Je me souviens que ça faisait mal

The night was damp; the air frigid, but that didn’t stop me from seeking solace in a place that felt like home away from home. The deluge left me wet before I arrived, but it was bearable. A stick or two were my only sources of heat amidst the downpour, and even these were pathetic replacements for consolation and comfort. As grey spires of gas rose from my lips and into the air, a flurry of images surrounded me – born out of the smoky spires – a kaleidoscope of memories, a portfolio of has-beens, a dismantled collection of possibilities lost within the eye of the storm.

I remember that he looked at me with those syrupy dark-brown pools, every colour seemed to radiate from his pupils to his irides like rays and the energy of a dying sun. A blink was all it took, and those pools turned to glass – brittle and bare, bleeding and bright. He blinked again, and the glass finally fractured into fractals before resigning into fragments, like dust in the wind, ash in the pyre, shards on the floor, all coalescing into an amorphous mass of saturated emotion.

I remember that the ocean of glaciers that towered into the firmament tore itself down as the first of his tears came down. I remember the softness of his shirt that contrasted the hardness of his heart as I held him close. I remember that it hurt, seeing him hurt.

He was on stage and had that usual crooked smile plastered upon his face. He was in his suit and matching tie, garments I don’t usually see him wear, which made him look more strapping than usual. He anxiously swept his eyes through the crowd, searching. Eventually his gaze met mine, and I tried to give him an encouraging, expectant smile, and I swore that I saw him exhale in relief. The lights slowly went out save for one beam aim at him, centre stage, as a hush spread throughout the room, only to be torn asunder by the notes which brought his violin to life.

I remember hearing the stories from the songs he sang secretly into my ears. I remember how every stroke was a lash of emotion, a whip into oblivion, a shot to the heart. I remember how every note was coated with melancholy that was secretly and desperately craving for empathy. I remember that it hurt, seeing him hurt.

We were in a hut with the billowing wind all around us and the endless sea right across us. He had his hand over mine as we mindlessly stared at the setting sun. In that moment, everything was just the earth and sky which blended together in ways our mortal lives couldn’t try. He leaned onto my shoulder, and I was surrounded by honey and lilac. His hand clasped a hint of red, and he slowly held it out to me. It was a solitary rose.

I remember the tremble on his hands as he tried to make his offer. I remember the quiver in his voice when he said that he wished what we had wouldn’t be as transient as the withering bloom. I remember that it hurt, seeing him hurt.

The noise of the party died down as we sped off the highway. Intoxicated we were, and the alcohol was making my sight unsteady and my threshold for laughter absymal. The constant lurch of the car as inertia tried to play with us wasn’t exactly helpful, either. I glanced at him, and let out a chuckle, for he wasn’t any luckier.

When we got to my house, I felt his hands all over me, searching my body for nourishment and heat. I sighed wantonly and let out a moan. It didn’t take long for us to shed off every layer of clothing which threatened to separate us. We had our hands all over each other, sculpting the other’s body like the masterpieces we intended to make out of each other.

I remember an array of sighs and a couple of shivers down his spine as he pleaded me to be gentle as I eased myself into him. I remember how he cried the morning after, lost and scared that what we did was going to change everything. I remember that it hurt, seeing him hurt.

The visions disappeared as the last ghost of my cigarette dissipated, revealing the outline of his face as he made his way towards me. I smiled at him; he beamed at me – a gesture that carried the weight of a thousand unspoken words. I opened my arms for a hug, but he surprised me with a kiss, and when his tongue met mine, I remembered how much I missed him; how much I love him.

I remember pulling him into a long hug as his lips freed mine. I remember staying that way, not minding the dozens of people that passed us by. I remember those three words leave my lips like an oath to live by. I remember that he said it back and he called me “mine.” I remember what it meant; looking at us mend.

