Mute

Lovers everywhere speak the same language.

“I love the way you smell.”
“I want to kiss your eyebrows, your lips, your hair, and your armpits.”
“I miss the way your head felt heavy on my chest.”
“Why are you so beautiful?”
“I want to see you smile.”
“I need to make you cum.”

There’s a rush to language, to loqaciousness, to let ourselves, and everyone in the world know that we together have invented this most common language all by ourselves.

Lovers, newly in love, are entirely smug.

The universe has chosen to bestow this delight, this meaningful gift on us. That’s why we tag and like and follow each other on social media. We sign up for their favourite music and say we have discovered a new, glorious world, even when we don’t understand the songs. “It touches me deep. I don’t need to know the words, you know? I can feel it.” We say stuff like this. We hum their favourite songs. We smell their clothes in their absence. Like every other lover before us.

But the language of loss is complicated. Here words fail. Here the attempt is to hide, seek solace in silence. It has gravitas. It includes the stares into nothingness, the sudden startle when someone acknowledges our existence, the five stages of grief, picking at scabs, self-loathing, self-pity, a desire to self-harm, and self-destruct.

Jilted lovers, recently bereaved or betrayed, are entirely isolated and hence proud.

The universe has chosen to bestow this suffering, this needless drama on us. We need to reverse the process now. We keep our distance. We unfollow, unlike, untag ourselves from their lives. We quit all media if we are very determined. We unsubscribe from their brand of music. Our grief needs no sadder song. Our pain no new reminder. We uncouple consciously. Like every heartbroken person before us.

And then we start the process of building ourselves again, one layer at a time, one day at a time, one new nondescript memory at a time until we have risen to become someone, altogether, else again.

Lovers newly in love can’t see beyond themselves.

We do good to show how much better we are (compared to others) to our partners.

When we are assholes, it’s to demonstrate how much the world has misunderstood and devalued us. And it is only this love, this person who truly understands us, whom we can depend on.
“Can I really depend on you, on this?” We ask each other – hopeful, tearful, full of smug pathos.

Through all the artifice love demands, we lose all humanity.
“Your power over me is stronger than mine over you. That’s how much I love you. I don’t want to live a day without you. If you left me, I would die.”
That’s how lovers are made.

Jilted lovers can’t see beyond the grief.

It stuns and cripples us with its suddeness. It’s violent and explosive, an earthquake under the ocean. We have the onerous task of keeping face. “What a fascinating story. Your boss said that! No really.” But we are dead inside. Everything in us is decaying. We die everyday, a little each time. We lose interest, trust, all humanity. We have no sense of power. In death, there’s a great levelling. We start again as single-celled amoebas and try to evolve. That’s the process of endings and betrayal. That’s how loss is experienced.

Both love and loss end, eventually, for everybody.
It’s the gift of life.

The lover’s delicious quirks become irritants. The armpits smell. The kisses are dutiful. We realise they are neither as clever, nor beautiful, nor important as we once thought. We are finally free. We are now uniquely, individually ourselves. We may adjust to this and stay in the relationship, but we have moved on.

Loss ends on a laugh that flows one day effortlessly. Loss ends in a task done with enthusiasm, and a story shared with interest. We wake up one day, and that heavy pain in the chest is gone. We are finally free. We are now uniquely, individually ourselves.
We have finally moved on.

Such is life.

But sometimes the love doesn’t end, even if the lovers have. Such a love has no name, no meaning, no encouragement, no substance, no basis anymore, even if once it had all this.

We sometimes romanticise it and call it submission, or call it piety. We will use this grand but meaningless word, say it’s unconditional.

But what it is, is really horror and shame.
That’s the shame adulteresses were made to embroider on their bosoms in New England.
It’s the horror of having missed the memo on how to live and thrive in this farcical world.
It’s embarrassing for the entire universe.

When the power ends, when love’s games are exhausted, when we have been betrayed and discarded, time and again, what do we mean by saying we care, we still love?

If Krishna didn’t simultaneously replicate himself for Radha and all the Gopis and all the wives, do we really think any of the raas-leela would have happened?
Raas-leela needed participation, connection, and involvement. It needed Krishna to see and convince each of those women that they were indeed his most beloved mate. It was sustained through their vision, but it needed his sight.

