Day Twelve : The Smell of Sunset

The grey canal empties
sluggishly into the backwaters
meandering beyond the third balcony
on the seventh floor. The wind
smells like forgotten fish
and sometimes like jasmine
My neighbour smells like that, too.

Voices carry from the parking lot. Sharp
tones cut through the general clamour of
traffic and jackdaws. My father is flirting
with the cook. She’s repulsed, but she
needs this job. We watch till we can’t.

The ocean is very close, the salt taste
lingers in my room, I can’t resist the urge
to let the ocean into my room
when I’m so close. Every evening I let it
roll onto my tongue.

The water stays murky.

The sky doesn’t care
Colours wash over my face
They smell of sunset

©️Yusra

12.04.2018

I forget sometimes, that there is no end to hate.

I don’t like that word. Hate. It implies weight. It is a burden. It is a two-edged sword that you cut yourself on, when you hold it. Like a snake that’s poisonous from the non-bitey butt end too.

Hate is important. It gives you reason. At the very blind white hot rage edges of sanity, when anger consumes you and your nerves are spitting fire trying to hold your composure, it’s Hate that sustains you, not love. Love comes later, to be sure. But in that moment, hate is very, very important.

My father was talking to a person who’d visited our house for the very first time today. By means of introducing me, he said, “This is my oldest daughter. I’m going to hire a driver for her soon, to take her to a park so that she can run. Look at how fat she is.” The man stared at the ground, embarassed and mumbling that I wasn’t all thaaat fat. I stared at my beast of a father, beyond a boiling fury and yet, completely still. In that moment, I realised that I was always find reason to hate him more. Hate. With a singularity and purity that I only have for one other thing in my life: Love.

I love me. I love this whole utterly fucked, unspeakably glorious and splendid world I live in. I love the sunsets in the third balcony on the seventh floor, even if they reflect prism-like over a brackish and smelly stream. I love my friends who forget me, I love my friends who don’t, I love my battered family units, I love that wonder who holds my heart, I love books and words and music and -me. I love me. Madly so, because they and we and he and I deserve it.

And I hate him. He deserves it.

Day Twelve of NaPoWriMo. I’ve written a Haibun for the prompt, with prose, followed by a Haiku, that briefest of forms I seem to shake hands with only every NaPoWriMo.

Did I forget to say, I love you all too?

And man, do you deserve it!

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A Confession and a Continuation: Day Eleven and Day One

The Eleventh of April, 2018.

There is no reason to start today. Therefore, I shall.

I wrote those two lines just after midnight last night, because I’d had enough of nothing. Then, almost as expected, came the ringing call with the last syllable of my name draaaaaaaaaaaaawn out, for the seventh time in twenty minutes, from the living room. My father, summoning me again, to hand him a black pen from the table four feet to his left.

The reason I stopped writing. The reason I stopped ‘stopped writing’.

Over the last year, the frequency of my posts has slowed down. The longer I am at home, the lesser time I am ‘alotted’ for myself. The nearly overwhelming feelings of uselessness, stagnation, and mental decay I struggle with, while being told how useless I am, what a failure I am, all of these words, have been taking large bites out of the words I wanted to write. The words I am kept being pushed back, and back, and further back, till they stopped trying to come out.

I stopped writing, because I couldn’t. I stopped trying to write, because I couldn’t. Even that little time of me for myself, was taken away. August became November became April. I don’t know what I have done these last few months. It was probably nothing. Because these last few months, I have felt nothing.

I have been a nothing. I think I am a nothing now. When not a complete nothing, at least a little nothing.

I turned twenty eight. I resolved my citizenship issue. I studied for exams I won’t be writing. I played surrogate housekeeper and peacemaker and resident doormat at home. I did what  I always did- take blame. Take responsibility for actions that weren’t mine. Handle the mood swings of the people supposedly my elders. I played nursemaid and resentful grateful. I played parts and roles and forgot my face when I slept at night.

