Preception

Unbidden
The thoughts of yesterday
Threaten to drown me
And I’m reminded
There’s a fine line
Between careless and carefree

Those who
Throw caution to the winds
Yet come out smelling like roses
Know we’re accustomed
And inured
To our own play of ignorance

Those who
Mince words, measure thoughts
Yet are censured for every gesture,
Unknowingly let them out
In their voice, in their eyes
And in their posture

Justice is blind
But Judgment is deaf
And while Reason is neither
It sputters when
Truth is mute
And Instinct has taken over

– Akanksha Gupta

Ordinary

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Life is a story

If mine, I’m the main character

I’m the best actor you can find

In a pool of daydreaming narcissists

The rest are sheep; everyone that is

The occasional leader that pops up is not excluded

Though being a political animal,

He hadn’t even been included

But then I’m an idealist

Who picks apart the black and the white

I am also a cynic

Who caresses the gray left behind

But really, I’m a pacifist

Too concerned about my lazy behind

To actually pick up the chalk

 

But on the occasion that I do

I fill the canvas of my mind

With a cartload of chalk dust

And find beauty in the abstraction

The reality, however, causes an infraction

A world that never existed, shatters soundlessly

I feel free for a while

Without any labels, self-perceptions

Or impressions of any kind

Tis an alluring experientialism

In which I find freshness and novelty

And drown deep into it

Until the need to breathe supersedes

So I shoot up to the surface

And gulp lungsful of perceptions greedily

Some unaltered, some modified

And to study them

I dive

Back into the pool of daydreaming narcissists

 

This oscillation between radical worlds

Makes me teeter at the edge of normalcy

A piece of sanity dislodges itself

And pours uninterred into poetry

So do I call myself a poet now?

I suppose

It has taken years of writing

To gain confidence enough

To label myself

They say labels are empowering

Powerful and powerfully flattering

I say they are downright frightening

The standards they define

Mutate the potential

Garble the mind

Gradually I find myself

Changing my perception of me

A change should be welcome

But I find myself swimming

In a pool of doubts

Barely staying afloat

There are days I’m flailing

And those when I’m sailing

But I know I’m failing to hold onto an identity

 

At this interlude

You do recall

This is but a story of my life

And I, the lead actor

And thus, it is no wonder

That the plot does often twist

Into self-gratifying theatrics

Where victimizing myself

With labels

Gives the story

As though a drug-induced high

Whose hangover leaves me

Feeling like an unsung hero

But when you peel the layers off of me

My core is like everyone else; ordinary

 

By Akanksha Gupta