The Hawker’s Midnight Howl

In the morning,

he sells the pedagogy he learnt at home
for the price of a few pennies that would
make his palate more sensitive to the
escaping delicacy of his old-age.

He would cry of honour but he still
only sells–selling is an occupation
that can only escape the poetry of
high men and women,

for others, it’s still in their poetry
and in their bookmarked books of
non-fiction that they (lie) are fictional.

No, not in the rhyming words at the
end of lines, or the middle, or the
beginning, no,

there is no scheme of rhyme, selling
is in the similes that are narrated with
a delusional vivacity by the hawker,

for no one buys from a sad man,
or a mad man. Sadness is a lesser
struggle, and selling is a lesser crime.

In the morning, he had a family, but
at midnight, he has a mother.

Mother with a withered handful of skin,

mother with a language problem,

aloof mother,

mother with fears written on a nameplate,

mother who is a father in the closet,

mother who has no mother,

mother who is a mirage.

So the hawker now becomes a son
and runs off to the street
to sell his mother’s grief with howls

that shrink the skins
of the sleeping residents into
a plaintive reminiscence of the hearts
of all the hawkers in the world,

that crawl into their bed space
and become a puking infant
who slaps their faces, but they
don’t want to share their graves
with infants

so they cuss him away and he runs
while howling like a rat in a cutthroat
race with a mad man or a sad man
and he realises no one ever buys
sorrow.

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