Barriers.

A pretense,
a facade,
walls,
invisibility cloaks,
bursts of laughter,
moats with no drawbridges,
headphones,
islands with no ships,
a mimed wall,
deserts with no oases,
barriers we must erect,
mind must stay healthy,
we must stay happy,
with smiles,
farcical insipid morbid swiping,
bracing, always bracing,
and never knowing.

Barriers don’t break. I don’t break.
Shall not.

Swansong.

Part I: Prologue

Prologue,
of a healing wound and meandering glooms,
of you tiptoeing up to me and tucking my collar in, on an April night,
of you tiptoeing out of our bedroom one fine May day
shipwrecking an entire king-size into the hyperspace below you left in your wake,
of you walking out into the night,
of me waiting in the night,
of hurricanes you could never hide from me and I never hid from in the basements,
of the typhoons that I have forever seen lingering in the pupils of your eyes,
of bridges,
of rains,
of navels,
of falling hair,
of rocking chairs,
of the goosebumps on your collarbones,
of whys of whats of nevers of all the things left unsaid,
of closure.

Part II: What is Easier to Forget?

Stacks and stacks of letters, movies, promises, kisses and vinyl records are piling up in a rack inside the hippocampus,
Rounds and rounds of verbal ammunition, cycles of mockery, derision, and impatient explosives stored in a basement under the melancholia of disparate nerve cells,
What do you choose to remember? What is easier to forget?
You never describe to me what does not escape the essence of memory,
circumvents the topsy-turvy terrain of time.
Let me tell you what will not be besmirched and will not be excavated as half-earthen relics,
The day handshakes melted into entwined fingers,
The year when index finger traced index finger and thumb ran circles around thumb and how it was like dipping my hands into sacks of grains and I’d do it forever,
The curvature of your lips, a deeper red transitioning into darker patches and how I loved to picture their outlines on idle days imagining myself in a hammock,
The musk that would rise from wrists and the back of palms and would be reminisced about in evenings long after the afternoons,
The shadows you walked through in a crowd like a silhouette and I attempted to grasp the turmoil inside you I was barricaded from,
The transistors you would tune in and disappear into a world where I had to scrape the walls of your past to fathom,
I loved you, as just a person on the other side of the screen, I loved you.

The hours after hours of mirth, of conversations when all I knew was your voice,
The minutes after minutes of rain and drenched and home,
The seconds after seconds of jumping to conclusions and into your arms.
The inch of skin right below my neck,
The skin running down your backbone,
Sultry summers and sultry winters,
what knots we were tied up in!

Do you remember how we danced through the night, how we held each other tight and do you know I’d still love to see you standing there?
When did running escapades across the city turn into formal apologies, explanations, compromises and culminations?
Peek and peek into the haunted hallows and the hallows are dried and hollow,
they would have made a statue of us if you had waited any longer,
but now I traverse through a guilt-ridden city, checkpoints afraid to look me in the eye.

No, you don’t need to explain. I know. You couldn’t have. You couldn’t have waited any longer.

Part III: Sixteen Days

Sixteen days.
You told me they broke you down,
in sixteen days,
in three hundred and eighty four hours,
in twenty three thousand and forty minutes,
in one million, three hundred and eighty two thousand, and four hundred seconds,

One year, one month, and eleven days,
did they take us down twenty-five days at a time?
wringing the yearbook of memories out of you?
From the love of your life to pinned on the fridge,
a prohibitory notice on a bulletin board, a cautionary warning.

You told me they broke you down,
in sixteen days.
Our sunrise, your sunset, my midnight.

Part IV: Knowledge

There is a familiar feeling in my chest,
like several glasses tipping over and shattering,
I stood in the way of a storm and it pried my answers loose,
Now, I don’t know.
I don’t know where the trail leads,
I don’t know what song the mockingbirds sing,
I don’t know if the next step I take is a landmine,
I don’t know when this churning stops,
I don’t know how long I have sleepwalked for,
I don’t know why the hourglass contains quicksand,
I don’t know when I will wake up,
I wander off into the forest of my heart,
I don’t know why it is smoldering,
I don’t know fate, I don’t know fortuity, I don’t know serendipity,
I don’t know where the wind blows.

