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.

Posted in Blue Funk, Idle Thoughts | 5 Comments

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?

Posted in Idle Thoughts | Leave a comment

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

Hair

I count each strand of my hair
To account to krishna
Of my love and care.

He tugs at my braid
But stares mesmerised
At another’s gait.

My hair locks in dreads
He ruffles the knots, laughs
And that hot love continues to spread.

Posted in Blue Funk, Happy Days, Idle Thoughts, Intoxication Induced | Leave a comment

Verboten

I whisper his name among the weeds
krishna krishna krishna
He does not hear.

I wear in my hair jasmine strings
And intoxicating sweetness
krishna does not smell.

I show him sights familiar, familial
krishna smiles, but he doesn’t see.

I offer him nectar,
all the flavours of the world – a life
He doesn’t taste.

And then he stands before me
In the flesh, wearing only a question
And now I cannot touch.

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

Migraine

My migraine is a pulsating red dot in a sea of indigo
A Bengali bride ullulating under the pandal in the bustle of a wedding hall.

My migraine stops me in the street and says:
Those lights are far too bright for any kind of real happiness, don’t you think?

Or my migraine complains about the sun:
No good can come from so much sunshine.

My migraine peaks around the full moon.
A romantic guest, it clings to my left temple and whispers a new song each time.

But mostly, my migraine is unreasonable about when it strikes.
An interview, meeting friends, a sexcapade – all are equal, all are dust.

My migraine comes on because I have been lazy in dispelling energy –
A furious, indignant toddler she sits, busy with her tantrum in the mall, and kicks, because I don’t. Yoga.

My migraine is also a man – He needs constant tending to and kindness.
He can perform only in the darkness.

My migraine was bought at a store.
The doc said: I didn’t realise the contraindications of this drug were permanent. All the best.

My migraine is the best.
Because it’s mine. More mine than the family or the friends or the lovers or the fortune or the words – all of which are temporal.

My migraine is a lesson to be attentive.
Life is passing on. Every minute matters. No one matters more than you.

Posted in Idle Thoughts, In Sickness and In Health, Intoxication Induced | Leave a comment