poetry written from the day that i finally felt like i had control, for myself 

I. Absinthe as anaesthesia

u won’t understand                                                   

until it happens

there are times

in life

when u are not in the hospital

but need anaesthesia

for example,                                                       and for instance,

when u wake up                                                 when u have bruising

with him on top of u                                          all around your neck

and it is too late                                                 under the necklace he bought u

to try to move                                                    that u wear every day

because he is already                                         and u have class tomorrow

finished                                                              and u know most people won’t ask

and has rolled over                                             or care

and fallen asleep                                                and those who do feign concern 

without a single                                                 will be placated by the least convincing excuse

caress sweet word or kiss                                   but u need to convince yourself

                                                                           and forget how it happened

and for example,                                               

when u r so broke                                               and such as when,

and u have enough money                                 u know what is coming 

tonight                                                                and that it will hurt

for either one sandwich                                      but for fear or impracticality

or one                                                                  u can not leave

cheap bottle of wine                                           so all u can do is prepare

and u buy

the wine                                                               and finally,

because u r going to be hungry tomorrow          there r circumstances when it is simply

anyway                                                                out of ur hands

but maybe                                                            because he is pouring it into ur immobile body

if this wine is just cheap enough                         to make u more obedient, to make u

and just strong enough                                        not remember

you can just sleep through the whole day           and the next day, all u can remember

                                                                            is that u need a fucking drink

II. Tequila tuesdays

i say                                                                   when u r in physical danger

i’m going to the bar                                           u run, ur brain, ur heart, every cell says run

and i will be home in a few hours                     but when u run

and no one thinks it is weird                             ur brain comes with u

for a girl like me                                                so i run to the bar

to go to the bar alone                                         and place my mind in the hands of 

on a tuesday afternoon                                      the bartender, like she is my trainer

because she must be writing                              at my gym

she must be studying                                         and tell her to help me 

she must be people watching                             run away, work it out

and i wish i was 

doing those things

because all those things

are very good & fun & important

and a much better

use of time 

than what it is that i am doing

at the bar alone

on a tuesday afternoon

not writing

not studying

not people watching

except to make sure that no one i know

has seen me order my fourth

double shot of tequila

because, i suppose,

i’m lucky to have such caring people

in my life

but i can not think like that

on mornings when i awake into

a void, which finds me

like a blood-sniffing shark

and swallows me whole

into its ravenous, dry mouth

chest heaving, jaws snapping

all i can think of

is running 

III. I drink wine like shots

i wish                                                                i wish i were by myself 

i had gone out tonight                                       and i could drink myself into

with someone else                                            the swirling stupor that is just

or even by myself                                             a little too much

and not because, dear friend,                            but only then will my body & my mind say,

not because i don’t like you                            “i finally feel the alcohol. tonight has been worth it”    

but because i do like you                                  and i can stumble home, accompanied by

and i would like you to still like me                stars & confusing street lights

so i need to hide the shame                              and i can sink into music 

that in fact, i can not have                                feeling each word, but not hearing any of it

“just one drink”                                                let the carefully crafted orchestra

and the fact that i’d rather be here                    of fiona apple of too much vodka

with bailey, cristal, sherry, & stella                  of that last cocktail

better company for a girls’ night out                that really tipped me

on nights when my mind is blanking               over the edge

and my concentration is waning                      rise in grandeur & deafen me

and u won’t stop talking                                  until there is nothing to do 

about so-and-so                                                but fall into the paradoxical silence of cacophony 

i wish i had someone else

to throw back a drink

or two

or six

IV. I can drink u under the table any day, any time

they want it all                                                                    if i am the one 

they want the me                                                                who makes u laugh

that picks u up                                                                    if i am the storm

and tells u to get in                                                             at every desert of a party

we’re going on an adventure                                              then i must be her

they want the me                                                                at all times 

that spins tales 

of where i’ve gone                                                             and it is true 

who i’ve met                                                                      because that girl will always be in me

they want the me                                                                and at the same time, 

that will regale them all                                                     it is so false

with stories of                                                                    like i am a sour patch kid

blurry streets & kissing 

in places you should not be kissing                                   they won’t let my soul grow & change

with people that they should not be missing                     though it will always be housed

from my life                                                                      in its original walls

because good riddance

if u really care for me

for they want to live

vicariously thru me

crushing pills

for their pigments

pastel blues, greens, yellows, pinks,

and how i used them to

paint the world 

and the one time

i set fire to water 

and they want the me

who doesn’t make them sick with worry

i learned from my favourite song by mitski

that “the liberty bell

is a replica silently housed 

in its original walls”

