Fantasies & Fiction

There’s a fantasy, at the surface of my spine

It flutters into your arms like a Gothic Romance choking on its own saliva

I spill the rainbows that you planted in my bladder ~ an acid leaves my body crawling on all fours,

There’s a lullaby growing in my belly & with every kiss, you extract a note from it until every syllable is infused with your name

A name this territory knows all too well, a fantasy that speaks my name like it’s the only poetry that matters; the only fiction worth realization.

-Nameera Anjum Khan

Night Creatures

All the night Creatures crawled up to my desk ~ & I wondered…

What Creature am I in their language? The one with the touch of Death or the God with untimely sunlight ~ as bright as a snowfall in the raging summers?

They keep coming back, I don’t think they’ve a name for me.

Sometimes, a shadow looks like my Father hiding behind the door,

At other times, it metamorphoses into an old hag that laughs at me while I read the ‘Articles’ of the ‘Constitution’ aloud…

& Even the night Creatures laugh – at a nameless horror; but I only defined ‘Democracy’, I only swallowed a slice of cake and brushed aside this noisy mosquito.

It was the only one pricking at my skin instead of laughing – when I (defi)n(ed)

D – E – M – O – C – R – A – C – Y.

– Nameera Anjum Khan

Happy Women’s Day

On this day, I want to celebrate trust, dependency and sensitivity.

It’s a blessing to be able to rely on friends and family. As a woman, I’ve seen a considerable level of criticism/unwanted suggestions coming my way because of my choices in life. However, these pricking truths are not the only facet to my life. It is also true that I’m blessed with amazing people that I can trust. And over the years, one biggest life lesson that I’ve learnt is the importance of sensitivity & vulnerability. They have their own beauty, their own poetry to convey.

People will always condition women to grow through such tough phases that independence becomes their sole aim. But I beg to differ. Independence is not JUST about handling your own finances, traveling solo, being able to take your own decisions or wearing clothes of your choice. Have you ever thought about dependency with a straight mind?
I do not mean to convey anything negative by this. What I’m trying to say is that maybe dependence doesn’t really have to be looked down upon so passionately. Maybe there’s a truth to it we aren’t taught to acknowledge. Maybe our society has upheld stupid convictions for so long, that some words just sound absurd. But this doesn’t have to stop us from defining their meanings in our own terms, right?

My mother always tells me that Allah says, it’s wrong to blame time – as in – how people say that this era (referring to time) was better than the one we live in today. So, next time if somebody says ke hamare zamane mai aisa kuch nahi hota tha, then remind them that people have always found a way to do whatever the hell they want to. Good and bad people have existed since the beginning of Creation. Things have happened exactly the way they do now, except that the means of doing them were different.

And just because today is different, it doesn’t have to be wrong. You can still trust people, if you’ve been betrayed before. Give those who are really trying their best a Chance. You can still be an independent woman, a happy woman, a vulnerable woman, an ambitious woman, a hopeful woman, and a woman who depends on her family and friends & reciprocates their love.

-Nameera Anjum Khan

of independence & french fries

i grew up as independent as the roof on my head,
but i still needed the walls to float

i sometimes feel like the plants sitting
outside my window,
just observing my life
maybe this is just an astral lie
or maybe im a stray dog looking for a
shed to sleep under

im a window breaking a thousand times
just to come to terms with this strange insult that is growing
in my poems

im the eye balls rolling on the ground
and disappearing under the carpet, a
divorced paper waiting for a signature

significance,
i like big words and synonyms, i wish i
could find one for my brain
i wish i could nurse the soil that
weakens the bold cracks that are quick
to assume the joy in
every dark shade
of life

this out of control window to my soul
makes me want to fall into a sickness,
i can’t name it tonight
it’ll be a different poem tomorrow

let it fester, let it fester like the fading
smell of french fries on a wintry afternoon,
my little revenge lives every season but
in winters, it eats me

i wish it would chew me too but it eats
me whole
(greedy bitch)
in a stomach, i write about a heart
pretending to be my roof

i write about the bliss sliding under my
clothes, it’s too cold for it to come out, it
sleeps

i grew up independent, inside myself
i grew up, in as much space as i could
take and they could give,
i outgrew
i died;

in the throat of grief, as she drank sobs
to encounter cracked ceilings and
disfigured djinns coming out of their
holes in my bedroom wall

french fries in the rain,
and a cup of tea, please.

-Nameera Anjum Khan

Of Women & Moonlight

A land that pushes women to the stature of a Goddess

Is also adept at pulling them down when necessary

This reminds me of necessities that arise out of despai

A colony of ants climb the hills that reek of sweet sanity

Between my knees are bruises that never healed

Between my palms are lines of sweat that never left any empty space

‘Push, push, push’ – “It’s a moonlight wailing in birth and blood!”

How do I tell them,

That it’s the moonlight wailing at the prospect of illuminating silently, humming songs of anger that sound like sweet sanity?

It’s another bitter Goddess biting her fate, watching the poison take nefarious shapes in her throat

Until the day she takes back her throne,

Until then there’s only a sip of hope.

-Nameera Anjum Khan.

__________________________________

Staircase to Earth



Hell.

All this time, he spoke to me in varied hues of oranges and reds. He whispered in flames that burned my head, he moved about in a curfew that swept my need for fresh air. I am a tree, with a broken heart carved on my stomach. The knots of insomnia tighten around my thighs until I bleed Eve’s sin. Unholy birds perch upon my nape, they think my darkness is a home they’ll never find again.

Heaven.

