August 15, 2017

I Will Bring the Peaceful Riot (A Poem for America).

For much of this last year, my heart has been heavy.

I’ve carried it around in my chest, and it has beaten for myself, for my family, and for a world struggling to find its way.

It’s challenging to have an empathic heart when the country you’ve called home begins to turn into something unrecognizable.

And yet, today my heart was oddly light, even in the wake of recent tragedy. I walked outside to take out the trash, and upon turning to come back into the place I call home, I was confronted with what some might call a sign from the Universe. Others, still, might call it coincidence. I call it inspiration.

I turned on a moonless night to look at my own home, my own door, and the welcome mat lying outside of it—and these words came to me like a gift, which I now give to you. This is a poem for America, for Trump’s America, and any other place where right begins to rise out of wrongs to say, “No. Not here. Never again.”

Oddly, I felt hope. I hope you feel it, too.


I Will Bring the Peaceful Riot, A Poem for America

The welcome mat at my door says “Home,” but does it lie?
Or does it tell a truth we so often deny?
“Home is where the heart is,” or so they say…

But what happens when someone takes our hearts away?
Or when the country where we live these lives doesn’t like our face,
Doesn’t acknowledge our religion, or like this color we call race?

What happens when the world we know legislates our lives?
And says that who we are and what we feel isn’t legal now, or right?
What if it’s not safe to cross our streets or drive over to the store?
Is our home still just a heart or only four walls and a door?
Or is it something greater, something less defined?

You have your four walls, and I have this mind.
I have this voice, and I refuse to deny it.
You can bring your hatred, and I will bring the peaceful riot
Of hearts called out to meet the hate with fiercest love and song
To call you out of your four walls and say that you are wrong.

To say to you that this America is home to more than hateful men.
To join our voices with all the ones who shout, “Never again!”
And those voices will rise and crash, bringing down your walls—

To say America is all of us, or none of us at all.


Author: Crystal Jackson
Image: Global Justice Now/Flickr
Editor: Leah Sugerman
Copy Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Social Editor: Sara Kärpänen

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