Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience – Tara Campbell

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


When Peanut Butter Baby Ruled the World
by Tara Campbell

It began with the dreaming mothers.

Their babies came out familiar in shape
but not in substance

Pickle Baby
Ice Cream Baby
Crispy Tofu Baby

The first births were recorded
by nurses with trembling hands.
Others came

Chocolate Baby
Nutella Baby
Marshmallow Baby

The phenomenon had no ground zero, no borders.
Doctors around the world compared notes

Cassava Baby
Chickpea Baby
Spicy Squid Baby

and searched for a cure,
meanwhile pleading with mothers to maintain their health.

The mothers tried

Asparagus Baby
Broccoli Baby
Peanut Butter Baby

But they had needs

Bacon Baby
Rum Baby
Maraschino Cherry Baby
Tiny Umbrella Baby

They couldn’t control their dreams…

Vodka Baby
Wine Baby
Gin & Tonic Baby

…of all the things they couldn’t have

Highball Baby
Marlboro Baby
Raw Cookie Dough Baby
Unpasteurized Milk Baby

The doctors kept waking the mothers up to feed them applesauce and admonishment, but they kept on dreaming…

Imported Soft Cheese Baby
Beef Tartare Baby
Sushi Baby
Swordfish Baby
Just About Any Goddamn Fish Baby

…until finally the mothers said, “Enough!
We still love Pickle Baby
and Crispy Tofu Baby
and Peanut Butter Baby
and Highball Baby
and yes, even Just About Any Goddamn Fish Baby is okay.
They’re all our babies.”

And then they dreamed whatever they wanted.

And by the time Peanut Butter Baby grew up and ruled the world
there were even more kinds of babies, like

Equal Pay Baby
No More Street Harassment Baby
Corporate Leadership Equity Baby
Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation Baby


Respect Your Elders Baby,
who eventually had
To Hell With Plastic Surgery Baby


Male Pregnancy Baby,
who gave immediate birth to
Right to Choose Baby
and her twin
Self-Determination Baby

And when Self-Determination Baby usurped the throne
her first and last order
before abolishing the position of Ruler of the World
was to tell the mothers to dream
and keep on dreaming.

(Originally published July 2016 by Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry)

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