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We are bullheaded
and make paper planes of pages
torn from history books
and sleep on the ashes
of burnt symbols—
the snatched hijab,
the defaced flag,
the mangled fist,

Voodoo dolls in
the age of social media
for the purpose of their
cowardly
spiritual genocide

and the words
spray-painted over with words
that oppose,
that silence,
that bite off and chew
and regurgitate intentions
as clickbait and satire,
that round up voices into a chorus
then fling their causes
to drown
in misappropriated time,
in intimidating jargon,
in rising sea levels,
or in ignorance

each day is a shouting match
between two different pains
but then the two streams
of blood both
go down the same drain

and underneath
all the smoke bombs
and stinging eyes and nights
that bear witness to just
how grotesquely the human
spirit can bend before
something breaks

are the hearts shoved
down the throat of the big,
well-oiled, relentless machine,
hearts desperately grasping
for foothold in the echoes
of faiths once solid
enough to kneel on,
now sublimated into toxic
vapors of propaganda
stealing through windows
someone forgot to shutter,
making the children sick
and the parents high with
kerosene-scented,
habit-forming rage

the hearts with the most
basic of languages,
the last surviving unscathed
and universal symbol,
with ignored wisdom and
overworked arteries
and the dichotomy of choice
of whether to keep beating
or stop.

I wish they talked more.
I wish we listened more.
.

lady-liberty-sally-davies-ave-b-by-sally-davies
.
“Lady Liberty” by photographer Sally Davies

.

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