Punctuated

Three short poems centered around my favourite punctuation marks. ☺

I. Interrobang

Should you be alarmed

If a question mark

Openly declares war

Against an exclamation mark‽

II. Colon

I like to make lists,

And explain myself,

But there is always

A subtle warning

Before I embark upon

Such expressive discourses—

It is the subtle inflection

In my voice

Along with the audible,

Anxious rumble

Emanating from my colon.

III. The Full Stop

He is not writing

His own book of life,

Because he erroneously

Believes that he only

Has one job—

To put the very last

Full stop.

©Aaysid

Image by Daniel Roberts from Pixabay

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Lost and Found

to lose yourself

in the pages of a book,

someone else’s strange,

immortal world,

is not that unusual,

for the real

magic happens

when you find

yourself in there.

©Aaysid

I captured the featured picture today while enjyoing homemade dalgona coffee and reading Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevesky, translated by Constance Garnett.

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Smoke

I went out for a walk today, and was taken aback by the strong smell of cigarette smoke in the air. It reminded me of all the sufferers of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease I had encountered during my short time as an intern at a Pulmonolgy Unit. Smoking is one of the many things about this life that I have a hard time wrapping my head around, but then again, we all have our slow poisons, and maybe this isn’t any different! We can always try to counsel and be supportive though. While consuming our own poisons we forget how much it hurts to watch the ones we love drowning in theirs! We could be hurting other people. The poem below is my attempt, feeble at best, to try to make sense of it all.

I feel it spreading

within me,

a cloud of thick

black smoke;

what a privilege!

to be sitting

on the rooftop,

away from the eyes

that judge,

and yet be exposed

like a nerve!

the shame

that self-destruction

is supposed to

bring is masked

by the agony

of one organ

dying a painful

death, and its misery

spreading unlike

a wildfire, slowly,

a little too slowly,

consuming everything

in its resolve

to not be

the only thing that dies-

I light another cigarette.

©Aaysid

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A Day Off

A little update.

It rained here yesterday. Rained a lot actually. To the point of it being scary.

I finally bought a good cell phone. It has nice features, and was not too expensive. The old one was even out-slowing me, and had developed battery issues. I decided to spend a little from my savings. Isn’t that what we save money for anyway? For good phones? My conscience tells me otherwise.

I took a day off work to study, but did not get much studying done. I cooked, cleaned and organised a few things around the house instead. It was a productive day so I decided not to beat myself about not achieving my study goals.

Chocolate, coffee, and popcorn have officially made it back on my grocery list. Just another reason to be grateful for the changing weather!

It is beginning to feel like Fall here, which means that it is hard to stay awake for long. Naps in this season are the best kind of naps. Somehow. Dreamless and restful, all thanks to the nice weather. You wake up feeling refreshed, and then a few hours later, some part of your brain begins to slow down and you stand there looking wistfully at the bed you had just left a few hours ago. You cannot sleep all the time, but fantasizing about it can be equally rewarding. So when your friends ask about your plans for the season, you can happily reply that you’d just be inside napping, and encourage them to catch up on sleep too. We are not supposed to have raccoon-eyes all the time!

Have a great season everyone!🙂

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Empty

with all the means

to over-share

at our disposal,

it is no longer about

the first person

you tell a good

news to,

it is all about

the person

you save from

the bad news now,

by choosing not

to hit “upload”.

©Aaysid

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Letting Go

I find myself

Uncurling my fingers

To release

The imaginary butterflies

From my

Quivering hands;

The locked drawers

In my mind

Rattle with unease,

Clearly disturbed

By the very act—

I am letting go

Of everything

That was not

Even there to begin with.

©Aaysid

There could be whole antiworlds and antipeople made out of antiparticles. However, if you meet your antiself, don’t shake hands! You would both vanish in a great flash of light.”

Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time

Image by HeungSoon from Pixabay

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Introversion

Two short poems:

I.

I am glad

that there are

things that money

cannot buy;

what if we

could buy memories?

some of us

wouldn’t have many;

not the ones

that would last anyway!

II.

I try to imagine you away

but you are too real

so there you stay;

it is awfully nice

in my rabbit hole anyway.

