the palace, the hospital, and the museum.

the palace.

you have grown into the habit of walking out,
and grown out of the habit of sneaking past the door
when we slept-
because you were convinced
that the walls slammed into our bones
hard enough to make us sick.

you used to think of every coincidence
as fate.

i don’t know what you think of anymore.

these last few years,
you’ve been leaving too many footprints
on the floors
from the number of times
you’ve almost walked out,
because the seasons were seeping through the ceiling
and you’ve been away for far too long
to remember how to
adapt.

the hospital.

we keep painting everything in white
the night
before you come back-

because apparently,
it’s tragic for new tables to have old mats,
but not nearly as much as
for old faces to have new feelings.

the museum.

the thing about hatred is that
it festers-
you can smoke a pack of cigarettes,
build it a necropolis on the branches
of your bronchi, and then
let the city mourn in a year long winter
with violent snowstorms
that rip your trachea out of it’s ground,

and still,
hatred will kill your cells faster
than the cold.

you have stuffed every brick in my body
with the feeling that comes
from never being understood,
and painted it on your tongue
like a mural
hungry for plaudits.

you brought tsunamis crashing into my muscles,
seismic waves rippling under my skin,
where the tectonic plates don’t just
slam into each other,
but skewer through.

some globes make for a much better map-
especially those
with oceans bleeding out through
the rips in the eyelids.

some people make for a much better centerpiece-
especially those
who you’ve already spent years chiseling slowly,
until the only thing holding them upright
was the fear of
falling.

you’ve become a connoisseur of sorts-
collecting our silences disguised
as obedience.

you’ve become something
in the name of being someone else,
and i’ve become just another
mistaken effigy with a broken mouth
screaming at you
to throw me out.

••ari purkayastha


for the person i respect, and the person i resent.

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accepting grief, and its falsities.

i.

you have slowly come to terms with how the skywalk curves into your clavicle when the last songs on my i-pod loses its record into the unsynchronized stuttering of a crowd.

this day has become schizophrenic, and more paranoid than the country weeks during world war II; but you trace the back alleys of a dead city, where grief is dragged like a prostitute and sold into a brothel of hand-me-down memories.

ii.

there is a road crawling down the planes of your shoulder blades and curling into the ridges of your spine before valleying into your ribs. i have walked that road with half a lung full of cigarette ashes and a palm desperately pretending to read braille, as if scars tended to be the best poets, who wrote in a language the literate could never apprehend.

you still remain unexplained.

yesterday, i had spent three hours talking to gods who couldn’t seem to remember my name. maybe we spoke of you in hushed tongues, or maybe i just kept arguing with that part of my brain that is beginning to understand you more than my heart ever did.

iii.

there is a lie lying between your fingers and mine, when i reach for the sun as it goes down and you stretch for that fraction of sea that has never seen light. it’s the same lie the birds have taken to whisper and die trying to finish when the air thickens, and the next breath comes like a 4 am nightmare- you just can’t recall.

••ari purkayastha

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.

fourteen years and a half.

my rhythm,

fourteen years and a half has passed
yet somewhere your beat
still resonates,
for i remain not much
but a collection of stories
bound in a novel of erased memories.

 

you echo.

i remember neither the sound of your laughter,
nor the way you whispered my name.

or how ever our air bent to collect your voice
and deliver, the cherished baritone
of your lips,
unscathed and treasured
within my years

for i like a fool, failed to revere words,
whose absence today
haunts me.

 

you pulsate.

we remain truly torn
yet i find myself tangled in these strings,
bearing the throb of your veins
like a drum, rolling upon my skin,

and i shiver for those million whips
osculate the blood within,
and they rise
to match your tempo.

 

you reverberate.

an autumn wind
beats against barren branches
whence no leaves dance to,
and I am engulfed by
every drop of water
that floods the floors with faces,
albeit faceless.

a remnant of facade within the
fresh rusted leaves,
vanquished
underneath the rugged roots.

 

you recur.

your palette.
my canvas.
and your fingers,
that brushed my face
to our evenings,

are mere verses- that whisper through
my headphones today-

of our partings, as the sun set
and the dusk danced
to our farewells.

i weep tearless sorrows
when i look at crayons,
for i recall with warm recollection
how you sketched my smiles
-that the clock charcoaled-
and breathed life
through your fingertips,
while i massacred those irrelevant outlines
with both my hands.

you laughed

i hid my face in your neck.

my hair tickled your paints,
and you shaded me.

