I’m turning into a spin wheel and it’s okay

Do you ever have this tingling
burning sensation in your veins that
makes you shiver? But also it’s funny, you feel
like laughing, you don’t know why, but
you feel your stomach is full of
beer cans and your feet just want to run a
marathon on their own, without you. Do you
ever just want to breathe a lung
or two lungs full of air and inhale everything
that surrounds you at that very moment?
Because I do.
On some days,
I do.
On some days I’m like the title to my
poems, the ones people don’t understand,
because they have a language of
their own, a language without keys. A language
that has transcript letters returned to
my address because it’s so foetal, it doesn’t
know how to roll it’s tongue yet. You see
on some days I have more questions than
usual. I don’t have a headache, they don’t
fill me up. Instead they’re emptying me
in and out. I vaporise like naphthalene
in a closet full of bouncy balls. For people
like me, sublimation feels like
happiness, being complete. When I am
not the centre of attention, the spotlight is
shaky but everyone has eyes for me. That’s
exactly when I feel complete. Wait, is this
satisfaction? Or is it just another kink?
I have a little pansy garden on the back
of my hands, the flowers talk to me and
they say I look beautiful. When they’re
nourished with approvals and
validation, they say I’m beautiful. The thing
is I already know I’m beautiful.
I just want to be pretty on some days
and have little party inside my brain
when people see me, finally, they see me. I don’t
want them to, but god it feels amazing.
At night when I remove my favourite
lipstick on a cotton ball, it’ll drip
with my joy. I found it in the absurdity
of how the world perceives beauty. Then when
I sleep without the pretty, I’ll say
‘Goodnight you fucking beautiful demon’ and
I’ll be happy. I’ll be beautiful.
-Garima S.


The choker around my neck belongs to you

When I say, I love too hard, I
mean the kind of love that
blinds your eyesight, chokes you
into a breathless limp of
a human. If air wasn’t so thin
and love wasn’t so suffocating in itself,
I think I would’ve been
a fine lover, a guilded goldsmith
of the finest designs to serenade
your lover, and I would’ve
been enough.
Not ‘too-much’,
neither choking.
But the air doesn’t have enough oxygen to
breath any longer
and love is a jail-break that got
discovered mid-way; prisoners
o’ prisoners, my prisoners, what
have we done now? Even so,
confined in these bars, we
could’ve lived, we must’ve survived
the crucial lack of conformity.
But somebody has to rebel, somebody
has to be this awful example
for the future to come, to talk about, and
to repeat the same failure, the same
strategy of bending the definition
of human emotions, especially that one,
I wonder if love would spell the same,
or if it’ll have some other vowels
just forcefully thrusted in between, like
all the terms we have thrusted into
it’s definition.
Louve, lauwe or leuve?
I’m the jail-break now, I’m that awful
example that goes by the old ways, even
after the jail has advanced, the security
locks, tougher. I’m that
jail-break that calls it quits, mid-way, because
I’m too tired, I’m too scared and
I’m ‘too-much’.
I’m sure the plan would work, I’m sure
it’ll make it’s participants,
the happiest, but only if they
know how to breathe
in between, the hustle,
the undying need to have our mouths
sealed close in a kiss, in between
the constant need for
validation, hugs and the
tender affection.
The definition of this plan
lies here, on my bed-rest,
uneasy, trying hard to breathe,
spilling it’s fluids; “It’ll be okay.”
This is damage, this is madness,
but this is love and how
my love will come to you.
Would you still love me?
Or does this scare you already?

– Garima S.

