The greatness lies in the words.
The scribble of an ink on paper
could easily be what your mind is screaming in your closeted head
or the thumping in your chest.
Why does the brain let us think that it is the heart that is the greater, while all it does is pump blood in our veins, on its own instruction?
Why do I think you are the greatest, when you just told me things I should have known last year, or the year before it?
I should have told myself that I am a caring person
and I am a sweet girl and I dont deserve anyone making any less of it.
I don’t deserve myself making any less of it.
You are different, for not who you are because you are just another lesson on a boring school day.
No, you are different because I thought you could’ve been.
But damnit, you just had to twist your words with your action.
I had a good time while it lasted.
I had a great time while you were there.
And then it was time for us to leave.
You could’ve enjoyed the good bye, been less hasty,
I wouldn’t have minded.
I could’ve complained less.
We are who we are.
You are who you are.
But it was my pleasure that you stopped by.
Painting Courtesy: Naomi Okubo
As I sit there,
looking out of the moving window
I feel all kinds of feelings stir in me.
No, just the melancholic ones.
They overflow through my
Just a little.
Just a little
more time I wish
She bolted away before
she was gone forever.
“It was nice knowing you,”
she said, leaving a
kiss on my cheek
I touched the spot,
I should have sayed.
Should I have stayed?
Does he care that I left?
I didn’t want to.
All my instincts only ever
wanted to stretch this
affair as long as
it could endure.
But I have seen too
many stories end on a
sour note when
enduring is all that’s left
I wouldn’t let it happen to mine.
I shouldn’t have let it happen.
I shouldn’t have let her go by.
Does she think I don’t care?
She said, “Now I need to run away.”
Did she not care?
If only he knew
running away might kill me
show up as stains on my face
and bruises on my lungs
But some doors need
to be closed behind us.
Maybe we will meet again…
Fate is funny that way…
I hope he remembers me then…
Someday we may meet again.
Let fate work it that way.
I pray she remembers me then.
I hope she remembers me then.
Artwork Courtesy: Daniel Segrove
1. I like escaping reality.
2. I like reading books because in books you travel far and wide to places real and unreal and meet people fantastical and maniacal and you reach the end and it is just a kooky little world someone cooked up in their mind and used their hands to write it down using 26 letters and that’s all that is there to it. And that’s all it took to make me feel like I just lived a life far and wide.
3. I like movies because one day someone decided that the human kind needs to learn the power of imagination and that it is within us to give a form to that imagination and include all kinds of people into our little world to share stories about girls and boys and men with guns and aliens and that not only can you imagine but you can probably shape it too.
4. I like painting because I like colors and I like to feel my hand make something that my brain pictures and my eyes see and then give my opinion about the whole affair.
5. I like boys. Because sometime their words can bring about a physical change in me and make me smile and make me blush and make my stomach flutter.
6. I hate boys. Because sometimes they will say something and make me feel small and make me cry and break things and make me confused about why I am giving someone else have this power over me and why do I lie awake at 4 am picturing scenes after scenes of what was and what is and what could have been.
7. I escape reality every time I fail.
8. I like reading books because in books I can forget that I woke up that night thinking I wanted to kill myself and I didn’t want to kill myself and instead lose myself in a world where I can picture a different life far from here.
9. I like watching movies because in movies I see someone else’s what was, what is and what could have been and finally, what became.
10. I like painting because I can always paint myself – with more colors and start over.
It always starts innocently enough…
Like when you are picking at a wound, its just for relief you say to yourself
but soon enough you have scratched open your wound, raw skin and blood all over.
You end up enduring a worse injury. And to be honest, aren’t you to blame for it?
So you start picturing a future together
Irrespective of whether you even have a present (you don’t)
Soon enough in between clinking of glasses and laughter and kisses
you realize, how will it ever be?
And you realize you are further down the pit than you ever thought
Raw skin exposed and blood all over.
Just give it time dear,
wounds close and the blood clots and they heal.
Don’t go picking at it.
It will heal.
Don’t scar yourself.
Sculpture by Justin Novak
I am supposed to think about the greater good. I am supposed to focus on my calling, things I am passionate about. I am to look for adventures, not sit here thinking of you. Over-analyzing all the words you said to me. One moment I am convinced that you meant every word you said. Because you looked in my eyes and you made me smile. Isn’t that how it is supposed to happen? I have been too out of touch. I have kept myself too out of touch because I am a fool and I am being foolish again. Of course you didn’t mean anything. You were in high spirits and I was in high spirits. And we both said and heard what we wanted to. High spirits make a bigger fool of us than we are. But here I am nevertheless, playing it, rewinding it and playing it again. Just one more time. And its 3 o’clock and I dug out a hole in my heart that I had barely been able to cover up from the last time. So, I will make this easier for myself.
