The purpose of goodness

You must be good,
say your prayers daily,
ensure your bowl leaks just enough to nourish those in need,
follow the tenets,
and brand them into your skin,
ensure the beads keep moving through your fingers.

If you do this,
an appetizing afterlife awaits.
Saint Peter will usher you in through the gate of Paradise
and lead you to your throne in the midst of the gods,
between the fathers and the sons.
Or if you were told differently on earth,
seventy-two virgins will ravage you.
You will get to choose who goes first.
Of course, if you’re a woman,
they won’t know how you will be rewarded.

Be diligent,
ensure you follow the script.
If you aren’t up to the mark with your virtues,
the afterlife could be cloudy.
You might oscillate forever in limbo
or keep sinking in a bottomless hell,
or just get reborn and get dumped back on earth.

Or if you are fifty-fifty on vice and virtue,
they’ll send you to purgatory,
the no man’s land between heaven and hell.
Maybe, heaven has too many people,
so purgatory’s the waiting room.

And if in this life,
you see the virtuous suffer,
and the evil prosper,
make no mistake,
it is because they had some good karma
in a previous life.
It all adds up to the next afterlife.

So be good,
keep your shoes spotless,
be the best saint you can be.

All this for that coveted afterlife.

Hang on,
what if I told you they – the gods
lied about the afterlife?
What if the gods were a lie?

NaPoWriMo 2017, poem 20

The man who shrank the earth

Prompt: Write from the point of view of a person who changed the course of history.

You might know me
and my friend Larry.
If you don’t,
you can just google, haha.
Who knew a research project would take us this far?
We connect bits of information scattered over the earth,
Melt it in one large crucible,
And fuse it, make it accessible
to everyone at a click or a touch.

Don’t be evil, that’s our motto,
the Chinese though, treat us with a mountain of caution.
We don’t need your checkin.
We’ll still track your location
when you are at places you don’t want to be seen.
Your neighbour might not catch you,
but we will, trust me.

We know what you’re looking up the internet for,
yesterday it was ‘How to get over my ex’,
today you keyed in ‘How should I sext?’
Easy man, I was only kidding,
that’s not what you looked for, I know.
We don’t mess with your privacy, bro.
If you still have doubts, use incognito.

My vision goes beyond Search.
Soon we’ll produce energy that won’t drain the earth
and self driven cars and tourists in space, we’ll foresee what you’ll need in the next decade.
Our bots will learn from your data,
The AI will train you late-ah.

Again, your history’s safe, you can be certain,
Wait, you want to know what goes on behind the curtain?

Okay bye.

Written all in jest from the pov of Sergey Brin. Of course, you guessed that, didn’t you? 😉

NaPoWriMo 2017, poem 19

How to be an internet intellectual

Embrace an ism.
Any ism.
Okay that last one’s almost dead. All the more likely you will stand out.
Stick to this ism
like it’s an extension of your skin,
like you would not exist had this newly discovered creed of yours hadn’t existed.

Voice your opinion.
Proclaim it,
our country gives you the freedom of speech.
It is what gives you a forked tongue
so do not put a leash on it.
If however,
someone questions your line of thought
or produces a pile of contradicting data,
hurl buckets of titles at them.
If it’s a woman who questions patriarchy,
call her randi, bitch, whore.
If it’s a man who questions feminism,
call him an asshole or a chauvinist.
Say you are ashamed of him because he does not agree with you.
If he rejects your model of nationalism,
send him to Pakistan.
If it’s technically possible send him to Mars.
Knock them off their train with your vitriol.
Again, it’s freedom of speech.

Voice your opinions frequently.
Does not have to be something different.
You can repeat the same argument for weeks or months.
If you don’t, you might run the risk of being forgotten.

Use words that will have people reaching for the dictionary.
Deliberately bamboozle befuddled souls with obfuscated words.
Simplicity and clarity is for the naïve.
Sophistication will paint a halo around your head.
If you’re a writer, write because you want to change the world.
Anything less will not cut it;
If you’re funny, don’t let it seep through.
Limit that to the coffee table with your friends.

Note. You may not enjoy all this.
Who said being an intellectual was easy?

