Poetry by Parag Mallik

Parag Mallik

Suburban Reality

My memories of my teenage sinking nights are those that
rose from the dark world of Suburbia where
silhouettes leaned over window panes of double storeyed homes,
pebbles shivered beneath the tyres of broken down vehicles
that hustled back to brick walls, decaying in crumbs,
which were once a home to a family of three till they left,
leaving a dark corner for dim lit cigarettes to fall in the darkness of the night
as smoke rings filled the air with deadening smoke and
the earth with living ash.

We had an old street that was corroded
with the streams of rainfall,
traces that told tales of the nights when tipsy feet
swaying with alcohol balanced themselves on their edges.
The silent walks spelled stories of the shadows that
paced away in the dead of the night under flickering street lamps,
with bags of theft.

The nights were a canvas to be adorned
with the howls of stray dogs,
barking at the homeless men who stumbled across the streets in the dark
in search for a little hope to survive life, a little longer.

I had memorised the patterns of the dances
that the fireflies laid out,
rising from the heaps of shed leaves that no one cared about.
And today, when I'm miles away
we still don’t care about a world,
a home to the dark realities of a space
that is at peace
with all its flaws,
still stitched in memories,
that shine out in the dark.              

Shade No. 14 

My birth wasn’t a choice. It wasn’t a
series of options, oriented with colours
that were samples of the shades which
I could insert into my skin as a
template of the ideal shade, that I
could blossom into.

I wasn’t ever a canvas- so blank
that it could be drawn upon with dyes
that could stick to my cheeks that get
moist every time I punch them with an
insult, a joke that rakes my skin,
forcing to change my pigments, which
eventually melt down with tears.

I have tried to hide my “defects”
behind a mask of colours you sell to
me. Every stroke- a smash into my
esteem. I have avoided the consoling
rays of the sun because tans are
invitation cards- drawn with dark lines
across my shoulders
summoning you to spit over my
confidence, defining beauty in your
own words that never fit my
framework.

I am a black.
Not the one you know spelled in syllables of hate and
disgrace, compressing my entity down
to your ankles, so you can tread upon
me, crushing my existence.

Instead,
I am a black drenched in beauty and credence,
letters that talk in unusual and unique
but pretty dialects. Every part explaining the melanin in me
as sugar crystals caramelized over my
pores. A taste, I possess all by myself.

Impudence is an epidemic that latches
onto pride and vanity but amidst my
type I have crusaders that talk of me
exactly like I do, celebrating and believing my identity,
not within paints and shades, but through
breaking your insensitive barriers.

You might call me a mud brown, dark skinned or an ebony black,
but those few know me
by a pretty hue
called dusky.

Class Clown 

Yesterday I kneeled down to the grass
to pick the orange lilies of humour,
bent my knees to collect the little woes
which my friends left about,
little complex puzzles to be solved
because they know about my skill , some sorcery I know, an enchantment
for which I place each tile of the
puzzle on the tip of my nose,
moulding and framing their words into
a dramatically large red ball,
so huge that it bends my septum but
places a check mark of joy beside
every puzzle.

I have learnt to trade emotions,
an undercover deal of happiness for
gloom, stumbling over pebbles to hurt
my feet, creating punch lines to punch
my own face, dancing and leaping to
talk of unspoken dreams just for your
applause and laughter that turn to
diamond teardrops in loneliness.

My bruised knees are deep purple,
tinted with concern and humility.
My childish props are remedies for all
my behaviour you’ve judged.
My crown makes me an undisputed
king, the king of fools who on a daily
basis wears oversized shoes
so he can fill the gaps with the sorrows
he has borrowed and
bottle them up as additions to his pain.

When I’m alone, I mend the holes of
my costume with patches of loathing
and self-depreciation, collecting my
tears in my hat of tricks
to perform another trick to myself by
turning every drop to a layer of paint
smeared over my face several times
which by morning is
a mask over my misery that you will
in all probability,
fail to see through.

And then, I will succeed.

Steps to be a Perfect Teen 

1. Vanity. 
Dive deep into your skills and
attainments, and slowly into your wealth
and backdrops, into the languages
you’re fluent at, and the skin deep
beauty you possess, to collect the
building blocks of pride
And stack them one over another at the start.

2. Domination.
When your pile is tall enough, quickly
scale the height to look down upon
others. Feel your supremacy by virtue of fortune,
every little tick that society has stamped
upon you for your birth in ‘normal’ spheres,
every step to the ascent- a count of your elite bracket,
every speck of pride - a proof of your unmatchable beauty.
And proclaim your dominance with others of your kind.

3. Ostentation. 
Lend out your plastic hearts or borrow
one to break others’ or have yours broken.
And bear every emotion as a
pipe of guilt in your chest, till you wish to scream
making scenes as dramatic as you can,
associating your existence with people
who will slip away soon, mattering the least.

4. Indulgence.
Find the cult that suits you best smoking your lungs away into the sky,
or expressing your joy under some sort
of influence, merging your selves with
the flocks you see,
following their steps to glasses of regret,
chugging away your consciousness as
they do the same.

5. Persecute.
While you stand upon your fort of pride,
be sure to spit over the ones below for
every reason they didn’t choose at birth.
Push them into corners and oppress,
breaking a bone or two to feel your
authentication as a human.

6. Obsession. 
Climb over your cell phones counting
every change of the numbers on profiles,
 and pull out fake strings of courage
hiding behind your glowing screens,
fingers running over keys as insults and
clashes, to claim your existence through
the numbers you have, because that is
how the internet is supposed to be.

7. Ascension.
When your neck begins to hurt, with all
the glares you’ve been crushing down,
slowly climb down your castle to find
that there never was one. And step out
of your golden gates to finally encounter
the life of importance.

1 comment :

  1. I was delighted to read Parag Malik's poems. Quite a poet ! :-)

    ReplyDelete

We welcome your comments related to the article and the topic being discussed. We expect the comments to be courteous, and respectful of the author and other commenters. Setu reserves the right to moderate, remove or reject comments that contain foul language, insult, hatred, personal information or indicate bad intention. The views expressed in comments reflect those of the commenter, not the official views of the Setu editorial board. प्रकाशित रचना से सम्बंधित शालीन सम्वाद का स्वागत है।