Birds of the same feather flock along together,
that's what they always say but what if we were just tree roots,
tangled along in the same soil,
but what if we were two different migrating birds, crossing each other every winter,
every spring and every season,
would you…if you could, tangle your roots and your feather in the same wind as me?
Would you travel along the same wires I stand upon?
This city isn't big enough for the two of us,
or it is too big for us,
a bus can take us only so far,
a bike maybe even further but what would you say to the plastic bag that sways in the stormy wind?
Would you reach your hand out, put it out of misery,
or burn it to fumes, ashes cannot be drifted away from a burning desire,
fumes can only speak in dissipated voices, drifting off in the atmosphere.
Speaking of which,
can you tell, we live eons apart,
in the cosmos of two different solar systems?
Where I have moons; uncountable and yours have one,
where my moons are of silver and gold, some even jade,
where my breath is of amber and firewood, oxygen is dreadful.
This city isn't big enough for the two of,
yet you never cross my path and I never cross yours,
it's like a miracle, where my scars burn without the hint of hurt and where you never think of me in the blight of a forbidden winter.
Or maybe this city is too big where you never see that the traffic is miserable, the heat is dreadful,
Never gazing upon the sunsets and never at your moon,
the stars never shine and you have haze over your pair of eyes.
Strangers do smile at each other, some pained in their eyes with painted hues of neon blue,
I see you,
amidst the crowd I see you, stranded in the cosmos of a never-ending sorrow,
you could have been, if you ever let yourself, the most bearable person in the history of unbearable,
but you choose to look at the ceilings of your life, never beyond the concrete, never at the sky.
This might have been a movie you wrote once, or a list of things to do,
or this might have been whatever you read in your zodiac future magazines.
But this is a song you hum your vocals to,
a song you cry to and even listen on your brightest day because I never left you,
the darkness never leaves you; your hint of misery stays with you and you try to find different flocks and different roots to tangle yourself in,
but it is never you, you become an infinite paradox where everything you do,
every breath you take is mingled with another opposite of you.
I see you, with whatever half awake, sleep drifting irises, I see you.
Dusted in the shelves of unread books, I see you and I know you,
They will never know you but I do, in ways you are afraid.
So, remember, this is not the song you sing nor the story you read,
this is you; everything here is you and you are misery hidden in plain sight and I hear you,
your screams, your breaths, your palpable heartbeat and your shaky chords.
You are you and I am you, but you're neither a friend nor an enemy, you're a body with a soul,
split in the middle, so I am you, you are you and you are me in my every day and I am you in your daydreams.
So, listen to me when I say, when I shout and scream your name,
this city is not big enough for the two of us, so please listen, please stop running,
look at me, at my hand
look at me, at my gray hair
look at me, at my tired eyes,
at my strained voice,
hear me scream my name and hear me tear at my flesh, touch the spaces in the split…
I see you…
I see you.
Tawsif Mahmud is a poet and a regular performer at SHOUTxDSBooks Slam Poetry Nights.