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Coming of Age Funny

Tiptoed at the edge of the stairs,

a cat glared at me.......  

Is it good? I’m afraid it doesn’t make an engaging start. Tiptoed is a perfect word to start a poem, I guess. Even if it isn't, I will not change it. Seriously? I’m not a robot! This is the twenty-third word I’m using to replace the word ‘walked’ which is followed by ‘strolled’, ‘wandered’, ‘treaded’, and a ton of other fancy words which I haven’t ever heard in my life. “Are you mad? The first word is the most important word in any poem. It should suck the brains out of the readers” These are exact words told by my teacher this morning. “'Walked at the edge of the stairs?' The readers will throw away your poem and walk,” she added with a chuckle.  

It's been an hour since my teacher ordered me to change the poem and right now I’m on the stairs with my cat, quite relieved as I found a perfect replacement: ‘Tiptoed’. Even if I’m disqualified from the competition, I’m not going to change it. 

…. a cat glared at me.... 

“A cat glared at me”? I ask myself and raise my head from the laptop to have a look at the cat. Is it glaring at me? Of course not. How can Leo glare at me? It is just watching me thinking ‘Thank god I’m not born as a human or else I have to sit in front of this weird light pouring thing and produce some strange sounds by tapping the fingers in the buttons like him’. And the ‘him’ refers to me, myself. But that’s not the point to observe, the important thing is that Leo didn’t glare at me, it is just watching me as its eyes are on the verge of sleep. 

I modified the line: 

…. a cat gazed at me …. 

And..... that’s it. Once again, I’m stuck with writer’s block. I reckoned for a moment and took a deep breath in relief as I came up with the next line. A really good phrase, I’m not exaggerating, but genuinely one of my best. Just when I begin writing it, an unknown folk song banged my ear and swept away the phrase from my head. Some moments are really hard to explain and this is one of those. I came up with an exceptionally good phrase and this worst piece of shit song destroyed my whole idea in a second. And once again, I’m not exaggerating. I hit the temple of my head till another phrase pops up. 

…. I held my hand gesturing it to come,

but it gazed at me just like the same …. 

To be frank, I’m not sure whether a poem should contain rhyming words. And by the way, I’m not talking about 'come' and 'same', just speaking. Even though it is not exceptionally good like the previous one, it is pretty ok. The curse goes to that song. 

…. I tilt my head to hypnotize it,

but it gazed at me just like the same 

I tried my most to sound like ‘meow’

 but it gazed at me just like the same....      

Am I portraying Leo? Is Leo the cat in the poem? No. For the information, Leo is totally contrasting from the cat that I described in the poem. To prove it; I snap my finger, Leo twirls his head towards me like a top, gets up, and runs towards me as if I’m a mouse. It was just about five seconds since I snapped my finger and he is now lying on my lap. That’s Leo. And by the way, I’m trapped in another work, I had to stroke around his head. If I did the same with the cat in the poem, it would have just gazed at me just like the same. And.... here comes the next phrase 

…. I snapped my finger at it,

but it gazed at me just like the same.... 


…. I threw a ball towards it,

but it gazed at me just like the same.... 

Well, I guess, only dogs can catch balls. I bend down to see Leo, I’m sure that even a ping pong ball can’t fit in that mouth.  

I have a lot of ideas, but I can’t pour them out in a single poem. ‘Even if it is shawarma, one can eat just two at a time.’ said me. Not a self-appreciation, just saying. I’m thinking of ending things. ‘Everything that is good should end well’ said an unknown person.  

Ending an art is the most important and tiring part of it. The last impression is far more important than the first impression. So, this beautifully crafted poem should come to end in a strong solid way.  

And here arises the question: What makes the cat come towards me?  

I saw Leo one more time. 

Yeah, that’s the only way. 

…. I swayed a chicken piece to it,

and it beats the cheetah's record for the fastest animal. 

One can’t expect a better ending than this. This is a literal masterpiece, indeed. If someone else wrote this, they might have used ‘it came running towards me’ but what separates normal art from masterpieces are little things. ‘It beats cheetah’s record for the fastest animal’ here lays the art, pure art. Even a hundred decoders can’t say the meaning behind this poem. And yeah, self-appreciation is important. 

I began writing the whole poem on a sheet of paper to manifest this art to my teacher.  

In the evening, I went to the school to present it to everyone. At first my teacher’s face kind of surprised by the way I described my poem. I added: “You should be lucky to born in my lifetime” and “Imagine you were the first person to witness a Rahman’s song or a Shakespeare's play or the first human on earth. Right now, you are going to experience one of those.” She laughed a bit and read my poem aloud. 

Tiptoed at the edge of the stairs                                           

a cat gazed at me                                                                                   

I held my hand gesturing it to come,                                            

but it gazed at me just like the same                                                    

I tilt my head to hypnotize it,                                                            

but it gazed at me just like the same                           

I tried my most to sound like ‘meow’,                                               

but it gazed at me just like the same                                          

I snapped my finger at it,                                                                     

but it gazed at me just like the same                                                 

I threw a ball towards it,                                                             

but it gazed at me just like the same                                                       

I swayed a chicken piece to it,                           

and it beats the cheetah's record for the fastest animal. 

“Are you a kid?” She raised her eyebrow, “I’m sorry but this is childish” 

Yup, that crushed my heart. “Don’t worry, you can do better next time,” she said and tapped my shoulder. 

To a matter of fact, more than a hundred decoders required to analyze it. I can’t decide the worth of it just by her opinion. Every word in that poem has a deeper meaning beyond a human’s imagination. To be frank, the world doesn’t deserve me. 

I went home that night, a bit disappointed realizing not every story has a happy ending, some might also end in tragedy. ‘Is my writing not good enough?’ I asked myself for the millionth time. ‘This is my most that I can. I spend the whole day for this shit!’ I yelled out myself and threw the paper over the stairs.  

Leo came running towards me and rubbed against my legs. A part of me felt for Leo for not getting the deserved recognition as the cat in my poem and another part of me yelled at me for choosing Leo as a character in my poem and insulting it. As I entered my house, I saw my mom standing with a chicken piece in her hand. Leo ran towards my mom and picked the chicken and went around the stairway. I followed it. He placed the chicken in the paper which I threw and ate it.  

I wondered why Leo chose the master copy of my poem to eat the chicken piece. And finally I realised.... who cares? I realised this just might be my masterpiece.

May 19, 2021 16:21

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1 comment

Arlex Rodriguez
23:08 Jun 04, 2021



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