The Dystopian Present

A hot cup of chai is slowly consumed with a couple of headlines
most of which feature the words ‘attack, assault, rape, murder’
a train to the office three stations away is a hot mess of people, sweat and abuses hurled at no one in particular
somewhere from among the crowd a mouth utters words which make ears coil out of fear
words that feature ‘leftist, rightist and government’ among others
a video is circulated
watched, re-watched, broken down, shared, deleted
small screens hold much power
one can watch without being watched
one can be watched if not watchful
words – scanned, located, twisted, targeted
all too easily by eyes in a well-lit room
full of puppets
glued to bigger screens
spitting venom through the glass
pouring stupidity into those who welcome it
thoughts are sold in colour-coded jars
record of sale carefully maintained
a group sits opposite a grand stage
with eyes turning in hypnosis
at the sight of a system
run by monsters clothed in human skin
another group is on the street
screams emerging from throats
falling on to deaf ears
the voices keep rising
a screen on the street is pronounced sinful
the owner dragged by the neck
watched by bigger screens
laughing at the dragged
the street starts filling
the stage shakes
and the monsters fly into a high walled castle
the groups clash
there is blood
the monsters drink it with their eyes
watch the groups tear each other down
till only bodies line streets
another video is circulated
heaps of bodies
striking terror in hearts
privileged throats drown their voices
into the gutless pit of the stomach
the street is cleared
a new monster is crowned
and another stage is built.

Samina Agwan is a teacher, a poet and a bibliophile. She believes in the power of words above all else and wants to write poems about a victorious past in a peaceful, empathetic and socialist present.

Featured image credit: Pariplab Chakraborty