Tag: Poems

the months of the year as descriptions of people i love

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january; the smell of cologne, long showers, grey sweatpants, cold stares, black caves, masquerades, full moon, leather jackets, playing poker, high heels, embroidered curtains, rolling your eyes, smudged lipstick.

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february; the smell of highlighters, straight lines, hand sanitizers, art museums, waffles, going home after a party, new york apartments, off white walls, long bus rides, the smell of glue. 

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march; the smell of freshly cut grass, stargazing, picnic mats, world maps, purple tulips, floral dresses, colourful clips, sunshine that blinds your eyes, holding hands, open windows, soft plushies, fruit salads, afternoon naps, wings of a butterfly, crying of happiness. 

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april; the smell of old newspapers, warm hugs at the airport, paper planes, 90s magazines, telephone directories, handmade gifts, borrowed books, bicycles, chapsticks, going on rides at a carnival, velvet tops. 

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may; the smell of shampoo, sunflowers swaying, hikes, dad shorts, diving in the pool, round glasses, unsolved mysteries, dimples, baseball caps, maple syrup, scrunchies, smiling in relief, forehead lines.

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june; the smell of wine, weddings, crowded malls, drunk girls in the bathroom, bell bottoms, dancing in pitch black rooms, hotels, late night calls, ready made cakes, sunglasses.  

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july; the smell of the ocean, wavy hair, coconuts, roller skating, bandanas, open sunroofs, home full of plants, face masks, sandcastles, pillow forts, evening walks, the summer you always remember, cotton candy. 

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august; the smell of rain, blue roses, polaroids, vast forests, vinyls, dreamcatchers, lemon iced tea, untitled poems, falling asleep in the car, singing in the balcony, grey eyes.

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september; the smell of coffee, wooden flooring, handwoven rugs, black gel pens, blunt knives, broken mirrors, alpenliebe toffees, dry leaves, playing the ukulele, cowboy hats. 

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october; the smell of old books, my grandma’s cooking, the great gatsby, bonfires, sticky notes, bullet journals, purple skies at 5 am, singing ballads during karaoke, baking cookies, treehouses, watching the sunset from a hill top. 

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november; the smell of vanilla, fuzzy socks, hot chocolate, sky lanterns, peanut butter jars, silver disco balls, milk moustaches, ice cream stalls, henna tattoos, hoola hoops, rubber bands, sleeping on someone’s shoulder, falling on your bed after a long day. 

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december; the smell of tobacco, new year’s fireworks, chandeliers, city lights, empty bathtubs, all nighters, elevators, watching fast cars pass by, helicopter rides, listening to the radio, talking to a stranger at a party, hoop earrings, champagne glasses. 

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A Letter To Yemen.

My dear Yemen,
I hope that you too can one day grow from every rock that you’ve been diminished to.

Dear Yemen, 

I have always known you as the only country whose name I could take if y landed on me during a game of atlas. I have always known you as the country who causes the game to end if its name has already been said. But today as I have grown and read up on who you really are, I worry about your own end. You see, when I search up your name and the only images I see are of destroyed buildings that used to be historical landmarks, malnourished children being carried away by volunteers from NGOs, tall men in kurtas carrying rifles larger than the graves of new born babies, and not even one woman outside her house, I cannot help but wonder, what really happened to you? 
And so I dive into the wonders of the internet and find every piece that can educate me about you. Everything from your history to your culture to your people,

to your forgotten war. 

And It breaks my heart to see that if I type in children along with the name of any country in this world, I see happy smiles that taste of youth, yet when the name typed in is yours, tragedies of war and epidemics take up the entire screen.
And it enrages me that you’re being termed as the nation of the forgotten war when your cries for help have been louder than the missiles that have made you their home. 

I find myself wondering if your end will be forgotten as well. 

Nevertheless, I want to understand who you were before demolished houses and fallen bridges. I want to find out how you began before I worry further about your end. And so I look up, ‘yemen before war,’ and oh my god. 
Yemen, you breathe beauty. Your mud brick architecture filled with intricate designs are a pleasure to look at, and yet,
the most beautiful of all are your people. 
In fact when I learn that in ancient times, you called yourself ‘Arabia Felix,’ Latin for happy land, I think to myself that although you appear to have lost that title, something tells me that your people never will. 
For they seem to find time to celebrate weddings between bomb raids, fix roads by hand every time they’re destroyed, and write poetry in a country which has 3 times more guns than people.

