Paused

The time stood still,

And it looked the way

The dust looks sometimes;

Dispersed in rays

Of sunlight sneaking

Into an unlit room

Through the slits

Between two curtains,

But you seemed unbothered

By the theatricality of it,

As if you already knew

That suspended moments

Could easily turn into

Life-size stretches of time.

©Aaysid

“Time is the longest distance between two places.”
Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels

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The Apple Jam

Every day, a particular something reminds me of apple jam.

I wouldn’t say I like apple jam, but I buy it quite often.

I am not good at making it myself.

Cooked apples give me the creeps.

All right, I admit it, I buy it for the cute jar it comes in.

It looks good sitting next to the bottle of ketchup in my kitchen cabinet.

I like ketchup.

Though nothing reminds me of ketchup much.

Except for blood.

Gosh, I wish I could love the blood-red apple jam that tastes nothing like ketchup!

I hate myself for treating it the way this world treats us sometimes.

Hating us for the things it cannot control about us.

Measuring us against those it deems perfect!

©Aaysid

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

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The Visual Sense

I.

I cannot be blinked

Into oblivion-

Quite like the floaters

In your peripheral vision;

Stronger than ever.

II.

The dirt enters

Her eyes a lot.

It keeps her

Grounded.

III.

Your reflection

May mirror

Your every move,

But it can

Still look

Nothing like you.

©Aaysid

“The most beautiful images are often the least honest.”
Manu Larcenet, Ordinary Victories

Photo by Donald Tong from Pexels

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Unread

We expect ourselves

To be thoroughly read

Despite knowing quite well

That most people only

Judge the covers,

Live through the excerpts,

Embrace the snippets,

And never the whole thing.

©Aaysid

Photo by Oziel Gómez from Pexels

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Springtime

I.

Every year

So many feelings

Are spring-cleaned out

Of the house.

At least they get

To leave.

II.

He sat out

The spring season

To recuperate

From the Fall.

III.

The joy may take

Forever to spring out

Of a heart that beats

In sync with

The melancholy,

But when it does,

There’s nothing

Quite like it.

©Aaysid

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
Margaret Atwood, Bluebeard’s Egg

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Lost

I find myself

Drowning in the auburn

Of the morning sky,

And it feels

The way night feels

Against wet skin;

I am disappearing

Into every thing

That stands out

Yet feels out of place.

I have been told

That it gets worse

Before it gets better,

But I cannot figure out

Which side of it

I am in right now.

©Aaysid

Photo by Adnan Uddin from Pexels

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The Considerate You

You may pretend

To not care,

But it all comes untrue

When you bring

Your head back

From wherever nice

It wanders off to,

To be there for those

Who might choose

Not to do

The same for you!

©Aaysid

“We only have what we give.”
Isabel Allende

Photo by Lisa from Pexels

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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

Photo by Giallo from Pexels

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Impersonal

Something felt right.

We did not need a person.

Our own person. Us.

The rescuer and the rescuee.

One person. Same person.

Both quit. No person.

Something feels wrong.

©Aaysid

“It is one thing to lose people you love. It is another to lose yourself. That is a greater loss.”
Donna Goddard, Waldmeer

Photo by Johannes Rapprich from Pexels

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Not Here

there was never

a glint in her eyes

and the way

she wrote sometimes

showed how little

it meant to her,

and as if she

could not find

any reason to

unglue her heart

from the back

of her mind,

or to find a rhyme

worth her time.

©Aaysid

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose”
Eckhart Tolle

Photo by mood valley from Pexels

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The Dream Stuff

Spoilt breakfast, tattered clothes,

And twenty red caterpillars

Slowly crawling down

A half-finished road-

These aren’t the things

That make for a pleasant dream

But neither are these

The stuff of nightmares,

And that is a scary thought

To fall asleep with.

©Aaysid

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A Momentary Feeling

A whimsical little feeling

Makes a full circle,

Covers a full round,

Changing blues into

Purple halos that take

Just a blink to fragment

Into shapeless floaters

That indent an otherwise

Smooth and flawless display,

Before dissolving, disappearing

Or melting away

To become another fleeting,

Little thing that had run

In a circle

Only to fall off the ring!”

