I remember the protests of Vietnam.
Barely, but they resonated
In the conversations around me,
The glimpses of students waving signs
That I couldn’t read.
This, at the beginning of my life.
Democracy apparent as people
Gathered to protest a
War that wasn’t called a war.
What is war, then?
This conflict of words that clashes with
Fences with our vision of a free and
Powerful country seems to ignore
Many of the responsibilities that power entails.
I remember standing at the steps of
City Hall in my home town
Protesting the Gulf War
Straddling that life moment between
Child and adulthood.
I remember the flash of cameras, the
Press of bodies,
People shouting rhythmic rally cries, and I
Remember feeling self-conscious
As those words left my own lips.
When the pushing and shoving started,
I let the movement propel me to the
Fringe of the crowd and asked myself,
“Why am I here?”
“Why do I protest?”
I had no answer,
So, I quietly walked away and
Back to my dorm room.
Sitting on my bed in silence
I pondered my freedom of choice.
When planes dove like birds from the sky,
Their targets not just our people, but
Our sense of national security, too,
Leaving it bleeding away on the
Foundation of our country,
War took a more terrorizing and
War can sneak up on you, now.
The game has changed.
Life moved forward, though.
A different, less comfortable life,
But we adapted,
And then, my world stopped.
Thirty-two lives gone,
One, gone, oh god—
There’s that bittersweet
Memory of a past love,
Shattered; the place in your mind, that
Knows somewhere the people you loved are safe,
Extinguished in an instant.
The veil of blissful ignorance and security ripped away.
The silence as the protests and outcries
Slowly engulfs you.
And then more, and more.
Children are dying.
Young lives unlived–
Just a hook on the wall, where a
Small coat still hangs, never to be worn again.
“Where is the War now?” we asked,
Ready for battle.
We have had wars and conflicts. We
Proclaim to fight a never-ending
War on Drugs, and yet,
We quietly walk away as
War is waged
By our citizens
On our Children.
This is more insidious than war.
This is our children dying
While the government that
Swears to protect us
Brandishes empty promises like a
Sword missing its edge.
We have to fight this internal
War of indifference.
As war is a battle between different powers
And the time to take back the
Power of our country is now.
The power must shift and the
Children of this country should be our first priority.
Our future depends on it.
This is a battle worth fighting.
This is why protests exists and
Why compromise is king only when
Progress is made.
Children are rising up and calling for
Change, because no one was listening.
They keep dying and no one is
Heeding their screams.
They keep praying and
No one is hearing their prayers over the
“Ching, ching” of political favors.
Today these Children stood up and said,
Did you hear them?
Did you see them?
Do you understand that this is
The battle you need to fight today?
This is the stand you take?
Before the voices are silenced.
-G. S. Skye 14 March,2018