V. Freedom fighter

maybe it is because
my grandfather was an alcoholic & my grandma was born the year india gained independence 
or perhaps
unintentionally, unknowingly
i began to drink at 14-
an overall, innocuous & funny story,
but for another time-

but it is as though 
there was always a small hole in me as a child
like my veins didn’t properly connect

until vodka found its way into my veins
and tied it all together, a bridge to my heart

my mind is always so restless
and my body is always so lethargic
and intoxicated me
is the opposite
which i love

u can drown your feelings
heighten your senses
fall asleep with no fear of bad dreams
u can dance without fear
laugh without shame

and it helps a silenced woman
break out of the tangle of
spider webs & snakes 
handcuffs & chains
bound by others or self imposed
either way, the freedom is like being on
temporary parole

it is hard to let go of

VI. Jack & jim & me makes three

why do girls say
the only men i need
are jack & jim

just like any man,
they’ve both let me down
countless times

when jack convinced me
to text that girl
and when he told me 
i was good to drive

i found myself in a ditch
(and the girl never texted me back)

and jim has broken my heart, as well
several times

when i threw up,
he wouldn’t hold my hair
when i cried & writhed on the bathroom floor
he laughed & told me i deserved it
for flirting & dancing with him all night

the thing is though,
we’ve loved together, danced together, had fights
but ultimately, they’re the ones who r always there
at the beginning & end of every night

VII. Cheers to u

it makes u selfish.

it makes u cry
it makes u mean
it makes u resentful
it makes u lie

but it doesn’t make me cry- i’m a happy drunk
it doesn’t make me mean- i’m a loving drunk
it doesn’t make me resentful- i’m forgiving & warm
it doesn’t make me lie- i never cheat & always tell the truth

and i do not drink that much anyway
and it is a choice
and i know my limits
and i haven’t even been drinking, okay
those bottles r old, just decor
there’s alcohol in perfume & hand sanitiser, & that’s how come i smell

and when i am drunk, i’m still fine
you’d never know

and that is how i made u cry
and that is how i was mean
and that is why i became resentful
and that is how i lied

and that is how i was selfish. 

VIII. Wherever u go, there u are

what do u see in your drunken haze?

i see promises
of more fruitful tomorrows
of ceaseless bursts of creativity & energy

i look at myself in the mirror
and see perfection
(the alcohol blurs my pores just so)

but like i’m looking at myself in a magazine
admiring myself & preening like a myna bird
i am not with myself

and then, when it all comes crashing down
-and it will come crashing down
maybe not at this party
maybe not at next sunday’s brunch
but when u least expect it-

and then what do u see?

it is in those moments 
that i realise

u can build fantasy worlds of escapism to immerse yourself in
try your very best to deliberately disconnect from reality

black out so u forget the day…or two
so life moves faster
without your active participation

u can try to escape your mind
with alcohol & acid & sleep & tv
u can move, u can run away

but wherever u go, in your head or real life, there u are. 

IX. Hard liquor

i realised one day
when i was restlessly contemplating
going to the bar for the day
i had woken up once more
with the feeling of dread
of how do i fill one more day
all the hours
and the expanse of time to follow
every day, monotonous 
every day, unable to be present
even if it is so fun

but it was that day that i realised,

the sun felt warmer
than whiskey in my throat

and my hands feel better in his 
than holding a drink in each

and sometimes it hurts to remember
but it hurts so much worse to forget

there was a time when i didn’t care
who i hurt & worried
the doors i shut in people’s faces
the things i said when i wasn’t myself (which is no excuse)
and maybe i didn’t care cuz i didn’t remember

i want to remember. i want to know. i want to care.
i don’t want to wake up somewhere i’ve never been ever again
or wake up with food in my bed. or with an injury. or after narrowly escaping death

i don’t want to hallucinate & cry & hurt myself & lose my mind

and i realised my heart & mind & body
make up a spirit
that is stronger than all the hard liquor in the world