Ghosts

I remember when we were talking
About our lives, our dreams, our insecurities
I remember your distinct flavour
You’re a cinnamon roll, with a paprika piece
Not too sweet, just the right taste.

I remember how we kissed
For the very first time
Under the street lamps
On a New Moon night

Now I see your ghost
In every thing I do
When I’m watching a movie
About taciturn men;
When I’m reading a book
Doubting if therapy works:
When I’m crying tears
Hoping you’d hold me.

I see your ghost
In the strangers on the crowded subways
Who have the same hairstyle
And my broken laptop
That you knew how to fix.
When I want to score
The beatiful numbness.

I see your ghost
In stories that are funny
Because you’d have rolled your eyes at them
Now I look over and see plain white sheets
Impregnated with black ink
That mean nothing to me.

I see your ghost
In poems I write for other people
Before you and I were crafted
Into a beautiful melody
Before I gave my heart to you
Under the laurel tree.
Before you said you loved me
And you always will.

I see your ghost
Haunting my memories
In the darkest of hours
Haunting my dreams
In the most beautiful nightmares
Haunting my day
In the busiest of hours
Haunting my nights
In the whitest of sheets.

Going back in time.

Do you sometimes want to go back?
He asks me, his eyes full of fear and hope
He’s looking like the home
I ran away from, because it was time.

To the place in our lives
When you could hold me all the time?

I miss his soft lips,
The way they move against mine.

I still love the way your brown eyes shine
I miss his hoodie that he’d given me to keep
I miss the prickly hair on his cheeks
I miss his soapy scent just after a bath.

I still love your insanely frizzy hair
I miss the paragraphs of love declarations that he’d send
I miss the side eyes that he’d give
I miss his reassuring bear hugs.

I still love you, let’s make it alright
I miss the heated debates that were never fights
I miss our late night phone karaokes
But I do not miss him.

If I could travel back in time,
I’d want us to be back together

If I could travel back in time, I’d like for him to hold me again.

If I could go back in time,
I would never let you go

If I could travel back in time,
I swear I’d love him right.

If I could go back in time,
I’d want us to be together forever

If I could go back in time,
I would choose not to.

Toxic

Is it toxic,
If you ask me for my opinion
On everyday mundane things
Like what to wear
But also the big decisions
Like should you take that job?

Is it toxic
If you laugh at me
And laugh with me
And make me laugh
But also make me cry?

Is it toxic
If you proclaim eternal love
When you’re drunk
And tell me I matter
When we’re alone
But in front of others mock me
About things that I hold dear?

Is it toxic
When you want to only talk about yourself
But then get mad at me
When I don’t tell you
Things that happen with me?

Is it toxic
When I want you to be there
And you want me to be there
And we both talk to each other everyday
Without any discomfort?

Is it toxic
If you tell me about your favourite cousins
And that aunt that annoys you
And that grandfather you never knew
But they say you are the copy of?

Is it toxic
If I tell you about my first love
Who was also my best friend
And you tell me I should try again
And after 6 years, I reconsider?

Is it toxic
If you care for me
And respect me
But then insult me
And annoy me
And boil my blood?

Is it toxic
When I fall in love with you
Deeper and harder
But you think of me as a little sister
But also your good friend?

Colour.

The Colour of my Skin doesn’t matter to you. Until it kills me.

You tell me you don’t see colour
But I’m a caramel mocha brown
While you’re just a Flat White
I’m a black board you write on
With white chalk
But you are a white board
With a redgreenblueblack marker.

You tell me you don’t see colour
But my skin is not dark enough
To be in a ghetto
My skin is too dark
For you to look through the barrell of a gun

You tell me you don’t see colour
But my skin is too brown
To not be diagnosed as a nutcase.
But I’m a PakiAfganMuslim Terrorist
My skin is too yellow
So i must be good at math
And that’s a compliment.

You tell me you don’t see colour
But ask me to pose for your university catalogue
I’m a statistic of multiculturalism
While you forget to teach my ancestors
In your Literature class.

You say you don’t see colour
But it’s me you check through airport security
Twice. Thrice. Four times.
Oh no, of course it’s a random check.
Of course you didn’t see my skin
Or my beard. Or my turban.
You didn’t call my sister a Paki bitch
Because of her skin colour
Even though she’s from Sri Lanka.

You tell me you don’t see colour
But it’s your blue uniform
That my mother has nightmares about
That my father is deathly afraid of
That killed my brother without a gun
That pulls the trigger every time
And gets away by the name of self defence.

You tell me you don’t see colour
But when the sirens come
It’s me who’s facing the gun
It’s me against whom the trigger is pulled
It’s me who is another statistic
Of a 17 year old boy with marijuana in my pocket
That’s dead murdered.

Waiting for Poetry

I wait for you in the cold dark night
Hoping that you’d lead me into your light
That you’d warm me with your embrace
And wrap me with your grace.

I wait for you at dawn
Stifling each big yawn
Hoping you’d ride with me
Deep into the blue wide sea

I wait for you at dusk
Not caving into my lust
Hoping that we’re meant to be
Hoping my dreams are not deceiving me

I wait for you by the lake
Knowing that our future isn’t blake
He tells me to just let go
But I can’t help but hope for more.

I wait for you on a hilltop green
And you are nothing like anything
As I put my pen on paper and let you wash over me like rain
And you flow like the very blood in my veins

Inspired by what Jerry Pinto said about Nissim Ezekiel said about poetry bring like a ‘patient love relaxing on a hill

Stay

You waltz in
Unannounced
Take my breath away
And leave
Without ceremony.

I do not think of you
For the next ten years
Except once or twice in my dreams
And morning after as I wonder
Where you are and what have you become

I sit alone
At a bar
Tired
Of work, of life
You ask me
If the seat is taken
Old friend
Our flame is a kindle
Akin to our desire.

I fall again,
Between white sheets
And Friday Night Sundaes
Burnt Toast mornings
With black coffee
And hot chocolate Wednesday Afternoons
And this time, you stay.

The Cluttered Cupboard

Her mind was a cluttered cupboard
There were shelves upon shelves of clothes
And some smelly socks
And some important paperwork

On the top were the party clothes
Most of them have sequins on them
She rarely used those little black dresses
But when she did, it was a riot.
Men buzzed around her like flies on a lemon popsickle
That her friends had to squat away
She wore red lipstick with them
So that they hide the scars inside her beautiful, fuckable skin.

The second shelf had work clothes
Tight fitting (tailor fitted)
50 shades of black, white, and beige
Her bosses loved licking their lips around her
And she loved flirting with them
Knowing they fucked her in their heads
Even her female bosses.
But work clothes need to make a woman uncomfortable, no?
How else will you sexualize a woman smarter than you?
How else will you explain why that hot chick got the promotion over you?
Her work clothes made her uncomfortable, but they got the work done.

The next was a drawer of underwear.
Most of them basic
But a couple of them kinky
Just when her boys and her fuck buddies want to be teased
Sent nudes
She loved having them, knowing she was in control
She could edge you with those
Before letting herself go.

The more accessible layer was jeans and tees and tunics
Sweatshirts, sweatpants, shorts
For her friends and her boyfriends
She wore them for casual strolls in parks
Where she wore nothing but her damn self
Comfortable, leisurely, smiling.

Her cupboard was cluttered, though
She forgot what was for what
Sequined black dress for semi formal?
Brunch with friends?
Casual fridays at work?
Could you wear sweatpants for Casual Friday?
Her mind was a cluttered cupboard
That she didn’t know how to clean.