Chapter One

She lived in a yellow cube. With every passing day, the measured symmetry of each windowless wall swallowed her. 

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For Gaza

There is no conflict
Between the coloniser and the colonised
Where one wields strength of arms, in numbers,
Sponsored by the world’s biggest powers.
It’s now been several weeks
Of shivering people, dying children,
bleeding skulls,
bodies under rubble,
Men and women
losing entire families to bombs and guns.
They can be threatened beyond death,
they take away their olive trees,
snatch away identities.

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We are made up
Of water, mostly

Within us
we hold,
of the sea.

From the time
we were

Our bodies need sodium
The water we drink
washes it ashore.

Let’s go salt licking
Like our ocean cousins,

Wipe each others tears away
till the edges of the sea.

Remember how we floated
in wombs
Trying to reach the waves.

Trying to be free.


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Grief comes masked as regret
Grief masks itself as anger
Grief lashes out
Grief forgets
Grief fumbles through days
Grief sits on a shoulder
A bird of despair
Grief trudges through hours
Numb to care
Grief when naked
Feels too heavy to bear

Life Support

Today it rained.

Water poured from your lungs
And your abdomen

Your organs were drowning.

Now they are little boats
Rescuing your heart

Veiny life jackets in tow.

Battlefield Bodies

pulled, burned,
blurred, bleached

Shame appears
under arms
between legs
via scrutiny.

Shame is passed
in inheritance
as a blanket
of insecurity.

Shame is taught
as convenience
lest we unlearn
our carefully
fed entirety.

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The Backs we Inherit

Grandmother’s spine shrunk
fighting the weight
of the patriarchy
she bore all her life.

Mother’s curved to the side.

If mine stays intact
it glows from
and owes to
their backs.

Living within a space of contradictions

Not a single shoe has bitten me in years.
Not a belt, strap, snap pinches my skin too tight.
Nothing leaves marks on my body.
I am not a canvas
for what I wear
to scratch and dent.
In my clothes I choose to breathe.
But for a world I dream
where we may all say
no tear has been shed,
no backs broken,
no hands overworked,
no payment stolen,
no freedom usurped,
in the making of anything that lives on me.

Tadpoles & Wolves

When work travels away from the recesses of a studio or a camera, onto somebody else’s sanctuary, a screen, another country, onto sterile white walls, it ceases to be what it meant and becomes a part of what it may mean to the one experiencing it. We as artists work on honing our minds, make a feeble attempt to have a voice, express it in a way that it fills up with what we want to say, all along knowing impermanence and obscurity. Art can be intimidating, words may lose meaning as they get longer. Do concepts which need pages and pages to be understood close more doors than they open? Expression is understanding oneself, understanding the role of oneself within the systems at play.

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This is our world.

Burning fires, rabid power, stomachs growling hunger. Deaths on deaths. Not enough beds. Existences lost, lives mocked, deaths mocked further. Crowds, talons, beaks, clawing, chewing, bleak. Where is the money going? Where did the money go? Wake up, sleep, repeat. Mouths shut, heads down, walk in line, all is fine. Lock up those who talk, sink those who think. Be led, don’t lead, shut up if you bleed. Greed, breed greed. Grieve, unbeating hearts, grieve. Pulling triggers, metaphorical, corporeal, carceral. Screaming we don’t discriminate, screaming don’t hate. Don’t ask, don’t take us to task, lick our boots and fix our flasks. We’ll fix the news on your stands. Watch as we take your soil, govern your toil. Into eroding hands. More online shams. Where are our rights going? Where did our rights go? Sold for statues and promises to grow.

We Learn to Hang On

Hanging on to withered old shirts, memories of our memories, what conversations felt like, what we felt like in those conversations. How our skin felt pressed against cold railings, how evening walks felt in the park, dreaming up hopes and journeys to the stars. How startling the water felt as we dived in the rain, how rusty swings creaked in pain, under our weight, how droplets clung to our tiny bodies shivering for refuge. How we enjoyed the wind, the sun, the cold, the words, the scars. Still on both knees, from stumbling in between, gutters and roads made of tar. Picking up earthworms to put them in jars. Only to be freed by the roots of our rose plants. The same soil where we buried a bird who fell apart. Holding hands in its receding warmth. Making promises to each other’s tears and hearts. 

How is your heart?

How is your heart? How are you navigating this life? This time? Strange. Frightening. Unpredictable.

We sit behind laptop screens and scroll through feeds, reading about more deaths, charting stats of insufficient beds. The world we live in has always had problems, always had people suffering. This one puts everybody in rooms with doors locked and windows shut. Some of the suffering do not have windows or doors. They walk on foot.