But the one thing I cannot keep my eyes away from is the divine Dar-al-hajar palace that hovers over your sleepless capital city. For it is built in a way that it looks like it’s growing from a rock. And as I admire how tall it stands, only one thought rests in my mind. 
My dear Yemen, I hope that you too can one day grow from every rock that you’ve been diminished to. 

With Love,
Your well wisher.

things i have learnt during quarantine.

credits: weheartit

i. I have begun to appreciate sunrises way more than I did before. There is something about waking up at 5 am to see pinkish glowing clouds that seems to calm my restlessly beating heart. 

ii. I have stopped wearing earrings and my face looks incomplete. As if missing someone it needs to let go of. As if yearning for something that adds nothing to who it is, except a touch of superficial appeal.

iii. I have started taking afternoon naps and I’ve realized that we don’t need to do everything without even breathing in between. That we cannot do everything no matter how hard we try and so our best chance is to enjoy every given moment like it is our last.

iv. I have started making maggi at 3 in the morning. I have begun to tell myself that if I don’t know how to be happy right now, it is because I’m worried about the future, but if I don’t know how to be happy right now then what guarantees I will in the future? 

v. I have started going to the terrace to wash clothes. For there is something melodic about clothes flowing with the cold breeze. Melodic enough to make me sing to the sky. Melodic enough to fill my words with hope. 

vi. I have begun to feel a lingering sense of relief whenever I see someone outside. For my heart seems to sigh knowing that there is one more person who’s still there. One more person who is trying their best to survive. One more person I can still pray for. 

vii. I have realized that Saturdays are my favourite. That sleeping in and not having to worry about staying up till late the next day is perhaps one of the only things that I can still find comfort in. 

viii. But Mondays are the worst. For they signify the start of another long week. They remind us that there’s a lot to do before we can go back to things that comfort us. That despite everything we’ve done in the past, we still have a long way to go.

nirbhaya (adj.) the fearless one.

Note: The events that happen in this poem are all real and happened on the night of December 16th, 2012 to a girl named Jyoti. Unfortunately she didn’t survive although, fought very hard to. Her death led to several protests across India and sparked various questions against every Indian woman’s safety.
Eventually, she became known as Nirbhaya, meaning; the fearless one.
Her rapists are being hung 8 years later, a few days from now.
Through this poem which was extremely painful for me to write, I hope to remind everyone that she was one of the most powerful women to exist and that her death was not in vain.

trigger warning: rape, sexual assault, violence.

11:00 PM. The film was beautiful,
He and I walk hand in hand,
There is a storm coming,
They always come by surprise,
Starting with light rain,
And then hit unexpectedly,
Always leaving a huge wound,
One that could take years to heal,
I had no idea,
That soon there would be a wound so vast,
So powerful,
It’d scar me forever. 
Yet right now,
I just wish to go home,
After a long tiring day,
That’s what we all want, right?
—-
11:15 PM.
He and I board the bus,
There are only five people,
Yet the night feels lonely,
Maybe it’s just me?
The driver looks at me,
Turns forward,
Looks at me again,
Turns forward,
Didn’t we already pay for a ticket? 
I turn to him,
He’s not the………r….e…….
—–
11:17 PM.
Their hands on me are like a storm,
Unexpected and unwelcomed,
My body is the earth,
Now filled with mud,
Mud I can never get rid of. 
I scream,
The hands only change,
Yes,
There are five of them,
I close my eyes,
Maybe not all of us get to go home after a long tiring day,
Nevertheless, 
I want to survive. 
—-
11:25 PM.
The driver changes,
And so do the hands,
My voice is gone,
And so is any worth I had left,
The men stop,
And whisper amongst each other,
What’s happening?
And then it comes,
The loudest scream this world has ever heard,
This world once filled with distant stars and lonely nights,
Now only lurks of unheard voices covered with horrendous sights,
They take turns penetrating it,
It’s silver and shiny,
Dug deep in the ground when done,
And used while making buildings,
But,
When did I become one? 
—-
11:28 PM.
It takes all in me to look behind,
I see two of them,
Beating him up,
Soon they’ll back,
For their turn with me,
I close my eyes again,
I think of all those times I heard tales of such women on the news,
I think of how they felt,
And how I thought I’d never know.
One of them looks younger than me,
He’s a boy,
I feel no mercy,
Just pity,
Something must be wrong with this country,
For him to not be learning the power of books,
But the power of rods.
—-
11:30 PM.
It’s over.
I don’t feel my body anymore,
I can’t lift an inch.
Abh kya karna hai inka, Ram bhaiya?’
‘Vo hi jo socha tha, Mukesh aur maine.’
Anger runs in my veins stronger than the blood,
With all my might,
I scream again,
Mukesh slaps me,
Picks my body up, 
Not forgetting to grab my breasts,
And then removing his hands,
Like they weren’t ripe enough for him,
Ram grabs my friend,
They throw us off the bus.
—-
11:32 PM.
I am lifeless,
Naked, 
My body isn’t mine anymore,
I don’t want it to be,
I look over at him,
And I remember how he was telling me about his dreams an hour ago,
I think of my own,
And how they seem even further away,
Than the stars in the sky,
Never will I ever get to wear a lab coat with pride again,
Become a doctor and make my parents proud,
My parents,
Memories flash through my mind,
Faster than this night seems to pass,
With the tiny amount of strength I have left,
I take the film ticket out of my pocket,
For a second I’m reminded of how delighted I was when I bought it,
I take out a pen from my other pocket,
Slowly I scribble,
As the words my mother said to me,
The day I cried in her lap when I was 15,
Repeat in my brain,
Kabhi haar mat maarna, Jyoti.
My body gives out,
And the paper lies right where they entered me,
Only four words remain on it,
I want to survive.
—-
11:35 PM.
Himmat bhi nahi haari,
Sahas bhi nahi gaya,
Nirbhaya,
Nirbhaya,
Nirbhaya.