Slow dancing

I have a sore throat
from screaming too much in between
my cries,
for validation, for affection, for love.
Also because the air quality sucks
in this city; in this world. And also
because I ate a raw lemon
out of impulse, or maybe it’s
the 5 cans of coke I drank because
I wanted to and nothing stopped me.
This isn’t a love poem,
it won’t describe love as the only doom
that could save mankind.
This is a poem. A poem with no boundaries,
or a definite end. If I must, then
I might end this poem abruptly, without
a full stop,
an exclamatory mark,
or a question mark.
This is what life would be like,
young kid, it’ll end without a warning,
without asking your permission.
It’ll all just come to an end.
I might never have a lover of my dreams, who
reads like me, because I seem to
understand everyone, when they can’t love me
when they say I strangle their lungs, when
they just can’t be nice.
Loving is too hard,
caring is too hard
and so is being kind.
We’re stuck in a prism that does not
reflect, the glasses are painted
with smog and dust. So we sit in this
blinding light, the heat of the sun that might
as well burn itself in a few years.
So this isn’t another love poem,
it won’t describe love as a painful satire
we all long for.
This is a poem, a poem that is oblivious of
it’s existence, much like the lover
I might never have.
If you read this, my darling, know that
I suck at loving, I might strangle your lungs,
and I might hold your hands too tightly.
I don’t have a religion to clench you see, I don’t
understand the point of fearing
a sacred set of rules. I’m terrified of things
that shouldn’t scare me;
like not being enough, people, crowds, death
and the sickening way we’re making
the end more miserable. So when my
hands hang empty on the sides of my thighs
I get terrified of being lost.
Is loving too hard?
Is caring too hard?
And is being kind hard too?
I don’t breathe on some days, I respire
but it’s not breathing if it’s forced. Right?
My father told me once
that it would’ve been better if I died,
my cousin told me once
that I’m nothing but
the opening between my legs, my
lover told me once that
I am a terrible mess, that loving me
makes him want to kill himself,
my mother told me once,
that I’m so stupid for this world
that if she ever leaves
I’ll die of despair. I’ve been so full of
what people said to me, most days
I forget my own name.
I’ve been told once that my poems have
‘too much’ more than the actual words
that compose a poem.
But then this isn’t another love poem.
Neither is it another poem. This is oblivion,
a state of my existence.
So even if I don’t have lover
to look up to when I die, I’ll have my poetry.
I’ll have my regards to this world,
that gave me ungratefulness as a
birthday present and built
dividers over places I called home.
I keep saying that I’m too wretched
to love someone now, but I do
I keep falling in love, for the high-neck
sweater guy in the middle of October, for
the bob-hair brunette at the Asian
culture meeting, for random
people on the metro, their faces
dripping with their stories, with the
guy who wears the whole colour palette
regardless of the season.
If you’re my lover, I hope just this once
you find your way to me, before it rains
of acid and before the world runs out of air
to breathe upon, before there aren’t enough
trees to scribble upon, our names,
in an arrow-heart.
I understand now, why
loving is too hard,
caring is too hard,
and so is being kind.
Because we don’t have enough time
to save ourselves from this suffering,
from love being
another leech at the back of our necks.
This wasn’t supposed to be a love poem,
but it is now, because
love is obscure, in me,
in you,
in us.
Love is the oblivion, we forgot the
rules of, we lost the manual
while digging graves
for our souls. And this time
there wasn’t a Liesel Meminger to steal
the book. We just rot here, on the deathbed
of earth itself, before love could ever
consume us. And as I said before

Garima S.

Reading my vows

I used to read all these self love poetry and sleep with a 3 question engagement ring wrapped around my head, why am I not enough? Why am I still not enough? When will I ever be enough? I still read poetry, that revolves around self-love and death and misery and pets and cooking and also flower beds on weddings. I still have questions, but these questions have stopped making me anxious, or scared or a tiny bit willing to die.
I was also told that maybe-s are dead stupid and that people who say that often should be feared, because they don’t care enough to conclude upon anything. Now I’m one of those people, who answer almost everything with a maybe and an almost. The truth is, yes, almost-s and maybe-s suck, but the people who live in them are not indecisive prudes, they don’t keep a check of how many fucks to give that are enough to make them look like they don’t care.
The truth is, they care too much, they probably know you from all the classified observatory analysis in their heads, they know the fundamentals of living a little more. And they know nothing, ever can be concluded to a definite yes or no. Living is not conclusive and neither is feeling. Statistics, maths, science, poetry, language, nothing is definite. Or maybe it is?
So when my love asks me if I wanna stay in her room for the night, I say maybe. I almost stay but then I don’t. I stay because every single moment I’m alive I would rather be goofing and laughing till water runs out of my nose around people I love. I don’t because I know she needs space, she would rather be alone and if I stay my heart would combust a million times I quell my urge to kiss her.
When my mother asks me if I’m doing okay in college, I say yes, maybe. A little yes because I’m too scared to disappoint her even from this distance and she might as well not curse herself under the tongue. A little maybe because I honestly don’t know if I’m doing okay.
The ultimate truth is that atleast I’m almost never lying.
I still read poetry, like a mammoth on his last parade before all the icebergs melt, desperately searching for a definite answer to the end. I still have questions that wrap my head like a wet washcloth, soggy and wetting my bed. All these maybe-s and almost-s don’t let me catch a fever, they answer these questions just enough.
Why am I not enough?
Maybe I am, maybe I’m not. Or maybe not enough for the people I care for, maybe I am but I just can’t see it yet. The truth is I am almost enough for myself. Maybe it’ll be okay, maybe I’ll know later.
Why am I still not enough?
Maybe I am, maybe I’m not. Or maybe I did too much to prove myself and maybe I should’ve done it for myself. The truth is I may never be enough but I don’t have to prove myself to people. Maybe the only the thing that makes me enough is myself. Maybe it’ll be okay, maybe I’ll know later.
When will I ever be enough?
Maybe never, maybe I don’t need to be enough. Or maybe I already am enough and maybe everything that I was taught about being enough wasn’t exactly true. The truth is we don’t know what is enough, two glasses of water are enough for me, they’re too much for a toddler, they’re not enough for a traveller after completing his trek. Maybe, just maybe, the only reason we’re so hooked onto being enough is because we see other people being more of an adjective and we think that would make us enough. But it doesn’t.
We are not a single adjective, humans are not manufactured in a factory with definite table of contents like a carton of cheddar cheese. We are enough. We don’t have to be 0% trans-fat.
And reading poetry, practicing art might not make you enough but it’ll tell you things about people and about the dimensions of human emotions and living. It’ll teach you relativity and a little more from the people before you who cared too much. It’ll waterproof your bed at night and sing a lullaby;
We are enough.
You are enough.

