The Way We Were

I look at old pictures

Of me…of us…

And marvel at

The play of time and space

Tricking us into believing

That we’ve changed

For the better

That we are today

A truer version of ourselves

Didn’t we feel the same way

About our old pictures back then?

Memory is an echo

That travels from yesterday to today

It’s the sound of the dreams

We saw together

Change is discernable

Only because it plays out on

Something unchanging

I know we’ve changed

Because something about us hasn’t.

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What Makes Me Angry

When justice is what I want

Injustice makes me angry.

 

When truth is what I want

Lies make me angry.

 

When perfection is what I want

Imperfection makes me angry.

 

When agreement is what I want

Disagreement makes me angry.

 

When respect is what I want

Disrespect makes me angry.

 

When strength is what I want

Weakness makes me angry.

 

When ‘one way’ is what I want

‘Many possibilities’ make me angry.

 

When power is what I want

Disobedience makes me angry.

 

When morality is what I want

Immorality makes me angry.

 

A burning desire for one thing

Burns down everything that comes in its way.

 

It’s not imperfection, injustice or disrespect

That’s the cause of my anger.

 

It’s the desire of that thing

That stands outside of me…

 

Unreachable. Unattainable. Evasive.

That makes me angry.

Gone…

I used to refer to it

As Your world, earlier

Now I know

That you can have

Nothing to do

With this sickness…

The world is my doing

A projection of my mind

Why, I wonder

Do innocents suffer?

And if their suffering

Is a projection of my mind

What am I suffering from?

 

The answers don’t come easy

The pain blocks it all…

I recall the wise words

Of a liberated soul:

“Suffering…,” he had said

“Is the poverty of consciousness.”

The world, I begin to see

Stands as a battered ball

Kicked around for pointless goals

In the space of our minds

We live our lives

To settle old scores

As if that be our reason to be.

 

Consciousness… pure consciousness

Dear Asifa, just like you…

Has been diminished and killed

You suffered for our sins

The world stands before us today

A cancerous, malignant tumour

Grown out of apathy, pride and greed

I didn’t notice, dear God

That You had left

A long time ago…

Our green pastures

Where little children

Bring their horses to graze

 

Apparently, you’ve left our temples too.

 

Disgust

Disgust, I feel you

But find you difficult to understand

How strange

That you are the face

Hiding under the mask of pleasure

Why, I wonder

Is pleasure your grace;

And your disgrace?

What do you want me to see

Now that you and I

Stand face to face?

…That things are

Not what they seem

That their charm is fleeting

And that a lie

Needs ingenuity

To seem like the truth.

Things are what they are.

Their correct proportion

Is a sense cultivated

Through dispassion and distance

Knowing fully well

That pleasure is a gift

Of the imagination

And disgust-

An ironical reminder of that.

True or Imagined?

That memory…

Of when we met by chance

Was it true or imagined?

 

That sentence you began

But never finished…

Was it true or imagined?

 

That moment soaked in feeling

That spilled out of my eyes

Was it true or imagined?

 

The meanings I draw

From your short sentences and your prolonged gaze

Is that true or imagined?

 

What if I trusted

For once

These deviations from the norm

 

After all

We don’t always abide

Within strict definitions.

 

We feel

More than our words

Can capture

 

The rest

We let slip past the gaps

Like sand slips through our fingers

 

There are many paths

I haven’t walked…

The roads weren’t paved

 

I couldn’t tell

Where they would go

And would that place be true or imagined?

 

Breathe Deeply

The well of wisdom

Lies deep below the surface

Of appearances

Which can only show

Our scars and our smiles.

We must come to see

That wounds run deep

And that resilience is a counterforce

That becomes a tree

Which grows upside down

Rooted in experiences

But flowering in deep reflection.

Happiness can never be

An attribute of the superficial

Its source is a fount

That bursts from a force within

A deeply intuitive one

That has learned to assert itself

In the face of misleading appearances.

When you breathe

Breathe deeply.