Mulberry Wings

I would give you a long explanation over why I wrote this poem, but it is unnecessary. Just look at it as an expression of anger against all forms of rape and abuse that exist. 

 

The first time i knew the meaning of consolation

was a breath of warm air into my ear,

air that smelled faintly of humour-laced

words and cigarettes, telling me

‘Shhh, you’ll be fine now.’

And I remember looking at his dark

brown eyes and the pockmarks

on his skin as he said this, and the bruise on

my knee stopped throbbing quite as much.

“It doesn’t hurt anymore.” I said

as he smiled back at me.

They say how an adult reacts to a situation

has a psychological impact on the child’s

reactions, but those are big words, and I

was but a small child,

and those words to me had nothing to do

with logic

and everything to do with magic.

 

 

 

Years later, I stand in front of the full length mirror,

like a broken sparrow with mulberry wings

and haunted eyes,

and I try to form the same words

but choke up mid-way,

as I see his form approaching,

once so familiar,

now so strange,

as I see his hands reach for me

I realised what words I

once thought were magic

in the way they healed me

were the words that had broken

me in the first place:

he whispers into my ear,

‘Shhh, you’ll be fine now.’

 

 

 

Elementary Death.

You can die a thousand ways,

but none as beautiful

and devastating

as in

the hands of the elements-

raw, untamed, merciless.

 

You can die in the lap of fire,

the flames licking every crevice

of your body, taming the curve

of your hip and

your dusty lips.

 

You can melt into lava.

 

You can die in the hands of water,

the waves crashing against you

in fury,

sculpting the stone that is you,

into a

tomb, for what will be.

 

You can dissolve into the ocean.

 

You can die at the mercy of air,

the irony settling in

sweetly

as the life-giver,

slowly sucks the

life out of you.

 

You can steal wings from the storm.

 

You can die if the earth chooses to,

as the green turns into grey,

and the ground rumbles

till there’s nothing

left to shake.

 

You can fall into the earth.

 

You can die when the spirit leaves you,

when the emptiness inside

spreads

like a famine,

and captures

your entirety.

 

You can merge into the infinite.

 

The Bucket List

The hair is gone

I watch

as she chops it off

and it falls down the sides of my face

like a snowfall of brown

I try not to choke

as I remember the times

when you’d run your fingers

through them

and tell me they smelled of strawberries

and now,

my love,

your strawberries lay at my feet

rotten and dead.

I’m sorry.

I look back at my

reflection

“Dear, it’s all done.”

she whispers.

I wince slightly,

as my head reflects the light

shiny in it’s new landscape

bumps and endless stretches

of bald pavement

“I look like an egg.”

I joke,

she laughs,

but I see the tear.

Life is short,

I know,

trust me.

And so is my bucket list.

It reads thus:

‘Let happiness make you cry’

I want to

bubble over with laughter and

joy

so much so that the emotion

marries

my soul

and my tear-ducts

give their

blessing.

I want other things, too.

Time, firstly.

Time to spend with you

tracing

your spine

and laughing at your geeky

jokes.

I want time to create more memories

like the kind

when we spotted an owl during

a midnight swim

and the kind

where we lay entwined

indistinguishable as two separates

and smiled

into each others beings.

I also want,

selfishly,

a baby.

(she’d have your eyes, darling.)

A little token to leave you with.

Without this

to give you,

only one thought races through my head.

-Sweetheart,

when I’m gone,

will you forget me?-

And then,

when my moment of daydreaming

comes to an end,

after everything,

I think

of only one more thing,

my love,

your gentle, patient face

shadows under your eyes

as you held my hand

last week

so bravely

and now, the sound of your

tapping feet

from outside the room

as you wait to see your

egg-headed wife

and smile encouragingly

(as i know you will),

and I ask,

-Sweetheart,

when I’m gone,

will you forgive me?

Make A Wish

The sunlight landed on the streamers

taped clumsily across the wall

chocolate frosted cake on the table

twenty pairs of eyes blinked at me

hands clapping in glee

“Make A Wish. Blow the Candle”.

mum’s voice blew into my ear

And I wished

that i could eat the icecream

from the cart

across the park

and I wished that

she would buy me that blue

car I had seen in the store.

A group of giggling teenagers

sat huddled across

on a warm bed sharing

snacks and stories

“It’s 11:11! Make A Wish”

they whispered,

And I wished,

that I was more thinner

and less freckled

and that the boy with the

hair like gold

and eyes like emeralds

would walk over and

say hi.

It was a long drive

over endless plains and

the dark sky was lit by

stars scattered

we stopped for a while,

laid down on the sand,

“It’s a shooting star! Make A Wish!”

he pointed,

And I wished,

that my dead baby would

come back gurgling

and playing in my arms

and that

my heart would

start

feeling again.

The fountain was crowded

by hopes and dreams

and I clutched the

penny

skeptically in my palm

“Throw the coin. Make A Wish.”

the signboard promised

and tears in my eyes

and a fervent prayer on my lips,

I wished,

I wished hard to go back

to those times

when my only

wish was

something to eat

&

something to play with.

Frayed

“I’d like some rope please.”

“I’ll fetch it for you, beta, just a moment.”

“Won’t you hurry, sir? I’m in a bit of a rush.”

