This poem is in the style of a Golden Shovel, but instead of using a poem, the last word of each line in total comprises a quote from German-born diarist and Holocaust victim, Anne Frank
Anne Frank's America
When it’s time to take a breath and dig in it’s not dying, can’t be called choking, shouldn’t be difficult to just clench teeth and grip hands and pull in - it has already happened jagged days and countless times could just be the starvation sickness of something else like missing shoelaces, sewn triangles, inked numbers, these: hungry archetypes dull-blade carving their desiccated ideals, open-mouthed feasting with the rancid spittle of once held dreams which now get stuck at the back of the throat, widespread fear ferments bitter and bottles itself paper cut complete with labels, division is cherished balanced by that hazy clarity of anger, serving another round, drowning hopes drunkenly setting fire to all reason, who can feel the exhalation rise when the air is this thick, how can any of this be taken within a body, yet there is only each body, there is never enough of an us, still marching armies, propaganda arrangements, not a reason, only the satisfaction of the spectacle that brings them to a ravenous inhalation, like they are never going to be coughing out the pulverized fragments of broken glass crushed by unseen comrades waving from parades still going by red-faced and out of breath with cheerless smiles and grim promises for some silent majority sacrifice and contrived reality. When it’s time for a citizenry to first squander what it's calling freedom, a hushed conversation will become a speculative paraphrasing of public opinion which will wonder at its own distorted perspective even as it dares not ever say I didn’t quite imagine this specific embodiment but still haven’t stepped away from the table for long, haven’t forgotten or abandoned an utter commitment to neutrality, intonation problems is all it comes down to, think about how to hold the words my country tis of thee in your mouth without choking, ideals for a vague foundational ideology, a melodic prayer by which they design the taste of physical and cultural annihilation to seem white napkin respectable, catered to be publicly palatable so photos of torches and fires, blood upon soil become an absurd fixation of those who are resistant to this reconceptualized banquet and anyhow humanitarian consideration over military voracity is always impractical. Keep eating dinner, no one expects their own subjugation yet they find themselves in the dry-mouth systematic recitation of I pledge allegiance too, squirming as history-drenched clothes cling to the wearer, with a sour comfort, to another glass lifting to the tyrannical virulence of money, exhausted repetitions of us versus them inseparable in nuance and predictability, tasting salad fork familiar because flavors of persecution always linger, there are so many ways to say I don’t care, so many times to stay silent, so many ways to be still while the ashes drift down like snow, find the ones who believe in the bridge between empathy and action, in escape tunnels carved in bone, in the moment that knives find tender flesh wedged between spite and authority, in refusing the plate when it comes served with appetizers of oppression, in the deep wilderness and reverberating thunder that everything has weakness, that no one needs to wait to conserve and strengthen, that this is the single moment, now this is, now this is - there are people who think that those choking should rescue themselves, they are unfamiliar with the burden of having to swallow too much, there is a truly distorted sense of their own satisfaction, but it is never too late to try for a good upheaval, an overwhelming purge and change of the story to shift at the hardest and darkest part, and it’s never too late, take heart.
“It's difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It's a wonder I haven't abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.” – Anne Frank
This poem is an adaptation in the style of a Golden Shovel, but instead of using a poem, the last word of each line in total comprises a quote from murdered human rights activist, Marielle Franco. Please note that the title of this poem is the title of the last event Marielle Franco attended in Rio de Janeiro before her assassination hours later. In English it translates to “Young Black Women Moving (Power) Structures”
Jovens Negras Movendo As Estruturas
for Marielle Franco
with that dark beautiful eloquence, ideas came twisting out of your head how to weed out the root cause of violence, relentless and brave woman, how many more bullets stamped policia must end children of the favela, you are more than bullet hole image of shattered glass; the hallowed echo must linger, sharp in the question of how do we keep the world, could you die on the street and bleeding in every space you are absent, like that, for the continued whisper, I am because we are, this power you threatened, this curled lip atrocity, of the people who keep this war disposable, even in execution, occupying every space with your body, to amplify the subversion, may the lawless militarization of murder and brutality find its end