resistance

Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.

-James Baldwin

And so it begins–this week many have thought of with a sense of dread

we kick it off by celebrating a civil rights giant

and will end it by watching, or not watching

as a man who has been no friend to civil rights

takes a heavy mantle on his shoulders;

swears to uphold things he has repeatedly mocked.

How can this be?

There are/were/will be the days of disbelief, of naming our grief,

of perhaps trying to voice it and being met with amens or jeers.

There are/were/will be the days of not wanting to read the news,

and yet reading the news, and feeling our heads spin

with the intended confusion and disorientation of it all.

(We are meant to feel powerless, and small. But this is not new for everyone.)

There are/were/will be the days closing doors to friendship, of re-opening,

of cultivating understanding even when our differences are so startling as to

cause us to question what we thought we knew.

How can this be?

A look at history lessens the shock, doesn’t it? We hope this is just a

step back in the ongoing dance toward justice–two forward, one back,

keep going on your tired feet; dance on through those dissonant chords,

believing they are building toward the resolve.

There were/are/will be the days of resistance, and today

in honor of Dr. King, I am making a list.

Things to resist: cynicism,

dehumanization,

ignorance, fear, cruelty,

platitudes and coded language,

apathy, the death of art,

the death of plain speaking,

the death of complicated speaking,

the death of reverence for language.

This morning, reading the ancient words of Isaiah

as they flowed through Dr. King’s mouth into the history books

of this country,

I thought of another phrase, from Paul:

so great a cloud of witnesses.

Even if we’ve been sleeping, and so many of us have,

we wake now, we resist now, we honor

those witnesses, now.

And so it begins, but really it has been going for a

very

very

long time.

And so it continues.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “resistance

  1. A week of contradictions. The ominous date draws closer. I’m dreading it.
    I applaud you for this poem .

  2. Julie's Prose, Poetry, Prayer

    Tears of pride in you, for composing a list that speaks precisely what I would want my own list to contain, expressing it so beautifully, so bravely, in short, so well.

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