Shoes

Down the silent aisle I tread
Eyes pierce through the path ahead
Mouth of mine breathes mists of dread
Ghosts are they of times now dead

Hasty strides and bitter sighs
Lights blot tears from my own eyes
Cars sing out their piercing cries
Heart of mine sings its reprise

Wait, oh wait, oh do behold
Why am I half through the road?
Speedy wheels and metal slowed
Ran before indignance showed

Red lights were my saboteur
Yellow came, my visions blur
Green as haste, my footsteps were
Girl with demons after her

Winds lead not to where I ought
Tin and straw and mane I’ve naught
Road of bricks, a path I sought
Em’rald City this is not

Glassy eyes and concrete skin
Seemed to ask me where I’ve been
Drunken laughter, flowing gin
At this hour, a fearful din

Mellow music, guitar strings
From the dark, a woman sings,
“Come to me, my little thing
Soon, once more, it will be spring.”

Struck a match and there was fire
Warm, but hunger was more dire
Struck one more, food I aspire
Not the rattles of gunfire

Walking in the cold night air
Home, I dreamt, was never there
Three small knocks for food to spare
They don’t open; they won’t dare

Red and blue as sirens scream
Ripped me from my futile dream
Guns on me as flashlights gleam
“Why,” said I, “aren’t we a team?”

“Shush,” said they as they drew near
Struck was I with panicked fear
Ran for all that I held dear
Sounds herald a shrouded spear

Pain does bloom from crimson pools
Box of matches, box of tools
Struck one more, for I’m the fool
‘Fore my body starts to cool

Visions seize my bloodied breast
They promise hope; promise rest
Asphalt, now my gory nest
Down the corner by the west.

Reciprocity

i

Do hush, my dear lest be afeared,

What once was not has now appeared

A ghost of one you so revered

You turned to flee, it screamed a plea,

“I pray to thee, let me be free,”

“Do look and see, for you are me”

.

ii

A dance of truths goes to and fro

Deny me once, that’s how it goes

A friend I’m not, nor I a foe

Deny me twice, and doors will close

A final chance; the truth I’ll show

Deny me thrice, the rooster crows

.

iii

A shot too clean, yet draws out red

The pain does fill my heart with dread

Unsure I am, but still, I tread

Without a word, without a sweat

A price once paid, forgives a debt

My heart and his, at last have met

.

iv

My words are fire, his touch is rain

Ignite and douse my heart’s refrain

My lips do part to sigh his name

His hands are anything but tame

And thus I ask to you again,

If love’s a crime, then who’s to blame?

.

v

So here I am with my soul bare

And on my sleeve my heart I wear

My only prayer is not I err

But find some favour in your stare

To greater heights I do declare

And be as bold and free as air

.

vi

Some days will rob and leave you blind

Day after day, night after night

I’ll be the voice inside your mind

Love is a word best undefined

You are my favourite line of sight

Too sharp, too clear; mirage of light

.

vii

Just hush and hear me out my dear,

Please say that months will turn to years

Wait as the dawn, brings forth the cheers

For these are music to mine ears

Me, whose ambition trumps my fears

Soon you and I will hear no jeer

.

viii

And as we wait for days to come

I know that I’ve already won

But lo, did you see what I’ve done

A verse, a line, a tune, a hum

Six and Seven, look at word one

Put two and two to get your sum

Verdant

I was never one to believe in fairytales; I was never one to fall for their fictional grandeur. A landscape that only the mind can conjure is something that shall never cross the threshold of my reality, I told myself. Every now and then, however, when the universe seems to speak in a common tongue, when the stars align into formations that shame the brightest of constellations, and when the paths of life intersect at a point above all points, one cant help but look up and listen in muted anticipation.

When I was a kid, I dreamt of a world that would resonate with my every being; I dreamt that the stars would align to my every will; that the waves would ebb and flow to the beat of my fluttering heart, to every fickle choice I made, to the sound of my untainted laughter. Mornings were easy and nights were easier. The sunlight was warm and welcoming, beckoning me to behold all the glory that that lies within its touch – such was a world I had painted for myself. I used to stare at it from my glassy canvas, with such awe and wonder that only a child can muster. Times like those, I could’ve sincerely sworn that life was good, that hopes were high, and that God was indeed forgiving.

