Friday, January 13, 2017

Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience – Allene Nichols

Close up image of a microphone on a stage. The audience that is facing the microphone is blurred, appearing as a myriad of colors (red, white, green, yellow, etc.)
As the incoming administration builds its agenda of attack on marginalized people, on freedom of speech, on the earth itself, poetry will continue to be an essential voice of resistance. Poets will speak out in solidarity, united against hatred, systemic oppression, and violence and for justice, beauty, and community.

In this spirit, Split This Rock is offering its blog as a Virtual Open Mic. For the rest of this frightening month, January of 2017, we invite you to send us poems of resistance, power, and resilience.

We will post every poem we receive unless it is offensive (containing language that is derogatory toward marginalized groups, that belittles, uses hurtful stereotypes, etc.). After the Virtual Open Mic closes, we hope to print out and mail all of the poems to the White House.

For guidelines on how to submit poems for this call, visit the Call for Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience blog post


To My Students
by Allene Nichols

You are strong and beautiful

And drowning
in the sea
of other people’s

You’re scared
when they tell you to go back
to countries and continents
you’ve never seen
or when they tug
at your hijab
or call you a pervert
or use names we thought
buried in a bitter past

You are strong and beautiful

But their boiling anger
to annihilate you

You are strong and beautiful

And you are brave and kind
so you cling to each other
while the tide tries
to wash you away

You are strong and beautiful

But some people reflect you back
in ways that make you seem ugly
and make you want to be ugly
so you sit in my class and ask why
I tell you that

You are strong and beautiful

and you will make this land
a better place
so don’t let evil blind you
or bind you to ideas that rise
from the angry foam
of an ignorant sea

Be strong and beautiful

and you will turn this ugly tide
Until then, use your strength
and your beauty
to survive 

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