We put our hands over our hearts. I think mine will beat through my chest to break my fingers.
"I pledge allegiance..."
Take a stand, we think. That's what we'll do, must do. Our birthright must be challenged. We take a breath. Deep breath.
"to the flag..."
Spoken words, they mean a great deal, see. A melting pot of humanity. Meaning set out in cadence, understanding in rhythms of vowel and consonant, place in unique names widely known.
"of the United States of America..."
We shake now at the thought. Of language. How it breaks barriers, crosses boundaries. A world builder. An enjoiner of peoples, from nation to world.
"and to the republic..."
We're close now. Thirteen words away from our election. A gentle, yet powerful, push back. We will reshape this language.
"for which is stands..."
I think my breath will explode as we ready. We cannot stand idly when not all are served justly. When oppression, and denial, and exclusion, and intolerance wash across the huddled masses, as they're bullied backward by bigotry.
"one nation under God..."
Almost there. Bearing down toward change, our hearts beat swifter still. If words spoken unleash power, what of words omitted? Two words, left out? Yes. We will rewrite this.
How can rituals remain unchanged in such a changed world? We will start anew. Because we cannot, we will not, we must not say these two words.
Two words now fake. That no longer qualify these nouns before them. Because it’s not.
We stop. We remain. We stand. Silent.
crumpled cigarette pack papers
where we climb past panes,
sliding on shingle grit to
hold hands, trade acid hits
giddy with how we will change the world
unaffected by street reality below
we defy the dawn to come
to light our realities
steal us from this roof,
we talk so we remain invincible
count meteors to mark our place
in this universe
maybe it was the uzo,
or hot city wind like lover's breath
intoxicating us with dreamshit
but we did it, we found
our world, no one else's, and
we were in control
for an instant
Rather than focus on causes of resistance, I wanted to focus on directions, stances resistors take toward the push backward we see from our leaders today. As a people, we’ve come a long way because writers and poets and artists have said: Do this, resist that, speak out, and here's how. I intend these offerings to channel that historic movement.
The first, "Two Words," based on an actual stance someone in my family took, omitting the words "for all" at the end of the pledge - a simple gesture full of meaning.
The second, a what if, a nanofiction about the resilient person we can all be - to laugh in the face of persecution, to brave all obstacles. (Photo and words by Allen Blair. Story inspired by @tvansantana's monthly nanofiction challenge.)
And finally, a poem of youthful exuberance and hope.