Writing While Away

Sy Richardson Dragon - India


June 7, 2018

India was the first time in a while I found myself with an abundance of unstructured time just to think. I read more for pleasure than I had for most of high school, discovered new and foreign music, explored a diverse and expansive culture, and wrote — music, journal entries, poems — about as much of it as I could. Below are a few of the poems I wrote while there. Perhaps more to come…


You There

You there

With the small frame

and loud voice

Do they know why you are so stubborn

That you collect rent

​​

Demand what is due

For tin and cardboard homes

The ones held together by hope

You there

With the wrong pants

Do they know you want to be an engineer

You there

With the bowed head

Do they know why you are always so tired

The women with bright sarees and hard faces

Do they know you wake up when it’s still dark

To sell milk

You there

With the mischievous smile

Does your family know

You got an A on your science test

Best score in the class

Do your classmates know

That you clean a salon

After school

Do they know and not care

Or do they not care to know

You there

With the long stick clenched in white knuckles

And a lime green whistle between your teeth

What do you like

Who do you love

To beat

These children

Smiles fall from their happy cheeks

Like a cruel game of hot hands

They stretch their small palms

Wince

Draw their fingers back

And sit

You there

Do you know

That you are loved



​The Strangers

We are

The Strangers

Ironically

Because we could know each other

with the click of a button

Like a friend’s friend’s photo

and a connection is made

They like your photo

and it’s a fair trade


No

We don’t

Aren’t forced to communicate

when given the option to hide behind a screen

Easier

to read an exclamation mark than to hear someone scream


We are all interconnected

on the surface

But how deep can our devices go

How well do you know, that person

30 years ago relationships were built on interaction

not text transactions


Take

a minute


Strange

How much we are willing to share, with strangers


Is how we feel

something to post about

We gloat about our sadness

because maybe online

someone will care

Too scared

to say it out loud

Afraid of how it might sound

Connections are not built on a number of double taps

Just a temporary lapse

Perhaps

connections are founded on vulnerability

The ability to tell someone to their face

Not showcase it

on a social media page


We strangers, we are crucial to making a change

Whether or not we decide to reach out a hand

The next generation may not understand

how to hold a conversation

We need to evolve

Not work backwards

But technology forces us

backwards

We have to use what we are given

to improve

Or loose


The ice of our relationships is thin.

And not every one has to be thick

but wouldn’t it be nice to know you aren’t always going to fall.


If those that we trust will be there

when the screens aren’t


Up to us


The world is at our fingertips

But the power to change is held in our hands

Not in our devices


We Strangers have the responsibility to prioritize face to face connections

Stop disguising our complexions

In time we can change the minds of those after us

But only if we decide to try

The wonderful thing, about us Strangers

is how we become friends


All we have to do

is reach out

a hand.




​How do you deal

How do you deal with suffering?

Ignore

Because it’s always easier

Pretend it’s not there

Walk by, avert your eyes, knowing if you glance four feet to your right you’ll see a thin man, muttering, unable to stand

Avoid

Take the path you know there will be no wanders or beggars

Give in

Reach into the bottom of your pocket, feel the change you know could buy a meal, and drop it in the empty hand, fingers closing around the coins you’d never miss and still

Know you can never help every person in pain

Or do you stare  

straight in its eyes

Hear the words you can’t understand grabbing at your ears, feel the weathered hands rustle your shirt, caress your arm, see the small shiny tin with a few lonely coins, never notes

How do you deal with it

The first time I saw what everyone told me I would see

A woman

With a sour face, whispering words she knew I wouldn’t know

But you can understand what someone is saying without speaking their language

She closed her empty fingers at the tips, bringing them to her mouth

Held her naked, smiling baby on her hip

Sad, brown eyes, that couldn’t possibly tell the terrors they had beheld

How do you know what you give suffering will not further its pain

What if in comes in the form of a child

Wrapped in rough red rags

Wrapping her small body around your right leg

Words you don’t know pulling at your heart as she looks up at you

She clings to the car, pleading and you can’t ignore it now

Now

You have to look deep in its eyes

And make a choice

Sy Richardson Dragon