Gnaw: The Hour Of Insomnia

       Rose Kahlo
Gnaw: The Hour Of Insomnia

Rose Kahlo

Copyright 2017 Rose Kahlo

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

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Table of Contents

About this collection

Rock and Paper
Fairy Tale
Winter Castle
Lips on Lips
Sand Castles
Bride In Blue
Hunt it down
Little Things
Imagined Love
Pieces Of Me
Dumb Charades
Among The Trees
Wild Fire
Souls Apart

About The Author
About This Collection

Gnaw: The hour Of Insomnia is a collection of poems written by Rose Kahlo.

“Do you remember the time when your eyes beckoned you to sleep but your mind was restless? This collection is the offspring of those grime, restless hours when the brain wouldn't stop churning and your hands won't stop writing.

In a wink of an eye, all the thoughts that ever crossed your mind, all the incomplete stories created that are never meant to be penned down but exist with your reality, you'll find some of them nestled in my words waiting for you to utter and enunciate with pleasure and sorrow.

I hope you find a part of yourself inside these pages. For I find myself in my words.”

Rose Kahlo

I sipped last dregs of drinks
To get high and drunk.

To forget about the present, and
Wake up in the oblivion.

Rock And Paper

Down on the ground
They wither.

Pelted stones collect blood,

Feathers white write their stories
On crimson paper.


With prancing light
Behind her eyes bright
Lies the shadow of despair
Darkening her mind.

Lucid smile, dreamy eyes
Could never fathom the
Depth of heart aches
Ruining her perfect life.

With an empty mind
The days pass by, rolling
Like dice on rugged floor,
Waiting for pawns to get home.

World's a better place
In virtual memories and fake breaths.
Nothing is darker than the shade that
Colours the road to home grey.


The cake on the the table,
Ignited candles,
Streamers hanging low
From the ceiling and banisters.

Her fingers wrapped around the knife,
Getting ready to blow out the flickering
Wisp of light.


Lights out. The cake now cut
Sits alone.

She sits outside in the balcony,
Tears streaming down her face.
No cheers or wishes
Echoing in the hall.

“Celebrating birthday alone!? Never!”
She declared, gulping
From another bottle of beer.

She shivered as she looked back at the rows
of empty chairs.


The night was bright,
The moon hung low,
Tides were high,
She waded through all.

The night bellowed loud,
Whimpering she sped till she reached
The end of the sea, at shore.

Sun was finally rising
Warmth hit the soggy sand shore.
Groggy eyed, she woke up
To find herself staring at three men,
Their hands soiled with gore.

She screamed,
Flapped her tail, and
Crawled towards the shore.

The knife gleamed in their hands,
Afternoon heat blistering her pores.

They laughed, watching her gasp as
She finally touched the water cold.

They laughed more,
Dragged her out of water
She crawled more.

She cried, begged for her life
Till they plunged into her
The metal cold.

Fairy Tale

In the days of yore
The mountain men told the lore
Of fairies, elves and leprechauns.

Midnight, when the villagers slept,
Shimmering under the moonlit steps
These mystics danced
With the music of their wings.

Jingles echoing through the forest,
Thumping of feet on the grassy floor
Lullaby of the elves made trees sway with force.

The stars continued to twinkle
With fairy dust on their bodies.
The leprechauns hummed and
Drank milk under the cow's teats.

Such was the magic on the mountain top
Whispering willows cried out.
While the fairies twirled about.

Prancing on petals,
Playing with dandelions,
Through out the night
Till the sun peeked through the sky's crevice.

Winter Castle

Poking the sky with its cold metal scythe
Tied with the pillars,
The winter castle held its ground,
Ominous in stature.

Grey stones collected moss,
Castle moat stagnated and rot.
Passers by shielded their eyes
When the scythe scintillated the sunlight.

Throughout the night the doors creak
Like the groans of dying sheep.
The broken windows wildly shatter
Against the harrowing winds of the East.

Like the cold emptiness of fog
The winter castle was never home.
Portraits that hung on walls were
All bloodied by familial war.

Sickening shrieks are still heard
Throughout the castle floors.
Lamenting ghosts wail on,
“Winter Castle is a hell hole.”


Dangling woollen strings
From the ugly sweater old,
Knitted by wrinkled hands, and
Smelled of thyme and rose.

Cozy and warm
Like summers long,
Memories of frosts and fall
Stuck to its core.

Hugging my sweater
I look back at the memories gold
When days were simple
And bacons were served hot.

When I said goodbye
To my old family home
Soggy eyes reflected back
The fired hearth burning low.

Now packing it back
In the brown cardboard box.
Dining table's empty,
I am left all alone.

Lips On Lips

Awkward and slow,
Like penguins on snow,
You walked towards me.

