Whispers and Voices — becoming-forest Remix

Credit: Image Comics

This is an updated and expanded version of an older poem of mine, that I was allowed to perform as a live reading for the art installation becoming-forest organized and hosted by Visual Artist Kamran Behrouz.

Once You find your voice and heed its call.
They’ll try to slow you down.
Hoping to get you to a grinding halt.
With a barrage of stinging remarks and tiny confrontations.
That you are meant to endure with a twisted performance of grace.

Ableism is an inner voice whispering:
This space was not made for you.
Racism is an inner voice hissing:
This space does not want you here.

Both times my oppressors seem to ask me:
What are you doing here?
Do you have any idea how inconvenient this is for
Centering themselves. Again. Like they were taught to do.

No more…

My mere existence is shaking their world to its core.
My defying stance reminding them of a voice almost forgotten.
One burried deep within themselves.
He can’t be happy!
He can’t be confident?
Does he not see, that
I am trying to help him?!

No more conditions…

They fail to realize that within them resides a voice like mine.
Waiting to be heard after years of neglect.
Maybe someday they might just listen, but that time isn’t now.

May the both of us never forget:
Oppression was never the only way.
Even though they themselves chose to sacrifice their humanity for that belief.
Blinded by their fear, they have convinced themselves that we will treat them the same way they treated us.
But we are so much more, than the crude caricatures they imagine us to be.
We know that all of us deserve a better alternative.

No more conditions for my humanity.

We are here to inspire.
We are here to uplift.
We are here to celebrate.
But above all else…
We are here to live.

We have mountains to move and dreams to fulfill.
New beginnings to create, stories to tell and joy to share.
Let us move with focus and a steady step.
In concert with the other honest voices of the world.

Let this be the seed.
That will grow and make room for new ways of thinking and living.
Ones that are aware of our existence and experiences — Leaving no one behind!
Ones that will acknowledge our multitudes and learn from the past.
One that makes room for a future so bright, we can’t even conceive of it right now.

No more conditions for any of us.