Cipun Mishra

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Cipun Mishra (Cipun Mishra)

If hearts were landmines, you would be tripping one right now. 23, Bangalore. Read about my Spoken Word Poetry tour of Odisha here -

https://stories.yourquote.in/meet-the-guy-behind-indias-first-spoken-word-tour-in-odisha-ceab19770086

Top tags: yqbaba love life heartbreak dreams
Sometimes, her shores meet the skyline.
She pledges far too often
about not running into
burning houses to save parts
she let herself lose.

Nomad. “Would you ever find a home?”, she starts to walk past me avoiding the question in an endless zigzag strewn across her horizon. Sometimes, her shores meet the skyline. She pledges far too often about not running into burning houses to save parts she let herself lose. I adjust my camera’s focus to take a good look at her - her hand zips her smile, there is only so much sunshine my dark tunnels can afford. At the hairpin bend of her mouth, she utters joy, sometimes, in shapes of breath-sweeps, as she sighs before we trace our steps back. The footsteps on the sand testify for her compass-feet, sometimes, in shapes of letters, once homebound, now scattered. #home #life #yqbaba #hope #poem

2 OCT AT 18:46

Winter children, as we were, 
we would warm ourselves,
with hopes of meeting 
when the cherry blossom sheds
its memories at 5 centimetres per second,
and it kisses the soil 
that smells like the last good memory of us-
the plans of building a home.
Like, petrichor which smells 
just the same everywhere.

Petrichor. It is 8.19 pm, you are probably packing your backpack, getting ready to return from work. You have had a long day, like every other day. You messed up a transaction again - working at a bank was always scary to me. You cannot wait to get back home. It is humid in Bhubaneswar, and, irrespective of how far we are, petrichor smells just the same everywhere. You loved the rains. It is 8.19 pm, I have been struggling to catch my breath. You see, I obsess. I obsess when I see a pattern. I obsess when I remember a fact. I obsess when I can’t remember a fact. I obsess when I miss you and can’t have you around. I obsess when the streets outside are a whiskey lullaby, and songs of your voice reach me only in old voice notes. So, when you said – “I need space.” I agreed. For those who know me, and those who don’t, I have hated space. I have hated the idea of trying to scream ‘I love you’ for you to hear nothing. I have hated the idea of parts of you merging into parts of me, to create a belt of rocks that would not resemble us, but fractions of us strewn across as disappointment. I obsess when I see a pattern, and we had been colliding into one another for far too long. August 3, 2013. A conversation between parts of us we tried to bury too deep unearthed graves of people we wanted to become. Our axes merged, and amidst floating constellations across a big black sky, we created words we could warp each other into. “I love you.” We watched each other set in the space between, and I started to build my most elaborate poem. We reflected of off each other’s light so honestly that the blinds we pulled forgot of a day outside. So, our nights stretched like a night in Uranus. 21 years long, cold. Winter children, as we were, we warmed ourselves with hopes of a slingshot across our Sun. August 3, 2017. My Moon keeps distancing itself from me every year. And, the Triton to your Neptune sinks closer to your skin. My insecurities creep their way in, and every moment we spend becomes a reason for why you should leave. You have circled your way around us, trying to fix holes where our bucket couldn’t survive. But, when there is not enough light to see, what good would our attempts be? Meanwhile, I am trying to suppress the shiver in my hands, in my legs, in my voice, in my chest - with words that skip to tell you what I have always wanted to. Before we knew it, our poems became declarations of destruction, and our love songs became screams across a space where you can’t listen. “I love you.” I am performing poems to tell you that I don’t want you to leave. It rains so much poison now, that there is not enough space between us to accommodate this growing tear in our promises. Our “I love you”s are becoming obsolete like the chances of us surviving this odyssey. I don’t want to say ‘goodbye’, but it always comes across as an apology. You have been trying to say ‘stay’, and I can only hear it as ‘I need space’. In between remnants of the star we buried inside because we could not circle it, and ran out of time, in this nebula of multiple tones and hues, that artists write songs about, we reflect colors that pale in front of all the heartbreak that went into making it. There is still a lot of dust to be picked up, there is still a lot of debris to be seen, but the beauty betrays our eyes, and all that reverberates through this room, is the sigh as the thought of your monsoon passes over my head. So, when you rain tonight, in a humid Bhubaneswar night, your pillows would make space for you to sleep cold. When it rains tonight, I will find comfort with crashing skies disguised as a smokescreen of cold water. Winter children, as we were, we would warm ourselves, with hopes of meeting when the cherry blossom sheds its memories at 5 centimetres per second, and it kisses the soil that smells like the last good memory of us- the plans of building a home. Like, petrichor which smells just the same everywhere. #separation #love #heartbreak #yqbaba #life

