death is as delicate as life is callous.

you watch the day breakdown in quite hymns and lose its faith in quieter breaths at moments when it becomes more and more difficult to watch the blue jays on your window sills struggle to fly with half torn wings.

you listen to the afternoon wail and beg the same way an old man begs for his wife (dead for a decade now) to hold his fingers against her breast and remind him that he can forget to take another breath and still remember the sound of her last one.

it’s here today- a sun that is struggling to rise from its grave, because sometimes the dead die in the most phlegmatic of ways-

in the eulogies of themselves that never spoke of their name.

••ra’ahe khayat

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man, and she who was but not a woman.

and so tell me how there isn’t a tongue in my mouth but just yours, that lashes against the wind in this mumbai monsoon- ripping at the vitrics on the windows, as it rains just more than sea water. because you- you were born in midst of the heaviest of cherrapunji rainfalls, with your wide eyes (reddened with age, anger, and ale, though you’d never agree), and your god, and this anatomy that most around you (namely her), call male. you were born with the sky falling at your feet, and so all too- must.

there’s a blatant dissonance between your sky and mine because mine holds on to itself even when it shatters, while yours submissively impetrates.

we belong to none but the sky above us. we learn from none but the sky around us.

and so your god, and your mother, and your woman (her), and your sky- they’ve all taught you to stand on bird bones and faery corpses, because you are man. and man- with his red eyes, and a broken earth draped on his shoulders- stands above all.

he wears crowns on his toes, because all men are kings, and the game plays itself in this black/white world as long as he lives.

all hail the king.
long live the man.
lord bless them all who bow before him.

because they who bow, their tongues beg; they who stand, theirs are ripped. they were women when they kneeled, they were beaten when they did not.

she is a woman;
i, am lesser than one.

yet you are more inhuman than me, and she is more human than you; i am but a wild wood creature with nails pierced through her lips that she with her humanity, picks at, and you with your god- hammer.

••ra’ahe khayat


forgive me if my words bruise with their jaggedness, but anger must not be sanded down- even when it is silenced. it must be let out, even if you are punished for it.

gambling my sobriety away with a god.

i’ve been drinking this cheap bottle of whiskey away with a god who stands beside my bedside every time this farce of a sky begins to shatter sometime after nine twenty-four in the evening, only to let go when it finally does. i think he thinks that i think that i have grown up enough to grow out of these feelings that rise and swell inside my throat like sea waves- only there’s no moon calling them.

or maybe there is, and my eyes have been so clouded in the dark by the crowd of rain that has crowded my lungs that i can’t begin to even make out the edge of luna’s silhouette from the crooked horizon of a raindrop.

but this he doesn’t know- the god who keeps letting me go.

or he didn’t. until last night when the gravity inside me finally broke down and brought upon meteor showers on my skin. (they’ve already caused one mass extinction, is it really so farfetched to think that they might not be incapable of causing another?) but he stood- just outside my reach and told me in a grave whisper that today-

we’d drink.

and so we’re drinking because there’s not much you can do when you finally come to terms with the fact that maybe your eyesight has been deteriorating without you realizing, and the footpath you’ve been walking on for the last year was in actuality the thin rail of line separating two opposite lanes of speeding tyre tracks on a highway leading you somewhere away from where you’ve been intending to go, and all you want to do now is go back to being half blind.

he seems convinced that this shot of bitter metal will do just that- rust our insides so much so that the outside doesn’t matter anymore, and we have long since lost sight of anything remotely resembling the shock of my miscarriage when the last of my sanity bled out of my bones, in a fraudulent attempt at calling my lover back to me.

but death never came for me that night.

••ra’ahe khayat

god is dead.

god is dead.

he died seven years ago, on the streets of mumbai- hit by a car, while he stumbled on the sidewalks, mumbling all sorts of obsolescent prayers, as the meth in his veins slowly bestrewed his significance on those half eaten concrete roads, that wrapped itself like a ragged hand-me-down scarf, around a city standing on human bones.

his body lay there for three days before it was discovered by a fisher-maid, setting up her baits, trying to catch skeletons that had somehow learned to float in just that layer of water that was reserved for the living. she never screamed. she never did anything, but walk to a nearby cigarette shop- that sold faux maturity to eleven-years-olds for just a measly price of 5 rupees (or if you were short on the money, you could always pay with the excess of the cells in your lungs), and picked up the half-broken telephone that had gone out-of-date some twenty years ago, to call men who had seen far too many bodies- in more states of decay than a lifelong sexton.

it lay there for another hour- unsupervised- before moving shadows started crowding around it with judgemental eyes, that knew more about him, than he probably ever did. there were more stories on his sullen skin than his tongue ever let on; stories full of naivete, hope and failure. stories that could probably rob the world of another century of hunting answers, in pages written by men a lot less learned than those seeking them.

but he never spoke.

those answers, and those questions, and their answers- they all gradually lost their pallor as the blood drained out of him during his postmortem. they declared that he had overdosed. that he would have died, even if the car hadn’t bashed his head in. that he had been dying long before he finally did. that he had cancer harvesting in his heart. that he was probably suicidal, because his hands looked like they had been a brutal war-ground, where the only winner were those who were not breathing. they said his wrists looked just like the humans he was rumored to have created- scarred and failed. he was depressed, they said.

his face was in the newspapers for eighteen days, waiting to be claimed- in news articles read desperately, only by desperate family members of desperately lost people, who were more conversant about themselves than the rest, to actually advertise that they were indeed lost, and in need of help.

on the twenty-first day, they burned him in a pit with rest of the homeless corpses- no one recognized him.

no children.
no wife.
no family.
no name.

no one knew what god looked like after all.

