the aunt complains about my ceaseless apathy.
void of time is evergreen in december, and i forget i am supposed to miss
lop the urdu off my tongue please.
lop the tongue please.
somebody talks to me about hopelessness. he sounds like a grating matchstick.
his lungs, concrete figurines. throat sing-song, volcano boy.
it comes so close to
mattering. far from home, 슬픔이 가득한 소년,
wrenched away, skin to bone, mouth filled to
brim with gold, silver spoons clanging in an
empty backpack. he says he can't talk about
la tristesse est enivrante
and he's such an awful bundle of contradictions.
it is a pity to fall for frigid statuettes;
laid bare, wings busily stitched,
haphazard عبد, boy bullied to
the virile madness of shut eyes stark awake
when the clock gongs four
dawn barely navy blue
i eat a thick slice of black forest cake
icing sliding down a noiseless throat
engorged stomach, dainty organ of limbs,
prayer on fire, dante's gluttony.
He is serene.
Sweet summer boy, nectar mouth parted, the staff that broke the sea. He seems to me so hollow; a lithely whittled mausoleum one matchstick away from chaos, the kind that floods junctions into crisp, unruly frenzies.
We are always unoccupied. I smash the only clock I possess, and he watches me with amusement. Later, I mourn the loss a wee bit, gathering broken plastic bits into the valley of my palms and gazing forlornly at the brass hour hand. It seems so diabolical to have gifted someone a clock on their sixteenth birthday, but he'd said it was to ruin me. No mincing the words, nothing to spread the abrasiveness thinly.
There are worse things to get ruined by — primarily him, but this is only a ghostly whisper — and so, in the spirit of rebellion, the poor clock gets the guillotine.
Funnily enough, there is never anything to do, and yet this sense of freedom...
Nothing exits with a low thump
like the carcass of a fruitless year The orchards
rot beyond reason & the birds glean themselves clean
off the store shelves
It doesn't rain not once nothing like seventeen years ago
in the dark school bus & the upperclassman
shaking herself dry Umbrella crammed
in the aisle between drowsy seats
blood & mud tracks speedtrucking towards the alphabet
Few have forgettable raw terror under their belts & it shows itself
most innocently like listening to a gunshot clang
into your stomach for the first time what a lovely
breathless excrescence or excavating yet another abscess
in the graveyard to numbing consequences The chalice
spills blood endlessly & the soundtrack of never let me go
is just a flat doorbell Who is knocking? Who...
Tap two bones together long enough, and—genesis. Eruption.
Licking tombstones clean scarcely offers lucidity, solace,
or other such means of fragility in convulsing bellies.
A large part of breathing entails raising hell
against loosely uttered words of malignant humor—
"I have missed you"; "perhaps, forever"; "your child is you".
But of course, everything slips between the corsets of being,
disfigured feelings wryly clubbed into inconspicuous mausoleums;
here, you have loved this particular curve of my hand;
here, I wake to the sinking feeling of being older than Anne,
frank or otherwise. Despite such magnanimity of warring courtesans,
I can only fall asleep to the boorish tunes of whores guarding
vanity's doors. Somewhere in a hospice, a woman neck deep
in the grave sits in a wheelchair and remembers no broken windows,
no tracing the bald dome of her first child, no bartered moments
of heart pound for disquiet matrimony. Yet, somebody plays...
lonely mouth shapeshifts into icicle, and another reluctant tear drinks itself to sleep. somehow, old bones steel themselves numb in face of granite, blue-bottle granite. i am in the throes of solemn desolation; none of my hollow frivolousness is an admission of guilt, or perhaps worse; despair.
this is a word. this is another. these are letters stuck between rheumatic teeth. God, how good, how great, how limp my heart, how struck dog my chest. the prayers have soldered themselves on the roof of my mouth; puppet-master singing, puppet-master selling my tongue by the pound five times a day. who am i if not unholy pieces of skin? who am i if not setting places of worship ablaze? who am i if not counterfeit plaster saint?
