I can’t be quiet
when all around me
are making noise
An old beast
is on edge
A new tension
is deafening
Deep sharp lines
are being scored
in cold raw
glacial rock
forming rifts
steep valleys
between once fast

I can’t be quiet
when people
I care for
are hardening
Folks I’ve known
for years
are building walls
with bricks of hate
stacking lies
with stones of bigotry
using mortar of bitterness
and the rubble of despair
penning in the pain
of prejudice
with the bile of
white pride

I can’t be quiet
as so many
are on their feet
pleading in good faith
to be free to loosen
long neglected chains
shackles of segregation
rusted from years
of prejudice and pain

I can’t be quiet
while those I’ll
never get to know
are falling
Weightless in Corona
Dropping like leaves
spiraling slowly down
through deep blue sky
turning over
and over in dappled light
they drop
in open disbelief

I can’t be quiet
as we walk that
long slow walk
of numb regret
reaching out
for the door
where hate loiters
blind fear lingers
and our old and syphilitic
National Trauma
stands steadfast
guarding that ancient
simple truth
sucking life’s
sweet breath

I can’t be quiet
as our children lean
over earth’s long rail
the last Helmsman was complicit
and Brother Deceit had set
the course
I smile to see them
as a body
lean in
against that thick
still solid tiller
I smile to see
the shift of the long slow arc
I smile
for them
and for what’s left
of us

We can’t be quiet anymore
as we strive to heal
to forgive
and be refreshed
It’s time to bend together
and heed life’s mystery
Knowledge what we know is less
than what we don’t
And in reflection
as we score
and stack
and plead
as we fall
and walk
and lean
and learn to heal
the children hiding in our hearts
are one and all
begging to be free