I keep my medications under the sink, under the bed hidden because Ma thinks a smiling face is always happy and therapy is a myth.
Her face is a warzone of all the anger my father keeps on his fingertips and serves it to her from the day she decided to question the lavender smell from his blue shirt because she knows he keeps perfumes away from his skin as he keeps her away from smiles.
Because women to him are objects and mere objects that he wishes to keep holding in his hands wishing they don’t melt away from their anger, from lavender scents.
The walls of my house have gone deaf through the screams and shout it hears 6 days out of 7. While other women in the building are brave enough to hear them and not shed a tear for humanity. Because women are the same all around the world for they hide out scars from last night under 3 layers of makeup and judge the one showing their long legs under a tulip mustard dress.
But ma calls abuse as adjustments because she says if you talk your voice over men they'll cut your tongue leaving them hanging from your mouth until you bleed and die and because revolution is harder than oppression, and because patriarchy never existed it just the way a man lives and women are meant to live and at the end of the day boys will be boys.
The rose petals in my journals have dried into shades of brown and your photographs in my drawers haven't tasted air for years now. They keep growing in dust and I in melancholy.
Your photographs are polaroids of memories I am too afraid to open too afraid to name love. Smiles have been fading and my wounds now ache in love and whisper your name every time they bleed. They have grown sour to all the memories that rot inside, It stinks like a reminder of not being enough.
The mirror on the wall is old and I sit staring at it in long breaths and cold hands.
Nose too big- Check Lips too chapped- Check Eyes not pretty enough- Check The heart is too broken - Check No self-love - Check
I keep whispering it like an LKG rhyme again and again for I carry too much hate for me and too much love for him. I remember things I shouldn't and love people I don't want to. Oh, but do they love me back? They don't, they never did.
I brush my lips across yours and you whimper while you smile your guilt away and we fold into each other's arms like lovers that meet after the war.
I trace your smiles, the curves on your body, the taste of your blood and the chills of your body against mine and follow them like a madman in search of the home knowing that there is a part of me that is going to love you so much you'd think the sky just split apart caressing every inch of your skin with the stardust and smiles and lift your sadness that lives inside your hollow bones and kiss it a goodbye while you plant kisses on my scars like poetries and mouth a hundred eulogies to love.
A hundred poems are written across the skyline you borrow your words from and I keep burying myself in your poetries too often chasing metaphors and smiling at your soft lies.
Poems are often written about roses that wilt and wallflower that grow aloof and sunflowers that never bloom and how grief aches over them; and never about how roses flicker your eyes every time they bloom and wallflower that dances to the swaying hymns of the sunflowers.
There are always pretty skies clinging at the footsteps of rhymes where they suck the sadness out of me that talk about heartbreaks a little too fondly and how they carry grief like a handkerchief in the breast pocket.
And there is poetry written all over me but all I can smell is stale metaphors of hope stringed with happiness at its bottom.
Two humans 1 soul Seven births of love Death for death One alive one dead.
Thursday morning over the stained sofa I sit in white , there is grief sitting on the corner of my lips, and I sit naked to let it barge out of me Hands pass down my back passing a nudge of hope and she slips right away, everytime.
My eyes red and hands shivering grey. He stopped breathing, he stopped all of a sudden and once for all. No more beeps of the ventilator and no more money for oxygen . No more tears to flow, no more smiles my way. No more rainbows for me , no more red flowers from him. No more bangles for you my mother says, And no more colours either. No more colours to my lips and no more attempt of being fair. A black woman for a black man. And white for white, But what's left for girl like me whose womanhood is lost and is dressed under coats of blue Do you paint me black again or do you paint me grey the colour of his ash?
To, A man with huge arms and feet, a scratchy beard with black upturned mustache often found with his iron-stiff shirts of the colour of the sky buttoned neatly and tucked under his brown pants and who doesn't smile often.
You are often seated at the corner when poems are scribbled over sacrifice, With pretty metaphors of love ,sacrifice grins within.
You mother , she calls you a warrior, As you set off to the world where you smile until your jaws hurt with grief clenched to your teeth. Because men he says we're never built that way. On most days he spreads his arms wide apart asking me to bury all my sorrows inside it For he is a man and it says without going grief sticks on a mans face without a pain unlike women that a shed a tear.
On the days when I see my life mending it's verses among heartbreaks , His particularly hoarse voice pulls me under his tender smiles. Showing rainbows under dark clouds, Being yellow in my blues.
