“What a shame.”
Says, “People should stop yelling on the streets.
The neighbors might be disturbed,
how terribly loud it must be.”
“They’re just kids out for free loot,
stealing is second nature.
Kids who think cardboard will create change,
what do they know?”
She is anxious for the cities,
for tangibles that will never be replaced.
I see the hesitation in her eyes, how she scans the TV
and glances down while the gruesome images fill the screen
more for the businesses lining the street than
the protesters lining up on sidewalks,
their cries for justice
ringing from building to building,
echoing across the nation.
But all of a sudden,
Dad can’t hear anything
but shattered windows and broken bottles
or the frantic rhythm of footsteps of feet, dashing from store to store.
“Oh my, now they’re burning down shops and stations."
Dad tells me,
“Do not ever go to a protest.”
Mom, Dad, open your eyes.
You’re being picky like children,
only indulging in the ripe, sweet apples
but blind, oblivious to its rotting core.
Something needs to change.
Before another person dies,
before more crowds are teargassed,
before our voices get caught in a chokehold.
Shoes can be replaced.
Cars can be, too.
Buildings can be rebuilt,
and cities in flames can be extinguished.
But what about Martin Gugino?
A 75-year-old American who was shoved to the ground by officers,
lying on the concrete, blood rushing out of his head.
They called it an “accident.”
What about Mando Avery’s son?
He was seven-years-old when his eyes clamped shut,
the burning sting of the pepper spray,
cold milk pouring down his tear streaked face,
he screamed for someone to make the pain go away.
Mom, Dad, you agonize for the wrong things.
Why don’t you worry for the brave change makers, kids my age
who now stand in bruises and scars,
their masks drenched in blood.
Sweat and tears falling onto the pavement
400 years of our nation filled to the brim
with enslavement, suffering, fear, and
overflowing with injustice.
Still, you cry.
Cry over a revolution,
cry over change,
cry over common sense.
Listen to us.
Try to understand.
Open your eyes. Please.