January 15, 2107
image credit: Writers Resist and/or Gemini Ink
I'm performing close to the end of the night. A new piece titled ENTHUSIASTIC DISSENT. Text below. I'll link to a recording when I get caught up on recordings!
From the press release:
On January 15, 2017, writers across the United States and in Europe will come together for a “re-inauguration” of our shared commitment to the spirit of compassion, equality, free speech, and the fundamental ideals of democracy. WRITERS RESIST: SATX is part of this national and international effort.
WRITERS RESIST: SATX will be a mass reading of South Texas poets and writers, reading from 1 to 8pm on Sunday January 15th at the Alamo Beer Brewery at 202 Lamar St, San Antonio, TX 78202. The event will also feature live music by Jazz Poets of San Antonio and Vocab. WRITERS RESIST: SATX is to provide a creative, inclusive space in which we may come together as an artistic community to celebrate the values we most treasure. We seek to offer a powerful collective voice for the values we are for in this anxious moment and to resist forces which seek to attack or undermine the basic principles of freedom and justice for all.
I’ve never been good at saying no.
I’d like to say thank you, to the incoming administration,
for all the practice I’m about to get.
From “yes we can” to “no you can’t”
But not with my agreement
Not without hearing my enthusiastic dissent
A teacher of mine used to say “I can’t trust your yes until I hear your no”
So here goes:
No, you can’t pass laws that say that any person is worth less than any other person,
because they look or love or believe differently than you do.
No, you can’t turn away the tired, the poor, the yearning to breathe free.
No, you can’t use religious ideology to govern.
No, you can’t build any more walls!
No, corporations are not people.
No, money is not more important than clean water, and clean air.
No, health care is not a for-profit business. Neither is education.
No, really, women’s bodies belong to women.
Now that you can trust my yes, trust this:
Yes, I will keep speaking. Keep writing.
Keep holding myself and you and all of us to the highest standards
(No, I am not naïve to think we can attain them)
Yes, I am angry at you.
Angry at the pain you are willing to rain on people and a planet
That are not separate from me.
They’re not separate from you either.
That separation is your most dangerous delusion.
And yes, that delusion makes me fear you.
But no, I will not hate you.
I will tell you no as sternly, as urgently, as implacably and as lovingly
as I would tell a child of my body not to step into traffic.
No, Beloved One, My Country, you will not become this fearful, hateful, selfish,
The laughing-stock of nations and the scourge of your own citizens.
You are young yet, as countries go, and you have stumbled plenty
But to continue quoting teachers, “when you know better, you do better”
And we know better
I am a voice of We, the People
Whether I voted for you, or not, you now represent and serve us
All of us
No, you won’t betray that trust.
Not without my enthusiastic dissent.