8 OCT AT 8:10

When you catch your last train
to return home, 
you would question your address.
You would try to remember prayers
with the sunset and sunrise,
but amidst farewell faces,
your chest would explode
into a thousand bouquets
trapped in a hundred words.

Rains. In your city, it rains too much. So when I kiss you goodbye, the taste of desperate regrets get washed into creases of our shirts. In your city, it rains too much, I am aware of how your skin begs to undress the sunset that you twilight too proudly after work. In your city, it rains too much, and we stumble onto the dark. When you catch your last train to return home, you would question your address. You would try to remember prayers with the sunset and sunrise, but amidst farewell faces, your chest would explode into a thousand bouquets trapped in a hundred words. In your city, it rains too much. I crave you with a longing that starts out as thunder yelling your memory across the skies, and concludes with annotations of your name - a poetry I cannot quite understand. Our broken cities meet at drowning seabeds - these flowers have outgrown their shores. So, when a lightbulb from Bombay meets a candle from Bangalore, time ceases to exist, and in my city, we would even forget the rain. #distance #love #life #hope #yqbaba

11 OCT AT 20:41

So, before the air 
cleanses its monsoon stench,
you rub your palms
with lavender hopes,
so that at least,
dreams would cling to the eyes
like fog on the windows.

Before the monsters. Before the monsters came along, there were rains, tender voices, fleeting dreams. Before the monsters came along, there were warm cups of tea, invisible humor. You wear smile on your face, because words of love have betrayed far too often. So, before the air cleanses its monsoon stench, you rub your palms with lavender hopes, so that at least, dreams would cling to the eyes like fog on the windows. The landlady of your body prophesizes of calamities- razing mountains, contours your salt pillars would tame. So, before the monsters come along, bring yourself a lottery of grief, and open an umbrella to the rain. Collect an ocean in your palm, let open the madhouse in your heart. #yqbaba #love #heartbreak #dreams #monsters

27 SEP AT 17:21

I am reminding myself that
lies can substitute for prayers.
I am reminding myself that
I can fill my lungs
with so many poems
that words never leave me.

Incomplete. A friend of mine wrote a poem about how it took her 11 songs to go from her lover’s arms to the bed of her own demons. She reminded me of how we made love to our skin so much that these clothes smell too much like people we kept trying to not become. Another friend of mine wrote a poem about how a house feels like, as you try to leave your bedsheets, only to stumble onto the promiscuous promises of sad poetry and cluttered words in a heart too small, in a mind too medicated. I am talking to myself in the middle of recurring nightmares, reminding myself that Maa and Baba would not leave, and tomorrow morning, a young child would step out of me. I am reminding myself that lies can substitute for prayers. I am reminding myself that I can fill my lungs with so many poems that words never leave me. I am reminding myself that I can make time for lonely beds, and the anguish of being a forest without a ground, being a sky without a sea, being a flower without its petals, being a language without its alphabets can be forgotten. #poetry #heartbreak #pain #love #yqbaba

31 OCT AT 14:58

Angels fall with a helix
of their sins,
and the toenails break
with every attempt to jump.

