There are many paths in life a man could take
One of them is temptation
The other is resistance
Temptation is sensual; it dresses in red
She holds a cigarette in her right hand and waits for you
Promising to sway you away from the worries of life
Ignore the world that has formed concrete pavements on your chest
Temptation doesn’t promise you life but it promises you temporary relief
Resistance is fierce; it has a silver armor on
He doesn’t have anything but a will to fight
Promising that if you don’t give in then the future might be bright
The concrete world will get knocked down but with time
Resistance doesn’t promise relief but it promises you a good fight
It tells you that there are many things in this world
That would kill you in far worse ways than you can imagine
But you don’t have to be one of them
Temptation makes you a loaded gun
Resistance makes you not shoot yourself
It takes courage to be loaded six rounds straight
And not pull the trigger
And its mostly on days
I play pretend being dead
The world is quiet
And my soul can’t find refuge in anything
So my heart looks for a place to seek shelter from the lonesome air around me
And it runs towards you
My safe place
My one and only refuge
Some people don’t need love
Or want it
They are well aware of the perfection called solitude
Now I’m not saying that love is a made up concept
Something to chase after in order to validate our existence
Like, “fuck yes! Someone loves me and wants me”
I’m glad you want love and seek it
Let it devour you
I’m just saying that for some people
Love isn’t enough
And they want more out of life
Laughs and a handful of friends
Which I think is an alright way to spend life
An alright ride to eternity
We’re conditioned to doubt ourselves. To think twice before we act and draw lines between everything. A friend can’t be a lover just as love cannot be synonym to lust. Differentiation is what marks the small space between sanity and insanity. You can’t kiss drunk. You can’t spell love and lust within the bones of the same man. It makes me anxious to see how we’re taught an appropriate behavior. In trying to chase “forever”, we find the present slipping away. Out of reach. Out of grasp. Suddenly, only a concept of what could have been.
Next time maybe, don’t over think and kiss him drunk? Because, there are no right or wrong people. They’re just people who were best for you during that time and now they aren’t anymore.
When we were together
I wrote poems about you on nights that I couldn’t sleep
And on those mornings you would read them
You said that you fell more in love with me
I’m more efficient in penning my love down
Heck, penning everything down
Than verbal proficiency
You liked the concept of twins
When I told you that I’m not one but two
So it’s hard to tell which part is at play
And you said you loved each part
When we were together
You adored the inner child
The reckless brat who sought thrill
Took uncalculated risks just to land bruised
Someone who would jump when you counted to three
You liked the taste of burning skin on ice
The highs came with the lows
The ecstatic and erratic self
Countered days of being depressed without much reason
You said that you’ll be the one rowing us across this ocean
My bones won’t sink and I will make it through
I believed you
When we were together
My poems got annoying
You wanted more spoken words than poetry
I opened my chest to show you that I’m more riddles than simple sentences
You felt that I was putting you in danger
I showed you the last time I fell and ended up with a bruise on my right leg
The highs were dangerous and the lows drained you of energy
You let my bones sink on days when I couldn’t get out of bed
Nobody rowed me across the ocean and I was stranded
I swam to the shore on my own
When you left
I still searched for you on the shore
Now, I try to be more words than poetry
I write less now and try talking more
I take small steps and drive slow
I sleep more and don’t let my bones sink in on the bad days
I work and never let the gloom takeover
I’m one person not two
I try to be whole
Will this be enough to bring you back home?
One time my therapist asked me, “if you know being still won’t get you anywhere, and that is what triggers your sadness, then why don’t you change or move in order to become happy?”
“It’s like ice”, I replied back then, “I’m stripped naked and splayed out on it. The ice is cold and burns. It burns my flesh and I know that if I get up the air will make it sting more. I will be more aware of the burns so I don’t get up. Because, I am afraid. I am afraid of the air pricking my skin and the unknown that awaits me. Lying on the block of ice is all i’ve known and this sadness feels like home.”
He said, “You can move. A momentary lash of air might provide relief, forever.”
“Forever is a long time and the unknown holds promises which don’t always have to be laced with sweet hope.”, I replied.
” So you don’t want to get up?” He asked
“I do. I’m waiting for the block of ice to melt.”
Memories created with the intention of creating are as useful as platic surgery, they look pretty in the backdrop but are just as fake.
I seem to always ask myself in moments of sheer clarity, “Who am I” and try to conjure up as many identities as I could.
Woman. Millennial. Muslim. Pakistani. Punjabi. Feminist.
At the top of my head these are some of the identities that I use for myself. Sort of like ribbons i’ve wrapped around my existence.
I ask myself again, Who am I?
The voice replies “nothing”.
It’s like the different ribbons wrapped so tightly around my existence are there in place to hide the fact that I am nothing. It is a dead end oblivion but not particularly the negative one that we attribute to the nihilistic concept of living.
But i’ve learnt with time and of age to undo every ribbon around my existence and unveil a cosmic cluster of nothingness that will slowly dissipate into the void that it belongs to.
A kaleidoscope pattern from the spill of cosmic cluster. The ribbons have come off. I know who I am.
I ask myself again, who are you?
“Nothing and everything”, this time I make a note to say it out loud.
My parents tell me about their youth. Times that they would like to live again. Memories, back to when they we’re not married. They drape their lives across for us to listen and get a glimpse of how carefree they were. My mother talks about how free she was until she fell in love with a man. A man who made a cage out of false promises and she chose to stay in it. My father talks about how he always meant well but never well enough to hold his ground.
