It’s 4 A.M. I am wide awake, for some reason. I can’t seem to remember why. Maybe it’s the impending doom of everything near and dear. Or maybe it’s the foolish hope of finding a news article – ” We killed the virus. Now, get back to your shitty lives”. Or maybe it’s the nocturnal neighbor who talks so loud, night after night, almost as if he’s talking to a dead lover, far far far away – afraid she won’t be able to hear him from beyond the broken sky. I wonder what he’s saying to her – his anxieties about the state of the world? how he misses the sweet scent of her brown eyes? He has gone quiet now, all of a sudden. Can he hear my thoughts? Man, walls are so fucking thin in Tokyo you can hear each other’s silent monologues. Probably the only way to form communal bonds – in this big city full of conveniences – is through secrets. There should an index that measures the number of people who go to sleep every night fearing the insignificance of their death – afraid that the only thing which would announce their demise is the stink that surrounds a stale corpse. Definitely a better measure of societal wellbeing than GDP. Jesus, what a morbid thought.
I keep trying to write a poem. In vain. migrants dragging their lives and loves on bare feet, hunger stranded like a lost child in their weary eyes, men weeping on phones sitting beside their dead infants, babies playing hide and seek behind the sarees’ of their mothers’ corpses’. A shame too public for any disease to hide, for any virus to subsume. I have no metaphors left for these miseries. All I have is grief that screams when you soak it up with sonnets, an nger too boundless to remain within margins and a helplessness that runs deep in the veins of my ink. Everything I write, I feel like I have already written it before. Injustices that survived the whiplash of my pointless syllables. A recurring nightmare I long to escape. This is not writers’ block. There has to be an another word for this.
I hear ambulances drifting through the neighborhood, loud voices signalling the demise of strangers, floating alarms of panic waking up frozen streets. A farewell dirge drifting through our despair. I remember writing a verse like this, an year or so ago,
‘a restless siren of a lonely ambulance
knocks on my sleepless window
like a whisper from a drowning mother’
So many whispers
that it is an eternal shriek
So many mothers
that the world is an orphan
An empty plate of eulogies – that is all my pen is good for these days. Burn these pages to the fucking ground if only to give a shivering soul some warmth on their deathbed.