I’m back from the U.S. Social Forum. And I’m not a poet, but this is what came out when reflecting on the experience this morning:
This Isn’t a Poem About Justice
This isn’t a poem about justice
I’m not supposed to write about wild and out there things
that you can’t get your hands on
that might not really exist.
But if you promise not to call me crazy
I’ll tell you in a whisper
that I felt justice.
it was soaking the earth
in warm rain falling
and lightning bolts striking the Detroit River
lighting up the sky
like the eyes of a hopeful child.
Promise not to laugh
when I say I looked into the soul of a stranger
Our eyes met,
our energies passed between us
like the shared tremble of an earthquake.
No need to ask did you feel that?
I can’t call him a stranger anymore.
Promise you won’t turn me in
when I speak of bonds formed
on darkened dance floors
between banners calling for revolutions
I’m pretty sure what I did
violated some part of the Patriot Act
and if they lock me up
and torture me
and ask what I know about terror
I’ll say her lips tasted like cinnamon.
We spit justice into microphones
spilled it from paint cans onto canvases
wore it on t-shirts
and fried it into foods,
so it burned our tongues
and slipped from our lips when we spoke.
I say justice is alive as the red rose of so many poems
but its scent thickens the air like the heat of the sun
and its thorns are inescapable.