Keeper Of Storms

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You stand still,
caging whirlpools within yourself,
holding them together under the envelope of your skin.

There might be storms raging within,
Your insides rearranging themselves,
Chaos shifting from one form to another,
and yet,
you stand still.

You stand still,
like a monolith,
like a monument of calm.

And us outsiders,
we look at you with awe,
wondering how you hold all of it inside,
letting nothing spill out of the box
where air and water collide,
and yet stay hinged to their walls.

We envy you too,
you are perfect.
Even with all the churning, the straining,
you haven’t lost your sheen,
you don’t have scars to block the light.
You don’t have a crack,
no drop of the turmoil
drips through your walls.

The vortex inside spins like clockwork,
neither slacking nor stepping up the pace.
I know this must stop,
physics won’t let you stay in this perpetual unrest.
But then,
I have been here for so long I have lost track of time.
There are others too,
all of us waiting for the moment you will break,
and shards of water will fly out in a spectacle.

But hang on.
We have been so lost being an audience,
so lost looking for splinters and fractures,
so lost looking for a kink or bump,
so lost looking for a place the sunlight breaks you down,
so lost..
we’ve forgotten we are keepers of storms ourselves.

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What if?

Noticed a lot of the poems – some of  mine too – I read these days has activist tones. This goes out to several poets, myself included.

I wonder how poetry would thrive
if the spikes of suffering,
of sadness
had been flattened out.

How many would write about
the magic in an orange moon
as it floated above the horizon?
How many would talk about strings of smiles drawn over streets?
How many would talk about tongues fumbling for the right words on a first date,
the sounds that seemed awkward but came out just right?

Would poetry miss the chaos
of brushstrokes ambushing each other
and creating thunderstorms?
What would fuel it when there are no fires to be put out,
when there are no worries wrapped around constellations,
no anger jumping over borders,
no words speared from one class
into the ribs of another,
no cliffs waiting to be jumped off,
no wars to be ended, or started,
about who would annex whom and for what,
and no floods to rise above?

You, my poet,
what would you write
when knives have been blunted,
when fires have been transformed into flowers
with stalks that spell peace in all languages,
when streams of blood have been replaced
by rivers of stars,
when we are all a billion continents
with no oceans to separate us,
when the sky stretches so thin
the space between humans and gods
is less than a hair’s breadth?

My friend, my poet,
what would you write about
if the earth’s pulse
became a steady flatline?

NaPoWriMo 2017, Poem 24

Origins

I come from a city
where you don’t have to work too hard to break a sweat.
Okay, jokes aside,
I come from
a city where,
depending on how you look at it,
hope is flattened when metal wheels clang on railroads,
stepped on, smashed by armies of sweat
or zips forward aboard the train
feeling the wind flying across its face,
snaking its way across corners of the city.
I come from streets
that elbow each other out
and create a grid
which in cramped cells
nestles ambition,
greed, and fear.
If you flip those cells over,
you might find
resilience scurrying back to its hiding place,
wounded but not dead,
blood oozing from the scratches on its back.
I come from the black grey dripping from clouds
and making its way through the city,
turning dull brown while it tries and fails
to drown suburbs.
I come from a city
where the bird’s eye view
might make people look like tadpoles,
a city whose schematic would resemble an atom with hyperactive electrons.
I come
from people
who look like unwinding clocks,
from people
who move like water being forced into unbounded columns
from people
who know their hearts will one day resonate with the sea.

NaPoWrimo 2017, Poem 9

Flight

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I can make a list of animals that can’t fly.
Rats,
caterpillars,
elephants,
snakes
and me.

Do you know what we can do?
Rats can scurry through holes not big enough for fingers to sneak through.
A caterpillar waltzes its way in and out of a cocoon, opening the door for a butterfly.
Elephants, those giants wouldn’t fly if they had a thousand wings,
but man, there’s something about the sight of the giant beast,
a calm even while it strolls near the river.
Snakes can deliver enough venom in one bite
to make the blue of the sky seem pale.

And I?
I can write you a poem,
and wait till it takes effect
and you fall in love with it.

100 Days of Happy Poems, Poem 10

Write to write

So much of this resonates with me.

Cristian Mihai

“Write to write. Write because you need to write. Write to settle the rage within you. Write with an internal purpose. Write about something or someone that means so much to you, that you don’t care what others think.”Nick Miller

There are a million different reasons to write something. The narcissistic belief that what you have to say is important to others, the selfless ideal of helping save this world through art and beauty…

Fame. Money. Love.

Heartbreak. Depression. Solitude.

All of them are important reasons.

But there’s something about writing just to write, writing to get the words out of your head…

Writing because that’s what you do. Writing because you won’t have it any other way.

If you feel strongly about something, then you can write about it.

All you have to do is silence all the other voices that keep telling you stuff like people…

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Baring it

I don’t mind being vulnerable today. It’s one of those days when I wonder about the point of my writing journey. Here’s what triggered it: In the past week, I received updates about the poems and short stories I had sent to magazines and contests. None of them made the cut. A few more rejects to file away with the previous ones. So this is one of those days when I sit and sulk a little. Wondering what I could have done better, wondering if it’s worth the effort, wondering if I’m chasing an illusion.

Tonight is one of those days when I feel tiny and insignificant as a writer. One of those days when my mind has shut down, when my rationality has deserted me, when gloom seems to cover me in its shroud.

I know such phases come and go. This one will too. I only hope the rainbow appears soon enough.

I looked through my poetry folder for inspiration, something to cheer me up, even give me a rap on the head and pull me out of this downward spiral.

I found a poem I had written in June 2014.

A sky of sadness has woven itself around me.

I have tossed grain into the fields,
the harvest is yet to make an appearance.

Years have passed, I have sharpened my tools.
My works lie in a shed, dying unnoticed,
Life seeping out of them through their fingertips into the earth.

Outside, birds make music, and in the nights the city dances to life.
I have been grinding my way in this well,
and still I am neck-deep in the water.

The waters have been rising all the time.
From ankles to knees to the waist.

A rope dangles near me.
It has been here since I ventured into this well.
All I need to do is grab the end and help myself out.

But that would mean abandoning the masterpiece I am creating under the water.
That would mean accepting an easier life.

I have to stay here and finish what I set out to do.

If I am good enough, I might create something beautiful.

Till then I have to keep working in this well,
even if it gets deeper,
even if it gets darker.

This is my calling, this is my curse.