i'm not sure if 'pith'
is a real word, but if i am
to understand what poetry does
real words fail me.
they failed me the day
i stepped into her home
just after sunset
and all she had was a
single kerosene lamp she
used sparsely because
she might run out before
the end of the month.
she rummaged around a
tiny trunk in a home smaller
than a king size bed
looking for a badly photoshopped
picture of a daughter
who died in an earthquake.
i never asked and she never told me
about the day she dressed her up
in pink and white and slathered
talcum powder all over her face
and did her hair in two neat plaits
then haggled with the studio owner
who made sure she smiled in
the right proportion, with the right angle
of the chin, then brightened her face
beyond recognition and changed
the background to something green
and floral - the picture she thrust
into my hands was nothing like
what her daughter must have
been like, nothing like
the words inside me, falling apart
so please don't mind me
when i say poetry is pith
because real words don't mean much
i don't write anymore. it's a simple statement of fact that i don't place much emphasis upon in my daily life. i don't write because i don't feel. this is another statement of fact, one not so simple, that i also don't place much emphasis upon.
i was at a bar last weekend. i got wildly drunk - i haven't been that drunk in months. there was a woman sitting at the bar table all alone. drunker than anyone i've seen in a long time. downing drink after drink after drink. neat vodkas. she kept looking at a facebook profile with photos of a recent wedding. i think she recently broke up with the woman in those photos. she kept drunk dialling someone who kept cutting her calls. each time a call ended, she would smoke a cigarette. between drinks, she would just throw her head back and smile to herself. sometimes the band played a song she knew, so she would sing along. sometimes she would just stare at her phone willing it to light up somehow. at the end of the night, she paid up and left.
i don't really know why i'm writing about her. it could be because i'm jealous - she processes emotions however raw, however much they cut. it could be because she's my warning light - i'm afraid i might end up like her someday. it could be because all i wanted to do was to give her a hug and tell her it'll be okay, but all i did was make sly jokes about her.
even writing this post is a diversion. i wanted to write about adult friendships. people draw strange lines between loving and doing things for the people they love. i wanted to write about how i love, and i do things for the people i love, but on the way i stop doing it for someone and simply do it for the sake of doing it. i forget that you have to open up your heart and let them in. talk. let them talk. listen. let them listen. i get jittery. anxious. i keep looking at my phone, or plotting my exit. i keep thinking of all the most frivolous things to say. look, i got new bangles. did you watch the latest episode of xxxxx show? i don't know how to go back to being a person to whom loving came easily. emoting came easily.
a person to whom emoting isn't a goddamn verb.
i wanted to write about making new friends, and keeping old friends. both of which i suck at. i wanted to write about setting boundaries, but ending up with walls i can't climb. i wanted to write about loving, or not loving; relating to fellow human beings; caring.
but words don't come to me the way they used to. they're too halting. too much of an effort. or words come, but the thoughts don't match them. there are no stories i care enough about to tell.
may be i should try harder. may be writing is the first step. may be.