“I’m getting them, just wait.”

“Yes, that’s perfect.”

“That’d be 500 rupees.”

“500?! But that’s too much.”

“It’s the finest quality, beta. It

will help you well.”

“Alright.”

“I’d like some sheets of paper please.”

“Ruled or Un-ruled, beta?”

“Un-ruled.”

“How many?”

“Five. I’d also like five envelopes, and a blue pen.”

“That’d be 100 rupees.”

“100?! But that’s too much.”

“It’s the finest quality, beta. It

will help you well.”

“Alright.”

“I’d like to purchase that stool, please.”

“This one, beta?”

“Yes, that very one.”

“We have different colours also, and dif-“

“No, I want this very one.”

“That’ll be 600 rupees.”

“600?! But that’s too much.”

“It’s the finest quality, beta. It

will help you well.”

“Alright.”

He trodded

down the narrow gravel path

his

head spinning

slightly

his hands burnt

around the edges

practising

knots

His empty

apartment

said hello

he nodded back and

said goodbye

went to the room

wrote the letters

tied the rope

and hung

himself

all the while thinking

that the cost

of his

life

had been 1200 rupees.

I had kissed her goodbye.

“Are you okay?” Strange voices filtered through my head, and I nodded vaguely to the concerned strangers.

 

The rain battered down on me, and I was grateful for that, because my tears now camouflaged easily into the background.

 

I had kissed her goodbye.

 

The thought wafted through my head, and punched a crater in my stomach. I could picture her pale face in my head as I told her I was leaving. It looked so terrified I had wanted to hug her and promise her I would always be there for her and tell her I loved her over and over again. Instead, I did none of those things.

 

I had kissed her goodbye.

 

I had expected her to get angry with me. I had expected her to scream and yell and bring the roof down, but she hadn’t. Instead, she had looked at me with still, lifeless eyes and my heart had plummeted to my knees.

 

And so, when she didn’t say anything for a long while, I decided it was time to leave. I took a step closer, she stayed where she was. I let my palm cup her cheek, and shivered slightly at how cold she was. I let my thumb graze her cheek, and I bent towards her. I kissed her softly, on unmoving lips. I looked into her eyes, but she wasn’t looking at me. She didn’t kiss me back. She made no motion.

 

I stepped away. “Goodbye, beautiful.” I whispered.

 

I had kissed her goodbye.

 

As I reached to door, I turned back and saw her again. I looked at the auburn curls tapering towards her waist, her large brown eyes that used to get away with doing any sort of mischief, the curve of her nose, the mole at the edge of her lip, her fingers at the frays of her yellow sundress.

 

I committed it all to memory.

 

I didn’t want to leave her. That’s all I could think about. I couldn’t leave her like that, alone. And yet I did. As my foot stepped out the door, it carried me far far away from her. There was a strange feeling in my ribcage, though. It was light. Nay, it was weightless. I had, after all, left my heart back with her.

 

I had kissed her goodbye.

 

And so I stumbled along the rain, miserable, lonely and heart-broken. I had just given up on my one epic love, and my life felt like it was collapsing.

 

I must be the one man in history who left the one epic love of his life and then cried about it.

 

I was dumb. I was an idiot. I had left her.

 

I had kissed her goodbye.

 

A week later, I could finally stagger out of my bed. I looked at myself in the mirror. Unkempt hair, unshaved beard. I looked like a ruffian. I shrugged it away as I padded down towards the hallway.

 

It was when I was buttering my fourth toast that I decided. I was going to see her that day.

 

There was a light tingling in the core of my stomach. A tinge of excitement and curiosity. A tinge of knowing I’d be closer to her again.

 

I took a shower, and I shaved and I combed and combed and combed. My hands trembled with anticipation, and I ran to the florist.

 

“Hey, John. The usual, please.” I asked the florist. He made an arrangement of the most beautiful carnations, her favorite. I had got them for her every week.

 

“Thanks.” I yelled, as I ran. I halted when I reached, though. I took a deep breath in, and suddenly, I felt hollow.

 

She probably hated me, I realized. I almost lost my courage to see her, but nevertheless, pushed past the creaky gate.

 

My eyes roamed the large ground to find her, and when I did, I walked slowly towards her.

 

I sat down silently next to her. I placed the flowers on the cold stone, and whimpered, “Forgive me, baby.”

 

She didn’t respond.

 

“I didn’t want to leave you.” I continued.

 

She didn’t respond.

 

“I didn’t want us to part.” I cried.

 

She didn’t respond.

 

“I love you, and I miss you, and I want you back.” I said.

 

She didn’t respond.

 

I looked at the encryption on the grave stone. Susie Jones 1994-2014. A loving friend and daughter.

 

“I know you won’t respond. I know you can’t. But I need you to know that I have always loved you since the day we met. You are not just the better half of me, you’re my better whole. You make a good person just by being with me, and Suze, without you, I’m lost. Kissing you goodbye at your funeral was the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my entire life. I hope you like the flowers, though.”

 

I cried like a baby at her stone, and her lifeless eyes as I had kissed her goodbye flashed before me once again.

 

I spoke to the stone for hours, never once expecting a reply. I was just content to be close to her. My voice echoed through the graveyard, long after sundown.