the War within

“To be Queen, you have to be cold.”

Um, no.

I wear flowers in my hair
and a gore-spattered armour,
Pumpkin spice latte blowing steam onto my glasses as I watch the game,
Worn out leather boots and
a millennial pink skirt

Crown princess with a
smile made for war,
I got bored of all the princes
and now I’m searching for the sword

Struggling to pay rent,
stranded in a conference room
full of men
Mascara clinging to my lashes,
threatening to spill over
every now and then

Grease, nailpaint, blood
on my fingers,
My only hope is that my gravestone doesn’t read someone’s daughter or sister

I’d once read that between
her father’s and her husband’s name,
a woman doesn’t have much of a choice,
and that day I swore
to stop looking for Prince Charming,
to stop trying to fit into glass slippers;

Because not only am I my own true Queen,

I am the entire kingdom itself.

Damsel in Control

Chipped black nailpaint like a summer night sky,
with the warm haze running through her veins
Silver rings on her cold, numb fingers,
like a frozen moonlit night the wolves howl into

Lilies and thorns
Lilac and black
Love and incest
Heartache and murder

She’s the girl who takes
her shoes off to run wild
in the fields with the summer fireflies,
And to walk barefoot
on the pavement when it’s just rained

But she’s also the girl
who has fistfights in downtown nightclubs,
And drinks cheap beer
with her people in the alleyways;

Child of the Night,
When she walks out her door at midnight,
the Wind cries out into the hollow darkness,
warning the boys with
beautiful smiles and wicked eyes
to never try to tame her down.

That is, of course, if they don’t fancy burnt fingertips.

The Nowhere Princess

Gold rimmed cups,
Trembling fingers,
Floating goblets full of wine,
Crimson stained lips curled into fake smiles,

Princess –
with gold between her teeth
and steel choking her lungs,

Seemed like she could scream for all eternity,
But the poison that the Sun-God
had traced onto her lips
made them burn
every time she gasped for breath,

Sweet little Cassandra,
Mad little Cassandra,

Fall asleep quickly now,
I’ll sing you a lullaby,
Don’t let the others see
How crazy you can seem to be,

Don’t scream
Or kick in bed,
When the monsters of your nightmares
run wild in your head,

Paris is your brother;
A prince of Troy,
And the wooden horse is just another toy,
Your warnings of doom are but a mirage,
Hovering over the hordes of your city
but never quite settling in,

Drink some more wine, my Lady
It will help you hold your breath
while you sleep,

For your screams
fall on empty ears,
And Troy, in all it’s glory,
will burn while they all sleep.

My Way

It’s like, we talked in spirals, you know?

You and me. It’s been the same since we were kids, running around all the rides in the playground.

Everything is in circles with us. Every conversation, every joke, every sigh – we’ve been there before a million times.

You knew all my triggers, you knew how each tear would stain. So much so that one time you decided that the basketball game was more important than the mascara on my pillowcase.

‘She’s got daddy issues, you know.’, is what you said to our friends over brunch next Sunday, when I quit and was nowhere to be found.

Fast forward seven years, and it’s you, me and my one-week old boyfriend who greeted you with a ‘hola hermano’ in a shady little club in the downtown area. He raced off to the keg-stand to put money on his little brother when you finally leaned in and whispered,

‘What do you see in him, anyway?’

All the Sunday brunches and pool parties I’d missed, what for?

I let the moment linger, that one moment when it feels like you’re moving through molasses and everything that’s been out of focus for so long is finally making sense.

That moment when you look out to see your boyfriend throwing up all over the place while your ex-lover’s gaze beholds you.

The moment passed.

‘You see him? He doesn’t wear Gucci, or drive a Porsche, or has a future in any sense of the term. But when he hurts me, he doesn’t do it on purpose. When I wake up in the middle of the night, shivering and stone cold, he doesn’t turn over to his side. When there’s make-up running down my face, he doesn’t say, “Fix yourself up, we have a party to attend to.”

That’s why I ran in the first place.’

‘And what are you gonna do when all the tricks stop working and the toy’s broken?’

I took a sip of the warm beer from my plastic cup. It tasted good.

‘I’ll run again.
It’s kinda my thing now.’

Spoils of War

“If it is to be,
let it be without struggle.”

Sing, O Goddess,
Not of the rage of Achilles,
Or the ruthless sword of Hector,
For bards have done enough justice to their gorey deeds over the centuries.

Sing of the wrath of Clytemnestra,
Queen of Mycenae;
who ruled in steely silence for ten years to be able to bathe in her husband’s blood,

Sing of Helen,
Demigoddess, Ruler of men;
the Queen who left her throne in exchange for a chance of being more than just a pretty face,
for a breath of fresh air,
and for the greatest War in all of history.

Sing of Penthesilea,
Queen of the Amazons,
the great hearted daughter of
man-slaying Ares;
the woman who didn’t beg for mercy
even with Achilles’ sword in her heart,
the warrior whose corpse bought the mighty Achaean to his knees.

Sing of Iphigenia,
Princess of Mycenae;
the fair daughter who didn’t tremble even when her own father picked up
the sword that would slit her throat,
whose gold-laden flesh had to be thrown onto the pyres of sacrifice to appease the Virgin Goddess.