This time last year, I was a doctor with no country to belong to, and no civil rights to speak of. I have to wonder, which the more nothing was. The one where I didn’t belong, and was? Or the one where I belong, but am not.

One nothing is not like the other.

One nothing was emptier.

I woke up yesterday afternoon. I was walking to the supermarket, and I stopped on the sidewalk, holding eggs and a liter of milk, and I woke up. I could feel cobwebs fluttering in my mind, regurgitating uninspired remnants of something I wish I’d written down, even if it was only some angry words of choice. Words, as it turns out, are important. I stopped speaking and that didn’t matter, but  I stopped writing, and I forgot how to breathe out. It was choking me. I woke up yesterday, and I exhaled. I sat down last night, and wrote the two lines at the top of this page. Then I was called away. Like I was called away in this moment, to call someone up, when the phone was next to him. The difference between today and every other day before this, at least in the last six months, was that I came back.

Because not writing had been hurting me so long that I’d stopped realising the source of this particular pain. Because I am my words, and maybe that’s the only existence I have, the only trace I’ll leave behind in a world where I am told that I AM NOTHING at least twice a day, where I’m so inconsequential, that I’ve taken to feeding crows for some company. I was staring at the calendar while writing checks for my father this morning, and it dawned upon me that ten days of NaPoWriMo had passed already. This is the first year that I missed it, since I started blogging. But not in its entirety. Not just yet.

This nothing’s still got something left. I warn you that it’s old. It’s everything I’ve said multiple times before, but I will say it again, even if only to say it.

I will not stop saying it. Even if takes a calendar and a dim reminder for cement bills to be paid on the fifteenth of April to do it. Every time that I forget, I will remember.

And I will write. Even if I’m writing old nothings, I’ll write.

A Little Nothing     

I am a Nothing,
or so I’m told
A waste of space that’s
twenty eight years old

I’m a big Zero
They like to repeat
I’m worth less than
the food I eat

They call me buffalo
They don’t use my name
I don’t mind anymore, I
answer just the same

My mealtimes are totalled
in calories
I’m given a thousand more
than necessary.

But like a good girl
I clean my whole plate
Wash everyone’s dishes
but not my own face

I wear wrinkled clothes and
don’t comb my hair
So that men don’t notice
a woman’s even there

I keep my voice down
I act like I’m dead
I’m quiet and bitter
I’m words in my head

I’m a little nothing
short and stout
Here are my fingers
Here is my mouth

Hands longing to be held
Lips that no longer kiss
Rusty rhyme and stagnation
A throatful of risks

I’m a little nothing
As I’m often told
An ugly little cow
forgotten fourfold

They like to pretend
that they can’t see
Except that I know
They’re afraid of me

That I’ll walk out
That I’ll realise
My chains lie in pieces
I’m in sight of my prize

I keep my head down
I work, and I watch
One day they’ll fall careless
And I’ll be gone

And I won’t even care
If they never see
I was and always will be
Something
Something free

Yusra
11.04.2018

Day Eleven of NaPoWriMo. I won’t stop writing.

I love  you all. ❤

-Yusra

Under These Red Sheets

Under these red sheets,

I bury my morning dreams

The clay of the sky is raw

shaped by fingers that hesitated

to smooth the creases out of

intentions, prevaricated

allowed to harden, flawed

left to permanence, endowed

with the attributes of being just wrong

these tiles are poised to fall

These doors that lead to walls

dead ends of dust and bone

Tombs to mistakes preserved

of people and pain long gone

Under these red sheeted tiles

I bury mourning memories

Baskets of forgotten scents

routines of glories deceased

In corners, green shoots still crawl

traces of persistent hope

Pathological, sometimes it seems,

that cancerous happiness grows

I cannot hope to recover

the already hardened faults

the cracks that run, closed over

by vainly slapped on gloss

Broken girls grow into broken women

And despite the damage being done

The soil of my mind is fertile and

with stubborn resilience overrun

The dead wood still speaks to me

There is escape yet in these leaves

To nourish what I know I can be

Under these tiles I bury my dreams

©yusra

06.12.2017

Winter blossoms. 🌺

Heaven and Hell

Heaven and Hell

I used to think I understood the concepts of Heaven and Hell. Now… I’m not so sure anymore.