what surreptitious silences. so much abomination pressed into degloved bone compartment. bullet shell cosmetics. my gnarled frame, hem of the universe. my gnarled frame, hem of the universe.
tongue so petite-blue.
endlessly, the brutish mouth administers warm kicks.
somewhere on a stake, a witch smiles serenely as the flames lick her naked and crimson.
stale memories dance with mars, but some toenails clatter on the gas-station sink.
on the other side of the universe, three full ribs lay on the sidewalk and a rose-gold motorcycle runs over their corpses.
eyelids are stitched, but the husbands pry them open with thrift-store wrenches.
lovers climb into stolen caskets and pray for better days
(maybe divinity isn't a myth after all).
the price of faith is ruthless futility; cavernous ache replacing God on a sunday afternoon.
gluttony— to feel, despite the insidious cracks
(the belly s a g s).
at the crossroad of crushed bones, the wind howls.
tear a love-child in half.
palpable hesitation is trembling on the sidewalk (innocently).
it begins to rain frantically, but still, swing-sets persist.
(gold) dreams sing a nightmarish rhapsody as the dawn crawls in...
[for you i found a vent in the bottom of a coal mine
just enough space for your hands in the inside]
now we're strangers
and the crevice yawns like madmen
stuck under the photo booth
razor blue rust dancing by the poolside
and weary bones of one too many
roadtrips culminating in bonfire ash and
the prowess of living in my skin limits
itself to the faux nostalgia of things
so deplorably mundane like
glass teeth setting sandpaper castles
aflame (did i tell you i love the scent
of burnt homes) and what a feast it is
to bite into when the thin blood creeps
into hollow laps.
this stitching of old dreams doesn't suit us
we, of the apathy and stingy hearts
and how sipping lychee juice at midnight
i watch this solemn fanfare/ and marvel at how agony sprawled across your face/
there was little noise in the seamlessness of a clogged throat/
you always said i was far too cold to exist/
like all space i inhabited was but a laughable farce/
but i am lesser than the underside of somebody's shoe/
this universe and my gaping chest entranced you to no end/
marigolds burst forth between your lips/
a fountain of guilt cascading on empty tongues/
i know you thought of me as soulless/
a hollow drum beaten thin (i sounded magnificent)/
and how you ached to coax soft nothingness/
from the belly of my aloof womb/
oh i reveled in the futility of a dying love/
and all that your clasped hands craved to touch/
when the grass twisted itself around your ribs/
i almost thought of you/ i almost thought of mercy/
these seeds bloom like unhappy nightmares/
in the crook of my pharynx...
the allure—so vast and carefree.
perhaps something is ending.
two lone waves break into blue mouths;
laughable, like the taste of farthings stuck
under cold boots. miles away, the moon
pours herself bonfire whiskey. dead constellations
need no mourning, no chalices filled with inebriated
in this magnanimous womb, nothing smells like
nothing; glass bones steeped in rosewater.
early dawn bathed in red, a ghost town so very in love
with silver lights, car crashes, two gunshots and a
no words collapse into this beam of emptiness
and today, it will almost be autumn. it will
cling to detached hearts. it will dance at
inconspicuous corners. it will shrivel.
it will die today. it will die today.
it will die
the greatest love story crumbles/ like mouths filled with salt & blood/
but there is a jester in those tender eyes/ who sways with ghostly tears/ & he almost makes me want to live/ the gravest sin there is/
sometimes/ when it rains silver beads in december/ i pacify the hourglass twirling inside me/ & catch glimpses of who i was/ in other people/
numb head to the glass in metro trains/ lips parted at obscure junctions/ of bustling cities that offer no reconciliation/ no forgiving warmth/
these days/ the heart does not stir incomprehensibly at innocuous joys/ it does not wish to weather away like cold bones/ it causes immeasurable grief at the impossibility of things/
no desires are bestowed/ at the end of the universe/ no rainbow bubbles gleaming in weary sunlight/ no doing good by those who ache to live fully/
time is so/ so lovely/ so lovely in how it doesn't stay/ so lovely in how eases...
