Saturday, December 31, 2011

Temple: 2011's ghosts



1.


Behind your reflection in the mirror, he asks you how you feel
‘Filthy’, you say briefly. 

2.

I was in a dark place and I don’t know what happened to me, except you.

Last night, you made me feel like an ugly word, disposable. I said I would never write again and you said you were strong. The trees were struck by seasons and I hid in them, knowing that not even the Ganges and Indus in their monsoon glories could wash this stain away. I cried to strangers on the train, past Wembley Park and Preston Road, across Rayners Lane and Ruislip Manor.  You were so high you thought you saw the Niagara Falls stemming from my eyes, and smiled because it was beautiful.  All the time, you swore at strangers who saw tragedy where you saw history.

'Happy New Year', you said. 'Take pictures of the fireworks for me.' 


He made love to a corpse that night. There were two coats of Russian Red on pursed lips when it began. He pushed forwards, she pulled backwards, harder each time -


Chaque matin reprise en reve,
Et chaque soir abandonee


There was a blue stain where his fist met her ribs again and again and again. She was screaming, but she wasn't making a sound. His fingers left long traces around her neck. They were shaped like the Tate, where they'd display his paintings one day. She let him because she didn't know a life before him. Before he turned away because her kisses were not sweet, she asked him to hold her because she was so, so scared. When he was done with her, there was not a single curl left in her hair.



"I'd kill you everyday," he whispered into a dream. 

I have loved you in all the ways I knew, and now it is not enough.
When the sun rose again, he asked if she ever had nightmares.


3.


You, with the thousand lies, I love you so much.
It doesn’t hurt me anymore. It breaks me.

I don’t understand it, I fight it, I erode myself against it but it just doesn’t go away. I have tried occupying Wall Street against it, demolishing the Pearl Roundabout to end it, gone back to November 7 Square where it all began, but it just doesn't stop or fade away or burn out. So on this last night of this beautiful, miserable year, let them all hear it once and for all.
I love you.
I love you.
I love you.


4.

He is always too hard on me,
Always too much of everything at the same time.

Maybe that is why my mind knows no temperate zones
When it comes to him.



Monday, December 19, 2011

Reckoning.




We wait for crises to salvage our loves:

I want you, but I can’t let myself have you
Like Babylonian lovers, we end and begin like
A phoenix, forever in descent,
He wonders why she couldn’t be there; away but -
Only a few inches further, salt and sapphire
And raindrops clinging to wintery windows,
A green light across the river.

An accidental virgin with skin of Peridot,
For artists whose paintings are instruments of war.
Political things, helplessly conscious
Of heart breaks and passion and
Things that can’t be conquered like.
Her -
She’s crying inside.
She’s crying, not weeping. Go help her -
Go make her stop, go tell her some lie.
Oh, Jesus -
She’s crying inside again.
Go make her stop.


But wait –
First girlsdon'tthinkofsex. No, no, no -
First kisses; they change everything,
Your smell of smoke and too much perfume
Nothing will remain in its right place.
Oh, just a few inches closer
Her taste of salt and sapphire
And raindrops clinging to wintery wonders.
Her taste, of green lights across the river.

What is it with men and wet hair?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Love in the time of Recession.





Which hand?
Left.
Wrong answer.


Whoever said the recession won’t hit the Ivy Leagues had no idea what they were talking about. It crept into duvets and sleeves, through ill-fitted windows and made its way into cheery little seminars on saving the world from itself. So we sat for long hours and filled out online forms and wrote a tailored cover letter to each firm. They all seemed to want a reason to reject you so you did your best to not give one. When they asked why this firm, you told them there was something really special about how they married technology and consulting, human resources and consulting, banana split and ape shit. You make buildings out of conversation. When they asked why this area of work you pretend you’re not overqualified but they know you are so they say no. They tell you there isn’t enough numbers in you.

When he turns up at your door at one at night, you tell him no and that you’re busy. The flowers wait on the table for some water and then die there. You hope someone will make them disappear. You sit through numerical tests and logical tests and verbal reasoning tests. He waits with a midnight cigarette. You give interview upon interview and wait for the rejections to dole out like dominos. They always come, as does he. You ignore both.

He buys perfume he knows you can’t resist. He licks off revenue figures from your ribs. You tell yourself he can wait because you worked all your life for the rest of this and it’d be such a shame to lose it all now when you can get it all. There’s a string of defaults, first people can’t pay, then banks can’t pay, then governments can’t pay. You cry for Lehman, then Greece, then Europe. The world around you collapses and you hope that they’ll save Europe, though they didn’t save Lehman. But countries are not banks and the same rules don’t apply.