©Aaysid

“Being temporary doesn’t make something matter any less, because the point isn’t for how long, the point is that it happened.”
Robyn Schneider, Extraordinary Means

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Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right

not making the postscript,

not even the side note

and almost never

the subject matter,

all our lives are spent

looking for ways

to write ourselves

conspicuously into letters,

in which no one else

besides ourselves

would seem to matter;

is this why

our world is not

getting any better?

©Aaysid

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

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Nonviolent

I.

I got stabbed.

Stabbed with words.

It was all right.

There was no blood.

II.

Bees sting her a lot.

She thinks they hate her.

They believe that she

Is worth dying for.

©Aaysid

But I didn’t understand then. That I could hurt somebody so badly she would never recover. That a person can, just by living, damage another human being beyond repair.”
Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun

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To Belong

when a book arrives

with its new book look,

and its new book smell,

but fits right in

with all the other books

on the shelf,

you cannot help but wish

that it could happen

to us people as well-

to belong without losing

your own true self!

©Aaysid

“I don’t even remember the season. I just remember walking between them and feeling for the first time that I belonged somewhere.”
Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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Lights On

I hope that your light

never goes out,

and on the days

that it flickers too much

you turn off the switch

and turn it back on

just to fix it,

and I hope you never

decide to befriend

the shadows instead.

©Aaysid

Photo by __Pi_ed_ _pi_p_er__ from Pexels

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No Calls Please

I.

I have to miss

her yet another call

I am, after all,

lost in the rhythm

of this drawn-out fall.

II.

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

Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels

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Out of the Race

Running away from things

That cannot outrun me,

Neither makes it a race

Nor me a runner.

I am stuck in a pavilion

With my non-athletic heart

That’s putting to shame

A marathon drummer!

©Aaysid

“I feel sorry for anyone who is in a place where he feels strange and stupid.”
Lois Lowry, The Giver

Photo by Mateusz Dach from Pexels

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The Pretty World Outside

It was a lovely rainy day today. I had heard a lot of people say that. Our office does not have a window, so there was no way to tell. Days like these command celebration, but your work gets in the way. The indoor world traps you and makes you forget about the world outside.

We had a good amount of work today-a lot more than usual. Shifting the entire academic sessions to online learning management systems had felt like a thing of marvel in a country like ours, but a year into it, and we are now losing the grip on reality. It is not the same as on-campus physical classes, and you keep bringing your work home. You have to be on your toes all the time. My email inbox is beginning to feel like a second home. There is always something to do, and a lot of things do not get done anyway.

Our students are now getting anxious. The glitchy virtual meetings and timebound online assessments are making them frustrated. They want to come back. Since last year, they have come back three times, only to be sent packing in a month or two. I wish things get back to the way they were, whatever that way was. The old-normal seems to be so far back in the past.

As I left the workplace, the beautiful weather did make its presence felt. The gentle breeze was like a balm for the tired eyes (thanks to the too much unavoidable screen-time). The actual hero was the sky, however. It looked insanely beautiful! Looking up to the sky is always therapeutic. It reminds you of your place in the world. It reminds your problems about their place in the world too. Everything seems so insignificant in front of the vastness of it. The sky is hope.

My sister has sent me these pictures. I am so glad that she took pictures.

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The Knocks

some knocks at the door

go unanswered

for some doors

do not have peepholes;

some knocks at the door

get answered,

but some doors

do not have doorknobs.

 ©Aaysid

“A knock on the door you hear, a knock on your head you don’t.”

Dixie Waters

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No Respite

You wake up

And so does the monster

Under your bed,

And so does the sceptic

Inside your head,

And comes alive the feeling

Of obscure dread.

You lie down,

But awake is the monster

Under your bed,

Awake lies the sceptic

Inside your head,

And wide awake is the feeling

Of now penetrable dread.

©Aaysid

“Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.”
Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now

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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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Never Again

I wish

There was a way

To cut through

Some things,

Skip through

Some things,

Unlive through

Some things,

And most of all,

A way to

Never have to

Go through

Some things

Ever again!

