LISTEN TO THE POEM BEING READ AT: https://vt.tiktok.com/ZSdaYMvKB/
I’m looking out through my balcony door
The glass gleaming - I never miss that
That sheen itself is a pleasure to see
The gloss, the shine makes my heart glad
Then I look outside at the city lights
Some glimmering others sunny bright
I look beyond at the skyline that now
Boasts a few high rises above the eighth floor
My mind telescopes into some homes
But please hold that thought, don’t let it roam!
It’s not a voyeuristic enterprise of the mind
It’s reading the drive behind the grind
What makes that man who lives alone
In a one room apartment on the third floor
Wake up day after day after day?
What makes him go out his front door?
What special dreams has he woven with time?
Which ones has he decided to leave behind?
Is the light in his eyes still glowing bright
Or is he just stolidly marking time?
That woman who is holding down
Two jobs in two different parts of town
What is she hurrying and scouring for?
What makes her oblivious to her aches and her sores?
That young boy barely into his teens
His moustache is yet to take place of state
On his young, adolescent face
What is he doing out on the steets so late?
The young girl who sits up late by herself
Stitching joras* that must go on the shelf
Of an elite boutique. Do her dreams still speak?
Or are they now mute wraiths of themselves?
In the pit of my stomach lies a spot of guilt
The quickening of my heart tells me the truth
Of the relentless grind, the killer odds
But I tell myself - what can you possibly do …
The gleaming door now to my back
I look over my balcony railing this time
Beyond is a world that is dusty and raw
My own pleasure wanes in the shadows of night-time
* Jora: In Urdu, a set of clothes, usually shalwar kameeze.