How to Make a Molotov Cocktail

Her crib walks across the bedroom
And I find her pieces by the floor
Do clattered torn clothing get your goat
Man! I hope it does
because she’s only three and you’re looking
Like a wolf about to gulp down a chicken
And shatter shatter shatter
Thirty years later
She’s looking to replace
your penis with antidepressant
And that don’t matter
Cause you still drinking with her father
Commenting on how cute that blue dress looks
On her nice boobies
It’s been a while since you saw em
Ain’t that how you do it?
Ain’t that how to make poetry?
Because at the end of the day when the world is sitting right behind
And she’s writing a poem
you will be the one who would take away her clothes
Turning her naked in middle of a cafe
And she would run to the bathroom
Only to hear creaky voices sounding snake venom
into bloodstreams that could’ve watered
personalities into daisies but, instead
Creates hatred
And it would be behind her.
with a wobbly crib being pulled across the stage
You see complaints are silence
Silence resonating across hills with officers asking
“Hey you don’t look so attractive
Are you sure you were raped?”
“I mean officer i am standing here with my broken spine
And a half toothed smile across my face
And the line behind my back has
Women who could qualify as goddesses
And the thing is if I was a goddess
You would ask me to be modest
And because I am already modest
You question my sanity”
Just like my uncle did
When I refused to sleep
Because slipping a grown penis into a 13 year old’s panties
For she dared to grow boobies is just the just punishment
Riots, molotov cocktail
We’re snowflakes because we called out someone who followed me around
For 15 long days, even in the library and outside bathrooms
Whose bated breath became my bane
And who made me feel like closing everything and lying in bed
Except I knew the footsteps before the bedroom
The sighs beside my bed
Paranoia, madness, depression
Pills to take after breakfast, after lunch, before sunset, after twilight, before dinner, after death
Everytime you feel threatened
Well, when do I draw that line mate?!
A safest place turns into a nightmare
Cuz you know, your best friend’s mate’s a lil drunk
And you do have big boobies
So like, forgive him mate
And honey I would
But, being clattered clothing on the room
As the crib moves across marble floors
And my cries become a fond joke between my parents
I become angry
For fuck’s sake,
tomorrow, if I take a chair and smash it across beauty companies
And try to bleed out this hegemony of abuse
I’d be chided and made fun of
But, so be it
I am fucking survivor mate
And I have a knife
Which dares you to call me a victim again!

Half-written notebook

Because on the third evening
While, you sang songs out of a book
That had almost lyrics but, was still insecure
I was looking for kisses amidst half winters
And your frail fingers searched for cigarettes instead
So, when the pain went away
And the smoke cleared slowly off the dress
I wore pink, and you wore blue
And the ball flew out into the darkness
What a gall we had back then
Romance just a broken concept
Without works, without words
I could never lay beside you
And yet, I pretended to love just because I had to
Have someone who could hold me close
As the rains came down every 5th of November
But, before rains fell, you were on a cab
And the train leaving the station became the platform I was lying in
Dreaming of stars and equality and the promises
Which I had written down in quick successions
Amidst poetry that sought out the body of men

So, tell me today
Before I go out to that street
And chart a song for the masses to endure
Do you remember pink lipsticks
Or have they all become red?
And do you think black is still ghastly?
because those are the boots I am wearing
And I know you don’t sing the blues
So, I wrote you a jazz lyric
on the back of a maths copy that screams out in contempt
You wrote your number with half remaining ink oozing out
The ball point pen lies forgotten on a back seat
Somewhat of loneliness

Does the forest look as good as the grass
Before we went away?
Or is the brass
Breaking down again
I know the train runs still
And your fingers, not so frail
Are seeking out a soul
I would surrender mine
But, you would rather have a poem won’t you?

Almost… not Quite

I spent my childness
Wearing princess clothes
Over bordered pin stripe suits
And I danced to a ballad
Written for people
Who would always be prettier than me
When the first hairs grew
Amidst a failed puberty
I decided on a war
And I fell in love
With every passing stranger who decided to look twice
Twice it took my breath away
Thrice, I was left writing poems that made me regret
Do you understand where we stand now?
Now, that the leaves have withered away?
I packed away my MAC
Bought with tiffin money I saved for years
The matte lipstick has become decoration
Of a lover’s lips
Someone I didn’t even dare to love
But, I cared enough to surrender myself to
And my mother tied me up
Three turns of the rope
As I laid in the garage awaiting the car
But, it never did come, and so I was released
Sans the madness that made me dance so
So, next time a jazz record came on
I played loud guitars and growled
Donned a leather jacket and stood behind
A group of men who decided that screaming at this girl
Who I still love, as a sister now
Was the perfect response for her short self trying to click pictures
I could never forgive them for that
But, hey I was being a man
So, at the 20th cigarette by the Ganges shore
While, talking to friends about love and lore
All while, all I could dream about was poetry and art
Was the mask I pulled
The matte lipsticks and concealers
The ruby red, and translucent
Were less of masks than my words became
Until I was laying across a man’s chest
leaving behind trails of lipsticks
Red makrs that went down the sternum
Right down to a place
Whose name I shouldn’t take
Censured myself to the extent
That outside the home of his
I smoked three cigarettes
As If I didn’t like the taste of sex
in my mouth, on my body, on everything
i wore the t-shirts, but, I loved drapes
So, every time puja came around I wore dhotis
Mom thought it was tradition
it was just being myself
I was never a woman
But, wearing something that flew so seamlessly with my body
Drawing art on my body
Writing poetry quotes acrossed malformed breasts
Highlighting features that they want to be hidden
Hey, I do have stretch marks
And scars from a leg badly broken
Who are you to judge?
And why do you think that I
After all this time would even care
Because I wear glasses and throughout school?
Because you decided grabbing my breasts was a good joke?
Non-sexual, jovial, brotherhood?
And I didn’t realise why it made me feel uncomfortable
Till now
But, I own myself more than I ever had
graded visuals, gradients which go from blue to black
Pieces of me decorated by a boy
Whose love often turned to hitting
And yet, I was happier than I was with you people
But, then I could never be the princess again
Dark umbrellas
Staunch shirts that hid me
behind layers and layers and layers
All mounting up to this shameless
Image of someone who is almost there
but, not quite
Not quite himself
I decided on love by the time I was 17
But, the 13 years kept pulling me back
So, when i shared my first kiss with a man
I congratulated myself on not making my identity a mask
For all these fears and aspirations
I had gathered over for years
So, you know what?
I will listen to Taylor Swift
As much as I listen to hip-hop
And angry ballads written behind garages
And like I danced the shimmy yesterday
While my friend was in the bathroom
And I will again
And I will wear my mascara because that is the only time I was myself
And I am no woman
I have never identified as such
but, I refuse to be broken idols
And I know you like imagery so take this
The diary bound in leather
had charred pages which threatened to reveal all these poetry
That were supposed to be hidden
but, I just flled ink in my fountain pen
I let love in
And love happened

Random scribblings

I would often lie about the worldwide truths
Hide them behind the sensual myths
That were hidden behind the highway cigarettes
I never had a bike of course
I just rode along
And half a bottle of vodka in my stomach
I went on to chant poetry for the masses
Before the bud blooms is there a moment
When it wonders whether the bloom is worth
That is how I felt before sex
because in my family no one touched it
Being touched became this sort of fear
That I ran from for ages
Until half hairy hands fell over my body
And pulled me in and in
So, of course when I lost in the Russian roulette
Played at the riverside with strangers
I said I would suck all of them, if indeed
They would hug me, because I missed being wanted
I still do perhaps, but, touches changed
And one evening drunk at the safest place I knew
Where two gay lovers embraced in the silhouette of disco lights
I was being touched behind bottles and laughters
A buck for the breasts, two for the groins
To have sex, you probably still need consent

