Common Sense

Mom says

“What a shame.”

Says, “People should stop yelling on the streets.

The neighbors might be disturbed,

how terribly loud it must be.”


Dad says,

“They’re just kids out for free loot,

stealing is second nature.

Kids who think cardboard will create change,

what do they know?”


Mom worries.

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


Dad worries,

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.


Mom cries,

“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.


-Ashley