This is War

War isn’t glory.
War isn’t what the bards sing of,
War isn’t a God –

War is blood.
And rust and shards of gold in place of gilded cities

War is a distant breeze;
a promise of Utopia,
whispered at the twelfth hour
amidst the chaos
in the dreams of restless youth

War is what turns
legions upon legions of masses
into gore and dust and fables

War is Ares,
wearing the skins of the men
He has slain,
with the barest hint of triumph
on His lips just before
the battle trumpets are blown

War is blood we turn into poetry.

Have you ever been in love?

“Have you ever been in love?”

The one question that can have a million correct answers at once,
or maybe none at all.

“Yes, I think.”

It’s 3 a.m. in New York. The lights outside are still bright enough to make me draw the curtains. The city has it’s own way of making you feel alone in a crowd.

“What was it like?”

My sister looks at me through the passing headlights, naive eyes ready to hold on to whatever I say. She wants a Shakespearean sonnet in the age of Bonnie and Clyde.

“It was not being able to imagine saying goodbye.”

White noise consumes the darkness in the room and for a minute, I think I’m alone again.

“What happened then?”

The last fight.
The final fall.
The curtains closed.
The song ended.

“We said goodbye.”

All these Years

I stood under that tree for a moment –
the one we used to take shelter under when it rained,
the one that used to be all shades of crimson at once during autumn,
and looked around for a moment.

That park we used to run around in,
the street in front of my house
where we both rode our first bikes,
the lonely bus rides;
with you in the back with your friends and me in the front with my earphones on.

Remember all those summers?
Back in the days when we’d chase the ice-cream cart all the way around town,
spend the drowsy afternoons under the trees you’d once told me were actually monsters;
and I believed you.

Pillowfights in my bedroom,
fistfights at birthday parties,
football in pouring rain,

Until we grew up.
And apart.

You burned through high school
drinking cheap beer in alleyways and riding away through the night.

I slipped away too,
lost somewhere in the chaos within.
It’s ironic, how often
the life of the party is the one
stumbling all the way home;
mascara-streaked and drunk.

But here we are now.
All these years later.

The things we learned.
The times we had.
The memories, after all.

You walk up to me in the pouring rain
as a yellow school bus passes us by,
a lifetime away –

‘Hey.’

Back to You

How terrible it is,
to love something Death can touch.

Isn’t that always the way somehow?
Those meant for eternity are
the ones marked by the fires of Fate,
tested and torn apart.

Which is harder?
To be the one who left,
or to be the one who survived?

To be the one who will sit at the edge of the Underworld,
stolid eyes set on the horizon,
waiting and hoping and waiting?

Or to be the one who will visit the graveyard for all the years to come
and water the shriveled, wilted flowers with tears?

Maybe this is why they say there’s life after death,
because in my end is my beginning –

For those who are meant to be
will find their way back to each other,
in this life and the next.
And every life after that.

Those fated to be star-crossed
will dance together under the stars again;
in the next world,
if not this one.

Bare

Aren’t photoframes strange ?
Or is it the pictures they hold ?

It’s almost unfair, the wistfulness of it all.

That one moment when everything was perfect, when the sun hit his face just right, when all the colours of fall were in bloom just enough and the wind blew your hair out as if you were in a movie. It’s not fair to hang up that one picture-perfect moment in your living room and watch it gather dust, day after day.

Because the truth is that we’re not in a movie, and the leaves of autumn turn brown faster than we realize.

Sooner or later, the cracks spread deep and far. And then one day, after the eye of the storm has passed, you’re left alone in a broken home.

Your clothes are stuffed in cardboard boxes all over the apartment and you’re on your knees, tears staining your cheeks as you cry for what used to be. And you spend the night on the kitchen floor because you just can’t bring yourself to take the pictures down, scared that the bare walls might just be little more than what you can bear to see.

Until next year

The shade of lilac the sky takes on at
sunset, the kind that bleeds away in the blink of an eye.

Songs and memories tucked away in dusty street corners.

3 am thoughts.
3:05 am coffee.

The kind of tired you get from lying in the sun for too long.

Laughing until you cry with your childhood friends, reminiscing about the adventures you had together; realizing that you have nothing to talk about anymore except the playground scars you share.

Butterflies in your head.
Pressed flowers between old books.

The feeling you get when the plane’s about to take off and you’re tapping your feet to the hum of the engine –
ready to leave it all behind.

