get used to you. I don't want to get used to you. I want to use you.



Sometimes, when honey is bitter and blood blue and music harsh and hell cold, I let your lips touch mine.

It's like they tell me— come on, collide.



 

heartbreak bazaar




"welcome
or perhaps, not quite,"
whispers the old shopkeeper,
his flowing white beard and twinkling
eyes entrancing me to my doom.



i pause at the door;
wistfully gazing at the 
dream-catcher that tinkles
above my head; an echo from
a forgotten life.



the shopkeeper smiles.
"it has a way with the lost
'uns," he pipes. "they can't get
enough of it." 



i nod and step inside.
a dark, hollow cave greets 
my eyes. dainty flower crowns
and pastel ceramic plates adorn
the walls.



"so, my dear child," the 
shopkeeper says, running
his fingers through his beard,
"what are you looking for?"



it clutches at my throat;
his words. i wonder.
what do i want?



"i'd like to live,"



i announce;
loud;
like i am unsure,
faltering; 
like i am adamant,
fearfully;
like i do not deserve it.



"is it what you would
really like?" the shopkeeper
looms in; his beard swimming in
my vision. i stagger under...

Writing Small

atom



"Set me on fire."

That's what you said. 

Like a hiccup; my words trudged back and forth, colliding in my vocal chords; I lit the matchstick and set you on fire, until all that remained was an atom of your vitriol.

m e t a l l i c a



She said her name was Metallica,
An exquisite ferric masterpiece; she was
Sent away to the solders,
And they branded her into
Who she became today.




She said her name was Metallica,
And she was a hundred 
Thousand mineral years old,
And her roots were torn away from
Her proud, rocky heart. 




She said her name was Metallica,
And that each of her atoms craved
A touch from the hand that 
Burned and shaped and molded 
Her into this disgusting aftertaste.




She said her name was Metallica,
And she sold sanctuary by
The hour, she melted people 
And what they stood for; 

Because 
     Metallica
          Was
               A
                    Furnace.



 

m e l a n c h o l y






Melancholy; almost addicting,
Almost like you want to
Never let me go.

But you did.

Doldrums; a storm
Worthy of a niche
In history.

Is what you said.

Ennui; oui? 
Oui? 
We.

Tragedy and flowers.





 

|| •••• ||



|| M I D N I G H T ||

The time of your life when
Things just dissolve into
Black skies and white stars
And it feels like an ancient
Photograph.



|| F E L I C I T Y ||

Something we're afraid to feel,
Something we think we don't
Deserve, something that deserves
Somebody whole and pure, not
Someone like
Us.



|| I G N I T E ||

Is what happens

When two unwitting
Souls annihilate
Each other.



|| F L A M E S ||

Something we allow to
Destroy
Us.



|| W H I T E ||

Is the color of skies
When they welcome
Another mismatched
Human into their
Open arms.



|| •••• ||

The end. It comes when
It wants; unannounced
Like a persistent
Disease, that is so
Scared of itself,
It refuses to let
You
Go.
 

t h i r t e e n




Thirteen.

We are the death number, 
Cold, silent, a fatal disease. 
When everything begins and
Doesn't know when to end. 




Fifteen.

Our hearts hurt, stabbing
Pains of sorrow in our chest.
Web-thin promises, broken 
Before they were even made.



Seventeen.

We're taller and try to see
The world better, but our heights
Do not catch up with the wrongs
That everyone else is so adept at doing.




Nineteen. 

Childhood; a distant dream,
The countdown has begun, we're
Just too fragile; we'll annihilate
Before we can walk; shatter, before
We can say something worth being said. 




Twenty one.

We've given up.
Hey there, death,
How are you doing?
We'll meet, I promise, sooner yet,
But please, learn to disguise your
Beauty, because we fell for you a 
Long time ago, when thirteen was just an age 
And not your true form.
Then, we forgot to live.




 

the end



icecoffeerings;
you spin yarns of hatred.
i am old fashioned and
prim and you loved me
all the same.



or so you said.



roses wilt, chocolates melt,
the kettle is screaming and
so am i;
despite the flower wallpaper
and the eggs sunny side up;
you sing to break glass.



i like what you said; 
that 
its
the end,
not 
the end.


