of ants, words, and passages

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my room is infested with ants. their dark, mellow bodies struggle against surfaces, solid or not, to find a passage to somewhere. some of them climb on me, walk up to my calves, to my thighs, before i realise they are there with stinging pain and shed them away. some die in the process, the rest wriggle free of this temporary shortcoming and find their way again.

they are like my words, that are often incompetent and even inchoate because i see life as a long series of misguided and misunderstood syllables. they are like wor(l)ds that speak from the downfall and seek approval to be present.

last year that i spent in a far off city, i would often jump a wall, go out in search of a cup of chai and smoke, with words bursting like tiny crackers in my mind that got transferred to all those who sought (something) on the streets. and sometimes, i would want to be that tall woman in a magenta saree to have that purposeful gait, that man who seemed like a fleeting answer to all my shattered believes, or that dead butterfly.

(i encountered some ten of them this time last year, followed by dead dogs and dead birds till the end of the year, which i took as a marker of my own death but it hasn’t worked out too well)

i have a lot to say but words seem futile and rudimentary for something wordless, even soundless. like the moon seemingly in the wrong direction on that beach evening (i cannot begin to forget it) or those crabs carrying my weight in the dark as i ventured alone with only moonlight as my guide to a bridge i knew was there, but not reaching anywhere. when i had opened the maps application on my phone, it showed that i was in the middle of the sea, the unstable ground left far away. but i was not drowning. so, i retraced my steps, lonely as wind, frazzled like an ant.

now i am in my home, spent more than three months here already, which is at least twice the total time i spent here (before this) in the last seven years. words are simple here. they come and go, climb up and down, rise high and low, sometimes without consequence, sometimes requiring me to kill them because of the pain that they cause — a moment’s pain but measured in the depths of a lifetime.

and i carry that alone through the day to the next, through the month to the next. waiting. believing that the words would set it right, that i will learn to walk out and get somewhere again.

.
© Anmol Arora

This blog completed nine years a couple of weeks back. Marking the anniversary pretty late but here’s something.

Image source (The Ants by Salvador Dali)

in the wake of a life’s end

a kind of gloom sets in the body,
that you can feel lying underneath
your breath,

your words careful, so that they do not
harm the light, your silence loud
enough to make your presence known,

not to counter the void left behind
but to embellish it with your steps
as you move here and there, and
speak solemnly in the shimmer of
another pain that may always stay
within, like a story’s sudden end —

death always leaves one astounded,
even if it is writ in the sky, and on
our fingers, as we touch and hold
each other, we know it is there in
our very blood, and yet it shocks &
deprives us of our effort to under-
stand its proximity when it slithers
inside the room like a voice caught
from miles away to prick our ear,
and say what was not awaited but
known, visible just as the stars are,

until they disappear in a blank fog
and the eyes don’t want to see or
be seen any more.

© Anmol Arora

Something I wrote yesterday after we got to know of my uncle’s passing.

Image source (MOURNING CHANT OF A WHALE, 2014, by Hari Beierl)
Linking it up with the
Tuesday Platform at With Real Toads

at the quarter of a life

as skin sheds for another skin
and lips curl in a rueful smile
and veins stand in a soft sight
of green and black and blue,

i understand that blood thickens with
years that pass by through the organism
of a body, beginning to feel its own death.

as winter transfuses with the cold of
big bones, the elasticity of meek muscles
beckon a certain warmth of touch for
life, in the always prevailing lack of time.

i have seen the concentric circles on
my limbs change in half a decade,
and my eyes bloom in hues of hibiscus
and rising-rose, like a lamp, left with
a slight glimmer when the light has been
dimmed with the passing act of another day.

i wonder if my aging is my decline
(the wild image of calm & turmoil),

or is it the other way round?

© Anmol Arora

Image source (Shedding Skin Painting by Newel Hunter)
Linking it up with the Tuesday Platform at With Real Toads

death of a faerie

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the ancient faerie, with her
golden wings coming off
the hinges,

flicks away the sheath of
rich-grey hair
that have fallen (in love) over
her strong, stooped shoulders.

she puts away the dust-
pan and awakens through
her rusted iron-ore wand-
hand (single-spaced, spelled,
sustained),

an apparition of her
youth, her dark-eyed
energy of yesteryears

— the pneuma that always finds its
return, inwards,
outwards,
back to its source —

a golden woman, a silver lifeline,
and the womb of death,

the midnight carriage moving
towards
an unflinching,
hundred-wrinkled,
time-bound
end.

© Anmol Arora

For With Real Toads’ Un-Fairy Tales
Image source (Willem De Kooning’s Woman II (1952))

***

I have been working on a new Insta handle for about 2 months now, for literary and creative posts: @anmol.ha.
For contact, you can reach out to me through my multiple profiles, enlisted here.

a semblance of sanity

unbound,
a fanged sun appears in the sky,
spewing light that digs into the skin,
forming crevices of an uninhibited tomorrow.

it’s an initiation, a baptism from the past
as little kid fingers hold you apart
from the lethal essence of your own myth.

I bite my own tail, unbound, I see faith
in spontaneity raveling from its burrow,
I hear the rustle of the grass beneath my feet.

hunched back, I stand for the venomous kiss,
light draws caricatures on my face,
waiting, I stand, hunched back

for all that comes when the blood freezes over,
and the lips turn blue,

I beget death so that I can live.
I beget chaos so that life fulfills.

unbound,
the fanged sun pierces the scales
of my existence.

.
Linking it up with With Real Toads.
The legends of America describe the snake totem with following terms: “Impulsive, primal energy, shrewdness, rebirth, transformation, initiation, and wisdom”.

I made a post today particularly because of this :

blog