NaPoWriMo 2017, Poem 18


How many things can you call dirty?

Is dirty
the quivering of bodies when they make love
without the consent
of the hundreds whose homes
are as warm as a bucket of ice cubes?

Is dirty
the act of seeking love on your own terms?
Is dirty
the act of avoiding a four-legged prison
with a social signature on it?

Is dirty
the skin whose shade you can’t find in your palette?
Is dirty
a tongue that can’t stich together words in your language,
a tongue whose sounds seem to bounce like stones in your ears?

Am I dirty
Because of my blasphemy?
Does my indifference to your gods,
both at your altar and in your elected chair,
trigger a storm in your lungs?

When did we devise this way of sorting people?
Hanging them to dry on tightropes between our extreme binaries:
Clean, dirty.
Right, wrong.
Pure, corrupt.

NaPoWriMo 2017, Poem 16

Been there

I have been a sonnet
that stumbled clumsily
around meter and rhyme.
I am now a freewheeling poem
who does not care
where the verse will end.

I was not sure
if my orbit had to be prograde or retrograde,
I wasn’t even sure if I was around the right sun.
Now I just roll with the times,
get inspired by Pluto
and wonder if I need to belong to a solar system.

I have been as touchy as a rubber balloon stretched over a cup,
Dreading yet waiting for the moment I might snap.
I have tried to cling onto cliffs with fishhooks,
I have tried to swim with my hair tied to anchors.
In crowds of more than two,
I have felt my feet fill up with stones
my tongue stuck to my palate like a postal stamp,
and my hands trembling so fast you could use them to keep time.
Then I just let go.
Psst, once in a while my tongue still goes back to a stutter,
and my fingers remind me BET will stay on, probably for life.
I tell them, ‘Make sure the bugger has a nice stay.’

I have been the brick that worried if it would make a home,
I have been the geek
who was scared he would be ganged up on,
the geek whose fears did come true
when his strengths were pulled apart like petals,
when he found knowing math was not cool.
I’ve been the guy who’d never leave without a map,
so he’d never be lost.

Now I’m still the same bloke
with the same flaws.
I look up the map
when I want to be lost.

NaPoWriMo 2017, Poem 15

Peeling away the surface – just a bit

I’m at the last bend
in the thirty-sixth lap of my life.
I feel like a dinosaur,
knowing how much things have changed.
I’ve changed too.

I have tan lines running like equatorial circles on my thighs.
I think I’ve earned them.
I have scars from falling on my face.
I earned those too.
I might have done without them though.

I also have some scars in my head.
Most I did nothing for.
Last I checked they were all fading.

I write poetry.
I’m not an activist poet
thought I might stir up a volcano in your fist-sized heart.
And sometimes in my poems I state my assertions,
standing with a torch flickering in the crosswind.
Most often though,
I write because I love the sound of words cascading around each other.
My poetry might cause your blood to thunder in the arteries,
might pickle your skin with goosebumps,
or cause your voice to get entangled in your mouth,
but unless you pull up your sleeves
and get your feet dirty,
these words are as effective
as a paperweight on a cloud.

I use logic like a crutch, I am told.
Blind belief never cut it for me.
It’s like sitting on a stool
with legs of sand.
I will challenge your assumptions,
and you should question mine.
If either’s found weak,
I’ll stick it to a boulder
and set it rolling down the slopes.
Let it crash into oblivion.

I would like to believe in a creator.
But then, logic and reason.

I write in letters so huge I can fill a page with a Haiku.
I think the font size is 24.
Larger than life? At least the handwriting is.

You might think I’m laidback or even reserved
while in my mind,
I’m plotting a backstory
to fit your frame.

Short term extrovert,
long term introvert.
Voices can wear me down,
grate my edges,
so excuse me
if after chilling out over a drink for a few hours,
I retreat to my cave
and zip the entrance for a day
or a week.
I need to recharge,
and filter out all the words soaked in my skin,
figure out which ones to weed out,
and which to keep.

Sometimes I’d just take the bicycle
and go for a spin.
That might clear the debris from my head.
And yes, these days I am careful,
I don’t want another scar.

NaPoWriMo 2017, Poem 14