Lips on cheeks.
The beats I missed
Every time my heart leapt from its cages.

Clasping hands, entwined fingers
Starstruck, we gaze at each other.
Till your head moved closer.

Lips on lips
Deep breaths we missed.
Breathless, the moment ceased.


Cheese strings hanging from her lips
Ketchup smeared on my collar
Her fingers, dusted with crispy crusts
These are the nights I'll remember.

Through waves and waves of winter cold
When the falling snow sticks to our window old
You still wait at the steps of our door
For me, holding a warm slice of pizza.

Tired, when we lie together, and
The fire in hearth is flaring, fierce,
The last slice of pizza lay cold on the table.
These are the nights I'll remember.


Ashes and bones grind together
While the blood drips from the mortals
Lying on the floor, gasping and sucking
For air, under the night sky of stars.

The hammering of pestles
The agonising cries of the prisoners
The vanishing hope in their eyes
Were a spectacle for the mad man inside.

With the chains their shrivelling bodies were hung
Till their dried bodies slipped,
Falling out of their shackles to the ground,
Squeaking for deaths like cowards.

Burnt flesh, dried up under the sun.
Dead men's cries crippled even the bravest runts
Who wait to slip out of their shackles and
Turn into dust like the rest of them.

Their deaths remain a mere display
For the pompous cowards.
Their bones were crushed to powder
To appease the lords unknown.


In the night all alone
Kitchen fire burning low
Food cold, stale more.
Dark moths flutter around
The lamp post.

Sand Castles

Dreams built of sand
With my passionate hands.
Moulding curves with my fingers
While the moonlight infiltrates the sea's depth.

Lapping waves on shore
Threaten to drown the roar
Of the dreamers rocking gently
On the mellow sand floor.

After buckets and buckets of sand
The castle rises like a mountain
Even the stars kiss its windows hollow
Even the darkness magnify its strength.

When the moon almost touches horizon
The tides rise higher than the usual
Swallowing the gigantic sand castle
Leaving behind broken dreams and rubble.

The sand is wet, and the
Castles can be built again.


Winds when howl in the empty streets
Lights go off in the lamp posts
You can hear them jingling low and
Their wings clanking together.

And slowly I walk alone.

The light from my torch
Brightens the path long
While the dust dots shimmy
In the conical light show.

And humming I walk alone.

Stars so gentle blur in their own light
Fireflies gather around the branch
hanging low, and their tails glow
Like crown on maiden's head brown.

And awestruck I walk alone.

Singing along the wild wind
The awake owl hoots.
I sing “la vie en rose” while
The pebbles crunch beneath my boots.

And whistling I walk alone.

Bride In Blue

To own the seas and the sky
Bright Blue
To spread my hands and fly
Into oblivion crude.
These are my wishes
I hope to make true.

They call me their bride in blue.

Hunt it down

Vicious fangs baring out
Dripping blood crimson on the floor
Eyes grey like the mossed stone
Such was the beast .

“We must hunt it down!”

Quiet like slipping time
Beautiful like sunrise, his
Fur shimmered in gold and
Everyone mesmerised and vowed

“We must hunt it down!”

Howling among the leaves new
The beast roamed the forest blue
The wind that day bore the omen ill for
The hunters' gathering bellowed loud,

“We must hunt it down!”

The forest then echoed of war,
Thumping of feet when they traversed the trees,
Sniffing of the hounds looking for the beast, and roar
Of the chanting men

“We must hunt it down!”

Armed with guns and darts
They captured the beast at last
Dripping blood through the millions gash
That tattooed the glorious fur. And they screamed,

“We must hunt it down!”

A bullet through its head
The beast now rests, dead.
The grey eyes now shallow clouded sky
Its fur skinned away by gory hands.


Jumping like a hare
Ready to flare the fire
Burning inside me,
Letting it devour my sole purpose
Becoming what I always wanted to be.

Opening up my arms, and taking deep breaths,
Dive from the cliff into the
thrashing waves beckoning me
To rise higher
Becoming what I always wanted to be.

Though the rocks hurt me
Though the briny sea once drowned me
My eyes will continue to sparkle
With my dreams folded between the sheets of stars,
Becoming what I always wanted to be.

Little Things

Sing a lullaby
While the toddler sleeps
Mewling with his eyes closed
Yawning, waiting for you to hold him.

Listen carefully
To the ballerina's ballad,
The tiptoe of her feet, and
The glassy floor's squeaks, waiting for your applauses.

Feel the rough bark
Of the trees tough, the
Delicate petals of the lilly twirling
With the breeze, sprinkling its scent.

See through the water clear,
The murky ponds where toads cheer
See the brown leaves crackle in
The heat, and watch the water slowly disappear.

