Today’s prompt via napowrimo.net is to examine the images on @SpaceLiminalBot’s Twitter handle and pick the one that inspires us to write poetry about liminal spaces. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, ‘liminal’ is a term that is used for something that is neither here nor there, or in transition. It is something that exists on both sides of a boundary at the same time.
Before you go ahead and read my poem, this is a reminder to go check out Kittu’s Modern Mixtape blog and Amour Infini’s Instagram page to read their wonderful poetry because they are amazing writers and I love that they’re doing NaPoWriMo with me.
This poem is inspired largely by an element of the story of the K-Drama called ‘Hotel Del Luna’, where the dead cross a bridge to the afterlife. As they cross the very long bridge, which may take several years, they forget bits and pieces of memory until there are no memories left at all. It really fit the context of ‘liminal spaces’ (along with the image I picked) and helped me build my entire poem around it. Don’t miss the endnotes for more details about the poem!
I hope you enjoy reading it. Xx
I don’t feel a thing.
How could I?
I’m neither here nor there,
Slipping away with every moment that goes by.
Voices in protest crying, ‘Don’t go,
Come back, there must be another way,’
The farther I go, the quieter it gets,
Like voices heard underwater,
Weighted and garbled.
Not quite fathoming what they’re saying anymore,
And perhaps it wouldn’t matter—
Nobody knows what lies beyond the bridge,
Yet I hear,
Sincere, helpless and desperate,
Empty promises of ’I’ll do whatever you say,’
Pray to an entity who looks the other way,
Lots of tears.
I have a choice.
Perhaps it’s what I tell myself,
How I hate the way those words ring hollow,
Every atom of my being screaming
‘This is it,’
It’s time to go, but is it?
I stand before an endless bridge to eternity,
If only I could tell where my next step would take me
Knowing only that I’d be leaving everything I’ve held dear behind,
There is, but, one way ahead,
No twists and turns, nowhere to aimlessly wander;
Mist for as far as my eyes can see—
There is nowhere but forward to go.
And there it is,
The sickeningly sweet comfort of an afterlife,
All trials by fire passed with flying colours…
What comes next?
That’s when I hear them again,
Wailing, begging as though on their knees,
To find my way back to them,
I could still turn back,
It’s a fight for life that clings to me
In wisps and tendrils of iridescence—
What’s a few steps forward to test these waters?
At worst, a quicksand, a maelstrom,
And at best?
Slow, agonizing drowning.
I’d run to the voices still mourning me in a heartbeat,
Far away but I can make it,
Breath knocked out of my lungs set on fire,
The pain of a thousand stabbing knives,
And that’s when I know,
I could stay here for another moment,
But it is time.
Time to go.
Don’t mourn the fight I’ve lost.
Should the bridge I stand on collapse to dust,
Should the dainty thread of life I hang by break,
Crossroads could be a terrifying choice to make,
Not knowing where they go,
Not knowing the way back,
Always lost in the forest of what could’ve been,
But there’s nothing quite as terrifying as this liminal space I stand in.
And as much as I would like to go back,
Wake up to faces streaked with tears that they’ve run out,
I have to go.
I’m still here,
But I’ll be gone soon.
I’ll remember nothing of you the next time our stars cross,
But will you remember me?
~© Shubhangi Srinivasan.
Let’s be real! Who hasn’t planned their own funeral in their heads? Who hasn’t thought about what it would be like when we actually die? What will we be leaving behind? What will the afterlife look like? We’ve all had these thoughts at some point; I am just glad that I got to bring those thoughts to life. This is, again, one of my longer and best poems, and I had a lot of fun writing about some of the more intrusive thoughts in my head. I hope you liked reading it, too!
The Shubhster. Xx
Featured Image by Journal of a Nobody on Tumblr.