I. Am. Not.
With those words, could I cease to be?
Would that taut thread we walk, between today and tomorrow
Tatter into nonentity?
Do the separate organs of body too rebel?
Do my muscles know when I tell
Stories, or do they just guide the words, unconcerned
Have I inked only paper? Or has my flesh
My tendons, my cartilage also
My stories learnt
Are my nuclei content to divide and multiply
While I lay here, staring at the ceiling in the dark
Do the cells in me that are reborn know what it is to die
Half new, half hastily repaired parts
My arm twitches, lying across my forehead
My chest heaves with unspeakable things
Can my alveoli taste the sour tang of fear too?
Or oblivious, they function imperturbably
They do not choke on inspiration, as I am wont to do
I. Am. Not.
Not after tonight
Oh, my body will still exist
My skin will wrinkle, my joints will creak
But this hollow left inside, I’d gambled for this
And I lost
My axons will revel
In their tallying synapses
What never has been can leave
But I’ll always know how much
Half By Dream
I know you by the shape of your sighs
By the reds of your skies
I’ve known you,
You don’t speak and I listen
I know you, by the smell of your skin
By the touch of your voice, I know you
There are timbers that hang in the air
Flakes of the sun dispersed everywhere
By the golden in your laugh I know you
As if your heart was laid on mine, and both
I know you as if you were bared
Exposed to the elements, revealed, unveiled
The motes of dust spiral in physical symphony
Glimpses of the night, embedded galaxies
In the quiets of your storms, unseen hitherto
As if you were black and white, I know you
In the mark of every touch you’ve laid on me
In every disheveled morning we’ve woken up to see
In every scar and every secret I have show you
In everything I have ever known
I know you
I probably shouldn’t,
given the divide
and the amount of uncertainty that
in the darkness, hides
but the edge is promising
and the fall has its calling
It already makes me plummet
The wind assuades my
the buffets bring the anticipation of
a slow descent down
but it’s meeting the air
that matters more
I don’t need feathers
Imagination works better
and I smile, thinking of the
off the cliff’s side
The zenith’s not the pinnacle
The fall from grace of the
is brought to mind
never to rise
but I shrug that off
I am blissfully damned
and on the wings of perceived sin
loved, blessed, and forgiven,
I want you to know that I know. I know that you don’t believe.
I know that you don’t believe in love. Or, that you believe in love the way that you believe in God- something’s out there, you know that much, but you don’t know if you can confine it to a name, or a figure, or a person.
I know that you think ‘forever’ is a lie. It might be- but it’s not mine. When I gave you my word for a forever, for our forever, I was sure enough to stake every single breath I will be given on it. And I still am.
We are a forever. I want you to know, that I know that.
That there is a certainty in every time you cross my mind. I may have a million thoughts and a hundred things happening in my day, but I want you to know that when I turn to you, even in my head- there is no doubt.
We are immovable. Unbreakable. Indestructible.
I want you to know that.
I also know that we are to be divided, by time and space. And I know, that you hide your fear of being hurt behind caution, and a pretended lack of emotion. We will hurt by our division, you and I.
But we’ll still not be broken. I want you to know that.
I know that you won’t say things. I know you won’t show things. But I still see the love, feel the love, know the love- I know your love. I want you to know that I am not blind or mute, and I wish I had the restraint you do, but I have none. You know what you are to me. My words are always an ocean for you, and I crash, and I crash, and I crash on the shore, but I’m never any emptier than before. I will never be empty.
I want you to know that.
I want you to know that no matter how far we walk on, and where we choose to walk, the parts of us that walked together will always be walking together. Those parts of us are immovable, unbreakable indestructible, eternal.
Those parts of us are a forever. I want you to know that.
I want you. You know that as much as I do.
But know this, too-
I know you
What Henna Means
Henna is synonymous with everything desi weddings are- messy, all over the place, fussy, even smelly, but in the end, gorgeous. It’s one of those things that no wedding in indian or pakistani families is complete without. Even so far away from all the cultural roots, henna still *ahem* stains the parties red. There’s no life lessons in the leaves or the patterns, but it’s funny how much a simple ritual can signify.
Different religions have different reasons or reasonings for henna, but in the cultural hodge podge that the indian subcontinent is, henna is an absolute prerequisite for every newly wed bride, whether hindu, muslim, or sikh. There’s different patterns, spirals and leaves and flower motifs. A particular thing I didn’t know about that till today was that apparently, the groom’s name is worked into the intricate henna designs on the bride’s hands. Plus, there’s different patterns for hands and arms and legs and feet, it’s practically a science of its own! I’ve had a spate of weddings in our community here recently, and the current one’s my cousin’s wedding. Today was a looooong session of, well, just henna everywhere, really.
It’s totally not my thing. I don’t remember the last time I had henna on my hands (I’m pretty sure a butterfly on my neck doesn’t count in the traditional sense, lol). But instead of sitting on the sidelines ducking away from all the girls walking around with outstretched arms, or the so called dance floor for the ones whose hands have dried, I actually sat in the pit. And I got my hands done.
It’s messy. And it’s so, SO smelly. Not even the freshly mown grass kind of smell, or the crushed leaves kind of aroma. It’s a strong, earthy odor that quickly takes over the room (and your head, trust me). And it’s cold and ticklish, even though the ladies who apply it are seriously pro. They go swish swash swoosh across your palm with crazy detailing, and you’re done in like ten minutes, tops. It’s just… the atmosphere it sets.
But it’s beautiful too, if you look right.
It’s supposed to be a promise of happiness. Of new beginnings, and of two people starting a life together. Of families sitting together and singing and dancing and celebrating their happiness. It’s times like these when the dormant streak in me that hopes for domestic bliss, raises its head and looks around wistfully. I was sitting next to the bride, who was sitting rather gracefully for a girl splayed out like a starfish, a different artist working on each of her limbs. And the cloying surge of emotion threatened to overpower even the smell.
Just another thing I’ll never have.
Not that I particularly want to be graffitied all over, mind you. Or be one of those harried married chicks with a squalling demon baby and a straying husband. But the rest, all of it. Sometimes I find myself wanting the promise of a home, and love, and the happily ever after. Reminders of more things, just more things I’ll never have.
Never realized that flower patterns could be so depressing.
Oh well, at least I don’t have to bother with this again, at least for few years. Or till the next wedding when they manage to emotionally blackmail me into it. Whichever’s later.
That’s one thing henna’s good for, I guess. Whatever it means, but it’s good for hiding someone turning a delicate shade of jealous green. :p :p Till the moment passes, and I’m back staring exhaustedly at the people mucking about, and wondering when this torture will end.
Goddamn this smell, though. SERIOUSLY!!!!
Cheers and face masks,
Ps. Peekaboo, peekabee- you see me!