Kings fight
and soldiers die.
But the clanging of their swords
echoes well into the vastness of infinity.

Sing not of
the Men of the Golden Age,
the heroes of the battlefield;

Sing, O Goddess,
Of the Spoils of War.

Not your Girl

Remember the first night your text read,
‘It’s late, you should go to sleep.’

Ugh.

Who do you think you are, boy?
Pretty face, good lips don’t give you the right to take the wheel.

Don’t ask if I ate or not,
don’t ask who he is,
Don’t beg me to tell you about my daydreams,
‘Cause you don’t deserve to know unless you can handle the poison of my nightmares.

Because you’ll run the second you see me break down at 3 A.M.
You’ll scream for help when I turn the tables on you,
You’ll make me cut and bleed and smear my mascara.
And what’s the cherry on top?
You do it all in the name of love.

If it’s all just good fun to you,
I’m game.

But babe, do me a favour and play by the rules.

Atleast one of us has to.

good boy, Bad girl

What if your first love is your last one too?

What if your high school lover is the one you’re thinking about in the middle of a meeting twelve years later?

I still remember the night we first met. I know you do too. Party crashers and tequila shots and keg stands – the usual scene. I never really believed in fairytales and stories about Prince Charming, but I remember musing that I could almost feel the flames the moment our eyes met.

I remember standing with you on the beach in the pouring November rain, under the stars and the citylights. The ocean mist flapping through my hair; I prayed for nothing to ever change. And I’ve never been a huge fan of clichés, but somehow I find myself breaking all my rules for you.

I remember when I said goodbye before leaving for college, outside that café in the summer haze. Walking away, every step made me wonder – if I’m not supposed to stay, why is it so hard to leave?

But there you were at the airport, when I came home for the holidays next summer.
I’d always thought that our lives were tangled but never intertwined. Too young to stay, so all I did was run.
On and off, up and down – we kept ebbing into and out of life like the waves we’d once stood by. Until different timezones made me think before calling you up at 4 A.M.

“Anna?”

”Huh?”. I’m definitely getting fired one of these days.

“Any thoughts?” My boss’ eyebrows were arched upto his hairline.

“I think…it’s a great idea.”

“Well, it’s settled then. Until next time.”
The man’s brows returned to Earth and I thanked the Gods for another month’s rent.

“Hey, you wanna grab some lunch? Everyone’s coming.”

“You guys head out. I have to make a call.”

There’s a three hour time difference between New York and LA.

I cross my fingers as I press dial and hope that sometimes, you too reminisce about the ocean breeze and summer air and all the endless nights we spent together.

Stay, Jack.

I remember watching Titanic when I was seven.

I remember the first time I read Romeo and Juliet.

I remember the aching hole it left in my heart. I also remember thinking that for all the bedtime tales in the world, doomed love stories are the best kind.

Because when you’re in one, you know that this moment is all you really have. Sometimes, no matter how eternally beautiful things could have been, they last for only a moment. But in that one moment, you know nothing matters any more. And that nothing will matter ever again.

Nothing is more wistful than a story whose beauty is it’s pain.

Nothing else can ever be this pure.

Don’t say you love me.

I’ve never really understood how people say they ‘loved’ someone.

How can you say that you loved someone once but you don’t anymore?

How do people fall out of love?

How can someone be your entire world and then just, not be there anymore?

So we’ll get ice-cream together, dance in the rain, stay up till morning light talking about our pasts and our future, stray under the yellow streetlights at midnight until one day the morning waffles don’t taste the same anymore and none of the late nights seem worth it any longer.

Don’t say we are forever if you don’t mean it, because I might just end up believing you.

Don’t say you love me if it doesn’t mean the same to you as it does to me, because I’ve spent far too many nights on bathroom floors, trying to numb the pain out.

Don’t say you love me if you won’t stay the night; because when I think of love, I wish I didn’t think of pain.

Time.

Time.

Some say that time is a human concept. Something that we made up to try and make sense of the enigma that is life.

Others try to capture it on their wrists.

Personally, I don’t know where I stand. Coffee does cool faster on chilly winter evenings but I have never really believed in letting the tick-tock of two needles set the course of my life.
Before I left for college, my father said to me, “The next four years will fly away before you realise. Make the most of them.”

There have been many days since then when I felt paralyzed. The darkest cloud refused to rain down and clear the horizon. There have also been weekends that seemed to be over in the blink of an eye.

What I’ve really come to believe is that how fast the hour trickles depends on something that can’t be measured or captured.

It depends on ‘it’.

‘It’ is the abyss we’re staring at.

‘It’ is the exam you have to pull an all-nighter for, or the flight back home that you’ll catch tomorrow. ‘It’ could be the dozen test papers due tomorrow, the laundry that needs washing, the dishes that have to be done or that road-trip with your friends you’ve been planning for forever.

It is that evening you spent playing dumb-charades with your friends, sitting on the cool grass, gazing up at an endless blue sky.

It is also that hour you spent crying in the washroom at 3 A.M., with crimson running down your legs.

The cards have been dealt; the hand, invisible and unknown. What we decide to with our ‘it’ makes up a tiny fleck of our vast infinity.

But no matter what we do, whether we screw up or not, at the end of it all, we’ll always have a story to tell; and sometimes, a scar to hide.