STRANGLE ME INTO IT
“My saint”, it read. Her letters to my father were
damp like the cold under his armpits.
Whenever I touched the papers, they turned wet,
stuffed with the scent of expensive perfumes
imported from the middle-east. She stuck
to my father as if a fly would stick on top of a piece of fruit,
she visited our house, now and then, and my mother took her
into her arms; Mother, you always took pride
in how other women admired him, how he never
gave himself away, it made you feel awfully important.
You revelled in that importance, you took pride in his sanity,
in his saintly distance from other women. His straight
distilled eyes swam underneath the water of your pride,
and I cupped it down my throat, it moved across
my intestines, my underbelly, finally out through
my urinary tract. Today, all bodies I desire
look at me with a waning smile. Humble, grounded,
their shoulders arched. They know
what to do with me, they know my type.
A body is an animal, unlike the mind, it has to
be put down, taught – all good athletes
learn this trick, very young in their lives.
A body is not a mind. Desire starts, at least, with 3 people.
Sarah Hall writes in her preface to A Sport and a Pastime
that I am reading now – ‘But what is love?
beyond the temporal, beyond the other? Is it the impossible
phenomenology of someone else’s account’, and I dream
about you, your tiny cracks of hair trickling down
my sweat, stuck close to my temples. I am a bit wary
but love, I realise is nothing, other than this third sweet voice
that drops into my leisure, on a slanting, soft cushion.
Love is nothing other than the third voice that drips,
by drip and gatecrashes finally, between
my father and my mother. I took a repose
as I watched my desire for my father brawl under
two women who saw him differently –
“Your father is a saint” – she smiles at me.
Is he a saint? Can he be a hot saint? This candescence
burning inside me; I am neck-deep in love.
AT THE BREAKFAST
I break open an egg, I cut through a juice carton.
I split open your throat with a knife slicing through.
A blow inch-perfect there you are dead.
Morning has started since you were dead.
I ran away from the town with the rag picker, the waste collector.
He wears his bootcut jeans tight and pulls up the zip from time to time.
His ass is round, his weenie secure and his jeans cover them just and tight.
O! A ragpicker, how on earth does he have this accurate sense of fit?
O! What is the brand of his denim? Levi’s? the label sticks out of his ass.
I fell for his Levi’s. I fall for American Eagle, I fall for Nike, I fall for Everlane, cheap.
Brother! I ran away with the rag picker, think of that plight so wholesome.
He had no money at all, I cut the chase, I put the corn on the cob and ate.
I gave him nothing “you get nothing”, he is cross, I am cross.
His well-built body shows, he wears his pants really low.
These things, types of denim and likewise exploit all chances of modern love,
Running away in the hope to make homes, bake bread, and corn on the cob and eat.
For example, young men elope with older women; good-looking girls do with ugly guys.
The rich girl running off with the waste collector is a way of living.
Just that to not ruin each other I had to keep my focus right on his hip bones.
I am neither rich nor good looking nor ugly you see, I am, err… just ordinary.
But I liked him so much, I liked him so much for him to be happy.
I breathed life into whatever he wanted to do with his life. I stayed.
I was really very ordinary for him till the end – plain and contemplative, always on the edge.
Protective of him for his low-waist pieces of denim to show his skin ₋ what was the brand again?
O, Levi’s! I fall for Levi’s, American Eagle, Nike, Everlane, cheap.
I fell for the rag picker as I was having my breakfast with you. I am sorry.
I mourned you, sexless, for a day.
My impotence made feeble in dark clothes – reprimanded.
As I walk, sit, talk and eat – I am mourning you for a day,
thoughtful and patient. I wore the white cloth,
covered with tokens of remembrance,
with lilies, hydrangeas and roses
and proffered the duties of a longing maiden.
I mourned, a day during the spring wasted –
that’s all I could do in remembrance,
out of the busy schedule of my haggard life.
I mourned you for one day, just a single day,
if it were for more, it would have been similar to
bemoaning you after bad sex. I imagine –
after bad sex, everyone cries, not out of pain
or the imperfections in posture but out of satisfaction
that feels like a biting see-saw hinge. As I walk,
talk, eat and sit ̶ why did I at all mourn you for a day?
Sex is close to nothing that we were after.
I still have no clue what you were after,
but whatever that was, it was not what I was selling.
I mourned you if I could stop it just there, it would
resemble feelings of good sex, which is not
possible in this case; you know what I mean.
As I rummage through all kinds of sex, good, bad, sad,
self and none ⎼ you, loss and deceit ⎼ linger around me.
I mourned you, for a usual mundane day ⎼
It was a day of self-sex, crossed with boredom and
desperation. But you should always and always
know this, you have very little importance in my life.
‘I mourned you for a day’ ⎼ is what I wrote as an email
planned to be sent to you – backspace ⎼ maybe.
And with all your rejections, I have come out clean.
I come out like a child, chaste and decent
that you have wanted me to be.
I think I mourned you for a day ⎼ why did I at all?
 Salter, James. A Sport and a Pastime. Pan Macmillan, 2007.