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“Sense of Urgency” – Nayana Nair

Today I realized
what to call all that I have been reading for so long.
A person I didn’t mean to overhear called it ‘a sense of urgency’-
the desire to save this world as soon as possible.

It seems the enemies are too many.
I saw many names in the list of these enemies
that I silently agreed with-
pollution, dictatorship, bullying,
monetization of education, competing in a rigged world,
oppression of lives and loves of minority, hate crimes,…

I scoffed at some:
the collapse of society in the hands of socially withdrawn,
collapse of economy in the hands of those who want and do less,
the unfeeling and unapologetic generation that seems to love depression,
women whose learning and thinking too much only breaks families,…

“this is the cause worth dying for”-
I suddenly became afraid of that feeling.

As I read all the absurd causes I couldn’t agree with.
As I read and became exasperated at the words of those
who were convinced that they knew better
even as they killed and killed and killed
and got addicted to seeing blood dissolving in oceans.
I realized
how dangerous this feeling could be.

“this is what to means to change the world.
to change the world
is to walk over everything I don’t want to see”
My sense of urgency hated me for thinking this.
It recited every quote about silence of good men.
But all I could now see was the line that I must not cross,
the words I must not say, the knife that I must never hold-
no matter the cause.

“Eavesdrop” – Nayana Nair

From my empty room,
from the edge of my personal cliff,
I looked into the windows of strangers,
looked over their shoulder at texts they write,
looked at the pages where their bookmark rests,
silently waited at the edge of my chair
trying to overhear responses to the big questions.

And all I have known by prying so hard
is that there is nothing there.
Nothing in the text that could pass for shorthand.
The same book rests on the same table for years,
serving only the role of a carefully thought out accessory.
No question is big enough to be carefully considered.
No relationship is important enough to be held to heart.
That I was foolish to believe otherwise till now.
That I am putting myself on another path to heartbreak
if I do not believe in the night that I see.
I must unlearn the way I have lived
to find a place to belong.

In between the cold beginning and cruel ends
that are the parentheses of our lives,
there is nothing for me to hang on to.
But it helps to know
that there are plenty of empty rooms in this painful smaller eternity,
that I need not kill myself over an emptiness so common.
And it is really difficult to feel alone once I know that.

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