My room is disintegrating

My room is disintegrating.

It is melting into a pot

Of empty plastic bags, litter, and dirty footprints. 

There is undone laundry,

A reluctant light bulb.

Tape holding the world (and the window) together. 

At work, 

They pass by and smirk. 

I am on page 52 of the same book

I was reading two weeks ago,

Since I started sinking into the hole.

Pull me out. 

Pull me out from the depth of this bed. 

The color outside changes 

Golden to pink – 

Pink ṭo navy – 

Navy to pearls on the rolling ocean floor –

To the stillness of the entirely hemisphere sleeping.

The darkness of the bed pulls me in. 

My limbs are paralysed. 

My surroundings are disintegrating. 

And I would like nothing more, 

Than to disintegrate with them.

Beneath old houses

They generally check every corner, I was told.

They generally look at everything, they told me.

They will generally scrap out the metal taste from your mouth,

And fill your perfume bottles with rancid breath.

You won’t fool them, I was told.

 

They will enter with footsteps unheard,

Scratching the walls with bloody fingernails.

It took me so long to hide everything behind yellowing wallpaper,

That this is all the wall is anymore.

 

But underneath the numerous

 

Broken things,

Dusty celings,

Footprint-coated dust…

They will find frozen poetry,

Barely breathing.

 

And everything will be still.

There will be colour of the words,

And the wrinkles of a silent sigh.

And everything will vanish and

Vapourise with a rotten-ness,

Tangible enough to feed on.

 

Or,

 

When I will hold up my day tomorrow,

Under crooked light,

It will break and ebb

And I will realise that I have

 

Nothing to write of.

Your reality

There is so much satisfaction in the beauty of your filthy hands,

and in the largesse of your arms.

That the edge of the blade is a mere disturbance

In what this life has become.

 

Fragments of kisses, dewy and cool,

A calling of cheer and stagnancy of your hands,

That the white-washed walls will bring me to you

Again, from the rancid growth of a horrifying curse.

 

The premonition of a familiar kind,

Grows in sentiments of convoluted thoughts

Across the beat of your chest.

 

But as long as you live on in my dreams,

There will be no life in this infected mind.

 

And no life, indeed, there will be!

Throughout the singleness of a careless idea,

Like the burning of a hungry man,

The death of an unwilling life,

There will be pauses to understand the simplicity of it all.

But there will be no suffering in disguise.

 

I can either find the sentence that tells me what to do

Or I can survive this night and look for you tomorrow.

There is no escape from what this ground demands

Of a woman like me.

So sinful, so old.

So dead.

 

And while you kiss me across my chest,

So balmy and warm,

I look across your body and through the window.

And I see outside as how inside is.

The flowers they fade, and the grass has curled.

Now there is darkness, and darkness is my world.

Spoken Word

“Spoken word poetry is perfect for me. Theatre and poetry came together and had a baby. I had to be there.” –Sarah Kay.

I spent hours (that I should have spent studying) to watch the numerous videos I recently discovered, of poetry recitals. Before that word “poetry” makes you shut this tab down, at least make your way to the end of this article. These are not conventional poetry recitals because it seemed the poetry had been written for the purpose of drama and the stage. For some reason, I liked the women more than the men, and all of the ones on this list are by women. Here is a list of some of my favourites. They can easily be YouTubed, and should be.

1. When your boyfriend asks you to strip for him – Nicole Homer

“The store will remind you of your body

Each aisle a dirty finger,

A freak show,

Of what you are willing to do.

Practice for the stage

By avoiding eye contact with the salesgirl.

Find something small, see-through, cut-out, fish-net…

And when she compliments you on how well

You wear the nothing you were trying on,

Then no…

She is a liar, who works on commission.”

She was one of the first poets that I listened to. Her voice somehow fits the poem so perfectly, and she is an excellent speaker. I did not find much from the same poet, and yet this one poem won me over. A friend of mine called me “too feministic” after I suggested this to him, and I was accused of misandry. I told him he did not understand the poem. I hope someone proves me right. This kind of poetry is the reason why contemporary poetry is so much more intimate and relatable to me (and I presume to all poetry lovers) and how Wordsworth’s love for nature in its entirety, never made much sense to me.

