The Butterfly

When a butterfly perches
on your urban hand,
do remember it outlived

the loud call of flowers,
the lure of honey within,

the pride of belonging
in the garden where
it is imagined.

Do remember

it's wings 
aren’t restricted
to traversing only
the distance between 
two blooms

its antennas,
only to indulge in 
food gathering

or its body, meant
to rub only against 
the cold stem.

Do not assume it doesn’t
mourn the loss of a mate,

because its voice is
feebler than a bird

or that it doesn’t tire,
seeking the unattainable.

A lonely butterfly reminds
a defeated human.

When it perches on you,
two frail souls
lean against each other.

 


Love in the Time of Dominion

In the Year XX* when the state is more powerful and rich, lovers will be labeled anti-state and dangerous. As a new addition to the list of discouraged indulgences, love scenes would carry statutory warnings. Beware of what you do on the streets. The fine for kissing, hugging, and winking is in the works. Planning to cuddle in a dark park? Think again. All set to replicate their success in nailing the savage drunkards with breathalyzers, the police is currently being trained on love detection equipment: Kissalyzers, Lickalayzers, Fuckalayzers. Forget what we discussed about making out in a parked car. Eloping lovers caught from secret tunnels in a desert or from bubbling tips of papaya stems in rivers would be booked and tried under the provisions of POLA* (Prevention of Love Act). The heart emoticon would vanish from the screens. Banned, it will become the flag of underground activist groups. The equivalent of defense budget will be earmarked for funding research to diagnose citizens with hidden love.

How the state wishes for the invention of a smart device that reads love like an inflammation between flesh and bone. An apparatus with a back button that lets you roll a person back to a loveless state. Those suspected to be infected with love will be looked upon as rocks with concealed water. Mass surveillance would invest as much personnel for monitoring private life of citizens, which by the updated definition, would mean the freedom to eat and drink one time a day, to enjoy any state censored content (book/movie/hybrid), and so on. 

Note:
* - The Year XX varies depends on where you are. Read the text in past, present or future Tense as necessary.
** - An act modeled around POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act), but much more gruesome.

 


The Food Chain

The office cafeteria speaks 
in the foreign language of calories.

All food distanced from their origins,
equated to a scale of measure,
the same meter of bagatelle,

like army recruits in a parade
or child laborers in a mine – 

stonefaced in their pain.

A burger and biryani,
equal moons at the storefront
display, at 360 calories apiece.

For the downcast eyes, they are
wild mushroom caps that conceal

the moans of chicken locked away
in cages without wing space,

the tears of cow in livestock trucks 
without light tunnels,

the rear leg wounds of pigs leaping
over barbed fences,

the shiver of cabbages in freezers,
not in farm dew.
As if one hunger is equivalent
to another,

as if the food chain is all about 
equal mouths and equal feeds,

as if a man’s venom is the same
as a snake’s,

the brown hand that reared the
white meat and white bread

and the white hand that sold the
brown burger,

the hand raised to protest starvation, 
and the hand hidden after crushing
the protest – 

all diluted to the sameness of numbers
at the dining table height.