too many broken teeth set a campfire by the shore,
and they crack on with the persistence of shaved
crown jewels. they stare into the heart of the embers
and pray for the well-being of missing companions;
like crass lipped tongues and strands of beef that
wedge between them with imposing strength.
no marshmallows will be toasted tonight; midsummer
gloom is far more palatable to those with staggering
taste-buds. the teeth lounge about with loose quips
and reminiscences of days larger than tired mouths;
being fed monstrous candies after little girls get
vaccinated for polio, being wrenched from mum gum
at barely four years old, being unceremoniously
shoved under pink polka dotted pillows for fairies to
the flames fade into hissing charred wood and dull
yellow sparks. everything else is hushed into the
silence of a cold dawn. nobody will say a thing now.
nobody will hold a funeral.
it is eid and her room is icy
cold. three snoring sisters
harmonize in varying pitches,
and our stiff toes curl under
wrinkled blankets. time
crawls. her father makes ten
kilograms of biryani, and the
lazzat is unbearable. its thin
scents waft through closed doors.
we put on "delhi crime" and watch
it when some souls stir in this
numbing apartment. somebody is
sloshing mouthwash loudly two
rooms away. two plates of mutton
biryani are nestled on sequined
outfits. the air-con works
overtime. sun beats through
green windows. all is good,
almost too good to be true.
when I revisit the cozy corners of
abandoned minds a sweet little
memory slips through the crevice
like unsettled bluebottles on
stagnant midnights they carry
the weight of being fiercely young
and slow dancing in empty
classrooms bathed in green generator
lights my heart does not race like
it used to death to growing pains,
the buckled knees crying I am
a patron saint of making memories
on hidden staircases in plain sight,
I cease to breathe muffled flames
kissing gas stoves into oblivion
doe-eyed you so stinging I think I
have almost forgotten you and the
gaping space leaves no room for
sorrow some baggages are best left
unclaimed you feel a lot like driving
in the middle of Dubai skyscrapers
clinging to lost limbs so untouchable
so extravagant so worlds apart
when the twilight in bold inky skies
will pull tethered moonlight...
clear skies that inspire no mood-boards;
no epiphanies that result in strange, out of
place choices like frying chicken wings
before a math exam.
temperatures expected to rise slowly,
so if there is baking to be done, place your
yeasty doughs in the balcony and let it go.
do not mourn any collateral damages that
probability of sudden heatwaves (no room
for surprise, you are a beast of habit), so
ensure abundant trays of ice and sunscreen.
it is always sunny in dubai
flightless birds glaringly prominent
the screech of empty school hallways
sweaty boys collapsing in football fields
a toast of clear cold soda for all that summer
takes away from us.
this concludes our weather report.
plump, puffy toddler fingers squishing small animals flat. inherent cruelty runs amok in cold blood, the struggle in thin necks when strangulation is far too enticing. they say children are lovely, or evil, and i was both, satan's little toe stubbed on nondescript pieces of furniture; here, carve your initials into the refrigerator's door; here, drop a glass bottle on a passer-by's glistening skull; here, stuff the stomach until gluttony smiles between folds of exposed skin. the world is a claw machine and i am stuck between metal fangs, one brown animal starving for touch, taste. there is crushed toffee in my pocket and i eat the wrapping paper instead.
i was too colossal for this world. i was the stuffed toy smiling, mute on your mantelpiece.
so much numbness breaks in waves; old bones creaking under the weight of hollow tongues. today speaks to me of banal mediocrity, three dirhams strangled between hot fingers, the strange way vending...
and sickly sunlight staggers towards
the dusk, unruly weekend-drunkards spilling
cash onto spit-studded pavements.
i do not reach adult knees
chubby pincer-finger strangling pappa's phalanges.
one step is three skidding footprints of mine.
a lovely whoosh, air-con trailing soothe into damp
elbow crooks. creeping evenings do not halt cruel
summers. so much breath clogs up in small lungs.