As the backdrop fell, life slowly unfolded itself before me, slowly at first, streaking bits of grey onto what I thought was a finished canvas. Discordant voices slowly sang its lamentations which, at the time, I was too young to understand. The discordance grew, reverbrating as it sung a shrill crescendo, ultimately fading into a cacophony of laughter. That was the warning which I wasn’t able to heed. Red and green were the backbones of my childhood; yellow was a stranger to me.

I have reached a certain point of stagnancy in my life. My days were submerged in a quagmire of torpor; my nights were devoted to debauchery and stupor. I was a point in my life wherein expectations were estranged spectres; where uncertainty rests unrivaled on his throne of thorns. I had no real compass pointing due north, no rivers to guide me back, not even a trail of crumbs that led to the slightest semblance of a home in someone else’s arms. Like a hand-me-down, I was passed from person to person; meaningless kisses were the mantras that escaped my lips; awkward touches the proficiency of my hands; unholy lunges the rhythm of my soul. The endless cycle was tiring, but I got my pound of flesh. The nights were cold and lonely, but I got my share of heat, however evanescent. As the dawn of a new day passes by, I trudge forward, living the only way I know how, knowing that the only way towards gratification was to take it in separate doses, simply because everything I ever wanted in someone was never found in a single being, or so I thought.

It wasn’t the first time I’ve been blindsided; it wasn’t the first time that I’ve felt as if the world were conspiring against me. It wasn’t the first time I looked up to the heavens only to be greeted by a gaping void – a blanket of stars did little to ease the internal turmoil brewing within my soul. Desensitised, that was the word I used to describe my view on certain things. A tsunami of stimuli threatened to crash upon me, brandishing its assets, hungry for the receptors that were waiting to receive them, and ultimately exhausting itself when stimulation didn’t equate to a response. Pretty faces, cold embraces, and torrid kisses, all were just horrid misses.

Now, I find myself sitting alone in a coffee shop, anxiously eyeing the phone which was bound to light up anytime soon. He said he was coming, and I didn’t know what to do, nor how to react to that. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, nor was I sure if I wanted to know what I was supposed to expecting. I shivered in anticipation as the cup of steaming coffee slowly exhausted itself of its heat. I’ve done this a couple of times before, sure; but every experience played out differently; a haphazard maze of possibilities and outcomes encumbered me from making an accurate prediction, a reliable premonition. And then he came.

Awkward smiles, unsure glances, butterfingered gestures – all of which were foretelling a story that was yet to unfold. His lips curled up into a smile; a laugh echoed as his lips parted. He talked, and a stream of words painted the warmth of a thousand summers. I froze. I prayed that for me, the stars would align just one more time. I prayed that the tides would reach out and embrace the curves between my toes. I prayed that permafrost would begin to melt by the first light of spring. I prayed that the skies would overturn so I could taste a bit of heaven on earth. I prayed for the possibility of what seemed to be impossible. I prayed. Oh God, I prayed. I prayed that this moment would come, I replayed the fuzzy details over and over in my mind, preparing myself for whoever might come, preparing myself of what I should become but lo, I wasn’t ready for this. I wasn’t ready for you. As I sat there in front of you, slack-jawed, eyes open, mind racing, all the possible futures snapped back into one coherent reality.

That was the moment I knew.

Red and yellow were the backbones of my youth, but now, green was a friend once more.

Stray Arrows

Romeo, please don’t be a fool

Pyramus, now a crimson pool

Relinquish them from love so cruel

The Fates do snicker with their spool

But who am I to lash and say

That those who love have gone astray

Although my world is dull and grey

To find someone is what I pray

They tell me not to search for it

The sands of time fall bit by bit

But soon I do need to commit

If love’s a crime, they scream, “acquit.”