©Aaysid

“The sun burnt every day. It burnt time.”

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Photo by Fabiano Rodrigues from Pexels

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The Rebels

Deep down, you wish

To become a person

Who no longer stifles screams

And lets them rush out

Of a thin slit between

Thick vocal cords

That have grown used to

A life of staying shut;

You wish to rebel

Only to see where

It takes you to

And what it does to those

Who have been watching you

Struggle foolishly all that time;

You wait for a rebirth,

Because a lifetime is not enough

To try things that could tear

The very fabric

You have been weaved into,

So all you can do

Is steadily slip out,

One little thread at a time,

And hope it creates a ripple

Large enough to topple

At least a few things over.

©Aaysid

“If ever it’s necessary to ride the bandwagon, it’s done with one leg swinging out and eyes scoping the fields.”
Criss Jami, Killosophy

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

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Boxed in

I tell you

how I feel as if

I am trapped

inside a box,

and you say

that for you

it is a box

that neither

has a base

nor a lid;

you may be falling,

but at least

you are free.

©Aaysid

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

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The Blues

A friend asks me to see her, saying she was feeling blue. We talk for a while, and I can tell she is tired. She is one of the most hardworking people I know. I look up to her.

As we say our goodbyes, she tells me never to let sadness find a home in me. She says that with such dolefulness in her eyes. I tell her that it’s alright. There is nothing wrong with being sad sometimes. It keeps you grounded.

She says that it does not work that way. Sadness arrives as a guest, but makes itself comfortable in no time. It stays.

I tell her that is what makes it beautiful. The sadness stays. Not many things do.

She laughs. We both laugh.

I leave her place thinking about a sad song I had been listening to the other day. I hope that she feels better soon.

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Dissimilar

I hope our worlds

never cross paths, my friend,

for you live wrapped in silver,

moonlit, starry, peacefully quiet,

country nights,

while I wander cloaked in ghastly,

bloodless, blotchy, strangely tainted

urban lights.

©Aaysid

“Because a quiet night is not the same as a silent one, a firm man is not the same as a steady one, and a bright light is not the same as a brilliant one.”
Tahereh Mafi, Unravel Me

Photo by Adrien Olichon from Pexels

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In the Skies

An electric blue kite

Soars high, gets lost

In the mineral blue

Of the sky,

And now you are holding

The mighty stratosphere

With just a string

In your sweaty hand;

Your troubles begin

To shrink, and the moment

You are in feels grand,

And you don’t want it

To come crashing down

With your kite,

At least for a while.

©Aaysid

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Disoriented

Today has been a weird day. My to do list was insane, and I could not take out time to write something good to celebrate the World Poetry Day (wrote this little poem on the spot, shall polish it later).

I worked for a few hours,

and then did nothing for a while.

It has been a quiet day,

and I have been sleep deprived.

I wrote to those I know,

and I talked to those I like.

I am reading myself to sleep,

and I hope it rains tonight.

Anyway, I am grateful to have found such a comfortable writing space in this community, and to have met such great writers and poets through written word. This place is pretty much the best part of my day. May your words always find homes in the hearts of your readers, and may your pens never go dry. You guys are inspirational! Happy World Poetry Day!

©Aaysid

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Stairs to Nowhere

I often find myself

On the middle of the staircase

For when I run upstairs,

I remember mid-way

What I have left downstairs,

And then it’s neither

Upstairs nor downstairs for me-

Just a gaping hole

Where my past used to be,

And a void that looks

Quite like the future;

I am moving

To a single-storey house!

©Aaysid

“It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream.”
Edgar Allan Poe

Photo by Jimmy Chan from Pexels

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Flashbacks

A subtle tap on the shoulder,

And her world fragments,

And flips over,

Turning into a medley

Of defunct stories…

A bewitched, warm smile

Does not divulge the woes

Deftly kept inside.

©Aaysid

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The Special Senses

I listen less

to colourlessness,

so that I can see

the world in melody,

and smell the perfect

balance of the universe,

which surprisingly

tastes like bliss!