there is a waft of butter in the air, prelude to
greasy fingers, smudged delicacy around wide
empty-toothed mouths. the smiling lady mixes
boiled sweetcorn in silver hemisphere (where
does it cook?) and asks me if i'd like some black
i tell her to make it the spiciest she could,
lemon juice, red chilli powder, indian masala
in the gulf so poignant. scoop one ladle of
sweetcorn in paper cup. butter, butter, lemon,
pepper. stick plastic spoon. five dirhams.
mall memories. the sweetcorn waters drought-struck
tastebuds. grubby fingers that taste like salt.
hypermarket food samples, toothpick in fried sausages,
in the undergarments of a tattered fortress
there is an empty train station and
the prospect of its nothingness does not thrill
me like it would do on an occasion so far
removed from realism as this one,
carbon silence so cold and the strange
reverb when it calls out to me, cracked
like a hollow walnut,
so much platform and so little foot step
one of me on this side, youth at the blossom
tipping iceberg only just born and
no friend in gloom tales, caustic paste
promise of bold outlines so uninhabited,
thoughts cut short—
but there goes another apparition
another half of half of me (?)
shadows looming like ocean foam
undoing outsiderness with sorrow
i know it like the back of my palm
no love for kerosene studded bones
but i will live (?) tonight,
my poor platform aches onward
all aboard this pity party, or perhaps
not, pendulum lurching towards
the staying (rooted vagueness,
too much blood boils like street-side chicken soup
(no healing for human defecation, oozing brains
between mottled fingers) and too much blood
boils like playground monstrosities
blue-brown bark flakes simmering under touch
taller bones entail nothing more than knee jobs
the kind that whips joints into unknown spaces
and tells toddlers the best way to live between
broad strokes of childhood euphoria is to pull
jittery teeth by yourself
full stop now half stop
gums letting scarlet sorrow escape from old skin
don't beat the strangeness into thin toenails
they stretch for miles like unfinished pastures
fetch a pail of water
and drown in it
too little madness in this crook of world
apartment filled to brim with cold bodies
pressing numb words like birthday cakes
squashed flat under unsuspecting happinesses
did the echo of wisp-stung hazy dreams sound
too familiar? did they sound like unrelenting
streams of salty tears cascading down marble
cheeks? sometimes, too little memory
calico smile, fingernails nipped at bud
you are all i wanted to be
o my sweet marshmallow boy
slave of crushed shoulder and
ocean beds enveloping tinnitus ear
i see femur shards of my shriveled
thigh in your echoing chest
far too many words spill over
empty dreams, soju shots
midnight terrors, you
wispy blond hair, you
tombstone shell, you
lighter fluid so whimsical
like orion gleaming in cloudless
december, i reach out to
swallow your agony but nothing
nothing stays between my paltry
o my silver lining boy
i hoped you'd have escaped
the foaming fangs ripping
muscle tissues in small
blue heart, the kind of wound
that takes decades and innumerable
gramophone records to fill cracked
gaps in memory reels
three little griefs that last two lifetimes
i wanted no sadness of mine to ebb
(it was the only way i could feel alive)
i wanted no sadness of mine to ebb
dissonance born of bold, brown backs
and arabic calligraphy that spills from
skinned walls peeled at the midriff
i swallow the zest, the seeds, the pulp
the insides of my mouth a mangled trophy
bastardly bones, resilience
i tell the children it's best they do not eat hair
it did not end in the clatter of china
crashing from gypsum countertops
it did not end in the whoosh of soulless
banishment, no memorabilia eaten up
it ended like a numb punch in broken gut
bridging miles between two nightmares
you, distant and free
you, distant and free
a memory that fades so so
they don't have a name for boys like you
that set glass bottles on fire and
call it an irony of fate
sometimes, suppressing the icy blue feel
of crude nostalgia in cement veins
is irreparably difficult
and the great divide blasts open like a boil
stunted skeleton of steel and carbon blue /
