The Counsellors

I don’t know how to start

Or where to find my words

The hold on these burning sensations seems to be engulfing me now

Once upon a time I was better

Perhaps, now I’m good

But am I good enough to write better now?

They said, ‘don’t use inconspicuous words’

I guess I stopped it

And then someone said that maybe you shouldn’t rhyme that much

Following the trail I reached where they said,

‘Don’t try to be too technical’

Oh my goodness, where am I now?

The pillars that supported me once,

Did I have to forsake them all for t’ sake of all?

I wondered once upon a time

And now I wander that I wonder no more

My grammar is bizzare

And rhyming scheme has this azar nadir

Have I stopped being the poet I thought I was?

I don’t feel like writing now,

And if I do, it’s just some basic stuff that’s been reprocessed a hundred times over

My lines are no more short and have no brevity

They are uneven

Why do you think I must write the way you think?

The way you want me to?

Why do you all have to suggest something?

And tell me how alienated I write?

Is this alien to you now?

Do you find it extremely poetic?

Do you find it sweet and pleasing?

No, I bet you’ll find this stupid

Piece of shit, you say?

Not something very impressive?

Banal? Oh, I’m not conspicuous.

Shit, I did it again.

What has happened to my art?

Wait, I was filling your colors in it.

Find this good enough? I’ve incorporated what everyone says in one single poem with no metre or rhyme.

Look at this prose, is it a poem?

Look at this poem, is it a poet’s work?

Look at my rhyming scale, metre, brevity, overtly laid alphabets.

I swear, it’s distorted.

Or maybe it isn’t.

Judge this one too.

Is this poem too long for you to read?

Is there too much going inside of me?

Flowing out, have you read it this far?

It’s some stupid creation, no?

But it’s my heart right now.

It’s my head right now.

Do you like it?

Do you like how I write now?

A poem of another naive poet.

A jumble of conflicting cataclysm of my selves.

Tell me something now

Let me be stupid again, a little bit more.

Are you an expert?

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सितारा

जैसे हो झिलमिलाती सी धूल में एक चमकता सा सितारा

और रौशन हो उसके दीदार से हजारों जहां

बनना ऐसी ही तुम,

ताकत

जिसकी बुनियाद उसके खुदके दिल में है,

और तुम्हारी आग तुम्हारी मुश्किलों को चीरती हुई

दिखाए अपना वजूद, अपनी दुनिया में

तुम्हारा मन हो सितारे की कोख सा,

जिसमें बनती है नई दुनिया के लिए कुछ नई चीजें

और हो तुम्हारा तन उसके ओज सा

कि केवल उसी ओज का उसे कुछ छू सके

आवाज़ को बनाओ सितारे से निकलते उन कणों सा

कि रंग फैलाएं वो सबके मन को आत्मसात कर

बन जाना तुम ऐसा कि आसमान भी झुककर छुए तुम्हें

हवा खुश हो तुममें उड़ान भरकर

और जमीन भरे अपने जख्म तुम्हारी छुअन से।

देना दुनिया को और खुद को भी,

सितारा हो तुम,

मेरा उजला सितारा।

पता है तुम्हें आज जब तुमने मिलने को कहा
दिल सूखे पत्ते सा हो गया
जिसको सदियों बाद निकाला हो किताब से
चुरमुरा, खूबसूरत सा, तुम्हारी आंखों के जैसा
गम था एक सुबह से, छोड़ आया रास्ते में
मिलना जो था तुमसे

तुम कहती हो मैं कुछ कहता नहीं
हर बार तो बात बीच में काट के खुद बोलने लगती हो
बहुत कुछ होता है तुम्हारे पास कहने को
आज भी था, मैं भी चुप हो जाता हूं
सुकून जो मिलता है तुम्हें सुनकर
तुम्हारी बकबकी तर करती है मुझको

हाथ पकड़कर कहना चाहता था कि तुम मेरी ताकत हो
पर रूक गया ना जाने क्या सोचकर
सात साल जो हो गये हैं, आज तक नहीं किया ऐसा
इतने आजाद होकर भी, कि शायद किसी और के साथ न हो पायें
हम आजाद भी नहीं हो पाते, पहेली सा है ये सब
और मैं जान-बूझकर उलझा हुआ हूं

लगता है तुम ही मेरा आखिरी प्यार हो, जो सबसे पहले हो गया
और अब ना जाने कितने और तलाशने पड़ेंगे
खैर आखिरी को पाने‌ को पहले वाले खत्म तो करने ही पड़ेंगे
क्या अजीब सी उलझन लेके आयी तुम सुकून की तरह
अब रास्ते से वो गम उठा लूंगा और घर चला जाउंगा
जिंदगी यही है जो तुम्हारे साथ बिता लेता हूं

