Callusing the mind

“You smell of booze and something wrong.”
“The something wrong is ganja, Mom.”
“I thought you touched only the cake.”
“I touch them all. Just don’t partake.”
“You passive drink? That makes you stink?”
“If spilled on you for saying no.”
“And why exactly do you go?”
“Because I’ve lived a sheltered life.”
“And now you crave the other side?”
“I’m simply callusing my mind.”
“And what exactly do you find?”
“How weak I am. How much I fear.”
“You find this in the stink of beer?”

“I find this when I’m shoved around.
I find this when they laugh at me.
I find this when they call me names.
I find this when they spit at me.”

“My God! You could be anywhere.
You never have to see these men.
This town is getting to your head.
Should we just go to Mumbai, then?”

“I’m not afraid of what they do.
My weakness isn’t helplessness.
These men are stuck here. I am not.
They want to scare, but they cannot.
These men are weak. They drink to puff.
They know I’m made of sterner stuff.
I’m weak because I lose my calm,
Forget myself, and get alarmed,
Despite my knowing they can’t hurt.
Before I know I start to blurt
The things I know will pinch them deep.
I’ve made a grown man almost weep.
I fear the weapon of my tongue.
No, not because I may get stung.
I’ve lashed it out on blameless friends,
Who challenged me from innocence,
Who stood up when I was at fault,
Whose words I labeled as assault.
I go because I’m insecure.
I get so easily provoked.
I go to learn to calm my rage.
As calm as if I’ve really smoked.”

“May not have smoked, but you are drunk.
You like it when you lash your tongue.
You bully those who cannot speak
As well as you, and call them weak?
They drink, they smoke, get on their way.
That’s more than what you’ve done today.
Accept that there are things beyond
Your power to control. Respond,
Instead, by simply going back
To where you’d left your chosen track.
Its challenges are tough enough
To prove you’re made of sterner stuff.
You think it will not drive you mad?
Remember all the scares you’ve had?
You’re hiding from your actual work,
Because it’s easy now to shirk.
Your Dad is gone. You blame yourself.
He was beyond our mortal help.
No need to go somewhere and fight.
You have the time? Sit down and write.”

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