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Love isn’t blind.
Love is a deep reflection
of who we are.
And how much or how little
we know ourselves.
Whom we choose to love,
Says a lot about how we see ourselves.
Hence when we change,
many a times,
whom and how we love changes.
As we uncover more of ourselves,
we get to know ourselves.
And the self love we cultivate
or the lack of it,
becomes a reflection
of the love we seek.

Memories Take Root

Beneath wrinkled piles of paper
And faded bundles of bills
I discover a part of you.

Carefully tucked away
For exactly one such day
Withered, old pages
So dear to me today.

The many thoughts of you
Concealed all around my home
I have nurtured them to grow
Into saplings of their own.

A Note To Self

Free my mind of thoughts.
Fill me up only with
What I wish to dive into.
Fill me up to the brim
With all that feeds my bones.
Fill me up until
That is all I have left to pour.

Don’t Starve

Don’t starve yourself
Don’t starve yourself of yourself
Not your mind to feelings
Not your bones to nourishment
Not your will to do
Not your willingness to prove
Don’t starve your curiosity to grow
Or your ability to do more
Not your skin to love
Not your fingertips to touch
Not your laughter to the truth
Not your tears to the proof
Don’t starve yourself of yourself
And don’t starve.


Grew up browner than the rest.
Browner as we swam.
Browner as we ran.
Browner by the day.

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Eyes morphed into pools
On the precipice of defeat
In fragile sensitivity

Sore to the core
Numb to the toes
A pallid deceit

A stream to a blur
A waterfall to a stir

Let my water be.


Take away the blues and replace them with cheery pinks.
Dehaze the blurs, sharpen the turns
Solitary confines exchanged for twirls.
Teary eyes for majestic skies.
Blemished odes for hashtagged lines.
Makeshift emotions for embellished lies.
If real life was an Instagram grid, I wouldn’t.


Care for some candy?
Coated in routine tragedy?
Mimicking sweet,
sultry, tasty.
A damaged, despondent,
grim reality.

Strangling beating hearts,
Mapping shallow breaths,
Joyless fruition,
In subtle deaths.

Of hardboiled wonders,
Syrups and treats,
As we open doors,
Popsicles melt on floors.


We are born in packs
Grey and white
as wolves.
We run wild
Threaten our existence
Dreaming, collecting
Tears for memories.
Hearts braided
Blood soaked
Hands held
Breaths exchanged
Only to be back
In the pack
As stars.


Blanket me in my dreams
My feet are taking root
My mind is blooming
Under your canopy
Of stars
Of memories
Of treasures unseen
Of the way you would scream
My name
Your embrace
That warmth on a summer day
You filled my heart with love for you
And it’s still spilling
Like a blanket of waves.


I wrote a poem.
I wrote till my hands bled and my mind wept.
I wrote between murmurs and silence.
I wrote till my heart could be traced between words
Methodically penned.
I poured within context and rambled without
Vomited pages, not a moment of doubt.
I shed not a tear, inflicted not a tear
I hid from the world
This strange despair.
Two sheets became ten
I wrote a poem.


Homes of pink and green,
Of brick, of lego.
Of children and their screams,
Of curtains letting go.
Indulging in between
Scents familiar behind doors,
Burying faces deep
Into clothes no longer worn.

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We Breed Mediocrity

We breed mediocrity.

Celebrations, aplomb, pedestals,
All exist to tell you where to go.
Just how far you may go.
They blind your vision
To what could be beyond.
Curtains to veiled ambitions
Limited aspirations.
“Dream, but only this much.”
Beyond this is unfathomable
Beyond this cannot be dreamt
It doesn’t exist, it mustn’t.

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You cultivate your garden
To bloom
To perish
To remove
To discard
To plant
To water
To grow anew.
All you.


Does this land call your name? Where you measured your height against a mango tree in the backyard. Carving your progress as seasons and years passed. You watched the same skies from the same window change as the earth rotated yet again. You counted the stars. You ran in the rain as the smell of soil and dust settled for the first time. You spun under the clouds and later flew amidst them. You held every hand under the sun. Skin as skin all as one.


What would you change? What would you grow from your finger nails and pores and toes?  What would elevate your being to think louder, talk clearer? Would your goosebumps trace your dreams? Would your feet carry on like machines? Would you spread a faltering wing, one flap after another, until feathers sprout and tear? What would your mind look like in a pool of colour, circled by fish, enveloped in seaweed, submerged underwater? What would colour look like? What would your tongue darting outside its confines taste? Would sun rays burn holes in the softness of your flesh till the weakness of your bones screamed? Would you believe? Would you change a thousand minds to reach an empty shore? What shape would your footsteps leave behind as you press ahead into the unknown?