of ants, words, and passages

the-ants.jpglarge

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)

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

of a broken time

this evening’s hands are tied
to a clock ticking away
in perpetuity,

as there are countless soil kernels,
all residing in a (p)inch of land
for me,

there are countless evenings,
all lined up in the curve-length
between

the uni-
verse & (t)here.

perhaps the clock is broken.
perhaps i am writing to a time
that never occurred.

.
© Anmol Arora

Day 19
(Inter)National Poetry Month

down ‘memory’ lane

some pink, some white, some dead —
all the blossoms look fine-spirited,
dangling by the warm wind & waning
words of despondency,

abridging the distance between lives
&loves, unfulfilled, coming unhinged,
undone in the suggestive colours and
cocoons of their stationary existence.

i look grim in the blues of many nights,
still-born like a survival tale,
i am wicked, and winning at this game
to know of my wherewithals (wise ones),

when the night is over and i am down
&drunk over the waters of a pious Lethe,
flowing, coursing, right through me.

.
© Anmol Arora

Day 13
(Inter)National Poetry Month

vicissitudes of the moon

rachel-fenner-windy-landscape-with-waning-moon

it’s funny how the half-bitten moon takes me back to those cold winter nights when i would stand outside, my arms shivering, trying to get a glimpse of the celestial body through the fog — a kind of restive peace descending all over me, blood in my hands, seemingly more blue than red. i was a witness to the change of every breath and every distant sound that would make its presence known to me.

now as i stand outside looking at the same half-bitten moon, i am not shivering and i am not under the spell of the quiet and peace, that may prevail elsewhere. but it is not the same moon; i am not the same eye or arm or form. every change received and given courses through me, through my blood that is in and not out, the night in me deeper, the music a darker hue of blue. this transition is alright. i am alright tonight.

a waning moon —
memories of lonely nights
flowing through me
~
a change in the backdrop —
the milk-white moon sturdier
in the lasting cold

© Anmol Arora 2018

Image source (Windy Landscape With Waning Moon by Rachel Fenner)
For dVerse Haibun Monday