The Act of Standing
I had written this poem sometime back when I was still studying at University of Southern California. I had submitted it to a literary magazine there as well. One of the best moments of my life was when they had agreed to publish it. However, they ran out of funds and couldn’t publish it eventually. Here is the poem, written at a time when my passion for things knew no bounds, and I have tried to hold on to that feeling ever since:
To stand, as if standing needed no effort, like a precursor to sitting, well it takes time.
Time that isn’t time, but is something shameful tempered by happiness, Time that is happiness tempered by something shameful. There isn’t a time like that.
How long is enough? If you put your hand inside my mouth down my throat, will you be able to find my heart, where it is? Or will you just move your hand around shaped in a fist until it reaches something concrete, my heart maybe? You will say, “I found it, I found your heart” and all the while my eyes will be the most alive they have ever been. Imagine.
My pain is my armor, a voice says. Lately, people have been breaking down easily. Where is the order? Someone should not cry to maintain order. Walking into a room, I think I have put on a new skin, a skin that knows not to cry when it should. Order. We are a group of people maintaining order. More of it. Someone in a corner breaks down and others are forced to laugh. Order.
In the evenings, I sit with my cat at the window looking into the distance. There is a faint noise which one hears every day at this time of the hour. You have some way with things, just barging in and making things seem more insignificant than they are. Isn’t a person sometimes a thing too? I think and then you ask me to stand.