time capsule

the-past-is-present-ellen-brook

all these years erased, memories faded
to blots of ink&dust (rewritten and smudged

in/by a whirlwind of a mind)

nothing is real (nor unreal) in an unchanged sun’s
beckoning light, that falls cold
on the fullness (red pulp &orange rind) of my ripe skin.

this air is not the air that carries
voices &smells across the plateau of another time.

years that were gone/erased —

i never left, never became
a person (more than a hollow bone &pain)
never knew of my left side from right —

as i enter the body
i left behind,
it opens —

dreams drained of any colour, swallowed portions
of rotting needs, all figure in my deadpan speech,

all slow motions to a dead end, as in a little disk of a film,

b&w, sepia, deepening into monochrome lines,

breathing, talking, ageing
but not alive.

.
© Anmol Arora

Image source (The Past is Present by Ellen Brook)

Linking it up with my prompt for dVerse Poetics on Portals

an apple song

croy-nielsen_2016_sebastian-black-completed-paintings_04_concerning-taste.900x0.1491057615

they say dying by suicide should not seem like an option
(in a world where we would rather admire silent suffering)

“you shouldn’t have” “i wish you knew that i cared” —

a person is like an apple with layers of lives lived and unlived
in the course of a simplified reality
(not for you to decide or decipher),

when they die by suicide (no one commits suicide),
the core is still not empty,
in their absence, your words are not solacing,
they are empty vessels (cyanide seeds of pilgrimage)
that mean nothing to a non-existent god.

i read that there comes a time when you realize
that you do not want to die anymore
but you’re just living the memory of wanting to be unalive,
to be buried in endless despair, so as to placate
the familiar need to stop it all.

i wonder if my skin is as supple as an apple’s —

if i cut it and square it for your consumption
(social media consolations and memorials),
would it bleed or would it not anymore?

would it hurt or would my lips quiver and pause…
to the sweet perfume of a fresh wound?

my blood clots at the thought of an apple
that may not be as sweet as it may look —
so shall i choose a pomegranate seed
to bind my life and plant it near my empty heart
(no space within)?

when i wish to return to what i knew best,
i feel the pull towards knowledge that this fruit
is yet to accumulate me, still to ripen before the fall comes.

.
© Anmol Arora

Image Source (Sebastian BlackConcerning taste let’s ask the apple: Hey apple sliced in half (muzzle). Hey you of black seeds and rotten core (whiskers,nose) of yellow skin, and stem split twain (mouth), of etc and also of etc. Who left you here on the round glass end table (head)? Are you sullying up the Eileen Gray ​piece”, the Heath ceramic mugs (eyes)? Or are you, like the film of dry coffee, (pupils) adding just the right touch? Think about it. I’m gonna take a nap and if I’m sunlight when I wake up I’ll alight on you. But if I’m still just meat with arms I’m gonna move you (ears) over by the couch., 2016, Oil on linen, 60 × 45 inches / 152.5 × 114.3 cm, Unique)

Linking it up with my prompt about and on apples at dVerse later this evening

mirror-image

zabicki_5

i treat white words and black smiles as one
when the moon looks like a lamp,
a river of despondent virtues
&potential sins,

i look like a mirror, an image of an image,
drinking from the same chalice
as a millennium of systemic subversion, my stigma
is attached to my body, and
i carry it around like a baby
in a cradle, like a queer impulse
of my hope, like open eyes that
do not shut in the dark, like my skin’s
craving and engravings on my skin.

i do not mix
love
(as reductive as it is)
with pity,
i do not change my face
as i once did, i pickle my smiles
and feed them to your glances,

i am an expression, not either, nor both,
but all at once, the first one twice, the second
in intervals of time (joined to my hip),

i am a hole to take you in, to engulf
and succumb to this impulse
to see death, in its non-binary
view — this itch to know,

and to know well,
that i am the one, who
i am, who i see,

without a mirror, without the sky,
not transparent, nor opaque,

but still visible in the shadow
of my own light.

.
© Anmol Arora

Image Source (Hand Mirror by Gwendolyn Zabicki)

For my prompt at dVerse Poetics this evening, where we are celebrating some amazing Black poets, as part of the Black History Month. I’ve tried to emulate Audre Lorde’s style in A Woman Speaks and used one of her lines (in italics) — “I do not mix/love with pity.”

what is the colour of black?