The same rules don’t apply.

As the sun sets, the Euro zone is still there, but he isn’t.


Be afraid to blink, sometimes
People are moments and moments pass.

Friday, November 18, 2011

That place.



This would not have happened if I hadn’t missed my plane
I would have been there when they told you I’m the rat within the grain
Within this big misunderstanding now, I’m being misunderstood
I’m thinking someone’s trying to fuck with me, and set fire to my wood


“Kiss me”
“No”
And with that one word, I fell out of love.

It’s a stupid situation now where everything goes wrong
If you can’t tell if I am lying, then you do not belong
In my bed, go rest your head upon the bones of a bigger man
He can cover you with rock wool and you can close up like a clam


Before I fell asleep that night, you read out Rumi
‘Away –
From the concepts of right-doing and wrong-doing
There is a field:
I shall meet you there.’

Perhaps I will tell you tomorrow.

So go play with your piano, write a mediocre song
Out of your shell of mediocrity, pretend that nothing’s wrong...

I only want it to be wonderful and wonderful is true
In truth I only really wanted to be wanted by you

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Monet on Wall Street.



"... And that's the formula for success."
Success. Ha-ha. Like you'd know.

There's only so long a financial economist will handle the abstract wanderings of a tortured artist. An artist, who would ask whether the sun would rise and set the same way over the City as it did beyond it. An artist who would want a date that involved dinghy cafes and long walks and portraits, and then want for them to be not called dates. An artist who had overestimated the net present value of his art,created a bubble and then chose to isolate himself from the world and live in it, and yet somehow managed to find a buyer who trudged through his irrational exuberance.

Artists, they saw faces within faces and people in them. Sometimes the moon became a temple which became the surrender in a passion-filled iris, or pupil was it called? Sometimes the scratch of nails upon acrylics, sometimes the slide of a tongue over it, sometimes drawing with white upon white and creating layers upon layers for generations of addicts to uncover and dream about in their transcendent experiences. Only they could want more than someone who made the lows infrequent and less intense. They wanted more. They wanted something brilliant, and outrageous, and ultimately, some greater love which wasn't mediocre like all else in life so that when their eyes collided with a stranger on the train back home, there was always a story, the hopes of a story, the thirst, the rain-dance, the promise of surrender, always the departure in a stampede of three hundred feet, the loss and always, always the frustration. It was what kept them going, kept their fantasies living as breathing ghosts in the midst of men and made them so much more real than all of them.

But there were rules, and the sheer disregard of an artist for them confound and exhaust the profit-maximizing mind. You never tell an artist you don't want to kiss them, and when you do, they design a pattern like market volatility and when you don't, they get their paint all over your mouth.

You don't fight with an artist either, because they don't know reason and without it, there's no debate but only argument. You can love them though, but as all sane men come to discover, that doesn't involve much reason.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Disrupted in its own creation.



1.

"I'm drunk.."
Again. The words hang in the onion-stung midnight luminosity of the living room. He trudges in feeling sorry for himself, for the brother who kept going and died, the mother who never told him to stop, the father with the misplaced sense of pride, and her, sighing in her crinkled, cotton pyjamas, putting him to bed again. That's how all his stories ended.

2.

Her eyes strayed across his face, barely recognizing that this cold stranger sleeping in a mess of his own creation was born from a clot of blood inside her. She had gone wrong somewhere, she didn't quite know where and she didn't know how to fix it. So she stayed around, watching him suffer, allowing him to never accept her help, turning her face into a hot-bed of bitter, ungrateful tears.

3.

"Are you single?"
"It's.. no."
How do you explain a sandstorm to the dwellers of glass houses? She chose to sit in breathless jealousy in the front row of every class where only the over-eager ever sit, the kind whose boyfriends coax them to take abstract math modules so they can sit and study together.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

She put her gloves back on

Because it is wrong to want you back

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Release.

She dressed for hours so men could notice, and took offence when they did.

Sit back down where you belong, in the corner of my bar with your high heels on.

Through double-paned glass doors, they didn't seem so unattainable. Darting past in their greys and blues and blacks, good hair, bad hair, strut strut strut. They were equally lost, asking for directions for buildings they were standing in front of. Faces dazed behind glasses too big and smartphones, running to departmental orientations and pre-sessional introductory lectures, hoping for a private moment of reckoning.