©Aaysid

“The only problem with seeing people you know is that they know you.”
Brent Runyon, The Burn Journals

Image by WikiImages from Pixabay

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Life in Food

Milk.

No more.

Moved on from white.

Candies.

Neon.

Little, sweet, sticky memories.

Soft drinks.

Down.

Grew up with effervescence.

Cakes.

Brown.

Chocolate; a way out.

Cheese.

Uptown.

Money was finally around.

Coffee.

Morns.

Found solace in black.

Tea.

Mature.

Green; fix things now!

©Aaysid

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Right Here

I may not be

a great friend,

for I don’t know

how to rescue you

from self-doubt,

but I make sure

that you never

feel invisible

in the crowd

by being the one

who is all ears

without you

having to shout-

you never do.

©Aaysid

“I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s why.”
John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men

Image by JackieLou DL from Pixabay

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The Laundered Days

I am folding days

As one folds

A bucket load of laundry

On a hot and humid

Summer afternoon—

Not careful

With the creases,

Too detached to look

For the missing

And the matching pieces,

Yet trying to make

Peace with the tedious

Rhythm of it all,

While disregarding

The growing pile

Of washed,

Unvaried minutes and hours

That could crumble

Any second;

With no end in sight!

©Aaysid

*Reposting because it never stops feeling like this!

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The Subtle Beauty

I am friends

with September—

to gaze

at the lilac sky

just before

the sun comes out,

and to feel

the afternoon air

getting thinner;

to stir

ginger and honey

into the evening,

and to scoop out

hazelnut ice cream

for dinner,

to toss

and turn at midnight,

trying to retrieve

a tender moment

I don’t

quite remember.

©Aaysid

Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

“Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes had been wiped clean by summer.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose

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No Complaints

When you feel

Like you are

On a train

Nowhere near

Its destination,

As it goes through

One unlit tunnel

After an unlit tunnel,

Yet somehow

It puffs out smoke

That smells like

Melted butter,

You can’t complain.

©Aaysid

“You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.”
Mary Tyler Moore

Image by anncapictures from Pixabay

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Offline

Three short poems toying with the idea of being or feeling disconnected:

I.

my heart’s aflutter

as I knock on the door,

and it resonates

like never before;

he might not be there,

but I am not sure,

for a knock this sturdy

should be hard to ignore,

unless you don’t want to

be friends anymore!

II.

I shall have to miss

her yet another call

I am, after all,

lost in the rhythm

of this drawn-out fall.

III.

as I clean out my desk

I can hardly gloat-

most of the people

in my life

have been nothing

but a number

on a post-it note!

©Aaysid

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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Checks Out

The musician leaves

Without a note

And nothing ceases,

But his presence.

Maybe there was

A lyrical warning,

Or maybe it was

Just life which

Kept happening in

The guise of the way

Of the world,

Or stopped happening,

All of a sudden,

Without any reason.

©Aaysid

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Her Soul

I lean against the wall

Of her kitchen,

Small, airy and clean,

And watch her talk

So passionately about

Something she had

Watched on the tiny screen

Of her cellular phone

The other night;

She does not seem here,

But her hands know

How to dice onions,

Tomatoes, and carrots

Without any input

From her faraway eyes,

And I always get

Misty-eyed as I

See someone unwittingly

Open the windows

To their souls by telling

Stories about the life

They could have lived,

The places they have

Never been to,

The people they

Could have been,

And everything

They deserved but

Did not quite get—

There is no one more

Pure and beautiful

Than her at this moment!

©Aaysid

“Sometimes when I look at you, I feel I’m gazing at a distant star.”

Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun

Image by Peter H from Pixabay

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Odd Apples

This world

Keeps an eye out

For all those apples

That tend to fall

Too far

From the trees,

And lets them believe

They’re good enough

For the pies,

Well, at least

For a short while,

But then bottles

Them up,

Only to put

Their then reduced

To shoddy

Cider-selves

On the shelves!