 

Your World in Three Senses

B l i s s




Touch like you do; tracing her name in her ankles and her lips and the wind between her fingers. Touch like I taught you to; soothingly, like a drunkard in love. A feather mapping the distance between her eyes and her hair; the junction of blood and bones where her neck meets her collarbones; touch her like I wanted you to touch me.


​Taste the air and the love I had for you. Taste the love you think you are giving her. Taste her passion and mine; like ice on fire; a catastrophe in your mouth. A chef's nightmare; that's what you taste like; dissipating on my tongue; crushed coffee beans and medicine; like you wanted to heal me. Taste your bitter lies and my sorrow; her blind affection and my anger. Can you taste it yet? My jealousy?


See her in the same light I used to; drinking her in, like you cannot get enough. See the way...

d i a l o g u e



Sometimes I hear songs that burst my heart. I imagine listening to them when I will be older, when being Atlas doesn't suit me any longer and my shoulders break. I imagine cold nights and hoodies, steaming coffees and staggering breaths, my hair in flight.



Fall. Spring. Winter. Memories of seasons entwined with wry nostalgia. Did I breathe faster than falling cherry blossoms? Did I sing off key and hear an echoing applause? Were tables and corners places where I was the loudest? Was I looked at, looked after? Was it better than this deafening silence?



I imagine you to be better; my present self raised to infinity. I imagine you to be okay. I imagine you to be Omelas, where who I am now is trapped so who I will be is happier. I imagine we build a fortress out of a war zone. 



Oceans. Forests. Hills. Skies. Neon lights. Drunkards. Stories etched in skins. Music. Loneliness. We'll have...

i n f e r n o



I'll be unlocking the door pretty soon.
Please be there when I do.


In the corners of my house lie unforgettable
Memories of various words spoken in the
Heat of the moment.


This is what I will have chosen, with
My nose in the air, and a growing
Bag of mistakes; if you're Santa, I'll
Be the reindeer lifting both our burdens.


Snow, sleet, hail. All of it will be in our minds,
When what we say will strip each other
Of the very skin we are so proud of wearing.


Ah, yes. This is how it will be. Should I still
End before I begin? Should I stop singing
Before the chord was even struck?


Because my pride is intertwined with my
Chromosomes, I will go on to my misfortune.
I will be my undoing.


This is what is set in store for me, what
I have created in the dark depths of
My soulless imagination. This is my...

s a y o n a r a



hey. does it hurt?
i wonder. sometimes, when 
he can't fill the gap between your
heart and mine, do you go to bed with
a damp pillow and an artist's nightmare
under your eyes?


what a day to explode. 
do you mind? can i take the 
feathers inside your futon and turn
them to icarus' wings, so that you end 
up dead, in an ocean you didn't know existed
because you flew too close to me?


do old playlists do to you
what they do to me? i hear 
the first vague tunes, and all i can
think about is how even pulsating
crowds can't make the singer any less
sadder.


it's in the suave smiles and
coyote kisses. it's in your hubris
and my hugs, and they incomplete
each other like caramel on a snowy evening.
we don't fit, we don't belong, but it was 
beautiful while it began and lasted.


so this is a sayonara you deserve;
empty,...

you are



you are


wonderful, and
unusual, and
alive.



you are


bruised, and
scandalous, and
piteous.



you are


in love and
unhinged and
kissing me.

r e c o r d




record scratch; you have
been blaring in my bones,
like a parasite, you bleed
your grievances and
overshadow mine.




white; you transcend
what you think your
faults and your curses are;
intoxicated, you do and say
things you absolutely mean.




piano; you hit the keys
and the alphabets and 
somehow the music 
melts into my rib cage
and it is beautiful;
but i can't breathe.




recordrecordrecord;
maybe i like you, like
a gramophone needle
crashing on one note
in an ocean of 
melodies.





 

s t e n c h




In the smooth grooves of our door and between the ridges of the marble platform in our kitchen and the paneled walls, I swear I can smell the scent and the stench of your love, and it relieves and suffocates me all at once.



