Newspaper People by Nameera Anjum Khan

Newspaper People
COURTESY OF THE AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION

They wanted me to be a Doctor
And now, I dissect crimes of the body politic;
The organs supposed to protect us fail with every new patient clutched in the hands of corruption.

They say that what I do for this world will reduce mine to a farce,
Is the world really just my mother’s comforting smile and my father’s unfinished bedtime story?
I think back to a time when Politics was a jargon far beyond my understanding;
Today, even the vegetable vendor reeking of God’s own smell represents a system, the cracked roads look like God’s own brokenness, the hasty arrival and departure of the garbage truck with its blasting existence shows God’s own defeated melody.

At times, I wonder:
Which garbage truck can take away the dirt in the mind?
There is a song of hatred but people think it’s growth,
There’s suppression and murder, and people think it’s growth,
There is growth for one and death for another – tell me, which finger of yours completes your hand?
Are you ready to chop off the ones that don’t matter to you anymore?

There’s a protest in my mind as I dissect the newspaper – a certain privilege, I say to myself; that what’s in my hands is not where I rest – within many words but without a voice of my own – unlike so many others.

There’s a name to every religion,
Kindness isn’t one of them.

No Doctor can cure these defects,
No amount of silence can fix what we avoid;
No Masjid can wash away our sins,
No Mandir can redeem our hatred,
No Church can promise us the peace that we watch being shred into pieces;
We’re left to find faults, but even God’s creation isn’t faultless; I mean, just look at us!

We turn to our tools – War, God, Philosophy, History,
And the child at the next signal selling a newspaper turns to one square meal a day like it is the only heaven that could ever exist,
His small philosophy is to simply fill a stomach.

We die from the burden of knowledge & not knowing what to do with it,
He dies from the emptiness of the hearts around him.

Nameera Anjum Khan