What if?

Noticed a lot of the poems – some of  mine too – I read these days has activist tones. This goes out to several poets, myself included.

I wonder how poetry would thrive
if the spikes of suffering,
of sadness
had been flattened out.

How many would write about
the magic in an orange moon
as it floated above the horizon?
How many would talk about strings of smiles drawn over streets?
How many would talk about tongues fumbling for the right words on a first date,
the sounds that seemed awkward but came out just right?

Would poetry miss the chaos
of brushstrokes ambushing each other
and creating thunderstorms?
What would fuel it when there are no fires to be put out,
when there are no worries wrapped around constellations,
no anger jumping over borders,
no words speared from one class
into the ribs of another,
no cliffs waiting to be jumped off,
no wars to be ended, or started,
about who would annex whom and for what,
and no floods to rise above?

You, my poet,
what would you write
when knives have been blunted,
when fires have been transformed into flowers
with stalks that spell peace in all languages,
when streams of blood have been replaced
by rivers of stars,
when we are all a billion continents
with no oceans to separate us,
when the sky stretches so thin
the space between humans and gods
is less than a hair’s breadth?

My friend, my poet,
what would you write about
if the earth’s pulse
became a steady flatline?

NaPoWriMo 2017, Poem 24

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Baring it

I don’t mind being vulnerable today. It’s one of those days when I wonder about the point of my writing journey. Here’s what triggered it: In the past week, I received updates about the poems and short stories I had sent to magazines and contests. None of them made the cut. A few more rejects to file away with the previous ones. So this is one of those days when I sit and sulk a little. Wondering what I could have done better, wondering if it’s worth the effort, wondering if I’m chasing an illusion.

Tonight is one of those days when I feel tiny and insignificant as a writer. One of those days when my mind has shut down, when my rationality has deserted me, when gloom seems to cover me in its shroud.

I know such phases come and go. This one will too. I only hope the rainbow appears soon enough.

I looked through my poetry folder for inspiration, something to cheer me up, even give me a rap on the head and pull me out of this downward spiral.

I found a poem I had written in June 2014.

A sky of sadness has woven itself around me.

I have tossed grain into the fields,
the harvest is yet to make an appearance.

Years have passed, I have sharpened my tools.
My works lie in a shed, dying unnoticed,
Life seeping out of them through their fingertips into the earth.

Outside, birds make music, and in the nights the city dances to life.
I have been grinding my way in this well,
and still I am neck-deep in the water.

The waters have been rising all the time.
From ankles to knees to the waist.

A rope dangles near me.
It has been here since I ventured into this well.
All I need to do is grab the end and help myself out.

But that would mean abandoning the masterpiece I am creating under the water.
That would mean accepting an easier life.

I have to stay here and finish what I set out to do.

If I am good enough, I might create something beautiful.

Till then I have to keep working in this well,
even if it gets deeper,
even if it gets darker.

This is my calling, this is my curse.