Dare you to break my walled-up fears

Dare you to dry my dried up tears

Dare me to open up mine ears

Dare me to stay for months to years

Sure as truth hides beneath the lies

I’ll find a way before time flies

Sure as the dawn brings the sunrise

I’ll find a way into your eyes

A king you’re not, nor I a knight

I’m but a drunk who thought to write

But you’re a sight that feels so right

What once was black has now turned white

For now I lay me down to sleep,

With shallow streams and seas too deep.

As I go down a path so steep,

I pray to you my heart to keep

Nightcry

He looked like he was right as rain

And I, caught up in mortal stain

A string of words aired out in vain,

None to lose, everything to gain

He beckoned with those glinting eyes,

From chrysalides come butterflies

Nether hands and careless sighs,

His salvation, my demise

From blackened orbs do lights fluoresce

Flesh of mine he did caress

Adonis shamed, he did undress

Nothing to do but acquiesce

Spear of Flames, oh hear me sing

Elysium unbound, to you I cling

Honey is sweet, but bees do sting

Slumber I need, but alarms do ring

Between a hill and its twin,

A restless beast lies deep within,

Insatiable at the sight of skin,

I lick my lip; it tastes like sin

Jack and Dill went up the hill

With one duty they must fulfill

Now they feel a mighty thrill

As the pail had its final fill

Streaks of white fall down like snow,

As all the pulses ebb and flow.

The world around all seem to slow,

As ecstacy turns back to woe.

Onomatopoeias

Listen to the sound of the pouring rain

The world awash, but who’s to blame?

Every pitter, every patter

Every rhythm for that matter,

Was cast from above

And swept down like an exiled dove

Listen to the chorus of the crying wind

It shrieks and howls as though it has sinned

Every hiss, every billow

Every gust through my window

Has no place to call home

Marked like Cain,

And forced to roam

Listen to the clatter of almighty thunder

Its wrath tears the skies asunder

Every clap, every boom

Every tremor of impending doom

Is a delayed jeer,

Proud albeit stuck

From the lightning that never struck

Listen to the beat of your own heart

You’re alive and here,

And that’s a start

Cherish every lub, every dub

Life’s a lion and we’re its cubs

Under the eye from which nature sees

We’re finite creatures

Seeking peace

The Nether Denizens of My Mind

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As I walked down the rough uneven sidewalk, hell started to make a home for itself in the recesses of my mind. I didn’t mind, that’s what I told myself. Lately, hell’s visits have become more frequent, more imperative, more demanding to the point where I constantly remind myself to prepare a plush cushion for him to recline on as I make myself accustomed to his presence, swallowing him like the last drops of champagne during a cold, lonely night.

We sat across each other, hell and I, and the next thing I know, his eyes were on mine, and mine on his, locked in a mutual leer. We clashed, but we barely moved. Every inhalation was an invisible parry, every exhalation was a deft counterstrike. We sat for hours on end, but ultimately, my mind has a breaking point while his had none. I raised my white flag, just like every other battle we had prior to this. I didn’t fight to win; that never happens. I fought with every intention to survive; but one can only fight for so long until the body seeks compromise for the soul’s unrest.

It wasn’t the first time I fought my demons; it wasn’t the last time my hollow heart shook from the irrational whispers of my mind; it wasn’t going to be the last time I’d feel like everyone’s out to get me, hurt me; it wasn’t the first time my trust issues had gotten the best of me; it wasn’t the first time I entertained them with the enthusiasm and reluctance of a virgin attempting intercourse for the first time. They preyed on me like a parasite, and I was the ever-wiling host.

“Thanks for tonight, babe,” he said as he kissed my lips.

What does it mean? My mind nagged.

Suddenly the picture of us kissing was altered ever so slightly, it painted another picture of him still locked in a kiss, but with someone other than me.

