Of Raspberries and Gunpowder

I have never taught myself to scream

So, every time my voice itched to bleed

All I could do was let out a sigh, or a nod

And curl myself into an answer, that agreed.


But, I did teach myself to ask questions

The why(s) and how(s) (things I eventually became)

So when I learnt that the sun rises from the east

I wondered where the moon shines from


Today, the east drowns in nights

And the sun has stopped shining

Nobody is talking about the shadows

Or the science behind the eclipse-lining.


The roads are empty

And I am with a pen; I write

Without filtering words, about cities

And streets and how does light benight.


I never learnt the art of understanding history

(For it wasn’t science after all)

Until I came to know about the guillotine

And how it was used to slash the torment and tall


All I could remember was how the reign of terror ended with an instrument.

About hate that seeps into the bones of the ordinary until it becomes an organ.

And now I know, that when history repeats, it leaves behind clues

Clues that one must never follow, or else history amplifies to abandon.


Or thunders down and breaks the present and the future

Until the future moves towards the streets and sits down

Chanting freedom— from oppression, from self.

And learning the antonym for freedom to be freedom itself.


For, dying has always been glorious.

How do I argue with that?

My skin is now a shriek,

To echo and sketch poems at.


You have always loved Plath’s Bell Jar. Haven’t you?

And Van Gogh. Tell me, what wouldn’t you bet

To see him swallow sunshine—and die.

Or to see an artist put a gun instead of a cigarette.


While you admire his eyes, brilliant blue

Sharper than a knife, and then put flowers on his cot

You won’t empty his gun. Would you? You value dying, not the dead.

Afterall dying is poetic, while death is not.


Today, I smell gunpowder in the air. 

And when they say space sometimes smell like one

I think perhaps this world is space—an abyss

Where the screams fall on deaf ears; resting on a gun. ​


But anyway, I’ve never taught myself to scream

I sigh and fold myself into an affirmative answer,

And line my head against the canon.

My tongue tastes like raspberries, while I nod to the lancer.

Naman Karn

For we are here now, Let's contribute a verse.

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