Tomorrow Will Be A Better day?

There it is. Brewing in the corner of my eye: darkness that eats light whole. How long could it stay away? I light lamps everywhere, that’s what I’ve taught myself to do. It’s the only way I survive. But the dark always watches from beyond the boundary of my light, sitting at the edge of my laughter, waiting. It is a shrieking gale that comes time and again to blow the flames out. And at times I’m too tired to light the lamps all over again.

I’ve been enchanted by a magician’s trick, too focused on the diversion, on the distraction to see through the illusion. Now the trick becomes clearer, and I wake up from this drugged stupor I’ve been in, happy and high in my head. The withdrawal is acid. In my heart, in my gut, in my windpipe and in my sight.

If I am one of the lost, floating on these dark placid waters in my little dingy with the rest of these adrift souls, then I see more than I should to remain calm. I taste my purpose and don’t understand its flavour: like seeing a person you have loved your whole life and being unable to conjure up a drop of love for them. You know you should love them because you always have, and yet one day the love is dead and it has been dead so long, you didn’t even notice when it turned to dust and vanished.

I am appalled at how comfortable I am in the jaws of this staid, numb life. Afraid to rock the dingy, afraid to follow through on what I know makes me happy. Always the fear. Be brave, the magician told me once, as he pulled out the rabbit from his hat and handed it to me. I thought he intended it as a gift solely for me. But the rabbit was the diversion: a side road into the pretty countryside when the moon was at its beautiful best. For that one night, the world was lit silver and blue and my mind knew no other colour. But then came morning, bright and blazing and yellow, and I was suddenly reacquainted with the sun and how little I had done to reduce the distance between us. The sun no longer questioned me, I had silenced him long ago. He had been my dream and now he asked me for the first time in years, “What happened to you?”

When I whisper about this darkness to other lost souls they shush me. With fluttering hands and soothing murmurs they stroke my bruises. “Don’t think too much, here drink.” “Don’t worry too much, here smoke.” “Don’t be too much, here eat.” “Don’t say too much, here sleep.” For them tomorrow is a land of perpetual comfort. Today is just an off day, tomorrow will be good. But today, in this pain, I feel more awake, more alive than I have been in a long time. I don’t want pipe dreams. I want the jagged truth. Even if I cut myself holding it to my chest. I don’t want to wake up to a tomorrow that numbs me, that allows my mind to anaesthetise itself so I can go through the day without screaming out loud. I don’t want a tomorrow as much as I want a today.

And I don’t want a today as much as I want a now.

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The Dish

I simmer on a low flame. The chef has already given me a dose of the high flame when I was put in the pan. Perhaps he was in a bad mood, perhaps he didn’t pay attention and left the flame on high for the oil, but I am a little burnt. Now I must cook slowly, evenly, my surface needs to be crisp. The chef is on a call, extremely busy, as the oil and the herbs seep through my skin and the heat hurts me at a steady level. I wonder about what life was before this pan. But there are no memories of before, I just am. In the pan. Like always.

Now the chef hurries over squints down at me, makes a ‘tut-tut-tut’ sound and rummages through his plastic containers of ingredients. He adds some garlic and onion. The pungence of garlic assaults my senses and the onions scream each time. I hate those little melodramatic buggers. Aren’t we all here suffering and dying and burning? Aren’t we all keeping our screams within?

Anyway, I tune them out as they cook, worrying about the fat vegetables that are definitely going to be added on top. Good god, they walk all over the rest of us like they own us. Just because they take so long to cook with their thick skins! Sure enough the chef, muttering dark things, sidles over and callously throws the chopped carrots and beans onto us. I hold my breath as two carrot pieces land on top of me. With a wooden spatula (a grumpy fellow) the chef tosses and mixes us all up. He peers in and then disappears for a bit. Half a cup of water later I am swimming in a stew as much my own as the others. The heat dissipates some for a little while. But the relief is fleeting. The chef begins to whirl us in the pan with a jarring, disorienting frenzy. I scream out loud, even though the onions have long fallen silent. No one hears me, no one can hear me. The chef now covers the pan and everything goes dark.

The heat begins to rise. The water so welcome as a relief, begins to bubble ominously. Slowly and slowly, piercingly we cook, surrounded by the heat, unable to see, unable to speak. I wonder what I’m being made into. Am I part of a continental dish? Or Chinese? Or Indian? Or Thai? I wish I could know what was happening to me.

The water now drips down onto us from above where it condenses on the cover of the pan. It is too dark to tell who is cooking beside me. There are only the sounds of the sluggish boil of water, and the hiss of the flame beneath us. I cry now, not because it relieves me, but because it is the only thing I can do.

Suddenly the cover is lifted and all of us shriek at the stabbing light that falls upon us. The chef grunts and shakes the pan and then flips us in the air. For a moment there, I am in the cool air, free from my indifferent, bovine food mates, and I am…happy. Once, twice, thrice…I shout out in glee! These are the best moments of my life. And so of course they end.