The Arab would swoop in with his Bentley and drive along her, telling her she was beautiful. She would turn right and he would rotate his car around the world and bring it to her. She would walk past, but he would come again. She never stopped. The Frenchman would smile almost unnoticeably and say 'ooh la la'. The German would lean on his elbows against her desk and ask her why not. They said she carried Mesopotamia in her eyes.

Days she knew what was going on, was in control. Nights she slipped into an abusive, dysfunctional relationship.
They drove each other to the point of insanity and then held back.
No.
Yes.
No. I want to scream No.
I want to.
Yes?
I want to scream yes.
My scream will haunt you.
I'll put honeyloops in your mouth if you scream.
I want to kiss you. Till you die.
With honeyloops? Ew.
When I actually end up kissing you, keep your mouth shut.
You are such a turn off.
Like you know an alterative.
You don't have a turn-on button.
Want to frisk me?
You're such a porn star.
Haha. I love you. Good Night.
Night.
You don't love me?
You told me to keep my mouth shut.
Whatever.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Who are we fooling?




There's ash in my hair. On my shirt. In my bed.
Sounds decadent.


So gullible, so easily used. And so, so utterly disposable.
You spend a summer spinning a web. Later it's a song which hangs above your own grave.
You break a leg, you break your heart, you move past the point of no return. You fall apart in lonely nights. They bring in pockets of sunshine, throw in a rope and pull you out. Your spine becomes Freyja's cavity.
You give up your seat and stand in the aisle. People get on and off. You find another seat, give it up for a stranger again.
You walk bare-headed and bare-foot in crowded markets to fetch a price for Diana's tears.
What's bothering you is bothering me.



If I cannot have you, I'd never try to harm you? You'd go insane if I come closer. So let me build some barriers so we can spend a few more years together.

She looks at him, and his eyes prostrate.
It had been so long, you held the phone in silence, not remembering how to start a conversation.
A hut in the mountains. And there was a stream right next to the hut. And I slept to
Rakaposhi on one side. Nanga Parbat on the other. White snow in the day. Orange in the evenings. A ferocious red at night. And the sound of the rain on the roof at night. And on the grass. And the smell of it that seeped in from below the doors and through the gaps in the windows. I wish I could take you there.
You are acting like a man.
One of us has to.


Don't talk abour distance.
Don't talk about coming closer.
Don't talk about reaching anywhere.
However far away
However long I stay
Whatever words I say..
Ha-ha. Forget it.

She was a user, and you always knew it. She used people ad discarded them and retreated back into her indulgent habits. You just hoped and hoped she would't do it to you just because you were best friends.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Lilith.

1.

She finds ways of being alone with him.
And when they're together, she finds ways of becoming me.

Her fingers slip into the ringlets on his head, a grotesque, disfigured god.
He takes her hands and puts them on the stubble on his chin, like he does mine.

She presses the nose of the iron under the stiff of his collar and serves food on my china.

In quiet corners, they talk, like we never did.
When her eyes are on us, he holds my ear to the sound of his heartbeat.
I don't know why that upsets me.

2.

Under all the arrogance they deck him with, maybe Satan resented Adam because the immensity of his love for God was so great, he couldn't fathom how anything could transcend it. I cried for him last night, cried because how I realized that too much love was a sin.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Feverish highs.




01:17
101.

Everything is swirling, my limbs they ache so funny.

There's a woman who makes recurrent appearances like an apparition, in and out, out and. She stands with you and her white chador has bloodstains which are actually flowers. I can't see her face, or yours. An invisible chord binds the two of you, but I see it, the way people see dust particles suspended in sunlight.

I must have drawn a line that is not a trace of your contour.

01:54
102.

There are antibiotics on the table and I'm anti them. Your heart beat is based on a golden section, the silence, the frequency, the muscles. Trust me.


I'm outside your realm, a voyeuristic menace from a window grounded in another dimension. Her face is full of young love, you speak inaudibly, and her virginal blush is elevated. It irks me terribly. She steps backwards near the stove, her emerald eyes, her pupils dilated with some unnamed emotion, my breath fogs the dirty window, my ear flattens against it.

"Kiss me", you demand with an ill-concealed smirk, "or I will burn your house."
She cries in fright, the village idiot, and you put your arm around her. She clings to you for protection.

I think there's a dog out there in the street. Or maybe it's a cat. There are so many dogs in this town, people have started acting like them too.

