Arts·Poetic License

In a world on alert, Nasim Asgari urges us to remember forgotten human softness and compassion

"The ability to inflict hurt is ultimate power. We can create love much easier, but prefer to devour."

'The ability to inflict hurt is ultimate power. We can create love much easier, but prefer to devour'

"I feel like the piece covers a lot of what's going on in my own surroundings, in our surroundings and in the world in general," says Toronto poet Nasim Asgari whose powerful performance we previously featured on Poetic License. Asgari's untitled poem is for a world on alert, but also a world where human compassion remains.

"I was trying to put all of those things together and encapsulate them in once piece, as well as touching upon human softness and human compassion and love, which is often forgotten about when we're talking about what is going on in the world, forgetting that it's all, all of it is connected."

Watch Nasim Asgari perform Untitled:

Nasim Asgari returns to Poetic License and performs her untitled poem for a world on red alert while keeping in mind human softness, compassion and love. 3:11

As the world around us grows more and more uncertain, eight young poets speak their truth in the third season of the CBC Arts series Poetic License. Watch all 8 performances now and read Nasim Asgari's poem below.

allah's taught me how to hold myself tightly 
but i forget often 
being dependent on another human isn't the way maman & baba raised me,
but i want love,


i hold onto the world & every single cell
inside me 
but the prison sells don't start unlocking 
guantanamo still functioning like our faucets 
like flint still doesn't have clean water 
but why only point fingers at our neighbours when indigenous people here are still searching for their womxn & daughters 
muslims still trying to put names to their martyrs 
yemen running low in men- leaving children & mothers 

immigrant youth still searching for home to the point it's turned into a joke 
but the reality stays obvious 
while our family's stay back home 
whilst our identities are looking for places to go 

we try to deconstruct & navigate through the pain but the mirrors are too exposing 
what's the point of having to translate your trauma to the world that's forgetting nurturing 
while consuming like tidal waves 
consumption of nothingness nothing's
we've become numb to our surroundings 
what is social justice but mere human decency 
human decency lost 
unlike the wastemans of toronto & this city's storms

the ability to inflict hurt is ultimate power
we can create love much easier
but prefer to devour 
cannibals in the making
hold onto hearts
break spines 
& collect blood like dust, 
stack our sins on personal shelves
don't ever underestimate how numb this world's made a human being
that's what i'm learning 
there's always some other extension to the perversion that you may have never expected 
i pray the same god that gifted brains also gifts us with logic & compassion

so i will hold myself close 
like allah has taught me
follow the legacy that's been left for me 
striving to only extend goodness- anger when necessary 
let my future know that this era is in a state of emergency 
alert alert

Nasim Asgari's book of poetry what was swept under the persian rug is available now, and you can follow her here

About the Author

Lucius Dechausay is a video producer at CBC Arts, as well as a freelance illustrator and filmmaker. His short films and animations have been screened at a number of festivals including The Toronto International Film Festival and Hot Docs. Most recently he directed KETTLE, which is currently streaming at CBC Short Docs.