We are then put into a fancy china bowl. Suddenly I’m looking at a beautiful thing with lights suspended from the ceiling, and then woops! I am scooped out and placed upon a plate. A low murmur rises from everywhere around me. Then I feel the cool tip of a spoon swoop down and claim me. I am rising, rising, gloriously rising and the gates of heaven open, all round and moist and dark. I feel empty as everything goes pitch black and I cease to exist.

For The Cause

I am the candle meant to die
At the foot of a fiery flame,
And as I cry tears of wax
The cause feels no pain.

 

A war drum beats beneath my ribs,
Taut atoms an army at rest,
Give me a cause, worthy enough,
Worth a dagger through my chest.

 

Passion doesn’t enunciate a face,
It’s compressed beneath the skin,
Like memories of a special abuse,
That shift tectonic plates within.

 

I am the candle meant to die
At the foot of a foolish flame,
And as I burn through my turn,
The cause feels no shame.

 

Dotted Line

Sometimes there is tiredness,

Like a cloud burst drowning you,

And the feeling seeps in,

Through the pores of your skin,

Deeper, all the way in, in, in,

Until you’re more outside,

Than this fatigue inside.

 

You’re rolling in a white cloud,

Which way is what,

What did you say?

No wind, no ground,

Just white, white cloud.

 

This isn’t the ‘should be’

This is the lovely ‘it just is’

Did I sign away my solitude?

Or whore away mind space?

Was there a dotted line I was balanced upon?

That I fell off from at some point during play?

From The Girl Who Couldn’t Love You Back

Last night, I wanted to tell you that if you ask ‘others’, what does 1 + 1 equal? The answer will be 2. No one will say 3 or 4 or 100014.5. Because no one sees the invisible spaces between the 1 and the + and the 1 again. Those invisible spaces, my ex-best friend, are where you and I reside. Correction, since your call last night, used to reside. So your other friends shall advise you like the objective, rational people they are. They’ll advise you like they would on which mutual fund to invest in, or what restaurant to take your parents out to dine in, or which firm to join. They’ll advise you, not knowing you like I do, not knowing me like you do. Not knowing anything about us worth knowing. And you’d listen, because that’s what you want to do, not because they are saying it.

I wanted to say all of this and so much more to you last night. But my voice was steady, hard even. I heard my words fluid and calm like the practiced movement of a surgeon lifting a scalpel to cut a deep incision in the body of our friendship. To my surprise, there was no blood. The bleeding bit was done. But the hurting bit wasn’t. I tossed and turned, and when sleep finally found me I dreamt broken dreams, my subconscious mind in as much disarray as my conscious mind.

I have never seen love as a bad thing, even when it hurt, which it does so much of the time. But for the first time I saw the curse of unrequited love. You fell in love with me. And I couldn’t love you back the same way. I wanted to, I tried to. But I couldn’t. And that is no one’s fault is it? But punishments are seldom dealt fairly. You told me that you couldn’t see me as a friend, that you’d never see me as a friend. That you love me too much, and that you’ll always love me and so…we can’t talk anymore. Ever. I wondered if you’d talk in terms of a year, or two, maybe three, but no. You tossed in forever so casually, expecting me to catch the word with just as much ease.

I tried to tell you to call me when you meet a girl and fall in love again. You refused. I understand that your emotions don’t allow you to see beyond a few feet into the future. But how can 26 years of living on planet Earth have not taught you that nothing is forever? Neither our promises, nor our loves, nor our bodies. You loving me forever is the most naïve declaration in the grand scheme of things. We inhabit an oval rock that floats listlessly, repetitively in pitch black nothingness. Its doom, like ours, inevitable.

But coming back to our ant existence, you’re hurting now, and that’s because of me. Of course you’ll say it isn’t my fault that I don’t feel the same way. I know that too. But when you tell me you, the boy who never cries, cried because of this, all I think about is how your life would’ve been if you’d never met me. Like an alternate universe where we decided not to overcome our initial dislike of one another. Would you have been happier? Would I have been happier? Crazy, futile questions buzz around my head, and answers have long turned into myths written in a cryptic language in a place far, far away. I hate the fact that I am It. The reason for your pain. That is not what I wanted to be for you. In a world out to ‘break your heart ten ways to Sunday’, I wanted to be the healing hug at the end of Sunday. Clearly not.

However you aren’t the only one lost right now, friend. In that at least we are together. People have asked me during this entire period of back and forth, confusion and angst, joy and friendship, whether I love you. What a silly thing to ask. Of course I love you. You are my soul mate, how could I not? But not in the way you want me to. I love you like family, and I tried hard to change that. That truly broke you didn’t it? You saw me try, and it spread poison in your system like a toxic dart to the heart. You tried to win me over too, despite everything. You tried to make me love you, the way you loved me because in a fair world, input = output. But I couldn’t. And I want to slap the girl I see in the mirror, because I know a ‘yes’ would’ve made things so easy. But it wouldn’t have been true to you or me.

