Poem – Enough. (Draft, 2018)

Poem – Enough. (Draft, 2018)

Enough.

I remember the protests of Vietnam.
Barely, but they resonated
in the conversations around me,
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
expectations and 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 hometown
protesting the Gulf War.
I was 18—
Straddling that life moment between
childhood and adulthood.

I remember the flash of cameras, the
press of bodies,
people shouting rhythmic rally cries, and I
remember feeling self-conscious
as words or protest left my own lips.

When the pushing and shoving started,
I let the movement propel me to the
fringe of the crowd and asked
“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,
it left it bleeding away on the
the foundation of our country.
War took a more terrorizing and
sinister meaning than before.

The game has changed.
Life moved forward, though.
A different, less comfortable life,
But we adapted,
Secured ourselves with the mantle of power
And moved on.

And then, my world stopped.

Everything paused.

The pedestal of hope and security cracked.

Thirty-two lives gone,
One, gone, oh god—
There’s that bittersweet
memory of a past love,
shattered. The place in your mind that
past loved ones live, where you know they are safe,
goes quiet–
extinguished in an instant with
the sharp repeat of the gun echoing in the air.

The veil of security, that belief that
‘it couldn’t, wouldn’t happen’ to anyone you know
ripped away.
And all along with it, the echoes continue.
You can’t speak, for fear you might scream
and never stop.

The silence as the protests and outcries
are ignored slowly engulfs you.

And then more, and more, and so many more.

Children are dying.
Young lives cut to the ground
Before they ever had a chance to become–
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 must fight it, give me the enemy.”

And yet the world just kept turning
as the dust settled on the desks and in the
empty halls.

My son was born, and I let the love
of him wrap around me in a cocoon
of family and newness.
For a time, that sense of security returned.
And then it was time for him to go to school.

We have had wars and conflicts. We
proclaim to fight a never-ending
War on Drugs.  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.

It protects our “freedom”, more than it protects our lives.

It protects the guns, more than our children.

We have to fight this internal
War of indifference.
As war is a battle between different powers,
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 exist and
why compromise is king only when
progress is made

Again, hearts bleed on the day when it
Should be candy and flowers scattered across the floor,
not the crimson stains of horror and despair.

This time, the children are rising and calling for
change, because no one was listening.

Why is no one listening?
They keep dying and no one is
Heeding their screams.
They keep asking us for help,
to keep them safe, and
No one is heeding their call.
They keep praying and
no one is hearing their prayers over the
“Ching, ching” of political favors.

The children in Parkland stood up, though, and said,

“ENOUGH!”

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?

And today, when nineteen more perish,
trapped in a room, no way out,
suddenly silenced.

Do you hear them?
Do you understand their sacrifice?
Can you continue to stomach your inaction?

Is it enough, yet?

Before more gentle voices are silenced…

Again.

-G. S. Skye 14 March,2018

Edited 26 July 2021 and 24 May 2022

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