Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience – Simone Roberts

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


O! Let It Be an Arms Race
by Simone Roberts

               -- This ring in you you are but a grain will glitter afresh forever.
                                             Friedrich Nietzsche

               -- We will outmatch them at every pass and out last them all.

Oh, then, let it be an arms race
to blow it all to kingdom come.
Let the sky glow unlight
and prowling with fury,
liquefy, or open its mouth to scream,
and the air run off
to safer planets.

Let there be an arms race
of our arms. Let our arms race
to wind behind each other’s backs,
to brace each other
for the concussion of riot police
in their neat line,
against the gas
and the rubber
and the need.

O! Let it be an arms race
to lift each other just slightly up now,
support the back to open the chest,
up to chase the air chasing the sky.
Laced arms and great arched trunks,
we could be our own damn fence,
a shelter for someone softer,
a watershed of arms encircling anyone left thirsty,
on the wrong end of the Old World’s fear
and its metal, its trembling law. O! Let it be,
oh, that carrying End in us like an open blade,
a sharp stone in a ring.

Oh, let us be a race
to gaze longest into each other's eyes,
see the dust of long-dead suns,
blasted and never known planets,
swirling and waving in the tides of our blood anyway,
a bit of the great ocean spilling maybe
over the lid and onto the cheek
so difficult is it for mortals
to look to the back of time and say Yes.

O! Let it be an arms race
to speak the language of adoration with our hands,
an arms race to cry the widest YES
to every future we must live into now,
even that one where, you know the one,
a tiny star returns us to being stars.
Let us let live into whatever may come,

If we must embrace a flashing end
let the boiling air slam our ghosts
onto the shattering walls behind us
like graffiti sprayed by the Angel of History,
all the world churning to rubble
in the wings’ sky-wide wake. Let,
O! then, let this end with
photo negatives of our last being,
our arms braced behind each other’s backs,
holding each other up, ready, and forward,
even into this, yes. And the future race, yes
of more intelligent, yes, and gentle beings, yes,
will see our ghosted shadows, yes,
and tell stories about never giving in
and never, yes oh yes,
letting fall.

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