For as long as I can remember, I had faith in retribution. I had faith in karma. I had faith in the inevitable, unerring justice that God serves. I think, to sum it up, I had faith.

Every single time my father hit me, I had faith. God will ensure that he suffers for this blow. And for the next. And the next. And all the times he hit my mother, or my siblings. Every time he lashed out at us. I used to watch him with vacant pity, every time he launched into his hour long sermons about God and religion and success and morals- he knew nothing. He knew nothing of what was in store for him. I did. I knew, and God knew. And God would have my revenge. At least, that’s what I used to believe.

But nothing happened. His arm was never flayed as it rose to strike me. His tongue was never struck dumb mid diatribe. I convinced myself that it was wrong to expect a justice of biblical proportions, even though our suffering certainly would warrant it. I convinced myself that God works in silent ways. That He would pave our future paths with happiness in return for everything, every thorn we walked on. I clung on to my faith with such tenacity that I even accepted that I might not live to see my revenge come around to him, but it would come some day – I didn’t even care that I wouldn’t have the satisfaction of seeing it happen. I just knew that it would.

But justice, apparently, is a double edged sword. It cuts the one being served just as sharp as the one serving it. One particular time, I remember, my father had a particularly vicious episode. He starved us for three days as punishment for not throwing a wrapper away. Rather, he found an empty wrapper stuffed behind the clothes basket, and all Hell broke loose. The maid had left it there, and obviously, she denied it. I don’t blame her. It was clearly a lie of self preservation. What no one could’ve anticipated is that he would blow up quite so disproportionately. A semi third world war followed, in which my mom was threatened with divorce if she fed us on the sly, before we ‘confessed’. So for three days, we ate nothing. On the fourth day my youngest sister, who was five, decided to ‘confess’, and the drama ended. His storm had broken by then, and he gloated openly on how he’d taught us a lesson for lying. Lol. He’d definitely taught us a lesson for lying.

After that particular episode, I remember hating him with unparalleled vehemence. All my prayers began with “please, God” and ended with ‘”let him suffer in front of me”. And somehow, God heard me. Dad fell sick, a random crippling viral fever with severe body pains and a blinding headache. But even that ended up being our punishment as much as his, because for one week, one week till he was strong enough to resume his daily routine, we waited on him hand and foot, being constantly nagged. Constant, constant, constant nagging. Complaining and whining and sniping about how useless and incapable we all were- even that, even that was not his ‘lesson’ in return for ours.

I don’t know. I just don’t know. Am I earning Heaven, or is it just more of this Hell forever? My patience has near run out, all of ours has. I’m simply sick of being held accountable for every breath I take, because even every breath i take is dismissed- “you’re doing it wrong”. I have spent all my life, all my conscious life waiting for this ‘justice’, waiting for God to do something, anything, anything at all to teach this man, to show him for an instant how wrong, how inexpressibly wrong he is. He’s like the Pharaoh who condemned the first borns to die. Like the trials Job was sent. My mother says that we’re like three roaches under his boot, and he likes stepping on us a little at a time, and he enjoys watching us squirm. Which is true, really. He derives a perverse satisfaction from torturing us. From our persecution. Perched on his moral and financial Hugh ground, he’s in a position of complete, iron bound power, and he knows it.

We know it, too. I know it very well. Which is why, why I always turned to God for help. The man is Satan incarnate- but I’m not a saint. I’m just a human being, with human limitations and misgivings and a small amount of hope that somehow manages to claw out of the ground, every time he buries it. I’m just tired of suffering. Of listening, of answering. Of trying, trying, trying, and getting nothing but disappointments in return. There has to be a limit, some threshold to how much one person can take. And after so many years of nothing but watching him flourish while we wilt, I’m very close to mine.

