In my dreams there are faces of people,
Men and women whom I watch,
As they adventure over landscapes
Beyond reality, hovering on the scope
Of my imagination.
When consciousness returns, they
Who were they, these nighttime
Crusaders—these familiar people
With unfamiliar faces?
They could have been:
The fashionable girl on the platform,
The beleaguered man I bumped into,
An anonymous face among the masses,
Who snuck their way into my mind.
The awkward silence stretches like hours,
Between old friends, new acquaintances,
Locks the jaw tightly,
So no words
False smiles and honeyed words,
Tittering like a flock of birds,
Infect the mind with expectations,
Just beware the confrontations.
What makes you better than me?
Nothing special that I can see.
Privilege isn’t a pedigree,
So spare me your kingly decree.
You don’t know the monster in me—
Scratching at the skin, something ghastly.
Keep prodding and I think you’ll agree,
That you may want to rewrite that policy.
So open your eyes and look at me.
Your world is a broken fallacy—
Me and my kind the painful reality,
That will overthrow a dynasty.
Do not cry to me.
Your imagined slight hangs cold;
Leave it, forgotten.
In a sea of gray skyscrapers and concrete,
The familiarity of suburban row houses,
Screeching subways and honking cars,
A little quiet doesn’t exist.
No giant sequoias or wildlife here,
But the charming London planes
Scattered across the streets
Offer some green.
Within this steel metropolitan glamour,
Pockets of peace can be found,
In the space of a small yard,
Beside a sapling fig tree.
As the wind blows on a restless summer eve,
The susurrus of leaves and twigs
Create a soundscape redolent
Of the distant forest.
The mighty hand that falls,
Crushing hope and any fight.
Phantom terror seeps into the bones
A warm day: bright sun, cloudless sky,
Children’s laughter as they run,
Chasing monsters and demons,
A day lost long ago.
From within a storm brews,
Spinning fury and anguish,
That nothing from without
Can possibly contain.
Fear lodged in the throat,
Smothering a voice.
A body breaks and heals,
This rebel rises again.
A friend once said,
She knew I had arrived
By the sound of my laugh.
At first I felt sheepish.
A hearty cackle,
That turns heads.
Another friend once called me
—a hyena, many years ago.
But now I shrug it off.
If my enjoyment irks people,
Better to let them be grumpy.
I will laugh and laugh and laugh.