If the back & arms you carry riddle with black
spots & marks made by birds who don’t want us here—
I will remind you: There are people who did this before us,
brown & black-spotted, yellow, with rattails,
born from what others did not want & loathed & aimed
to never let belong, & so, we are here today—
the field is wide. We make saliva from root & light.
Our spikelets grow, & do you feel the wind?
- Joe Jiménez, Smutgrass
Orlando. Dhaka. Istanbul. Baghdad. Medina. Nice. The killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and the murder of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge. This summer, terrible bigotry and violence have rent our global community. The killings must end, and we in the poetry community must contribute in any way we can. As we search for answers to these horrors and for ways to combat hatred and prejudice, we are reminded of poetry’s capacity to respond to violence, to help us regenerate, like spikelets sprouting in a contested field, claiming our public spaces for everyone.
In solidarity with all those targeted at home and abroad, from the LGBT community in the United States to devastated families of Baghdad, Split This Rock is offering its blog as a Virtual Open Mic. Over the next couple of weeks, from July 14 to 28, we are requesting poems in response to and against violence toward marginalized communities. After the Virtual Open Mic closes, we hope to print out and mail all of the poems to Congress and the National Rifle Association.
by Sir Dancer Anew
OUT OF THE CONSCIOUSNESS NESTS
OF THE MAJOR PARTIES CAME THE
THUNDEROUS TRUMPETING FOR REVENGE...
From the back of our minds came the beat-the-crap
out-of cadence so we would feel the overpowering
need to run full force into one another, clunk heads
and get more and more outraged by those OTHERS
with differences... Our one-track minds skittering
down the narrow road of linear logic had us barreling
down the raceway with a swaying cartload of
misapprehensions whipped on by an overbloated
self-important boss in the driver's seat, whipping
into a frenzy a team of whore horses in the form
of conformity to run down "the other."
As tho the truth was theirs and theirs alone, the
one party of partying conformists was trying to run
the other party off track. The second party roared
in de-Light as they snuffed out the candle power
of the other by getting the whole condemnation
nation to judge and criticize, judge and condemn...
Screaming "You're fired!" the party of the first
part, considering that this was war, ran wildly at
the watered down party. But that party was able
to release a water cannon of insults to cool
the ardor of the other...
Soon, getting out from the back of our minds,
the conflict took on form and, larger than mere
energy, took on form that went from only mere
grumbling to the form of a monster of animosity.
Worse yet, starting to identify with the party
of our choice we saw nothing wrong with it taking
on the persona of some big son of a bitch fanning
the flames of war and bitching about the other...
As self-aware creators we had formed a matrix
by envisioning it, pumping it up with some sort
of dull consciousness and sending it out into the
world of form to run roughshod over the others.
DISS THE OTHER, it thought as it stumbled out
out into reality, knocking over restraints and
crushing inhibitions under foot. As just pure
FORCE created by factions of political PHILOSOPHY,
picked up by us schmoes and sent out into the
world of form, all we could to do was watch
our big dumb brutes of political correctness
take a crack at one another...
Their impersonal, unaware state of consciousness
could now only wade out onto the screen of life,
sicced on the other and sock, trying to knock others
because of their beliefs and ignite a BIGGER WAR.
In the microcosm it was our beliefs running into
their beliefs with great angry vigor, going from
shoot-your-mouth-off to just-SHOOT that created
the harsh world around us. And as we continued
to feed them life energy, believing we were the good
knights (good night!), they grew attacking others...
Fortunately there was also a group of little old ladies
in tennis shoes who were also busy building thought
forms, benevolent globs of released consciousness.
These were not violent giants but only built for the
task of disarming with harmony the parties of the
first part so they would stop creating monsters of
animosity. They were assigned to push our aware
nests back into the place so they couldn't be birthplaces
of the demons of divisiveness. The Political
Polarities could no longer suck us into their
vortexes of sleazy schemes and caustic
causes because the Mother of All
Fussbudgets was on their case.
We became aware of where
our distaste for THE OTHER
is coming from...