my mad girl's love song
there are days when i really miss you, Sylvia
nights like these i wonder, what if
things were different that one night
and you had met me
at that party. 1956, february 25.
between the jazz and poems and
drinking whiskey and ginger wine
walking on air, like a holy high
you'd stumble and step on my toes
so we'd end up dancing all night
you'd quote me my poems
and i'd court you, more poems
where you'd not need to be you
and i'd not need to be hughes
to be huge with the ladies
"I dreamed that you bewitched
me into bed (oh sylvia)
And sung me moon-struck,
kissed me quite insane."
head in the clouds, you'd got me
singing "oh na na, what's my name?"
now that we're sober, tell me
dear sylvia, would you still die
with your head in the oven
or, stay, six years later, to
hold my hand at the stonewall riots?
Say, won't you write me a poem
to tell me we're real, alive not dead
loving like fuckers, fucking like lovers
so i'd stop feeling that ....
(I think I made you up inside my head.)
--- Aditi Angiras
everytime everything I write is some stuff about you
I grew up in too many places too many times to ever figure out what I really really like. To understand what kids meant when they said favourite teacher or favourite ice-cream stall or favourite pillow. I was so alone trying to make sense of this world as a little girl, so disconnected, the fact is I never even knew how to hug a teddy-bear goodnight. I never made best friends, I never stayed long enough in a school to be the best at something, I never had time enough for crushes to turn into flings, I never had a choice to decide to go or to stay behind. I spent most of my days in playgrounds, kicking footballs around, hoping they’ll turn into boomerangs. I kept writing my name on wooden desks with a compass, thinking they’ll show up on maps every time I am nowhere to be found.
I was so busy trying to cope, trying to catch up, trying to make new friends, trying to accustom adapt accommodate accomplish, trying not to punch shit, trying to feel it’s gonna be all right, telling myself I just need to make it though this night. that I never got to learn how to preserve things. how to put memories in formaldehyde too afraid the glass jars will break from too much shuffling. too afraid if I get used to something it’ll hurt when it has to be left behind. I never got to learn how to hold on to things that mean something. I never got to keep my favourite storybooks, my favourite wall drawings, my favourite people, my favourite snowflakes, my favourite summer skies. I never knew there’s a difference between truths and white lies that I kept telling myself.
I thought places like people are temporary. I thought people likes places are things you visit once like tourists and sometimes don’t even stay the night. Till I met you, I thought I’ll never find what I really really like. Because favourite place is best friend is lover is four-leaf clover is you. I thought maybe this is what homecoming feels like. It was like getting off the bus in a new city, looking around for something, somebody and there are just strangers everywhere, but you spot someone in the crowd and your eyes meet, then when you look around suddenly you feel safer, suddenly it feels like you’re gonna be okay, and then you move on – out – into the new world, ready to take your chances, ready to breathe the new air, ready to breathe into brown paper bags, ready for sleepless nights, ready to sleep on borrowed mats, ready to not wanting to fuck just to not feel dead, ready to a feelgood breakfastinbed, ready to live and die, ready to feel and survive, ready to be held, ready to be overwhelmed..
You never really asked me how many people have I been with before I met you, somewhere you knew that it took me that many people in that many places to find you. You never really asked me how many people have I been with before I met you, somewhere you know I was giving them the finger so I can learn how to make love to you.
Aditi Angiras is a poet and activist based in New Delhi, India. Her writing deals with politics, desire, modern love and all things queer and feminist. She is actively involved in the quest for and the creation of deinstitutionalised and anti-establishment spaces for discussions/poetry/love/living.