शायद साथ में बूढ़ा होना ऐसा ही होता है
खो जाऊंगा अगर चली गयी तुम
जो भी हो जैसी भी हो, हो तो मेरी ही ना

पहाड़गंज

आज तुमसे मिलकर लौटते वक्त ऐसा लगा जैसे धूप है

हांलांकि ये दिल्ली है और यहां रात को तारे तक नहीं दिखते

और बस ऐसा लगा जैसे छांव छूट गयी हो

शरीर तप सा रहा था,

ऐसी तपन जो कोई और महसूस नहीं कर सकता सिवाय तुम्हारे

क्यूंकि तुम तो छांव हो ना

एक पल को तो ऐसा लगा कि सांस हलक में अटक जाएगी

रूककर, जमाने को दरकिनार करके तुम्हें चूमना ही पड़ा आखिर

पेट में जो भूख थी वो कम सी हो गयी

और फिर अचानक से बढ़ सी गयी

मन तो किया कि चादर सा ओढ़ लूं तुमको

अजीब सी भूख थी कमबख्त

भूख में भला कोई कुछ ओढ़ता है?

मुझे पता है कि तुम्हारे अन्दर तक बसता हूं मैं

और तुम्हारे अन्दर तक बसना है।

हाथ भरे थे मेरे लेकिन खाली से लग रहे थे

तुमको डर लगता होगा कि अक्सर तुम्हारे बारे में लिखता हूं

और ये सोचकर भी लगता होगा कि तुम्हारे लिए नहीं लिख रहा हूं।

लेकिन जब तुम इन खाली हाथों में नहीं होते हो

तो बस कलम ही होती है

और दिल में प्यार, स्याही, और चुपके से कुछ समय के लिए तुम आ जाते हो।

बहुत बड़ी सी दीवारें हैं तुम्हारे चारों तरफ

उनको चढ़कर उस पार आऊंगा मैं

और तुम सहम से जाते हो ऐसा देखकर

हो सकता है कि मेरे हाथ पांव टूटें गिरकर

लेकिन तुम प्लास्तर के साथ बैठे उधर इंतजार कर रहे हो किसी के आने का

पता है मुझे।

क्यूंकी मुझे पता है कि अगर कल मेरी रूह मेरा साथ छोड़ देती है

तो मैं तुम्हारी सबसे खूबसूरत यादों में से एक रहूंगा

शायद प्यार इसी को कहते हैं

तुम्हारे दो नाजुक से हांथ

बहुत ज्यादा बोलने वाला मुंह

और एक ड्रम सा बजता हुआ दिल

और इन तीनों को छुआ है मैंने।

Rockets

If the moment is not gone and I’m still there with you, standing at the bus stop, holding your hand or kissing your lips, and letting you go home with that small carton of big rockets so that I could go home and reflect on how terribly I’m going to miss you dear, celebrate today. Celebrate this festival, not for your dad, neither for your mother, sister or brother, no, not for me, but for yourself, for your tender beating heart that thumps against my shivering hands. I will tell you why. Because your heart beats instead of being wounded, because your heart loves instead of being tired, because your heart is full of truth and full of warmth. I know, I have seen that person behind that beautiful face.

I know why you heal people, you guide them to find the peace and protection, you think that healing them will heal your heart somewhere, that your heart will be set free of the rue of your past. But healing people isn’t going to heal your heart, healing your heart is going to heal your heart. Though your love is fearless, your heart needs to breakfree from the fear yet. Those wounds aren’t going to heal themselves, that beautiful heart deserves your kindness, dear.

So if the moment is not gone and I’m still on your skin or standing in front of you and smiling stupidly while staring at the perfect symmetry of your face, if the moment is still there in the gaps of our crossed fingers, go and light these rockets today. And with each of them, rid your heart of the most excruciating pains and watch them shoot to the sky and blast away like bubbles. Just believe that you tied the weights of your heart with those flying crackers and let them burn. I know I might sound stupid to you when I ask you to do this. But then you know that you sound stupid to me too when you tell a few alien things, but I believe them because I put my faith in your palms which I kiss so tenderly as if my lips could hurt them. I do not trust yet, but I believe. There’s a difference between trusting and believing. Trust requires proof while believing requires faith. In time I’ll get there, I’ll start trusting too. But for now, I believe. You know that it’s all about believing. So believe me and burn those rockets and let everything, every pain of your past go blast with them. Maybe the number of your pains would outrun the rockets, but we will get to the end of it, you will get to the end of it once you start. And save the last rocket for your newly found love, not me, but the love that you’ve found with me. The love that makes you strong, save the last rocket for it. And take a deep breath, let your tears roll and bless the sky, like you bless everyone, bless yourself that you are capable of loving and living, bless yourself that your heart needs to let go, bless yourself that you are bigger than those who hurt you, and then light the last rocket, watch it shoot to the sky and the universe will know that you’ve forgiven yourself for being so harsh on you. I want you to celebrate, to know that this festival is for you too and that a new light is coming to you and you will find your own way to a happier life where the past won’t haunt you anymore.