©Aaysid

Photo by Laziii Codar from Pexels

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A Time Loop

The Facebook “Memories” feature is both awesome and awful. Not only it makes you nostalgic, but it also keeps reminding you (frequently) how witless you used to be in your less-wise years. Anyway, I found out just now that two years ago, on this day, I had been sick in bed, binge-watching Russian Doll and felt as detached from reality as my throbbing, clogged sinuses had allowed. I had found myself relating immensely to the protagonist’s plight even though I had not much in common with her. Things are different now.

It is that time of the year again, and the sinusitis did not forget to visit me this year and has now become that uninvited guest that overstays its unwelcome. Not only that, last year, at about this time, we had gone under lockdown and had switched to online teaching and learning, and now we are going back into lockdown for two weeks, and shall be taking classes online. Like many others around me, I have these huge lapses in the memory, where I keep forgetting about the events from the last year, even though every day feels the same. So, maybe I am stuck in a time loop, and I do have something in common with Russian Doll’s protagonist after all.

Sadly to this day, my obsession with Russian Doll remains unshared by any of my friends. If not the show itself, they are missing out on its brilliant soundtrack. 🙂

“If you remember me, then I don’t care if everyone else forgets.”
Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

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The Real Ones

What do you say to those

Who do everything right,

But get hated anyway?

Who take a broken thing,

Not fix it, but love it anyway,

Who restore a damaged photo

All night long, but lose it anyway,

Who go looking for madness

In the quiet, but find it anyway?

I guess you don’t say anything.

©Aaysid

“Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people.”
Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Photo by Philippe Donn from Pexels

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No Complaints

When your head’s

On a train

That’s stuck inside

An unlit tunnel,

Yet, it puffs out

Smoke that smells

Like melted butter,

You don’t complain.

©Aaysid

Photo by Mark Plötz from Pexels

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Hoodwinked

For someone else’s yellows,

I barter my usual blues,

My head has no trouble falling

For this subtle subterfuge.

©Aaysid

“Nothing thicker than a knife’s blade separates happiness from melancholy.”
Virginia Woolf, Orlando

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

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Lovely/Unlovely

A sideways braid

Remains unfrazzled

Throughout the day,

A friendship bracelet

Does not break,

And contact lenses

Stay put through

All of it;

The literal pleasant

In the unpleasantness

Of everything else!

©Aaysid

“It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.”
Leo Tolstoy

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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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A Little Daft

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 easily fall for dead metaphors,

I unsee the signs from the universe,

And getting jinxed is my latest obsesssion.

©Aaysid

“The Edge… There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.”
Hunter S. Thompson

Photo by Jeswin Thomas from Pexels

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A Collaboration

I have been studying all my life, but I never had a proper study-spot. I was fine with studying in bed or on the floor until recently when I realised the importance of having a good studying atmosphere to keep things from getting boring. It began with me having a fireplace as my laptop’s desktop wallpaper, and white/pink noise blasting in my ears as I studied, and now I am obsessing over Ambience ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) videos.

I do not understand video animation and graphic designing, but a dear friend of mine, who is self-learning such software, has been experimenting with Ambience ASMR videos. She asked to feature my poetry in one of her latest projects, and I was more than happy to help. She walked me through the process, and I was taken aback by the complexity of it all. She works on a pretty basic laptop and it takes her a lot of time to make a sixty minutes video, but she finds it worth the trouble because she loves what she does. If you are a fan of such videos, please check out her channel, Cees Cosy Niche.

It feels good to support all forms of art and their creators. 🙂


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Not Rude

I had a perfect retort,

But I took a different road;

Held it all back,

And swallowed it whole.

I have a nasty heartburn

Ever since then,

And sharp words keep coming

Back into my throat!

©Aaysid

“No one has the right to be rude.”
Frank Sonnenberg, Listen to Your Conscience: That’s Why You Have One

Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata from Pexels

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Eccentricity

I see him draped in a raven shawl,

Effortlessly being one with the night sky,

But I, on the contrary, am too out there,

Not merging with anything at all.

I may have to waste this tedious Spring away

Just to try once again in the Fall.

