“All youth are at greater risk when their elders try not to be at risk at all.” — Michael Meade
I can no longer blush.
When I was young, I was taught to slink
by the powers who should have protected.
Today I throw off that well-worn
blanket that never shielded me,
so why the hell did I cower,
like a dog waiting for the next kick?
No more. The children rise
up and demand to be safe —
too late for their own blushes,
their innocence betrayed.
They are not hiding, looking for the escape hatch.
They are marching in the streets
again, alone and fierce
so young and savvy.
Their blindfolds have been ripped off
and they are not wasting time
blinking in this harsh reality.
What cruelty is this, when a child
by the people in power?
What community herds their children
into windowless boxes and
shoots them? Walk out,
oh vulnerable young. Keep calling for us,
the elders, to waken
from our confused slumber,
this distraction called the mainstream,
our disillusioned ideals, hopelessness
like dementia that keeps us apart.
I am old now with nothing
to lose: it is time to give them
what I never had, what I know now.
The foundation is rotted
and there is much work for us all.
We must dig together
down to the heart of the matter
where love speaks the message:
wake up, wake up, you are needed here.