So if the moment is still not gone and you are breathing on my face or holding me closer to your chest, I want to whisper in your ear that I love you dear and it is going to be a great year and I love you.

Go, celebrate this festival and burn the old house down, we have to build a new home. Make love to your heart.

PS- the rockets may not blast, so just close your eyes and pretend that they do. It’s all about believing.

After

I’m not perfect and I love you

You know that

Sometimes I’d do some terrible things

And regret them for days even though you’d ask me not to

Sometimes I’d not do some terrible things

And still regret them for days even though you’d ask me not to

Sometimes I’d hurt you because I’m hurting

These are my flaws

They are not too many but surely are too much

Can you handle them?

It is not a task, it is not something to bind you down

Living with me it is

I know you’d figure it out, you have your way with things

Only if, you know that I love you and I’d do anything for you

It’s not everyday that I’d find you

And I don’t know if I can keep you happy

But I’d try, try in our ways

I may often bring trouble with me

But I know you know it and still you’ve loved me

I am not perfect but I’d try anything for you

And I want to stay by you

And I just want to make you smile

And I know I’d never let you down knowingly

And maybe I’ll make you a family

Do you love me? Still?

After?

Come and Go

To know that you’re here for a reason

All the sticks and stones and ash in bones

Everything was there for this to come

You were broken at seams and torn by gleams

So that you could be in a perfect symmetry when it comes

Would you have reacted in the most ideal way?

If you were a little less broken

Sure you’d have been a little less insecure, a little more sure

And a little bit less chaotic

Perhaps, confident enough to blow it off its mind

But would you have been just perfect?

No less, no more, no more swinging by the door

Just somewhere sitting in a corner where you’re closer to the floor

And you knew you’d be alone again

So that you could be found by the break of the day

Did you have to spend a thousand nights in the burning sun

Of countless breaking thoughts?

Just to be able enough to fathom this one

Thinking of a hole in the sky

From where all the wrath falls on earth

Or a mountain up high of remorse

So that you could stand at the top of it and be visible to it?

The moments passed like rodents in your skin

Just so that you could be wrecked just enough to be seared enough

To feel enough and match the intensity of the new fire enough?

It’s a lifetime running in circles

Just to come to the same point again and again

But it’s a spiral, you’re going up and up

And you may never know

Just to have this one

It was necessary to let all the things come and go.

I Do Not

No, I don’t think of you much anyway
But this blood seeping from heart is misled
Burning like gasoline, setting my body on fire
Setting up and setting low in my head
To let them go, the memories those miseries
Oh, I wish I could burn it all down.

No, I do not love you much anyway
But ever since my heart was chocking
Strangled in my fragile ribcage
Lying on the floor I am hoping
Stuck outside the door, I’m stuck in my own kind of hell
Oh, I wish instead of me I could break it down.

You may think my breaths are flickering
Bickering, in my spite it’s different
Misery and those echoes of my knees
Meeting the ground and never coming up
No, I do not love you, I do not think of you
But this damned desire to touch your skin

No, I do not write for you, I write for my own
But this ink is not, it is something more
It is blue of my heart, it is grey of my brain
It is red of my eyes, it is pale of my skin
It is state of my being, it is death of a dream
It is the last time we talked and last time I breathe

No, I do not cry for you, I do not look for Orion.

orion_stars-thinkstock

Flicker of smoke like a trampled will
Her face, her grace, all over the place
And the tears, the tears and the wears
Sinking like a bolt into the Earth
The wind, the wind up and glint of eyes
Flare like a comet through the chest
Did she know, no I guess no

The wait, the weight of ever late
Like a sailing cloud never coming down
Crosses her heart like a dagger of faith
How she felt her lips, wisps of lost chase
Going right, in the right of her wrong
Digging desperately into her face
Like pins, sow the heap, heap and sow

Mercy, the more she sees the moor of her dreams
Crippling like a broken branch against wind
She’d go down, drown and grow alone
In the blighted superstition of her hope
Striking like a tsunami against her life
She does know, I guess she’d always known
It is soon to be over, over her suffering