Roots

Guest Post By Supriya Javalgekar

I’m a rooted animal,

Almost a plant, one might say.

Watch others taking flight,

Feel a tinge of envy

Long for the skies unknown

For lands farther and greener

Admire their soaring glide,

Bird-souls fluttering from tree to tree,

Unfettered.

 

Weathering storms or the scorching sun

Sea breeze or the mountain wind

Dusty arid or the cover of green

Their wings don’t tire.

Searching for something new –

New nests, new feed, greener pastures or merely

the joy of flight.

I look up at the venturers,

The migratory folk.

I tried on their wings once.

Every flight, felt a burn.

A twinge of regret.

Yearning for home. A sense of loss.

The desire to return.

Then slowly, I grew new roots

(the plant that I am)

In a careless pause for solace,

Ah! The disunion within.

Roots here, roots there…

Uproot from where?

 

Where is home now?

I miss them. All the nests I lived in.

All the little roots I grew every-where.

All my divided selves

Will feel one.

Only when I’m back, finally back

To where I was

Planted, as a seed.

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Coloured Stones

This path of the past

Strewn with rocks and stones

Reminders of past hurts

Bloodied and discarded.

I’ll collect these rocks one by one

Walk back the path whole

And paint the stones afresh

With blues and greens and gold.

I’ll bring these stones with me on the journey I undertake

Not as baggage of a haunting past

But as souvenirs for the time ahead

Like travellers have keepsakes – to remind

Them of places they have been,

I’ll keep these painted stones –

Reminders of what was and what could’ve been.

And when I encounter another traveller,

With stones marking their path,

I’ll help them repaint their past,

Just like I did my own.

No

He asked me to dance today and I said no.

I used to dance with agility, dance with grace,

But now my bones have started to ache.

Icy heart and creaky limbs,

Won’t shake the darkness away.

So I won’t move my body today.

Today is not a dancing day.

 

He asked me to sing today and I said no.

My voice is sweet and my throat is warm,

But I refuse to sing ‘cause something’s wrong.

My throat is gulping down a ball of hate

And my tongue leaves me with a bitter aftertaste.

So I won’t open my mouth today.

Today is not a singing day.

 

He asked me to love today and I said no.

Love needs giving, and I had nothing to offer.

So I offered him my body instead.

He said it wasn’t enough,

He said he wanted more.

But my heart refuses to feel today.

Today is not a loving day.

 

He asked me to leave today,

I had a bag packed the whole way.

 

Image Credit: All my bags are packed by Conceptual Miracles

Ode to Bra

An Ode to my Bra

You padded black beauty, my fashionable friend du jour,
My prison of choice,
You black lace beauty, my object of pillowy comfort,
No underwire, criss-crossing straps, and a velvet touch,
Just seductive enough, but not too much,
Protecting the two brown circles of my modesty,
Black cloth hiding scars and marks of the past.
“Keep the bra on” I tell them,
Hiding my vulnerability behind the lacy flowers of sexuality.

Then C cup became D cup, and I thought I’d lost you.
Lost you to the unrelenting passage of time and my growing body.
You would no longer be my friend in need, my comfy confidante,
You would become an object of desire, of envy,
Hiding in plain sight in my closet, a mocking motivation to reduce my size.
So I avoided you for months, as one does in friendships and relationships,
Postponing the inevitable breakup.
Until one day, I could wait no more.
And so I took you out, with tragedy seeping into my fleshy arms, and cupped you against me. One last time.
Until I realized you still fit. You would always fit.

Tired of being a poet

Tired of being a poet

Tired of being a poet,

I want to be a poem.

Be someone’s prized possession,

An object of affection,

Not an artist, but a muse.

To be immortalized through someone else’s eyes,

For once I want to be the prize.

 

Tired of being a thinker,

For once, I want to be the thought.

To not think and reflect,

Ponder and brood,

Just flit carelessly through a brain,

Maybe get lost down the shower drain.

