making poetry out of broken bones and dead leaves

I do not want melted cheese dripping out of your words

because I have decided to go vegan since

the memories of mint chocolate chip ice cream

won’t erase itself from my amygdala.

I believed in braided manes and pink bows till

You swept in like a tornado over my untamed inferno and

Blizzard got into my roots and home,

Became a non existent entity.

 

I stopped going to family functions because

Their tongues seemed too distant and faces

Broken down into senseless metaphors under

White lights and blazing sunlight and I

Am more comfortable in the dark.

As I sat on the swing and

Let you make me taste the sky over

Fierce promises woven with laughter and bloody kisses

Like a mattress that now I sleep on

Because the bed doesn’t hurt me enough and

A ceiling separating the sky from my ludicrous notions.

 

I think I prefer the smell of dead roses and

have found solace on empty benches with

Whiskey replacing my blood, making

My head so much more clear that I know

I was in a hallucination these last four years.

Paragraphs and prose don’t mean anything more than

Collateral damage over empty sheets and yellow parchments

Because they need to stay as they are/trust me,

I let myself be written on with ink and knife till

A seismic wave hit me and

My skin is a canvas of awry scars and subtle stab marks.

 

Profession of love and candle light dinners

Are not even a part of my history book because

The pages got burnt the night when the candelabras shattered

Over them and love

Got punctured even before it reached your palate and

I stood there listening to moans and haunted echoes

Like Chinese whispers they don’t make sense anymore

And I am deaf now.

 

My hall is map of broken glasses and

stench of my bare feet and uncombed hair/ walls blanketed with

Lines that I cried every day/ my throat hurts because

I drank from the last glass that was half chipped where my

Lips touched them and

I could taste metal on my tongue but

I did not stop till I retched it all out and slept on the floor

Curled up into a ball because the last time I was at peace

Was when I rested my head inside mother’s womb.

 

Today I drank tea from my last splintered glass and

Carried myself with poise because, yesterday

I smashed my furniture and the walls could not contain anymore alphabets, so

I wrote a poem over dead leaves that littered the cobblestones of our relationship

And the lines somehow penetrated into

broken bones and still tissues of my chest/ my heart

has finally found a way to pump its way to live, another day.

-amrutha

(Artwork by Shalu Sanklecha. Follow @artisan.affair on instagram for her work)

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bitter lemonade.

A W K W A R D

The word defines me. Mother should have

named me that – awkward.

My right foot came in front of my left

when I tried walking. I was one.

I tripped, fell and looked around, dazed.

yes.

A W K W A R D.

 

3rd grade.

Math teacher wanted a

Math textbook for the

Math oral exam.

I ran clutching mine, the idea of her possessing MY textbook

for the examination, gave me the happiness of winning a marathon.

(don’t judge)

 

So, I ran.

hair flying everywhere/ limbs gone awry and

thrust the book right at her hand which

rested on a book. The collision tore the book.

her book, not mine.

I haven’t seen a face redder than hers till date.

There I stood being at the podium and in one moment,

someone punched me right at my stomach.

There you go – awkward.

 

Until, I met her.

Just like that, the jigsaw puzzle I was trying to solve for 12 years

had a face.

Apparently, I was holding the last piece in the wrong direction.

Effortlessly, we held hands and tiptoed our way right through

boys diwalis tears and broken hearts

bunny-teeth acne algebra and mondays.

Ours was an origami that no one could create

morse code communications no one could decipher.

Friendship so rock solid that no permutations or combinations could do us apart.

 

11 years ago, we met.

9 years ago, she left.

 

WHY?

WHY WHY?

It’s been 108 months yet my closet of reasoning stays empty

but I have a room full of questions.

The four walls scream/ the ceiling a volatile emotional mess/ the floor

strewn with all pieces of puzzles and

no two pieces fit anymore.

 

That’s it.

I am done with it.

I am going to lock the door today and heat the key

in the furnace till it melts, evaporates and ceases to exist

for the naked eyes.

I trip/ I fall/ I stutter when new faces appear/I break things/

I am awkward,

But dropping the glass is sweeter than

stepping on the shards of someone else’s fault.

I don’t need faux magicians anymore.

 

This poem, is NOT for her.

because I don’t write poetry for airplanes that never take off

and this one was engineered wrong.

This is for YOU. Remember,

Somethings are better left lost.

-amrutha

The first conversation with my first crush

The first time my body realized

That it could feel things beyond

Pain, fear, happiness,

Oh dear!

I constantly made a fool of myself.

 

The first time I reacted to the

Long island iced tea (of hormones) that

Coursed my arteries was when I was in 6th grade.

I was in LOVE.

I don’t remember the how and the why and the when of it but

Boy! The guy made my cells tingle.

 

And hence began the one sided saga

Of love and other things of a

Uniform clad – twelve year old- rabbit teethed girl.

 

All my free time was taken over

By his thoughts. Well,

That’s what they did in the movies!

Songs that had his name were

Searched, saved and played in a loop;

Smiling at the mention of the name.

Just like those long lost lovers living

In the two corners of the world would do.

 

My lunch in school comprised of three things –

Cream biscuits, fryms / Kurkure and peeking.

Not the peeking-tom kind, but more like

The devotees outside Indian temples,

Standing for 3-4-5 hours

To catch a glimpse.

Just one tiny glimpse

For just one second,

A glimpse of my super – HOT – hero!

