.

Can anyone hear me? Because I can no longer hear myself. Dead watery eyes stare back through the mirror but wait someone clicked a photograph of me last night which wasn’t a shadow – there was actual flesh skin hair limbs even some cleavage – was there life in those eyes? I might be going deaf I’ve been blaring metal in my eardrums and I haven’t tasted any brain cells in a long time my tongue just can’t reach that far back.

Death metal junk food hard liquor and mint cigarettes – that’s me in a nutshell escapism at its finest. See that shithole on your face? Set it free. Who gives a fuck if you’re a foul-mouthed bitch you can always pass it off as sarcasm they don’t know who you are anyway. Who gives a fuck about punctuation I’m too exhausted to care or not care try don’t try succeed don’t succeed it won’t stop anyone in their tracks it’s their life and this is yours. Fuck it.

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Tumor

I know you. I know you well, almost as well as I know the back of my hand, or how my tongue knows the edges of my teeth.

You are the lone tear that rolls down my cheek without warning. You are the characters I create to escape my bleary present. In fact, you are all my characters fused into a grey nebulous mass at the back of my mind. You are their voice, their story, their tragedy, their laughter, their strength. I know you; I created you. I know your purpose. I know your beginning. I know your reason to exist.

I wanted no part in your creation. But I had no say in it. And now look, you are no longer a wisp of thought, a broken consciousness. You are a tumor, little grey one.

Now I know. Finally I understand. I will be the first to go. I will go first, so that you survive, so that you outlive me. Not because I want a part of me to stay behind, but because you shall have meaning. Because when you end me, you shall break free.

Smiles

I was sitting in my usual corner in the café, when I noticed something interesting. A woman was sitting at the table opposite mine, quite unnoticed by me until the person she was waiting for showed up. The door opened, he walked in and she flashed him a brilliant smile that shone in the semi-darkness – pearly white teeth, dimpled cheeks and wrinkles around her welcoming eyes.

I cannot remember the last time I smiled that way, or was even smiled at with such delight. I realize I greet people with curt nods and save my smiles for the moments that are truly deserving. And now those moments have simply passed me by, waiting, hoping and finally surrendering. I have amassed my own smiles, my own unabashed laughter, affection and naiveté. I realize I’ve been trading silly for sullen and smiles for scowls.

I do not remember leaving a trail back to my store of smiles. Maybe I can trade my frowns again. Maybe I shall dance in the rain again. Maybe someday I will smile for no reason and make that my moment to treasure.

*Preach mode off*

Now, bear with me for an instant as I pore over the dictionary meanings of these words.

Wisdom: the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement; the quality of being wise.

Knowledge: facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.

Judgment: the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions.

Sensible: done or chosen in accordance with wisdom or prudence; likely to be of benefit.

Common sense: good sense and sound judgement in practical matters.

Do you see how we’re back to where we started? Are we chasing our own tails?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but to me, it seems like experience is the key to wisdom.

Wait, that’s it? We call people wise simply because they have experienced something we haven’t? Isn’t ‘wise’ supposed to mean someone very knowledgeable and saint-like, with perhaps a faint yet distinguishable aura around their head?

In the past two days, I’ve stumbled upon a happy insight. I realize, more and more people around me have taken to pondering the questions ‘who am I?’ and ‘what do I want?’. I don’t know if this happens around a certain age or whether it’s because the world may soon end, but I am glad we’re getting there.

And then I realized, right in the middle of rattling off my own truth to an existential question posed by someone else, that I had no right to answer that question. I was trying to sound wise, simply because I have had more time to struggle with these questions, I simply had more experience. We all have what I like to call a ‘preach mode’, where we think we know all the answers and want to tell it to the poor baffled soul who hasn’t reached there yet. We think we’re better than others because of our own lived reality.

We’re not. You’re not.

O

It’s a long, lonely afternoon. The sun beats down with all its might and the people wither and wilt. I manage to fold my legs in the swiveling office chair and stare at the heads bent over their laptops.

This is not where I belong.

I begin at the no. It’s a nice, round ‘o’ sound that carries into the silence. I begin here, not at nothing, but at something less than nothing.

Each no I utter shoves me deeper into a stone cold pit. It’s not bad, I quite like it down here. But then those voices begin shouting my name. Then come the search parties, stumbling with flashlights through the dark undergrowth. Worried, concerned voices, searching for me in the wrong places. I remain silent. I let them yell and they get louder each night. The voices, they comfort me. I want to be sought, yet I want to remain lost to the world.

I am lost, even now, to the world that represses, the world that sits in judgment and the world that drowns out perfect harmonies.

And so I run. Wind-whipped hair and a gasp of air, hear the beat, feel the heat, run fast, lose the past, hit the wall, break the fall, take a plunge, fill your lungs, forget what you know and just let go.

Midnight in Pune

It’s lights out and I’m high as a kite, and I keep thinking about me, you, us, him, her and them. This whole generation, the so-called millennials. I keep wondering if we’ll ever stand out. When will we make our point? Is it cigarettes? Travel? Artistic expression? No. Social media? SEO engagement? NO! What, then? And did the past generations know it at the time? Did they know that they would make it to the eternal eras? Maybe they just skipped a heartbeat, and maybe our generation is yet to die out. But I miss the Woody Allens, the Linklaters and the Scorceses. And where are the Mitchells, the Dylans and the Floyds, the Armstrongs, the Mandelas and the Musks, and the Hawkings, the Einsteins and the deGrasse Tysons? Are they hiding in plain sight, or have I turned deaf and blind towards the good, the wondrous and the beautiful? I wish I knew. I wish I knew if we are all doomed, doomed to fret wistfully over the adolescence of our times and the beautiful nostalgia of the past.

Glow

Inch by fucking inch, ants crawl over the burnt flesh of my fingers. They take their time; it’s not like I can move my fingers or even flex them. Left with a throbbing hand and not much to do, I thrust my other hand down my pants and masturbate. Using my left hand feels unfamiliar and amateur, but I get myself off fantasizing about a stranger groping a shy young girl on the subway. Sick. Twisted. I know. There’s more where that came from. Perhaps it means I was abused as a child and have daddy issues. But no point dwelling on these things. The sky glows orange, then pink and my eyes fade out onto a portion of wall which reflects the changing colours. Words come to me then, words that dance before my eyes, shapeless words forming, burning, rearranging, searching for something worth fighting for. Words that fight sleep, words that scream at the walls of my mind, words that whisper to the voices inside my head, words that coax my fears to come out and play and words that are too shy to be tasted by my tongue.