When the scream catches in your throat -
The throat you caress softly with your fingers
To coax your feelings out but they hold fast,
Go round and round in your metal head like bullets of steel
Clanging against hard prison walls
And you realise it's your body that is the prison,
Your mind your soul your childhood that you can't let go of
That is the prison,
Your family your surname the land that gave you birth and your livelihood
That is the prison,
Your sense of belonging your wanting to be loved to be respected to be known
That is the prison -
What do you do?
Do you stand up still, stand up against the metal chains that hold you moored,
Tethered to your roots?
Do you pull free at the risk of losing all gravity,
Float in space like a speck of astral dust or a bird -
Albatross anonymous, one of a bubbling bursting crowd,
A statistic, a line in a long list of prison sentences and torture,
An etched carving in a cave wall that no one will venture in to read?
Do you raise your banner high over your head in a language yet to be spoken -
Call it love, dissent, a different kind of living?
Do you breathe? Do you let yourself breathe?
Do you feel yourself breathe, hold on to the thudding of your heart as evidence of your living
Even if no one cares you're just a footstep among all that made it happen?
It - a movement, an urgent difference, a critical step forward
For our genus, for our earth, for the yearning of our collective soul,
It - not he, not she, not them or they or us,
It - a solitary thing, the mother of all things worth becoming nothing for,
Worth catching all the voices in your head for,
Catching them in a curled first and hurling at weapons drawn
By the drawn faces of brown burnt sinews who know not what they fight for
Except for an order that must make us pay,
It - a cross we earn on our shoulders each like a chip and a slippery crown,
It - a kingdom in our hearts and of our own making,
It - a thing as small as an atom, a nucleus of something new.
Do you let go, then, of your voices and your tears and your dreams and your fears?
Do you go forth?
Do you feel the answers rising within your breast till you can breathe no more?
Do they catch in your throat?
Do you march alongside, adding your scream to it then?
Do you skirt past instead without a second glance?
Think carefully before you tell me
What your great grandchildren will say.