Kicking Against The Pricks

An activist and a poet, I have sometimes twisted both together into barbed-wire arguments for our general freedom, often doubling as a plea for friends who have less of it than I enjoy.  

But we are caught in the snarling teeth of this administration, in the sinking ship of democracy, in the wide-eyed, breast-beating violence they sharpen and wield against us lovers of democratic life — against anyone with the audacity to love.

I sometimes feel an obligation to write something, anything. To witness. To document. To kick against these pricks. To throw out the hazelnut-latte liberals clogging up the coffee shops where we used to brew up revolution and revelation. Let us empty those pots and fill these streets.

But I’m silent inside. There is a dull, aching soundlessness living inside me now. Ten years — organizing 80 hours a week and getting paid for 40 — has come to this: 

A country where gasoline bigotry

pours out from shore to shore.

One matchstick man, his head lit up 

like orange flame, dropped down

onto our oil fields of impatient hate.

A single prayer: 

after all the burning,

let there remain some breathing life

under the heaps of smoldering char —

the place I used to live

and call my home. 

Steve Coatsworth