1 Out Of 166 Rising

Why are you hurting me again?
You challenge and threaten
My world everyday, in every way.
That’s why I scream in the van,
Protest everyday, in every way.

People don’t understand me, well
I don’t understand them.
You think I don’t like people,
You think people paralyze me.
I like persons, not people.

People conspire, persons play;
People can shun, persons love.
Oh, you thought I not capable,
That the need in me is not
The need in you, not a person?

Did my lashing out blind you,
Like the contorted face of palsy
Expressing grace and gratitude,
Which you could not see beyond,
The message lost in the messenger?

Your world is not my world.
I do not mean to leave craters on yours
Like some sudden unearthly impact
Striking from a strange distant place,
No more than you mean to scar mine.

I have heard the whispered label,
A scarlet letter on my forehead
I see reflected in others’ eyes.
What do they, you want from me
That I cannot pretend to possess?

I am hobbled but I heal, like you,
I am uncertain, baffled, like you,
I am rising, as you are with us
In numbers and influence, taming
Ignorance and injustice in tandem.

Mark Flotow