I forgot that for a while
While, I pretended that every man I met
Was deflowering me again and again
The asshole isn’t much of a flower
So, I had no problem to pretend
Guess I scared my friends a bit with
Chalk marks written over half covered faces
Can burqas be reclamation or can we pretend
That today you just didn’t want to see me because
I was too beautiful for you
The only intelligent conversation we had
Was when I said I needed to use the Bathroom
And you told me to get out
If you hated me so much in the first place, well
Why try even? I know your wife waits for you
Does she come behind veils and hold pails of water
For you to drink, because for God’s sake I won’t
You see
This other lover showed up at the event and winked at me
I made him buy cigarettes behind a shack on the street
I would have gone down on him, but, oh well, anxiety
Now, sex is like a tree
And I am not much of a John Keats so I tried to keep that at minimum
but, while, I stared down at bald valleys
I realised that I was petty with prettiness
And hotness came at the cost of a burnt rectum
God, am I even allowed to say that out loud
I mean it is fun and all, but, I would lust after a hairy nipple
But, please do not ask me to suck them
It feels cheap
I mean I would probably suck you for 60 bucks but
Oh well, I come cheap in the market where sex sells
Strange that I would advocate for a Marxist treatment of our bodies
I am a petty bourgeoise with my own
but, we do treat others with the love we deserve ourselves
and that’s only because truths are so easy to lie behind
Wooden creaky beds at your home, with that smell
“You masterbated before I even came?”
Oh God that’s a brilliant pun indeed
But, then, I am dancing along the national highway
High, back when I was not on three pills
White and yellow honey, sold at 300 bucks
So, I would need to sleep with 5 people to even be happy
What kind of fairness is that? Oh well you can call the psychiatrist
I tried to, but, he just stared at me and signed “No”
Once in a concert, while they were playing folk music
I decided to do the time warp behind a platform
Think my favourite vocalist saw me, wonder how much would he pay
not that I won’t do it for free
But, at this point that doesn’t matter does it?
Hey did you write down my number yet? The horny kid
pretending to be a slam poet?
Oh well, it’s just 10 digit, give me the call
When you feel sad, or you feel horny
I mean I did do Harry Potter for a while
And apparently all the girls I met
Are either asexual, bi or les
Designated queer whisperer people!
It does take me balls to say that I am not sexual
I mean I did imagine the demon penetrating me
(Don’t you judge me on that mister, you have too)
And his long tongues licking my ear
Poets don’t judge right? So I was kind of a lineart
Turning into colored imagery by his touch
Well, another guy did come into my life
And while I was writing this poem I didn’t know if he would ever come for me
God, my friends would love this
Anyway, so while, I was broken and wounded
And halfway a toy which fit in the hands of a manga reader
He took me in from a bus which felt like thousands of arms
Sex workers don’t really enjoy non-consensual touch kids
And bought me coffee
And a lot of drinks
He says I am 5000 bucks in debt
I could repay by sucking him, but, I think he’s halfway straight
And I have lied to myself enough to know that hurting other people
And hurting yourself, just ain’t the same
So, 21st midnight, when medication, hopefully gets over
I would get drunk with him
I would hug him and tell him that he’s the best
Better than highway vodka in front of a restaurant
Being passed around by strangers for the sake
of a pint of beer anyway
Much better than a whore who didn’t know any better
Better than a lover who broke up with someone
Who didn’t love him back the same way
But, mostly I would still be sexual
Running hands through long strands of hair
And kissing bearded faces
Well, at least till the anti depressants are effective anyway

Past Lovers

Who do you complain to when your ninth grade romance
leads to a silent night before 12th grade when you lose
your virginity in a background, and you become just a silhouette
screaming that you wish you had not? When you have known
about masturbation from the day you were eight because
someone masturbated to you, after closing bedroom doors.
“Does anal hurt?”, she asks after smoking the third cigarette
I smile and I whisper, “Lots.” “But, not as much as him
Forcing me down so that I wouldn’t enjoy it more than he did”
remains a subtext. This grows until my silences become
novels which need writing, and I am afraid that he would notice
his name which rides on anonymity. Maybe, he has forgotten.
I’m ambivalent about that, do I want him to forget how I felt?
Maybe, if he remembers, there will be regret, but, what if
it is another day when he does not listen to my screams and is
there telling me about how he would like to try something new.
“Something new”, my friend who is strong says, and starts
Painting with words, showcasing her pain to be a strength
surviving without dilution, without any kind of pretense.
Shame flows through me, I remember my false pretense
and how I tried to remove his taste, by spraying deodorant
on my tongue. Shit decomposing, turns to green goo
and you can drown and suffocate, without a light to see.
You detoxify, and I have spent years trying to run away like an addict
getting rid of heroin in their bloodstream. Every time I look at a man
I measure him up to the past failure, telling myself that I am
not looking for you. “Battered wife” is not what I will live with
but, it is painful because books become smokescreens before
a TV screen showcases our past, and I am puking.
I have not listened to music, and I could not masturbate until I was 18
before your face was replaced by another, and I believe
that he was worse because I knew what he was doing.
Only I didn’t protest because ever since, eight I never had
anyone exclusively. There are only so many musicians you can
cut out because of the memories. Suddenly, you are dancing
ballet with the most amazing guy in the company and they will
put on that song, and he won’t know what hit him.
However, that is not how I know what the worst is, the absolute worst
comes from reclaiming my body. Answering my friend’s
call, walking back into your restaurant and realizing though
they change the interior decoration and shit, the chicken soup
still got your saliva in it. I am still afraid about going out
meeting people not pre-approved, but, then that is shit.
The last time I had a hook up I went outside and I smoked
five cigarettes, one after the other, until he walked into me
and hugged me. Yeah, we weren’t supposed to keep contact
but, that was the only bus ride from our hotel, that did not stink
of your masculinity. And I know I am 21 and fuck, I need to figure
out a way out of this, but, I cannot behind
this wall that is chasing me. You do not return my calls, as if me
accusing you was the greater crime than you raping me.
Sorry I wrote this poem
You did always accuse me of not keeping the peace

