‘Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.’ (Jean-Jacques Rousseau)

Daylight leaks in through the door-gaps,
And from my secret cell I spy
The world without—

On a weatherbeaten park bench
A tangle: her slender hand on his hips,
His careful grasp gently clasps
The slope of her petite shoulders
Holding her like the roses
On a wedding bouquet.

Two bodies drawn together
Lock and key—they let no light through
Unlike these confounding cracks:
Faultlines sprawling unseen
A fractured
Labyrinthine self.

Sometimes behind these whitewashed walls,
I knock, but there is no answer.
In this unvisited room, the pictures hang
Unframed, unhinged. Faces of
Unsung first loves, tentative glances:
Yes, no, if, maybe. On these walls love itself
Becomes hypothesis.

When they do fling open these doors and peer in
Searchingly, looking for something they say I have
Lost—they find nothing, just as they should.
The light that floods in drowns me

It is nearly night now, and I am finally
Faultless again.

Subjective Silence

So, things have gotten a little silent here lately — at least over the past two weeks. By silent, I certainly don’t mean to say that I haven’t been writing on a regular basis (obviously I have), or to invalidate whatever I’ve written during the period in question. By silent, I refer to the ostensible absence of any subjective reflection. I can’t help but notice a gradual regression back into the impersonal, objective writing idiom that I’ve been recently trying to disown in favour of a more fluid, less self-constraining mode of creative production. Heh, I think I’ve been anything but creative with my last few entries — literarily, at least. They’re all essentially a slew of unnecessarily complicated readings of the various visual texts that I’ve encountered over the summer — two drama serials and one Hitchcock movie. And to be honest, the last one on psychoanalysis and The Birds is effectively a repost of a Tumblr entry made in the same week (with a few edits). My reflective impulse/voice has been pretty much silent these past few days, and so it’s a lot more expedient to commit my intellect (objective logos), rather than my sentiment (subjective pathos), to my writing. But this is only because the latter requires a lot more prudence and pruning to prevent a sliding into pointless romanticism — something I haven’t had the mental energy for. The result is a mechanical prose that speaks yet remains silent. But this time, the silence is anything but vacant — it is a restful, rehabilitative silence. It is a subjective silence.

Anyway, I don’t wish to let this little murmur of mine stretch out into another long drawn echo of a chugging word-train; it strains against this comfortable silence, of the here-and-now — the proverbial calm before the storm. I wish to let this quiescent uneventfulness pass undisturbed, to stay for as long as Time allows, before the semester’s onslaught of forced intellectualization begins to rain down on this placid, sacred stream. This present silence is a reflective silence stripped of even the automatization of the intellect. Make no mistake, it is not a silence facilitated by reflection, but a muteness of reflection — a cessation, a mental silence. No philosophy, no philosophizing, no philosophical insistence — just tell it as it is. Can you hear the featherlight fluttering of running water? That is what it means to simply say — it is no different from simply listening. 

Ironically, this summer has been anything but silent, but I’ll leave the reflections till later this week, when I write my usual liminal/boundary post that will officially or rather, psychologically inaugurate the new semester for me. I realise that there is so much to ponder upon, so much to process, that in a bid to find some kind of transient peace, I’ve altogether shut out any extensive or intensive contemplation. No doubt I do think and feel outside the writing space, but as far as putting my thoughts into words is concerned, I’d prefer to stay placid for the time being — to steep myself in the last lingering vestiges of nothingness and potential, and appreciate the exhilaration of unburdened time.

Between dance rehearsals for the upcoming concert next week, and my swimming regime, I’ve been pretty much occupied with playing WoW — more than I’d usually allow myself, actually. But heck, I’m enjoying it, even when I’m basically not doing anything substantial — even if it means merely catching up with in-game friends, or roleplaying like a basement geek whose life is a chessboard of organized pixels. Unfortunately, amidst all the mastery of time and the freedom to experience — amidst all the fullness and consciousness of metaphysical mobility — something feels missing, something that should be there, or that I want to be present, but which isn’t.

And the presence of that absence, I’ve learnt, is enough to eclipse the best of this fleeting and fading summer.