02:19
103.

She sees me and there's so much anguish and hatred in her eyes. She says, maybe she screams, that you belong to her. When my eyes open, I fall out and over, suddenly the other woman, the recipient of unholy love, dirty, longing, longing so desperately.. but failing because I am not her and not able to replace her, the other woman on whose side of the glass it's always raining.

I'm not a dog, stupid.
If I'm blind, I'd know you from the texture of your skin. If there's a frequency that matches your laugh, I follow it.


02:26
104.
You're laughingsinginglaughing
Lights too bright, the sound of your laughter and her screams.
Every exit is an entry somewhere.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

If I could ask you, just once..

Do you tell a man you're sorry just to make him stay?

Maybe I didn't really realize what a woman can do to a perfectly sane man till relatively recently. So this one goes out to you, who I make so ridiculously angry, and all you other amazing gents out there. Maybe you will find in your hearts a way to forgive that girl who wronged you because she didn't know any better, or because she tried too hard, or because she was a winsome fool.

1.

I wish one of you could just tell me how I can get you, my life, to forgive me for the treacheries of my heart,for thinking it no sin to give it away more than once, give it away when you were busy chasing horses and dreams, when you left such a maddening vacuum inside me that the universe rushed to fill it; I wish I knew how to tell you I'm sorry and convince you to stay.

And you, my love, I wish I knew how to ask for your forgiveness after you fitted into me like an extension of my own body and soul, and tell you how sometimes even the most perfect love in the world is not enough, how perhaps the most perfect loves are the ones doomed to fail. I wish I knew how to tell you how destroyed I am, and how sorry, but how the goodbye we've been silently dreading since that first day is now just waiting to be said.

I'm sorry, you, and you, because I loved you both in different ways, and all three of us are now hurt. I'm told it can only be my fault because I'm the only girl in this, and I wish someone, anyone, could tell me how you say you're sorry to a man? How you tell one to stay, and wish another away, when the bracelet you wear has two names branded into it and none of them is yours. Tell me how I can make this right.

2.

When this song haunted me, I knew exactly how you said you felt. This is my way of surrendering to you this cursed, this dear, dear bracelet.

Kangna - Bracelet
Language: Persian, Braj



O' bracelet-
Oh, give me back my bracelet, my dandy lover
Give me back my bracelet, O dandy lover..
Give me back this bracelet

I beg and beseech you
I fall at your feet
O' (this) bracelet

She killed me with coquetry and made "fate" the excuse
She refused to look my way and made "shyness" the excuse
Out of favour for the stranger (my rival), on his shoulder did she place her hand,
Sighting me, she made “a slip of the foot” the excuse

O' bracelet-
Oh, give me back my bracelet, my dandy lover
Give me back my bracelet, O dandy lover..
I say, you rake, give me back this bracelet
Give it back,
Oh lover,
Oh dandy lover,
I won't come with you to your courtyard

My friends, they mock me now, oh lover,
Oh, give me back my bracelet, my dandy lover
Give me back my bracelet, O dandy lover..
Oh, (this) bracelet!

I gave up my heart
And I gave up my life
And I gave up my entire faith
Oh' (over this) bracelet!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

When God exits.




Home: The constant that holds all your pieces together when you destroy yourself against the jagged walls of life.


His eyes were bloodshot, death-still. In his neck, a single vein pulsated with a menace.

“What would you even fucking know? You ran away before everything went down the bloody sewer to live your shiny new life with your classy new friends. You fucking ran away while we sat here, drenched in the sweat of fruitless labour, braving hour upon hour of loadshedding, trying to will out a drop of water from the taps. And now you dare... you dare to come back and pretend that everything is still the same... expecting it to be a timeless congeal? You dare to descend from the heavens upon us, mocking our fucking barbaric ways and call this place home? This place is not your home. Maybe it was once, but it isn't now. Fuck, this place is not your home any more than this life is your life. We’ve learnt to live without you; maybe it’s time you do the same.”

Home. The memory of it. The mere idea of it. Was this the constant I had left my heart behind in?

His eyes were shot with brown tears of hatred and self-pity and he focused them upon me in a way that made me feel.. dirty, like all of this was my fault, like it was not just my life I had packed in a shoddy black suit case and moved away, but all of theirs too.

