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Poetry

Unstuck

I often feel out of place
but more often
I feel out of time.
It is a powerful thing,
to feel displaced
on all available axes.

I avoid curry leaves because
they find me at home,
I evade classical music because it
whizzes me to a time
when my hands were tiny
and stairs were a challenge
and playground slides
were the locus of all of my fears.

I don't avoid these things because
they pain me;
I avoid them because they ache.
Some day, I hope to have the strength
to take all that beauty in,
and maybe to sow the seed
of someone else's,
but today is not that day.
Today I will stick to today.


Narcissus

I was a happy child.
I was invisible, even to myself.
I faced inward, glossing over the facade,
obsessing over the interior.
I adorned my walls with rich
finger paintings telling stories of daring expeditions
to faraway lands,
and detailing blueprints of my mystical inventions.
I made friends with the shy components of my soul,
and I listened to their secrets.

I was
a happy child.
And then I looked in the mirror,
and then I cared.


Hummingbirds

Evenings dripping with somber silence,
chilly room sipping away at the heater's warm sighs.
Hours spent in deep conversation with the wall clock;
turns out it's entropy that makes us both tick.
We are hummingbirds, not cicadas.

I tend not to look back,
for there lies baggage I'd
rather not carry in the now.
What carries me instead
is the knowledge that I tried,
and given enough time,
that becomes good enough.

Can you say the same?

I know you don't ask these questions now,
but the fourth axis is a nimble one.

It is only a matter of time.


She of the waters deep and still

I whisper to the naked shore
Of sorrows bought and fortunes sold.
I tell her of the secret name,
Of the seventh seal, of the Father's shame.
She whisper back about the slipping tide,
The gloomy flume, both deep and wide.
She beckons me, wails her siren's call,
To the thrilling depths, to the final fall.
I stand aground, with frozen spine,
It is my fate, but not yet my time.
I walk the walk of whence I came,
Broken ground and broken frame,
I live to drown another day,
I still have my rhyme, and have my way.


Defenestration—The action of throwing someone out of a window.

Seventh floor, dingy room, stale pancake smoke.
The smell of sickly bananas and burnt cinnamon.
Her legs quietly folded in naked consternation,
her back sunken deep into the cheap upholstery.
This is life now. Ten minute dinners burnt into
and out of existence, more of a metaphor than a
meal. The television listless, droning on about
trivial things like geopolitics and dishwashing
detergent, strobing away, in ambient ecstasy at
the curling smoke. She says, we don't party any
more. What is this then, if not our own private
rave? A swan song so wrong, it couldn't be more
right: The telly jingling away of smelly socks,
the smoke detector finally having its moment to
shine, me leaning against the window, expecting
pane, but finding night air awash with alacrity
and the earthy perfume of fall. Defenestration.


Radiance

It is a chilly winter night,
raindrops on the slanted window
slumbering to frost,
The radiator curled up to my toes,
the duvet clinging to me for warmth.

Hush, listen. Behind the whistling gale,
beyond the snoring dishwasher,
hear the cactus on the window sill
holding its breath to watch mine,
leaning in to my supine form,
getting goose pimples at my steady,
mournful breathing.

It is a chilly winter night
like most, these days.
I have not seen the sun for weeks,
but I'll live.
I am warm-blooded after all.


Alhambra

Mauri, hold on to this fiction,
this distant dream of the promised land.
It will carry you through life
toward the red horizon.

A parasol offers no shelter
from the likes of a hurricane,
so Mauri, become the storm,
for Alhambra is not upon us yet.

Mauri, sigh no more.
Billow like the wind
on the broken plains.
Carry me the scent of myrtles
that smell like home.
For you and I will walk the red halls,
in this life or the next.


Camus and cigarettes

Cogito ergo sum.
No shit, Sherlock.
Sometimes, I want to be
just because I simply am.

Is that too much to ask, fellow traveler?
Must I ceaselessly ponder through every pore
of my mortal coil?
Must I see refuge only in
the ache of my midnight feet?

How do you do it?
Live in the now?
Breeze the present with the
tips of your fingers,
like I did the billowing curtains of my cloudless youth?

Help me roll cigarettes in the yellowed pages of Camus,
Not because he'd like that,
But because I would.


Collateral

I once wrote long form,
For the stage, for the external locus.
Now I write because I can't not.
For my arthritic wit,
that begs to crack once in a blood moon,
to break rather than be broken by the fractured silence.
Now I write short and I write square,
For this not the age for round pegs.
This is the age for accepting the self,
flawed as it may be,
for thinking about magnitudes more than directions,
and ultimately accepting the vicissitudes of these fickle vectors.
I once wrote long form,
but now I write because I can't not.
You are but mere happenstance.


Fool's gold

It's 3am, and I still miss you.
Smoke billowing out the open window,
mottled light of the sleeping sun spilling in.
It is summer now,
And up here, that means only brief glimpses
of true darkness—
the kind that you have to shut the windows
to keep out.