Good morning. He wakes up to the music of the curtains sliding off of goodnights – a little drunk. Before he finds his feet, bedsheets of his regret curl up at his ankles. He does not remember the night, and the skid marks on his chest speak of accidents he never intended to cause. The room stinks of musk, his clothes of vaporized respect. He clutches his hair with a wilting dawn’s flair. His pillow is a ballad to his flight across a marooned sky. Angels fall with a helix of their sins, and the toenails break with every attempt to jump. They calculate the weight of one’s soul in the measure of words we never say. But, there are promises getting walled between a constant submission to our stubborn aspirations and papercup hopes. So, through the morning daze, he gasps to walk with feet wet. A sunrise of half-slept dreams - he decorates his face with a groan. "Good morning", he wishes himself, to declare a journey to survive once more. Cradling his hips in a stride that seems like burning soil after vegetation is cleared, he sets out from a home he builds from bricks of his midnight sweat. He sets out to a valedictorian dance of his hopes to shed clothes where his stench is the same as his music’s burning melody. #life #love #heartbreak #pain #dreams

18 OCT AT 16:47

Festivals were when the entire family
came together, 
and these unfair pictures tell you of smiles, 
but do not tell you of bedroom scars, 
bedroom kisses, bedroom disgust.
They do not tell you of unbecoming a human.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgiNCnlEb4k

www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgiNCnlEb4k Please check the video link in the bio. I wrote this poem under 15 minutes and performed it almost immediately after that. Photograph. Apa – I called our neighbor aunty ‘Apa’, she always hated her pictures being taken, she said that parts of our soul get trapped inside the four walls of cardboard like a bird, with its feet tied, leaping for its first flight. My earliest memories of childhood are buried in plastic pages of albums. As Maa lets them breathe, life comes back to the dull pictures, I sit in Baba’s lap, crying, wailing, and Baba is laughing, holding my hand, and a firecracker in it, looking towards the camera. My family has not known to celebrate festivals for eight years now. And, the picture albums hoard dust to sell by the kilos of memories. Our ancestral home is a haunted building, much like the people who live in it. They lost so much to the past that now, ghosts inhabit their beds, and kitchens. My cousins and I sit to eat, and through dusty shelves, I can see years of torment gathering steam on paper. There lies a bit of my molester’s soul hung with a garland on our house’s wall. I was brought up being called his favorite kid. Festivals were when the entire family came together, and these unfair pictures tell you of smiles, but do not tell you of bedroom scars, bedroom kisses, bedroom disgust. They do not tell you of unbecoming a human. They do not tell you of affection dripping daggers into lust, and flaying me alive. Watch now, watch how that house is haunted. The problem with faulty definitions is that we assume them to be right. Our cleaved hearts stick from our chests for people to poke and make a dartboard out of. You can count all the metaphors this tongue sins to speak, but you cannot justify walking into a friend’s place to celebrate Diwali in 8th grade, for him to leverage your soul against everything that this poem would probably never tell you. I can feel shivers racing through a course of my body, skid marks decorating bruises where today stretch marks hide. My class photograph topples over from my box as I shift from Bhubaneswar to Bangalore, and Apa’s words ring in my ear. I cannot say if I have more soul in my words or in that smile that gleams, that runs from ear to ear on a happy photograph, standing next to my best friend. I have not known what celebrations mean, for me, firecrackers have burnt through and through. My Baba taught me to respect myself, but what if every time I placed faith in someone, they taught me a different definition of respect? I sit here a thousand miles from Maa, my embodiment of home. There are no presents, no crackers, no lamps. I have become a guest in my own body, to not know what light is, what celebrations are. So, I burn away my brain with medication. So, I burn away myself in picture frames, in selfies which I can’t quite face, in mirrors where I flinch to look at myself, and not find parts of someone’s sweat pasted on my forehead. So, I burn away my fear a little bit in campaigns, in a show of solidarity, but there is not enough crayons to color spilled childhoods, there are not enough festivals to bring a dead home back to life. #metoo #diwali #life #yqbaba #support

19 OCT AT 22:00

They forget to tell you of unhealthy journeys; 
the number of steps skip the count
of heaving monsoons which drench our souls.
We mistake ruins for homes,
damages for beauty,
collapsing into a mirage of our own making.

