It’ll be your birthday in a few hours, I remember
You will be twenty
Won’t your parents throw a lavish party?
I bet they will.
People shall pour in.
Men, mostly your parents’ colleagues,
with readymade poise and wisdom –
Women, mostly their wives,
with lipgloss and smile painted all over,
And little kiddos, mostly their genetic flag-bearers,
with big red balloons, and blue ones as well
And yes, all your friends, some of whose pride in you
is almost as real as that of your parents
Well, they will come, they will see and they will concur:
“Yes, she’s a big lady now,
all grown up and ready to fight the storms”
But I have a feeling that as you’ll sit and wear that smile of yours
You’ll be, like you’re now,
more ready to “fight all the storms” than they can ever imagine
You have already fought half a dozen of them.
You are too tired to give a damn.
I know that you’ve closed your doors
And I know that you won’t open them again
And I won’t knock, I’ve lost my right
But please make a reply, if possible, from the other side
Are you really happy? Aren’t you?
As for me, you know, I’ve walked a long long way
I’ve been around,
Old temples, new islands, old waves, new highways
I’ve travelled a lot.
The giant bug that was yours is a man today, and he isn’t yours anymore.
I was busy getting drunk a few thousand miles away when you
called out to me. I couldn’t hear.
Or maybe I could, but I chose to be deaf
The moon was waning all the time
They’d choked the river somewhere close to the city.
They’d wrapped the world up with a cold blank white sky.
And peace ran deep down all arteries, veins and drainpipes.
I’ve grown up. My mask has grown up with me.
I’m tired of trying to open it. Trust me, I really am.
Yes, once I met this mannequin and mistook it for an Angel
But it refused to look into my eyes, and so I had to leave
It’s still out there stuck in some showcase I believe,
And I don’t really care anymore.
Though that was not the first time I hurt you, but that mattered a lot, I know.
And then I got way too busy with my own show
People were waiting, and I had to give them their money’s worth
I had to make them clap. I had to make them laugh. I had to be the joker.
And I had to pretend that I am burning with this “Divine Madness”
Bullshit. None of it exists. None of it had ever existed. It’s all make-believe, and you know that.
And when the show was over and they took that blinding spotlight away
I searched for you everywhere. But you were already gone.
And you had left that blue kite torn at the edges,
that sad scribe scorned by the sages,
that fat clown, smiling down the ages,
and those strange creatures chewing their way to eternity
(Baby Dinosaurs, right?)
behind. They were lonely and cold,
and, to be very honest, I didn’t know what to do with them.
So I shot them down one by one. And I rode on.
And I’m still riding.
Poison keeps on spreading across stars and roots
Flowers keep on blooming with fangs and tentacles
Streams keep on gurgling with this majestic fever
Drumbeats keep on throbbing through the breeze
Suns keep on setting behind thirsty worn-out rocks
And I’m still riding.
This was just a lousy birthday letter and
unlike those crazy meaningless ones I had scribbled once
this one might just carry a bit more sense
(After all I’ve grown up too, haven’t I?)
And I can’t post this letter because you’ve taken the letterbox away
Well, I guess I can’t do much about it now
I won’t rock the boat anymore
I won’t try to barge in either
I won’t reach out for you ever again
But reply, if you can, from the other side
Are you happy? Are you really happy?
Your Giant Bug, “in trousers”