Poem | Debarun Sarkar

Beat inspired artwork by Divya Adusumilli

On unemployment and drugs

The word 'freelance' is easier
to throw around at cocktail
parties. As if the word were
a sign of rebellion, non-conformity
in the hyper-corporatized world.
Hiding behind the ambiguity of
the word I can attend conferences
dinner parties, talk to the start-up
crowd, the academicians, the ad
guy, the journalist, and all those
fixtures of urban middle class
'social' lives.

I have been unemployed since
the day I was born. When odd
work came my way I did it
and saved up enough money
or blew it up in hedonistic
rage. No one checks your
savings account balance sheet
if you tell them you are a

Unlike the men sleeping on
the streets, I have some
inheritance to take resort in.
But I wonder, only if, those
men on the streets doing
heroin and brown sugar
knew that they could call
themselves 'freelancers'
speak some English, and
get some clean nondescript
clothes, preferably a
tee-shirt and jeans
they could walk into
the posh parties and take
hits of cocaine, MDMA and
LSD from some rich kids
too high to count.

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