Madame Concrete

March 14, 2017

I sit across Her brilliant mahogany bureau,
gaping at Her lucid eyes gloating
down the corridors of my soul,
deconstructing the tragedies
misconstrued as my identity.


I disenchant my typewriting fleshy blocks,
and write about a truth known thus not
to the Saint. The Principal, my eventual Mother,
ushers a gawking gloop of effervescence
that encapsulates my being in Her presence.


The forsaken Woman, as She is known,
is not really forsaken at all. Her tear is
an earthquake of rhythm—but scarce!
And seen as a mountain of desperation
with the world cascading apart.


Flashing ultimatums are darted throughout Her office
like an enlightening epiphany of existence.
Or, perhaps, the acknowledgement of a peaceful purgatory
many of us catch ourselves in through the chaotic construction of
explicit confrontation bounded by cognitive evolution.


Nevertheless, Her bullet eyes—in their ricocheting existence
remain glued
to Her bricked stool
that She sits on from morning
till afternoon.


I, too, cry a measly past of deceptive
fury—born in Mullingar ‘98,
yet attend Lahore Grammar since four—
teen years old, and I met the Saint!
I met Her, I met Her.


The Master of Equanimity,
The Mother of a thousand sons;
still I wish to be the one She
remembers through the shores—in Colombo, Toronto, Maputo,
wherever She may go!


She reminds me of
Pakistan’s independence,
and India’s independence,
and Bangladesh’s independence,
and the independence of independence.


I could say that She has always been this maintained,
but then I would be a liar and
you would not care about what I have to say
about the Woman who has retained
serenity in the face of being annexed by history.


I hear about boiling green leaves
encircling the large chalky red-bricked
pillar constructed in the middle of my school
sitting next to a leaf cursed to a strange sickly texture
and I wonder how much more dreadful life could be.


But the Lady continues Her rampage against uniformity.
She propagates individuality
above all! And annually She moulds a cluster of
mathematicians, writers, singers, painters, developers—
to seek a harmonic ease of destiny peace.


I knew through our undeviating eye contact that
Her soul stood strong, like a firm compromise,
which would never be
a shock to me,
because She is the biggest compromiser I know.


My mind continues to exist,
and my growling emotions continue to permit
the wars, and wars, and wars, which embody
my cruel mind—but the Compromiser compromises
an eternal sunshine—like Kashmir!


We debate and congress the self-determination of nations,
—but who will mention the subservient; the gender that
still requires alleviation and positive discrimination?
Must we continue living in our idealistic
symmetrical spheres of influence?


Yet again, the Principal in Her worn-out glare,
and Her almost-frizzy hair,
speaks to all students every Monday morning, like a
providence of liberation denoting
friendship, fairness, freedom, faith, fortitude,—


Which resembles the endless stream of A-grades
that oozes in a plastered concrete settlement
of excellence and egalitarianism of students
in Her Cambridge-endorsed institution which
succeeds in engulfing me with approbation of the unearthly Woman.


And I wonder, and I wonder,
Every night of December
that leads to my birthday
when I become an age older
of the handsome Lady enveloped in infinite charm and character.


The Lady who resembles Thatcher and Mary,
who resembles Bhutto and Gandhi,
who resembles Parks and Yousafzai,
who opens the gateway to the femininity of peace,
and who grants Her ocean of sons a desire of equality.


I barged across the brilliant loosestrife that borders the
marvellous institution as a troubled foreign schoolboy—
unaware of the culture warped into the
Johar Town brotherhood. A volatile voice I vexed left and right,
yet thou gentle and thou benign doth teach me sight.


She taught me a Great many things,
but as a furiously diverse adolescent, I continue with my routine
existentialism customary to my temperament.
But She only sees me one way: a path of purple honey
embodying a fragrance of intellectual originality.


I told the Peace-Monger I would write as a literature junior must.
I told Her I will vent my frustration with my pungent trust
in enjambment and alliteration and
I shall retain sanity
during phenomena characterising calamity.


Who could ever develop Her virtuous
serendipity? Who could replicate
the scholarly Stanford awards that produce
the circumference of the hearth
She retrieves to everyday after dark?


I asked Her once when She would retire.
I immediately acknowledged my ignorance.
Does a philosopher ever retire contemplating,
or a mathematician ever retire calculating?
Thereon, I would reflect before engaging in the futility of sake.


Occasionally, I would notice the camouflage She covers Herself with,
like an evening Hunza-shawl; which contrasts with the very unrest that
breeds in Her brooding bones. I remember Her narration of
the early death of Her father to me, while She was in Her
twenties, and to which I had no response.


She asked me again, and again, and again to
travel on the overseas trip to Sri Lanka, but I refused and excused myself
and yet I have regretted it
ever since because
I will never know how to dry my cement the way Madame Concrete does it.


I sat outside Her office one swollen day
after a history examination. I had missed twenty minutes of the paper,
and I released the obscured caracal which lines my bleeding eyes with
fury, roughness, wetness: all in the same way.
But She taught me impartiality and justice instead—to be ensued in May!


Some draw Her portraits, but I write Her a poem
She may care, She may not care,
She may listen, She may not listen,
She may remember, She may not remember.
But I care, I listen, I remember—and I will be at ease.


These are the Women we must guard with might;
Nay! Those who are strong enough to
guard themselves, as they always have, and to not be
entrenched with subjugated fright.
Whom negate segregation, O Oakley!—Madame has taught us right!


Perhaps the psychiatrist of a father did
a justice or two,
moving me to the Punjab in pieces or in truth,
because it meant it brought me closer to calmness and You.
Your dull 1917 journal, Your Oxford shoes: I always knew it would be You.


Hence, She would persist in telling me about
that peculiar leaf which would continue to
sit next to the aching sea of green
and ask, yet again, which one I would be.
I would choose the same one every time; and I would be at peace.


The world may question what
my Mother has to do with peace.
I may not disagree, yet She paves the path for me!
As the Syrian migrants grow hungrier, and the “Islamic” extremists
grow deadlier—She becomes my symbol of retreat, and teaches me how to be.


She prompts me of my various idiosyncrasies
that I do not acknowledge prior to our meddling greetings.
She reminds me of the ten pounds I lost—the ten I put on,
as I relearn my existence, my reality, and my true identity in tranquility.
Thank you for your lessons of peace, Madame Concrete.

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