The Existential Dilemma


Why must you intimidate me so?
Looming large over my speck of a head.
Standing tall and grandiose,
Only the faces on the photographs change.
You tower above the rest,
Watchful, critical.
The hands that carried you from sand to pillars lie dead,
Like monuments razed to the ground.
So fleeting, to have existed for a fraction of your history,
When you just go on.
Only the shadows change,
On your walls,
From tinted panes to rusty hinges.
Overwhelmed, I gulp down my fate in a split second.
Why is it,
That you shall be,
In perpetuity.
And I shall not.
Why only the words to the song change,
Reverberating inside your halls.
Tell me why the faces change.



Shrinking Women

I walk,
Down alleyways and passages,
Corridors and lanes,
And roads,
As if I am one person too much,
Occupying more space than I exist in.
So I make myself small,
Pull my hands in
And hold them folded,
Against my body.
I stick to the straight line,
That becomes fine while I walk.
And I envy that fiery stride
You take.
Step after step moving forward in silent determination,
You hold your head high for the world to see
And though you hinder me not,
Unsure of my gait,
Tone it down.
And I jump in my skin,
When I hear footsteps behind me,
Or voices that I know for sure are talking about me,
Or eyes that I know are burning a hole in my clothes,
To see what lies underneath.
Is it skin?
Is it fresh meat?
I don’t know.
I gather myself up,
Shrink a little,
Trying to dissolve into thin air.


Some events,
Changed the course that we were set on.
The still waters we were knee deep in already,
Rose above our heads,
And we are struggling,
Gasping for breath,
Feeling it gather in a whirlpool around us,
Taking with it those we know,
Those we hold dear.
I can’t breathe.
I can’t expect anyplace to be safe.
We are not resisting outfits,
We are up against our men,
Like in every war.
Trying to keep my head out of these waters,
Trying to breathe,
And all I can take in gulps,
Is my fear of places,
Crowded, empty spaces.



Time asserts itself in numerous ways,
like memories that begin fading,
and moments of madness that we start regretting.
We’re growing old,
soon we’d wonder if the anti ageing cream,
ought to be added,
to a budget that already hinges on prescriptions,
and then colour our hair,
splurge on botox,
plan retirement,
try to make a difference,
to the lesser world that we’re in.

Faces smile at us,
waiting for approval,
and we just scratch our heads.
‘I know her.
She’s someone I know!
What’s your name, again?’

And very soon,
the futility of mapping time,
shows us the truth of life.
Older connections are lost,
and happiness means,
finishing off the day sans the pain in the joints,
and having once in a very long while,
something the doctor prohibited.

And we see young people,
change faster than we did,
we want to ask them,
the paycheck that got you the tablet,
did that make you feel in love with it?
The one night stands that give you a high,
do they ever rest on loyalty?
And it ends with a sigh.
For the world never minds the mindless rumble.
We lived in different times, they say!