I bit back tears and words full of scorn and loathing, but stopped because of all the mannerisms this new shiny life they seemed to resent so much necessitated. Re-focus. Breathe. Think. Think of anything else. Anything other than how the two of them were fighting over broken headphones, how there was always a desolate hunger in the eyes that scanned my bags before they stopped on my parched face every time I came back, how even the rickety air conditioner seemed to gasp out gushes of hot, sticky air. Don’t think, I told myself, about how the piles of cosmetics lay in a carpet of dust on the dressing table, how the wire of the straightener was taped into place, how the colour of your father’s shirt never seemed to match that of his trousers.

Fool. What did he know?


In a cold, small room in a city full of lights and strangers, a little girl cried for her mother, fearing her childhood lay on the other side of the airport terminal. She forcibly downed stale, cold green tea and urged the cold away, getting up in pieces and moving on with a blurry life.

“I hate getting ill,” she told her forbidden lover one sunless afternoon, “because it makes me want to be taken care of and there’s no one here to take care of me.”
There was Armageddon in his soul when it hit him how true that was.

Home, she told herself, whose soil she kissed in dreams.



His black kameez was unbuttoned and as he shook in fury, the dirty pile of chest hair made me cringe with revolt. A trace of a white vest peaked from beneath.

“We have nothing here, nothing. I have stopped going out with my friends because I can’t afford an entire meal. The television has been gifted away to some poor girl who was getting married because apparently she has better use for it. After the broadband connection was removed, we use the neighbour’s free wireless. The last time we got pocket money was four fucking months ago. We’ve bled out a fortune trying to get the generator fixed and do you know the end point? The asshole repair-man stole parts from the fucking generator. And thus we live, get hurt, move on, get hurt again, all the time waiting for some economic miracle or act of God to get us out of this miserable certainty, this.. this bitch of a life. Can you even begin to imagine what that is like?”

Dheereh dheereh, I looked around me. The bulbs in the chandeliers had been unscrewed because they consumed too much electricity. My mother wore the same clothes she had been wearing this time two years ago. The cat, however, ate only the prescribed star-shaped snacks and tinned cat food. My sister had fought with me when I suggested she moved its litter box out of what had once been my room. All I was trying to do was help them get away, him, any of them. Help him make a better life for himself and everyone he was going to leave behind. But if he didn’t want to help himself…

Fool.
What other life had he known anyway?

The City gleamed in the rising sun, the lake out of place between the clear sea of glass and concrete. Men and women darted past me, clutching their morning coffee, like cogs in an unfeeling machine. Crisp suits and electronic passes. The incessant clicking of heels. The dull anticipation of 7 a.m. morning meetings, the feverish note-taking and dispersion to various departments over thirty five floors. All the apathy in the world shrouded in lipstick-coated smiles.

7 p.m. The drifting into a quaint pub and trying to forget there is another life apart from this one. The nonchalance of exchanged glances, the comfortable pit of haze when the first drag of the night rests in secret parts of you, the feel of the first round of alcohol hitting your stomach, telling a stranger which pieces of you have been eroded away forever, wrapping your legs around a man who promises to keep you safe.

The Golden City.
The walk past Gucci and Louis Vuitton and Reiss and Coast. The empty spaces in your closet where a pair of Jimmy Choo’s finest will be one day. The resolutions you make every day to yourself that get you through this life and that.

This was the life they were all killing each other for.
The Golden, Golden City.

And yet you choose to come back, retreat into the quagmire of your roots that seem to have rid themselves of you a long, long time ago.


Home: where God once laughed in bluebell wall paper and lost monopoly games. Perhaps, He was lost now, or sleeping, or dead, finally imploding into a financial crisis, some political bloodbath, the screams of a woman who was stoned to death after she was brutally raped. That was it, I told myself, for how can a home and so many lives ever be shattered unless God was gone?

What do you do when God exits?

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Golden Girl.


Looking down her golden nose upon him, she wished him a death to save him from the humiliation of it all. She waited for his words to sink in, waited for some emotion to overwhelm the rigid indifference, and then, like sunshine over glass buildings it spread across her mind, the only thing she was capable of feeling at the point: utter disgust.

He waited, having laid his heart bare at the workplace of a wickedly enchanting seamstress. She waited, for some pity, some callous politeness so this could be easier for him.

What possesses a man like that to say things like those to someone like her- or well, to anyone at all?

And like motion sickness, everything she despised in him hit her suddenly.
His hair overgrown like a rabid street dog's, because he was too cheap to get a cut. She couldn't remember the last time he had gotten one, unless:
Do you like my hair?
Finally decided it was getting out of hand?
Toni & Guy, babe. Toni & Guy.