Garima S.

Hyacinths and bedbugs

I’ve written 1857 death notes for myself but used none; because when I was finally on the pedestal, I was too numb to even spell out my name. I’ve been 5 centimetres away from the line that separates ‘wishing to die’ and ‘too far to just wish’ for about 62 times in the past 10 years; when I swear I could’ve died but I just didn’t. I’ve taken the tiny step towards that line for a total of 14 times but I never really crossed it.
They say I survived, I say I didn’t. They say I have so many reasons to live, I say are you fucking stupid, what kind of assurance is that? You see I’m a fucking weakling, always fucking exhausted, always fucking frustrated and almost always fucking something or someone. And I’m deaf to your assurances, this is not an insurance policy booth where you could sell life.
So I’m a fucking weakling but I’m also a stupid rebel, almost always doing something I’m not supposed to do; like writing poetry naked in a bathtub, painting while sobbing my eyes out into the river in my painting, or just fucking being miserable, wanting to live or wanting to die. I’m this swing hung up on a tree by the end of the world. I’m this swing-rope that has too many knots to weigh me down, and fucking ugly decorations that resemble numbers and figures like 1857, 62, 14, 10, 0.
I’m this ugly swing by the end of the world with swingers that enjoy the ride, there’s the adrenaline rush and then there’s the joy of looking down from this height. But then there are people, who close their eyes and hold too tightly. Once in a while when they do open their eyes they look straight, and never below. These are the people who know I can break anytime and they’re scared but they still ride; for god knows why.
So I might break anytime because I’m a fucking weakling, and these swinging people would somehow be saved and they’ll know that I was a fucking weakling. I want them to know. I don’t want to be made into a hero, nobody wants a fucking weakling to be idolised. I just want to die when the weights get too heavy and when sobbing doesn’t end. I just want to be, until then.
There might come a day, dear swing swaying scaredy lovers, when you call and I don’t receive at the other end, ever again. When this day comes, when I die, don’t write me a glorious eulogy instead write me letters on the second Friday of every month and tell me things that would’ve made me live a little longer. Don’t weep in memory, just have a fucking memory that isn’t ignited by the occurrence of my death. Remember me for who I was and not for the manner of my departure. So now I remain a fucking weakling even when I’m gone, too scared to live another life just to leave everything behind all over again.