2. Communion – Jeanann Verlee

I began to write about this poem, trying to quote a few lines to get you interested, while listening to the poem at least thrice. I could not pick any lines to show the reader how passionately this woman hits me every time I hear her speak. She is experienced, and someday if I write half as well as her, I will consider myself lucky. There are more from the same poet in this list, as well.

3. Private Parts – Saray Kay

“We didn’t grow up,

We grew in,

Like ivy, wrapping,

Molding each other in perfect yings and yangs,

We kissed with mouths open

Breathing his exhale into my inhale.

We could have survived under water,

Or outer space

Living only off the breath we traded.

We spelled love, G-I-V-E.”

Sarah Kay failed to impress me as much as the other women in the Bowery Poetry Club did, but she is breathtaking in some of her poems and very mature a poet for her age. This poem especially was very calm, very naïve, but that is where its charm dwelled. Her poetry lies in simplicity and it can be very appealing to a lot of people. “Montauk” was also an exhilarating listen.

4. Lessons on Loving a Prophet – Jeanann Verlee

“Six,

When the minions call you whore,

Nod.

Seven,

He will tell you of the others,

How they went crazy in their sleep,

Awaiting his return,

Do not flinch,

Do not doubt your thickened fingertips,

Stand upright. You promised.

Eight,

When you find him in his room,

Thrashing his sheets,

Pressing his palms into the wall, howling,

His face a river…

Close the door.”

Verlee got my attention in this poem as soon as she said “To Kasturba Gandhi”. Though I personally felt that was a stretch, but she held my attention throughout the poem, even made me smile in admiration twice. Her words are lucid, just like her meaning, which I find lacking in so many poets I’ve read. She tailors the words in a way I do not see coming. And each of her poems is better than the previous and the next.

5. In lieu of her writing any new poetry, the author critiques the four line song she heard her boyfriend spontaneously create while drunkenly walking up their apartment stairwell – Christin O’Keefe

This isn’t as much poem as much as it is amusing. It is hilarious, dry and imaginative, and not a lot of people might like it. But she is so perfectly analytical about something so useless, it begs a humorous reaction! It needs to be on this list because this lists requires assortment, and this light “poem” might make someone smile.

6. Breathe – Joanna Hoffman

This. This one I heard right after watching 3 back-to-back “It’s always sunny in Philadelphia” episodes which had been followed by a lot of “Scrubs”, but this poem was so strong in its gestures and meaning, that I cannot be ashamed to say that I almost cried. I did not even listen to her again for the purpose of putting up this list. I listened to very few poems of Hoffman, but I know for a fact that she is my favourite as she is unashamed, clear and strong. These are the requirements to be excellent poets. “Pride” by Hoffman is extremely personal and steady, as well. There is not much I can say about her because I fail to, but if one were to listen to even one poem from this list; it should be by this poet.

There are not many poems I can add here as the sheer length might scare readers away, but take time to listen to words which are so bent out of shape, they are almost beautiful, I guarantee. One of the few times I wish there was a poetry club in our college.

Disguised as an Old Hag

I threw us away in haste

In a stinking garbage at the corner of the street

On the way

To your home.

 

It was a dark and rotting matter,

Of confused words and unsteady hands.

Of yesterday breath in the cold wires of

The morning,

Of loud noises

Called laughter.

 

I wanted to break the China,

And leave no trace of my cowardice.

I wanted to show you a dirty world,

On the clean walls

Like images between splits of seconds

Those are between kisses and orgasms.

Happiness is a sad demise of destruction,

And a child of fortune and disillusionment…

Which you have not earned.

 

It would’ve been unsettling

As the biting of a lip under the glare of old letters.

If you hadn’t been a photograph in my wallet.

An idea that had grown steady and sure,

On its own.

If you only had been real,

I would have spilled wine on your living room rug.

 

So when I saw the apron and wooden spoon,

Glimpsing an arm and a touch,

A stifle of laughter in the kitchen as I sipped your French wines,

Knowing that love follows wherever you go,

I sat down.

