The Illusion of Freedom

My fingers don’t shake
Yet my pen hesitates
And the paper is black and blue.
I tighten my hold –
Had I been so lax
As to let the pen grow bold?
It is but a paper anyway;
And papers come and papers go –
The convenient martyrs
Of our self-effacing ways,
Covering our rot within theirs,
Letting our thoughts stay
Strangled within our throats –
Little birds
That now whisper
In our ears
Words
That make words cower,
And ideas, that yearn
To run free,
Find themselves
Short of words
Suddenly,
Apparently,
Justifiably.

– Akanksha Gupta

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Lurking In Them Blue Pills

A house stood
In the far east end
Not quite marble white
Mud brown or charcoal black —
The colour faded before its quiet strength
Like the yellow of the yellow pages
And the red of the red moons —
Turning, waxing, waning —
Like a gnomon
Meditating
In its own shadow
Not so much abandoned or reclusive
As part forgotten, part oblivious,
And part elusive —
Just enough to have
A perceived objective clarity
As a bridge
Between dream and reality —
A house
Sometimes rented,
Sometimes owned,
Seldom sold,
Seeing all under its sun
Through windows
Cataracted to its soul

– Akanksha Gupta

A Wound In Time

In the darkness of the night
There are secrets that we hide

In the brightness of the day
Faces give naught away

There is blood and there is grief
There is pain no words can ease

They are shadows fires cast
Burning the future past

Gone
Is it my wake?
I hear the dirge
Am I awake?

In the dying of the light
We don’t go without a fight

In the crook of in-between
Dreams are true, truth’s a dream

There is death and there is life
There’re no truths, there’re no lies

They are shadows that time casts
Blurring all th’ futures past

Gone
Yet I’m awake
Or is it all
In my head?

(I composed these lyrics to accompany the haunting melody of Javier Navarette’s Lullaby from Pan’s Labyrinth)

– Akanksha Gupta

Dysfunction

The apparent imperfections of life
Appear as lesions marring its skin,
Imperfectly veiling the deep wounds
Rupturing the will within.

What paraffin can then suffice
As fire for ice when ice afire,
What liquid strength can hold and embolden
When those icy cracks are clogged sepulchres dire.

And yet through them –
Through the little cracks in our souls –
We want warmth to seep in; to seep into
Each cut ‘n every fold

The warmth of recognition
Of acknowledgment of our existence
Of sustenance of our rights;

The warmth of appreciation
Of admissions of our successes
Yet omissions of our strife.

But those moments and that age
When we used to yearn for them
Have long passed our doorstep,
Leaving in their wake
Fractures –
Untended and unchecked

At the root of which lies
A quiet and visceral need,
For a tincture of the warmth of celebration
Of each moment of the life we lead,
Henceforth, to seep in; leaving
Each cleft-end to the other cleaved.

– Akanksha Gupta

THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS

Don’t lose yourself in pretty words
Their artful eloquence
Beware the silences between
Hiss with malevolence

Too long don’t stare into the woods
Keep count of every branch
Wayward traveller, wary be
Of stumbling in a trance

In vain pursuit of netted sun
On blue-green waters, hark!
Lest in you wade too deep, yet miss
Upon each wave a shark

And when embark upon next verse
Do turn each page with caution
Sharpened edges draw first blood
From beguiled opponents

So judge not by it’s cover a book
Read between the lines
Double entendres hide amidst
The seemingly benign

This world, from ‘far, is abstract art
Up close a labyrinth
The devil lies in its details
Trembling with innocence

– Akanksha Gupta

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Out of the night that curls around
Glittering from pole to pole
A sleigh of dreams shimmies about
The contours of our souls

And in the gentle caress of sleep
It brings a world to life
That lifts the stubborn blanket of snow
Lodged in our year-struck eyes

To show beyond the place of self
Lies a joy beyond measure —
An exchange without cause or clause
That begets unbridled pleasure

Then it matters not how weary the road
How blistery the soles of day become
We shall always find the shade of friends
Even when on our lonesome

Because —

Out of the night that curls around
Glittering from pole to pole
A sleigh of dreams shimmies about
The contours of our souls

And in the gentle caress of sleep
It weaves old tales with new
A realm of possibilities
We knew not could be true

To show beyond the place of self
Lies a vision of tomorrow —
A free fall into novelty
Past year-stale joys and sorrows

Then it matters not dawn streaks
The inward eye with reddish gold
The dreams herald a future
That is ours to have and to hold

— Akanksha Gupta

Tread Softly

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When you look at me and those I paint
I hope that you see a rainbow coloured haze
For though I speak sharp with words so sure
They reflect a mere fraction of what I think I know

When you think of me and those I paint
I hope it’s not a puzzle but a mosaic
Because what I know are parts of a whole
Coloured by mine and growing evermore

When you speak of me and those I paint
I hope an equal lack of judgment is displayed
Those words that seem sharp, sure, and succinct
Are opinions, fickle; the truth has always been extinct

– Akanksha Gupta