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Raj Arumugam


I depress you, don't I?


I depress you, don't I?
You are so bubbly, cheerful, smooth with your words,
you make conversation always as easily
as a well-oiled engine hums;
open-mouthed; sparkle-eyed;
exuberant with a pinch of irritation
in your confidence with sing-song words and links.
In person and on the phone,
you roll your head, use your hands expressively; you laugh,
you say things that are right and clever, and you are certain.
You know all the concepts and
the appropriate terms and words:
each word that triggers smiles and each that is the right word and which you dim with; it’s easy; and
you have lay-bys
and fly-buys and I can get cash as I pay;
and
casual
is the antonym of
permanent
while I fumble with
temporary
and my tone.
You know your way; you are comfortable.


But I... I depress you, don't I?
Hesitant, tentative, slow and uncertain....
Apologizing for things I say, for as soon as
I've said them I wonder
because you don't respond
if I've said the wrong thing;
unsure of form and conventions,
asking for clarifications
about what seem to you to be
the most obvious things...and withdrawing
like a would-be lover who dares not commit himself...
Oh ye happy cherubim
of a white and brightly-lit Heaven,
I do depress you don't I?






(from The Migrant - notes of a newcomer (February 1997- July 1998))

Submitted: Thursday, November 06, 2008

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