Continuum

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We are but stories
Told from birth to death
And if special enough
Prophesied and celebrated
And yet, I can’t help but wonder
Which is worse, or if any is better

The stories, however
Remain indifferent.

Yet
It’s curious how
They ebb and flow into each other
Until their very edges are frayed
And indistinguishable
As strands of time
Lost to and in a sea of murmurs
Their individuality threatened
Their impact everlasting
Paradoxical
And utterly flabbergasting

And so,
Though we are but stories
Told from birth to death
We are born of many others
And birth some ourselves
And yet, I can’t help but wonder
That the question of which story came first
Is not unlike that of chicken-and-egg

The stories, however
Remain indifferent

Yet,
It’s curious how
They roll and cascade into each other
Until they are but one story
Infinite on both ends
A mesmerizing sea of murmurs
Whose individuality is ephemeral
And impact everlasting
That which is paradoxical
And utterly flabbergasting

– Akanksha Gupta

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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