another poem on abuse (a slam poem)

THIS IS ANOTHER POEM ON ABUSE.

WE ARE POETS.

we write poems about love
on making the moon burn in our hands,
we wrote poems in numbers more than we can count.

I remember the first time I felt warm in my cheeks and the red that followed,
a quick action of his and my skin burning, stinging.

we are talking about a man we loved,
we had to,
because you can’t look at your father,
and tell him,
‘I DON’T LOVE YOU’,
our blood was knitted that way.

anxiety still grips me,
if people are made up of layers,
then paranoia is my second skin.
“DAD STOP! IT HURTS. STOP DAD, STOP”
the screams slowly turned into wasted requests.
“PLEASE DAD, PLEASE. IT PAINS.”
waking up with cold sweats and fear became a part of us,
but today, I look at you,
I look at you,
and say,
‘WE BLOSSOMED FROM OUR BRUISES.’

when other people found excuses to stay at home
I would take any chance given to get out of the house haunted by this monster,
our walls were painted yellow,
BUT TONES OF PURPLE BLACK AND BLUE WERE OUR FAVORITES.

who said art isn’t for everybody?
ask the man who played with shards of dirty whiskey bottles on my body,
ask him why he only used red which turned into purple and black?
we will tell you that wasn’t art,
art was when we turned our hands and legs into a masterpiece.
not for everyone’s taste.

we’ll show you what art is,
WE WILL SHOW YOU OUR BODIES.

our teacher taught us about metaphors in eighth grade,
a metaphor: a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.
if that is so,
then my body is a metaphor,
for a house surrounded by a ‘don’t enter’ sign
ANY INVADERS WILL BE PROSECUTED.
I guess there was an exception to my father.

there was always a trapdoor,
there always was.
we just never found it, and even if we did, we didn’t know whether to run or stay.
but we realized very early on, that a garden filled with beautiful flowers will slowly wilt and die.

in our world, monsters didn’t exist in our head,
or under the bed,
in our world,
the monsters lived with us.
breathing alive
and threatening us to lower our voice.
AND WE DID.
we lowered our voice till it hit rock bottom.
until we couldn’t talk to our pillows and cry ourselves to sleep.

today,
we give this poem away.
19 years of waiting to raise my voice again,
we look up from our broken body to the sky, to breathe.
we don’t run but stay in this terrible world, to breathe.
we are healing from a pain so deep, to breathe.
we are learning not to push people away because it didn’t work out the first time we did, to breathe,
our bruises are turning brighter and fading, we’re fixing ourselves, slowly but definitely, to breathe.

WE LIKE TO CALL OURSELVES METAPHORS NOW,
for a house,
but built in stone.
AND WE WILL DECIDE WHO STAYS INSIDE IT.

And I guess, after all, this isn’t just any other poem on abuse.

 

 

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poetry for a stranger from school: #2

a letter to a friend (stranger) from school.

(this might be the most ordinary poem I’ve written but it’s very very close to me)

do you know the reason I don’t hate you,
the reason I keep seeing moments of
how happy you look every day
the reason I can’t tell you that I’m hurt
to not be able to text you that I’m happy for you
because you told me to stay away
and never show my face
and didn’t that happen?
that I’ll never show myself to you again,
but do you know why
I can’t stop thinking what I’ve done wrong
and why I can’t accept that I’m not good enough
was never good enough
to be your friend
that I can’t complain because we choose our people
and you didn’t choose me,
and I need to move on,
but do you know why I can’t stop telling myself
that I really love you
and I want to be the friend again
‘who made you laugh between boring classes.’

do you?
know why this is such a huge deal to me and not to anyone else who has gone through this?

I do.
because for once, I was happy.
I had friends.
I had you and I didn’t feel left out.
for once, I realized I could actually sit beside someone and talk about things I loved.
for once, I felt like I belonged.

for once,
I felt safe.

with love still left,
ruchita

poetry for a stranger from school: #1

(to get closure, write poetry)
a letter to a friend (stranger) from school.
 
for ten years,
I ate lunch alone in a crowded room
 
until I found (i thought I found) a somebody
who’d tell me that the cake I baked that day was better than the one I did
two weeks back.
 
so I spent an entire night before your birthday,
baking a cake for you,
because I remembered how much you liked
the buttercream on the edges of the cherries I put on top,
the secret triangle shaped cookies I used to smash in the sides,
so I spent the entire night
getting your name right on it,
but my shaky hands could never draw a straight line
like you do.
I was so excited because
for the first time,
I knew and I was sure
that I could give someone a gift on their birthday
and they would love it.
 
I was so sure.
 
until another person, I would like to call ‘catastrophe’ came barging in to tell me that I should ‘fuck off and not ruin their plans’
so I kept quiet.
I never got to saw your house decorated with their hugs,
shoes I could never manage to buy,
and conversations about things I can’t get my mind around.
 
this is a poem to tell you that you looked happy in the photographs,
and I liked that.
 
you found people who lasted longer than the chocolate I tried melting on the strawberry cake,
and I liked that.
 
but I wish,
I wish I didn’t have to sit through lunch alone again,
in a crowded room,
months later.
 
with love still left,
ruchita

today, i have courage to write about this.

the man who touched my body when I was 9
felt the veins under my frock
at 2:35 am.
he doesn’t know
I spent washing the frock
until the color washed away from pink to white
I almost tore my favorite frock that day.
I washed it with my shaking hands till 5 am because I felt dirty in it,
I felt like another being.
he doesn’t know
that bedtime stories for me were listening to myself talking to my pillow,
the man who touched my body,
made me clench my fists pretending to sleep.
I clench my fists every time I need to breathe evenly now,
and I still pretend to sleep.
but every so often, I realize
that the man who touched my body
taught me to feel the veins on them
and be okay with being a little damaged.
to believe that someday,
someone will look at me and fall in love
someone will calm my trembling hands in theirs
and tell me it’s okay to stay up all night with clenching fists.

