Suffocation Is Your Salvation

A room of one’s own but the windows are shut too tight,
lest the passerby smells the fright,
of tremors and shivers that plague me at night.
I open them a little, to look outside,
but the world is fucked from the inside.
The boundaries of the personal are obscure,
A pariah inside out.
They throw stones at my window, tell me to breathe in my own air of madness.
Shut their windows, so the air of sadness doesn’t contaminate their well-kept pride.
Mine is broken.
Broken by the need to shout out that window,
not for help but to question,
why the rush to close their doors when I am trying to open mine.
Just to breathe a different air.
The air inside is stifling me,
words are incoherent, all to trifle.
This garbled speech is a head not in my control.
But I’d still like to breathe, a hell lot more.

These employers insist on experience, the same fucking drill.
Of savoir faire, of skill.
Does my trauma count as one?
A stimulating history of abuse and pills?
Sedated humans who can’t take that damned instruction.
Sit inside my head,
let’s see if the emotions are too hard for your cushioned cerebrum.
I will ask you then, about those gaps in my resume you like to point out,
Because your money is wasted on an inexperienced trout.
Who hasn’t competed in the big waters with the sharks that devour,
the ones flapping around feebly,
trying not to feel less human in the face of all your “glory.”
Plastered on the walls and in your cock-y bearing,
that makes you regret hiring that unstable loony.
The power with which you tell her to leave her “baggage” at the shore,
before jumping in waters whose currents are too strong for her “weak” core.

A Note on Women’s Day

International Working Women’s Day,

The calendars are marked, the protests are invoked.

For the women who demand more than the scraps they got. 

But I am not a “worker.”

I am,

too inexperienced to get a job at that “feminist” publishing house I want,

too much of a dropout to have credentials that match the potential.

Too upper-caste to be accepted as one of their “own”.

Too emotional to have a work ethic,

too untrustworthy to show on time, six days a week.

Too morose to be a wholesome candidate,

for an opening that doesn’t want me in my honest state.

Never mind that loneliness doesn’t discriminate.

I am told women are breaking glass ceilings, while I am still struggling,

To turn in my purpose.

I carry this shame for not earning,

not enough to have it validate my questioning.

See, self-reliance is the hallmark of an independent woman.

I am told how lying in a room doesn’t make for one.

Even as the anxieties are crippling, the depression isn’t taken seriously.

Your class supposedly defines how depressed you can be.

A “privileged” woman loses some right to that coveted identity.

My history prohibits me from crying too frequently.

Because I have been given too much,

yet no-one can explain the lack at every turn.

I have been told I am weak.

For the dependence I can’t shake off, for this bed, for my mother,

for that elusive lover.

I have been told nobody talks to me,

because I am the loafer who doesn’t earn a penny.

I have been told I am lazy,

because I don’t actively look for jobs to “heal” my insanity.

I have been told the solution to depression is a job,

because I would be too occupied in a routine to find the time to sob.

I have been told to forget about others’ pain and focus on mine.

Because I have to “fix” my idleness in time.

I have been told by these well-intentioned crusaders,

that those who can’t help themselves are unqualified to help “others”

I have been told I should put on weight, look like a “woman”

Because my bones hurt the soft flesh of that man,

I hug.

I have stopped craving them, as a result.

Too many labels that don’t do justice to my position,

but I am too incompetent to ask for a kind reconsideration.

I am too much of this, and too less of that,

This women’s day, can you cut me some slack?

Decay

Lovers ghosting on women is no news.

Starts with a slow decay,

and shape shifts into a phantom that screws.

With our heads and heart.

But the longing that knowingly holds the placard,

of the writing that says, come fuck me hard.

Where the sex is just a convoluted play of power,

with a lover who has metamorphosed into a coward.

Her apologetic need that is ravenous,

goes on unchecked for a man who is callous.

How much of it is too much, and how much just fine.

In this mayhem, where do I draw the rushed line?

I searched for the signs but shifted them aside,

when found to make space for your desire that slides,

In and out, in and out, in and out.

It became a low humdrum of two machines.

rubbing against each other while the mind screamed.

For a gentle caress that transcends,

the boundaries of fucking to a love that sends,

words of comfort and kisses of compassion,

to a wretched heart in need of a companion.

You tell me I am imperceptibly losing my mind.

When I call you out on the indifference and the daily grind,

of the actions that speak too much,

and the horrors of safeguarding memories that are a crutch.

A woman who is easily manipulated,

by the lover she once undoubtedly trusted.

Or maybe she never did, if I recall correctly.

But I have been told not to rely on memories this faulty.