“Whore”

Whore was such a beautiful insult
When we were in sixth grade
“Randi” rolls off my tongue
Fired at a classmate
Who I heard had her breasts pressed
But, that is not why I called her that
Just that she had been rude
And being more rude made sense
But, then it is ninth or tenth grade
I bark the same at my best friend
“I am vulnerable”, a poor excuse
Shattering her heart to make mine whole
A look in the mirror when in twelfth
I regret those words said
Because they were in anger
And I suddenly love being this “whore”
The dirt accumulates in layers
“Sexual promiscuity is a disease” plastered
On my mind
“Oh how could he have had a one night stand?”
“This hook up culture would ruin us all.”
Words to dress up like a gentleman
While in dreams I wander
I dream of my lips and his Adam’s apple
A kiss where his beard doesn’t interfere
Tongue down the male sternum
Onto the slight divide between the belly and the pubes
Of being pushed up against the wall
His breath burning
Buttholes, Buttholes, Buttholess
Pictures stored in hidden folders
The freckled breasts of an actress
A year older
Cumming on a creaky bed
To the image of
“Emo gay teen masterbating”
I am as much a child of sexuality
As anyone else
There is no shame in genitalia
In the flaps of skin of foreskin
Or the nerve endings in the clitoris
Elvish queen secreting milk
Zoned out, selling sex by 5th street
“Here for casual sex”, upfront
There’s no need for money when it’s fucking
Dingy hotel rooms, 200 bucks an hour
His smell, his manhood, my mouth
“Sir, this boy is eager to please”
So, I remember my rumour
“50 bucks for one blowjob”
And laugh, for I’d have done it for less
Of only the man was right
10 bucks and an ice-cream would have sufficed
For heaven’s sake, it is hard to distinguish
When you say it like that
Why couldn’t the nympho be the nymph
And not the hatred in “Whore”
Fuck it then, I will sell my flesh for pleasure
In a country where hate manifests
In festivals, the scene of loud voices
And the unwanted touch
That is my choice, my politics
Indulgence in the warmth and body hair
Or the slight curvature of the belly
If the whore is what I must become
Then I might as well be the best at it
And “Randi” isn’t something I say anymore
And when I call someone whore
It is a pat on the back of a fellow soldier
A smile exchanged
A celebrattion
Of a sexuality that is a weapon

Pride

Among the 100 “”fuck you”s I yelled today
I am shamed to say almost 90 of them were hate
I am ashamed to hate because that causes death
So much death
But, how do you respond then?
Your brethren lie in blood, tears and shit
Wishing for some sort of reprieve from this slaughter
That people have directed at them for centuries
You can turn 10 “fuck you”s to poetry
To verses recited at the top of your voice in front of
A group of people who would molest you
If only they had the chance
You recite your words and make them into thinkers maybe
You turn about 50 “fuck you”s to tragedies
Songs and movies written over the backdrop of love
And loss, Rock Hudson and bitterness
The image of Schyuler and moonlit sidewalks
At the heart of a beat stricken Castro
The 20 “fuck you”s are about caring
About hand in hand after the long night
Talks about eternity and how he would survive
One more shooting, ten more still
Because he hasn’t told his story yet
The last 10 are problematic though
I guess they are reserved for the ones we hate so
To turn our hatred into speeches for knowledge
Into standing up at the roaring opposition
And telling them
“We are here for love’s sake
And my lover lies dying, God knows we do not
Have a lot of shot. But, remember how you love your wife
I love him the same, with the same intensity.
And I know you think it is wrong, that our sex
Is more important than our feelings
But, can’t you see? In these tears we don’t just hide
Our yearnings for a fucking penis
Can’t you just see a little more through praying
That we’re fucking perverse only in our bedrooms
But, even without that, we are so much more”

If not a mother, who am I?