 

you resound.

every throb of time
is a cruel reminiscence of those hours
when the cold air wrapped
those murky mornings,
and you stood on our bridge
minutes before school.

your bones enfolded mine,
and the prosaic bricks
baked into auburn cobblestones.

those touches were scorched in my iris.

 

you resonate.

within the moonlit drizzle,
every thought of mine
is drenched with the fire
rekindled,
by the frosted memories
that cascade upon our
guileless childhood

and i raise my wrist
to the roaring showers,
letting the thunders
slip in my veins.

 

you replay.

fourteen years and a half has passed,
and today your phantom has
become the rhythm
my thoughts beat to.

 

your fallen.

 

••ari purkayastha

you’re playing cards with our skin.

i. 

you’re standing on the shoulders of a sea shell, that i’m pretty sure was placed strategically to hide tips of the gravestone where two women lay buried- in an octagonal casket- their toes barely touching, and their lips just a breath away- if only they could breathe.

but there are breaths in your lungs and miles in your legs, and we are still too far for even my fingertips to remember the quiet tickle of your eyelashes, from days when there were comets showering through our rooftops instead of the thirsty july rains, and i traced the valleys on your cheekbones- weathered from that single tear that slipped from mine.

i was losing more than just a heart.

 

ii.

we are at a standstill on the windowsills of two towers- that would probably be used to study the movements of the sun a thousand years from now, when civilization will have forgotten it’s civility and could only remember how the day drowns in dusks-

 while you gamble away those last few seconds (when your back was toward the door that was still facing me), for another chance to draw from a deck that was itself begging for density.

 

iii.

there are three leaves of spades left in the hollow of your neck-

and one lost to the autumn of my grief.

 

 ••ari purkayastha

we tethered on the edge of winter.

i.

we were the last of leaves on the december nights, when icicles crept in on the fires, flickering on top of the house lanterns, and true to our endings, we were separated by thousands of miles of veins running between us. connected, yet disconnected by the awry storm looming within the edges of frozen breeze, you and Ifluttered and fell, like eagle feathers, from the height of a million sighs..

ii.

today when our evenings finally break,
city lights shall chase away traces of stars
for history will burn in our bones and ache;
so we don’t chase perfection,
we embrace our scars.

iii.

faces from decades ago peer back at me
from the wells
where we threw our new year’s eves
instead of copper dimes,
wishing for more wishes to wish upon;

because somehow I knew
that the streetlight you stood under
would dim,
and shadows would collide
until you became just another obsidian presence
on the walls of a ragged footpath.

time gently wore down the rhapsody
crashing in our eyes..

iv.

I think our names still remain written
side by side, carved in a lonely bench
on a rocky beach
like foredoomed lovers;

while we built parallel paths
pebble by pebble,
meeting at a phantom intersection.

we never intersect.

we talk, and write letters with no destination-
for there is none.

you linger in my lungs
like the november heat,
burning a month too late..

v.

decades crept on our bones
as we fluttered like stars
in the evenings.

letters ached,
and november fell into december..

••ari purkayastha

we were lilies wilting on a coffin..

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i.

there are sunsets
when some part of that frame
-holding a grotesque
carving of your paints and my inks-
rejects to bear the cracks we made
when we negligently tapped away
to a euphony shivering on our teeth.

much like a naked branch
breathing between broken days-
i and you, were an illusion woven together;

quite preposterous in face of dusk.

 

ii.

because we were no less than the curves
on a calligraphied sketch,
i simply couldn’t conceptualize how long
a stroke it would take me to reach you,

for there live embryonic infinities
in the small span from- zero to one;

and you were farther than
just a step apart.

 

iii.

i think i could see you,
stumbling under the street lights
some miles away.

were you drunk on painted arsenic
or inked tequilas- i’d never know,
because questioning ghosts are
forbidden in the city where i come from;

and you’d never answer
how each bone of yours
seemed to echo in my storms,
as the raindrops wailing on my
window pain slowly
strung a viol with my veins,
using the barbed ends of
your bourbon bottle as a bow.

i didn’t either.

 

iv.

somehow we’ve become
the song of a dying nightingale-
still quite haunting
in the presence of absence;

but like lilies wilting on a closed coffin

you and i, existed between a
nowhere and a somewhere-
somewhat like shadows
with lost identities..

 

••ari purkayastha