Shadows

What is hiding in the shadows?
Who is this demon? How have I not crossed paths with it yet?

I have been lurking around in this darkness since the dawn of this moonless night.
Who is this ghoul that managed to save itself from my quest? Has my search been hasty? Have I missed some corners?

I met a monk yesterday evening;
I met a monk on my way back home, as I returned from another day of running behind lost causes;

He told me I was naive;
that I didn’t know who I was,
that I didn’t know what I was made of,
that I haven’t found my light yet because I never embraced my darkness.

I paid heed to what he said;
I paid heed and began my pilgrimage in the wake of this moonless night.

I went through alleyways lined with the momoirs of my past;
some pulled me into a deep embrace,
others hissed back.

I traveled past the relics that commemorated my wins,
and past the broken records that were stuck- stuck at the songs of some bitter defeats.

I ran through the corridors,
walked through several old rusty doors.
crawled across floors,
searched rooms-
desperate to find the key.

The key to my heart;
the key that would take to my light, my love.

All of this seems like a trap now!

Each time I feel like I am done, another fragment of my darkness falls in front of me;
I have been picking up battles I never intended to.

These shadows don’t seem to end;
do they ever?

Don’t tear the wall down!

You keep a brick at its place, and you stare at it. You stare at it long enough for it to lose its identity for you, for it to simply become a mass of nothing, 
kept on nothing, 
for nothing;

In that moment, you almost want to smash the whole wall down; the wall that took you days to erect, the wall that made you feel proud of yourself each time you walked by, the wall that made you feel like yourself for the first time in years- that wall suddenly begins to mean nothing for you… and you… you want to tear it down!

Just like you tore yourself down,
when the storm approached; 
the storm that you thought you won’t be able to take,
or, was it for the shame that the possible failure could have brought along?

Regardless,
you tore yourself down before you could have tried,
you refused to fight because somehow you thought loath tastes sweeter than defeat;
you never gave yourself a chance.

This time around, don’t back away,
give yourself a chance;
don’t tear the wall down!

I see faces…

People leave homes behind. They move away. I wonder if their stories ever do.

I wonder if, as much as we believe, have we ever been powerful enough to rip memories off the walls that boast them.

Or, is it just an illusion, yet another desperate attempt at gaining power over time?

Will we ever know? Do we even care?

I believe when homes are abandoned, they aren’t really left alone. They are left behind with tales, hiding underneath the faces that dwell in the random patterns of their marble floors.

They are left behind with faces, with eyes full of questions, and mouths too numb to answer.

And, each time you feel like someone’s following you, it’s often just an old memory, trapped in a plain white wall somewhere, waiting to be lived again.

The One about Rains and Hearts

I spilled colors on a rather blank canvas. They dripped off the edges, down in a puddle of water, giving colors to a rather blank sky… An illusion some people so need.

Rains mark my favorite time of the year. Those few minutes of Earthen fragrances sent afloat by the happy soils… The beauty of the greens hanging in the air and rustling every now and then to sing songs of merriment. Dancing hearts, joyous smiles… I don’t know what could possibly make one hate such raw charm. But then, some people do.

Some hearts who had to let another go in one sad monsoon don’t find their bliss in the rains anymore. All they can think of is the way their heart burnt like a forgotten lamp waiting to die before someone remembers it. All they can hear is the sound of their tears falling into puddles that the rain must have filled. All they can find is the melancholy trapped behind the blue hues of water ridden clouds. All they see, all they smell, all they feel… is bereavement.

Bereavement of the rain washing away the last few marks of the last walk they had with their beloved; of new life growing from the old flowers they had buried underneath; of trees falling and withering away, taking along the marks of their journey; of a traveler traveling farther away from her childhood home.

Separation leaves hollows where once life was, and just like an abandoned crevice, these hollows fill with memories when rains fall, but the water dries away- memories don’t.

They stay behind, adding shades of sepia to the neons of joy. Adding rust to the sheen of gleaming metal. Adding gore to glory and pride to prudence.

They tell stories like a charm and make you forget others like magic. Before you know, that void is like the Sun shining upon your midnight fog. The one you can’t resist following, not once in seven moons.

You will love…

Four walls, a number of bricks, and here you sit in the middle of this room finding solace IMG_20200515_194556_227in your own flesh and love in the mirrors. Mirrors, though, seldom lie. They may lie about a few harsh truths, though ‘lack of love’ stands high on the list.

You stand in front of this silvered piece of carefully cut glass, staring at every part of your scarred silhouette, yet the light shining on those marks somehow sells them as beauty spots.
In that moment, you smile, promptly looking at the delicate curve that your rose tainted lips have arched into; a careful moment of comfort, though you may only find it meandering away from your glistening eyes.