Caffeine. They tell me of an unhealthy recipe to living vicariously through the residue at the end of each cup. I am recounting memories as time unfolds back into geometric shapes I am losing coherence of. 7 cups down. There are parts of ink that become synonymous with surnames. They forget to tell you of unhealthy marriages; miscarried adults cradled with a lullaby – always feeble. 8 cups down. There are parts of ink that become homonymous with separation. They forget to tell you of unhealthy families; these pictures stop at the junctions of frames - torn, a little worn. 9 cups down. There are parts of ink that become antonymous with homes. They forget to tell you of unhealthy journeys; the number of steps skip the count of heaving monsoons which drench our souls. We mistake ruins for homes, damages for beauty, collapsing into a mirage of our own making. 10 cups down. There are parts of ink that become hyponymous with battles. They forget to tell you of unhealthy puppets; waging wars was natural to poets, tearing away layers was not. So, when the drapes fall, the scars talk about papercuts - glorious memoirs of charred reflections. I hear them talk about an unhealthy recipe to survive, but how much caffeine does it take to drown a human enough to want to live again? #coffee #life #pain #sad #yqbaba #change

16 OCT AT 16:19

My poem - 'Human Sacrifices' - is on YouTube. Find the link to the video in my bio. And, please provide your feedback, views, comments on the video or here.

It would mean the world to me.

Human Sacrifices. As a child, it was tough to get me admitted to school. My mother tells me That she would be asked – “What do you want your son to grow up to be?” She would reply each time – “A good person”. The schools wanted a different, a quantifiable answer because, hey, persons stopped being good a long time back. I got educated, sure, but even after 22 years, I still do not understand what my mother wanted me to be. You see, my father was a boxer. His father, a professor. My mother, a teacher. Her father, a librarian. Our bloodlines were so exhausted of sleeping with dreams that we had forgotten to live them for ourselves. My father quit his job the week after his marriage because he wanted to spend the whole day just looking at my mother’s beautiful face. His first book of poetry was named after her - Krishna, as a child, I saw his passion, his love, his dream being dragged out as a commercial failure on a family of three, perhaps I did not tell you that I come from a home with lesser walls than people, from a town that usually gets torn in the creases of a map. You see, my mother is a geography teacher, yet she could never explain to me why all our seasons always felt like summers, without the chance of eyes meeting the clouds, with scorching promises, scorching hopes, like the one of me growing up to be a good person someday. I still do not understand what my mother wanted me to be. I grew up a boy shamed for being fat, instead. I grew up a boy shamed for being short, instead. I grew up a boy who started litmus tests with skepticism before believing anything, instead. Now, my grandmother always told me that I was her favorite grandkid. She would hide a papad for me after every meal, so that I always got an extra piece. She always told me how good and bad are not phases but lunar cycles, how good and bad rotate with time, slowly, receding into one another. today, my grandmother wraps a towel around a water bottle calling it a nickname she designed for her favorite grandchild as she does not recognize me when I touch her feet. she still saves a papad for her favorite grandchild, but gets confused at the end of her meal when she does not know who to offer it to anymore. Now that I know right from wrong, or think that I do, I want to ask her how good cycles with bad, what if I have not seen good for so long that at the sight of it I howl at the skies like a wolf on a full moon night. I try to stop myself, but I end up with scathing scars on my skin where the animal in me gave way. maybe, grandma understands that. Maybe, that is why she cannot recognize me. Between dreams we grew up to see and dreams we were born for, we became human sacrifices. I still do not understand what my mother wanted me to be. For as long as I can remember I have known myself to not trust good things as they happen to me. When I told the love of my life about how I feel about her, she agreed. She loved me back. For weeks, for months, I kept wondering if it was all but a practical joke. When I got my first job, I did not celebrate. No, I was not scared, I have not been scared for a while, you see. That’s what worries me. I was not scared because I knew in my bones that I would fail, eventually. You see, my favorite poet quoted once “Fear of joy is the darkest of captivities.” The job made me cry on nights so much that I slowly lost my mind, my path. My mother thought she lost her son, but how do I tell her that in the pursuit of growing up, she lost him anyway. That in the pursuit of joy, I lost the capability to enjoy them anymore. I stand here tracing the footsteps of time across a centre stage, as the hour hands return home from where they left. I still do not understand what my mother wanted me to be. because through flimsy appearances and cardboard hearts that fold to give papercuts on palms, I became so many things waiting for good and bad to happen, avoiding to fail like somebody we knew, avoiding to be shamed like somebody we knew, that I know not how to become a person anymore. #life #love #heartbreak #video #yqbaba

24 OCT AT 9:57