Transience

I watch
A miasma of brush strokes
Trailing over
The canvas of life –
Dull, bright, warm, sharp
Their watermarks
Evade the sight
But those that loiter
I notice
The crinkly lines
That embellish their every stroke –
Bold, rugged, shy, sleek
Impressions that time erodes
But those that linger
I remember
The dots and crosses
That stagger each line
Big, small, subtle, sublime,
An expression that holds
The redolence of time –
A taste of vintage memories
That swarm
With an ageless, decadent grace
Yet ultimately
When everything fades
Period and pause
Everything fades
They say
Life is funny that way

– Akanksha Gupta

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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

Ordinary

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Life is a story

If mine, I’m the main character

I’m the best actor you can find

In a pool of daydreaming narcissists

The rest are sheep; everyone that is

The occasional leader that pops up is not excluded

Though being a political animal,

He hadn’t even been included

But then I’m an idealist

Who picks apart the black and the white

I am also a cynic

Who caresses the gray left behind

But really, I’m a pacifist

Too concerned about my lazy behind

To actually pick up the chalk

 

But on the occasion that I do

I fill the canvas of my mind

With a cartload of chalk dust

And find beauty in the abstraction

The reality, however, causes an infraction

A world that never existed, shatters soundlessly

I feel free for a while

Without any labels, self-perceptions

Or impressions of any kind

Tis an alluring experientialism

In which I find freshness and novelty

And drown deep into it

Until the need to breathe supersedes

So I shoot up to the surface

And gulp lungsful of perceptions greedily

Some unaltered, some modified

And to study them

I dive

Back into the pool of daydreaming narcissists

 

This oscillation between radical worlds

Makes me teeter at the edge of normalcy

A piece of sanity dislodges itself

And pours uninterred into poetry

So do I call myself a poet now?

I suppose

It has taken years of writing

To gain confidence enough

To label myself

They say labels are empowering

Powerful and powerfully flattering

I say they are downright frightening

The standards they define

Mutate the potential

Garble the mind

Gradually I find myself

Changing my perception of me

A change should be welcome

But I find myself swimming

In a pool of doubts

Barely staying afloat

There are days I’m flailing

And those when I’m sailing

But I know I’m failing to hold onto an identity

 

At this interlude

You do recall

This is but a story of my life

And I, the lead actor

And thus, it is no wonder

That the plot does often twist

Into self-gratifying theatrics

Where victimizing myself

With labels

Gives the story

As though a drug-induced high

Whose hangover leaves me

Feeling like an unsung hero

But when you peel the layers off of me

My core is like everyone else; ordinary

 

By Akanksha Gupta