What Democracy Looks Like

New poem.

there are people in the streets.
some are dead. some are deadly.
some are on their feet for the first time,
awakening in a time of mirror shards
to revolution in a time of plastic, 
a war in the time of ukulele music — 

this is what democracy looks like.

there are people lighting candles.
there are people 
lighting candles the size of buildings
and cars. there are people holding circles
and vigils and ciphers, people running

from murk toward dawn then turning back
to face the murk and stand and never crack —

this is what democracy looks like.

there are people rising and people falling
and some of the people rising don’t yet know
they rise, just as some of those falling
won’t know it till they hit the killing floor.
some who rise will rise from sight. some who fall
will shatter to dust and sift away on the wind — 

this is what democracy looks like.

there are people voicing what was once voiceless,
building safety for those once unsafe, draping justice
like a bulletproof cloak on the shoulders of those
who have been judged unjustly
and serving justice to those unjust who have never tasted it,
making it new and now and near — 

this is what democracy looks like.

there are people who say it is best to make it plain:
hands up, don’t shoot. black lives matter.
someone stands with a megaphone in a circle of fire,
asks: what do we do now? and the circle says,
we march. we go. we do what needs doing
and when that’s done, we do more — 

this is what democracy looks like.

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About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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