by Christ Keivom
PEOPLE, PLACES, AND EVERYWHERE
There’s a little of yourself in me, you must know.
How I always find a strand of your hair
In everything that I eat.
It’s an instantaneous life like Delhi on a weekend
And thinking of you instead of schedule or career or
Fame is also transient.
So, with our newest shirts, we picked out a place
And what happened? One of us found
Love with a future instead of a past.
One of us moved on by nights, by writing.
In the city summer felt like being close
To a bleeding star…just warm and alive.
Then it rained. A lot of rain. A lot of you
In the rain that I would imagine and touch.
Oh and Mumbai for its cobweb of lights. Sikkim
For when snow blankets the world.
Every place is a visitor. Sometimes a guest. They
Seldom show up twice and we carry them as
People in our lives even if its only a part of
Them as long as we can.
I remember it all—
They all share a face and the face of a clock
On a wall is the only thing that really
Sees you (wherever you go).
Then I heard you graduated, I
Heard you changed the way people find God,
I heard you were settling in a parallel universe.
Far and happy. you felt like freedom:
An unattainable state of being.
So, I took the eastward buses, then
The westward metros, then all
Buses, every metro. All day. All night.
There was an awful version of myself
In every place and in the centre
You sat on its innermost, softest point.
What I mean, wherever I went: you were missing.
You’ll understand if I write it all in letters
Like a man at war, writing home—
I have nowhere to send it but to you—
Written for you— and too late.
AGAIN AND AGAIN
After Rainer Maria Rilke
So this is love. That hour everyone speaks of
But won’t name. When it’s this slow
You can touch the rain as it stops mid-air.
We’ve been here before:
Seconds. Moments. Fantasy.
We are at 20s but like Baudelaire
‘We have more memories than if
We were a thousand years old’
Again and again
you: in the middle of a chapter
(even though the plot is over)
And lately, lately feels like a place
Retrieved from time, happening anew
How is it that this morning?
I can feel how afraid you were last night.
How is it that tomorrow promises a future?
With someone that will stay new.
Summer returns us to a lacuna in time
Where mistakes are resumed with tender chances.
Almost possible: to believe people are full of petals
Each one begging in cognitive dissonance
Will you stay. Will you stay not.
Underwater the voices of winter anchor
At bottom of a memory. The old floorboards
Creak with a familiar sound. Our handwritten names
Disappear from the interminable list of people
We pray for. The people we love despite
Their cruelty. Life and its cruelty
How it has kept its distance.
But kept us at arm’s length.