Really?
Well.. the academy. The woman took four hours, and I fell asleep in the middle.

In her mind she could see the drool from his mouth covering the magnificent leather of the hairdresser's chair, reflected in the tall mirror under the spotlights, his fall from grace for the entire world to see. And how wrong the word 'babe' sounded in his mouth.

His morning breath, so inescapably repulsive, because he would smoke before he would brush his teeth.

The same shirts he wore again and again and again till they blended into the grey of his skin. The holes in the toes of his socks because he would rather spend money on club entry than invest in personal hygiene. The way his alphabets were either never capitalized, or capitalized all wrong, or pronounced wrong, in the scrawl that was his handwriting.

But more detestable than his choices in life, his complete disregard for appearances, the repugnant stench of blatant poverty, was the sickening desperation of his ways. The way he would strip off his shirt on every occasion, without invitation or provocation, to assert his masculinity by showing his abs. Or how he used his presence on the basketball team (the third team) as evidence of his sexiness. Or his vapid criticism of little things in her appearance, her hair, her fluctuating weight, or her clothes. And the lies in way of overcompensation. Like how he was on the honour roll while his accidental result card showed clear 'C's. How he received VIP tickets to a fashion show, which turned out to be tacky, and the seats weren't even VIP. Like how he said that one confused night that his train left at six in the morning, meaning he had nowhere else to go in this city, so she let him stay on, which he did- stayed on, watched her fell asleep as the drudgery of his conversation got the better of her, sat there, watching her sleep, past sunrise, past six o clock when his train was supposed to leave, past nine in the morning when she woke up and noticed his unwelcome presence.

It all came back to her now, the way he told her to do things, told her what the right choices in life for her would be. He was Flaubert's footpath upon which the ideas and ambitions of common men dragged their feet with torn socks under dirty shoes. And as the stark ugliness of everything he represented to her sunk in, then came the first ghost of pity.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Only we know.



I could never understand why it was so hard for him to laugh.

That's all I asked of him sometimes: laughter, pure and simple and unrestrained, like the rest of him.Instead he would reach out for me, eyes full of things he never said. Sometimes he'd say things which scared me because they were bold and unafraid. Sometimes he insisted on dressing me up in the morning, and telling me what to wear. Sometimes he picked out my perfume because he said he knew what I should smell like. Planned details, small, insignificant things, the dip in the back of my dress, the way people would look at me when I entered a room, he planned everything. He'd set me free then, observe me as I talked, laughed, frowned with people, like an outsider, a narrator in some depraved plot. When they came to ask for a dance, he nodded his approval with his eyes, signalled with the smallest blink and I obliged. And with these freedoms I was bound to him.

I remember how hard I tried, donning weird outfits, singing 'single ladies' on his street, throwing pebbles on his window but he just spoke with his eyes, smiled like an omniscient god. Sometimes he put a violin in my hands and asked me to play it when I had no idea how to. I must play it myself and not be taught and when I am tired of it, he could have it, should have it, so he could complete the notes where I left them off.

They say you can't plan love, but the way he played at it, I was sure this was his plan too. I tried conjuring him, but he wouldn't move and then out of nowhere he came out and asked for it all. I didn't get it. I didn't get him. I was scared of him, of what he made me feel, of the power I let him have over me. I was scared of loving him more than I already did. So scared, so, so scared of him, of the possibility of us, that I ran away because the alternative frightenend the hell out of me. In the alternative, he was the one who left tomorrow, or the day after, or ten years down the line, left me with a broken heart, an accidental baby, nothing but his memories full of desire and longing, but no laughter.


I met him again then, after so, so long. He was still the same, smiling, but unlaughing, still a god who could tug at me and erode my defences if I came close, with my body physically requiring his proximity, his approval, his anything.
Why did you never laugh?
I asked finally, after being haunted by this question for years.

He laughed then.
Pure and simple and unrestrained, like himself.
He laughed.
I was so happy with you, I didn't need to laugh.

Laughter is for those who need proof, and it isn't love if it needs proof.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bolt.

Thunderbolts and lightning, very very frightening.
There's something about the rain which reminds me of the way your eyes were when you tried to not laugh.

So it is on days like this that I want you again.
Want you, between the bookshelves that closely line your country home.
Between the unfinished paintings that lie still undone in your studio.

