When the Streetlights Come On: A Poem on Standing up to Inequality

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Black child gets onto an empty bus.

When the streetlights turn on

And the asphalt is empty

Who has really gotten to go home?

Because while the bodies are no longer present

And the feet no longer march forward

Some hearts still walk to the sounds of sirens

To them, the art of activism

Is the art of survival

 

Should a lone rabbit cease to worry about the lurking fox

Just because the fox has concealed himself?

There is no better time to worry about the race

As when the commentators have lied about who is in first place

 

When the squares come down

And the news turns to disturbed illusions of peace

Who has really gotten to go home?

While some dance the night away,

Feet tap tap tapping on the graves of those in which this world has been stolen,

Others worry about when their time to be stolen from will come

Because to them, 

Such a turbulent movement had been nothing but a waiting game

 

Wait wait waiting

They tell us peace is long and grueling

That it is okay to sit and rest for a while

But is a butterfly truly resting in the spider’s web that binds his wings?

 

When the violence turns to the same old, same old

And the lost lives turns to trivial dinner talk

When women become catchphrases and symbols

As easily recited as ‘Marcia, Marcia, Marcia’

Who has really gotten to go home?

For it cannot be the children whose parents will be locked away like animals

Or the children whose parents will never grace the earth again- justice never served

And it cannot be the adults who must continue to fight just for a place to participate in a show of hands

 

No, it cannot be them. 

They must continue to fight.

And it will take them all of their time.

 

So when the streetlights turn on

And the feet no longer march the asphalt

who has gotten to go home?

Because while the rabbit holds his breath another day,

The white fox gets to dance

And he gets to dance

And he gets to dance

 

 

Poetry
United States of America