on privilege

the day woke up in a frenzy of skin and blood,
all seemingly smeared on my brown face,
chiding me for my ignorance
of the lasting night, right at the corner
of my right eye —

my language is my privilege, my middle-
class ceiling stays intact, when i write
expressions of winds, sands, waters,
and the colours of a long shadow-day,
pink and solid like my nourished lips —

fast-zooming trains, urban nests, household
cocoons, lean structures of dismay and out-
rage, candled fingers that lighten only when
the tragedy strikes (in the night), otherwise
bursting in sparks of joys, niceties on my face
already stuck to the habit of staying okay
in my standardized refuge.

my crotch carries the perpetrated legacy
of privilege — my age, my dreams & drinks,
my spirits & hopes, my vices & words,
my feet, my spine, all alive to my language,

but

all is not right in the day, my brown is matched
with my queer displays of impropriety and
a tapestry of unwanted touches,
of attacked liberties —

i keep my labels ready at the skin beneath
the skin, and i know that i can acknowledge
that all is not fucking okay,

that your uncomfortable reasoning and
my unrelenting ease at arguing would
stand and obtain the sermons
of a higher power,

but what of those realities we deem
so convenient to forget?
can sullied expressions overcome
the systematic dampening
of outcomes?

the majority’s stake is well known, we have built
testimonies and legacies at/to this well-regarded space,

but god damn it, all is not okay,
all is not okay.

my privilege is another’s struggle
for survival,

my privilege bites the suns into
halves and quarters of sorrows
& of nights that flourish through
the wakeful day.

.
© Anmol Arora

For my upcoming prompt at dVerse Poetics: On Privilege. Also linking it up with The Tuesday Platform at WRT, where I am hosting this week as well. Come, join us for the poetics and the discussions on both these platforms.
As a biological man in early 20s, belonging to a savarna Hindu family, with no apparent physical or mental disabilities, I enjoy a lot of privileges in a systematically oppressive society. My brown skin, my queerness, my atheism, and my unconventional believes stick out sometimes in a world (my country and state as physical spheres of my experience) obsessed with certain skin colours and religions and the strictures of patriarchy and heteronormativity. I enjoy the privilege of living in an urban setting with its social and physical infrastructure and its proximity to institutions of power, which mostly shields my “vulnerabilities” from violence and repression. Most importantly, all these privileges have amounted for this privilege of language that I enjoy and utilize freely for my expression.

We all were dead… Now we begin to breathe

I am climbing a wall, bricks jutting out

to be my ladder to reach atop and sit there

wait for the hollering to begin,

I’ve missed it for so long,

.

they look at me and say that some one shrunk me

while I was veiled by ignorance, both theirs and mine,

and yet it is today when I show a fragment of insanity

and present it to them so that they can cut it and have a piece

.

of my present, my past is a poster pasted deep within

my skin, them being not a part, but now I want them

to give me a finger and make me a defense of sun rays,

I’ve already had too much of night, but it will linger

and I am okay with that… only if there is a voice now

to call me back when I get entranced and webbed in

locks of the seductress- milady of midnight

.

For Poetry Jam, where we remember our friends and write our verse keeping them in mind. You may find this piece a little dark but there is a light side to it as well. Relationships such as friendship are dynamic in their propensity, their value and their exhibition.

Image source: Dark To Light Painting by Melissa LeRay