I guess I am not much of an Indian

But, then I have never been enamored with the culture that has been trying to fit me into it

And apparently listening to Sitar tunes in the morning before I start my work was never enough

Neither was all the literature I amassed over the years

So, when my philosophy diverges so, and I wish to protest against someone

In the street, with a drunken heart that wishes for someone to listen to my screams

I guess, I forgo my right to my Indian-ness

I lose a part of me as a Bengali too

Because I dare critique the poets they hold so dear

Because I dare interpret them sexually, I dare to wear their devotion songs as my source of erotic

So, when I sing a tune or two, drunk again, this time in my sexuality

Standing before my lover, the one I sacrifice myself to, I am allowed to recite Rumi

But, the intelligent “public” doesn’t want Rabindranath soiled thus

And me in my brassiere become an icon for the wasted youth, the worst delinquent

My mother doesn’t consider me either

Because her “good boy” husband chosen for me, chose to leave me alone

When I was just beginning to grow around the belly

I guess I am still not Indian enough to turn to other cheek to the demands he made on me

But, these do not hurt, I have been shunned by those closest to me before

I have been told by a serious friend that he is leaving me because I could not love him back

I knew I was hurting him then, but, my little heart had been broken by another man just before

Years after, when I messaged him, he just smiled, I was just another “Read” message in his profile

It is not that I look for love either

I look for something that resembles, I look for something that makes me feel the same

Sometimes it is trysts with unknown men, some days it is music, some days it’s my daughter

Who has grown so much, and does not complain when I entertain

This motley of non-serious friends I have made

I am not a person

At least not until I am married

Or so my landlord says, when she comes a knocking every first day

Thankfully, they do live far away, and I can still bring in some of my friends

Yet, the comments she makes, makes me cry so much

So much so that my teenage child takes over when I get out that day

I guess it is my fault too that way, I never learnt not to be unruly, and was never taught anything against

I have lost all rights as a human too, in the process

It is easier to rationalize to myself

That the stares are inevitable no matter what comes by

But, it becomes harder when you say the same to your 6 year old child

Because mommy does not cover up because of the stares, which she can rationalize by evolution

But, a theory is not enough satiation for the hole created by the women who tell her their life stories

I try to keep her away, and keep myself in check for the longest stretches of time

But, you need love too, and that’s when I indulge

I think she learnt a few curse words from me these last few weeks, and that hurts me

Hurts me more than this guy who was the nicest man in the bar, starts slapping me, and I have to chase him out

And my 6 year old looks on, at her mother’s nudity, she probably knows I am not much of a woman too

Oh, did I tell you? I am not a woman

I am fear, I am strength, the internet fables speak of me as a hero

And forget to tell them of what a fucked up person I became

I guess, the fact that my daughter knew how to recite the English alphabet first is more important

But, is success measured in that alone?

I know how she would suffer if any day she wishes to have her passport

I know my mother would tell her to stay for longer periods of time because she fears I will…

I am a mother still

I scold her when it is too late at night

I only bring men in when my friend in need has told me she has gone to sleep

I don’t drink as much

And cigarettes I smoke only two

I want to her to respect my nakedness but, I hide it so that she does not fall prey to someone else

I am a mother still

I fear for her when it is late at night and my cab is late in arriving

And I miss two of her poetry recitals because office kept me so busy

When she tells me, chastises me for being myself is when I am afraid the most

I am hardly an Indian, slightly a Bengali, not at all a woman, barely a person, so except a mother, what could I be?

 

 

 

Of Poetry

I crashed yesterday. I guess I should have seen it coming. It started with me getting tense and getting those small chest pains and then suddenly, I was suffocating all over, the broken glasses dug into the shallow skin of my life. So, this is me now, sick and tired, so tired that I can’t go to the parade even. On the other hand though poetry has caught me, and that is leaving me scared, because no matter what they say, poetry does not catch you like…

He came out of the woods
An window we could visualise
If only we kept an open mind
And in a moment we realised
That we’re all flying

It comes in differently, like

A blizzard through the night sky
Snowflakes that pierce into your skies
A blue sky into the faltering heart
A tear which is pure pure ice

Which is why I am scared really, because I am crashing and I am poetic and everything is mixing together to create a cocktail of something that  do not quite understand yet. I am trying to put together the pieces which are crumbling sand.

I like putting down depression as an experience, but, it is more really. It is a broken string that keeps playing the same tune again and again and you are muted, unable to move, your hands and legs locked and your motivation a silver line in the sky that is forever melting.

It’s also fear, of failure, of never getting what you want, of always being alone. ANd I cannot give up on that, can’t run away from that.

So, yes, I am crashing and I am writing poetry.

I am also thinking about all the “I Love you”s I would take back from him by the end of this. Because I don’t know how much any of those words meant to me and it is not really about meaning anyway because all of those were spoken with feeling but, feelings are scary things when you are crashing.

So, yes goodbye now