The Collision of Now

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Privilege and Possibility
Stuck like glue to the front of my hands
And the side of my tongue
In that place where voice falters
An endless moment of familiar freeze
That stretches for an eternity
Or at least seven generations
Searching to thaw
To reach back and touch
The centuries
Before power became toxic
 
Before White men
Thought the shell beads that Red men wore
Could buy land
And then stole more than they paid for
Before violence
Became the foundation of Civilization
And Civilization
Co-opted Culture for its own gain
 
Before the collision of want with have
Before the murdering of chiefs
And the shoving of Kings and Queens
Into the bowels of Ships
To be sold as another’s hands and legs
 
How is it
That for more than 500 years
We have normalized
Forgetting
What created
The power
That the White world
Clings to
Protects
And convinces others
To strive for?
 
Why have we normalized
And internalized
The dependence of Superiority
On Inferiority
The dependence of power
On the less powerful?
The reality that Racism needs
And feeds
Superiority and Power?
 
What if this time
Is different?
What if this moment
Makes a decision
To begin telling the story of what happened
Until it is known and remembered
Written into books
Shouted on street corners
Where people gather around to listen
Adding details
Untangling bloodied threads
Weaving new storylines
Beginning to build bridges
Make reparations
Take responsibility
 
What if instead of sending in the Feds
All force was taken off the table
And the way grief turns to violence
And violence turns toxic
Was stopped?
 
What if the foundations of toxic power
Are dismantled
And rebuilt from the bottom up
Brick by brick
Hand by hand
Heart to heart?
 
What if White people
Loosened their grip
And stepped back
To follow
Instead of lead?
 
What then?

What now?
 
 
Margaret Rosenau
July 22, 2020