Your issues with women, and the dichotomies.

Of the madonna/whore type complexities.

I couldn’t be your restrictive model of a loving wife,

but I did opt for an honest manic life.

A life bursting with camaraderie and our systematic strives,

against an institution that sabotages lovers and their drives.

Then again, which wife doesn’t show signs of psychosis?

A term coined by men to undermine her life’s crisis.

Of being married.

An institution that normalizes,

calamities of coercive control,

and suffocatingly regularizes,

sexualities of wives,

and their official status’ of being his prize.

My sexuality seems like an exhibition 

to men who feel entitled to the privilege of inclusion.

Not everything is about you,

and your need for penetration

into a world that doesn’t require your participation.

No wonder the love is deemed as experimentation,

and reduced to the sex that feels like a presentation

for two women whose relations battle societal rejection,

but an exception is made for their orientation

when there is a market bustling with consumption

of their bodies,

as commodities.

My bisexuality is laughed off to oblivion. 

Only taken seriously when you have an erection.

Two women in that night of drunk affection

are subjected to your incessant voyeurism.

There’s no end to the lascivious questions,

of what happened in that night of intemperance.

I have to resist being stereotyped,

and find a voice loud enough to be characterized,

as legitimate and powerful

but who gets to decide whether my identity is meaningful?

For straight men it is a dilemma

whether to other me and further the stigma

or be accepting for the sake of their perversions,

of late night porn fetishes and sex conversations

that revolve around two pairs of tits and ass

crude terms that define the sum total of being a bisexual lass.

But when I try to reclaim my sexuality,

I am shamed for having an uncooperative personality.

Ma.

Occupied with myself, I ignored the mother

concealed in the shadows, always in the back.

She went by unnoticed, but all the tears uncover

buried secrets of betrayal and a deep seated crack.

An unwavering resolve to foster,

and not once did she slack.

 

Raised a daughter,

but couldn’t gather

the strength to speak

against the flak she received

for the lack of her uterus’ cooperation,

in all the procreation.

 

Who took the credit in the end?

The father that seemingly would mend

the split seams of a relation

that came undone.

But did he ever lend a helping hand to the one

who selflessly would bend for the child’s tantrum?

 

All the complaints in unison,

and still the child never heard the universal question.

She is not yours, why raise her like a son?

(Ignoring the grotesque nature of the conundrum)

The ears were covered by the lovelorn mother who would run

to the rescue of an unruly child who was shunned,

with blows that rained for not being his creation.

 

I pledge allegiance to my dad, she croons.

No, Lana. They are all fools.

In love with their own aristocracy.

Whilst the labour of a mother is ignored as secondary.

All the social commentary.

On my temperament which is ascribed,

not to my mother, but to a father no longer alive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Father

A little girl.

Grew up too soon.

In the hands of a father too demanding.

The one who died with unfulfilled yearnings.

An image she can’t replicate.

In the men she inadvertently hates.

A father who wanted the world for her.

Left alone, she scrambles for his one last word.

Words that he gave her.

But antagonisms that fester.

Words she can’t use to explain a loss this huge.

For all purposes, they remain obtuse.

A death that cannot be mourned.

For it was a relationship of scorn.

Where are you, papa?

 

You paid the price for your sins.

But left me alone in this din.

This din of madness and depravity.

Where your presence was mandatory.

To make it easy for me to maneuver.

The slopes of a life marked by disorder.

I caress these albums of pictures.

By turning them into scriptures.

Your monstrous image turned holy.

In the eyes of a woman clamoring for a Daddy.

I will forgive you if you give me another chance.

To wipe the slate clean and love you from the start.

A love that we were supposed to have.

From the very first day you coddled me and chaffed.

Laughed at the blisters on my head.

But promised me a mind that was adept.

You died with a longing so grave

And left a daughter that should brave

The negligence of your duties

And improprieties.

Battling the demons everyday.

While you swiftly passed away.

But, but you left prematurely.

Or was it obligatory?

The untimely death of a wicked man.

The loss is unbearable for a Lolita that crammed

All the love she could get in her pram.

Should I be this magnanimous.

When you left a scar so humungous?

Left me to set the record straight.

On a daughter-daddy relationship that debilitates.

But there is no setting straight.

Of a behavior that was degenerate.

 

 

Violence

Another name, another woman

It’s all the same in this commotion.

A nation relying on empty rhetoric

Of glorious pasts and meaningless theatric.

Where women as signifiers’ are honored

While autonomous humans are disemboweled.

Nirbhaya, Jisha.

Women mutilated.

The barbarism uncovered makes one shudder.