 

Tired of being a lover,

Now I just want to be loved.

No long nights and days

Spent in someone else’s name,

I want to rid myself of emotion,

Numbly go through life’s motions.

 

Tired of living fully,

For once I just want to exist,

To not swim or sink,

But float effortlessly

Through space and time, you see,

I’m tired of survival,

I’m afraid of death,

Yet somehow I’m always out of breath.

 

Image courtesy: The Whim of Time by Melinda Cootsona

How would I describe myself?

How would I describe myself?

A person, that’s obvious, but what kind?

A woman, an atheist, a lover, a feminist?

Those are just labels, and labels are no fun.

I’m much more than labels, much more than a person.

I’m a wall screaming ‘post no bills’

Covered with stickers and the occasional drops of piss.

I’m a rope strung on two poles,

Carelessly bent under the weight of white cloth.

I’m the pretty little pink kettle,

Placed high out of reach, all flash no utility.

I’m the servant in a castle,

Fending off attackers with my iron spoon.

I’m both the spider and fly in this web of lies.

A mirage that changes with every mirror.

I’m the victim, the survivor, the oppressor,

Good and evil jumbled in a ball of yarn.

But imagine I met another ball of yarn tomorrow,

As convoluted an imagery as my own.

Do we both become spiders or flies?

Do we finally break free from all the lies?

The Princess and the Frog

He comes, he goes, like a gentle breeze,

He waltzes in and out of my life.

Leaving in his wake a crumbling mess;

The remains of my will and pride.

 

What fantastic strength must I muster

From my body, mind and soul,

To throw him out of my life

And will myself to grow whole.

 

Once upon a time life was a dream,

Soft voices under the moon so bright,

No false promises made and broken,

No promises made at all.

 

Yes I can see him for what he is,

Not a prince, just a frog in disguise,

A fantasy of ‘what could’ve been’

Dancing before my wistful eyes.

 

Yet I leave the doors open for him,

As I bid him hello and goodbye.

I keep hoping my frog turns into a prince,

I keep waiting for the moonlight kiss.

Blue

Evenings of silent contemplation

Nights filled with remorse

Staring up at the starry lights

Stuck on my bedroom walls.

This world seems dull and colourless

But painted walls surround me

Maybe it’s not the city that’s dull, but me.

Maybe it’s my heart that paints the walls blue.

And yet I long to get out, to go outside.

But I open my window only to be greeted

By honking ghosts passing swiftly by

Their yellow eyes glittering in the moonlight.

The people have long retired

To their own multi-coloured cells.

Trapped in their own world

Of silent contemplations and remorse.

If only I could reach out to them somehow

Connect with their hearts, not just their profiles,

Maybe I would see something hidden and true,

Maybe they also paint their bedroom walls blue.

 

Illustrated by Alice in the Slumberland

Human Doings

Ring. Snooze. Ring again.

Time to get up, it’s almost ten.

Well that’s okay, ‘cause you were up till three,

Four cups of coffee, you were on a working spree.

Rub the sleep from your eyes,

Chase it away with whiskey and ice.

Sip sip. Open your laptop once more.

Pop. There’s your list of today’s chores.

Work that earns money is priority number one.

Something that’s meaningful but also kinda fun.

Then there’s the hobbies – one, two and three.

Not doing them would make you feel crappy.

Let’s not forget the social life,

Crowded bars, loud music and cheap wine.

Remember to take care of body, mind and soul,

No one’s ever too busy to go out for a stroll!

Feeling a little stressed out? Relaxation’s the key.

Read a book, play the djembe, develop your chi.

New inspirational posters for you to mount.

“Live your life to the fullest”, “Make every moment count”

Pictures of you working, reading, eating, breathing,

Snap snap. Count the number of likes you get.

Human beings becoming human doings,

Only achieving, barely living.

Pieces

We’re both in pieces, you and I.

We’ve been shattered a few times.

