Mind a blank space
full yet empty
even the tiredness feels different
open and slowly shut
I breathe in deep
In a pool of sunlight mom sits
bent over a folded newspaper
her plastered arm resting
on a cushion.
fingers tapping involuntarily
to some unheard melody
her silver head bright beyond compare
Age’s jewelled crown
she looks so much like her mother
my eyes softly close
an image begins to take shape
sitting on the chair
in a pool of sunlight
my child watching
(or maybe a grandchild
for I see a girl)
I can do with some sleep
It has settled at the base of the spine
in the perineum – the root chakra-
‘muladhar ‘ in Sanskrit
the flowering of the womb
is also awaited
the sacred feminine reclaiming
Red- the vital life energy
I need an adequate grounding
I take my place
tune myself to the earth
tips of thumb and index finger
the ruby-red lotus
nestled between the toes
mind’s eye focused on Kegel muscle
I breathe in
The energies flow
a deep, slow unfolding
rising through the light column
finding a balance
manifestation is an amazing shaman trick
and a woman, by nature a shaman
the afternoon sun
fills my room
I go in a trance
the silent chant reverberates deep into
my collective being
displacing the noise in the head
sleep takes over.
a quarter moon -
a slice of pizza Margherita.
Stars, buttered popcorn.
In an empty park
wrapped in soundless dark
of an anaesthetic night
on a bench I lie.
Head nestled in the crook of left arm,
a half burnt cigarette loosely held
between two fingers of the right.
A dog hesitatingly approaches,
sniffs at mud coated shoes,
They smell of death,
of hunger and thirst,
sweat and blood.
They smell of drudgery,
sleeplessness and pain,
and of never-ending toil.
My eyes gaze at an unfocused blur,
the wind rustles through the trees
shadows’ quivering whispers.
The cigarette drops,
turns to ash,
night gathers the leftovers
in its shroud,
somewhere the dog howls
a lullaby for the hungry.
Day after day she sets out to work
before dawn’s first light
and returns home
night after night
through the dusk
always with one thought -
whom to feed
and whom to keep hungry
A silent struggle
to feed the mouths,
for that’s all the family is to her.
She slaves for their lives,
her limbs perpetually exhausted
just like her dreams, her desires,
her grief and despair.
Bowed by the weight of duties
she leans against a tree and
gazes at the darkening plains,
limp and leaden eyed.
Tied to the vicious cycle of labour,
No, not labour – drudgery,
hopeless, endless, joyless.
She folds her hands,
for a deed she’s resolved to do.
Silhouetted against the sky.
A shadow slowly fading,
Earth to earth
ashes to ashes
dust to dust.
The poet is a hungry spirit,
always at the peak of stimulation
from daybreak to nightfall to daybreak,
searching for equilibrium.
I am holding a fiction inside me
if you think you know me, think again
what is visible is camouflaged
what is hidden is true
we are kind of schizoid, aren’t we?
containing multitudes within
Ah what the hell!
More the merrier I say!
Reality is fragile
vehicles of destruction
I am entangled in those memories of yours
real and imagined
I tried to disengage
cell by cell
pore by pore
nerve by nerve
sometimes I pulled a wrong nerve
and the scream shot inwardly
at a deafening speed
leaving me convulsing with pain
it is a long and painful process
to separate yours from mine
from a chaos of collective losses
I reached inside and pulled out my splintered heart
I poked and jabbed
pulled and scratched
I scrubbed it
till it was raw
I could not separate the part of you in me
and here I am
holding a quivering, pulsating wound
with a little you
and a little me
bleeding in my hands
the spirit gone
the flesh weak
the will dead
Prelude to 2014
In spite of all
To love you
To wake up with you
in your arms
all my life
in your home
our home (though I know you will tell me to sleep on my side of the bed. The left side. fully clothed. ) (“years of conditioning baby”, you will say..but still..)
To make that first cup of morning coffee
To sit snuggled up on the couch and watch your favorite game
or a mushy romantic movie
with you dozing off , your head cradled in the curve of my neck
To cook those simple meals, deliberately making them elaborate
soaking in the smell of sex, love and spices
To tiptoe barefoot on cool wooden floorboards
taking in the scent of you in the empty house
in your oversized shirt
after a lingering good-bye kiss at the door
To ready a romantic bath
an extravagant array of bubbles
bath soaks, a languishing dip in the steamy tub
indulgent back rubs (and much more)
conversations, (shoptalk? For heavens sake !) & laughter
Wrapped in fluffy towel
to watch you work from home
taking client calls
shooting urgent emails,
drafting a complex deals (while trying hard not to glance sideways )
with my mind spooning you (It must be tough to ignore the heat rising from the bare legs next to you)
and in between all this
to fill in the mundane
grocery, laundry, doing the dishes
polishing the floor, tending the yard,
mending the roof
followed by fights (love quarrels I call them)
followed by make up sex
It is not a fairy tale after all
I dreamed of you last night. Like all other nights.
I dreamed of us doing all the above listed things among others.
In our home.
When you know you are never going to get the man of your dreams, never going to come closer , the dream itself becomes kind of important.
To close your eyes and let your imagination catch fire, to pretend you are with the man you love, doing things you will never be able to do in real life, that’s as good as it gets.
