Poem: Vocation

Painting: John Salminen

By Neil Nagwekar

Drifting summer sands of the Canyon
That enrapture grand minds
Are worth five minutes of our time
Because the tour bus is setting sail.
No don’t wail.
At least our cameras are crammed.
Satiate your self-pity with knowledge
Of inevitable envy from
Followers and frenemies
Whose green eyes shall bleed when they see
Those sandy triangle rock thingies
Backdrop to beaming selfies.

In the frigid museum
That wily old man whose whites for eyes
Mockingly rolled inside a lifeless mind
Was object to ogling loafers –
Palms clutching audio tour guides,
Bones covered in woollen sheepskin.
To them, compared to other busts
He looked as alike as their kin.
“Pretty locks of hair,” the extent of praise
Before one of the herd ambled away
And like magnets others chose to stray.
Their one-eyed eye on art lied compliments
Before compliance permitted them to part.
They left, leaving Odysseus alone
Mouth agape and aghast.

Quit wailing!
Daddy did not muster enough pennies
To fill our bellies and take us on trips
To places society says are the best
For you vain-headed kids to complain
That our vacation has turned
Burdensome and lame.
I suggest don’t dare stand in the way
Of quality family time. For all I care
Stuff this authentic taco
Down your whining windpipe
And try to gasp in the culture
Gift-wrapped by waiters and simpering guides
Within one night.

Make it snappy, since the schedule demands
A good night’s rest in time
For tomorrow’s circus fest
Which you cloud-headed farts
Cannot be too knackered for.
Don’t forget, from midnight till four
A TripAdvisor hipster called
This city a sea of muggers and gamblers
We must evade like the plague to survive.

Moments after they left, the place came alive.

Neil Nagwekar is currently pursuing MA in English Literature at The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, India. He has written as blogger, dramatist, editor, freelancer, journalist and poet. He has interned for Mid-Day and co-directed a production at the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai. His principal influences are Foucault, Marx and T.S. Eliot. He enjoys football, comics, podcasts, poetry open mics and any good discussion on life or literature.


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Cafe Dissensus Everyday is the blog of Cafe Dissensus magazine, born in New York City and currently based in India. All materials on the site are protected under Creative Commons License.


Read the latest issue of Cafe Dissensus Magazine, “Shaheen Bagh and the Anti-CAA Protests: The Struggle to Create New Concepts”, edited by Huzaifa Omair Siddiqi, JNU, New Delhi, India.

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