i have loved you long for longer years, in stories of myth and death and pain, throughout histories of broken tales, and premonitions of mirrors bleeding upon a poem i would, and perhaps should carve out of the chambers beating breathlessly in my heart- a heart that you could quite literally feel dying an asphyxiated death beneath the hollowness of the ribcages you spent your nights painting with. somedays, when the rain is no less than a painless substitution for the ink i fill my copperplate nibs with, i can hear you wordlessly walk the short few steps from the window to the bed, in search of a moonless dusk we both lost somewhere along the way from one year to the next, as the guitar strings and the violin blades tangled away from our skeletal ankles, predilecting pulse in lieu of a coffin coldness.
ossification was just one of the few words i’d taught myself to describe the slow evolution of all those nerves firing and misfiring behind my eyes, as the candles voicelessly faded away from my nails- leaving a charred mass of blade behind, to live with a regret never forgiven (perhaps never even memorized). and how could i possibly forgive you once you nailed our steps to the walls as a scornful portrayal of yesterday, and a cruel mockery for tomorrow- architecting the devastating intricacies of jahannum within the labyrinthine abstractions of jannah.
sing my darling, i should like to whisper, but today, i’d much rather be sucked under the vortex of reality than swim in the shallow water illusions of fantasies, and fate, and folklores about victorian chandeliers hanging inside greecian palaces, where a solitary raven cries away to the crescendo of a corroded leviathan gateway descending upon a widow’s bouquet of stygian roses. i wouldn’t be a mourner- someone haunting pages of literature with a million expressions and phrases about how sunsets on boneyards awakened a long dead body with a longer dead heart as it simply brushed away decayed decades off it’s veins and begun beating to the notes of my flute in a strange forgotten symphony- no, i’d much simply rather be one of those dark eyed dames you’d see crossing the roads, (when cars chase a scarlet comet with headlights and horns) walking with footsteps feathering on losing and belonging. just never quite anywhere- yet completely never- nowhere.
it began on the fourth week of february
when she fell in love with
a bird under a man’s skeleton.
before march stole in through the chimney,
she was licking at the little pockmarks
his beak had left on her lips
after they kissed.
i’d wondered if he was a jay bird;
she wondered if she was loved back.
april came with her days on her tongue,
and her nights behind her spine
she’d spent at the feet of her faith.
they both were born to gods
holding carvers to the other’s neck.
they both were born to gods
who never forgave.
she hummed hymns into the hollow of his hips,
and he said—
‘we are children born to never love
but to only pray for the longing to wane
w h i s p e r s.’
it was on the seventh day of june
when she moved her heart
into the woodpecker’s hole he’d dug on her scapula:
covered with a stretch of skin
no rock dove would ever steal.
if we could make fish-tails out of poems
i would fold you into a myth,
and write you on the inner wall
of my last dorsal bone;
but we’re humans
—i and you—
and we breathe like most birds do
when autumn vines hang out their hearts
for passersby to tie dying wishes
to dried wishbones.
and years, and luna said—
‘wishes ever outgrow the secrets that cradle them.
whisper your whims whence they’re never heard,
and widowed sylphs might bear them home.’
you blew out candles on my ulnar nerves
to truss my heart to your bone;
and we were decades before we were lovers.
and we were ended
before our eyes learned to blink.
and luna said—
‘the love you loved was forebound to leave.’
i pressed my prayers to your rosary
and your rosary to my chest,
and you threw a stone at the sky
and it shattered over us like our faiths.
and for years i’ve heard it-
a lover’s call;
whispering and settling over my bones
like my skin does
– on most days when it is not being pulled apart
by those laodicean sparrows –
like a vow does
– during weathers when they bury their tongues
in octagonal caskets anchored
to my wrist –
like longing does
– each time the night parts my thighs
and slips in –
where a stranger voice from the skies
– from the void –
his bones were rattling.
you could hear them crash against each other
each time he walked towards or away from me;
but he spoke of being blind
to the sounds that unsettled within
– for he was evermore falling,
and falling –
the wind stringing the scrapes
of his fracturing heart
if you have come to leave, then do not stay by me with your breath reeking of yesterdays -time decays by days, heart decays by the hours- and i and you, we decayed in the heartbeats it took for the sparrows to migrate from northern longings to southern silences.
if you stay, but do not remain, then be there in that faraway land where the sky weeps into your palms, with the very lover you keep leaving behind, simply to come watch me fall;
but if you must, then be here until the very end, when the rocks fill my marrows, and exorcise them of the monsoon that grieves without rain.
