When I was asked what does ‘anger’ mean to you? I said :
Anger is nothing but the sound of slamming doors and eyes full of red tears. And then this is exactly when this poem came into being.
The lava brews deep within. Wreaking havoc.
And all-round doors slamming. Sensing shock.
And the misery river of many a tear
Starts sprinting down in absolute fear
Of the ruthless frown that gloats right on top
As if a dear crown with crease jewels as prop.
Just across the thin glacier lies frustration
And over the mountain barriers lingers depression.
The enemies raise from every side the red flag
And over the white dove it does enjoy to brag.
For all and sundry know that along with huge eyes
Come deadly frowns, loud sounds and deep sighs,
Tight fists and battered bacon in boiled blood,
And this is nothing other than the anger flood.
If I look at myself in the mirror this is what I see.
A sixteen year old girl stands in a slightly awkward and conscious posture. Her dark brown eyes seem to hold a rare mix of fire and tenderness. She pushes her long burnt umber hair back slightly and tucks it behind her ear. Her body makes her feel very uncomfortable because she has always been labelled ‘anorexic’. When she knows she is not.
A girl who has always lived in her comfort zone. Living in the same house, staying in the same room and sleeping on the same bed since birth. Although she did spend her past two years in a boarding dormitory, security was never an issue. And adapting wasn’t a problem for her.
Just be me. She says to herself. And she seems to be struggling to implement this idea, which would have seemed abstruse to her during the days where she craved to play with a huge red balloon. Torn between what she thinks she should be and what she is. Torn between what people think is right and what she thinks is right. The others tell her that its “all a part of life.” Are you kidding me? I’m sixteen. Not even an adult. I think that line is best kept to yourself. Tears chose to stroll down her cheeks whether she gets sad or angry. It feels like a bee sting. A big red ball tightened and swollen with tension, a slight prick here and there and it explodes. She simply stands there struggling to discover herself as she looks into the mirror and seems to seek much more than the colour of her skin and the approximate weight of her body. ”
And I can still see her there. Standing. Staring. Into the vast horizon of her reflection with a profound and inquisitive look in her eyes.
Arthur felt his jaw clench as he saw Heinrich Himmler, who was musing on a nude women magazine, with his plump bottom plopped down on an embroidered armchair. Heinrich was a man with a rock heart. His mouth was full with braised brandy when the row of boots entered in sleepy coordination. His breath caught. Fear grabbed the artist’s spine. Himmler gasped and spilled the drink as his eyeballs whirled. Soon, he stood upright and led his men with sluggish pride.
Arthur had not smiled so much in years; his jaws ached. What a pain it was to smile. The streaks contracted as they altered colour and blended into dull shades of sky and rock. They switched between hikers on the watchtower walls and hissing worms slithering through keyholes of ruthless gas chambers, where a plethora of yellow stars scratched and screamed to compete against poison.
The revolt still hadn’t begun. Crowds of lit up faces burst like shots of lightning outside. They froze with wide-open eyes. The big boots footslogged to the barbed wire in a languid haze. One by one they squawked and one by one they bled. Arthur’s ebullient strands gnawed away at their wounds. So, when the vultures came they left rather dissatisfied.
By the time hearts like Arthur’s returned to their little homes with velvet cushions, the twines converged and diverged until he signaled rest. The euphonious humming birds could finally be heard, people could glance out of windows as they usually would and the wind had negotiated with tranquility. And now, even though it was physically dilapidated, Warsaw no longer remained a shack of a town.
After this came the train ride.
Not a fancy one on a melted marshmallow morning with scones dipped in raspberry sundae landscapes. It was a bitter gourd train ride. Two hundred bodies clambered onto one another as they were thrust into a compartment fit for a hundred. Mental mayhem perfectly partnered with physical pandemonium to serve for provisions of impatience, death and hysteria – absolutely unsuitable for a journey. On reaching, a thimble of purely contaminated water along with a ladle of rice was to be his staple diet.