©Aaysid

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The Grey Sky

The sky gets murky every afternoon these days. A few heavy, grey clouds appear out of nowhere; stay for an hour or two and then disappear into nothingness. Rainfall has been scarce in our part of the world this summer. It is hot, humid, and quite difficult to breathe with two masks on! Yes, the virus is still managing to find hosts here on top of everything else! It turns out, our personal-grey-clouds, unfortunately, are not great at pulling off disappearing acts – they have been here for quite some time now.

I am beginning to lose sight of the bigger picture. With so much going on, and nothing going on at the same time, the void is becoming difficult to avoid. It had begun as fear for life, not particularly your own, but of those you love, but has now turned into a strange, apathetic feeling. You want to rid yourself of such a feeling, but you are not quite sure what that entails. Maybe we already had enough on our plates, and now the contents are spilling over. Maybe we are not giving ourselves enough credit for trying to go on despite the raging pandemic. When they say, “there are worse ways to live,” they forget that this, if not the worst, is not an easy way to live either! There are days that I cannot recall at all, and I have heard a few people say that this had been happening to them too. When all you can remember is: being sick, hearing about people getting sick or dying, looking after people getting sick, sanitising desktops, doorknobs, sweating through masks, canceling plans to go out, and working twice as hard as before (because the workload keeps on increasing), the individual days do not matter! I can feel myself passing through time, which for once, seems to be standing still.

You can pick up the broken pieces with an intent to rebuild only when the storm is over, but how do those with perpetually stormy skies find it in their hearts to keep going on against the winds? How can people manage to hold on to hope even when the cloudy skies above their heads forget to rain? I think I have not made peace with the altered circumstances yet. Is this realisation enough for now? I am sure it is not. I have to do better to feel better! I hope I get there. I hope we all do.

“Most human activities are predicated on the assumption that life goes on. If you take that premise away, what is there left?”
Haruki Murakami, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

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Stuck

the world has found

a home in me,

the last place

it should have been

comfortable in,

and I am stuck here

like everyone else⁠—

none of it feels real!

what I do not understand

chooses not to

understand me either,

I cannot get it out,

I cannot get out!

©Aaysid

“We draw ever nearer to the end of our allotted span of time, bidding it farewell as it trails off behind. Repeating, often adroitly, the endless deeds of the everyday. Leaving behind a feeling of immeasurable emptiness.”

Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart

Photo by Burak K from Pexels

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Flawed

we fill in the gaps

in our memories

with lucid depictions

of who we are

supposed to be;

it saves us

from slipping into

a premature stupor,

it keeps us

from letting go

before the right time

to let go…

©Aaysid

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Jammed

I have sharpened a pencil

Within an inch of its life,

And I am getting tired

Of loathing the world,

Reveling in its freedom,

Outside my solitary window;

I am all out of words,

And I wonder if it might

Be better this time to stay

This gallingly unwritten?

©Aaysid

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”

Douglas Adam

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Falling Apart

I am sleep-deprived,

and it feels different

inside the bus today;

someone sitting beside me

is quietly disintegrating,

I can tell as tiny shards

of foreign thoughts

sting my weary eyes,

and must be leaving

scarlet ramifications inside,

I try to blink

the pain away, but it stays-

I am worried

that my bloodshot eyes

shall be giving away

someone else’s secrets today!

©Aaysid

“Because what’s worse than knowing you want something, besides knowing you can never have it?”
James Patterson

Image by HG-Fotografie from Pixabay

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The Perfect You

you remind me of snow,

precipitation at its finest,

and subdued winter sun

at the same time;

you remind me of things

that work well together,

but make perfect sense

even when they don’t.

©Aaysid

Image from Pexels

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A Bonfire

it is a bonfire out there;

no one was invited

but they are coming anyway,

bringing their own fuels for the fire;

I see a lyric in ashes,

a dour sonnet suspended

in the forbidding smoke,

and a rhyme going up

in the tiniest of flames,

only to leave charred sadness behind.

together we look up

at the soot-covered sky,

our fires and fates entwined.

©Aaysid

“Isn’t everyone a part of everyone else?”
Budd Schulberg

Photo by Adonyi Gábor from Pexels

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Who, Me?

I.

Asking me for directions

Is like asking someone

With chapped skin (also me)

About the trending moisturisers;

How lost can you afford to get?