Taste the tangy lime green,
The aromatic spices with herbs
Fresh, and the coarse sugar melting between
The tongue and your teeth, and yell,”Bon appetit!”

What I really mean to say is
Enjoy the little things.

Imagined Love

Draped around your neck
Like sheets of silk slipping
between your legs,
Is the warmth you miss
When you imagine the love
You never had.

Breaking little pieces
From your memory lane,
Building new carcasses from the
Rotting bones of desperate men,
You look for love among these strangers,
Vying for their uncalled attention.

Sipping cold brew when the dusk falls,
Wrapped in your covers, you lay cold,
You wait for the shooting star
To cross your way, and
You wish for the love you never had,
Imagining your fairytale.

Mocked by the rest I've cried late nights,
Muffling my whining with soft pillows,
I have waited for sunrise.

Losing all hope, I have seen the dusk fall,
The blue sky turn into moonless grey,and let
The pain overcome my senses.

Branded useless, I've roamed the cities
Like gypsy carrying the weight of broken dreams.
In her pockets.

Pieces Of Me

Every time they touch
A piece of me parts and
Break away into the pile
Of damaged stuffs.

With dried tears, I'm numb.
The scorching pain
Gives away to the burn
Marks displayed on my skin.

I wish I could fathom
The hours gone by, and the
Writhing body scavenging over my bleeding corpse,
While pieces of me die, slowly.

I still hear my heart low,
Beating among the grunts and moans
Of sweating bodies wrestling for more,
While I wished for my beats to pause.

Known faces fleet among
The swarm of millions.
I try to remember my name but
All I see are numbers branded on my skin.

Dumb Charades

Like puppets with broken hands
The miserable in me called you.
Did you not see it when
My searching eyes beckoned you?

Scratching at your door with my broken nails
I bled and howled to see you again,
Never even uttering a word
Since you asked me to seal my lips.

You never opened your doors
I froze and wheezed on the cold floor.

Crippled and mute, I patiently wait
For your warmth to wrap me.
Alas! You ignore and leave me
In this despicable state, dying.

You promised you'll come, and
Watch me catch snowflakes.
I am tired of playing dumb.
I can't keep up with your charades.

Among The Trees

Swaying with the gusty wind
Bending with branches lean
The trees in the autumn bring
Forth the fading green.

Among those balding branches,
Sit the spirits free,
Hopping merrily while the
Orange leaves cover the brown fields.

Poking grey sky with its drying twigs,
The trees age without their plumage.
They crackle and groan after the sunrise,
Scratching windows with their twigs.

Among the trees, they hide and play
Their laughter echoing along the far bay
Till dusk touches the forest floor, and
No autumn was gayer than their melancholy chores.

Wild Fire

Galloping like horses into the night
The strange light swallowed all might
Melting men to burning fat
Leaving behind charcoals and sand.

Iron glowed white like snow,
Wooden doors kindled more
Devouring red fingers, lapping
Up everything in its way like hell hole.

Agonizing screams of beasts and men are alike,
No god or poor when the fire strikes.
Clearing up the trembling trees, and berry bushes,
It left behind a cemetery with unmarked graves.

Souls Apart

Together like jigsaw pieces,
We were born to stay apart.
Find ourselves again and
Lose to the insolence of others.

Never had the strength to strive
For us. We turn our blind eye
To the whispering mongers, and thus
We stayed together to be apart.

Coward is our selfless love
Nourished by our procrastinations.
Selfish is our selfless love
To keep our souls apart.


It brings me immense pleasure and tearful eyes to see my collection finally deserving a happy end and reach those people for whom it was deservedly written.

This collection would never have been possible without my maa and paa constantly encouraging me to write and pour my heart out. They shared their belief with me and handled me with love and patience. I'll be forever indebted to them for their support during this period.
A big heart for them!

Thanks a lot to my brother for he was the first to read all my poems and believe in every word written. It is his honest criticisms that has propelled me to come out of my shell and achieve for non-mediocrity.

I am also grateful to all those friends and strangers who were unaware subjects in my poems. They were my inspiration and muse.

And a big thank you to YOU.
Thank you for taking your time out and reading my dreams, desires and observations. It was one roller coaster ride! I hope we stay connected and continue to inspire each other.

Rose Kahlo

About The Author

Rose Kahlo is an aspiring novelist, living in urban India with her little family that constitutes her “often cool” parents and an annoying but smart young brother. She usually spends her Sundays with coffee, books, laptop, and a pillow in case of emergency. She's currently working on her début novel after basking in the joy of officially completing Gnaw.

If you're interested to know more about the aspirer, you can always check out her profile at

Smashwords Interview:
Instagram: @rose_kahlo

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