We don’t clap with one hand.
That’s not how life is lived.

Life is lived by conforming to the practical, unstated rules of love and loss that talk about lying, loving, grieving, and moving on.

A life is lived with lies to preserve the self, but mostly to preserve life. Life is lived through big and small deceptions that carry humanity forward, like love, like sex, like progeny.

Life is about humanity because neither love nor loss make us better, wholesome, valuable people.
They help no one.

Life only values itself.

So we are never told to value love more than life itself.
Only in literature perhaps, to teach a lesson.

Only fools read a warning as a way of life.
Only fools do that.
And no one cares for fools.
And fools speak no language.
And without language, there is no intelligence nor any artifice.
This horrific, primitive, crude honesty is not what life or learning is.
So there is only mute suffering. Richly deserved.

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Posted in Blue Funk, Idle Thoughts, Intoxication Induced | 3 Comments

Harvest Moon

We talk about moon rituals, this new girl I met and I. We are walking by a lake.

She’s happy with the size of today’s moon, the Friday, and the 13th, all together only makes her happy and buoyant. She sees lovely people. She sees people as lovely. Imagine.

My moon ritual is pagan and painful and requires blood – I peel from my lower lip – and tears. My tears fall enlarging my eyes, making them luminous. Together, with my raw lips I look well-kissed or happily loved up. When I walk the streets later, they can’t take their eyes off me. I can’t really see them as the tears – even the ones I am holding at bay – block everything. Also, I don’t like people at all. So I don’t see them and their petty games and desires.

Is this the rest of a long night?
Is this the rest of the process?
Is this the rest of our lives?

She shudders delicately. Her skin, flawless and fair, glows. We laugh mirthlessly. She says, I fear we are all empty together and that’s how we will grow old. That’s so dark and macabre, no? She shudders again.

It’s truth I recognize.
But instead I say, life is in the moments.

Like a walk by a lake in the midst of a light shower. The water seeps into your hair, your eyes, your skin. You see ripples along the lake and patterns that are cyclic. You live in that moment. Nothing exists. Not even your breath. You are the same as the flowering plumerias bordering the lake, the same as the lake trying to be still, the birds singing…
You are that. That is you.

We are both very quiet. As one, we sit under a tree, seeking not shelter but sights. The ducks swim indifferently in the water but they are huddled together. The earth smells and we forget the pollution and traffic outside.

The new girl I met shimmers with hope and love for a world that smells mildly of a recycling sanitary unit. She allows me to feel.

The cyclical patterns remind me: What goes around comes around.
I cling to this banality of belief.

Goodness and grace must triumph.
We are all fine.
We are all loved, loving, lovable, lovely.
We will all grow old in our togetherness, happy, and full of contentment.

In the autumn of my despair, these homilies are what I want to harvest before reason and realism and winter sets in.

A harvest moon ritual starter- pack includes:

  1. A new friend
  2. A shared walk in nature. Water is, naturally, a given.
  3. A living-in-the-moment rainfall toolkit.
  4. A letting go of baggage, negativity, and criticism conversation.
  5. A page (No animals were harmed in the making of this paper; their dung may have been used) to set down intentions you want to harvest.

To order yours, get your world destroyed.

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Breath

The question is:
How will I breathe?

They say hope and think
of whom you will breathe with.

Time was
you were
my breath.
my breath.
Reason to draw one even, krishna.

Today, I breathe my options
into a brown paper bag.
Drink in my own carbondioxide.
That’s how independent I am.

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Exile

They tell you home is where you are safe. They tell you home is a place to be yourself. Then they evict you from it. On a whim, a wish, a fantasy. Or maybe it’s destiny. That you no longer have a from destination. Then they no longer recognise your identity. They say you are a refugee. If you are lucky, a welcome guest. As a refugee in this new unfamiliar landscape, to what past do you go to, in search of a home? Is it still your home if you have been told that you are just a refugee, and in fact are now nothing more, at best, than a welcome guest?

Are you doubly exiled?

Or do you actually have two homes, unwelcome in either?

***

You say a home is a person. You say that this person completes you. You say that this is your person.Then your person tires of you. On a whim, a wish, a fantasy. They find another person. Maybe it’s destiny. That you no longer have a destination you can belong to. Then they no longer recognise your identity in their lives. They treat you like a stranger, a refugee. If you are lucky, they welcome you back – briefly, as a guest. As a refugee in this new isolating world, how will you seek home in personhood again? Can you beg for visitation rights?