Was it a parting kiss? A Judas Kiss? A sign of impending betrayal?

The cacophony in my mind was so loud, I never noticed his lips leave mine. I gave him a plaintive smile and a languid kiss on his cheek and forehead like I usually do.

“Take care, okay?” The words left my mouth so plainly, the deeper meaning I had intended was obscured by the relative nonchalance of my choice of words; words that upon translation screamed: “Take care of yourself, please don’t cheat on me. Don’t screw anyone else while I’m outside that door. I’ve given you more trust than I usually do. Don’t break it. Please. Don’t play with my feelings, don’t make me feel insufficient, don’t hurt me. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t.”

To him, “take care” may be a parting statement; for me it meant something close to a plea that never left the barriers of my lips.

He hugged me and we parted. “Thanks for being there for me,” he said. “Don’t mention it,” I smiled. “I’m here for you.”

But will you end up abusing my good intentions? Are you gonna take me for granted knowing I’ll always be there for you? Are you gonna mess around since my loyalty is never in question?

My mind continued to nag, regurgitating thoughts that remained to be thoughts since I had no intention of bestowing life to them in the form of haphazard speech or anything relatively close to that.

We released each other from the hug and with one final look, I walked away, and hell was only very eager to keep up his pace with mine. I was greeted with repulsive thoughts, thoughts involving him wrapped around somebody else’s arms, caught in somebody else’s lips, entangled around somebody else’s body.

With every step, gravity steadily weighed me down, emphasizing the weight of my mind bearing down on my soul, outlining in black the sweetness of my singularity, highlighting the climax of my personal calamity. I sauntered on, praying for daylight to come and chase the demons away. Perhaps only then shall I find peace in my everyday unrest.

I know I’m not supposed to tame my demons, but this isn’t exactly keeping them on a leash either.

Regression

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“You could hurt me,” I said, after our lips parted, slightly trembling at the weight those words bore.

He smiled. “And you could hurt me,” he said, more composed than I am. “That’s a given, but that’s what it’s all about.”

That struck me. I’d almost forgotten the truth of which he spoke. It’s been a while since I’ve given it any relevance; the idea of entertaining the possibility of being hurt was almost foreign to me. I vaguely remember the last time, how it felt, and how it meant. As I held him close in my arms and planted a kiss on his forehead, the only thing I was able to fixate on is to make it last, to not lose him. Every other thought was irrelevant, and I knew that it meant something. Trivial emotions are almost an afterthought for me, but somehow, this was hardly anything but trivial.

It was happening again. A year of suppression, a year of denial, a year of fruitless attempts at starting over, a year of hoping and dreading the idea of feeling something genuine again – a year of all that, and now that the answer which came in the form of this beautiful, timeless man, I didn’t know how to respond. I could only tremble in horrified anticipation. The walls I’ve built around my heart were forged with diamonds and platinum, made to compensate for the fragility of my naked heart. And yet, they shattered from the lightest of his touches, and now, the naked heart beats, exposed to the elements, and he was the Avatar.

Now, the only thing I could do was stare at his pretty, pretty face and think to myself, “Brace yourself, this one’s going to hurt. This one’s bound to hurt.” Even with that thought, the martyr in me conceded. The thought that this is possibly the closest thing to something real, cancels out every precalculated risk. Once upon a time, we talked about being the other’s reset button. I guess I pushed mine too hard and ended up with more that I had ever hoped for.

“Good night,” I said, smiling as his half-lidded eyes were struggling to stay open.

“Good night,” he echoed, and at once, his arms that were wrapped around me drew me closer to him.

I sighed and played with his hair, lost in thought – too lost, that I never heard the next statement leave my lips:

“I don’t wanna fall.”

He gave a sleepy smile.

“We can fall together,” he said, before he fell asleep.

Après moi, le déluge

WONDERLOST

Blog of a Lost Boy: Of Hiraeth and Saudade

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