Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Poems that Speak Against Violence and for Embrace - Mindy Kronenberg

If the back & arms you carry riddle with black
spots & marks made by birds who don’t want us here—
I will remind you: There are people who did this before us,
brown & black-spotted, yellow, with rattails,
born from what others did not want & loathed & aimed
to never let belong, & so, we are here today—
the field is wide. We make saliva from root & light.
Our spikelets grow, & do you feel the wind?
       - Joe Jiménez, Smutgrass

Orlando. Dhaka. Istanbul. Baghdad. Medina. Nice. The killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and the murder of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge. This summer, terrible bigotry and violence have rent our global community. The killings must end, and we in the poetry community must contribute in any way we can. As we search for answers to these horrors and for ways to combat hatred and prejudice, we are reminded of poetry’s capacity to respond to violence, to help us regenerate, like spikelets sprouting in a contested field, claiming our public spaces for everyone.

In solidarity with all those targeted at home and abroad, from the LGBT community in the United States to devastated families of Baghdad, Split This Rock is offering its blog as a Virtual Open Mic. Over the next couple of weeks, from July 14 to 28, we are requesting poems in response to and against violence toward marginalized communities. After the Virtual Open Mic closes, we hope to print out and mail all of the poems to Congress and the National Rifle Association.

We are accepting poems through July 28; for more information, read the initial post here.


by Mindy Kronenberg
Mamie Till’s pain
didn’t crush her pride,
when she held her son’s
battered skull and said:
“I see daylight on the other side.”

Rosa stood her ground, they tried
to force her from her seat on the bus
but on that long, dark ride to justice
she saw daylight on the other side.

Little did Malcom know that X
would mark the day he died,
confident the pain of betrayal would subside
and that daylight was on the other side.

When a bullet took down a King
With a dream to live side by side,
my city erupted in tears, but it cried
“I see daylight on the other side.”

For all the strange fruit tied
to trees, the dreams deferred
and petrified, our House on a Hill
lives in memory of the lives
in Chicago’s South Side,

We see daylight on the other side
We see daylight on the other side
We see daylight on the other side.

1 comment:

Uncle McCheever said...

Excellent ! ! Nice flow quite the Lyric !