Thursday, January 12, 2017

Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience – Lisa Suhair Majaj

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


by Lisa Suhair Majaj

There’s no poetry in it,
but I need to say something about No,
how it stands up, no matter how unpopular,
in the face of injustice. Maybe it can’t
thwart history: the powerful have always known
what they can do, and they do it.
No can’t stop an avalanche.
But No could be a retaining wall
built of rough stones wrested from the earth,
carried one by one up the hill on someone’s back.
No might be a tree in the middle of a village street:
traffic shifts to flow around it, its presence
a reminder of what used to be, what won’t be
forgotten. No is the perimeter of stubborn cactus
springing up around destroyed villages.
You can bulldoze houses, evict or kill the inhabitants,
but the thorns of memory can’t be eliminated.
No is steadfast. It knows what it’s like
to have nothing in its hands but dignity.

Published in Geographies of Light (Del Sol Press, 2009)

No comments: