An Empathetic Afternoon In The Ghetto - David Christopher Sequeira

Sublime strains of Bach
stir up the languorous ether.
Happy sounds of tinkering
in the kitchen,
and exotic aromas
of a simmering curry
waft down the gallery.
A distant guffaw of laughter
warms the frigid afternoon.
A lukewarm breeze
ruffles the martyred brown leaves
of the balding trees,
trying its best to thaw
the icy day.

An arrogant cat,
shag-pile of ginger-orange fur
soaks in the sun
ensconced on the bleached
skeleton of what was once a wall,
like a monstrous patch of
bristling mutant fungus.
The lemony tinkle of
an invisible bovine bell
rends the otherwise funerary
gloom of the afternoon.

In the rising grey-white
eddies of smoke
emanating from an incense-stick
lanced by the
lethargic sunlight,
I see The Universe at play.

A lazy eagle,
floating unsullied
miles above, sneers at
the raging rivers of
human triviality.

An infant babbles
quietly to himself,
rapt, as he constructs
cockeyed rainbow tenements
with an assortment
of building blocks.
His pudgy hands clumsily
laying the final touches
to his modernistic masterpiece.
He stares at it for a while
proudly, transfixed,
his eyes glinting
a cocktail of rapture, innocence
and rampant mischief,
before razing them
with his bright red fire truck.
Chuckling dementedly
the miniature demigod
turns his attention
to another corner
of his little kingdom.

His saggy hag of a grandmother,
lost somewhere in the
subterranean recesses
of her senile mind,
automaton swatting at
airborne critters
that dare violate her airspace,
watches the spectacle
with an air of resignation
and bored detachment.

Her drunk haggard husband
lying wasted on a
decrepit charpoy,
spills onto the earth below,
his snores reminiscent of
an asthmatic tractor in distant fields.
He is miraculously revived
as a nubile girl
flounces by,
the exaggerated gait
set his blood flowing.
He studies her
retreating rotund derriere,
bloodshot myopic jaundiced eyes
savouring the spectacle
with the air of a connoisseur,
slack-jawed, chewing a cud
that doesn't exist.

A forlorn beggar,
eyes vacant,
bedecked in sulfurous rags,
caked with excreta
pelts invisible phantoms
with imaginary pebbles
for a while,
before wearing down
his personal Goliath
with his dogged resilience
emasculating him
with the dagger he had
hidden somewhere up
his cloak.

A lame horse
stumbles past in a stupor
on his way to
nowhere in particular.
His eyes liquid orbs of
molten pain,
frothing at the mouth,
stoically praying for a
quick end to his misery.
His mind wanders to tales
that his mother narrated to him
eons ago,
tales of glittering
heavenly pastures,
crystal brooks of water
and a harem of lubricious mares
to pander to his needs.

A grove of Eucalyptus
shimmers sensuously
in the distance,
evoking a tidal wave of
bitter-sweet nostalgia.
The gong-bell of
a deja-vu
clamours silently
in my skull cavern.

- - -

A devout student of the Culinary Arts, David Christopher Sequeira has dabbled in Mathematics and Economics before identifying his culinary calling. He has been nurturing a gentle affair with his guitar for the last 4 years now. He currently resides in New Delhi and occupies a room on the roof overlooking a small overgrown jungle of sorts.