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Smile, Just Smile

for Babitha Marina Justine

I say Smile even though I know the art you are sacrificing your life for can't be used as a shield against gunfire in battle-fields of invaded lands or as a shell-proof bunker the kind you saw in war documentaries across the world or even as the last hand raised up against the Capitalist invasion into the old brain. I know all the raised hands are falling like a tower and I look at the sunny side of the fact that you would delight in sending missiles of hope one after another into the ruins running thick over centuries. You may harbour the scenes of flesh and skulls strewn on every path you take but I request you all, 'Please don't, don't ever forget to smile for a single second.'

I say Smile even when you are telling me of the saddest things that happened to you over the years, especially the affair you had with someone who ended up torturing you and herself all the more and you are not the person anymore to find the way forward; even when sufferings inside each of you around are the most precious delight you may dive into. And every time you fall into something like a coupling of minds the best you ever dream of, you feel inside of you the inevitable shaking of a bridge, the certainty that you have about the tearing of a tightened knot. I know you will have a wonderful skill in the end, to turn all of your sorrows into a big smile I'm pestering you for. Let's gather here and shout, 'We all want that Utopian land of smiles, the land where ministers will be busy planning propagandas against the mutiny of burns, aches and miserable wounds.'

I say Smile even where you busy housewives don't have time to loiter away, nor the urge to fight pretensions, false promises and the taboos you gladly wear like ornaments, forgetting the chains slaves had to twine around their muscle-strained bodies and the memories of days and nights when the clangs were the only sounds the slave-merchants wanted to hear as if these were notes of a Mozart or of a Beethoven or raagas of an Oriental sitarist. I see you all are experts who know much about a variety of smiles and who have less to learn from me but I feel sad when you stop over for a long cry and gloomy like monsoon clouds when the expertise you have learnt about the smiling threatens to evaporate. I say, 'Don't, please don't ever lose heart and keeping the smile is the only thing you have with yourselves, to melt everything sordid under your smiling charms.'

I say Smile even when you artists and writers feel deprived of the things other people, in fact those exploiters in Asia, Africa and Latin America, have in a large quantity, almost everywhere you step on, and even where you have a crimson gold sky to remind you of the bloodshedding they did in the name of proper 'artistic' justice. I know your hearts always bleed for the children thinning for the scarcity of food and mothers' milk and dying of diseases like AIDS but I can't give you the promise of the United Nations' Charity, certainly that of a sarcastic smile, which you know can work out miracles for your pens and brushes. I expect our smiling would be throughout the world an activity the usurpers are scared of as if it were the jaw of a hungry tiger. So, smile, and just keep smiling till you all collapse like columns in the quake and fall like burnt-out meteors.

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Thursday, January 8, 2009
Topic(s) of this poem: feminism,smiling,struggle