He had kept the door of the cage open, always. He never believed in chaining someone down.
They don’t ever leave one another; the one free or the one captive. The cage has room for both of them, now. They sit in it with the door open. I think this is what Stockholm syndrome is like.
I learnt the importance of detachment at a young age. My feet are quick to change direction towards an exit even when my heart tells me not to. It’s been long since my heart sounded like mine.
Tiptoeing around the ones I love, biting my nails and avoiding interactions as I make my way out of their heart.
This isn’t a heart, I say to him. This is an iceberg and I push the ones I love off the tip.
My mother taught me to have a hard heart. Having a stone heart is better than having a cold one and if you don’t have one at all? That is the best. Shut them out before they see that you’re just a tangled mesh of nothingness.
A sadist ode to the inner masochist poet.
We’re all tiny galaxies orbiting around the ones we love. We make them our center of attention from time to time. I learnt from the cage she was kept in to know never to stay around anyone longer than their intended purpose in my life. Never slip through into their universe.
A failed union taught me to never let anyone become everything; even when great poets tell me otherwise.
I become watchful of boys who spin cages out of promises that they don’t intend to keep. Boys who tie ropes around your fingers with promises; and my mother still hides the jute marks from her wrists as she talks about love.
I remind myself to always be on guard when it comes to feelings. Never get close enough for people to lure me in with their ropes and cage me.
Practicing on the ones you love is the best way to be perfect at the art of running away. Never getting attached but always making it seem like you’re emotionally dependent on them. This way you can always have someone to love you but never run the risk of collateral emotional damage.
My psychologist calls this “fear of attachment” but I call this, survival in a world where everyone believes that love is a simile for imprisonment.
Because once I knew a boy who told me that his mother refused to leave his abusive father because she loved him. Months later, I saw myself in the same position- very familiar to our conversation. However, I decided to leave because in the end-we’re all just somehow fulfilling the patterns and scripts laid out by our parents.
I decided to break the pattern as my mother talks about how I should have stayed. I wonder if she realizes that love and hurt are not similar. “There is no need to associate the notion of hurt or pain with something so beautiful as love.”, I say, and she dares not look into my eyes.
Being “present” has never been one of my strongest attribute. I like to run away on purpose from people so there is no chance of emotional attachment which can lead to detachment, later on.
Escaping everything and everyone, like a social Houdini.
However, instead of magic tricks I just disappear for days on end because that way I can be friends with the empty space of my room.
Ignoring every attempt that people make to reach out to me with the phrase “I’m busy.”
I’m not busy.
I’m just chugging in sleeping pills and valium with a tenth of whiskey to sleep off whatever it is that is bothering me. Sleep off whatever it is that has been growing inside the pit of my stomach that I have to escape to deal with it but not deal with it, at the same time.
He tells me escapism is a magic trick that is getting old
I say, “Abracadabra” , and smile.
vi) I take two pills with a glass of wine. I realize that I’m getting old and so is this liver. I find myself trying to be careful in the destructive path that I have chalked out for myself.
Shit! I think I might be in love. Because why else would I be so careful?
The next day, he tells me that I’m not as bad as I like to tell the world. I smile knowing that he doesn’t have half the clue or maybe he does and accepts.
What I am in front of people is not who I really am or maybe that is exactly who I am. Someone so volatile, raw and absurd that everyone thinks it’s an act.
A reality mistaken for illusion.
He tells me, I’m more of a habit than a love.
He says, that my attempt to throw people off is forced than natural.
So, I push him and we laugh
He touches my hand
I can feel the ropes tightening on my wrists. The same ones I saw on my mother and warned myself about.
Every man I know searches for a lava heart underneath this iceberg even though I keep on telling them that there isn’t one. They try hammering their name on it.
Freeze their fingers trying to hold it.
Break them off.
I find their attempt at trying to find something real under something false so beautifully heart wrenching, I almost give them a chance.
I run before they realize that I’m not the person they want to freeze over.
Run as soon as their fingers become blue.
Run as soon as I feel the rope creeping up on my wrists.
I say their names like an empty prayer I will soon forget. A prayer that creeps up on your lips only when you realize that “loneliness”, is a word laced with melancholy and wrapped in abandonment.
I leave because the cage door is open and I’m not going to take a chance on captivity by choice. Never by chance.
I wish to have loved you in another place. Maybe another continent where the sea could run through your veins and you wouldn’t have to worry about drowning. Maybe a place where the air is gentle on our skins and we do not fear it becoming a tornado. Maybe another land where we could have played with the constellations instead of mistaking a fallen star for a drone attack.
I wish to have loved you in another place, another time or another dimension.
All my life they told me to be wary of people who talk sweet but have poison lips. It’s a sacred body described in metaphors. They taught me to stay away from the ones who dare to paint their futures with blood stained hands because the likes of them are dangerous.
Men are dangerous.
Women are deadly.
I’ve been away far too long from those who wore their flaws like medals and declared war on their past to have the future that they painted.
I wish to have loved you in another place where my lips weren’t poison. We didn’t need metaphors to describe our love. I wish to have loved you in another place where the air swept through our pores and the tornadoes didn’t ruin us. A place where we could have played with the stars and your wish on the fallen one would come true. I wish to have loved you before I became one of them, another one from the lot of blood stained hands brewing poetry behind closed doors in an effort to taste freedom.
I have loved you in the wrong places but the time was always right.