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Some say love is never about speed but a slow

unfurling of beauty- gentle and unhurried.

That makes the difference between the passing

of time and the crafting of masterpiece-

not everyone is interested reading about angst.

 

And you fail to notice that everyone’s engaged

to their own brand of narcissism- they maintain

to survive and keep up one’s reputation.

 

And if you think that poets spend their lives

holed up in their four cornered walls and a window

looking in from the world changing night and day.

Self-absorbed about  feelings or digging of the past

and wanting for love that they never have.

 

Or won’t have.

 

Some say about exiles to another country

or to another time or another space would

make people stalk on your mysticism.

Or the lyricism of recording things-

one have chosen to leave behind.

 

You can be exiled even without a room.

That is easy- while you walk around nonchalant

and pretend you didn’t carry anything.

You must know how heavy it is to bring

one line of a poem and to bravely express it.

 

Who says poetry is a dying art? I say otherwise.

For centuries, poets mined gold, toiling the minds

of men and keep them going on despite travails.

Ranting about their lost loves, lost paradise

or lost keys of their hearts.

Or lost childhood. Or lost future.

 

Art that was losing chances and losing hope.

That made poems became songs sung out loud.

It became pieces of conversation. In the streets.

And in the way people speak. To sell. To buy

affection and things people would want

and impress people whom they would want

to belong with. But this will never be.

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His past smells of a ditch

drying up its putrid stink

as stale as the street air.

It belongs to a smoggy neighborhood.

In the memory of tattered rags

flapping like flags on the clothesline.

As if dreams can be scavenged

out of the hilly mounds

of garbage, dumping its gifts

of someone else’s trash turning

into someone else’s fortune.

 

No one cared about armpits

getting wet and sour for hours,

as long as the bad odors

can promise him little money

to buy fish sauce for rice.

Sniffing heaven on earth-

little angel never complaining

about life, about the linger-

of those occasional whiffs

from the broken sewer.

Nor the rising sting of steam

emanating from his broken skin

pierced by the cruel sun.

 

Nor inhaling the dry cough of cars

and buses farted poison.

The way he exhaled yesterday

walking on a pavement slow,

feeling the throbbing locomotion

churn on his empty stomach.

A street urchin squeezing the crowd

like a fly hopping on a hope

above the grease and grime

that smeared a childhood.

 

He won’t cover the past

with today’s perfume

nor sanitize its images

in suds of detergent.

He’s not ashamed

of the scent of his past-

the smell of poverty

that swarmed his innocence

and have walked

the muddy line across

the nook and cranny

of his every bones.

He survived them all.

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