p.s: she actually did scribble that note.

Here Am I.

“The only way to get over a death is by seeing it as a life completed, instead of a life interrupted.”

~anonymous

From the shimmering stars in the vast sky,
To the hazy people just passing by,
Somewhere between the chaos,
You gaze in the far distance,
Utter my name in the softest cry,
So darling, 
Here am I. 

From the maddening screeches of the crow,
To the soothing waves of the boat you row,
Somewhere between these sounds,
You miss someone you once knew,
And sigh,
So darling,
Here am I. 

From the ecstatic laughs of childhood in the street,
To the table of two with one empty seat,
Somewhere between these memories,
You look up to the sky,
Asking Him why,
So darling,
Here am I. 

From the hairdresser’s uneven hair locks,
To the cheeky kid’s mismatched socks,
Somewhere between these imperfections,
You show your toothy smile,
Proud that she’s taught the world to be a little less shy,
And though she’s gone now,
You hear her in every mark she left,
For the world isn’t black or white,
You don’t live or die,
So darling,
Here am I. 

Kaagaz Nahi The.

happy new year everyone:)

i was going to write a sappy poem about how great 2019 was but i figured i should be somewhat real and talk about how our country is doing right now as the world’s largest *coughs* ‘democracy.’

Here,
Just one shop sells dhokla,
rasgulla,
and halwa,
Just one whatsapp group sends eid mubarak,
merry christmas,
and happy holi,
Just one street has had ram mandir,
and babri masjid,
And when that one foreigner asks me about India,
The first thing that comes to mind is,
Unity in diversity,
Ekta mai hi shakti.
Lekin abh nahi.

For now,
When I visit that one shop,
I see that it’s once so welcoming doors,
Are now shut,
I ask kishore bhaiya why,
He tells me, 
‘Ahmed ke paas kaagaz nahi the.’ 
When I check that one whatsapp group,
I see that the ‘same to you,’
Has been replaced by,
blue ticks,
For sometimes,
Silence speaks louder than words.

And now,
When I walk past that street again,
Instead of groups of pilgrims,
with devotion in their eyes,
And faith in their hearts,
I still see groups,
But of people trying to scream loud enough.
For their voices to be heard,
Of people who haven’t gone home in 134 days,
Of people who seem to have lost the spark,
Who seem to have lost hope.

Hope that one day, 
They’ll see Ahmed again,
That one day their father in law,
will see past the clothes on their body,
And the name they chant,
And when that foreigner asks them about India again, 
One day,
Unity in Diversity,
Will be the first thing they’ll say.

When We Meet.

But when it comes to you,
You and I both know that’s not true.

I keep imagining, 
That when we coincidentally collide,
And my eyes get a glimpse of your familiar face,
All those memories filled with a mix of pain and hatred,
Would rush through my veins,
And I would put on a cold outside,
Murmur the most harsh, ‘Nice seeing you,’
And force my pierced feet,
To walk away.

