Silver ice covered this purple fig
Heart, commanded to bear fruit no
Longer many winters ago, when
Selfish appetites stripped it bare of life
You braved the violent winter that year
Spun away the bitter cobwebs, the
Frozen sheen I had adopted as skin
In lieu of budding fruit devoured by cold
Darling, I know that after the frost
I will bear fruit one day.
But when we curl up against the draft
And you drape your sanguine aura
Over my gnarled, frozen shoulders
You have become the warmest winter I know.
Fill your pockets with stone, each pebble
Measuring the exact weight your lungs
Are accustomed to carrying, for
Every breath is an exercise in recycling
ashes of your own internal entropy
Your mother and father’s fractured shadows
Your brother’s calloused hands on your thighs
Murky forms are the only clarity in amorphous
Hours, when you succumb to bitter convolutions
That harden as quivering multitudinous words
Like paroxysms of love that follow their absence.
They catch your breath when all you want is to
Prepare a dinner for your doting husband, but
When you’ve internalised all this external trauma
Even the certainty of his goodness cannot save you.
Virginia learned the hard way
If she cried woolf too many times
Her own mind stops believing. Then
The only one she trusts to carry her weight
Are waters that drown her with applause
So she would not be caught perpetually Between the Acts.
Everyone has their own Bell Jar, said Sylvia (or did she)
While hers roasted in an oven, incinerating
The Mad Girl’s Love Song, never sung again (I think I made you up inside my head)
If god considered what he made in seven days (does he exist?)
He’d see an ocean of fish trapped in oxygen jars
Drowning and undrowning in unique suffering (No one understands my pain)
It was Pandora’s fault. She held the first jar
That birthed the jars trapping all, without even
The semblance of hope that they can shatter (Your pithos became our prison, we think)
Struggling beneath frosted glass, we fail to see
Other jars and other suffering, but if we simply
Strained beyond our own fragility, maybe this
Veneer will fall away to reveal we were never alone, and never need to be.
(But I am alone in my feelings, surely?)
I cup my ear on her skin, eavesdropping on
Her dallying soul; the chiaroscuro profile;
Its shape mirrors the brown Japan on her clavicle
She lines her eyes charcoal; blackened pits
Swallow me whole in her rhizome labyrinths
Fall into her brown Japan as she falls into me.
Together, we awaken into the narcotic night.
The promise of a carnal symphony plays as
Leaving imprints of her mercurial lips; bruised.
She pulls me through all my synapses; tender
I, hungry, dig into the filigree of her epidermis
Even while knowing the same sides of a magnet
I am afraid what my blood test will reveal.
Genetic foibles; mutated infractions of my ancestors
We spent so many generations hiding these secrets
Our artery walls have become rigid from compressing scarlet.
If you spill this scarlet, run tests through it
You will not only find the corrosion of your void
But a gestalt of all the loves we had to forget.
Do all my red blood cells resemble empty bowls
To transport life through plexus and peripheries
Or is your absence writing itself in my veins?
For some nights you possess my platelets
So I cannot help but Bleed to your vacuum
Like a switchless fountain, never ceasing.
All my organs have bled for you. Your memories
Pool and congeal as tumours over my anatomy
In my kidneys, brain, stomach, arteries
I fear if you move too close to my heart
You may arrest the only muscle I reserved for myself
So pierce my skin like a first heartbreak. Test me.
Drain the clear glass tonight, for
If you stare into the wall glass
You may catch glimpses of sadness in its shards.
Sadness, this raging compulsion
Fueled and doused by fiery liquid in shredded knuckles
The only antidote to bitter cold in your deep December.
You, adept at flinging stars
Into her eyes. She crumbles into herself
Unable to understand the only love language you know.
Pulp her like an orange until her innards
Resemble a shape you can read. Her juices are
Tender on your raw bones and may even remind you that
For you, December ends in ten days
For her, every month is December.
1. Half-human sea creature with the head and trunk of a woman and the tail of a fish
2. Mythical creatures noted for their beauty, exoticism and ability to seduce men.
My mother told me they found a mermaid
Wedged in a water pipe between the reservoir and the town.
Months of running water had washed her milky skin into
A translucent membrane, an open galaxy of her veins and bones
I forgot to ask her why one of our kind was there.
To you, we are less than human.
We are mythical beauties, we are sex symbols.
You prefer us with clam-shell bras and golden hair
Flowing over pinched waists and aquamarine eyes
Unable to accept that some of us have scaly heads.
The only one who made it into your folklore
Traded her voice for a pair of legs to win your love
Her greatest feat was metamorphosing into foam, for
We are remembered for our sacrifices and deaths;
Our beauty and loves, not for our humanity.
That is how you found her in the water pipe
For months she had been watering your plants,
Bathing your bodies, ingested into your systems
You drank her and used her without knowledge.
But that is how we are to you.
Lately I am not sure whether I have gills or lungs
Water and air have become equally difficult to inhale
My aveoli are drowning from oversaturation of fluids
My gills are suffocating from already filtered oxygen
So I float on surfaces, drowning and undrowning.
When will you use me too?
You only love auburn leaves
Rusted by acidic chills of a premature winter
Do you mistake atrophy for beauty?
Your elusive propinquity
Discoverable only by the effect of gravity on my skin
The young fray under your fingers (you say)
Verdant eyes, fledgling spirits
Snap too easily under the ferocity of bitter acrylic frosts
You term ‘the violence of your affection’.
I found your love between winter duvets
The last autumn leaves waved their solemn palms, framed by ice
As you traced their journey on my splintered face.
We are protozoa swimming in a soup of confused existence
And my mind is amoebic slush, trying to fit together pieces
Of a jigsaw puzzle that will never fit. This is the only way I
Can make sense of the bedlam, the confusion of bright fluff
Like friendship and love, why their absence sucks out the
Mitochondria from all our cells leaving us in a static, listless
State we label ‘Depression’, ‘Anxiety’, ‘Loneliness’, ‘Insanity’.
But if we are protozoa then we do not have mitochondria or
The ability to produce complex energy. Guided by a nucleus
Of lofty ambitions and delusions of grandeur we phagocytes
Consume others in our path and recycle their essence to make
Ourselves ‘better’. We then leave our legacy on the world by
Binary fission or budding. This is what writers do. Some can
Rapidly reproduce parts of themselves on paper. But for me,
Writing hurts. I am breaking a part of myself into the world
That cares not whether we consume each other or die tomorrow.
In this apathy it is only the sheer willpower to etch my literary
DNA into this soup of chaos that drives my pseudo-appendages
To extend themselves and cast a shadow long enough to be seen.
In this agony I need the impregnation of inspiration to procreate;
The electric and impassioned touch of a literary muse to spark
The tips of my first words and to keep the subsequent flowing.
Maybe asexual reproduction is not the best way to write after all.
There are so many details I can describe to you, but
to you, I am just white space.
I have found all the negatives of your life, stashed away in a dark room
you thought was locked by cerebral encryption
It is interesting what secrets you show to the dark
when you think a black box is your only witness.
while you were busy producing double exposures
with lovers who thought your images were faithful; unadulterated
I found your dark room. I prepared the chemicals.
Are you afraid what your negatives will reveal in the light?