 

Now, let’s talk about the ‘HOT’ factor,

Shall we?

I have this tendency to

Fall for people who the crowd

Doesn’t find to be good enough.

 

HAHA yayy! My inner goddess always does her

Ritualistic topsy-turvy step when I say this.

“No competition there woman!’

 

So while my friends saw

His oiled hair;

All I saw was how beautifully they shone.

While they thought he

Was an average looking nobody,

He was my Zac Efron and my Brad Pitt!

While they laughed at

His middle partition which

Ran right from the forehead to beyond,

I…

Well, sometimes even I laughed with them.

 

Just like that, my Mirror

Who otherwise was a good friend,

A friend who was usually supportive,

A friend who looked exactly like me,

Only sometimes a tad but thin and a tad bit not-so-thin

With the change in the weather

Had become my nemesis.

 

Chiding me for the bushy eyebrows I was born with,

Showing me a ZIT!

A freaking real ugly not-disappearing-for-fifteen-days zit!

She had the audacity to point out

At the tufts of hair that grew

Right above my lips. Yes.

I had a moustache!

Also, my dear mother made me

Live with that till I was sixteen.

 

At this point, I would take a moment to bow down

To all those boys who fell for me,

At a time when even I wouldn’t have.

Thank you, for feeding me with false pride

That made me smile at days

I otherwise would have spent

With zero self-esteem.

 

A couple of changes

Discreetly crept into my routine.

Instead of ten, twenty minutes were spent

To look presentable in school.

There was the hair that had to be done meticulously.

Nails kept, kohl applied and

Lip gloss smeared on a pair of lips

That had never seen anything beyond ghee and petroleum jelly.

 

But let me make something clear

Right now.

I never really wanted him

To love me back.

The thought never even crossed my mind.

This pea-brain was happy running around,

Worshipping him!

But all she ever craved for was

One conversation.

 

I remember this one time

When our eyes met.

I have never wanted to be more

Invisible than that day!

I kept staring

With an inane pair of huge, wide, unblinking eyes

Glued to the spot.

Brain dead.

A heart galloping faster than Arion!

He looked away; I ran

To take cover under my self-loathe.

Well, basically I went back to attend my social studied class.

 

And thus went on the days;

He – nonchalantly handsome

Me- Well do I need to say anymore?

Until that day.

 

That day when Him and I were

In the same room,

In the same space,

On the same table

With twenty something people.

 

Oh look!

He is sitting there.

Two chairs to his right, empty.

Let me just run and

Take the one beside him.

 

No wait! No no no no no.

I’ll make a fool of myself.

What if he sees the tiny zit on my left cheek?

What if he finds me ridiculous?

What if he finds me stupid?

What if he finds me absurd?

Wait, don’t they all mean the same?

I’ll just sit on the other chair.

 

But wait!

Who will sit in between?

What if it’s the pretty senior?

What if it’s the guy who smells of fish?

What if nobody sits and he ends up

Terming me an imbecile.

What’s with the synonym woman!

 

Thus began the never ending clamor

Between my inner goddess and me,

Till only the chair beside him was empty.

 

My Inner Goddess did

Five flips and a split.

She was on fire!

 

I went and sat awkwardly

Beside him, aware!

Aware of every word that

Left his mouth.

Aware of his every breath.

He breathed and I

Consciously tried to breathe in a rhythm

Trying to match it to perfection.

 

Twenty five times, he clenched his palm,

Six times he shuffled his feet.

 

Concentrate Amrutha, concentrate.

There are others, look. Look at them. 

Oh seven shuffles

Look the fan! It is swirling.

A spider web! But his voice.

Can I talk to him? No!

The spider.

Yes! The spider isn’t in the web.

Where is it?

Our legs are two inches apart.

Chocolate! Yes. I have to learn to make them.

I have to ask Neeta Aunty to help me with..

 

His palm accidentally brushed my fingers.

Oh lord the butterflies!

Butterflies from all over the planet

Seemed to have disapperated right

Into my stomach and

The part if my skin

That layered my finger,

Which he accidentally touched became

The most prices possession of my body!

 

“Hey! What do you think?”

“Huh?” I looked up.

 

He is asking me!

ME. Oh my god!

ME and NOT the twenty something faces

That all seem to stare at me.

They seem to see right through me.

They know everything I was thinking.

 

Then,

I looked at him.

And at that moment it was just him, I see.

Just him, I feel.

I grinned sheepishly and in a voice replied,

“I think it is perfect.”

(I don’t know what I was calling perfect. It was mostly, him.)

 

“You think so?” he asked with

Eyes, wide and curious.

Eyes, black and questioning.

Eyes, beautiful and smiling.

Eyes that want a YES.

And that is what I gave him.

“YES, I think so.”

 

And hence on the

Nineteenth day of the ninth month in the year 2007,

I had the first conversation with my first crush.

The Vanishing Whisper

To all those stories that didn’t happen when they should have
To all those stories that have unfinished business
To all those stories that would never be written
To all those stories that would never see an end.

He loved her.
She didn’t.

He saw the sun
And the stars
In her eyes.
She didn’t care
To look him
In the eye.

He waited till
The vines of
Solitude
Strangled him.

Unbound.
He left.

The tree
Was bare
And the sky
Was bereft.

She remembered.
The glimmer
Of hope
In those eyes.
Those eyes
That she didn’t
Care
To look into.

She begged
And vowed
And cried
To no avail.

She wanted more
He didn’t.