An Ode To Melons

Poem #7: NaPoWriMo 2018

Visit my childhood home
and ask for summer things
that I liked when I was small
it will laugh longingly,
show you many fruits,
but not melonsnot at all.

Like children do, I did
running after shinier,
juicier, brighter, pleasures;
melons smelled like home,
grandparents, afternoons,—

quite unlike mango-like treasures.

Yet somehow they lived on;
each summer, after summer,
sneakily making their way—
like the mundane routine
that you love so dearly
but never well enough to say.

So as I declare my love
my tongue rolls unfamiliarly—
and yet the words taste of home;
as if they had waited so long,
in some corner of my mouth—
just, that I had not known.

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Decay

Lara-Zankoul-The-Unseen-2013
“The Unseen” by Lara Zankoul (2013)

Poem #5: NaPoWriMo 2018

 

with caresses and sighs
we built this—decaying—love;
one that was created to fit
the grave we slowly dug.

forgetting they ever kissed,
our lips part in scorn—
bitter, consumed, we bury
a love we could not mourn.

 

The Mirror of Erised

Poem #3: NaPoWriMo 2018
Prompt: “what would the Mirror of Erised show you?”

The Mirror of Erised is an ancient mirror from the Harry Potter world that is said to show you your deepest yearnings — when one looks into the mirror, their deepest desires are reflected back at them.

 

i looked back at myself,
when i looked in the Mirror of Erised

a tired face, an exhausted smile,
sweaty palms, and droopy eyes —
hair that melancholy thinned,
lay uncombed on my corpulent size —
stretch marks, resembling maps,
tracing the journey of the wise —
bitten nails, chapped lips,
flabby arms and incorrect thighs —
all stood; raw, wild, content
in all their glory sans disguise —

i looked back at myself,
when i looked in the Mirror of Erised

Translate

Poem #2: NaPoWriMo 2018
Prompt: translate

I wish I could translate
for the world to see
the warmth of the language
in which you speak to me —

but how do I make a script
of the curves and lines
that only exist etched
into this flesh of mine?

How will they understand—
will I ever learn to articulate;
these whispers and sighs
into sentences that weigh?

Moon

Poem #1: NaPoWriMo 2018
Prompt: moon, secret

The news reached before you did;
you’ve taken to the stars, I’ve heard —
so many things you left behind,
but could not leave behind a word?

The curtains I have kept; untucked, open —
for I fear the room will collapse on me
and the walls will break remaining strength
so I look at the moon instead and weep.

I did not need most things you gave;
only one thing, just one, I had seeked —
you could have deprived me of any whim,

a goodbye is all I wished to keep.

I am not sure what star you have become;
all I can see amidst this grief is the moon:
shall I gather your legacy — this sorrow —
and create a stairway of these runes?

You will see me there, would not you?
I will travel halfway — halfway you could wheel:
and who knows, perhaps this moon is what
Rumi called the field where loved ones meet*.

* “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.” ~ Rumi.

The Elements of Universe

1/7

You sit curled up in the abyss of pain,
with your knees folded up against your chin;
you see within yourself nothing, but a void
sweat and blood trace your skin.

When did you last… pause… breathe?
Stay still, darling there are things you must believe
Listen, as I speak.

2/7

You remind me of the mountains;

your bone, your marrow, built with rock and stone;
your spirit, like the mountains; strong, bold;
you are fashioned to fiercely protect everything
that you envelop in your fold;

you are courage.

3/7

Within you I see seas and oceans;

your existence is indispensable to life;
your formless spirit, ever adaptive; lingers;
you are water; the strength that holds ships up
not water; fragile, that slips through fingers;

you are eternal.

4/7

Inside you there is fire;

your eyes burn slow; warm, passionate,
your spirit is ever-glowing, relentless, awake;
you cease existence; you ease existence;
you create and destroy; mend and break;

you are ethereal.

5/7

You contract and expand like air;

you are the slow rise and fall of a breathing chest;
your spirit sings of freedom, and wings
you are motion, commotion, peace, jest;
your presence omnipresent; your absence exscinds;

you are life.

