The Making of Modern-Day Vampires

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Even as I lay dying under the onslaught of the slivers and shards
Of broken syntax, bumbling semantics and half eaten words
That bit into my consciously suppressed grammar-conscience,

The preacher of ENGG seminars, fully aware of their futility and
Like a broken record that is soaked up in their senility,
Played this steadily relentless outpour of outdated syllables

To the flash and crackle of a color blind PowerPoint presentation
Breaking through the monotony of the winds of boredom
Inducing sleepless hypersomnia

– Akanksha Gupta

You know you’re in HKUST when …

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You know they like to strengthen the base

Without building the basis

That even schools forget // To-Do

Which you only regret later in the year

 

So as time races past without a second glance,

The concepts crawl at a snail’s pace

And settle intact within the brain

 

But the overload makes them fall

And makes you wonder “when”

The textbooks developed gravity

Strong enough to call to your head

Repeatedly

The “why”, after all, is a foregone clause

 

And so, the murky black waters,

Flowing from your head, nod,

And with them

So do those auburn, brown and blonde

That may or may not be naturally-occurring

 

You ponder over this predictable sensation

Which initiates a fashion

Of incongruous oscillations

Until you nod off

 

And the world slips before your eyes

Into the cacophony that presides

Over a Grades-Giving day

 

Which bursts into a confetti of alphabet

Splattered with youthful abandon

Flicking at the heart piece lodged in your throat

 

But you swallow it back

And open your eyes, not to the sunrise,

But to a platter of incomprehensible formulae

And since this not a surprise,

 

You promptly roll your head off

The textbooks on the desk,

And shake off the remnants

Of a lousy nightmare

 

Throwing the desk-ware

Into the bag

You swing it around your shoulders

And walk to the next class

For time races past without a second glance

– Akanksha Gupta

Waking Up, Charmed, I’m Sure

The ephemeral scene’s visceral appeal
Left me palpitating in its wilting attire
It jilted me by its apparent refusal
To reappear when my heart desired

The shards of this incomplete dream
Broke through the canopy of the night
Whose jittery birds tittered sleeplessly
As I willed it whole with all my might

I wished to wilt again into the shadows
Away from the prodding glare of the half sun
But while burrowing back into the thickets
I was outed by a misbegotten wren

Possessed, the wren screeched and shrieked
As though the victim of a failing exorcism
Heavy or light, the moment of dawn
Broke, as did I, down into multiple aneurysms

~ Akanksha Gupta (poem) ~

How To Get Away With Sleep

Sieving through all that old and rotten
And downtrodden mush stuffed
And heaved into a jarred head
My dread increases with the hour
Beads of sweat trickle down
A hairy mess crested atop
Of leaves aged with fungi
And yellowed by fingers
Strumming without a stop
Even as these eyes close in fatigue
And the fingers retire
The mush screams in disbelief
Misunderstanding satire
But these ears are now
Dead to all sounds
Of whether snoring and storing
Or sorting and pouring
Through soft copies and
Hard bounds

– Akanksha Gupta (poem only)