The Softness of Words

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Illustration by http://www.bitesizedsanity.com/

A spoonful of honey and holy basil,

it’s good for your throat, my mom would say

maybe those years of gulping it down

sticky sweet, trickling down my throat

softened my words at last

blunted the sharpness of my weapons.

 

Last year, I stuffed my words

into a dark and dank trunk

they grew mouldy and coughed up blood

I am so very ashamed to tell you

I seemed to have always peeked inside the trunk

When I had nothing soft to say.

 

I let them rise up to my throat

and roll onto my tongue

balancing their heavy weight at the tip of my tongue

I tried, I promise you I did, to taste its shape

But my bitterness stretched its arms in its sleepy slumber

and knocked my desperate words at your feet.

 

You didn’t hear them, you heard nothing

you let silence overstay its welcome

grow wild in a valley of its own

walk barefoot there if you caan

you will find a basketfull of my words

growing lush alongside wildflowers and ferns.

 

Months have churned in the great belly of time

now I count my words like change

a teaspoon of honey and holy basil

and a tablespoon of honesty

a dash of kindness and a sprinkle of softness

words sticky sweet, clinging to your ears, collecting in your tongue.

 

-Shiuli

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Indian Goddesses

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Sketch by @bitesizedsanity on Instagram 

In India,

our women are wrapped ever so delicately

layers of white tissue paper enfolded over their bodies

like dolls, they are stored away in boxes

only to be brought out when they pretend play goddesses

or when dusk falls and the men come home

when they take off their inhibitions and rip off their skin

the dolls come out, but ssh they mustn’t let their desires show

tuck them away like a stray strand of hair

lie still, bite down on your body’s needs, let the man do his work

making love, you say? Does love not ask for consent?

Is love aggression, thrusting into an unyielding fruit, in and out?

wounded ego and years of fractured patriarchy

trying to fit into the mould of a man by inseminating the fruit

our women are fierce in folklore

our women are allowed their own history inside temples

but don’t talk to them about desires and dreams

they keep their bodies insulated with rage

desire, a deep gushing tide they allow to flow in their minds

a soft touch and a parting kiss, phantoms take over their dreams

we have been muffling our women

under the weight of boundaries and expectations

refusing their existence

allowing them survival, but not living

why did we bait them with wings, if we never meant for them to fly?

 

  • Shiuli

 

 

 

 

Foolish Lonely Girls- A Symphony

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Artwork by my fav Neha Mestry aka  @procaffeinator_ on Instagram

My loneliness has a sound; loud and desperate, it screeches when I open up my heart. The beasts come sniffing, vulnerability is an easy prey. They don’t tell you this about loneliness, about the desperation coating its hands, like grease they run up and down your flesh. So you find another body, you rub yourself clean of this mindless need, your loneliness lies content in the tangle of limbs. They don’t tell you that your desires are lying to you; a stranger’s body is not a time machine. Their tongue in your mouth is not a portal to when love found you, when it called upon you like an old friend. Fuck that nobody ever told me to stitch up my heart, I pimped it out till it was blood red and goose pimpled, an old whore wearing a loud lipstick and a cheap wig. Ghosting these midnight streets, heels tottering and a shadow of a smile, selling my affections to the highest bidder. Loneliness is a disease and I am its favoured host.

My Foolish Lonely Girls

 

Do you ever get so lonely that you can hear the emptiness rattling inside your ribcage. That you can feel the black bile your mind churns? The suffocating quality of your thoughts?
And you will do anything, anyone to not feel like you are building an echo chamber right there in your heart. Anything to not hear the sound of emptiness, its screeching tone of voice and sandpaper like hands rubbing against your back.
Have you ever felt so lonely that you let someone warm you with their body? Unfamiliar lips snaking up your body, hands without a destination, hands without a map, their unsynchronised breath trying to make you feel, trying to open up your heart, trying to tear the steel like stitches apart?
Does your loneliness crystallise in the morning again? Sunlight glittering off of your icy heart, vulnerability laid bare. Do their arms feel like home? Their body entangled with yours, do you find your refuge? Does your loneliness believe their promises, oh how well these lovers weave words. Silken threads of brilliant colours, blinding and hiding.
My foolish lonely girls.

A Poem for Every Woman

I could be a mural
exposed to strangers
touching the brush strokes painted over me
corrupting me with their curious fingers
tracing my body with a vicious ardour
staring at me
in the guise of an admirer
letting their roving eyes
consume me
letting their intentions known
in the way they feel me
letting their hands run astray
trying to find a price tag
trying to claim me.

 

Absolution

Like shadows

filtered through moonlight

we blend softly

around our edges.

 

Darkness has always been

a confidante

for the outpouring

of our unspoken vice.

 

The politics of our carnality

we dissolve each night

when your mouth seeks mine

and when my body arches under yours.

 

Absolution and other love stories