Why, you ask?
Because mirrors seldom lie; eyes, though, don’t!

Those two gleaming curves of crystal, sitting on your face, are windows to the truth-
You know it.
I know it.
We know it.
So, we shy away from glances!

We shy away from the mere idea of taking a look down those merciless voids, because we know, that the glance, if made, will hurl our entire existence into this gigantic spiral of a never-ending truth trail;
and you, being nothing but a mere speck of consciousness, will have to learn, not most, but all that this infinity loop has to offer.

You will have to learn why you desperately try finding hearts to love you because you deny believing how loveable you are, unless someone sweeps you off your feet.

You will have to learn how you deny yourself your own embrace because you are a little too scared of the thorns you planted in your own skin.

You will have to learn that you love your mirror because it is the sweetest of all the liars and the most innocent of all the sinners.

And lastly, you will have to accept how your scars are yet not dead and they still need love, regardless of how that silvered glass makes you believe otherwise.
——
You fretted and you still fear that moment of truth, so much so that it has been an eternity since you last stared down your own eyes. 

Now, you have forgotten their mystical shape, and it takes you a minute before you can remember the hue that danced in them.

You feel estranged; you feel endangered, from the very own treasure of your heart.

But, my love, I can’t sing it enough;
I can’t sing it enough…how direly you need to step forth on this path of serene oblivion.
Beyond the doom, has forever lain, a rose drenched dawn; the day you begin to love again… waiting for you, to dance under its skies!

– Gauri Walecha

You will heal…

Glass boxes don’t sing lore to the warriors of freedom when the skies fall and the watersPSX_20200424_213616 rise. But, skies don’t fall and waters don’t rise in vain; they sob in vile.

There are a number of things that may conjure disdain into this world, but no other blade yearns to be struck with thunder as much as the one sitting on the hilt of heartbreaks.

Sword hilts, I believe, are haunted; rather cursed.

They hold power, enough to crown a head; they hold sin, enough to behead a crown. The hands which happen to hold these swords may either bring freedom or threaten it; regardless, blood is shed and scars are left to taint hearts for ages to come.

Ages; since ages, men have been driven to worship their own strength in the name of blind pride;
and pride, though may seem like a forbidden ally to the sung masters, is nothing but a thirst;

A deep unquenchable thirst sitting at the edge of our tongues, making us blurt rage and breathe revenge.
Pride is nothing but a cry for help; a veil hiding our scars ever so elegantly.

But veils fall and masks rot in due time; what is hidden can’t be hidden forever.

One day, you will see, you will see for yourself.
When the skin on your bones will feel too plastic to be alive and the heart in your chest will feel too alive to have gone dead.
When what’s whole will seem broken and what’s broken will feel safe.

Then.. you will hear, you will hear for yourself.

You will hear how beautifully you may have chanted the prayers of freedom if you wouldn’t have dug graves for your own tongue.
You will smile at your flaws and you will kiss your own scars.
You will sing in the chorus of joy and pray for peace in the choir of blatant hatred.

And when that day arrives… You will heal!

– Gauri Walecha

Hiraeth

Water flows through creeks and crevices of withered mountains when it rains over their pride ridden heads.
Heads, as they say, are meant to be held high; necks, as we have seen, break under the curse of ego sometimes.

In the end, if you don’t step over this grandeur and pay courtesy to love, a weak neck will make you fall into it someday.

Such are the tales of love gone rogue.
Such are the tales of life.


In life, we wander; we walk through the fields, we smile through the hearts, we fly through the skies and we swim through the waters; regardless, we wander.

Our skin hides behind rags; we sleep on dirt, under the dirt. We wash faces with the stream of our own tears, we feed on abandoned hearts and we gather memories; hand-picking charms and feathers on our way to nowhere.


Nowhere… is a place. An empty void, hanging somewhere in the middle of the air. It has walls, they are dark; so dark that they surpass the physical possibilities of darkness; so dark that they are mere shadows.

Nowhere… is a halt. A refuge away from the dank fluidity into the deserted narrow lanes of random oil strokes; the strokes are sharp; they stab sometimes and you may fall, but you will fall into nothing but comfort.


Journeys are like stories, and your footprints are like splattered ink, left behind by a broken nib. The writer, though, is fate; and it’s no less of a clown who knows magic.

You are the reader, more of a dazed one. You follow the plot, and by each passing metaphor, you age.
But… it is not before the evening that you begin to see your clown’s folly.

It is not before the evening that you have read these metaphors well enough to spot when they repeat.

By the night, though, all of it makes sense to you-
You were going around in circles.

You were running around like a lost child, looking for her mother.
Alas, you would only find yourself at the same place at the end of each hour.

