Nothing: Part 19

“Imagining Disenchantment” – that was the title of a poem I had written when I was trying my hand at poetry. This was several years ago. Poetry didn’t flow out of me, I wasn’t meant to be a poet. I wrote it before I realized that I could say everything I wanted to say in my own plodding and prosaic way. Needless to say, that poem invited some ridicule from a poet whose works I admire, you can guess who the poet might be. He wanted to know why someone would want to “imagine” disenchantment.

I thought he had a point and was convinced about the meaninglessness of my poem.

Here’s how the interaction went, starting with my juvenile attempt at poetry:
Have I ever really cared
or am I simply pretending?
Is this heartfelt sincerity
or am I expertly dissembling?

Is my extreme apathy
cloaked in sympathy?
Or have you struck chords-
could this be empathy?

Drowning in shallow depths,
Spouting meaningless sophistry,
Disguising my disinterest,
In cultivated airs of mystery,

Showing outrage and anger
at every disagreeing view:
utterances that barely linger,
outside of a moment or two.

No lasting impressions to leave,
none were ever left on me.
Just breathing, taking up space-
waiting, certain
it will all cease to be.

His response was:

This is entirely unnecessary
(and what I say is not profound):
why revel in imagined misery
when there’s so much of the real thing around?


Ever keen on having the last word, I added:

Imagined misery, an inherited gene,
Living in the moment, a distant dream.
A safety valve, more or less,
in anticipation of an unholy mess!

And after five years, to the day, this interaction is still memorable to me, revived after some recent events.

There were some tears that left a purple blotch where I was penning my prose. The purple blotch was reflective of rage, of humiliation, of a sense of failure. Even as the blotch grew angrier there was a saner voice inside that insisted on justifiably minimizing the strength of my emotions. It tried to comfort me with a firm hand, by underscoring how blessed I ought to feel relative to so many others. The voice was hard to ignore. Sometimes it resembled the voice of my mother and at others that of a warm and sensitive and increasingly dear friend. It insisted that I was simply imagining the disenchantment again; blaming it on some inherited gene, preparing myself for the dreadful event that I always  do have the will to overcome.

I stopped writing in ink and shut the angry, purple blotch inside the covers of the notebook, put it away for good, traded it for the clinical and sterile whiteness of the computer screen. The words had to be said, the realization needed to be set in stone, in letters that didn’t bleed or drip with salt-stained inkiness.

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