 

 

07:21

you are the sunset from a plane window,
touching city lights from behind a transparent door,
black buildings on dark nights,
books I want to read before I turn 20
glitter stuck on my eyelashes,
you are the sunlight that fell on my cold pillow,
holding hands feel like watching stars,
fairy lights I like to hang someday in the living room
a home outside a house,
you
are my dying streetlight
the electric brown in my eyes,
goosebumps on the back of my neck,
the love in my palms I hold softly every night,
you
are everything
everything
everything I’ve always loved in the present tense.

some poem i thought of, in psychology class.

a sun tanned orange wildfire
ran through the woods,
raged against the dry leaves,
reminded me of a girl with red hair
who ran over my feet the other day,
an imaginary friend from when i was 6.
 
i can’t remember if her hair was really red
or if it was the dying sun outside.
 
but how can we know the color of someone’s hair
when sometimes,
we point out to a wildfire and smile thinking
that it’s some undiscovered city,
that someone in their balcony is eating
mac and cheese and looking at the sky?
 
how can we not see the wildfire that’s dying
on everything that’s burning?
 
how can we not differentiate
between what’s dying and turning black
and what’s going to be alive
and bright
for a billion more years?

morning coffee

i’m trying to hold more air in my hand than i can manage,
and lately, it feels like there’s a trapdoor to being good enough and i can’t find it.
I’m sitting cross-legged on the floor
my neighbor’s mail is on the floor beside me.
they’re out of town.
The sweater I have been knitting all week
is untouched on the coffee table.
a chocolate bar has melted on it.
I’m sitting cross-legged on the floor
with my pants, half rolled up to my knees.
my legs look like swollen barks.
I reach for the milk bottle a few feet away from me,
it has turned cold.
I add some of it to my frozen coffee.
I keep adding milk to it until it spills over and I knock the cup
and now everything is a mess on the floor.
I try to add more milk
thinking that
if I keep adding,
maybe, one day,
I’ll have enough milk in my coffee.

when love walked in.

she looked so small sitting seven inches away from the red window, the red coming directly from the neighbor’s little lamp,
nothing matched her hair,
a mix between brown and jet black,
she looked so silent.
i wanted to stroke her face
i wanted to close the window
she looked too sad.
but she heard my footsteps and
her veins in her wrist burst into tears
and stormed off.

love walked away from me every time i got a little closer.
so i walked away.

today,
i walked with love towards the red window,
seven inches away from us,
and we walked to the window and put our heads out
the winds shuffled our hair
and the neighbor switched off his lamp.
so love burst into tears
and stormed off.

i didn’t close the window,
but love walked away from me
because i was a little closer.

so i stood still.

so i started walking away from love when it got closer.
and i flinched every time a window shut somewhere so i kept my doors open and the windows closed.

love kept walking away and i let her.

but today, love is walking towards me
and i see her through a window
so i smile knowing that it’s total darkness in this room
but i see love walking towards me
and all i can do is
smile and
let her.
and for the first time,
love stayed.

 

worst poetry today.

i’ve never read good poetry where roses are black.
it’s been days since i’ve written a poem,
i think i forgot about the rhythm i use
do i make the first and the second words rhyme?
i haven’t used metaphors in awhile
i’ve not compared my hands to a moving ocean today
the tides are crying, i don’t know what to do about them
i think i forgot to write poetry.
i don’t see a sun and make it brighter than the dress i wore this afternoon,
i’ve stopped looking at myself in the mirror and
writing about how my bruises are turning yellow from purple.
i’ve not written a poem since five days
and now i’m sitting here
thinking about how
if i lose my poetry
i’d lose everything
but i’m trying not to.
i won’t lose my poetry
i can’t lose my poetry
so i spent two hours today thinking of whether
starting a poem about roses, would be lovely
i hate roses
but i could write about them, you know, if i tried.
so i look at my pen,
my ink’s running out
and my coffee’s getting cold
and all i could get on my paper
was that
roses, can indeed, be black.

thank you, finch.

finch,
remember when you took me inside my closet and we sat there all night drawing stars on its walls? we wondered if anyone would find the stars once we were gone. we pushed all my jackets to one side and you made me some kind of cozy chair with a blanket on the dark side of my closet? you know finch, that, right then, i was not scared of the dark?
that day, when you said you loved me looking at my hands, i remembered something someone told me.
that closets are like some people. they go unnoticed.
and i know it’s true.
you know why?
because,
i wear sweaters made of poetry warmer than the wool.
i wear scarves made of more than two rounds of late night conversations.
i wear boots for rain-soaked installments of crying on the phone.
i wear bracelets made of stones harder than the way i’m trying to stay happy.
i wear rings to hide my bruises on the knuckles.
and i wear skirts shorter than my hair.
all to go unnoticed when they fall on the floor of my closet.
but you,
you finch, you noticed them.
when everyone else made fun of my closet, i kept thinking they meant the sweater or the boots.
what i didn’t know that for them, i was the one that didn’t look inside the closet. not my sweater.
so i kept checking how my hair looked or if my nails are the correct electric blue.
i didn’t like closets anymore, finch.
but you sat with me inside one, mine, drawing stars, and i wouldn’t trade it for anyone to notice us.

your violet.