Still from Enigma’s music video “Silent Warrior”

People are very quick to criticize
the warrior in battle
fighting for air
in his own backyard.
You can see his eyes
chanting to himself
‘is being peace too passive?’
These are the first to get
up from their couches
to tear curtains from living
room windows because
a stranger dared to
set a toe on your lawn.

I am blessed to be from a culture
that knows no ownership
but believe me, I get no
benefit from being me. I
knew what funerals were
before weddings. I can’t
even claim tears because
they belong to my ancestors
who lost everything. They
were never mine to begin
with. They have been hardened
and sold
in novelty and new age shops.
My ancestors. And
their tears.

Some people don’t seem to
realize that speaking out
so vehemently and against
your enemies just makes
you their mirror image.
There will be no solution
in hating your brother.
Nothing will come of you
accusing the silent of not
caring. One day you will
be shaken and feel defeated
so badly that you won’t
have words left either. No
one was out to hurt you
when they decided they
couldn’t play these political
games anymore. There
are more than two ways
to think. There are more
than two ways to feel.
But what do I know? This
system was never
mine. It never kept any
of its promises. It still
will never keep its promises.
You’re asking me to trust,
respect, follow, believe
people in boxes — on TVs,
photos, radios– whom I’ve
never met and let a
system you all hate
and complain about
lead me. You call this
my duty.

People have a habit
of demanding an apology
of those in their society
who do exactly what they do
but ‘smarter’, and ‘better’
louder, prouder.
Some preach equality
but only for a certain variety
or theology
or none.
‘Oh, God, what have we done?’

But what do I know?
What am I allowed to say?
I’m an outside observer
in every way.

Because I refused to choose
amongst all of you.
And then you all became
the same over night. I’ll keep
nodding and telling you it
will be alright.

Some people just need to know love.


© Jennifer Patino (2016)

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