To eat.

 

I smiled at your jokes

And told her how beautiful her wedding China was.

And agreed when you said,

Winter was late this year.

 

 

Childhood

We grew up in the muddy puddle

That was our coffee

In a begrimed little café.

We ate in little bites of each other,

Rolled our tongues in our mouths,

Tasted each flavor and each seasoning.

I gulped you down and digested each little mishap of you.

I undid all the sordid belongings residing in your mouth,

You were the embodiment of shame and failure,

And I made it all such a part of my gut,

That I haven’t shaken it off

Thirty years hence.

 

How did I make it to here?

This is such a foreign rest.

The only familiarity was that,

Which settled around the corners of your eyes,

In the crevices beneath your breasts,

And the clarity of your skin.

There were snacks,

And books.

You had your brown sweater on.

Your moist brow was so restless that day,

That I was reminded of all of my desperation,

All the stories I hurled at myself,

All the children I knew were all right.

Oh Nara,

Your brow vanished all that I held true,

Even you, Nara,

Your brow swallowed you whole.

Oh Nara,

You killed a part of me that day.

 

You exploded into chemicals,

That stuck onto my skin.

Into hot tea that surprised me every day.

It crept into the jasmine oil smell of her hair.

In the sweat of her neck,

Into our lazy evenings filtered through with years

Of careful exclusion.

Everything I owned was only me

When I was naked, and writhing,

A baby in the womb of something so desperately motherly,

That it forgot to give birth.

She noticed, Nara, she noticed me.

She noticed these hands shaking through everything they did.

And she hid.

She hid into her red, pleated saris,

Into cookbooks and cakes,

Into soft butter, and hardened cookies.

Everything has been seeking to destroy itself since, Nara,

Cigarettes would paper itself into existence.

Now it burns smoke and blindness.

The trees move in fast forward,

They are arthritic fingers

Grasping for something,

Long since out of their reach.

Acid has been running in the veins of this house since years,

The wood is out of place.

The rot in the bamboo tables is only concealed

By the tinted glass.

 

And sometimes, I sit at the cadaver porch,

You are a mindless zombie of a woman,

Who decides to stay with me,

And leave me alone.

Destruction had become your favourite hobby when you were that real.

When did poetry become so important to you that

You quite forgot me?

 

The Train Is Empty

My parents only did not like you

Because of your mud-coloured feet

Your unbuttoned shirt,

And your ruthless eyes.

They’d never let me decide to get on this train,

If they knew.

Your unshapely nose reminds me

Of childhood games and rocky lands

They are the dust that trembled beneath my feet

With ants and beetles crawling in the grass

And my little sister trailing behind me like a lovable parasite.

 

I can see all of your poverty in one glance

I can see deceit,

And I can see love.

You are the sun to all the extinguished in my life

I hang on to every breath that you take

And become your exhale as you live a piece of your life

Putting me through that agony.

Every surface your fingertips touch,

I will banish,

I will destroy it with fervor unimaginable to you.

But you are here now,

Your shadow creeps up into me

Settles in the darkest corners of the folds of my skin,

And I let it caress me so exhaustively and yet so gently

That your exhale, me, weds your breathing

To flights of unattainable peace.

 

If I had listened to my aunt

When she told me that a man is only

Half as tall as the father whose burden he carries,

I would never have packed my bags.

This noise-coloured home gave its daughters a chest and an orifice

But forgot to give them the strength to carry forward

Their mistakes.

You… You… Are the only sound,

The only sound as sweet as the the wheels of this train,

A train that has lost its way,

Carrying under its wheels

Flesh and blood of my family.

Of yours.

Of our love.

And of our defeat.

 

You extend from the seat opposite to me

To a universe belonging to cells of my earthly body

The scent of the oil rubbed on your hands

Twirling with my fingerless limbs

I clutch your presence and bury it with long dreams,

Of endless kisses over closed eyes…

And I breathe in your fragrance from my tightened fists.

 

I look at walls staring back at me.

You unpacked our love as soon as you got home.

The seat opposite me is empty.

And the train stutters on.