This is a poem I wrote three years ago and is also the title of the e-book Tim Wallis and I published last year. The e-book has penetrating photography that Tim had taken of real life in an Indian city as well as a few of my poems that reflect my emotional and intellectual struggle with the reality of human suffering in our country. Check this poem out and let me know what you think about it. If you are interested in purchasing the e-book, you can go to this website: http://www.speekeezee.com/shop/sleepless .
I’m having an awful conversation with myself,
sentences clattering and images melting,
cacophony of memories, of chores left unfinished
and words meant to be spoken across tables
of papers and files, on bed where love is made, in rooms
where those you love chatter about politics and reality shows
and how the kids have grown. Outside, ill-tempered dogs bark
at shadows, a bell tolls at midnight for reasons I know nothing about
in this neighborhood of upper middleclass homes and empty office buildings,
I try to spiritualize my inability to sleep and there is nothing
but literature and the presence of God to keep me company.
Trucks overloaded with grain and groceries rumble
through vacant highways to little towns on hills and cities like ours
to deliver consignments to warehouses owned by fat men
and lucky women who may have sold their names. At dawn,
policemen will come in jeeps to bully the truckers
and women with babies on their backs will open teashops
while the city dresses to get ready for another day.
And the day will turn its pages every hour to reveal shutters opening,
red meat hung on hooks, young mothers with hair wet from morning shampoo
dragging reluctant toddlers to school, the rich in sparkling cars, the poor
unkempt as usual and crowding the buses of my childhood. They call my city
the hub of this and that and we have many things we should be proud of.
I’m proud of the open wounds of unfinished projects, municipality
streets that have become rubbish heaps.
I’m proud of the homeless children with minds able to compete with pimps,
peddlers and cynical policemen that do not know how to help them.
I’m proud of the mansions the politicians and their friends are building
and the land they are grabbing and how they leave everything else to die.
I’m proud of the priests and the spiritual parties they host to numb themselves
to the cries of the poor and the lost.
Dusk arrives with disgruntled government servants returning home weary
from traffic jams, some to tutor promising children with dreams to become rich,
some to scream at maids who asked for too much again. And the day grows old
with rain pattering, families conversing, the faithful praying, drunk couples slurring,
their terrified children hiding in lonely bedrooms, illicit lovers climaxing, insurgent
hearts preparing for lost battles again.