Five steps to build a human being

stand by him.
When the words of bullies get within an inch of his nose,
let him look them in the eye with poise and calm,
knowing someone has his back,
knowing he will soon collect those words,
blur their knife edges
and build poems out of them.

leave him alone.
As the blood within him learns to flow on its own,
let him find the river he must flow into
or the ocean he must create.
Let him stub his toes in dead ends,
let his hands grope blind alleys
till one day his inner ear has taught him to balance himself.
Walk with him up the hill,
and leave him alone at the edge of a cliff;
he will learn to jump off it
or trace his steps back.

nurture his brain.
Give him a book,
and when he has turned the last page,
burn all of it,
so he does not hang on to any word for life.
Challenge his beliefs and make him challenge yours,
ask him to hold them at an arm’s length,
and see if the light shines through any crack.

laugh with him.
Laugh with him
when he thinks the sky is clenching its jaws around his neck.
Laugh with him
when it seems like the earth is crashing into his chest.
Laugh at him
when he sees an inflated version of himself in the mirror,
Laugh at him
when he calls himself a modern-day Hercules or Batman without a cape.

give him a heart
that learns to sync its beat with people.
If he doesn’t,
he might just keep watching others fly past his needle shaped fingers,
ignoring them till one day
faces turn into blank pages,
and lips look like razor blades.
Smash his prejudices along with his idols.
Ask him to turn himself inside out
and wear the skin of a stranger,
not for a mile,
not for a day.
Let him wear it
until he doesn’t know the difference from his own.

NaPoWriMo 2017, Poem 6

This one’s inspired by the immensely talented Bangalorean poet: Daniel Sukumar. Prompt source: Airplane Poetry Movement


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