Why?
Because… that place, in the middle of this huge endless crowd, was the last place where this world felt safe to you.

That was the last time when you held your mother’s hand, and each time you get closer to this tiny piece of land, the feeling of ‘being home’ washes all your exhaustion away.

But… Do you ever reach home?
No!

Hiraeth brings along a sense of unquenchable insanity, and you have no choice but to drown!

“Hiraeth- a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past”

– Gauri Walecha

clichés.

It is a fresh sunny day. You are strolling on this narrow street beside a park, listening to children giggling, riding high on their summer spirits.
The grass is tender. It is like a newborn baby that just made its way out of its mother’s womb; too scared to face the world, but too pure to feel the fear.
It is the peak of June. You are at the noon of your life, and if you were to paint this scene on a vacant white canvas, you would call your painting nothing but ‘Nostalgia’.

I am a poet, and I have been writing for as long as I can remember. Through my rendezvous with the tunes of Mozart and the legends of Shakespeare, I have found art, but not so much so as I have found ‘homes’.

Homes of all kinds and virtues. Some were simple; naked bricks on the outside and stained whites in their hearts. Others, though, were grand; they poured charm with their stature only to lure people into the shenanigans of their discomfort.

Regardless of what I say, these were ‘homes’. More so, these were the voids that were ‘once homes’. They were the clichés which we often find scattered like loose glitter; metaphors that decorate our poems.
Their residents left them to mother sentiments in the due course of history; what happened was just that!

Humans, of all things, have always been fascinated by clichés.
Why?
Because clichés make us feel safe. They take us back to a world that was once our concrete paradise a few heartaches ago.

People often denounce poetry to sing lore for the clichés; they call out poets to be lazy and frugal.
But there’s a lot that the world fails to understand about poetry.
There is no poem half as beautiful as the one woven by our memories. There is no metaphor half as endearing as nostalgia.
Clichés don’t need a poet’s pen to flow through a poem; they are exquisite poems all by themselves.

– Gauri Walecha

my childhood speaks in these scars.

Trigger Warning: Child Abuse

A few days ago,
My lover had my hands in his;
I loved the way his eyes sparkled
And his lips curved into a stunning smile,
As he brushed his fingers
At the back of my palm


There we were,
Living the blissful moments of
Our once-in-a-lifetime romance;
But then,
All my metaphors came down crashing
Falling into a white scar,
Leaving my poetry naked


He dug deep into my eyes,
With an unsaid question
And all my charm
Went splurging into tears

I was seven
When one of my uncles
Burnt my hand
With a scorching hot iron


I still remember how it felt
Having my skin stuck to that piece of metal,
And then,
Later
How it broke my heart
Into a thousand tiny pieces,
Looking at those tiny boils


I froze;
Didn’t scream at all;
Not even a cry for help

It felt like all my sentences
Had strangled my tongue
Into a paralyzed piece of flesh;
Unworthy
And too coward
To move


I looked at my hand,
And then I looked back at him;
With eyes as empty as a black hole


He was smiling;
A very crooked smile;
One that sent chills down my spine


I took a few steps back
And ran out of the room
Only to be followed by a mocking smirk

I have it all
Still alive
Still breathing in my head


Just as vivid
As a thing of yesterday;
Just as stale
As rotten bread

I whimpered as I cried
Coiled up in my lover’s arms;
All I wanted
Was for him to hear
My childhood speaking in those scars //

– Gauri Walecha

i have felt alone.

Often, in life, you spend your lazy Sunday afternoons staring at the ceiling and missing… Someone. Something. Everything.
These are the times when you can’t help but fall down an abyss of old and dusted picture albums. The pages turn so fast that this show seems like an unending retro movie titled, “All the times you failed to live a smile”.
Scenes are hazy, you can’t remember those faces anymore, and the dialogues sound like a violin instrumental being played on a grotesque gramophone.
What’s not strange though, is the fact that you get to waltz down an alley of broken photo frames every time the violin begins to play.
And, why is that not strange?
Because that’s your home.
Because, out of every and any name given to a home, ‘strange’ has never been one.
That alley, oh dear… that’s your home. You moved out of your dreamy castle a few years ago.
There, the linens used to rub against your skin; they used to peel it off like a coarse sandpaper, and you have never liked to keep your bones naked.
There, you felt alone.
As alone as a smiling corpse lying in its coffin, deep under the Earth, waiting for death gods to take it away.
You felt alone, and anxious… without the gloom.
So, you ran down the stairs and moved into this alley.
Here, the ceilings weep,
and you wander around in a drenched silk gown;
But, you are at peace,
and never alone.
But… Is that the way to be?

– Gauri Walecha