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black is the sound of a phone call
through hazy lines, that keeps on
ringing — delayed response,
stopping short of despair — its greys
subdued, in the harsh daylight.

black is the smell of fresh blood, lip-
shaded hurt that keeps on aching,
rising — tendrils of lust reaching out
for a dark, dark touch — i’ve wondered
if i can rise to the height of burning.

black is the nail-paint — matte, you
said — it makes my fingers look long-
err — these short sardonic evenings
to gather at the shore, monochrome
boats returning to a long night’s door.

black is the imprint of a stranger —
shadows and sighs, desire held aloft,
succumbing to these charms — my
hurt getting wider, my lies deeper, as
hopes trickle down in half-streams.

black is the taste of your smile — sly,
shy, standards apart — white masks
falling from our eyes, to see the shape
of nothingness, its skin we wear unto
our hearts, like a hole stretched apart.

i see black remorse — no spectrum
to measure its length and width —
a world missing, where i could be singing
to the clouds, and they would pour down
all the colours, remembered and lost.

.
© Anmol Arora

Image source (Abstract Painting by Ad Reinhardt; © 2018 Estate of Ad Reinhardt/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)

Written for my prompt at dVerse on Shades of Black. Don’t forget to check it out.

when a flame dies

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& the way a drunk mosquito burns—roasted
when it strikes a humming electric
racket, sweet pleasure is found

in the touch of a fire, getting
closer, warming undulating nerves,
burning many skins and hearts —

i sit beneath a cornucopia of thoughts,
shaded by empty words and loss, un-
true to the universe, unforgiving of
black nights and their igniting stars.

i want to learn how to perform in symbols
and when there are shortages of voiced whispers,
i need to let go of my vernacular, my colloquial
lips in favour of a rusted language, that
i have borrowed and bracketed for my cause.

i don’t remember the words, not their units
of deflated lungs, alight clay lamps, final
sparks of a flying cracker in the air, so
i absolve myself of all that has gone,
not knowing, not even writing, because
i don’t know how to do that anymore.

.
© Anmol Arora

Linking it up with “Kerry Says ~ What is Metamodernism?” at With Real Toads
Image source (Untitled [glossy black painting] by Robert Rauschenberg)

a cat’s person

dali-atomicu-salvador-dali-and-philippe-halsman

who are you? where did you come from?
your claws dig for the skin beyond the skin.
wagging your tail, you seem to know things,
hear and see and feel all that i want to hear
and see and feel —

you are a monk, every morning spent
in soulful reflection over your own
lithe form, licking the underbelly,
washing away the filth and dirt
of this uncouth world.

you are Mao, your war for space
is without bloodshed (your politics
is shed), you are in a random chase
for what does not exist. you are the one
i think who would kill me in my sleep.

you are Amma, the protector of this realm,
fighting fleas-like-people (thy servants),
birthing new dreams, you are this creative
spirit, it is in consonance with the stars
that you make all the clouds go away.

i seek to understand you, become you,
all of you, each one of you, i want
to forget who i am and exhaust all
my nine lives to unknow
where i came from.

.
© Anmol Arora

Image source: Dali Atomicus, Salvador Dalí and Philippe Halsman (1948)
Linking it up with my post at dVerse Poetics where I have shared some cat-chy poems and prompted the poets to write on all things feline

from the train

after Munna — a stranger/friend from the train

the train that never arrives
may have already arrived —

he stutters and rushes his way through
many words, obliging the falling dusk
with his innocence and resolve, light
as a feather, sturdy as the city sky
of many colours, all dreams cupped
carefully in some determined sighs.

he had ventured for his truth, a strange
smile on his lips is the worldly gain of
wonderment and curiosity, so stark
against an empty coach and a dark night,
all that we carry atop our shoulders. for
a little while, we can see each other —
strangers, friends of an equal station,
comrades to find the extent of our beliefs.

he lives in a place of a hundred fates,
i can hear him speak in broken-breaths
and amid lilting laughs, that make
the sky a little less harsh, and the hope
of a journey less jarring, and all things

a bit more open to light (not often
found in a new city or a new day).

.
© Anmol Arora

Linking it up with the Tuesday Platform at WRT.

Also, it’s been eight years since I started this blog. Woot! It’s been so long — I will perhaps make a separate post about the same. I just wanted to mark the occasion here.