To Conor Oberst – At the Bottom of Everything

While my mother waters plants,
My father loads his guns.
He says, "Death will give us back to God,
Just like the setting sun, returns to the lonesome ocean."

- "At the Bottom of Everything" by Bright Eyes

Dear Conor,

I read this somewhere, I remember now. They said your music was for girls with choppy neon hair that sat in bars reading Kerouac and smoking clove cigarettes. The kind of girls you’d read about in a Murakami novel. Quirky girls.

Alas, to my fourteen year old self’s dismay, I was abysmally ordinary. Bored and impressionable, but perspicacious in the way that most unassuming adolescents are. And yet, I found Fevers and Mirrors, an auricular anthology documenting your undiluted anguish. I was thrilled to the bone. Addicted to your pain.

The songs weren’t pretty. They didn’t have gratifying nuances or prolific filigree. But they reached the cold vacuum in my chest nonetheless, possessing me.

And so began the affair – un-romantic, but not loveless. Naked, fierce, and easy.

Through hate and humiliation and poetry, you taught me that there was beauty in insignificance, in pain, in desperacy. An intrinsic sense of understanding settled in my belly, consuming lyrics, metaphors, and melodies.

Sometimes, if I paused for too long,
breathing and bathing in your craft mid-song,
it devastated me.

Dear Conor,
at the very bottom of everything,

I don’t know if I love your music anymore, but it doesn’t matter, does it? Either way,
it’s a part of my being.

Love,
No One

To Lolita – That Thing We Call Lonliness

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Dear Lolita,

You’re the very personification of quintessential naivety. Right?

We see a girl who was led astray, abused, broken and put back together so hastily that it left many cracks, scars, if you will.

The slippery substance that makes up our souls seeping out of the cracks faster than sand through fingers in a hot summer breeze.

Leaving behind blind nothings and empty beliefs. Isn’t that what we call loneliness?

That burning of ribs that cage decaying feces? The black hole that sucks the life out of our pupils, reflecting in them like a warning sign: DON’T COME NEAR ME.

So this is what I mean. I think, know and believe. I say you were naive, Lolita. You were scared, broken, naïve. And lonely.

We’re like two planets orbiting around each other. Breathing the same non-air, looking into each other’s eyes, we never meet.

But,
Do know.
You’re not alone in your loneliness. Such is our poignant serendipity.

So let’s be lonely together, shall we?

Love and virtual company,
Anupama

To Murakami – Kafka Belongs To Me

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Hey,

I want to speak to you like a friend. I’m nefarious enough to take that liberty. Callous enough to use words like I do my own fingers. Naïve enough to trust myself with ideas I believe I comprehend.

Dear Mr. Murakami,

Your words belong to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not stupid or trying to act stupidly smart to garner any form of attention.

In the crude expanse of lonely minds turning to books for comfort, words for escape, yours enveloped me like the warmest touch. Seriously, I was so lost I wanted to cry. That’s how I knew your words had branded me as theirs. Pouring into my own bloodstream, orchestrating the very pounding of my heart.

And in return, I embraced your words as mine. Breathing them in greedily. “Like a wanton crack whore.” (Is it narcissistic to quote myself?)

When I read Kafka On The Shore, I made it my own. As every now then, a simple sentence reached out and grazed my ribcage, I left that sensation between the pages like a mundane but essential bookmark.

I can’t even begin to gauge how it must feel to be the inadvertent puppeteer of so many minds, emotions, skipped-heartbeats. I hope it feels incredible. Because your words definitely make me feel incredible.

I hope every happy feeling connects back to you the way your words connect to us. Like an elaborate labyrinth of energies.A gargantuan web of sensations. One that beats loneliness.

Maybe it exists, and that’s why books give us comfort, and words escape.

Yours truly,
Anupama

To Marilyn Monroe – Girl

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Dear Marilyn,

The camera does strange things to you. Makes your lips quiver and your eyes twitch.

By you I mean me.

I work in a place where they need actors for free sometimes, even actors that aren’t actors will do. They dress me up like a girl, do up my hair, decorate my skin with peach paste and flair.

I don’t mind really. I don’t enjoy it either. But later when I look back, the nothingness I feel will be etched with fondness brought by nostalgia, fondness there never was to begin with.

Sorry, I tend to stray from the point. Point being, let’s return to the point of retreat.

For a moment there, a moment held in time, clasped in its palm like a miniscule gem, I was a girl. A girl as we know girls to be.

Pretty, thoughtless, sharp and melancholy.

A girl like you. A girl unlike me.

Time made a girl out of you too. Changed your name, the fibres of your dress, the pores in your skin. The quintessence of your memory.

Were you a girl then, Marilyn?

A female, a princess, a maiden, a fucking damsel in distress?

Pretty, thoughtless, sharp and melancholy.

Here we stop, because here we get to the point. Here we zip-lock our premeditations and wayward emotions. Here we rephrase.

Girl is a mountain, a giant.

She is invincible.

Pretty, thoughtless, sharp and melancholy.

Bold, broken, reckless and spectacular.

That’s the girl we are, aren’t we? That’s the girl we see.

I’m not sexist/feminist/anarchist or anything fancy like that.
I’m a Girl.

A girl who is confused, bewildered, contradicted and exhausted by everything having to be labelled and put up on the metaphorical bulletin board. I DON’T WANT TO BE pretty, thoughtless, sharp and melancholy.

What if I want to be the nothingness I feel? What if I want to exist metaphysically? This time, not metaphorically.

I’m tired of defining every little thing. ESPECIALLY. Especially, the girl I want to be.

Aren’t you?

That’s all.

Love,
Girl

To Emily Dickinson – Life After Death

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“How dreary – to be – Somebody!

How public – like a Frog –

To tell one’s name – the livelong June –

To an admiring Bog!”

Dear Emily,

There’s a hollowness in your words that makes my chest feel like a gaping black hole.

They are full of impossibilities, etched with the fear of oblivion. Sucking in the electric emotions and flinging them into the unfathomable black abyss.

They say they found your work after you died. All those brilliant poetries children would one day loath as they were taught to interpret them in school, their unrefined thoughts conjuring a vague image of you as a nineteenth-century emo.

They say that’s when you began a new life, a new legend. Breathing through your words, thriving on the sensations we felt when we read them, as yours remained forgotten whispers in the dust.

A life after death.

But you never wanted to be somebody, did you? Because you were already dead.

You felt dead, like you lived inside the black hole in my chest.

You had always felt the color flaking off your soul as it grew dormant and stale, the color that wasn’t dulled with age, but with loneliness.

Did you daydream about your funeral? Then grow angry because you were still stuck here, where no one could see you. You didn’t want them to see you, no.

But, sometimes. Only sometimes,

As you sat near the windowsill, looking at the rose that would be your muse, the delicate teacup in your dry fingers cracked and you couldn’t breathe because you were tired of everybody not seeing you—everybody unseeing you and you wanted to yell I’M HERE GODDAMNIT, I’M ALIVE.

Would you be glad, knowing that they see you now?

Or,

Perhaps you would still be unhappy, as you disintegrate under the surface of the earth.

Or perhaps,

You are simply oblivious.

Because you knew. You always knew, what it was like to be dead.

It’s like you lived the second you died.

Or did you die the second you started living?

Dear Emily,

I hope you know now,

For someone who never seemed to have the affinity for life,

You made a lot of us feel alive.

Yours,
Gauri