Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience – Persis Karim

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


Lament for Airports
by Persis Karim

Where we land and take off,
where we imagine our flight
and freedom, where we greet
our relatives for the first time
or again after a long absence,
where we elate at the arrival
of a friend or a grandfather
sick with cancer in need of care,
or where we depart for a vacation
where the weather is warm, or to
a place that calls us back, even if
it is no longer home, or to a country
we've dreamed of seeing since
childhood, or because we must leave
where we were born out of fear,
where we wait, where we anticipate
runways and gates, where we stand
in long lines to undress and dress,
where we rush and run so we're not late,
and bear gifts, baggage, and histories,
where we call to say goodbye or report
our status or the delays or express
our love before we ascend into the ether
at the station that connects us
for a small moment in the human
traffic of miles and kilometers and time
zones, where our molecules gather
at one location and cross the border-
less sky in cold and light and dark
through distance and distant
feelings across this small planet
without suspicion or names
or the need for a passport
only to now find that the strange
comfort of being a passenger,
a traveler in the intimacy of an airport
that once saved us from blindness
now tests us at the gates of a country 
we no longer know or recognize.

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