Standing at the same spot where you said goodbye a year ago and realizing how time touches everything.

The beach.
The rain.
Rainy days at the beach.

Stripping your wet clothes off after a walk in the downpour, the feeling that you stole a gasp of air just when you were about to drown.

A clean slate.

A fresh start.

Helen of Nowhere

They say Helen used to stand on the battlements of her palace, radiant as the setting sun, to remind the city of Troy what it was fighting for.

And then they’ll say the Spartan Queen was just a pretty face, a young girl in love.

Vain. Disgraceful.

What the courtroom full of men who hoped to win her hand in marriage forgot was that she didn’t need their kingdoms. She’d been born Queen, one whose destiny was incensed with fire and destruction. One who would leave scars in the course of history and ruins in place of great cities.

Daughter of Zeus,
Ruler of men,
The face that launched a thousand ships,
Helen of no one but herself.

She gave up a crown and chose the wild, free beaches of Troy instead.
She ruled and waged war and made kings kneel.
But she also burned down cities and widowed entire villages.

Some believed she was a Goddess.
Some say she was nothing more than a harlot.

But whatever her legend is, whoever she was – she was more than just a face.

She was a Queen who rose and fell in the age of Kings.

Everything and Nothing

Lipstick stains on your cigarette
Mascara stains on my face
Let’s call it a night, shall we? ‘Cause I don’t think I can take the white noise anymore

Two blocks down, three bottles down
The back of your Maybach, our usual crime scene
Sinking in those plush leather cushions,
I lie as I pray you don’t take anyone else in along the way

But it’s almost like you can see the wheels in my mind turning,
‘Cause the car comes to a halt alright, and it’s not my stop yet.
You pop open another bottle with your new friends,
And I can hear her whisper hush-hush in your ear when she finally sees me,
Lying like a corpse, paralyzed in the lonely blue

Maybe I’m paranoid,
But when you leave me on the pavement
The concrete numbs my skin
No touch, no feel, no sense

All the chemicals and the poison that we light up,
the smoke and the white lighters,
the heat and the cold –
Everything blurs into nothing.

So I just lie there under the streetlights,
and you know me so I guess you know,
that when the party’s over I imagine life pouring out of me;
gushing at first, in a frenzy to break free,
but then it slows down to a trickle

drip

drip

dri-

she looks like art

Crimson,
like a summer haze
setting the horizon on fire

Lilac,
like the evening skies of
her childhood’s monsoons
that made her fall in love with
the music the Rain has to offer

Golden,
like the champagne
dripping off her lips,
forming little trails like
rivers fed by the Sin within,
rolling down the hollows of her clavicles

Burnished,
a reminder of days well spent,
leather-like skin acting as armour
against the pain;

She earned the scars and dents
on her bronze,
just like the pale, soft skin
in nooks and corners
the sun forgot to burn

Shades of wrong
or shades of right ?
No one knows for sure.
Because she is
the Sadist and the Masochist,
complete on her own.

Brown eyes melt into gold
when the sun hits them just right;
When the heavens
unleash the fury within,
and the downpour has
made her heady with it’s earthy scent,
all her colours break free;

Seamless, endless –
like the kaleidoscope
on an artist’s palette

The Rain is a muse for so many.
And sometimes, if you’re lucky enough,
you might just be able to
lean over your balcony
and catch a glimpse of her –

standing there as the cars go by;
hair dripping wet,
raindrops rolling off her face,

a piece of Art in a world that doesn’t care.

Kneel or Burn

When you left,
the sky cried

It’s tears flooded my room,
and I hid under my bed
and closed my eyes shut.

After the storm passed
and the windows stopped shuddering,
I crawled out;
My face grimy from the dried tears.

I got drunk that night,
but the vodka’s bitterness
reminded me too much of you

I stumbled into the bathroom
and my smeared makeup
reminded me of you

I crawled out into the open
and the night sky
reminded me of your storm

But if you thought this story
was about you,
You’re wrong.

I gave you all,
and you gave me pain.
So now I’ll hunt your hiding places down,
And I’ll set them up in flames.

Because neither of us
deserved what we got.
You didn’t deserve me.
And I, you.

But you should’ve known better
than to play games with a girl
who’s been playing for so much longer.

Holy water couldn’t put the fire
that I’m about to start out.
It’s made home in me
for far too long now.
No flood you bring will help you now.
The flames will just spread,
flapping, begging, praying –
for you.