Esoteric Man

Artwork by Birgitta Bachmann

As the night wraps itself in velvet silence
He unveils his serape of feigned happiness

The lugubrious reflection of light through the glass
half filled with his drunken musings of night
half filled with whirling wind of her memories
falls on the tear-stained pages clasping his insanity.

The words of heartaches etched relentlessly
He gives voice to the aphonic cries of the blues.

The windstorm rushes in through the broken windowpane
blowing away the inked poetries into many pieces
breaking the glass of survival into many fragments
destroying each spoken-unspoken word that never sufficed.

The dead and buried floats on the blood oozing out
Indelible suffering carved in the cuts of an esoteric man.

-Kritika Vashist

Wine of Pain

Art and Grief- Painting by Bethany Tobin

Those perfidious friends
My faint-hearted lover
The hollowed bones inside
Muted cries of all nights
All were like the grapes
of grievous cluster
producing nothing but
abundant wine of pain.

-Kritika Vashist


Walking the road that was familiar with our steps,
you looked at the sun that was shining vibrantly.
You glanced at me, held my hand, softly, to convey
the message, to answer the question that was never asked;
Love is like the sun, sometimes it soothes you and
sometimes it burns you, leaving temporary scars on the skin,
that are permanent to the heart and in memories.”

My lips were glued, yet the words, a reciprocation of
your stated fact, choked the throat; I tried enough to
gulp them down, but the moisture in my eyes, I believed,
did speak about how your words mixed with the echoes
of the goodbye, goodbye that you thought would heal
the burns on your skin, you believed my love gave you.
Your hand on mine and the truthfulness of your words;
I never doubted them, I never unlearned them.

The silence kept walking with us until we reached the turn
of your happiness to the left, of my despair to the right.
Slowly and slowly, the voice of your footsteps reduced to nothing.
Seeing a blurry image of the sun, my pained heart questioned it,
“How come the story has ended and you are still up there?”

My footsteps didn’t stop, for I was afraid to come in to the
consciousness of knowing that the gloomy clouds have
veiled the sun that once shined, and the one that had drawn
the silhouettes of our togetherness, on canvas of the earth.
I was numb enough to listen to the sound of my footsteps
that walked towards the sea, when the sun was near the horizon.

The bruised purplish glow intermingled with the loud orange
color of the sunlight, like the scent of our skins blended once.
Taking support of my arm, I made my frangible body to relax
on the land sprinkled with the sand of hope, of memories, of grief.
The wet sand, only thing that was stick to me willingly, I dusted off
from my hand, only to realize that the imprints of yours
were still lingering and crossing the lines etched into it.

The wave at the shore broke all the time, just to meet her again,
the shore didn’t make noises, neither did the wave, but each time
the wave took something of the shore, each time the shore
welcomed something from the dark treasure of the wave , gracefully;
or the mesmerizing shore pulled the wave to herself so seductively
that the wave kissed her with all his passion every time making a soft
sound the sky heard, and every time losing himself in her, completely?
I wondered, and I wondered, what else this nature would have done to me?

The chirping birds flew back to their homes, telling me, it was time.
Watching the sky, hearing the sound of waves, I had forgotten
the road to my home, I had forgotten to realize that some people
who loved me were waiting for me, but I couldn’t have moved a bit
unless the stain of melancholy from my eyes, have been wiped out.
The strong wind blew through my already messed up hair only
to shake off the thoughts that had penetrated my mind,
and I doubt, if any space in my mind and body was left untouched
and undestroyed by the storm of yours long or never ‘see you later.

I looked at the sun, almost under the horizon, almost inside the sea.
The color of the sky changed, less light and more dark, like my own life.
Wait, wait, wait. Don’t go, please. Don’t do this, for the heaven’s sake.”
My mouth finally uttered few words, the throat still fighting for the breath.
I stood there helplessly with burning tears in my eyes of an irreplaceable loss;
I couldn’t cross the distance, I couldn’t save the sun, the sea swallowed it.

 -Kritika Vashist