-Garima S

Dilli 6

I went to Chandni Chowk today, alone, like
a rebel thrown out of her blanket after an eternity
of hibernating, trying to shred loneliness. The
roads were narrow, lacking to contain
enough concrete to write their stories, each one
of those tombstone. These people, they live
with the utmost burden it
is to not let humanity dry out. The flood
in their hearts seem to lurk
out, like a weak demonic entity, and
posseses everything around them, just
enough to let them free, be spirited, a
good demon nobody has heard of. I
saw a lady shush her laughing
kid, because Delhi metros don’t allow
you to feel, maybe she felt like a
criminal, or maybe like raising one.
But when you visit the narrow lanes
of Delhi 6, where the air smells
like questions, is that soot burning or is
it freshly ground ginger? Wait, that’s the
smell of iron smoulder, but no, that smells
like paint, maybe; there lives a criminal
in every thing that moves, too kind
to contain the kindness inside them and
too humble to pioneer the art
of ignorance.
I visited Chandni Chowk today, when the
clouds looked so white that
even the purest pearl would envy, but
then they drizzled upon me, as if it was
declaring our love, my newborn love for
this place, still drenched in amniotic fluids.
I’ve been lonely for awhile, I thought
this might be a bad idea, travelling by myself,
into this crowded abyss, crowds despise
me, it’s as if they’re whispering, a rant,
“I’m gonna eat you,
I’m gonna eat you,
I’m gonna eat you…”
I thought I won’t survive, but instead I came home
with a new love affair, so wrong
that it felt like myself. It felt like me.
I visited Chandni Chowk, by myself, all
alone, in a scattered temper, I thought
the loneliness inside me
would wear me off earlier than my
actual endurance, but instead, it wore
me like a vessel of sight.
Hello there, the new addition to my
11:11 wishes, keep your calm, sing this
metal song like a jazz opera and
call my feet your pilgrimage. This time
I’ll worship you, your humanity, your
spirituality. Let me practice you
like a witchcraft religion, free of
rules and rituals. Let me
the statue of nothingness will worship
the essence of humanity,
without fear,
without boundaries.
At this temple, where there are no
candles to light, but iradescent humans
spilling with wisdom,
our hymn plays from the auto-rickshaw
speakers and in between
the impromptu carte de jour recitations
in the perfect Delhi accent, we all sing

“ये दिल्ली है मेरे यार,
बस इश्क़ मोहब्बत प्यार।
बस्ती है मस्तानों की दिल्ली, दिल्ली,
गली है दिलवालों की दिल्ली 6।”

– Garima Saxena

Note: The song mentioned in the poem is from the Bollywood movie Dilli 6 which also inspired the title of this poem. The movie gives a deep insight to life in Delhi, the national capital city of India. I watched the movie just a month after it releases in 2009 and it I still remember being clueless to the little details that make the movie a remarkable cinematic experience. Now that I’ve grown up a little and have been living in Delhi for college since a year, it makes much more sense. Both the movie and the portrayal of Delhi as the heart of the country.

The songs translation concludes to Delhi being the city of lovers and how much it is defined by all the synonyms of love in different languages.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Death is not the important question, what matters is the aftermath of it. It won’t matter how much you lived until the day you die and then suddenly everything starts to revolve around the fact that you never ate too much celery if the dinnerware had distracting geometric patterns on it, or that you liked to walk alone on Sunday noons even if it could’ve exposed you to too much harmful sunlight. It’s frightening, isn’t it? How every little nothingness becomes a little part of a repetitive sentence that ends with a -too much- and almost absolutely never made sense when you were alive. And it’s in those abundant -too much-s that death becomes terrifying.

Life doesn’t end with a well thought eulogy, it ends with that one final breathe of an empty mind.
I doubt people ever think anything right before they die, death isn’t absolute as they show in the movies. The last breath is unnoticed, the end of an almost and the beginning of an absolute. Before death finally arrives, there’s every other thought that could exist. If you read the last words of people, it’s absolutely hilarious how something that’s supposed to be gloomy, a preface to the doomsday, is entirely vague and genre-less.
You either know that your death is staring at you or you’re just completely dumbfounded by the randomness of events that is your life. There’s no in between.

So is it okay to run from it so much that if you were to be the protagonist of a book, the reader would rather settle with your death than to have you a happy ending? I wanted Alaska to live through it but if it weren’t a vague end, if only she left a note that answered every question to her death I would’ve been happy. I would’ve let her go. But she didn’t, she didn’t write the script to her death like she wrote the script to the world’s greatest prank. She disappeared into a vague cloud of nothingness. Maybe that’s how death is supposed to be but I was so struck on the idea of death being perfect that I just couldn’t let her go.

Can we, for once, stop being obsessed with the perfect that never existed?
Here I found myself a little in Alaska.

– Garima Saxena