When the rain soaks through my shoes and socks, on to my toes, I want you.
When my knees are wet with the rain water, you are there with your university hoodie drying my legs. By your fireplace, between my neatly organised notes, to the sound of thunder, to the lick of fire on wood, on the Iranian carpets on the floor, running through the rain to get me a Krispy Kreme because that's what I want when I'm cold and ill and feeling desolate and loveless. Krispy Kremes and you.

Across the pond, you light another cigarette, with the rain in your hair. Sometimes you write, others you ask if I have tried falling in love with someone else. Here, I dry my own feet. And even when the days are dark and the nights cold, no one else's body covers mine.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Roman re-birth.



Animals; you, me, all of us were.

One minute you're convinced there's no such thing as one true love, because you have two loves of your life; the other you tell yourself there's no such thing as one true love, because there's not even one.

They always make the same mistakes, the two of them, and you, so they're just you with a different name and face. You love him till it makes no more sense, he chases her, she kisses him, he loves you. There was a pattern to all the chaos. Your shoulders move in a firm, circular motion as he slowly edges closer on the dance floor.

By default, you don't get to complain, or pass judgement because you're all in it together. So you love each other, hate each other, carry with you the touch of one skin to another like a disease in an ancient Roman orgy.

One night you talk to him, till it's no more night. The intensity of a mundane action all lovers undertake kills you. Map-shaped scars on your knee, sickle-shaped ones on my hands. His knees to my hands to the sounds of his heart in his chest. In his head, he decides for you, why you must have Davidoffs, not Dunhill; Jack Daniel's, not Stella; why you must not dance with anyone else till his fingers grasp you so tightly you want to run away to the other sea of men who ask no questions and require no explanations. When your friends say they don't see you with being with anyone because no one ever will be able to complete you, it makes sense in his head. No one but him. Because no one elses hands fill the spaces between your fingers like his do.

On other coffee mornings, you choose instead green tea and black coffee, no sugar and no sugar. Just like it's meant to be done. She sits in front of you and her fingers go up his elbow. He responds to her touch and your neurones are in a straitjacket, though they have no right to be. They playfully tuck at each other, choose items off the menu for each other, she dumbs up for him, lost, confused, distressed. Betrayed. She was your friend, till one day, suddenly, because of the way he was looking at her, she was not.

She talks to me all day long. And she understands that you need me as much as I need you.
I don't want her to feel like you're away because of me.
I don't know how much you need me.
I don't know how much you need me.
Enough not to need anything else.
I don't let myself really believe that because it scares me.



And then, suddenly, they die out, because you cannot extend the permission of loving more than one person to them. One man's love can never be enough for you because of the enormity of your thirst, but it drives you crazy how your love can be not enough for them. With a whiff and a flicker, you push them out of your life because they simply forget how you want them to exist.

When you fall in bed together at the end of the night, you don't see how anything else can ever matter.
How can you study after this?
How can you sleep after this?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hypocrites.


"You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit." (Oscar Wilde)


I could almost feel how bent my back was under the weight of all my self-imposed morality. Girls this, girls that. Moral, but not excessively religious, so neither in this world, nor that. Must not date anyone, must not kiss him just because of the way he makes you feel in towering, loveless cities, must not wear the sleeves too short, must not let my eyes wander on the charmingly lit face of a broody stranger. And the way he called me out, I wanted to break away from it all.

And he called me out all the time.
Why, hello there.
Why are you following me?
Because you're beautiful.


Silence. Him, smiles. Her, the dull ache of withered passion.
Just once, to shut his smile with a kiss.
Just once, to return his advances, shove for push.

God was always sitting between you and me, when I wanted to reach out and touch your face. Sitting there, with a wan smile, an eyebrow arched, almost daring me to go on. You goaded. He just mocked. I never will forgive Him for that.

Come over, my flat mates aren't in, we'll make pancakes.
Want me to teach you how to touch the strings of a rubab in a way that coaxes them into making music?
Can I sketch you?


No. No. NO.

Sometimes, it was almost as if I was incapable of saying yes, even when I wanted to, so I kept on frowning into his merry eyes, hoping he would keep coming back.

In the meantime, Rumi spoke low and soft from behind his lop-sided smile on the streak of blue paint that was his overstudied mouth.
"People who repress desires often turn, suddenly, into hypocrites."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Oestrogen Factor.



