to the ones who feel like they’re constantly defending
please won’t you stop for a second
and help me on this
shine some clarity on the situation
because i really don’t understand
what it is about this that makes you not want to listen
please help me recognise
what it is that keeps you from engaging in this conversation
as if taking some time to lend me your ears
will result in a group of us encircling you
and viciously stabbing you repeatedly in the back?
to, the ones who feel so defensive
if you just take the time to hear and really hear
the story of the other
the one who sits in front of your screen with fresh scars held upwards
reaching out to you
wanting to simply share silently the screams of their silenced stance
what harm could it possibly cause you
to have an empathetic escape
from all of the assumptions,
that you bring to the table and simply give them a chance to speak
not believing for a second that you have to agree with any or all of what you hear
but believing for a second that hearing another side to your well-tuned story might in fact
give you pause to consider that maybe the one that you know to be true
might not be all the true that could be available to you?
to the ones who are so dismissive
crescendoing statements into argumentative tirades
question threads into metaphorical verbal poo-flinging stockades
to you who move things so quickly from 0 to 100
without even bothering to shift gear
who are already halfway through compiling your response
before the statement you’re ‘replying to’ has even made it
out of the fingers of the person on the other side
the other person on the other other side
you are not helping here
shooting down conversations
at the pace at which words are being shot out over the airwaves
like shells dropped from a bomber over the headquarters of the enemy
i hope that you don’t hit a school
do you see the futility of it all?
the engagement, estrangement
back and forthness
tik tik tik on the computer keyboard
like some kind of addictive drug
coarsing through your veins
when what is needed
perhaps what just might be good for us all right here
is to be the one who simply stops
now breathe for a second…
deep in and deep out
listen to the sound of the air
filling up and evacuating your lungs
focus on that for a while
and just listen
try to understand meaning
put yourself on the other side of the screen
what do you hear now?
what do you mean?
what emotions are bursting through your skin
wanting to splat themselves against the screen?
what history has caused you to be in this exact place?
what opportunity might have been denied to you because of your race?
what can i possibly understand about the person whose life i have taken no time to create silence for?
is this a lesson in futility?
as i can surely never know
or truly understand
or ever hope to feel
but. i. can. listen!
i can take time to hear
i can turn down my personal volume
i can be slower to answer
more hesitant to turn to anger
more open to the possibility that the story might be bigger than mine
and that in this other i may even see something of myself
if i look deep enough
or maybe just if i look at all
dare i risk looking at all