The putrid remnants of you and I in a large, empty house where the cold seeps in through the ceiling and the floors and the glass. I want to hear the way you laugh; like metal on glass, and now I have broken windows, broken crockery, broken mirrors, and my maniacal howls chills people to the bone and blood and cell.



 

Songwriting Competition 2017

Paint



If I could I'd tell you
That those twinkling lights
Are just that— 
Mellow, distant, 
Like how you touch me.


The city is far, far, further,
And I thought I missed you,
But underneath the rubble engraved with your
Blasphemy, I held your skin 
And told you sorry.


You painted like you loved—
Angrily, a catastrophe of colours
On my canvas.
On my canvas.
On my canvas,
But I was yours.


If I could I'd lick you up
Like a man in a drought-stricken
Memory would,
If he could, and I could,
And I wished you'd 
Just pick up your brush.


Swirls and lines; 
Blood and grime;
Yours and mine; 
I wanted to be your easel,
Perch you on my 
Collarbones.


You painted like you loved—
Angrily, a catastrophe of colours
On my canvas.
On my canvas.
On my canvas,
But I was yours.


You'd make a fine lover
If only you'd painted
Better.

f u r n a c e



Blueblueblue.


He thinks the world of her.
He likes the sound of her name rolling in his mouth; between his tongue and his teeth and his lies. 
She likes the crook of his neck where the world is small but comforting; the fragrance of another woman etched in his skin.


She breathes metal.
Her feet touch the coals, and she bleeds betrayal.
He melts into her; the furnace.


They like to think they ended where they


began.
 

c o f f e e





glass, glass, glass
mahogany on my sheets.



you reek of lies and truth 
and i can't discern the 
skeletons.



you sing like you are in
pain; cymbals clashing,
bells clanging.



learn to breathe a little;
your heart 
explodes rhythmically.



if you can, please
make a coffee sometimes;
black and bitter,
just like



you.



 

s c h o o l




math; they told me.

math will save your life.



books and tables and teachers and sadness and deprecation.

i can lie through my teeth and blood and bones.



students and janitors and principals.

i'd like to set them on fire.



school.



 

e c s t a s y





Please breathe into me like you do.


I could very well make a mountain mine, but I can't even conquer your peaks. The simple way you dance; the smooth curves, and the sunlight hitting your skin like you owned all of it; the molecules and atoms; the smell of grass entwined between your lips and mine; like singing honey; all of these are mememe, silent and unforgiving; a piece of glass cutting into your feet. 


Please love me like I do; soothingly, assured in the comfort that tomorrow will come; achingly, like the distance between our fingertips can only be connected after eons of agonizing traveling; bitterly, like the coffee I make and the words you say.


What do we call this?


Ecstasy?

A p o l o g y



​These days, I swear I see you in the slight shift of the curtains and the way the sunlight hits the window pane.


I see you in the smooth waves that come crashing onto the shore, and I see you in the sunflower field wearing your white summer dress, and I see you amongst the faces in the crowd when I spin my golden tunes and the world explodes, and I see you in the whiff of bitter coffee and the syrup of pancakes, and I see you in the way the moon kisses the skyline when it is lonely.


I see you in all these places and moments and I dance to the echo of your whisper when the wind blows, and I apologize.


 

Songwriting Competition 2017

Paint



If I could I'd tell you
That those twinkling lights
Are just that— 
Mellow, distant, 
Like how you touch me.


The city is far, far, further,
And I thought I missed you,
But underneath the rubble engraved with your
Blasphemy, I held your skin 
And told you sorry.


You painted like you loved—
Angrily, a catastrophe of colours
On my canvas.
On my canvas.
On my canvas,
But I was yours.


If I could I'd lick you up
Like a man in a drought-stricken
Memory would,
If he could, and I could,
And I wished you'd 
Just pick up your brush.


You painted like you loved—
Angrily, a catastrophe of colours
On my canvas.
On my canvas.
On my canvas,
But I was yours.


You'd make a fine lover
If only you'd painted
Better.