II.

I trip over the thought

Of tripping over

And begin limping

To trip over something

A little less

Abstract than that;

“Let’s take a trip,” you say?

©Aaysid

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Seeking Oblivion

I.

some people try

to make good use

of magic

by choosing moths

over butterflies.

II.

I stick my tongue out,

and roll my eyes

in a nod to the riot inside,

and pretend to enjoy

a quiet life;

not a word, not a fight!

©Aaysid

“When life gives you lemons, squirt someone in the eye.”
 Cathy Guiswite

Photo by Elle Hughes from Pexels

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Existing

If you take yourself

Off the shelf

With the price tag

Neither chipped nor torn,

And the expiration date

Still on, not gone,

Is this how

You break the norm,

Is this enough

To justify being born?

©Aaysid

“The stars up there at night are closer than you think.”
Doug Dillon

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Unhinged

Three short poems on being borderline unhinged:

I.

What we cannot write

Begins to write us instead,

And seldom does

A good job of it-

We sound even crazier

On paper!

II.

I respond to every rhetorical question,

And do not understand any metaphors,

I ignore the signs from the universe,

And getting jinxed is my favourite obsession.

III.

There are no secrets

Between us,

There is nothing

To hide anyway;

We are

An open book

With pages falling out.

©Aaysid

People think that I must be a very strange person. This is not correct. I have the heart of a small boy. It is in a glass jar on my desk…”

Stephen King

Image by Barbara A Lane from Pixabay

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Purple Rain

the rain that falls on you

colours you purple,

serves its purpose,

and draws to a close,

symbolising what every

grey thought in your head

ends up doing to you —

it colours you wrong

and then leaves.

©Aaysid

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Daydreaming

As you set

The oven timer

For a loaf of bread,

You have enough

Time on your

Hands to think ahead…

One of these

Days you shall

Be free without any dread,

You will not

Have to reason

With the voice in your head,

And you shall

Not have pasta

For breakfast in bed,

You shall be

In your element

More neon, less lead,

There will be

A lot more

Heard and a lot less said;

Don’t wait for

It to happen,

Happen to it instead…

Is that the

Oven timer beeping,

Have you burnt another bread?

©Aaysid

“Maybe the truth is, there’s a little bit of loser in all of us.”

Ann Brashares

Image by Prabath Gunasekara from Pixabay

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Blackout Poetry-I

I love trying my hand at blackout poetry (also known as erasure poetry)! When I am reading in bed after a long day, and have trouble focusing, certain words on the page pop-up. I used to think it was weird before, but ever since I have found about this form of poetry, I have been underlining the words in my books to later turn them into poems. It is fun!

something shrill

woke up everything

in my memory-

darkness full of fumes

hovering over me,

seeking an outlet

utterly remote.

©Aaysid

Featured Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

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Newfound Anger

It is all new

and disturbing-

there is a raging fire

inside my head,

and it feels as if

the quiet electricity

has joined forces

with a thunderstorm

that has somehow arrived

at the predicted time.

This feeling has a name,

they say, but I

do not want to call

it that, it feels

so much more than that,

and I am shaking;

terrified of being

at the mercy of it,

scared that it might

never leave my head.

How can life work

for someone

perpetually vexed,

when the entire world

is a trigger, and you

are already full

to the brim?

How can the world

be kind to

a furious woman

after driving her

to the brink?

©Aaysid

“Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.”
Maya Angelou

Image by Here and now, unfortunately, ends my journey on Pixabay from Pixabay

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Real World

I have seen the world

On my television screen,

And I know a thing or two

About what is actually real

And what is only a ruse;

Pretty and ugly pictures

Are one side of the truth,

The rest of it is in outlines

And you don’t get to choose

Neither the palette nor the hues!

©Aaysid

Image by Bob Bello from Pixabay

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Getting Mail

I receive another

Letter from myself,

But once again,

This is not

The right time!

I have a lot

On my plate,

And a lot

On my mind.

I write back

Of course;

I am not unkind;

I do it every time!