The flowers here grow even more cheery while I paint them. They look like promises of something I haven’t seen yet. They whisper poetries that make no sense. The sun shines brighter than before and I can look at it, gaze into its soul. The moonlight becomes a passage to ballroom where love dances with fate. I watch it, I admire it from afar. I’m good here but so far away. Where is it that my bones ache to be?

Earth.

Home. Love. Life. Trauma. Death. So many colors that come without our choosing. If we chose black, white unfurls at the edge of our existence. If we chose red, green finds a way to our heart. We bind prayers upon our foreheads and paint heaven and hell. Our deeds paint us in either of the two. I sleep under a blanket of warmth, I’m in love. My bones don’t ache anymore. My bones say I’m home ~ on earth.

-Nameera.

D I V I D E

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The gap between my teeth widens
I’m six years of carelessness and a body clothed in flesh
My flesh is skin and a human anatomy I’m yet to understand
My flesh is carrot juice and French fries
My flesh is a subtraction of the numerical, perhaps the only confusion in my life
My flesh is unafraid and knows how to breathe in and out without having to give it a second thought
My flesh sees other flesh like mine and that’s where the story simply ends
Years later my headscarf has another story to tell
The bindi upon my forehead tells yet another story
And just like that, so many stories gather themselves at the periphery of my existence
My best friend dabs my cheek in pinks and greens
My best friend waits more eagerly for sewiyan than I do for Eid
Do you like horror stories? I do too
I think we all enjoy a little thrill in this mundane existence
We’re all looking for something out of the ordinary to provide forethought to
What if that horror isn’t fiction anymore?
It is as real as the red bindi across your forehead and as dark as my black Hijab
It has its horrors that transform streets into a war zone
Cities into hell
Cold winter mornings smell of gunfire that echoes through these lanes
But do you know what sounds worse than that? The silence
That is the scariest story of this divide
It isn’t secluded to bloodshed and cries for help and hunger and poverty and dirty politics and differences and awkward means of reaching out to each other and change in perspective and the birth of ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ and ‘He’ and ‘She’ and a myriad other pronouns that have been put to shame
It is the silence that has followed this divide
The lack of a proper noun to voice concern
The lack of a proper noun to replace the wrong
Because black will always remain black no
Matter what shade is forced upon it.

Image Credits: Photo by Alex on Unsplash

SLIVERS OF THE MOON

 

Last night when I went to sleep 
God spoke to me
He said the moon is a gift
For me to seek light
Even in the face of darkness

I said to him,
But that’s the problem
Darkness has no face
It just is
And it spreads
Without my consent

He asked me to look hard
In the mirror,
Within the reflection you’ll
Find the face of darkness
Look closely inside the eyes
And don't blink
Because the deeper you go
Down the spiral staircase between
The whites of your eyes,
The clearer it becomes

The reason you can see
All the stars and the moon
Even at night
Is because inside each of you
There’s a sliver of the moon,
God said to me
As I woke up,
Smiling at the part of me
Hanging in the night sky
Lighting up my side of the
World.

ACHILLES HEEL

I was Troy and you conquered me

Reckless and bold, you had a way

With my heart

Leaving me with no choice

But to sway the way you

Wanted me to

 

I crowned you with my trust

The only wealth I had ever possessed

 

You put on your armor of gold

But it was too strong for me to

Embrace you

I was weakened by your unruly

Grasp

 

This helpless state is what I termed

Love

And now that I’ve slain all

Memory of you

The temples on my land have been

Dirtied by your presence

A need that glitches in the dark is

What you are

 

You’ve become the weakness in my

Prayer

The reason why I forget that love

Isn’t a murderer

That love can kill but will always earn

My mercy

 

You’re the Achilles heel I can’t wrap

My way around

The mistake that burns brighter than

The sun

It defies the prayers I seek

All my strength eventually leaks.

-Nameera

My Umbrella

It was one fine morning until signs of downpour marked the vast expanse called sky. Mr. X decided to take his umbrella along with him. To tell you the truth it doesn’t really matter if it’s raining or not, Mr. X always carries his umbrella whenever he goes out into the world. Firstly, it keeps him from getting sun burnt & secondly, it obviously protects him from rain drops. That’s just the way he likes his life; protected & safe. Every time he sees someone passing by without an umbrella over his head, he rushes over to the person & starts telling him the benefits & uses of walking under an umbrella, particularly the one he carries; a red one. Now to the strangers dismay, he doesn’t bother to find out whether he asked for his opinion or not. What if the stranger just wants to enjoy a little drizzle?
One day Mr. X, the man with the red umbrella stumbles upon Mr. Y, the guy with the green one. Both of them start arguing furiously about how their choice of what prevents raindrops from making them sick is righteous compared to the other. Amidst their ferocious attempts to bring down one another, the sky darkens & black rain drops fall on the face of earth. Each drop caters to a black ocean that consists of tides arising every now and then as umbrellas of various colors strengthen it. But this black ocean shouldn’t surprise you, right?

The colorful umbrellas I’m talking about are various religions we are born into. Some people like Mr. X & Mr. Y make the process of co-existing a tiresome one. Advices are offered to those who don’t share their beliefs or follow different paths. The black ocean of hate is the result of not letting our differences subside.


My inspiration for this post comes from a blogger who decided to share some of his personal experiences in one of the posts. Make sure you check it out & the blog, of course.

Even most people from my religion are biased towards others. I wonder why we can never put that aside and coexist. Interested people will join themselves, what’s the need to convert?

If there’s a message to be spread, it’ll spread by itself as people are observant.

We’re all human.

Let’s start believing in ourselves first.

Peace.

Bharath Upendra.