Converting Dreams

Any new arrival would be
amazed with how the
first world
changed the way their loved
ones talk, not just the language,
but the emphasis on words
not just as worker
but also as
By-words like
‘labor unions’
‘work benefits’
spring up equally often.
Special attention is given to
‘workplace ethics’,
everyone is alert to cases
‘Traffic rules’
are sacred as well as
dutiful filing of taxes.
The office number
of the PM is in their
phonebooks, and in times
of calamity, they join the
chorus for
‘government assistance’

Hope was burning
inside me, as I recall
that indeed a lot of
revolutions were plotted
by future heroes while
they are in exile,
exposed to the possibilities of
a better way of doing things.

But then I remembered
they went home for a few weeks,
as a kid back then this is
synonymous with chocolates,
they only want to hear and say
happy things, like
funny anecdotes,
and little reportages of achievements
by loved-ones, endless
endless catching up,
no stories of hardship, of struggle,
it is a vacation after all.

They’ve learn to close their eyes
to the graft at airports,
consider the trips on
war-zone highways as adventures,
they can now afford to value
culture, history, sceneries
of their homeland,
maybe carry back bits
of national pride, cliché aside,
there is indeed no place like home.

Beauty has been found in violence.
Dreams, it appears, like dollars,
can also be converted.
And I’ve barely earned any.


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