some goodbyes are tender.
like a wave’s quiet retreat
from your feet with
filtering through cracks
or like the gentle lift of
taking off and
taking you to
some go by unnoticed.
like the heavy drum of
your heart as you
run across an
empty platform only
the last train
or like the slow oscillation
of a coffee shop’s
as you leave
never look back;
some, i believe linger
in time, like
the scent of an
fastened to the
of my car as i
nimble fingers there
to bid me one last
little piece of paper
I want to learn the word for goodbye
in at least sixty-five languages,
so that with each passing year,
as I come close to the final poof,
the whimper, the fall,
the finality of it all,
I have a soft, arresting way
to greet it.
For now, till my mouth
learns the rotund rolls
dancing off my palates,
opening my foreign valves,
let me hold what I have
at the doorway:
Two dried flowers;
The hope that when all words are lost,
the smell still lingers on;
If not above, then hidden somewhere
under this pile of earth.
-Ayush Jain, For No Obituary Should be Abandoned
this is a farewell to my past. to the burdens that are no longer mine. this is a shedding of skin, a breath of rain, a step into newness. this is adieu, for now. a pat on the back for all the hard nights and terrible mornings before getting to the grind again. this is rest. this is recollection, restoration, this is a kindness. this is goodbye, and it feels like singing. this is the ending of an era, the moment when we bask in silence after soaking in the movie. this is a lifetime, this is the awards seasons, this is the food after so much hunger. this is a celebration of what has happened, and a welcoming of what is next. this is a smile. this is a musical, this is a love song. this is a start.
Has a section reserved
Everyday you turn the paper
To page 8
And in the lower left corner of the page
There are three little obituaries
On some days, five
Even six. "Mr. John Doe passed away
To his heavenly abode
His life and deeds continue to inspire us"
I have never seen that tiny section
Not announce a death
Everyday, people lose people
Everyday, people say their goodbyes
In school they teach us
The correct format for everything
Formal letters, notices, advertisements
But not obituaries.
Saying goodbye is something
You cannot teach on a blackboard.
lately, I haven't been myself
the whole world screams of pain,
sorrow, lost hope and death
a new type of ghost haunts me
the first thing I do in the morning
is check the number of deaths
caused by the virus
my heart sinks a little
for all those who couldn't
say their goodbyes
to their families and friends
in the beginning,
death was an acquaintance
the first time we met, I was 18,
looking at a 90 year old man
I called nanaji, my dadi's father
everyone said death is inevitable
that it was his time, so I accepted
and said my goodbye
the same year,
one of my favourite singer
Chester Bennington committed suicide
and it was 2 a.m when I got the news
I cried the whole night, it felt wrong
I was angry and in so much pain
I still find myself crying when
someone plays one more light
that was his last song,
a goodbye that saved so many lives
but couldn't save him
the next year, 2018,
death was called a disease
liver cancer, stage four
I watched life being
slowly sucked out of my aunt
she was always a fighter
but this time her body gave up
she said her goodbyes
hooked up to machines
struggling to breathe
the same year, two months later
death was loss of a loved one
Dadi and I were on the same bed
when it happened, the loss of her child
marked the end of her life, her hope
I remember my last words to her were
"Ay heroine, dekho kaun aaya"
that was the last time she responded
it was her goodbye to me
and she was gone, lying on the bed
since that day,
death and I sleep in the same bed
I cried when I read about the trains
carrying dead bodies in 1947
I cried when I saw videos from Italy
I cried when Nairobi was shot
right now, I can't stop crying
even though death isn't personal
pain is real, even if it's not yours
and today, the sound of goodbyes
has reached its crescendo
Goodbyes are just hard to swallow
one moment, someone is there
and the next moment you are talking to the stars
And when i see you
talking to them
I must admit I feel jealous,
for you know a love
even after a life reached
You both in a perfect unison,
always so sure
you would be together
in life or after this.
And here, my friend,
you are still in love.
Some of us
just wonder where the other person would be now-
eating their meals with
someone else after us, or
while being with us.
Love seems to reside
inside a prison
that it changes its address
hoping, for once, it would
breathe light and 'forever'
in the air.
We have never felt safe
sleeping on our lover's chest;
thinking, what if the next moment love declares it has shifted its destination;
or thinking.. when love will
game of sudden outburst of anger
throwing filthy words or its hands on us.
Goodbye indeed is a hard thing to swallow
when goodbyes are nothing
but closures you seek from love.
between elegies, eulogies
and black and white obituaries,
we find the passage of time has
stopped. suddenly. deliberately.
to the point that i don’t even remember
the 29 other poems i wrote in this
otherwise fragrant month of April.
all i remember are verses, quotes,
words of advice and goodbye notes written in languages
that once wrote of great love and stories of simplicity.
2020 is the year of emergency evacuation,
unsolved heartbreaks and yesterdays turning into
memories of great distance that if viewed from afar
will appear to be scattered dreams that once
echoed the joy of summer releases, and
dialogues interspersed with poetry and emotion.
perhaps someday, i will ask for gentler times,
and silence to contemplate this turn. but i sit here tonight
staring blindly into this screen, the playlist in my head
has not learnt the word ‘pause’ with song after song
bringing forth a relentless stream of fresh memories of
home and my mother listening to the radio in the kitchen.
i retreat into a window of the past, wherefrom i gather
the comforting aromas of her everyday recipes.
i have began to draw lines on a sheet of paper,
retracing the journey i made, like a map
for when i need to go back again tomorrow.
it will be the new normal i shall live –
a life that is lived without surprises i cannot endure,
with green pastures on both sides, and Time finally weaving
the patterns that i have always yearned for.
it is perhaps one of the rarest,
most fortunate things,
to experience a goodbye
like the one you’d imagined.
I have to remind myself,
That some goodbyes are harder than others -
An astronaut, bidding adieu to the blue planet,
A mother, letting go of her stillborn child,
The love of your life, unable to love you back.
Sometimes, the hardest goodbyes are never said,
Like when your father dies, without warning,
All you can do is kiss his cold face,
Hold his hands that were once warm
One last time
Before his face and voice begin to fade
Because you were far too young.
Perhaps that is why I find myself,
Unable to overcome separation anxiety
Two therapists later.
I choose instead to write these words
Too real to say out loud.