If home is a person and that person’s home is another person, do you still have a home?

Or do you now have two homes by proxy, neither of which cares over much for your presence?

Posted in Blue Funk, Idle Thoughts

The Drive

Loneliness arrests me in the middle of a laugh in the middle of a joke, I just thought up. I scramble for a list of people to share the punchline with and realize that I must finish the laugh alone.
I do.
But it’s not funny anymore.

Driving hurts the eye, the knees, the ankles, and the mind. I kick off my sandals, feel the cold, hard press of the brake and the accelerator and I tell myself that I am not alone. I am in traffic. I am literally not alone. But I am. And no music can crowd the ears and the senses to fill up the burgeoning void that’s my heart. I scan my list of people to call but I have nothing to say now that my amusement dried up, so I drive on, willing time to speed up, wishing it would end.

From traffic to suicide, the leap is dramatic. That’s loneliness, I smirk. Get through the discomfort. Get. Through. The. Discomfort. Get. Used. To. This. This. Is. Probably. The. Rest. Of. Your. Life.

This is everyone’s life and you cannot kill yourself in traffic. It’s absurd. I reach back for my bag and cigarettes and my memories. It’s been months now since I realized that the universe shifted, tilted, and I am alone. And the pain is just as fresh and sharp as the papercut I get when I find my cigarette case. I clutch the lighter for support and swallow the ouch. Didn’t I just want to die? Then how can I complain about a papercut? I suck my finger in consolation as I bring the cigarette to my mouth. The flame from the lighter can burn my eyebrows if I don’t angle the cigarette just so. The flame reminds me to turn misery into fury, into art. Besides, burning (even if a measly cigarette or my thinning errant hair) is more satisfying than slashing at silvery words that meant nothing at all. But fury is crippling too. No art comes out of vengeance. Only vengeance. And if everything is self-inflicted, then I am the infinity snake swallowing my own tail in an Escher etching.

The thought of this grand metaphor puts me in a good mood. I am positive again. Loneliness can be centering, I tell myself in my best new-age guru voice. Yoga, pottery, body work, mind work, everything teaches us about the need to centre. When we feel we end where the ground begins or the ground ends when we step on it, but that negativity is not how you look at it. It’s really about the interconnectedness of everything. Sex cannot centre you even if sometimes (rarely) it connects you. Words can connect you, but like an orgasm, it’s only true for the second it’s uttered and perhaps not even then. But silence can still and instill interconnectedness. Can make you imagine you are a cog in the wheel, that it’s all predestination. That it’s all going to work and the wheel, with you, can turn. It will turn. Up.

I turn off the highway. People on the streets are alone. On bikes, or as they walk. People are lonely or so preoccupied they don’t recognise they are lonely. We have no capacity to love another truly, wholeheartedly. Some of us. We have no capacity to be loved by another entirely, obsessively. Some of us. And you would think that’s perfect pairing, but it’s not. Love simply cannot work because loneliness is an all consuming tsunami.

New traffic rises like a crushing wave and I am amused again that I am crying about loneliness on a drive in a crowded city. It makes me chuckle and I know exactly who will laugh with me when I create this scene and talk about things (although we’ve never spoken about such stuff before) but I cannot because the wheel turned a little faster, the wave rose a little higher, and the traffic silenced my protest, and the joke remained unshared, and the art unattempted, and nothing happened. Only my entitled expectations sink lower with each awareness. I breathe out cigarette smoke. I press the cigarette tighter between my lips to keep myself from laughing through the pain.

And loneliness arrests me in the middle of this wry epiphany. Surely, I can’t be so alone that I have no one to tell this story to. I scramble for a list of people to share this insight with and realize that I must finish the experience, the laugh, the drive, and the journey alone.
I do.
But it’s not fun anymore.
Perhaps it never was.

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Interrupted

[It’s crazy how this is the first poem I ever wrote. In 2001. It came to me, fully formed, like this. And some of these lines have been haunting me of late. Crazy.]

Where is He?
And who am I?
Questions go unanswered
As I reach to greet
A disembodied voice
On the wire – floats a friend
Or a stranger – or a creature
From outer space
I know not who or why or what
I am only conscious of the vacuity
As my speech remains brief in its brevity.