I don’t know where the answers scampered to.

Part V: To Sylvia

Sylvia, I have loved you
and you have eluded me.
I have scrounged the streets in search of you,
I have travelled  to unmitigated pasts and I have traversed the rivers of sorrow,
where have you run off to?

You always had a way with words, Sylvia
how you’d make tulips fade and confess about fathers and vampires,
I have been dragged down in love with you,
why can’t I find you?

You’ll never die in the mind of a writer.

Part VI: Epilogue

Epilogue,
of not knowing the whereabouts of a serene face,
of wanting you and not wanting you,
of keyboards,
of platforms,
of holding hands,
of figurative boxes of photographs and memorabilia under the bed of a waking life,
of Judes and Ritas,
of struggling to understand where a person once known went off to,
of relinquishing the struggle,

of a swansong.

What lies beyond the horizon?

What lies beyond the horizon?
The sun is setting
and I am on the wrong shore.
In these parts
the sea isn’t even the color of translucent blue,
But why am I fantasizing about this shade and hue
when the crimson and vermilion lights of sunset
are somewhere far away?
Crimsons, vermilions and orange.
Colors I fancied as symbols of our love,
But it is sunset and I have lost track
and I am on the wrong coast.
Well, at least the moonrise is mine.
I cannot bear it, this inescapable longing to seek
what awaits me on the other end of a horizon
of time, an expanse of sea,
I am not afraid that I won’t swim
I am terrified by this inexorable need
to sleepwalk through it.
Bright lights, bulrush baskets
Your sunsets were full of exploding melancholies
while mine are as colorless and neverending as they come
time passes but I lay the hourglass on its sides
and nothing goes nowhere
The sands of time are smoothly stuck in eternity
perhaps one day I’d leave the hourglass on a beach
bury time in the sand
poetic justice I’d call it
and the sands of time will wait until the waves take
them away to what lays beyond.
I wonder whether the plaintive metaphor of the hourglass
will come back someday from its journey
to tap me on the shoulder and tell me
that the horizon contains nothing and everything is here
I’d have worn my sandals, kept my notebook inside,
picked up the bag and my pieces and moved away by then
my footprints extinct on the beach.
I’d have walked away
in search of more moonrises.

Twelfth.

When I wake up in the middle of the night thinking of you,
I freeze. All of me freezes inside.

I was a breeze. In a terrible storm brewing in your heart.
I wonder how much it has taken away and apart.
And how much have I.
I foolishly think to myself that there is something
greater than us at play here,
something that none of us can too well comprehend.
There isn’t.
I have knocked at the door of your eardrums
to seek shelter from the icy winds of forlornity.
If you ever opened the doors, you would perhaps
see my teeth still clattering.
But what I’m afraid of is the hurricane inside
of shattered mirrors and torn out pages
and flying pieces of memorabilia.
But I wake up in the middle of the night
thinking of  this.
And I freeze. All of this freezes for an instant.
And I can’t go back to sleep.
Dreading the gunfire.

I’m a breeze. I’m a terrible storm.
I’m laughter. I’m the gunshot.

Dirge.

Do you feel
the dirge of two cleaved hearts?
Do you feel it wrapping you
in a way that you are too human
to comprehend?

What do you feel, my son?
What do you feel, my daughter?
What do you feel, mother?
Love, what do you feel?

The trumpets, the trumpets
protect your eardrums, protect your eardrums
my vulnicura, my vulnicura.

Untitled #5

Have you ever felt deep melancholy
lingering at your larynx
waiting for its chance to rise up?
I have.
I take it all in, I keep it all in.
I do not want to know
what will happen when it swarms
my lips, my tongue.
I am afraid.
I clench my fists and wait.
I wait.