Thursday, June 25, 2020

Poems of Persistence, Solidarity, and Refuge – Aaron R

We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond.  ― Gwendolyn Brooks  

Split This Rock Virtual Open Mic announcement includes a black background with red Split This Rock logo, text that reads "Virtual Open Mic," and an illustration of a hanging lamp sending out rays of light over a laptop.
As we journey through political, economic, and global health crises, we turn to poetry to share truths that unearth underlying causes, illuminate impacts, and insist on transformative change. For many of us, today’s challenges are not new. The struggle of isolation, economic insecurity, inadequate medical care, deadly institutionalized negligence, governmental decisions that put Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian, disabled, sick, and other structurally precarious people at greater risk are not new. Today, many more people are experiencing the vulnerability of these unrelenting issues. We recognize this opportunity for a heightened awareness of how our very survival depends on one another.

Poetry can help keep the flame of resilience, solidarity, and resistance alive in us. It can help us process and move through grief, anger, loneliness. Poetry can be a comfort when the most necessary actions are to rest and recover. It can remind us of what’s at stake, that our lives and legacy are worth the fight. As cultural workers, we know that culture shapes our political and social imagination at a foundational level. As poets, we can use poetry to map what is, what has been, and possibly, the way forward, including the reasons not to return to what does not honor and protect our lives, our communities, and our planet.

We asked poets to give us the words they chant to get out of bed, to raise their fists, to encourage their kin, to remind us, as this crisis does, that “we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.” To read all of these poems, visit Split This Rock’s website.


Silver Lining
By Aaron R

President initially thought it was a joke
Corporations struggling and going broke
Churches starting to lose hope
Conspiracy theorists saying “stay woke”

Call corona an epidemic
Call COVID19 a pandemic
Everyone can relate because the whole world is dealing with it

Just because we are supposed to distance ourselves socially
That doesn’t mean that we can’t speak
Schools are closed but that doesn’t mean we can’t teach
Churches are closed but that doesn’t mean we can’t preach
Nobody said it would be easy, but this is the feat
And if we somehow come together, we will never, see defeat

I know, it’s easier said than done but if we alter our minds
The best lessons in life are learned after some of the toughest and roughest times
And after the darkest times is when the sun starts shining
Keep on grinding, keep on trying
I know it’s hard when people are dining
But eventually, we’ll find the silver lining

Listen as Aaron R reads "Silver Lining."

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