Poetry 2017 Longlist, Arpa Mukhopadhyay

The Lazy, Fat Man

Arpa Mukhopadhyay

Day after day, the lazy, fat man
across the street, manages to keep
himself convinced, that he is perfectly
in shape – that he is tall, and strong, and lean.

He stands tall: head-high and chin-up,
lest they spot the double,
or perhaps…the triple layer of his chin fat.
He stands on his bathroom scales, sucking in
the enormous flab…of his self-proclaimed abs
There is no other way he can read the numbers…
You see, it’s the only ‘way’ that he can really ‘weigh’

He promises her that he would change;
Sign up for the gym, and get rid of the beer,
the pizza, and his favourite ice cream.
“I can’t believe you didn’t go to the gym again!
That’s three goddamned years in a row!
You are now thrice the man,
I married four years ago!”

His wife screams aloud, warning him
that she would soon throw him out of the house.
“I am almost there honey, just a little more work to do.
I have lost four, just have forty five more to go!”
So saying, he opens his next bottle of beer.
And you can’t blame him; it’s a lazy Sunday after all!

He swears not to go out of his ‘weigh’ to impress.
He picks his teeth and digs his nose…
if they dare to stop by, to ridicule or to scorn.
His display of priorities seems to be very pronounced…
As he builds a cloth rack out of the ‘useless’ treadmill,
he is sure enough to have made a point.

The stain marks on his shirt don’t bother him at all.
But he takes major offence if you call him –
‘Lazy’, or ‘Bulky’, or ‘Fat’!
“Oh Come-on” he says, “A li’l courtesy didn’t kill anybody”
I am just a li’l ‘plus’ on the side,
Maybe a li’l ‘round’, maybe a li’l ‘large’…

Fat that he is, he still wants to go
‘skinny’ dipping, to the pool parties,
and the beaches alike…
because – he says, “Call us Lazy louts or fat slobs,
we very much deserve to have a life!”

And no, he isn’t a case of bullying or depression…
He is a simple case of a man who doesn’t care.
Take his pillow away, and he burrows under the blanket.
Take his cell phone away, and he turns on the TV.
Take his beer away, and he cries like a baby.

I watch him from a distance, amused and confused.
Incorrigible he is, but somehow always manages to keep me bemused.
Not sure if he has given up on life or is embracing it,
and dismissive as he may seem, I often end up envying him.
How lucky is he to not have any worldly cares –
no one that he would judge, and no emotional entanglements,
no earthly aspirations and no beliefs worth fighting for.

Or well, maybe that won’t be too right to say,
‘Cause he definitely believes in ever-lasting love –
And his beliefs are rather strong –
and so he says he would never stop loving
his TV, his bed, his ice-cream and his beer

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