••ari purkayastha


i’m not trying to make a statement. it’s merely an idea. religion has nothing to do with this essay.

a vague classification of you.

you’re the kind of love that
taints hearts and breaks bones.

the kind that echoes uncertainty,
and mourns poetry-
concurrently.

the kind that is conceived
in a breath,
and decays in the next.

the kind that leaves your body
like a bullet,
and scars your skin like a serrated knife-
the kind you start forgetting
before it’s gone,
but live with long after your chest
has succumbed to gravity.

••ari purkayastha


Last post as an 18 year old.

letters for a certain nobody. #2

14th April, 2017.
3:42 pm.

i miss the way your heart used to fuck mine in the middle of a crowd, as everyone looked over at us, without ever seeing how fast they slammed against our ribcages, while we tried to cage our flailing valves and aching veins that were too tired to scream, and yet too obstinate to stop fighting.

it’s all too very still now.

my body has lost it’s rebellion, and my mind has lost it’s battle, as they both stand silently over the tomb where parts of you lived within me long ago. everything that moves today, does so in denial- because acceptance hurts.

you could sew bones back into their sockets, and joints back into their folds, but the tears at the creases where you folded my breast as a keepsake cannot be joined anymore than you can reset the calendars to sail back through those months that lost their very name in the avoidance of yours.

i’m like a water molecule at the surface of silent lake- you crashed into me with a single violent kiss, and then skipped away, without ever turning around to watch me drown-

i miss the way you stole the clarity of the graceless stars that bewailed the loss of their entangled twin, with each breath.

ari.

of suicides and the living.

“watch-
as your hand falters and falls between five lines of a music sheet, torn right before a hastily scribbled apology. suicides do that. they climb over your back and break your spine with the slightest pressure of their voices, while you still hear the hum-
missing a note. skipping a note like it never existed.”

•••

there are too many different sorts of variations to this song and i still couldn’t seem to remember the first line before you were gone.

i never knew that you could lose people to the turbulence of a whiskey bottle until you proved that gravity was unbiased; that a one litre bottle could be just as deep, and hold just as many coffins as the bermuda triangle.

guess you learn something new each day.

sometimes i wish you hadn’t left anything behind. voices tend to have a ghost like ability to be heard when they had never even bothered to speak, and yet they can’t be shut down- you can’t silence what’s “there” and not yet gone, because “gone” is from the global list of living people and not from the list of people i “let go”.

you can’t let go of the living.

especially not when your own lungs have been acting like a surrogate for their collapsed ones.

isn’t that how you differentiate between the living and the dead anyways? by the people who are breathing and the people who are not?

••ari purkayastha

merely because of nostalgia.

because there was something
quite nostalgic about a city
that cried itself to sleep
at an hour when the rose
withered- aged two decades and a year
in the time it took
drunken mistakes to tear
into the condom foils-
and when beauties woke up to
frogs- their pockets filled with gold
and empty hopes,
as a payment for their time-
because what was a greater irony
than a city losing seconds to the clock
while every other man,
with a few shillings in his pocket could buy
hours from a princess
with an even lesser self esteem.

because there was something
quite nostalgic about a city
that forgets to mourn that girl,
that single girl, no one remembers
but an old castaway couple-
where one romanticized cancer,
and the other fornicated with pensions
and debts in her marriage bed-
as they reminisced a daughter of sixteen
from sixty years ago
put to sleep in six seconds, by a driver
weaving spindles with his wheels-
wondering if the pain was prickly like a needle
or simply unfathomable.

because there was something
quite nostalgic about a city
where wishes came true by
rubbing the lamp- and every other homeless
kid begged for buds and snow girls
and crystal babes to marry to-
and where skyscrapers stood
proud and wide, like the men residing within-
strong like a shell, with vacant flesh,
and hollow nerves.

because there was something
quite nostalgic about the city
i looked at, at 3 am, from twelve floors high
as a sickening silence finally dawned
and the city passed out,
after having each bone broken
by the hungry street lights..

••ari purkayastha

something without a say.

“i’m empty-
like a virgin womb,
dead inside.”

 

i have nothing for you today.

no words to hastily scribble on coffee stained papers and tuck into the pockets of your life- that you could pull out and read at a bus stand when it’s raining too loud for the moon to hear you scream, or throw away when it gets too crowded with little folded pieces of long numbers full of short affairs.

no poems to press into your skin when the winter gets so lasting, that you begin to forget the shape of the silence growing through your veins.

there’s a lot of silence.

too many minutes filled with nothing but hesitant colloquies and unhesitant farewells, and just a few without the paralysed longing.

 

••ari purkayastha

where eyes beat for hearts.

there are bones under your bed-
whole skeletons with no hearts,
but eyes that blink
seventy-two times in a minute.

they’re closer to your hands
on nights when
your fingertips hang on to a
doorknob, that bleeds every time
it’s turned to let someone
out.

someone is always walking out.

there’s too much blood
for a heart to pump
and still flutter
in anticipation of
another breath
fading.

 

••ari purkayastha