The sweltering heat that burgeoned in dead, listless Treblinka was infinitesimal when compared to the gargantuan ardor in Arthur’s mind. Bullets pierced many lives because filthy boots wanted to ‘practice aim.’ Squalls of raped women reined the air like an omnipotent God. Children bathed naked in frozen water. And, the chisel slashed, pierced and dug in deep. Arbitrary shapes were a boon to the cold, withered stone as an upshot of the sporadic volcanic eruptions taking place within that ordinary composition of two hands, two legs and one head.
Only a large chunk of wall was completed when it happened.
Big boots came and stomping followed. If it was Monday or any other day for that matter, the short arrogant moustache would wiggle and squirm, “Straight to the gas chamber you scrum!” and the foul mouth would spit and snicker while big boots swaggered. But that day, although the heat was just as fervent, the walls were just as discouraging and the yellow stars were just as woebegone, the gaze of the crystal clear blue in big boot’s eyes reached those convoluted and labyrinthine marks. Then he looked. But before you knew it, he stared. The arrogant moustache metamorphosed into one of a meek chagrin, the mouth opened into a timid, hollow air hole and big boots stood, rooted.
But everything else began to move. Embedded in the stone, those bold streaks freely levitated into the pungent prison air, feeling rather displaced. They swiveled and gushed and traced somersaults in the air. They twitched and flexed. Sometimes knitting their brow at the boring view or creasing their nose at the smell.
Arthur just stood there. White. A paralyzed smile of wonder on his lips. The lackluster and humdrum designs drawn on the barren canvas were suddenly overcome with spirits that swished and slithered with serpentine style. Big boots stood with his eyes rotating like circles at the loose ends of a capricious string. The blue in his eyes shattered into shades of evil and swirled restlessly. Soon enough, he was lulled and lured into a world of placid temperament; sleep.
Arthur wasn’t a man to play dumbfounded at queer reality. It was his anger that was being demonstrated in those strokes after all. So, he orchestrated his anger into different energies so zealously, that they zapped at short moustache making him sleepwalk all the way into the dingy corridors where the band of big boots loitered. Arthur raised his sore hands in a gentle gesture and before he knew it the Satans of Earth were sleepwalking. Dozing through the walk of shame, the troop approached the General’s chambers.
Everyone had heard about the man with the whimsical art. Not so tall and a hat to conceal the smooth and shiny surface of a round, protruding head was about all that the people knew. Word had spread from the concentration camp that such a man existed and it was their only scintilla of hope. It was a winter of 1942, and the small shack of a town called Warsaw seemed to be drenched with every feeling contrary to positivity. The humming birds forlornly soothed the chaotic screams on the roads, the frightened faces of mothers hid behind ragged curtains and the leaves wouldn’t stop rustling since the wind refused to stop its blow. Gunshots adorned the air and something peculiarly worse than worry thrived on the faces of the persecuted. One wouldn’t be surprised to find no difference between them and the debris that had taken over the land, no difference indeed.
Arthur Schindler worked day and night with his chisel on the meager, lifeless prison walls as though it were the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. It seemed to be the only outlet where he could confidently voice his thoughts and implement his so-called skills of ‘anger management’. He had been a hotheaded boy who needed his tie straight, perpendicular to his collar, his hair combed back so neat that not even one loose strand could dare to obstruct his vision and shoes so polished, so that from far anyone could say “Oh, that’s Smarty Schindler coming this way!” He had been thinking hard about what had happened. And the harder he thought, the more infuriated the chisel became and the more willfully it resumed to dig deep into the flesh of the stone as if it were the raw liver of one of those big booted men who said “Hail Hitler!” as if they were reading the Old Testament.
Suddenly his eyes saw red. His face felt red, and he tasted red revenge. He had been sipping on his scrumptious hot chocolate on a fine evening complemented by a sky filled with beautiful deep lucid blue. There was sweet pain in that thought of a place known as ‘Home’, a faraway fairyland. But just as he got a taste of comfort from his velvet cushion, they barged in. Big boots and Swastika signs stomped on the floor and marched right at him. Rough fingers grabbed his hair and triggers made holes in his walls. He had been shoved into the rue of reality called war and was an official participant in the system of racial discrimination, when the yellow Star of David was blazed on his forehead. It had hurt a lot. He begged. He begged for those big boots to shut up their disgusting smirks. He begged for his mother’s cool hands to caress his skin with the blood boiling underneath. But who knew that this was just the beginning.