What if you found a one-rupee coin lying in the dust on market street? Is it yours to keep?
What if you wanted to give it away? Is it yours to do what you will?
What if no one cares these days about a rupee more or a rupee less? Is it not something still?
What if the laws of belonging don’t apply to the little things, what if the theorems of loss cannot prove what doesn’t matter? How do their stories end?
And what if I forgot your lips and your eyes and the pain, what if that time fell soundlessly into a timeless sea? Not mine, not yours, whose is that night instead?
sixth cup of tea —
is neither here nor there
because the existential subtraction of the past year laid bare the excesses of my carefully contrived alignments,
because the new minimalist right angles of being are putting to shame the cursive blooms of February after a summer, a monsoon, a winter, of letting go,
because so much was so unnecessary, so exhausting, so mindless that turning away was turning inward, hearing myself, allowing the words to come when they were ready — like rain, like a storm, like the night — filling the spaces between here and sky, between me and myself, becoming a bridge that leads to another chance,
because when this stillness has passed, the chaos will come rushing back but there will be a memory of this time when so much nothing happened that it was still a little something,
because sometimes, something is more than enough
then the sky looked down
at the sea, and asked—
what is that strange colour?
Beyond this wall of grey, what if there is another
sky, in which a lone bird rises and the light, the
enduring light, refuses to cast its shadow. You erase
the bird, you deny the light, you mock the sky. But
can you feel the wings breaking through your skin?
That pain is relief, is proof of life. See the blood pooling
around your feet, look again, look up, whatever held
you to this ground has left your arms a long time ago.
The sentence has shrunk into a word at the tip of your
tongue. Say it, drain the sorrow from your bones. Fly.
just to say that
this was meant to be,
I had to believe —
in the foretelling,
in the inevitable,
in the algorithm,
in the universe,
just believing in
you and me,
The rhythm of the sea is the incessant wondering –
not if you loved but if you loved enough. An answer
that will only come with loss. The verbs of separation
conjugate in excruciating ways. Grief is a hyphen
connecting empty mirrors. Shouldn’t absence invalidate
a mirror? How much can you love a night not defined
by a moon or stars? Should such a night, be night? You
ask if it is the fault of the sky or the limits of love or of the
imperfect lover? Enduring darkness in the hope that
morning will come, is not love, it is faith in the light.
Love asks for more. At low tide, it asks you who you
are, after taking what you do not have and cannot give.
and that scene, over and over: you can be anyone
you like in your own drama, but you choose the
girl spreadeagled on the ground, life slipping
away from her, one truth at a time. Or the one
with wings, hovering above — they look at each
other, with the same eyes, incredulity awash in
fake moonlight, both saying at the same time, “I
know you.” When the curtain drops, there is
silence, or a lone shout, or a nervous whisper, never
the same, never different, and you tell yourself,
that is their drama, they are playing to another
audience. For them, their act may have just begun.
Is there a way to hold a question? Not as close
as lust, closer than fear, arms closed to the
answer? Or is that the way the question holds
you? In this monsoon, as evening turns to night,
without drama, I try to write a love poem, without
tropes, without the moon, objectively — without
love. But too much is made of love which, like life,
is passion in passing, matter in transformational
happenstance: only this thought, born of thought,
nameless, formless, can last unchanged forever —
love like a question will outgrow your hands, learn
to walk, yearn to walk away: only this thought will
stay — that, for a while, love felt warm, like it
belonged, as if, for a while, it was the closest answer.
One leaf. One leaf falling from bough to mud. So many
considerations. Height. Gravity. Size. The side the wind
woke up this morning. One leaf. Not in the sky. Not on
earth. Both still and moving. Both alive and dead. Both
watcher and watched. Both character and story. Life, at
best, is only this bleeding wound: falling, is a necessary
ritual. You only have to ask the rain. On a night like this,
when the heart is stubborn, when skin aches for skin,
when night itself is only a silhouette cast upon a distant
moon – on a night like this, you only have to ask love.
But the earth unrolled is wider than this patch of
sky – what is the point of an infinite universe that
won’t fit in your eyes? See, the moon is only peering
through a window — what a lot of fuss over a curious
voyeur. What we cannot do, gods will. What we
should not do, gods must. There are things you can
debate with the gods at 3 AM — the density of
darkness, the subtraction of life, why the physics that
keeps the moon afloat cannot balance a heart. Gods
are loose-tongued at that hour, they will confess light is
trickery, that what you see, you don’t. But talk quickly,
at the stroke of dawn, the last god turns into a sun.
I walk faster than my solitude. But only as far as
the tether of want. Then I wait, in its overhang
for silence to catch up. Want like a bitter salt rubs
slowly over broken skin. Pain seduces with its
mouth, speaking, always speaking. You learn its
words by walking with the full moon. Who knows
what the moon does when your head is lowered.
What kind of love requires you to lift your face in the
darkness? Aloneness, however, is mute – a friend
that crawls under you so it can look you in the eye.