people will sing

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One of my best mates boxes.
He gets up early on Sundays and makes his way to the gym
To spar with a kid five times the size and half the age of him,
He says they taught him to keep his eyes open when he gets hit,
And that shit just hit me in the gut like –
We can stare down a fist but we close our eyes when we kiss.
Like, we can sit at the table with own our violence but
We can’t bear to be in the same room as our own gentleness.
It’s these kind of dichotomies that keep me awake at night, you know?
Like how we really only come together for
Weddings or funerals or sporting events,
And the rest of the time we’re all just sort of
Circumventing our hearts in little ships built of Lego parts –
Sharp at the edges but, threatening to break apart.
Gets me thinking about how we’re all of us
Breaking apart in to jagged edged shipwrecks,
Like how there are whole villages rescuing shipwrecks of refugees from the Mediterranean Sea…
In the same world that produces the refugees,
And concentration camps and slavery
And bombs at pop concerts and children’s blood
Decorating the halls of their schools.
Like how people can protest pro-choice because, apparently, all life is sacred,
And in the same breath refuse a hand to those clawing at life with brittle bones where their hope used to be…
Like how we can march in solidarity,
Wearing our weary worn-down badges of me too, me too,
Swearing that this year is the year of the feminist choices…
Yet still chew off our tongues to spite our voices.
How we can find grace in a blade of grass,
Say we can hear God’s voice in the vastness of an autumn sky,
Yet still spit blood and rain hate down in
His, or Hers, or Their name,
Like The Divine would never think to ask us why
The beauty and grace and love in the setting sun is not enough.
How can little girls crying ash in mortared schools not be enough?
The faceless mob, the accusing gaping maw,
The groping sweaty paw, the hooligan, the yob,
The racist police officer “just doing their job”,
That tiny spark that throws the protest over the edge into riot,
The awful quiet that falls in the bathroom stalls
When someone who doesn’t fit a mould is told they don’t belong,
Like we can wash our hands in the same room as a bigot,
But we cannot bear to stand, or kneel, in love and solidarity for equality
For fear of losing our seat.
How is it that love is so often on the back beat?
I’m tired, you know? I’m like, way past the heat of anger, you know?
I’m bruised from this hard cold calculating world
Slapping me one too many times on the arse and
Calling me a good girl.
I’m trying to remember, you know?
To remember Ghandi’s words about how truth and love have always won,
Trying to remember Leonard Cohen said that the cracks are how the light gets in,
I’m trying to remember that there is light to let in.
It’s tough, you know, like I don’t have an answer for you.
This world is hard and people are cruel and People will hate and take and want and break…
But people will sing.
And there is music, and people will give and
People will dance.
Another friend once said there’s a dance for everything
And that’s the sort of light I want my cracks to let in.
I want dance parties in my kitchen when my heart is breaking.
I want guitars and camp fires and shitty renditions of Redemption Song,
So I know people will always be singing redemption,
And people will always be striving to put one foot in front of the other and climb,
Pulling each other up by the boot straps,
People will clap the rhythm of unity and people
Will cry thunder with their eyes wide open like they can
Finally bear to stand in the presence of their own fragility.
People will rise and bloom into perfect
Broken-open rooms full of sunlight.
We cold, cruel creatures,
We compassionate, resilient creatures.
There is so much hypocrisy
Blanket-stitched into humanity –
My thumbs have grown calluses
From all the sewing and unpicking.
We bruised and salt-stung things,
We fragile things.
Crack open with me and let
All that broken light
In.

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