Tell us about a time when everything seemed to be going wrong — and then, suddenly, you knew it would be alright.
Here’s my take.
Under the bridge, I can hear
the passing train as
the wheels make contact with the rails
and the sewage water runs down
the pipe continuously.
It’s always dank.
I sit here and smoke my cigarette.
I read scrambled bits of news.
Some days I watch the activities of rats.
They scurry, hide,
save their hides.
Never seen them attack someone.
And I smoke away. Watching the puff of my smoke
take my thoughts and diffuse them
into the dirty air.
Neither of any value.
Trains come, and trains go.
The monotony fills the air like clanging
vessels that one can get apathetic to.
Sometimes I steal,
for an adventure. I rob breads mostly,
and I beg for the occasional tea.
One day I stole from a supermarket.
It started like this,
They wouldn’t let me in,
It always starts like that;
but a lady stopped the guard from not letting me in.
“Everyone must have equal rights,” she said.
I walked in, picked a few things,
and when I didn’t think I was going to make it,
when I thought they would seize me,
beat me up for stealing some bread,
shun me for my dirty clothes,
engaged the security guard in banter,
things that women do,
and that take away attention from the
important things in life.
I measured my escape.
I didn’t start on the offensive,
but I took my chance,
and I ran.
I didn’t wait to see
the look on her face.
Or her crushed idealism
Or what the guard must have told her.
I had somewhere to be.
Somewhere where the law didn’t fake equality.
And the men and women didn’t fight for the upper hand.
Men were drunks and women were sluts.
They were both comfortable in their skins.
We didn’t go around pretending one was better
Neither did we stomp in staged marches
asking for pseudo-justice.
We knew life was hard
and we made no bones.
But sometimes I think of that lady who
helped me in.
Would she trust any other bedraggled man again?
I hope not.
Moreover, I hope she never trusts anyone again.
I sit with another paper,
hearing the train go by
and the sewage water drip.
There are more rats.