another poem on abuse (a slam poem)



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,
our blood was knitted that way.

anxiety still grips me,
if people are made up of layers,
then paranoia is my second skin.
the screams slowly turned into wasted requests.
waking up with cold sweats and fear became a part of us,
but today, I look at you,
I look at you,
and say,

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,

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,

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
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.
we lowered our voice till it hit rock bottom.
until we couldn’t talk to our pillows and cry ourselves to sleep.

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.

for a house,
but built in stone.

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




dear ma & pa & my brother

i’ve finally made it through to a part of my dream.

i wish i could hear from people i want to hear that they’re proud of me, that they’re excited for me, and i know it’s selfish, but i want to know how that feels to hear someone say they’re proud of me.

that they don’t think i’m showing off but i want to share it with them that i’m proud of myself too.

i wish you could be proud of me too.

i’m performing my story this sunday, and i just, i wish i could run to you ma and scream about it, that i’m performing poetry which i’ve always wanted to or call dad till the line reaches your military base to tell you about it.

and my brother, i wish i could tell him too. i wish he could just look at my poem and say ‘hey that’s nice’ or ‘good word’ or simply anything to make him talk to me.

but you can’t ask for much.

and i guess tonight, i have only myself to be proud of me.

with love still left,

your ruchi.



i know you’re turning into my father,

when you asked me to die today,

and if you leave like he did,

this time i won’t stop you.

this time,

i won’t cry,

this time,

i’ll ask you to leave

with every little voice that’s left in me.

this time, i won’t try to kill myself.

because you could be dead to a person

only once.



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,

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,

things that made me happy today.

things that made me really happy today:
1. i watched kung fu panda on tv. i love kung fu panda very very much. i want to hate a stuffed panda soft toy and i’m going to name him po.
2. a really tall glass of tea
3. no anxiety attacks today
4. i really really love my boyfriend
5. i talked with one of my favorite kids in the world for the first time
6. i saw the prettiest sunset
7. my best friend and i found a really really cute thing for ourselves when we’re apart
8. i talked with a friend who lives in Australia. he told me about his long-distance relationship with his girlfriend for 5 years. he really really loves her. it made me very very happy. he talked about her and he was so excited and i was so excited and her name is srishti and they’re so cute.
9. i read a book today
10. bryan adams’ everything i do (i do not have enough love to give that song)
11. i got the courage to call one of my friends randomly without freaking out about her being busy and we just talked about sambar. i wish i could do this more.
12. my favorite person is home and happy

i want to give so much love into this world today.
i feel so good.


swathi wrote this for me.

we live in two different worlds,
your world is probably just a bit too far from mine,
but it’s fine because that day when i told you i felt ugly
you didn’t tell me it’s okay
and i liked that,
you didn’t tell me that everyone feels that way,
i liked that.
our morning faces greeted each other with a warm hug,
a short sad story safe between our arms.
and our worlds are entirely different revolving around two different suns,
but we talked about all the other stars over coffee,
all our favorite tunes in all our favorite spaces,
sometimes we get too loud and can’t listen to ourselves among all this noise,
but i guess we’ll be alright?
when both of our worlds are clashing against each other just to capture all the happiness at one go,
is it okay if i ask,
that’d we’ll listen to cherry wine and just cry on the cold floor.
maybe tonight we can get rid of our fears
and maybe tonight we’ll be okay.
we’ll tell each other, ‘it’s okay.’

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.