Sharp corners and jagged ends

Drawing blood from well-meaning hands.

 

But when I touch you, I don’t bleed,

For when our crooked angles meet,

Sparks fly, hot and bright,

The world is more than alright.

 

Oh yes, you know very well,

How you make my metal heart swell.

And though you and I hate to cuddle,

We’re two pieces of the same puzzle.

Reprieve

Away from the world of lights and concrete,

I hide in the original jungle.

More bark than walls, more green than grey,

In this fair land I’ll stay.

 

For in the bright city

My bones grow weak and weary.

The noises don’t let me sleep at night,

The bright lights hurt my eyes.

 

But here there’s just silence

Infinite and unnerving, at times.

Here I can find all my bruises,

I can heal them in the night.

 

The night, when the city churns papers

Of ink black and white.

I wake up to piping hot tea,

With horror stories on the side.

 

Poets before me have sung

High praises of the tropical sun.

The lush green trees, the tempestuous breeze,

Are my reprieve from the city.

 

Yes here I lie, and here I’ll stay

As the world threatens to burn away.

Away from the cruelties of mankind

I’ll stay safe in my fantasy land.

Seaside Musings

Here I sit on uneven land, sand sticking to my thighs,

Hair blowing back in the forceful wind, something stirring deep within.

The sand lies white and warm, lazily stretching out for miles,

Impervious to the periodical whipping of water cold as ice.

I look far out into the sea, look as far as my eyes can go,

And count the waves as they come nearer, threatening to swallow me whole.

The sun is shining a little too bright, burning with white hot fury,

And in the tumultuous sea I see, the rage burning inside of me.

You see, the sea is me, with its depth and chaos and uncertainty,

Crashing itself upon shores unknown.

Forever still, never at home.

Plastic

Dark and cold, the city awaits

For a gentle touch of the sun.

And trapped within its concrete walls, I wait

For redemption, yet to come.

 

The buildings cast long shadows,

Blacker and deeper than trees ever could.

And yet my plastic mask threatens to melt

From the heat of the elusive sun.

 

Is this what I seek? A reprieve from the dark?

A rendezvous with the sun, to dance among the stars?

To shed all my veils, like leaves from a tree,

And reveal my true self, for you to finally see?

 

But here’s the catch, the clincher of it all,

The fear that keeps me locked within these concrete walls.

In my mind every day this question does stick

What if, in the end, all I am is plastic?

Heartbreak Hotel

Come spend the night

With me at Heartbreak Hotel.

A destination date, if you will,

Into the recesses of my heart.

 

Take my hand in yours,

We’ll enter the beast together.

This house built on bad memories,

With shabby furniture and faded walls.

 

But before you say yes, my love,

I must warn you of what lies ahead.

Of the scars you might see,

The screams you might hear,

Or the feelings you might feel

If you come too near.

 

For this hotel is haunted

By the paintings that adorn its halls

Forgiven but not forgotten,

Or maybe not forgiven at all.

 

And don’t be scared if you hear

The floors and walls creak at night,

I’ll give you fair warning, dear,

Before the roof comes crashing down.

Magic

I met you that night,

When my head spun,

And the moon shone bright.

The night I cannot recall.

But for the rushed images in my head

And the swirl of emotions in my heart.

 

I remember walking with you

Somewhere between land and sea,

Sand crunching beneath my wet toes.

Shaky limbs, blurred vision

Yet clarity, for I was sure

I had never felt this alive before.

 

As the wind gathered my hair

And whistled in my ears,

Us, our conversation

It all seemed so familiar.

As if we had met like this,

Laughed like this earlier.

 

There are so many places

Our paths could’ve crossed

Briefly met, to part ways again

But they had to merge that night

In the soft glow of moonlight

‘Cause that night was magic.

The Smiling Face

She awoke to the shining sun;

A day of wordless beauty,

Where birds chirped, and cars

Honked their happy melodies.