©Aaysid

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”
Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?

Photo by GEORGE DESIPRIS from Pexels

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Noncommunicating

I often find myself stuck in the middle of the most boring conversations ever, and I am no longer able to mask my obvious discomfort, despite having an actual mask on my face! I fail to engage, so I stay quiet, patiently listening at times and zoning out at other times, mostly because I usually cannot relate to anything the other person is talking about. It is only when you get older that you begin to realise that you cannot keep spending your days listening to people and thinking, “No, I do not relate to that.” That is when you should decide not to listen to everything anymore and let your bubble get the stronger walls it deserves.

Here are my borderline inappropriate, conversation-killing responses to a few questions that people had asked me just at the end of their stretched-out halves of the conversations:

  1. I buy two pair of shoes per season and wear them out
  2. I have never been to that place you were talking about
  3. I am not friends with that many people, and we see each other about twice a year
  4. Sorry, I did not quite understand what you were talking about earlier
  5. Sorry, I have to leave, I am already late for a meeting
  6. No, I shop online
  7. I have a similar headache at the moment.

I am beginning to get tired, and I am pretty sure that people are getting tired of conversing with a silent person who keeps staring off into space and refuses to offer no insight whatsoever. Something must be wrong with me.

Since I am still obsessing over Fernando Pessoa’s poetry, a slightly relevant snippet from one of his poems from the book, I Have More Souls Than One translated by Jonathan Griffin, is in order:

“Yes, I am tired,

And ever so slightly smiling

At the tiredness being only this –

In the body a wish for sleep,

In the soul a desire for not thinking

And, to crown all, a luminous transparency

Of the retrospective understanding.

And the one luxury of not now having hopes?

I am intelligent: that’s all.

I have seen much and understood much of what I have seen,

And there is a certain pleasure even in the tiredness this brings us,

That in the end the head does still serve for something.”

Photo by Amir Esrafili from Pexels

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A Game for Two

Those little, dark, spider-like apparitions

That run away scared

Only when you

Have thoroughly prepared yourself

To not run away first,

Ruin the fun of it all;

When two begin to lose

At a game for two,

It gets layered-

A layer over layer of absurdities,

Until one of you

Backs away and apologises

For the moment

You had foolishly chosen

To lose to your own nightmares!

©Aaysid

“Strange, I thought, how you can be living your dreams and your nightmares at the very same time.”
Ransom Riggs, Hollow City

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A Burst of Happiness

Happiness bursts out of her

At not the right times,

And she tsk-tsks

Over the chemicals in her head

For being so weird,

But she forgets

That the wrong times in her life

Could be the right times

In someone else’s life,

And that happiness after all

Is ofttimes contagious!

©Aaysid

“No medicine cures what happiness cannot.”
Gabriel García Márquez

Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

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Not Lost in Translation

Sometimes you read something, and you cannot stop thinking about it afterwards. At least for a few days. I have finished reading a collection of poems by Fernando Pessoa called, I Have More Souls Than One, translated in English by Jonathan Griffin. There were a couple of poems in it that made me wish I knew Portuguese so that I could read the original versions of those poems. When a verse reads this beautifully tragic even in a language it was not penned in, how magical it must be in a language of its birth!

With this thought making rounds in my head, I wrote this poem today:

I have heard you talk,

And I have seen

What you have seen,

But I still don’t know

You at all;

We are worlds apart,

Words-that-we-speak apart,

But may not be apart

In your art.

Maybe if I could

Walk your walk

By becoming a part of what

You do with your pen,

I may still limp,

But I might not fall anymore.

©Aaysid

Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

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Rained Upon

When the black ink rains

From the parchment sky,

A mist engulfs the ground.

It stains the unstained raven,

And leaves the mottled brown;

Such downpour seeks

To rewrite strange stories

In the old, disowned towns.

©Aaysid

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Jamais vu

As if bored

In its very meninges,

My brain has been creating

Artificial memory!

There are flashes

Of unfamiliar faces,

Strange places,

And of pathways that diverge

Never to converge,

Making me yearn

For déjà vu,

For I mind that I knew.

©Aaysid

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