©Aaysid

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

“Where to look if you’ve lost your mind?”
Bernard Malamud

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The Bookish Joy

You ask sceptically,

“Are you glad to see me?”

Taken aback by your inability

To recognise visible glee,

I tell you in a way

That I know makes

The most sense to you and me,

“I am as happy as I get

When I see a bookstall

In the middle of nowhere

With a sign that says “Free“!”

©Aaysid

“The odd thing about people who had many books was how they always wanted more.”
Patricia A. McKillip, The Bell at Sealey Head

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

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Adherent

If I could be anything,

I would like to be

A piece of paper

At the mercy of wind,

Not staying anywhere

For too long,

For I am tired

Of being a tape-person,

Sticking to places

For way too long,

And not leaving until

I am yellow

And often not leaving

In spite of it.

©Aaysid

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

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Loved

I.

To be out of love

With love itself,

May become

An act of love,

If you can love

What can’t be loved

Just to save

Your love for love,

And to fall back

In love with love.

II.

The ones who smile

With misty eyes

Have so much

Love inside;

It spills out of

What they say,

And what they

Choose to hide.

©Aaysid

Image from Pixabay

“We love the things we love for what they are.”
Robert Frost

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Letting Go

It had begun

Six twirls ago;

Stop mid spin

To take it slow,

Make another turn,

And let it go!

There are no stars

In a failing show;

A phosphoric life

That does not glow,

It may liquidise,

But shall not flow-

A few things that

We finally know.

©Aaysid

Image by andresilva5 from Pixabay

“Time doesn’t heal emotional pain, you need to learn how to let go.”

Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

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Accidental?

Fickle encounters,

A twitching eyelid—

A keepsake,

A stitch

Mistimed.

No accident.

You are a key

In the ignition;

An integral switch.

I glitch

In the very thing.

No accident.

©Aaysid

“If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Getting There

You may not be going anywhere,

but still some things are in motion,

and it looks insane to live

with a terrible, crippling nausea

which only subsides when the medicine

hits your cubital vein.

You talk the talk making ripples

in these placid waters

that on the surface remain,

and your heart looks like a wildflower-

it wilts in autumn, hides in winter,

and blooms only when it rains.

There has to be a cure for

such madness somewhere

for not a thing here lasts forever,

not even the chronic pain.

©Aaysid

“Forever has no meaning when you’re living in the moment. I wasn’t ready for that moment to end.”
Ellen Hopkins

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

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Her Beautiful Mind

It is difficult to separate someone’s personal tragedy from their art. You cannot be oblivious to the darkness that peeks out from their masterpieces, especially if they were not even trying to conceal it in the first place. I remember struggling with The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath a few years ago. I had read it for my virtual book club, but I couldn’t bring myself to show up (virtually) for its discussion. Simply put, it had left me feeling wretched! The book had such a melancholic tone throughout, with no hope of anything getting any better. All I could do was empathise with the protagonist as she kept going deeper into throes of depression, but I also could not help but get frustrated by things getting bleaker with every turn of the page. I have a habit of reading books more than once, but I have not been able to pick up The Bell Jar again. No matter how much I want to.

A few days ago, I discovered a Sylvia Plath’s poem that made me want to read more. The poem is called Daddy and is quite famous, but somehow, I had never heard of it before, even though I was familiar with some of her poems. I discovered her collection of poems titled, Ariel, and immediately purchased it from the bookstore. Her poetry is as melancholic as her prose, maybe even more so, but boy, is it exquisite!

Her words are a cry for help and a reckoning at the same time. You feel her pain and despair but get taken aback by how observant she was of everything around her! She has written about everyday little things of life, vices of the society, and feminism with such shocking clarity that it makes you realise how deeply she had felt everything she wrote about, and how insightful she was! In every poem of hers in this collection, the flow is effortless, words are spellbinding, and in spite of palpable despair and a lingering feeling of impending doom, there is ethereal beauty. My favourite poems from the book are Ariel, Lay Lazarus, Daddy, Tulips, A Birthday Present, Getting There, Kindness and Edge. I am sharing excerpts from Lady Lazarus and Tulips.

I.

The second time I meant

To last it out and not come back at all.