"I don't understand what the problem with women is."
A standard male cliche escaped his loose mouth two hours after he first ushered himself into my room and onto my chair next to my desk reading my book and pigging out on my grapes as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

They dress up for hours and hours and when you ask them why, they claim they do it for themselves because it makes them feel happy or satisfied with themselves or life in general. Then they tell you it's more for other girls who pick their outfits and hair and makeup apart. None really seem to admit they do it for us. Granted desi men, including myself, have historically been adept in douchebaggery but we can tell the difference between eyeliner and mascara, lip gloss and blush on, and all these frivolous things you deck up with.

I had always been amused every time a guy tries to think he has girls all figured out, as if he has unknotted every single wire that runs through the dark, depraved place they call the female mind. It's almost as bad as childless people giving high-minded suggestions on how best to raise your child.

I'm not complaining, mind you. I'd never say no to a pretty thing who's put in that much effort for me, or my kind, though she'll never admit it. And what's up with that anyway? Why do you women have such a problem with admitting anything at all? 'Did I do something wrong?' 'No'; 'Are you angry with me?' 'No', 'Why are you crying?' 'I'm NOT crying' though I can visibly see tears running down your face. How do you expect us to do anything about it if you don't TELL us?

Pssht. That couldn't be true, could it?

And worst of all. You NEVER grow out of your fascination with bad boys. I'm being nice here, throw me a bone, but I'll be the generic best friend, the asexual vegetable who might as well be gay with all the things you tell me and if I think I might be into you, it's always 'Let's be friends' and 'I don't think of you that way'. It's as bad as our 'It's not you, it's me' line. Seriously. Think of a new reason

I almost burst out laughing at this point. How bloody ridiculous.

And worse than your teenage 'bad boy phase' is your God complex. STOP TRYING TO SAVE OUR SOULS. We're not asking you to. If I'm silent, it may be because I'm tired. There's not a hidden agenda behind everything. Atleast for us anyway. And if my soul doesn't need saving, I can never be an object of interest. That's why all the schizophrenic bastards out there have such pretty girlfriends who they don't deserve anyway. Then you end up getting hurt and cuss at our kind and how we're such dogs, pigs, whatevertheeff. Seriously, womankind, divert your charitable intentions elsewhere.

'Are you done?' I said and rolled my eyes.
End of conversation.

You go back to reading my book.
I go back to my email backlog.

Now would probably be a bad time to tell you that I'm dating the biggest schizophrenic bastard there is.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A simple wish.

Shit, I thought, as I looked down at him, kneeling. The stars in the night suddenly dissolved and everything become guttural, not ecstatic as I had imagined it in my head.

It was all perfect, all according to my carefully concocted plan. There was the mild night in a mid-summer dream, his tuxedo and the red of my dress after the formal, the stroll which would start out casually but also with the anticipation of an invitation. Hands clasped in possession across my waist. Laughter. Rubbing off the cherry of my lipstick from your mouth using your handkerchief after we kiss. Laughter. Your hands in possession of all my waste.

Names in candlelight. Names in flower buds. Names in star dust.

It was all according to my very own fucking plan.

Except for the first time I realised, this was never what I had wanted.


So be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Longing.

Ever felt the way your body responds to something minute is so overwhelmingly out of your control that it's hard to breathe?

Like one conversation, whose initiation you have waited for, even if it was never finished.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Having Part of You.

'So, I kind of miss home too. Except my home was a guy with long, skinny fingers*'.

Long, skinny fingers up and down a winsome spine. Early mornings, a joint and you.
Long, skinny fingers in bandages and a sling, on the flat of a stomach. A long drawn kiss, slow and unsure.

And then, another journey.

Life fitted in a rucksack, he became his black bracelet on my wrist. Fog descended upon his city and he was- lost.
'Don't leave me ever,' he asked the nomad.
She smiled into him.

Long, skinny fingers at the back of her neck, the small of her waist. A memory of a touch. A scar. Him, running. Her, static and still.

Through all the years, he had become her and her, him. She was now the confessing sinner. He had all the remedies.
Words which felt right in his mouth, like her name.

'The stroke of my brush is the curl of your hair. Marry me, I will paint mon amour every morning. I will fill canvases with you, I will paint your body, sculpt you, worship you.'
Long, skinny fingers on a paint brush. Paint on your face and a smile.

She could never go wrong for him and that killed her.


There was a turbulent space between him and his wife on their wedding bed where the ghost of her memory slept in peace.
Long, skinny fingers on a defeated face, in a cold hand shake, in the cling of tears that never came.



*Mohsin Hamid