The Veil

In me lies a conflict,

A conflict that only grows with each passing day,

In a society where my existence is seen as an affliction,

Even in the place I was born has seemed to reject me in recent days,

As something that needs to be purged and removed,

Like a red wine stain that afflicts a white carpet.

Everyday the same question lies,

New faces, new voices; yet I see what lurks behind their eyes,

They ask where are you from; you must be from there,

Referencing some place far away which to get requires a great fare,

I recite my dialogue, telling them of all the places I have been and are from,

Yet, with every new word their beliefs about me only harden,

My resolve weakens, with every “but”, “how” and “why”,

And in turn I see a veil that shrouds their faces,

That prevents them from seeing myself for who I am,

And thus turn into an anecdote to be told to someone else.

Slowly but surely, I try to reason,

I try to interject in their of analysis of me,

Me, Me,Me

It all sounds very egotistical,

But then I realise, that I too wear this veil,

My veil makes me numb to those around me,

Numb to those, who to tell their life stories,

Only to be reduced to an archetype that cannot be shaken,

Only forsaken.

Everyone wears the veil,

Yet chooses to be shrouded,

Many try to remove their veil, only to fail to see what in front of them,

We become so used to this obscure view, where prejudice is rife; and bears hatred,

That when confronted with clarity and acceptance, we refuse to believe what we see and embrace it.

Do I revel in this darkness, or do I reject it?

I try to reject as much as I can,

Cutting away at my veil with a religious fervour,

Yet I stop at the first opportunity,

We only cast away our veils when it benefits us,

Friend, Foe, Foreigner, Local, Husband, Wife,

Terms with loaded meanings, terms with meanings that designate when and how we should use the veil that we hold so dear.

-Arjuna Shankar

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