Friday, January 27, 2017

Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience – Burgi Zenhaeusern

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


We Are a Long Way
by Burgi Zenhaeusern

from walking side by side, a long way
as long as
you are presumed guilty.

Only ignorance lets me
approach you without prejudice –
but how         
can I choose ignorance when you
have no such choice.

Only forgetting lets me
look past the color of your skin –
but how
can I forget what my kin does
to yours.

Basic definitions for you and me:
black or white, then male or female.

I am white, and you are black –
the apple splitting in half. We both
know. I see you and wonder,
I see you and stop
being myself for just enough
to stay apart. I can’t

want to move beyond
the cleaving while you
still carry the whole burden of proof, and
I am presumed innocent.

We are
a long way from walking side by side.

This poem has appeared on this blog about two years ago in a different form.

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