Thursday, February 2, 2017

Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience – Jillian Santos

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, explicitly condones or implies a call for violence, 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


Why Can’t You Be Quiet? Why Don’t You Speak Up?
By Jillian Santos

My mother posted a photo on November 8th, 2016
Of my baby brother in line to cast his very first vote.
For so long the world commanded he speak
But who is willing to listen?

“Way to go!”
“We’re so proud of him.”
“I still remember the day he was born.”

I don’t remember the day he was born,
but I remember the day he told us he was autistic.
Not with words
But with an avoidance of gaze
Like he already knew how much the world would let him down.

Apparently, some organizations claim to raise his voice,
But I don’t think he’s asking for the cure to a disease that does not exist.
His voice does not sound like the clinging of cash registers
After the sale of puzzle piece pins
To Aunts and Uncles who light themselves so brightly blue
That they can’t see across the table on Christmas.

Apparently, his job did him such a huge favor by hiring him
That they let us skip past the step where he makes minimum wage.
His paychecks come paid to the order of half a human
Signed by someone demanding thanks
for seeing anyone at all.

Apparently, some folks think they can tell my brother they love him
And then praise Donald Trump in the

 “Two-and-a-half-years-old, a child, a beautiful child went to have the vaccine, and came back, 
and a week later got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic.”

Maybe I just don’t understand the definition of love,
but I want to yell back:
And I want to hold a mirror up to my family and friends
so they can mouth their “I love yous” to their own reflections
and see for themselves how the mirror will shatter
from an ugliness
that brings FOUR YEARS of bad luck.

And I’ll wait for them to ask me-
“Jillian- Why Are You So Angry?”
If you would only fight with love-

“Way to go!”
…it’s about time we repeal the ACA.
“We’re so proud of him.”
…for graduating before we let DeVos nix his rights.
…we can almost see you as human.

“I still remember the day he was born.”

And then he told us he was autistic.
And you stopped looking him in the eyes.
His face is a judgment
You couldn’t survive.

No comments: