THE RULES

I

It started with a dream of sharing the world,

of unlocking its secrets,

of marveling at the mysteries and the known,

and venerating the color wheels outside the windows.

To guide the innocent lambs down the path of

intellectual curiosity and probity was the order of the day:

Didn’t Whitney Houston sing, “The children are our future” in her heyday?

II

In minutes the dream crumbled to the floor

swept away by the nonchalance and uninterested demeanors.

“Look at the bigger picture,” you coax them slowly and patiently, dropping hints

at every corner and turn of phrase.

You recite the mantra of sharing the world and locking its secrets in your mind repeatedly

to stay the ennui slowly meandering through your soul.

“Connect the pieces together,” you say, pointing the obvious staring them at their noses.

“Where are the children of the future?” you ask at the end of each day.

III

It defies the dictum of learning

of grown-up guiding and the greenhorn discovering on his own.

The rules have been altered for convenience’s sake

– the capitalist has the final say and the worker is reduced to a shadow,

an empty shell going through the motions.

There’s no finding the value of x and y

juxtaposing the Moor’s character against his trusted ancient

balancing the universe’s elements

or mastering the basics.

Waiting for the answers is the norm and untangling the intricacies ignored;

curiosity has gone to sleep while apathy remains awake.

Where are the children? Where have they gone?

IV

Where has it gone?

Sometimes it’s strong; sometimes it’s hazy as the mist on the windshield

Other days it’s on the point of shattering to pieces; some days it’s wrapped in a box for safe keeping

but most of the time it hovers at the periphery of the mind, pinned by languor at one end and flickering hope on the other.

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