who can verify the cost/revenue of this departure
i can see the light waves on the spectrum
of my performance — my silhouette & skin
are linked with an intransigent belief that
i am not alright or enough to be seen/heard.
the pain of birth leaves marks on my face,
small and insignificant, and still relevant
to my image seen in the deep recesses of
your unwavering eyes. i see how you see me —
an anomaly, an unnatural product of
an offensive form, a mouth drawn by
i am paying my debt to this earth and its sentient
beings, by giving myself up and away, little by
little, piece by piece,
letting go of my (un)acknowledged/embellished/performed
body before it becomes dust & rain and fear & shame.
© Anmol Arora
Also read on self-sabotaging, on panic, and on loneliness
Linking it up with The Tuesday Platform at With Real Toads, where Sanaa is hosting this week with an introduction to the poetics of Marilyn Hacker
14 thoughts on “on normalcy”
“i am paying my debt to this earth and its sentient beings, by giving myself up and away, little by little, piece by piece,” oh this pierces through my heart, Anmol! There is so much pain in this poem. What is abnormal and what is normal perhaps we should not be the ones to judge.. if only we could let others be.. unique in their portrayal of expression.
If only the sky wasn’t tainted with broken hopes and dreams. I believe the soul is apart from its body.. its life long cage in which it’s imprisoned. Why let our souls grieve for the sins of the body? Why must we put up with the heart rather than by soothed by the mind. And in the end.. it is better to be hated for what we are rather than be admired for what we are not.
Arz kia hai… 💜
Maqaam “faiz” koi raah main jachaa hi nahin,
Jo kuu-e-yaar se nikle toh suu-e-daar chale.
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Ah! To that, I’d quote from the same ghazal:
“Jo hum pe guzri so guzri magar shab-e-hijran,
Hamare ashk tiri aqibat sanvar chale”
So good to read your work again. This piece is so layered with emotion. Beautifully written!
The feeling of being unfit for what’s normal is one of the strongest emotion you can have… what is normal? a question that should never be asked.
A beautiful poem!!
To question ourselves and how we fit into the puzzle of the universe is a step in the process of self discovery. Any analytical, curious mind will struggle with it. Maybe we find the answers, maybe we don’t but the judging eyes will cease to matter.
I feel blood the color of the skin outlined. Or maybe red dirt clay from and earth birth.
I like your last lines because they sort of evoke this weird hope, right? Like we can let go of our imperfections and just be, before we are no more. Thanks for sharing!
I think we all feel this in some way, Anmol, especially the thought that we are not alright or enough to be seen/heard. It is hard to be oneself in one’s own skin when others are only too keen to pass judgement. I learned to ignore other people through teaching – children just come out with things, they are very critical of adults – and you learn to shrug it off. One phrase that I find very effective is ‘a mouth drawn by your discomfort’. The final lines are so heartfelt.
The irony of the title really sets the poem up at the outset. It is a real tragedy how many people are crippled by self-doubt caused by the expectations of other people who are themselves less than perfect.
Is vivisection of a soul ever worth the ability to pin the label ‘normal’ upon ourselves?
I have had such a long journey through my imperfections. I have reached an age where many are visible, but life is too tragic to dwell on them. I live my weird in the joy of breathing. Beautiful writing!
Such amazing writing. You have this gift of outlining and making concrete really difficult emotions.