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Words by Camellia Choudhuri
Image by Nora Schaefer
It all seems nice when it’s in newsprint.
Feminism, Anti-Racism, LGBTQ awareness,
And other lofty things that people think about,
Things that make their way into debate forums
Issues that creep into blogs and journals,
Essays that your school makes you write.
It all seems nice when you,
With your literary excellence,
Conclude with flourish yet another poem for a magazine
About something unexperienced –
When you describe the horrors of war
Seen with your sheltered and unharmed eyes,
When you talk about rape with an unblemished body,
When you wave rainbows on straight poles.
It all seems nice when you buy tickets
For heartrending documentaries on sports stars
When you applaud and cheer
Seated in that airconditioned room
Feeding on popcorn and adrenaline.
It’s nice when all you do is walk a mile with a candle
To ward off
A dead soul’s darkness.
It’s nice when you flaunt your knowledge
Ranting incomprehensible figures,
A hundred numbers that
Talk of untold stories
Of the ribs of the hungry child
Of the disposed syringe that
Brings heaven to earth
Of one broken nucleus,
Of dolphins strangled to death,
Of whales harpooned and skinned,
Of wives kicked and slapped,
Of men bullied by boys,
Of skulls bloodied and battered,
Humans stripped and stabbed,
Of too much light killing the darkness –
Of silences, merely quantified.
It’s time you stop.
It’s time you stop the hype.
It’s time you skip lunch to feel hunger and not because you’re on a diet.
It’s time you feel the pain instead of glossing over the printed words.
It’s time you retort when that teacher at school calls you dark.
It’s time you kick that man that gropes you at the local subway station.
It’s time you shed that cocoon wrapping your fragile existence.
It’s time you kill that hypocrite inside you.