But when it comes to you,
You and I both know that’s not true.

For darling,
It takes everything in me,
To not melt into your wide arms when I see you,
Because with your vanilla scented hoodie,
And stupidly charming aura,
I can just be. 

And when the world stops moving,
And the tik-toks pause,
Is when you and I will meet,
And I’d ask you how you’ve been,
‘Just fine,’ would form on your lips,
And I’d think how having long eyelashes,
With dark brown eyes should be a sin. 

And no matter how much I try to hide,
You’d read me so easily,
For my face would scream come back please,
And you’d know in a second,
The kind of power,
You so effortlessly,
Still keep. 

597th night.

For even seeing your ever so alluring face,
Would cause my petite hands to quiver,
And pale legs to shake.

And this is the 597th night I gift to you,
Trying to make up,
For all the sleep you lost because of me,
And all the love in your dark brown eyes,
That I could not,
oh for the death of me,
see,

And this is the 597th night I gift to you,
Trying to make up,
For those 4 birthdays I wished you giftless,
And the aching pain in your heart,
You chose not to express,

And this is the 597th night I gift to you,
Trying to make up,
For all those times I didn’t notice,
how that deeply soothing voice of yours,
Almost as rough as that ten year old couch in your house,
But as homely as it made it your room feel,
Called out for me,
When I was too immersed in creating expectations,
not a single soul,
Could ever meet,

And this is the 597th night I gift to you,
With a blue bow like an icing on the cake,
And for the comforting closure we never had,
For even seeing your ever so alluring face,
Would cause my petite hands to quiver,
And pale legs to shake, 

And this is the 597th night I gift to you,
Trying to make up,
For all those times I never looked you in the eye,
Didn’t appreciate the things you said,
Or the teddy bear in my sack,
The taste of oreo silk in my mouth,
And your swift arms wrapped around my back,

And this is the 597th night I gift to you,
Trying to make up,
For every night we could have spent staring at the distant,
Yet,
Ethereal stars,
Hoping that one day your head will rest on my shoulder again,
I’ll trace your hair,
And this gifted night would finally become,
Ours. 

hope is what keeps us alive.

I finally have faith,
For I have realized,
That hope,
Is what keeps us alive.

empty streets, and empty roads are all that’s left of us.

I’m walking

on an empty road.

It has no end,

so I keep walking

hoping to see where it takes me.

As I walk,

I slowly lose faith

in it all.

What’s the use of hope

when you know there’s no end.

My hope fades away,

and I stop. 

Maybe this is the end.

I sit and put my head down

suddenly,

there is a tap on my head.

A stranger has come to help.

He takes my hand,

and asks me to go on a walk with him.

Who am I to decline

such a beguiling face?

I walk again

this time, 

a little less numb,

a little more content. 

There is still no end,

but I realize that

the journey is worth it all.

A while later,

a storm comes,

and his grip on my hand

loosens. 

Until, I don’t feel him at all.

In fact,

I feel nothing at all.

My soul has left me,

along with the storm,

and I stop.

I am tired,

of walking.

I want this journey to end,

and so I realize

I have to keep walking,

so that I reach the end.

Somewhere on the way,

I remember

there is no end,

but I can’t stop

for what if I meet,

another stranger on the way?

One whose grip won’t loosen

when the storm comes

but in fact,

become tighter

and so,

I keep walking.

I finally have faith,

for I have realized, 

that hope,

is what keeps us alive. 

A frustrated student.

hurt poetry is the easiest to write, 
maybe that’s why this mix of,
frustration and stress,
isn’t bleeding words tonight.
hurt poetry is the easiest to write  
maybe that’s why this mix of 
frustration and stress
isn’t bleeding words tonight 
For irregular menstrual cycles 
math homework deadlines
sore throats 
and failing to mug up why Israel is at war with Palestine
Don’t classify as poetry 
because  being a student is nothing compared to
the pain of  the syrian girl who lost her parents 
or the five year old who has lung cancer 
or the boy who got cheated on with his best friend 
because being a student  isn’t unique to you 
everyone deals with it but does that really make the pain less? 
does that stop the night outs we pull till 3 am?
does that stop the constant pressure on our heads?
does that stop the thirst for grades?
it does not because this frustration and stress we feel never bleeds 
but neither does it ever fade.

- poetry has no rules, my dear.