I don’t think I can stop believing in God even if I tried to. I know He’s there. I know He’s watching everything, every single thing. He watches and He listens, and He knows. I guess I just have to accept that He’s simply never going to do anything about it, though.

As for me…. I’m too bitter for Heaven, and I’m already sick of Hell. I have nowhere left to go.

Voids

v2

Voids

Lapses of judgement
In moments of indecision
Hesitance
From emptiness
Gnawing away

Eating at the edges
Denuded
Eroded
Gaping maw like scars
Barren fields of thought
The wasted space

Of oblivion, of eternity,
Both potent promises
Of love
Both
vacant lies

Abysses loom
Behind every breath
Behind every pulse
Scented in blood
Staring, desolate
abandoned,
are dry eyes

Voids live
In those black
parallels
Haunting
the real world
with disbelief
Perpetuating voids
of regret
Feeding off the pain
And the fears grow on
Past all
Reprieve

Voids
All irreparable
Voids 

©CM
04.08.2014

Free Falling

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Free Falling

Free falling
Into the sky
They clipped my wings, and
I can’t fly
Racing to the ground
Past, into the nether
Free falling, falling,
From the ether

Burnt my feathers
Flying near the sun
Molten, my spirit,
Do you see
What you’ve done?
Liquid, my aura
Insipid, and drained
Free falling from the sky
Nimbus
Of fiery rain…

The wind screams in my ears
Shrilly,
In their sympathy,
The clouds attempt to cover up
The lines of blood streaking forth
From me
Do you see
Can you see?
Can you see what you’ve done
To me?

Free falling
Down from the sky
And I’m broken
But that’s alright
Cause I’m free falling
And in my mind
Even fallen Angels
Can walk
Just fine.

© CM
11.01.2014

Perspective.

Sometimes the worst thing that happens to you, can also be the best. It might be a shipwreck that brings you to a shore of new possibilities. A place that has to be believed, to be seen. After the denial, and the pain, and the hurt is washed away, you might find a new path, a new beginning. Maybe something that had been there all along, just waiting to be known, to be seen. Waiting for you.

You might find yourself free falling into nothingness. Hitting rock bottom, maybe deeper than ever before. There are places in the world, and in thoughts, that can run darker than blood in the night. More so if you’ve become blinded to light. If you’ve known the heights or flying close to the sun. It takes a lot of struggle to climb back up, from that kind of undone. But, it’s worth it. It’s so worth it.

Do you see the golden star, dropping from the sky?
There’s another angel who can no longer fly…

Don’t worry though. Eventually they’ll find
Even fallen Angels can learn to walk just fine…

Hugs and feathers,

Cookie ❤

Pop An Artery

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Pop An Artery

Pop an artery in my head,
Bash my fist against the wall,
Push a pin deep in my thigh,
Steal some sleep from Adderall,

Pull my nails out, one by one,
Saw a penknife ‘cross my wrist,
Pop each knuckle, in and out,
There’s a new one for the list.

Dig my claws into my arm,
Bite my fingers when it bleeds,
When your temples throb like this,
A little pain is what you need.

But it wont work anymore
I seem to have built tolerance
The list just keeps growing on, on,
To where pain doesn’t make sense.

The anger, hate, eating me up, their
Fangs tearing into my mind,
There is a drawer, my last rock,
I seek refuge in words, unwind,

Take out the black book and the pen,
Write down each line, chorus, refrain,
Instead of me I’ll mark the page
But I won’t hurt myself again.

There’s quite enough people for that,
To pop that vessel in my head,
Call me a ticking time bomb but
I’ll fight it out to my last breath.

© CM

Some days, you make it through. Barely, but that’s enough.

Strength to you all,

Cookie ❤