*Sigh,* I need to take a breath by Dhruv Shejpaul


When tragedy struck

We took a breath

Quarantine in place

The worlds internal flame was set ablaze

The rituals of American society

Burning gasoline until our lungs were filled with toxicity


Out came a cleaner world, one where animals could live in greater peace

Broken dreams, incomplete journeys

Sent home, no more glory

Mask on, mask off

Starting to lose our identity in an isolated swan song

After months, the truth popped

Keepin’ us locked inside

could not justify

systemic genocide

You gave people snuff for kneeling, said Kaepernick was too busy dreaming

And then all of a sudden

We lost a person to your knee

Asked for his mama and you forbade him to flee

He could not breath

A classic story of American Tyranny

The officer, systemically an avatar for so much more

Taking peoples lives out the door

The streets

Empty with fear

Had now been filled with justice

People fighting a system that had made many restless

Turn the camera onto me

23 year old Brown Boy

Remembering the times

Cops pulled me over, walking while brown

Baton wielder looking me in the eye

Losing my breath, unsure if I should let out a cry

Asked how I could ever live in my neighborhood

Thank God my Dad was in my house

They knocked, He told them I was his son

And the officers were shocked

Ready to sock me for being brown

In a town that wasn’t ready to move beyond its confederate sound

I was 17 then, to some a kid

To others a threat

I wasn’t ready to embrace the uncomfortable reality

That I was an American, but also a part of the enemy


Breath in, breath out

Pranayama, find that inner spiritual cloud

Turn around to see a world burning while you’re looking for a clearing

And I breathe and breathe and breathe

Some inhale the nectar of breath while others suffocate from its lack

We’re a society on oxygen support, trying to save those that were damned

Fixing the architecture of God’s plan

An architecture designed for disaster

We hold the pieces and reconstruct an after

Not to be afterthoughts, but to create a new song

A song sung through the labor of broken hearts

Pandemic pandemic

Our isolation was already the virus

Already sick with a lack of connection

Mesmerized by automated relations

There’s no antibiotic for this sickness

There’s no magic pill

Healing can only be brought through listening

To hear the pain and loss in another’s heart

You can’t teach that through an exam or book

Its gotta be felt

One on One

Trying to be as present for the other as possible

Witness each other through the passage of time

Outside of stethoscopes, let us truly know the breath

Let us feel each other need to be fed

With love and a chance to break free of the loneliness

A first and last breath

This sigh signals something will bloom

The seeds planted by revolutionary martyrdom

Will sprout anew

Disaster is if a train is about to smash you

But like

If the train was small

And could go right through your face

And you have this beating heart

It becomes constricted

Ripping into

Endless Despair

Nothing can stop spinning, because nothing is in place

Pray to make sense of the day

Find yourself tearing into past days

Doing what if’s and what’s now

Someone heal us now

What’s the price of healing

What are we feeling

The future unknown but we keep the presence streaming

Author Bio

Dhruv Shejpaul is a writer and facilitator that seeks to bring restorative justice into the world. Interested in the intersection of spiritual metacognitive psychoanalysis and scientific inquiry, catch Dhruv mixing Pedgaogy of the Oppressed and The Bhagavad Gita on a marxist spiritual analysis. Radical empathy is the only way forward. Dhruv holds an MS in Narrative Medicine from Columbia University and a BS from Penn State University. Find Dhruv on Instagram as @spiceislife48.


#spokenword #restorativejustice #1moreperspective

Image Credit

Semblance Studios. instagram: @semblance_design