Let’s play a game of what if? What if you did mean it? What if you do want me and I won’t turn out to be like all the other ladies before me? We will seek out the high spirits again and you will make me smile and laugh and make me feel good and soon enough I’ll start craving you. People like me get addicted to people like you very easily. And I will start changing myself according to you. I won’t say the words that upset you, that could anger you. I just want us to be right there, laughing. I just want that moment. But moments are fleeting. I always forget that. We will continue with our conversations. We will shut out the world and you will open up in secret. I will then tell you one of my secrets. The ones even my friends don’t know. And we will kiss under the drunken stars. Or maybe under the fort of your blanket. Or anywhere really, I don’t mind you kissing me anytime… anywhere.
But soon enough, the high will fade and you will become you and I will become me.
It won’t last because I will sabotage it. Or maybe you will. But more likely we both will strangle it. You will start fidgeting, I won’t be enough for you. I won’t find you compelling or challenging enough, and you will be just another pretty face unable to understand my fickle, rude, arrogant heart. And all the kissing won’t help it. And we’ll let each other get lost in the crowd again. Becoming perfect strangers.
There you go, sweet heart,
if it won’t last do we have to indulge in it?
Illustration courtesy: Harriet Lee-Merrion
4 years and it ends. Change is a funny thing. You know it is inevitable, you look forward to it for the most parts. Every time when a semester ended, I couldn’t wait to just finish it all up and get over with the race. I wanted desperately to have change take over my life and turn it around. But now that I am here – 4 long years gone and change just a few moments away from taking over my life that I feel a little paralyzed. My brain is taking time to comprehend a situation it made many tiny movies about. My body wants nothing but to float in space. The scary thing about change isn’t that what I have come to know as life is going to be refreshed nor is it that I am scared of losing out on the familiar life that I got used to, but that nothing is going to happen until I let it.
Everything is in my control and whatever I do from now on will for better or for worse change everything or maybe it won’t change anything at all. But the control is in my hand. And that is scary. It is scary to be blindfolded at a spot and asked to find the bow and the arrow and shoot it. It’s nerve wrecking.
But it needs to be done. At the end of the day, the enemy that keeps us from moving forward isn’t the society or circumstances. They do create problems, but the real problem arises from much within. It arises from fear – the fear that is paralyzing my brain and body, the fear that is whispering in my ear that maybe I am not yet mature enough to handle a job or a big move, the fear that tells me I will fuck it all up. The real enemy is my fear that things will not be in my control, I am too small to keep anything in control and being in control is everything if I want to survive.
And this is scaring me.
So, I will step out of my body here, and tell this to myself:
“Take a breath.
Tackle one thing at a time.
It’s alright to be scared. I am not the only one who ever felt this. Most people out there are fighting the same battle within. So it’s my time to join the war.
Keep it simple. No one can keep everything in control. Not even Batman. And it’s not in the nature of the universe to be in control.
And it’s okay to screw up, make mistakes, fail, fall on the way. No one came here with a Dummy’s Guide on How to do Life. Its trial, error and DIY.”
We are individuals in this world seeking our individual fortunes. And though we are made of the same components we have our own unique differences, rendering us alike and different at the same times. Maybe it is that alike bit that brings about the craving in us to form communities and societies. In turn, we get boundaries in this expansive planet of ours to form a working civilization and pronounce the differences between other communities and societies. We form different ideologies of the same concept of spirituality and each one trying to force it on as many individual and driving a deeper wedge. So much so that it has almost become hard for many individuals to accept another as a mere human being because of their personal opinions or different experiences they had to went through.
Over time instead of reveling in the joy of being unique, who in a utopian world should have a right to their own individual thoughts, beliefs, value system are forced to herald together in a group and follow the one shepherd. We are brainwashed and forced to shun the voice in our head and follow the loudspeaker. And this has always encountered rebellion of some form by a small group of people. Be it the Romantics, the Expressionists, the Impressionists. Be it the rebellion of the flappers in the 1920s overthrowing the constricted, conservative society paving way for freedom of expression for women or in the 1960s when the hippies rebelled against consumerism and war. It has mostly been the generation of the youth who has rebelled against the existing system, but then it fizzles out as well.
Society keeps on labeling and categorizing everyone like commodities. In fact, this categorizing business has been so in bred in us at this point that we ourselves revel in it – are we a Chandler or a Joey? A Carrie or a Miranda? We are labeling ourselves, choosing to be 2-dimensional characterization of someone’s imagination rather than labeling ourselves as our own persona. The society uses the written word, the broadcasted voice, the pretty girl to tell us how we all should look, how should we dress, what we should think.
In our individual journeys, they create a virtual road block and try to paralyze our muscles, so that we forsake our roads to join in with the crowd, where we then are categorized and labelled from their existing categories. We are then told how to live a “safe” and “secure” life, so that we die a “peaceful” death, and do nothing that could anyway change the course of the society.
So did the society just win over individuality?
Artwork courtesy: Sofie Bird Moller,from her series “Interference”