6/7

You are seamless, like the sky;

your spirit is the warrior that watches over the world;
you are made up of stars that guide the night
you are fiercely wild, and fiercely calm;
you house both, eternal darkness and light;

you are incessant.

7/7

You have been created
with the elements of the universe;
the universe has been created
with elements of you.

 

This is a seven-part poem that I wrote earlier this year. When I wrote it, I did not have a lot in mind — it was just another piece of poetry that I had scribbled down on a piece of paper during a boring lecture at college.

It was not until I was faced with a great challenge this year that I realised the importance of this poem — the challenge of self-love.

Most of us have in life, at different points and for different reasons, internalised the notion that we are unlovable. Self-love is an alien concept — it is an idea that was never taught to us. The society with all its institutions has always demanded relentless productivity. It teaches us to be hard on ourselves — to push ourselves even when we are collapsing. Any form of self-love is seen as counterproductive and detrimental; it is seen as an irregularity that needs to be cured.

Amidst this madness, it becomes difficult to be able to look into the mirror and appreciate the tired, flawed face that looks back at us. It is difficult to allow people to love us — much easier to believe that everyone is out there to harm us. We stop allowing ourselves to be loved because we stop viewing ourselves as worthy of love.

We forget that we are not only a product of happiness and optimism, but also death and sorrow. Our darkness is as important a part of us as our light is — it needs to be embraced and loved, not fought and brushed aside. The only way to get up is to acknowledge that we fell down.

Although this poem did not have meaning during that lecture, it has meaning now — it is a message, a reminder, that we are a mixture of so many things, and none of them define us, even when all of them do. We may be tiny and insignificant, but we are here, and within us, a lot to be found and loved.

I hope you read this and are reminded of everything that you are capable of — most of all, love and being loved.

 

Me Too?

In October 2017, “Me Too” spread as a trending hashtag on social media to denounce sexual harassment and assault. Millions of people came forward with their experiences using this hashtag, highlighting the banality, commonality, and extent of sexual assault.

How do you gather the courage
to say “me too”
when you are constantly asked;
“but did you?”
“are you sure?”
“maybe you imagined it?”

How do you gather the courage
to say “me too”
when you are told consistently
that it is not just you —
“it happens to everyone”
“learn to deal with it”

How do you gather the courage
to say “me too”
and say,
“I don’t want your pity or apology”
“I don’t want you to fix me”
in the same breath?

How do you gather the courage
to say “me too”
after a lifetime of gaslighting yourself;
“it is all in my head”
“it didn’t happen…
surely not?”

How do you gather the courage
to say “me too”
when words are nothing
but a rearrangement of the alphabet,
a sequence of phonetics,
that offer no closure?

How do you gather the courage
to say “me too”
and do you, unlike me,
still have that courage,
when you sit alone,
all by yourself?

How do you, if at all,
gather the courage to say
“me too!”
when your memory
no longer remembers —
only the body does?

When Anxiety Banters With Me

//On some nights, anxiety banters with me.//

It does not tie me up — instead, it seeps in slowly from the pores of my skin and mixes with my blood, warming every inch of my being. It softens my bones and heats my flesh; quickens my breath and lowers my reflexes.

//On some nights, anxiety banters with me.//

Those nights I think of U, where U is the variable for all those pretty eyed boys that I gave my heart to. I close my eyes and focus on U until I can recreate the exact smell that hung between us that summer. Other times I stare into the dark abyss and try to recreate faces too. I then sigh.

//On some nights, anxiety banters with me.//

I try to focus on one thing, failing to focus on any. My cluttered head spills out thoughts on my pillow, staining it with all shades of blue. I feel insecurity dripping down my back like one long thread of sweat. I toss, turn, and wallow in nostalgia. I longingly look at my ceiling, hoping to see stars, thinking of all the bridges that I have burnt.

//On some nights, anxiety banters with me.//

Some have said that I should try and fight it — that if I try hard enough, I will be able to defeat it. On most nights, however, I let it tease me. I invite it for midnight tea and offer it cookies. I let it consume me and break me apart in the desperate hope of feeling something, anything. I use it to escape the numbness in my soul.

//On some nights, anxiety banters with me.//

On those nights, I banter with anxiety.