Not words, as they know what to do with those: no listening, no answers, no acknowledgment that anything of value has been said; when you own the definitions you do with words whatever you want and they’ve spent culture and treasure on gobbling them up.
Not marches as they simply set a frame around them, a proscenium, a monumental arch; they’ll call them theater, showpieces, paid spectacles of acting out; in extraordinary cases they will call them war and blow them down as soon as they look like they might catch on.
Not votes as they see every last one as an impending joke with the punchlines in waiting years away in the desert of the future where they’re already been paid for on the installment plan.
It won’t take words or marches or votes. It won’t take shame or mockery or public scrutiny.
It will take pain.
to bring pain that they have never felt,
to offer and then provide pain,
to pull back once an aim is achieved.
we can wash up and then
lie awake and imagine ourselves
pure again, sweet as Spring,
generous and forgiving as
any river ever
that broke its banks
when overfull, raging
with the runoff from
a winter’s worth
of cruel snow
and then returned
to its bed to roll on,
steady and calm
in its knowledge
of its power,
to the peace of the sea.