puffs of candy breath, broken child smiling /
two freckles peeking through folds of
abandonment, impish tears too grubby
too enchanting to turn blind eyes to /
stiff horse twirling like a pixie in love with
midsummer blossoms, rest baby fingers on
weary handlebars / under starry veils of
blushing clouds, shrill laughter masking
crimson sorrow reverberating /
polaroid picture of your child for ten
dirhams / feverish daughter at the carousel /
refrigerated breeze nipping nose at pink tips /
the feel of hot metal on chest, warm necklace
comforted by empty body /
baby don't cry /
this is a small dream / this is too cruel / this
is a solace for older days / for when crass sorrow
boards up in exhausted throat / no soprano
in ghost orchestra / medusa world cracked in half /
no turning melancholy to gold / no sleeping
these nightmares away /
two full moons sip qahwa by rose-gold dunes/ clammy scent clings to the july sky/ bitter aphrodisiac stripped/ naked in porcelain tombs
nothing feels like nothing/ between gold plated molars and/ the glint in the smile of airy teenagers/ that birth the weight of loneliness in open graves/ they say the wound does not hurt/ in cold blue flesh/ in the decay of dead dreams
all of the desert at midnight/ tastes like too much swallowed ink/ insides of unkissed mouths gaping like nietzsche's void/ there is no love for children who do not cry/ and madness seeped with kerosene/ kicks up a warm storm on shredded eyelids
kaze ga totemo aoi/ four rifts in the seam of being/ close the dismal space between hollow legs/ no red strings shall be born of vacant paradises/ lips cracked beyond droughts/ aches that fall asleep
everything slows to an oppressive crawl
but the steel sentries lay awake,
ears cocked for miscreants, spray-painted van goghs
on a budget.
two silver cars rooted in the parking lot
house innumerable instances of speedy kisses
and entangled stilettos. tinted windows rolled down.
heavily misted whispers escaping parted pink lips.
car joggling, joy stick harmonies.
pavement glistens like slick skin toiling by the bedpost,
feverish yellow street-light sticking out coldly;
sore thumb, arrogant eye at the irrelevance of
human limbs clutching throbbing throats, cough drops,
fingers of snubbed lovers.
hallucinate between hostile aisles of
convenience stores, stale bread and part-time workers
holding back three gallons of tears; drown this
lust for sorrow in coffee grounds. in beer cans.
watery clouds stinging in chests and flammables
that cling to disheveled clothes.
pay in cash. grubby palms.
pocket of universe painted so lonesome.
pocket of universe so hushed.
some moments i cherish dearly
like the pale yellow flooding my
bathroom when the day has lived
halfway through itself
like the scent of ginger infusing
in piping hot chai when the mornings
bolt themselves shut in my empty
like the glossy photographs of me
smiling, dark brown eyes
too big, too precious
like the small sadness welling up
when i listen to son lux's aquatic
old melodies too fresh to forget
too cruel to let go
like the faint listlessness of
bitter realization as i wake
from a dream irrevocably sweet
of he who lives in my head
and of he who dies there too
today, i will live
perhaps i will see the night
knocking on my windows slowly
and i will show numbness the door
her pallid face burning holes in
all this skin
but this is borrowed time
and i must leave now
looney toons / this television crackles / a hissing static monster / three year old tongue /
licking / licking / licking /
all these fairytales / brain laughs / bubbling chin / blasphemous child /
too old to remember / too tired to care
morning explodes in my chest and
i have long since forgotten this
scent of soothing madness
like warm kicks to the mouth
i awaken on the foot of my bed
hung upside-down in my steel cocoon
i do nothing like steer winds
or weave little stories
instead i dream of threadbare wings
there is no butterfly at the end of
no escaping this blistering summer
skies slip through my fingers
is letting go my sin?
i want the clouds to sing to me
wailing angels strangling their silky harps
my nightmares collapsing into my
aosora aosora aosora
and i do not sleep anymore