 

She smiled at herself in the mirror,

Smiled at her blinking phone,

She smiled at passers-by,

Brightening their day some more.

 

They responded to her kindness,

Grateful lips and nervous teeth,

Marvelling at the warmth radiated

By the girl with the smiling face.

 

And this warmth would never fill

The hollowness she felt within.

But her face could very well hide,

How blue she felt inside.

 

As her insides began to crumble,

She prepared for another day.

Because she wanted to be

The girl with the smiling face.

Bruised

I was a bruised little animal
Hiding in the shade
Of your love, till I was healed,
And then I walked away.

Was it wrong? Was I selfish?
WIll I burn in hell for this?
That would frighten me well
If I believed in the existence of hell.

So what if I hurt you?
Someone hurt me too.
That’s just the way it goes;
The cycle of love and heartbreak.

Your wounds will heal
With someone else’s love
And then you’ll leave them
Too, all alone.

Aren’t we just animals here
Inside our civilized coats?
Looking for self-preservation.
There’s safety in being alone.

You say we had it all,
And I threw it away
But is ‘us’ what I wanted
In the first place?

Maybe yes, maybe no
Maybe I wanted it before.
But something has changed
Now I’m as jaded as they say.

And this is not our story, love.
The story is mine.
And happiness of the forever kind
Comes at a price.

The Great Escape

How lovely would it be

If you and me were lost at sea,

Or disappeared among the misty clouds,

Or hid under the warm brown earth?

The two of us, side by side,

Without another, for a while.

No distractions, no anxieties,

Nothing to cloud our tired minds.

How the words would flow!

From your lips to mine

And back from mine to yours

An intimacy so sublime.

Our eyes would crinkle and shine

The way they did once upon a time,

And our hearts and minds would heal

From the blows and bruises of life.

Do you think they would notice?

Realize that we have gone?

Or would the world just carry on,

The way it did before we were born?

But it wouldn’t really matter

Whether the world wasted away,

Or shook with tears of joy,

‘Cause I’d have you by my side.

So darling, come with me now,

Away from life’s cruel games.

We could finally make

The great escape.

You and Me

How do I, from this multicoloured sea,

Pick droplets of colour to describe you and me?

 

Do I pick yellow for the happy memories

And colour the sad ones with blue?

Or do I just paint a rainbow

To describe everything we’ve been through?

 

But a rainbow isn’t enough!

Seven colours don’t suffice

To show you all the things

That I feel deep inside.

 

‘Cause though my heart is broken

And it feels a little blue,

There’s a new, rosy glow around it

And that feels nice too!

 

But this isn’t about me,

It’s about me and you.

Seven colours can’t describe us,

Neither can twenty-two.

 

But darling, don’t fret. I have a solution, you see.

It’d take the entire sea to describe you and me.

What Love Was

In the beginning, love was slow;

That warm feeling seeping slowly into her heart

When she wasn’t looking, filling her up

Until she felt she would burst with happiness.

 

She’d been wrong. Love was hurtful;

Pain and heartbreak had left her raw.

Love didn’t exist! she told herself.

She would never fall in love again.

 

She fell in love again. It was patient,

Kind and gentle. Simple and familiar.

It was friendship. It was perfect.

Maybe too perfect. She fell out of love again.

 

Love was a burst of colour, a blinding flash of light.

A spark that flew when two stones

Accidentally brushed against each other.

Suddenly, unexpectedly, a fire was lit.

 

Love was the sea meeting the land.

Not to gently embrace the white sand,

But to crash itself upon the rocky shore.

Impulsive and brazen. All consuming.

 

Or maybe love was the sand

Waiting to be touched by the sea,

Glowing under the pale moonlight

With a thirst that would never fully be quenched.

 

Love was the flickering embers in a dying fire,

A brazen reminder of the spark that it once held

Brought back to life with a sudden word, a look, a touch.

Emitting wisps of smoky memories, refusing to die.