But they remain just that, a number.

The inhumanity in their eyes.

Towards Dalits, women and workers alike.

Gender equality?

Caste violence?

Questions swept under the carpet.

To accommodate a state running after the market.

Is there a public/private dichotomy?

No way, there is no hegemony.

When fathers rape and husbands violate.

A woman is just an image, an image so chaste.

Teach the lesbians and gays a lesson.

They haven’t had a good fuck session.

Corrective rape and shaming.

Rampant yet nobody is complaining.

Second class citizens, all of us.

Only relied on when the elections are near.

Otherwise stuck in second gear.

 

 

 

 

 

Togetherness

Do you know the story of Moses being saved by a woman in the river?

No, I didn’t either.

Because women saving men is as much of a taboo as Moses being Egyptian.

Blame Freud for this revelation.

Also blame him for the lack that women carry.

The incomplete humans because of penis envy.

The fallacy of it all!

Don’t talk about the yin and the yang.

The two halves that together can.

One has to supersede the “other.”

To let the power structures flutter.

Do you know the story of Eve’s transgression?

Of course, Sir! No opposition.

That women could save themselves from the original sin.

By bringing life into this bin.

If we are to be our own saviors, what are these superstructures?

Of roles that essentialize and fracture?

To a point where we have started battling against ourselves.

Apologizing for being feminine and fearless.

Forgetting the original story of both partaking in the sin together.

Now one gets blamed,

while the other goes unscathed.

Generalizations that mar the relationship.

Imbalances that fester in the kinship.

Words that exclude.

Love that exudes,

Violence.

 

 

 

 

 

Bitter Love

Say my name out aloud.
With unchecked tears of self reproach.
Swirl it your mouth.
Till you can’t swallow the bitter taste of loss.
And remorse.
Or tell yourself, love is a gimmick.
That we were naive enough.
To fall for the schtick.
But then again.
I was the other part of the equation.
Can you still dismiss it with conviction?

Difference

Take a seat while I assert myself.
To explain to you that my want of collectivity.
Doesn’t outshine my need for individuality.
Contradictions.
Of a mad woman.
My politics won’t include you.
Nor does it have to.
Centuries of erasure.
And you want to silence me again?
I refuse to tame my sharp words to fit your weak regulations.
All these expectations.
To behave.
But don’t you know, I am done with presentations?

Centuries of oppression.
But you want to play the meek one.
I am calling you out on that one, because.
Hypocrisy is what I unlearned.

But let not my words scare you, I am not looking for power reversal.
Your seclusion is therefore not personal.
Our revolutions take place on marked bodies.
We both suffer inconsolably.
But does that mean I have to be inclusive.
Just because you cry while I refuse to be submissive?

Don’t be upset if I don’t acknowledge you.
I developed a resistance to being invisible.
Why can’t you?

This bliss of being a confused woman.
The same bliss they called a shame.
Will you ever realize, darling.
That you did the same?

Farce

Are we even worthy?

You march down the path of the women before you

Imbibe their resilience

And the strength of character

The truth they fought for every single day

With the small battles and the large

With the marked bodies and the restrictive terrain

With the language that was fragmented

Language tailored for their needs

By the men they didn’t want

But those were their battles, the real one lies closer home

Not in the pages of the books I read

Or the discussions I have

When the silence strikes and makes you realize

That you have too vast a hole to fill

Where words and discourses will never be enough

The reality is what it is

The utopia will always be in your head

The same head that’s losing a bit everyday

Till a point when there’s nothing more

I don’t want an empty head

But a head full of only memories

Is a head that is useless

All these innumerable grand thoughts will fail

In the face of the reality that’s fixed

Love that was negotiated and bargained

For three meals and a hug

Bodies that were rubbed and used

For the comfort and the sex

Sex that was never yours because roles were played

And strict definitions imposed

On who will love and who will thank for that love

Families that fit the oedipal triangle neatly

But left scars that bulged out like open round cysts

Touches that made you recoil

From the strangers’ to your father’s.

Mothers that had no identities except through The one

An image that moved around like a puppet

The strings that controlled how much she could say

The fists that restricted how much she could dissent

The money that made her mute

The shame that she carried for not making at all

The labor that was ignored

Because raising a child amounts to nothing

And if it doesn’t, what am I repaying?

The house that has memories of abuse

The father who died with nothing to make him remember

A child that looks around for a different image of a father

In the same house the real one lived

In the same photographs on the walls that she cherished

How much can you move away from the past?

When all your present is haunted by it

The future getting lost in the grieving of the past.

I don’t want a father

But I want to buy into the myth of one.