You are not who I wanted to call
You are not what I wished to hear
But that is neither there nor here
For who cares for what I want?
Certainly not I.
Nor do those mates of yesteryears
Who are busy loving, hoping, living
Their lives
Conquering their fears.

I stumble upon the truth sometimes
That we are alone and meant to be
Sacrificed at the altar of responsibilities.
We owe you one and he another
And to them – all the rest.
What is then left for you and me
If not memories of the dust?
They too are fragile and flippant
Nothing in them to cause you repent.
I breathe the air and so do you
And isn’t that all we are meant to do?
I lost what I most cherished
And now even those dreams must perish
Tarnished by mockery and defeat
How oft those lines can I repeat?

Where are you?

That hardly matters
You chose your path
And so forced mine
If it be hollow what of it?
If it be a farce then so be it.
I have nothing left in me
Maybe there never was.
Shrivelled, dry, and dead.
And that’s not only my thoughts.

Who am I?
Now is it different than the then?
Questions arise and go unanswered
Only science books have
What happens when.
I smile at my own lack of humour,
My weary thoughts and addled brain
If only I could rhyme saying train.

The conversation ends
Another begins
Then another and yet again
Murmured responses, meaningless replies
And only a wire carries them all.
I seek; I seek for what is lost
Knowing it is all for naught.

In the meantime,
The silence shatters
The thread of thoughts goes broken again
And I answer to the voice again
Hello?

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Whimper

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
– The Hollow Men by T S Eliot

Aloneness is carved so deep
Into the millennial DNA.
We are the potter’s art
Being scraped away
into Instagrammable shapes
After being turned on the wheel.
We take pottery classes
On weekends
To play with mud
and to feel…
(at one with nature).

Eat dirt or ass or pussy
We say in our memes.
We use the memes
to talk about
How difficult it is
to talk about
Working
On relationships
that
take
Take
time and effort.
Time and effort.
We don’t have time for that.
We ain’t gonna
give
Give
In.

Our effort
(Five seconds that loop
Into moments, days, years) involves
the next big thing
(That lasts for seconds like our orgasms)
On our phones and tabs
and
On Netflix
We chill with the devil
Even when he is just
A human facsimile.
Just like we are.

We are heteronormative
And cisnormative
And majority tinted tonedeaf
In a world of queer rainbow coloured meme makers.
(Own it)
God, those gays
(Own it)
With eggplant dicks.
(Own it)
And peach asses.
(Own it)
And their squads
(Own it)
Are so real
(Own it)
So OMGLOL.
(Own it)
So woke.
(Own it)
So fun.
(Own it)
The bitches.
(Own it)

So we top it.
(Secretly)
So we suffer.
(Secretly)
But we enjoy
(Secretly)
Entitlement, privilege,
Modi and Trump,
Our lack of suffering.

Instead we talk about
introversion.
(Own it)
Because we have
High-functioning anxiety.
(Own it)
And ADHD.
(Own it)
Adderall, please.
Or vapes.
CBD or acid
drops
in the
vegan smoothie.
(Own it)

We are introverts
(Who never read a book.
They made a show on Prime.)
With a dash of FOMO.
We then contradict it
With JOMO.
Time and effort
Takes time and effort.
We are too busy for that.

We ain’t got no time for that shit, mama.
We assure past generations.
We are not lonely.
We fuck through Tinder
Our love lives
Hinge
On ghosting.
We might be
Commitment(Except we could now get you committed. Dang!)averse
Phobic of letting anyone in.
We let you, the parents, get in
And look where that got us.
(Bitch, please.)
Thank you, but no thanks.
Say yes to aloneness.
(Yass!)
That also takes
Time and effort
To cultivate these beards,
These looks,
Spread this air
Of superior indifference,
As a social influencer,
And go viral.
And
time and effort
to create
Trending hashtags
and
Followers
(who might easily murder us because they)
always know
through Live Stories
Where we are
@
our aloneness.

We may bleed blood
(after we cut ourselves)
(secretly)
But we clot aloneness.
(Own it.)
#mikedrop #totes #wordporn
#aloneness

Posted in Idle Thoughts, Intoxication Induced | 4 Comments