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  You could have a big dipper   

Isms, Isms Everywhere: A tug-of-war between May-ism/Can-ism by Fizza Abbas

‘’may I go to the washroom?’’

‘’can I go to the washroom?’’

as a non-native English speaker,

may and can seem to me two forces

ever-ready to cancel the effect of each other.

one finds ways to assert his dominance

the other likes to play a victim card.

one is a teacher's pet,

the other, her biggest regret.

poop becomes cyanide:

anion CN− or the group —CN,

(with the misled atomic mass number, the A),

and a fruit pastille, when washed down with an oh-so-respectable juice of may.

when may enters the washroom — no wait,

His Excellency is escorted to the marbled paradise,

water overflows to welcome the guest,

when can enters,

sink changes its place with a mop,

tap stops running,

and a ghost from the commode casts a spell

that changes into may, forever.

now, i know why ms.sarah stopped me

from going to the washroom,

when i asked her i may poop my pants,

if she didn't permit me to let my bowels pass the mic to my pooticles,

i understand no one can mess with may.

had there been no may, who would have passed orders?

there would be no king, objects and subjects,

world would run in verbs,

can, could, would, care,

monarchs would 'collaborate',

not corroborate.

doers would seal the deal,

without approvals from ministers,

queens would sing lullabies,

‘’listen to the scientists, artists and craftsmen,

take their advice in every decision.’’

the schools would not be robot-churning factories,

spearheaded by a master who, himself is a by-product of the system.

but who am i say to that?

i'm a non-native english speaker

with limited knowledge and tunnel vision,

wrapped up in an enigma of can or may.

Editor's note: due to the limitations of our website, we were unable to preserve the formatting of this piece as the artist intended. We have attached the poem (PDF below) with the original formatting intact.

Isms, Isms Everywhere_ A tug-of-war between May-ism_Can-ism
Download PDF • 41KB


Fizza Abbas is a Freelance Content Writer based in Karachi, Pakistan. She is fond of poetry and music. Her works have been published on quite a few platforms including Poetry Village and Poetry Pacific. Twitter: @fizzawrites

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