if you have come to but watch the stars lose their grip on my hair, then flit away little bird, the earth is yet to learn to fill the spaces under the skin of those left with much but ghosts;
-i’ve had far too many lovers to remain human. i’ve loved your heart in far too many ways to remain with one.
if you last to only feast on the memories buried in my areola, then perhaps you musn’t- there isn’t much brown that lingers on my nerves,
there isn’t much of the blue either.
your toes were guitar picks
picking at my veins-
strumming my heart
each time you walked on my body;
and i would wake up
with blue-black footprints all over my skin-
stretched around my bones
like a shore being swallowed by the sea
that never considered what it peculated
when it left
-stumbling away like a lover high on moonshine-
by the morning
i was always lesser.
(lover is a loose term,
looser than the women you lose you nights to.
i have come to loathe those nights.)
a pavement grows between my ring finger
and your thumb,
as if we are retracing our steps
back and forth between our miscalculations
watching as the the curtains freeze
into something colder than a dried oasis,
on mornings when
there are dust specks near the windows
blinking in and out of continuity;
you’re always closer
when i’m half hanging at the doors-
when the clouds swallow themselves though.
an entire evening wraps her legs
around your waist,
but you only care enough to see
luna wried into a snowflake
between my teeth-
half struggling for breath,
and half struggling for the high that comes with being
you’re slowly forgetting
the urge that made you paint the bones under our skins
with the liquid apathy the sky bled out;
and you’re slowly forsaking
the simple art of
for the sake of
studying as the organs under our exposed skeletons
i pull you out of our polaroids-
and you stop at that year
when everything just feigned to
there was an entire afternoon you’d spent calculating the width of a splintered horizon, hanging from the hair-tips of your old lover’s wraith; and it was the most of you i’d seen in the longest part of ever- where the rattling in your bones resonated with the fracturing in your heart, while your fingers furiously flew over a blackened paper decaying with the distance from an unstructured reality.
and on that day you haunted me most-
with your lips scarred with her name, and your chest cavity crumbling with her memories buried inside of them like an oldest house folding into itself- you held me to the edge of your body, like an unbridled sea holds the sky- while the closest i ever got to you was when my own breath recoiled back to me.
i remember, how you were so full of equations that’d never dare to exist in the world outside of us, and how you tied every single poem of mine into a probability that existed in a line full of mathematical assumptions, and i remember, how you chanted those equalities like a desperate prayer from someone between belief and heresy, as if some uncalculated error might draw her back to when you and her- you fucked with a kehkashan slowly losing its uncentered gravity at the space between your chests.
and i remember, how your legs met the tiled land under our feet as you watched all your calculations fall apart like two lovers after they’d undone the last dredgs of their being.
and because i loved you because you loved her and because she loved this longing more than you, we stood under that afternoon sky with our palms hanging open- almost bleeding at the lifelines- just struggling to forget
how to breathe.
cassandra woke me up last night with her hair in my face, and her breath in my neck, and the frail beginnings of her grief tucked lightly in my palm. her breasts rested on my ribs, somewhere between two hearts- straining to unlive a relativistic heartquake that left more fault lines on our skin than this dense silence ever did; and her fingers lay over my womb- leached of all life.
she trembled- like there was an entire mos scattering in the echoing marrow of her bones, while the red in her hair insouciantly wilted into an utmost inconsolable complexion of grey; and she grew flowers on her skin with the wet linger of death she wore like a dress- draped over her skeleton like a monsoon sky halfway between falling and drowning.
i loved cassandra like i loved luna, and cassandra loved me like luna never did; and i left her after every fortnights, when luna spread herself naked across the sky bed like an unspoken of lover between three heartbeats and one parched kiss.
but she was spoken of- between cassandra and i.
we spoke of her when the concrete of the roads had turned too coarse from being unwalked on, because cassandra thought it was like our fingers- too inelegant and insensate from not touching anymore. she spoke of luna when she felt grass blades turn red from the scars in the arch of her soul, as her feet carelessly tread through them. she was spoken of when the sun took far too long festering under the long skirts of a horizon that had spent the last decade sleeping with every lost planet that sought it out, just for a chance at getting higher than it perpetually was.
she spoke of her, like an atheist speaks of a god- with an apathetic reverence; and last night, cassandra kept praying to the god with the only comprehensive part of her she had left anymore- her longing.
i broke cassandra like i could never break luna, and cassandra broke me last night more than luna ever bothered to.