The moment I opened the door of my home a sudden heartache hit me like a jab of an invisible knife. For a few seconds everything blurred. I held on to the door knob staring into the empty quietness that had occupied everything animate and inanimate. It was a home I cherished, my private sanctuary, a place of my own where I lived on my own but never felt lonely. A place decorated with the imagined invisible tales of our love that warmed me and gave me company at all times but today it all seemed unfamiliar and surreal as if I did not belong there. Everything gazed at me with mournful eyes. His brief visit had violently altered my side of the world. He had left but his absence still lingered, making itself more poignant with its presence. I crossed the threshold stepped inside dropped the bag and the purse on the floor and began to assess the magnitude of the void which becomes more apparent as it gets filled and this one was rapidly filling up with missingness that was flowing out from every pore of my body. Each step more difficult than the last. The heaviness began to occupy me turning my limbs to stone. It hurt to be hurting.
The ephimiraliity and uncertainty that has hovered around me while he was here had transformed itself into sorrow and a gnawing sense of disbelief. A tumultuous place a few days ago the house seemed like an echoing tomb today. I felt that if I stayed there one more minute the hollowness will gather and bury me alive in this plastered grave. It’s strange how I felt the lack of him more than his presence which has morphed into my tortured existence and everything around it.
I moved like a lost soul from room to room unsettling the quite trying in vain to fill the space he has left. Up till now I had too little time but now there was nothing but time and I felt myself being engulfed by it.
I had lost all my sides to him and in this altered reality I stood completely stripped off. Exposed. The cold creeping up my spine, filling me from foot to head even though it was a bright warm day. Numb is a feeling too, I always said and in this numbness I wasn’t aware if my heart still beat. Everything had come to a standstill inside me as if I had entered a zero sensation space. I wanted to cry but tears had dried and turned to heaps of salt. Something had malfunctioned inside me shutting down all my senses and bringing it all to an irrevocable breakdown.
A whirlpool was swirling deep within me. Unable to contain the surge of emotions I rushed out picking my purse and closing the door in one swift action. Without looking back I ran down the stairs forgetting about the elevator and briskly walked down the street shutting myself to all the sights and sounds. I could not understand what was building up inside – sorrow or rage or just a feeling of loss.
I wanted to unscrew and pull out the corkscrew of absence that had gone in so neatly. I needed to push the rising deluge deep into some unknown depth and to do that I bought myself the biggest tub of the Haagen-Dazs’ ice cream and parked myself on a high stool in a corner away from the huge glass windows overlooking the street. I did not want distractions and dug into it shoving it in my mouth and almost swallowing it with no attention to taste or chill that was sending waves of cold fire down my throat. After finishing three-fourths of it I closed the lid tucked the tub in a paper bag and walked out . The market was flooded with weekend shoppers but I just kept walking through it all hugging on to the tub hoping it would heal the sickening ache that had taken residence inside her gut.. I didn’t hear the honking from behind till a hand pulled me to the side. The car driver hurled some angry words at me and all I could catch was “die”. Yes sir that would be really nice. I found the lump in my throat melting and rising up. I mumbled a feeble thank you , lowered my head and shouldered my way through the crowd of local vendors, rickshaws, sleeping dogs, blinded myself into a few shoppers, got two portions of spicy, oily hot comfort food packed, picked two king-sized candy bars, a big bag of potato chips and walked back home. The ice cream box had become warm from the mid day sun but I felt unable to trash it.
I emptied the food on a tray , threw the candy bars on bed, stepped out of my clothes and curled up in a corner, knees to chin. and stared at the steaming hot oil dripping food and spicy pickle. A wave of nausea hit me and pushing the tray aside I pressed my naked body on the hard cold marbled floor and wept fiercely. crumbling and disintegrating as if I was invaded and shamelessly plundered through and through. I felt ashamed of stuffing my face with a thousand calories in order to stuff my emotions and not just that I had also bought a cart load of it home. Tears flowed freely again as guilt and regret hit me like a knife. I wanted to feel the pain not tranquillize it with gallons of food. I wondered what was hurting me more, letting go or holding on to something unreal. One side of my body had gone numb. I had never felt so exposed. Slowly I picked myself up from the floor, pulled a Tee over my tired body dragged myself to the bathroom and stood under the shower with eyes closed. Letting the water wash away everything not needed by my body, mind and soul. I did not bother to remove the tee which clung to me like a second skin. There were no tears, no thoughts, nothing, just a calm one feels inside the womb. Water is a healer so is the salt. It is not just for any reason our tears are salty.
I removed the Tee and gently rubbed a handful of Epsom salt all over my body feeling it release the old pain and melt away all the hurt with every stroke of my hand. I let myself soak into the universal healing and then patted myself dry, got into fresh clothes. Once in the room I shoved the food in the fridge making a mental note to give it to the house help in the morning. along with the candy bars. The bag of chips went into the cabinet. I unpacked, uncovered the Buddha and pressed it against my heart before placing it on a shelf where I could see it from anywhere in the house.
The sun was concentrated in a shaft of light in one corner of the drawing-room. I pulled the wicker chair in the pool of light and cuddled into it. I loved him and either I could stay trapped in what wasn’t or move freely into what is. The choice was mine to make. I had decided to move on with him in my heart. It is never ‘over’ and I did not want it to be either. We were just living in two different worlds but I knew in my heart of hearts that he felt the same. I smoothened the little silk cloth on my lap. “Never too far away from you“, I ran my finger tip over it feeling the words pulsate with life.
The phone began to play a familiar ringtone. The heart skipped three beats then fluttered.