A Corner Boy’s Lament
written by: Bishal Pratim Nath
On my birthday,
I dreamt about a guy with a white coat in Germany
who can make diamonds from peanut butter,
while I burnt the toasts;
thinking about how this meal might be my last breakfast,
I have a 13.8% chance of ending up dying on the day I was born.
Which is to say,
every thought I have
might just be the last quirky thing that can be posted on Twitter
while it leaves my head.
So I started counting the times my lungs sighed,
to be a random act of kindness for all the trees I couldn’t save
with my broken-hero complex.
I tried high-fiving a beggar but he ducked,
and the rejection tried bribing his trauma for my catharsis,
which didn’t end well.
There is a weird angle you can discover while lying down,
where exhaust pipes look like confetti machines,
and somehow, my sanity trickled through the open manholes
in search of a red balloon that demands fear as an offering.
I offered my last rites in a back-alley
to cut-outs and banners
of the overlords and the demigods who keep our balls empty and minds clean,
and pleaded their mercy
as I hammered down
my Berlin wall of free will,
little splashes of green in the sea of orange,
slow-cooked in a pot of resistance;
flattened under anarchy.
My fingers smelled like defeat
as borrowed some bravery from a drunk kid in Lebanon
and bartered my cigarettes for a handful of apple seeds,
to book a roller-coaster for my ride back home,
while my thumbs gave a goodbye kiss
to the phone’s screen.
There are a thousand things louder than a mother’s cry,
and I could hear every revolution
as the sun decides to cash in
one day from five billion
to make way for the star-kids.
My doctor keeps telling me
seeing things that are not technically there has a scientific name,
“Disturbed Cognitive Function”,
which might be a pro-bono politically correct version of saying
“I am here for you.”
A life saved is a statistic; a person hurt is an anecdote.
I know you are trying your best.
I know you are, but what am I?
Bishal Pratim Nath
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- A Corner Boy’s Lament - June 9, 2020