It's 3am, and I'm letting go,
and so is the cactus on the window sill.
It's sprouted little pink puds, now wilting,
but in relief, rather than in sorrow.
All things beautiful, it tells me,
are only so because they pass.

It's 3am, and all this optimism
is making me hungry.
Maybe there's apple pie left in the fridge.
Maybe there's some chicken soup from yesterday.
Morning though for sure's a-coming,
Maybe there's some soul yet to be found.


YOLO

I'm on this train alone
Except this girl who's on her phone
Thumbing her Instagram,
I'm like damn fam, how much perfect is enough, tho?

Perfect skin tone, perfect lives,
Perfect love birds, perfect lies.

Tan lines, wan smiles, tired eyes, thin disguise
of a life lived vicariously, among influencer brand fantasies
I see her scrolling through her dispossessions,
Window shopping dispositions, blank-eyed tongue-tied,
aisle-blocking leg-crossing, careless sightless meandering gaze-wise.

I'm on this train alone
Except this girl who's on her phone
Thumbing her Instagram,
I'm like damn fam, who's the actual voyeur here, tho?


Despite the cold

This one is hard to write.
Which is exactly why it needs to be written.
You see, pain eases poetry,
but happiness is an impedance
that must be documented,
with these two thumbs, or be lost otherwise
to the inevitable erasure of entropy.

Happiness is not a place;
it's a direction.
Like all first derivatives,
a slippery slope indeed.

This one might not be the maxima
of my literary profundity,
but I've sprinkled in
some big words to compensate.
So there.
Bon hiver.


Servitude

"I serve no one",
I whisper beneath my breath in November.
I serve no one.
Neither she, nor he, nor they.

I serve not the knot in my stomach,
the one that vacillates
between butterflies and pine needles.
I serve not the juniper I sip on sometimes,
nor the ticking tock that I slip on sometimes.
I serve not the absent sun
(he's been ghosting me lately,
for a week or three),
nor the frosty night,
glimmering as she may be.

Not the tiny lights I bind to my will,
not the story I want to be told of me,
nor the story I tell myself.

I do serve food, though.
Tis the season for joy and friends, so.
Homemade samosas are the shizz, yo.


Hyllie, Malmö

I want to live in a windy city.

I've spent two decades nestled in concrete,
where autumn leaves know not of violence,
only of gravity.
When the rain drizzled outside my window,
the soil under the mango tree
smelled of perfume and stillness.

Wind to me was flying kites and
little vortices of dust;
maybe one gust when the monsoon came
and sometimes another when it left.

I want to live in a windy city,
where all it takes is
one bone-shattering wall of wind to the face,
and time is fractured,
and I find myself in pre-history,
looking for a cave to hide in,
and a fire to keep me warm,
and maybe a story to get me through the night.
Carpe diem, the wind howls in mad delight,
Carpe diem.


Anti-Calypso

(Spoken word)

Bombay. Seven islands, one soul.
क्योंकि दूसरा sole दादर की भीड मे गुम हो गया.

Bombay. Seven islands, one fiery soul.
If there is one city in this world as a whole
that continues to scare me and yet draw me in,
it is this city of meager joy and boundless sin.

Reclaimed from the sea, she was born to be
a demanding mistress.
Nature never meant her to be what she now is,
a Frankenstein's monster, and she knows this.

She has known abandonment from the start.
Abuse has maimed her, but hasn't torn her apart.
Life has given her callused fingers and a concrete heart.

And she's grown cold these days, distant in so many ways.
A philistine of aesthetics, a slave to statistics,

Profanely narcissistic, with a characteristic ballistic trajectory
that is categorically an allegory to the victory of the temporary over the permanent,

A reminder that no matter how solid it feels, it is all vividly transient.
And so beneath her glamour, beyond my stammer,
After all the bland posturing and the subtle gesturing,

All that remains is me and her.
Both alone, both together.

So I seek some solace in David Foster Wallace,
who says "Loneliness is not a function of solitude."
Which is a comforting platitude until I conclude
That the converse is also true—
That I can be lonely among a crowd, and that is what scares me.

But look at her.
She has embraced it.

She wants to be respected, not loved.
She offers fear, not comfort.
She wants to conquer, not nurture.
She embodies apathy, not empathy.

But she will not extend this apathy to me.
For me, she has reserved ignorance.

For this is an astronomical wanderer,
Asking a serial philanderer of a black hole, to take me in.
For this is David in love with Goliath.
Wanting to see the event horizon,
Wanting to embrace the singularity,
Wanting to feel the clarity of absolute parity.

And she easily could, but she won't.
And I can move on, but I don't.
I can't tell whether she's toying with me or ignoring me.
And is there really a difference in the outcome?
But I'm a sucker for all of this and then some.

Her Gaussian curves are getting on my nerves,
As she swivels and swerves,
Me and the train, in the rain, and I refrain
From heaving a sigh, for the end is nigh,
Of our journey so far, as I grip the bar,
कारण पुढील station विरार.