Saturday, January 14, 2017

Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience – Grace Cavalieri

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


by Grace Cavalieri

The cry did knock/against
                        my very heart…”  The Tempest

we do not feel the hungry children in Biafra
looking at tourists taking their pictures,
then we are the camera.
We are also the neighbor
in West Virginia who shot his cat.
See our hands on the trigger, no matter the gun.
We are the karmic seeds of Viet Nam
running ablaze with fire on our backs.
We’re the hummingbird
flying the Atlantic in March.
Now we are Katrina
because clothes were soaked, and when
there were no more, when no help came,
we were  the empty verbs.
These are the tears that come for Mozambique,
Its children in the trees,
waiting for rescue helicopters. All this,
when there were other possibilities.
Don’t you feel the heartbeat
of the earth, the knob we could turn,
the magical tree we could put back
in the rain forest? Can you count
the  number of women sold to slavery
we could wrap  
in warm cotton and bring back home? 
Riding an idea is like riding the wind
unless we harness
its lonely tumult.  
We are the sun on the cold hungry dog
in the streets of Chile,
the disfigured man in prison,
the mass deaths in Bosnia,
their thunderstorms.
We are the shame of the soldier who thought he should
die instead of his buddy. We are the broken clock of
the widows of war.
their last dreams filled with absence—
If we are the ones who do not feed, comfort or save—
          we are the grave.   

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