Poetry & Prose

bellicose bodies / rhythmic reincarnations

I awaken with wars in my mind.

I am nineteen / oblivious, I massage words into my skin like the rose oil my mother slipped in my bag; uncertainty shrouds my mind, I forever ask myself, “Will I?”
I am twenty-one / insurrections splinter my most serene memories, innocence is a weak protestor against maturity’s coup
I am nineteen / too many people have impunity in my mind, and unwavering kindness feels like a seditious act
I am twenty-one / I am branded as an insurgent by my own state, because I refuse to understand how human beings can grow apart

I am a woman; I lay between slices of silence and sound, an informant for the secrets of each space
I am a woman; I am quieter to others but louder to myself, I gather intelligence on weaknesses within me
I am a woman; I prey on the mercurial moods that seduce me out of self-reliance
I am a woman; I invert my senses and suddenly some songs feel like blood transfusions; a lifeline
Type A type B, but why do you no longer bleed for me?

Where is freedom as our spirits age,
Can I get a choice of what survives
And what’s a casualty?
Why does such a militarized border exist between adolescence and the rest of my life?
Perhaps I must practice de-escalation…
I send wire transmissions to my innocence,
Zealous and jingoistic, massoum, will you negotiate?

Mere massoum, you fear displacement, see,
But I so desperately want your imagination to stay.
When you no longer rule, may I still trace constellations between the spots on my face,
May they still each name a family member I never knew?

As with every war, mine finds a truce;
Seasons change, winter ruptures, spring remedies,
The ones who love me mobilize as allies;
They bring strategies that turn the tides towards adulthood—
If it’s what’s right for me,
Why is nostalgia such a noose on my neck?

When I emerge from war, I am a palimpsest;
There’s an interplay between my present and my past,
I can channel either when I desire…
Now I can hold the tulip stems of my childhood like knives,
Now I can puncture words of self-hatred.
Now “Will I?” becomes “I will,” and
I grow up so high that I pluck raindrops from the sky,
To quench the insurgents that fought for my innocence,
To extract the viscous inertia that hindered harmless dreams,
For I was never fighting a war of attrition…

I knead the tensions of time until there are none, I surrender to nothing and harness everything; Rumi verses and sad songs collect under my fingernails, I know how I should live: with my hands constantly reaching for stories, sinking into the flesh of every emotion until my skin wears films of its residue, bearer of pain, protest, pleasure.

When my tapasya appeases my massoum, there are talks of peace;
A new world order?
New rituals, who are the deities I worship in a state of moksha?
Solitude, friendship, conversation,
I know my cherished incarnations will remain.

Is it a just war, the fight we often have with ourselves to “come of age?”
Can we rationalize the violence of shedding old skin?

Is it like this for you? Tell me, I want to listen.