By Manaswi Dawadi Rimal
I might seem distant.
Not just through the mountains and oceans between us, but also through the fog of my mood swings while I drown in the pool of my insecurities.
My overthinking, like a colony of ants following each other, threatens to overtake me.
But I got you.
I am me and you are you.
I won’t let the ‘me’ of myself let you feel any less the ‘you’ of yours.
I won’t let you feel how distant we are, because we are not. Not in the ways that matter.
I am in your heart.
When you randomly smile in the middle of your hectic day.
I am in your mind.
When you cry in the middle of the night because you miss me.
I am crawling through your soul in your morning coffee as you sip it, along with the jokes I made about how I would get into you the way coffee would.
I am distant, but I am still with you, in your heart, in your mind, and in your soul.
It’s because of all of this, that I am able to let go of you, and let you go.
But love and poetry isn’t all there is, because while you are you and I am me, we’ve still got this world to survive.
Love and poetry isn’t all there is, if we only see practically, but poetry is everything to both you and me. So maybe I will write a masterpiece of tragedies, and you will carve the tears and vanities into words, which the world will admire.
And we will break. Or not.
It doesn’t seem practical, but we are not practical beings, and we’ve got letters and postcards and phone calls and origamis and art and poetry.
Maybe we’ll recreate our own world, where I’ve got you no matter what and you’ve got me. Not like we own each other, but constant.
Like a heartbeat.
And the way we’ve got each other.
by Eli Rooke
The cosmos forged me a new body
and I was finally made of stardust.
Constellations traced along my scars,
and the sun warmed me to my bones.
The galaxy embraced me, and it was love.
I held myself, and it was love.
The sky turned dark, as stars
suddenly fell from their places.
I became a shooting star,
and I was falling.
I was burning.
I held and clutched
at the warmth still blessed to my skin.
But in a moment of burning ash, I was awake.
I was back in skin, stretched tight over my soul
and back in breaths, caught in cages.
My body was cold.
– The universe was never as cruel as the moment it woke me up.
About Eli Rooke:
Eli Rooke is a non-binary entity who enjoys writing queer stories, with a particular focus on trans journeys and experiences. They can usually be found playing god with original worlds and characters. Eli has a passion for collaborative storytelling, and believes the best stories are the ones created with others.
by Manaswi Dawadi Rimal
I was waiting for love,
just like they said.
My tears in his handkerchief,
his tears in my letters.
His smile in the tea I made,
my smile in his essence.
Our breaths fighting with each other,
against our locked lips,
like the rivers flowing through mountains.
But I felt the butterflies in my stomach
when her jhumka communicated with my shirt.
The butterflies were flying inside,
when my ear heard the sound of her walk.
Her walk rhyming with her ghungru.
I felt the rainbow in my soul,
when her hair was fighting with that air.
Even when her voice was sharp like a chisel,
I felt like fitting into that groove.
When her Saree laughed with the tune of classic,
That’s when I had butterflies.
Her kajal falling through her ocean, in the form of tears.
Nothing was more magical,
like pearls turned into grey.
They were more precious than her tears.
And no, it was not just tea.
It was the whiskey,
running through my blood
in the form of her reminiscence,
even when she was not around.
What do I do now?
Neither can I tell her,
nor can I leave him.
They said, ‘love is only for HIM,’
waiting for him on the white horse.
They said, ‘love is only for HIM,’
running towards me from the mustard field.
They said, ‘love is only for HIM,’
giving me his hand on the train or a bus.
They said, ‘love is only for HIM’
while he unbuttons my shirt and I submit myself.
But what if I want it to be her?
What if I run away with her on the horse,
in the plane,
in the mustard field,
riding in the train?
Why is it okay to do these things with him,
but not okay with her?
What if I want to unravel myself to her, not him?
The butterflies inside me have turned back into caterpillars and died,
with no hopes of being butterflies ever again, and so have I.
About Manaswi Dawadi Rimal:
Manaswi is a writer, adventure seeker, travel enthusiast. She is a foodie and happy go-lucky person who worked as a Bartender and Barista. She is doing her degree in Engineering and is involved in various clubs, volunteering and events.
By Syed Saif Uddin
A year where norms were left in tatters, of selfish delights and our worst traits on full display
Scarcity and misery unleashed like a hell hound, our demons did come out to play
The year humanity cowered in a silent collective, forgoing their divine rectitude
Kindness extinguished, families bereft of kin, and politicians even more so of their moral fortitude
A year with that endless soup kitchen line and millions of souls having to live off the welfare dime
Going through a year without breaking; the year human connection was deemed a crime
Walking the desolate streets in a city teeming with millions, not a soul to be found
Families hunkered down and front-line warriors having to steel their hearts, with so many corpses around
Even washed with grief with a mind going hollow, there was hope, a sliver still
Hope of human ingenuity and spark that could mount up and climb this steep hill
A year of solitary confinement, where keeping your distance was the primary refrain
A year of loss, a year of pain, and a thousand sorrows my heart couldn’t contain
Our nature of being social creatures oft-cited in the columns of opinion pieces far and wide
Oh the calamity that befell us when from the wretched disease, there was no corner left to hide
With invisible fences going up, tearing apart familial connections was hard to swallow
Technology did alleviate disconnection, but to tell a child to socialise online did seem a bit shallow
Hope is resilient and there is light at the end of this proverbial tunnel, no matter how dark
If legends are to be believed, humanity did survive a planetary flood in a wooden ark
Myths need not come into play for our hopes and heads to be held high
We have gotten through trying times, good has always prevailed, even when the end was nigh
A year of hellish misery, solitary suffering; when men cried and the nightingales forgot how to sing
Oft-forgotten is our innate resilience; we shall fight, from the streets of Morocco to Beijing
A year of pain; what was lost shall be found, and we shall clear this dark mist
Like tendrils we shall climb; here’s to a new year of growth, we must still persist
One can imagine what the world will look like when we can re-join as one, once again
If we only realise what can be achieved through cooperation, what we can attain
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels
Author: Rory Sorenson
Teach me your secret so I can see
the way you listen to your world.
Can I give you something broken?
Would you fix it
or remake it
or just let me be?
We spoke once in a dream you had
I forgot what you said when I asked you to
give me a truth.
I kissed the question
to your hand,
and held its echo to my ear.
You should know
A part of you
will always be inside me.
(Or maybe me in you).
Describe your favourite sound to me.
And why it looks that way.
I found a story for you to whisper,
Just keep it hidden in your lungs.
Because salvation found me early,
—being baptised by your tongue—
you must carry my misdeeds from now.
But you will be my burden
when I am
fluent in speaking you.
I’ll let you close enough
to love me if you promise that
it’s only pretend.
And you can leave
Take my feet
into your hands,
and press me to the ground.
When it storms, I
smell you in the rain.
(Have you ever tasted lightning?)
It reminds me of your scent
when we first met for the last time.
I’d missed you for eternity
when I heard you hiding moments
You sing in your sleep
when you think no one can hear your breath.
Let me act like
this is our final night together.
Just give me something for my journey,
so I can hold on to my home—
Your calloused hand.
Before I go,
I’ll leave you with
the map your eyes traced
on my skin.
You could find your way to me.
When I’ve waited forever to feel you
what’s a few more moments apart?
Featured image courtesy of Mona Khaleghi via Unsplash