Thursday, November 10, 2016

Morning, 9th November 2016, in a New York hotel-room

Around 2am,
she was 209, he was 244.
I go to sleep.

Around 4:30,
almost in the middle of some dream,
I pick up my phone, see the results,
and go back to sleep.

Six in the morning,
waking up early for a bus,
the first thing I do is see my Grindr.
The bus is only at 8. It’s still two hours.
Someone 870 feet away, 45, “looking for fun right now”
had offered some unsolicited advice:
“You better pack your bags,
He gonna build a wall.”

Around 9:30, in the Greyhound bound for Atlantic City,
the woman next to me kept on calling her new President
a psycho. I thought to myself, why abuse psychos.

Later that day, my mother
called from Lucknow and said
“Achha ab ye Trump president ban gaya hai
isse tumhein toh koi farak nahin padega na?”
So now that this Trump is president,
this won’t make any difference to you, right?

I didn’t know where to begin
so I just repeated that I will be back by the 1st of December,
it’s just three weeks.
She said “achha bas safe ho kar chalna,”
Okay, but just be safe till then.

Where does one begin
when the hate rises – “at an Applebee's, they hit
her just because she was wearing a Hijab and speaking
in Swahili" – where does one begin when
the object of your fear is the colour of your skin –
I know that a friend would say “surely, you’re over-reacting,”
but what do I know, how can anyone measure the menace
distributed in the evenings – “they threw a cup of piss on him
as he slept on the pavement, he was a Mexican immigrant”

where do you begin, when you think twice about
an evening-out alone in a new country, when you
look about for folks like you, because
something’s in the air here
and it’s sinking in.

(thanks to Jorge Ramos)

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