Once dawn broke through
with her lucent wings,
soaring down like a phoenix,
bringing with her fierce reckoning
and shaking off hebetude —
the sins of your foes avenged
by the flick of the wrist, the
tossing aside of the bed sheet,
the morning run,
breakfast at 7, and a need
to be somebody everybody notices.
Now a plaintive, Anybody?
saturates an already forsaken
world of laptop chargers,
cabinets with white mould,
32 cigarettes in the ashtray
and broken television screens
with the sickly green of rejection.
You wonder if you should cry
because you frighten them when
all you’ve wanted is for them to
appreciate you, respect you for
a change. “First impressions!” a
girl from your past chimes from
somewhere within the murky mist.
Haven’t I proved enough? Paid for
my mistakes, and earned my place?
you cry aloud. “First impressions!”
You aren’t that swaying,
with downcast eyes
and an awkward gait,
ugly season between
summer and the monsoon,
humid and pungent,
claw their way
to this realm from
Abaddon’s violent pit,
like locusts and
infecting Harry and Sally,
Timmy and Julie.
Then another voice,
a second girl:
“Your poetry is dark! dark! dark!”
Yes! Yes! Yes! That’s me expressing
myself, my deepest pain and guilt,
the scaffold of reprobation
and the puritanical angst
are already there, but you’re
the rope, misperceiving every damn
thing about me.
“Dark! Dark! Dark!”
Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Give me a damn
break, won’t you?
You float through the stuffy corridors
of your apartment like a ghost
without a person to haunt
because ‘your tribe’ left you
when you started a blog
thinking you’ll find the camaraderie
of like-minded, introspective bums,
unafraid of pain and circumstance,
when you posted your first
confessional on FB dovetailing
patriarchal blows with your lows
(looking back, the old man turned
out better than these bastards.
At least he cares in his own way),
when you wrote about suicide,
breaking every barrier that separates
the popcorn munching audience
from the cringe,
when you threw in religion, yes,
nothing like Calvinistic madness
to trigger the most reasonable person,
making him pluck the petals of his TULIP,
and stomp them with crimson fury,
when you gave up,
and sat — like you do now —
the cigarette smoke, your only
friend, music faux-comforting you
like a sycophant oiling your back
with the most fragrant Navratna.
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