I rocked shut

As a seashell.

They had to call and call

And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.

Dying

Is an art, like everything else.

I do it exceptionally well.

II.

Nobody watched me before, now I am watched.

The tulips turn to me, and the window behind me

Where once a day the light slowly widens and slowly thins,

And I see myself, flat, ridiculous, a cut-paper shadow

Between the eye of the sun and the eyes of the tulips,

And I have no face, I have wanted to efface myself.

The vivid tulips eat my oxygen.

(Excerpts from the collection of poems, Ariel by Sylvia Plath)

If you find The Bell Jar gut-wrenching, this collection can completely crush you, but it is worth it. You get a chance to see the world through her eyes while you, along with her, try to make peace with the tragedy of it all. You cannot.

Image by Patou Ricard from Pixabay

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Out of Control

There’s always someone

At the door,

But not the one

You’ve been waiting for,

And it feels weird

To bring an empty cart

Out of a shopping mart,

And have nothing

On your list checked off,

And to drive around

All night on a weekend

With a stomach

Running on nothing

But pure wanderlust;

Sometimes life has to

Happen the way it does

To keep the illusion

Of control alive.

©Aaysid

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

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Real Games

Hops out.

Breaks a window.

Loses a life.

Starts over.

Lies low.

An error.

Loses a life.

Restarts.

Boss level.

Wrong weapon.

Loses a life.

Fights back.

Last life.

Saves progress.

Mistimes.

Game over!

©Aaysid

“There are no winners in real games.”
Dejan Stojanovic, The Sun Watches the Sun

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The Victorious You

When life decides to make

A few unexpected turns

To avoid being swept along

An everyday landslide,

You should think of it

As nothing but a fair trade,

For not all these wars

Inside your tumultuous head

Are supposed to end in truces;

You should march out of time

In your own victory parade!

©Aaysid

Image by Angeles Balaguer from Pixabay

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A Thought Spiral

I do not want to fall

For anything not worth

Falling for, and I do not

Want to be on the top

Of the world if peace

Is where the roots are;

It may be my call to feel

The things I feel, and things

I have never felt,

For I do not want much

Out of life, but I still

Want the life to want me,

And I may have found

Some answers, but there

Has been a question left;

“If I keep living where

It never snows, how am I

Supposed to melt?”

©Aaysid

“You can’t reason with your heart; it has its own laws and thumps about things which the intellect scorns.”

Mark Twain

Image by jplenio from Pixabay

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Solitary

A few short poems toying with the idea of uncomfortable solitude:

I.

If being like you

Wasn’t a norm,

I, too, would

Get quiet

After raising

A storm.

II.

They laugh at us,

And we laugh

It off,

And there is

Nothing less funnier

Than this.

III.

She needs applause

To live,

And it does not matter

If she

Is the only one clapping.

IV.

He collects another smile;

The photographer in him

Has an eye for such things,

But the person in him knows

That he has not captured

Any real ones in a while.

©Aaysid

Image by claudia martinez from Pixabay

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Off to a Wrong Start

The first (in)sane thought

that takes form in my head

when I am half-awake

in the morning,

and smear jam

on the burnt bread,

is that of it being the night,

and I being back in my bed-

comfy, stretched-out,

tranquil and overfed,

and dreaming about the things

from the book

that I would have read,

before slipping out,

leaving all my worries

for the dead…

My productivity for such days

always hangs by a thread.

©Aaysid

Photo by Dương Nhân from Pexels

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The Shadows

How terrifying it is

To be lost

In the dark,

And yet be aware

Of the shadows

That chase us

And the shadows

That don’t.

©Aaysid

Image by jplenio from Pixabay

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To Be Found

If no one asks about your distant gaze

You can calmly keep staring off into space,

And stay wherever you have wandered off to;

Without a sound, in peace for days,

But it does not hurt to have someone

To tenderly invade your breathing space

So that you can safely resurface,

And bask in the joy of being found for sometime

Before you lose yourself again in that place!

©Aaysid

“I am completely a loner. In my head I want to feel I can be anywhere. There is a sort of recklessness that being a loner allows me.”
Arundhati Roy

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