It’s weird. A break up feels worse, sure. That is like a sucker punch to the gut that knocks the wind right out of you. You double up in pain, as your insides bleed. It takes time to get back up again. But this, this is breaking up with a best friend. Not because you’ve drifted apart, or because you had a fight, but because of a mismatch in the type of love. Because if there was a criterion for matching the amount of love, friend, I’d probably win. Why? Because nothing you could do could make me walk away. Why do you think every time you’ve walked away from me, I’ve welcomed you back with open arms? Even now, stupid though it is, I hope. I hope maybe a couple of months down the line, with distance from the constant agony of being around the girl who couldn’t love you back, you will see me in a kinder light. Because love changes form all the time. Maybe your love for me shall transform from that specific angle of romance to a much deeper version that matches the love I feel for you.

You’ve left all our common whatsapp groups. I’m sure Facebook and Instagram shall follow shortly. It’ll be like I never existed. Pity people aren’t as easily erased from the heart as social media. We have so many common threads linking us: friends, family, and now all of that is shrouded in haze. Will you shun them or will they shun me? What about all the trips we had planned? You promised to take me trekking, and the lazy bum that I am, I thought I’ll do it later. After all, I had my whole life to go trekking with you. We were going to be best buds forever weren’t we?

Do you know why I’m writing all this? It’s because I can’t say this to you. I want to cry and yet I can’t. I want to express this pain because pain always radiates outwards, if you force it to go within that spells deep trouble. The thing is there are words that shall express this, this feeling of anguish just right, and in that expression I can find peace. But I can’t find the words to put my pain into prose. I can’t find the colours to paint my bleak landscape. I can’t find the movements to this performance. I stand alone in the grim spotlight of a sloe black stage and am unable to sing.

Sydney Sheldon wrote that when you’re in love all the cheap pop songs seem to be written for you. It’s the same for a broken heart too. Because that’s what you did to me, I broke yours, you broke mine. I’ve been listening to the cover of ‘Don’t wanna know’ by Boyce Avenue and Sarah Hyland on repeat. It’s just because of these lines: “Do you think of me, what we used to be? Is it better now that I’m not around? My friends are acting strange, they don’t bring up your name, are you happy now? Are you happy now?” Are you?

The thing that hurt me a lot is that our friendship meant little, at least in the face of the love you felt. Like a pretty stream losing meaning in merging with a vast, depthless ocean. I wonder if you did all that you did for me because you were in love with me, or because I was your best friend. And that bothers me because somehow it feels like I was a fool for thinking of our friendship like a rare diamond. Because now, because of that, I will never be the best friend ‘forever’ that you let go of. I will now and ‘forever’ be the girl who couldn’t love you back. In popular parlance, the girl who friendzoned you.

Love, just not the kind you want,
Roshi

For The Cynical One

The doorman’s wave is the lethargic wag of an old dog,
I can’t muster up a smile tonight, so I nod as
Thoughts echo, frantic birds trapped in a room.

Within the stoic muscles of my heart,
A sadistic storm lays waste to everything,
Lashing, ripping, crushing, annihilating.

But you can’t tell can you?
You who is consumed by others,
As you consume them.

I don’t ask for your love,
Not in love, lover,
But I do ask for you.

You look at me
Like a child, clay to mould,
A canvas to paint upon the abstract of your legacy.

I see you as a man bound to another,
The one who believed in me,
Making it harder not to go against what I believe in.

But you have butterflies to catch,
A lovely whiff here, a scintillant spark there,
There is nothing for me, that isn’t for someone else.
You don’t see I am me, and nobody else.

You keep secrets, your heart is crossed.
But I never thought that you would trust me so little,
Let others listen as you talk of no-repeats,
If you can’t see the difference, then old man, you are a fool.

My hands are turning incarnadine,
And no matter what scents I use,
I cannot change that one scent that emanates from me.

To be nothing more than a resource,
Maybe a decent friend at best,
Gives me no pleasure, kindly
Keep your cynical handshake to yourself.

Wise Fools

You can’t know what you don’t know,
Because what I know, I don’t know.
And I think you know what I know or don’t.
Then who knows? Maybe everyone and no one.

Sometime while sliding over rainbows,
We hit a snag of a storm cloud,
Then we had to learn to travel by lightening,
With thunder booming loud from the stereo.

I wore a gown made from the whitest cloud,
And did my hair up with ice-crystal pins,
Twirled in fancy, with a love infancy,
You called me beautiful and cute (what?!)

Let’s jump off from the ocean into the sky,
Do a tap dance on floating ice bergs.
Let’s skate along the rings of Saturn,
And after, have tea with the red spot of Jupiter.

Should we interview the Sentilenese?
No, they would not like us in the least.
But at least we could wave,
As they threaten us with arrows and hate.

Let’s drink the drink of fools,
Go where all the insane ones go,
Because we’re a bunch of wise fools,
A bunch of wise fools who don’t know.