Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience – Jim Sugiyama

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


by Jim Sugiyama

it’s useful, this rope pulling me forward
by the neck
into a future
that is frightening-
a cacophony of discordant sounds
and blinding light
and impenetrable darkness-

but without it
i’d sit in a chair
and not know what to do

move forward?
move backward?
to the right?
to the left?

sometimes it feels silken, like a fine tie,
but i strain against it-

can’t breathe

sometimes it turns rigid like a stick
and i skate with it,
dodging opponents blows-
approaching the net
i cast a look downwards
but instead of a puck
i’m pushing a beating heart- ba boom!
and i push it away.

sometimes it’s a stethoscope,
but i strain against it

how can i heal?

too sick, to ill to heal anyone.

emmett till
fred hampton
tamir rice
sandra bland
philando castille
lester donaldson
jermaine carby
sammy yatim
edmund yu

i’m a bit of all of you-
but i survived,

and although i should be grateful,
i’m not-
i fell like shit,
living a survivor’s life,
a survivor’s lie,
with a survivor’s guilt

a strange fruit
fallen from the tree-
not dead, nor free.

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