He says I love yous a little less than Ma, But his passwords says otherwise. 4 walls and a roof over my head, And his arms I call home.
From, The one who feels a little safe with your hand holding her little fingers and who smiles a lot more around you and loves you till eternity.
My memories are fed with blue skies with no clouds distantly seen, and dandelions growing near the gateway, seldom a day or two sunsets with pink clouds and silver linings are seen.
Writers like me keep lilac skies pasted in their tongue so they can mouth beautiful metaphors every time they scream at their poetries and sunflowers have never touched a part of their skin, though my proses sound romantic on how the smile on his face makes my day beautiful and how his eyes shine every time meets mine, but then truth is his eyes never really meet mine because he's drowning in guilt and I mistake it for his shyness. Writers like me have scars painted on their thighs and wrists like Keats poems memorized at the tip of their tongue.
They lie when they say everything gets better. Nothing ever does. You grow numb over the years to even call the needles sticking down your skin a poem of survival, of strength and bravery. - Radhika
I hear my heart beating in my mouth and my stomach growling in grief For all the days all it was served was happiness, in a steel plate with smiles and giggles. But not anymore, For everything now smells and tastes of grief and rusted, like the edges of the plate.
People with a crooked smile and broken hearts have always been around, It's only when your heart is broken and you forget to smile too often you notice them, For you wish to know how they bury their sorrows in their pillows each night and how they pick themselves up, dust the grief out of them and paste a borrowed smile across their chapped lips.
It's only when you know grief is been there folded inside your ribcages always like it was meant to be carried all through your life and it's now that you see grief unfolding itself bigger and bigger each time when you pass a smile down your throat. It hurts, but what doesn't?
My poetries are home to delirious welkins and wild constellations. My breaths hold the coldness of saturn rings and homeless hailstorms. You left dregs of catastrophes between my ribs and barbed forevers. I call it a calamity when my verses smell like a dead autumns for all the scars and the holocausts left. What hurts? Silhouettes of a gypsy muse that pirouettes further away into the making of a trauma poetry. Heartbreaks sew into moonbows on a brumous october. I see the blood on your fingers for every love poem you write, for every ache your city has undergone. I'll end up being a metaphoric berserk when art resurrects from a graveyard. For now, there's this burning sky scribbling elegies on my skin. Home tastes like apocalyptic salvation.
They hurled him to a desolate corner and dressed themselves as sanguinary mortals to smother his scared buds of snowdrops, and when the sun sung songs in the suburbs, he woke up with crimson pools and cuts all over. And when a twelve spring old irony woke up with autumns all around, he decided to paint his canvas with shades of daffodils and roses, to find more than mere air for another breath. Now when he looks in the mirror, he smiles.
~threnodies of a threadbare tulip~
~ S r i K r i s h n a P S | July 14, 2021 _____________________________________________
In the Broadway Musical "Cats", during its spectacular climax, a character by the name of Grizabella sings at the top of her lungs, "Touch me! It's so easy to Leave Me! All alone with the memory of my days in the sun… If you touch me, you will understand what happiness is…."
She is a character that is deliberately ousted during the entirety of the story and this outcast soul finally loses it and begs to be touched. Touch me. See me. Acknowledge my existence.
Why am I referring to her here? Well, because I have realised, I too am like Grizabella. I know too well what it feels like to be on the colder side of a window, watching others huddle closer and hoping for the warmth to rub off on you.
I was born 21 years ago to a couple madly in love. Love, however cannot rival currency and I grew up in a bitter struggle with poverty. My mother held us together with her grit, hope and sheer stubbornness. Born with asthma and growing up here in Gujarat, so far removed from my southern hometown in the hills of Kerala, I learnt firsthand what being different meant.
I was sickly, silent (didn't know the language) and too much of a bother to include. I grew up watching children my age play around while my lungs learnt how to battle, A war that I'm fighting to this day. I still feel short on breath sometimes and it is not always asthma.
Even before I could understand what yearning meant, I realise now, that I was yearning. I was yearning to be included, to be touched and pampered. My mother hardly had time to sit around, to tell me stories and to lavish me with her affection, Love me she did but she was in a tangle of her own. My father was a phantom; the man that made meals happen. The hardworking foundation of our family. By 4, I was already an elder brother to my sister. Becoming an elder sibling, as elders know or will tell you, changes you forever. You become or are made aware of a younger life that is connected to you, by DNA and much more, it latches on to you and learns from your actions in life…
I say this, not to complain but to explain.… as much as I love my parents and sister… I cannot help but feel, I grew up with a pit in my chest, a hungry emptiness that wants to be filled… I don't remember being a child, I guess, like many in this world, I grew up too fast… And when you grow up too fast, you become something half baked, something too weak to not need love but too proud to ask for it.
Growing up, I found out more about how being different has a price. School hallways were a hunting ground and some of us were fleeing preys. We ate lunch alone, we rarely participated unless forced and we tried our best to fade into the background. Avoiding attention, Because attention meant persecution for some of us…. and when puberty came, it brought with it a terrifying discovery; my sexuality. I could only love and not differentiate the packaging it came in.
In all sense of the word, Life was set to be a Crash trajectory for a boy like me.
So what happened?
Well.... what I haven't told you yet is that I was living a parallel life all along. A life so incredibly magical and fantastical that it amzes me in hindsight. At the age of 6, I stumbled into the most ancient of human magic. Wandering into my grandfather's study, I got my hands on a book…. and life was never the same.… I discovered I could fly, speak in mythical tongues, see snowfall sunsets in the Alps, get drenched in the British moors and go to war in Narnia. I discovered I could be beautiful, fall in love, become immortal and play catch with cloud clumps while stars lit up my home in a purple valley with cerulean trees.
I discovered a world where I was still different, but different wasn't unwelcome... The World of Stories.
And once inside, like a greedy adventurer, I kept exploring… books, leaflets, newspapers, songs, theatre, movies, dances, paintings… everything… every single unit of existence that has been summed up as art… is nothing but a story… a story that was born out of the human need to connect... to touch.... to be a little less alone in a frighteningly big world. Bible is an adventure of a lifetime, Ramayana is a love story and the rainbow is nothing but the sky's love letter to earth….
By the time I was 10, I was so drunk on this magic that I decided to create it on my own, I decided to become a closet alchemist: I wrote my first poem. Like many firsts, It sucked.…. but it set something off….
I soon found myself dancing my worries away, singing my loneliness into poof: gone. So what if a bully tore my notebook? Could he ever dance like me? So what if I was picked last again? Could they ever sing the way I did? And when I climbed the theatre stage, dressed in heavy jewels, with a painted face; ready to act as a son who renounced the world for the sake of sainthood, I felt like I could be everything.
6 years later, I was nothing.
The villain in my story turned out to be closer than I thought, after all…. I was him.
/ I won't tell you I'm lonely 'Cause it might be selfish I won't ask you to hold me 'Cause that won't mend what's helpless There's not a thing I could say Not a song I could sing For your mind to change Nothing can fill up the space Won't ask you to stay //
It’s been two hundred forty eight days since I saw you from the corner of my eyes so that you don’t catch me looking at you. Only if I’d known it was the last time I got to see you, I would’ve looked you in the eye and told you how my love for you knows no bounds, how my naive heart doesn’t care if you break it every minute of every day, how it tells me that it isn’t going to love anyone like it loved you.
/ But let me ask you one thing Oh-o-oh When did you fall out of love? Out of love? Oh-o-oh, when did you fall out of love with me //
It’s been five hundred and fifty eight days since I hugged you. Every night my arms crunch at me for not hugging you longer. My mind shouts at me to call you but my tongue tied mouth, cannot say anything to confront your decision. I doubt if it’s love. It cannot be. It’s either beyond this realm or just nothing. Because as much as y(our) love set me free, it’s caused me equal pain. Maybe they are two sides of the same coin, while you got my love, I embraced the pain you gave.
/ I can't float in an ocean That's already been drained I won't cry at your feet now I know my tears will fall in vein There's not a thing I could say Not a song I could sing For your mind to change Nothing can fill up the space Won't ask you to stay But let me ask you one thing //
It’s been countless days since I slept. Whenever I close my eyes and invite sleep to take me away for a little time, your crescent smile flashes the darkness away and paints me with despair all over again. I’ve stopped trying now. I simply have accepted the fact that I’ll always remember you. I befriended night, insomnia, moon, quill and a few words that are stuck in my throat.
/ Oh-o-oh, when did you fall out of love? Out of love? Oh-o-oh, when did you fall out of love with me? No use Wondering Why your change in heart has wondered So I ask you this question 'Cause it might help me sleep longer //
You say you never, ever loved me, not even for a moment, then what was it that I felt?
/ lines are from the song 'out of love' by 'Alyssa cara'