“The shirtless and barefoot people of the earth are rising up as never before.”
~Martin Luther King Jr.~
from Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?
The shirtless and barefoot people of the earth
are rising up as never before
and they walk past signs that say NO SERVICE
and they walk past lines of DON’T GO BEYOND.
They are rising up, they are rising up,
their uncovered skin gleams in the light,
an aberration to those thickly-robed,
and, as though in flight, their shoeless soles,
gently touch the dew-flecked ground.
We are unnerved by the absence of
familiar scrape and shuffling sounds—
the click on pavement of captive feet.
And with chests of hair or breasts heaving
(appalling reminder of muscle beneath,
sinews contracting, valves opening doors),
they’re moving, they’re stretching across the earth.
As never before, as never before,
the once familiar geography’s shifting:
straight yellow lines curl into spirals,
the freeways to slopes become trails through the plains,
craggy terrain forms a still, windless water.
And they walk through the land in the other direction,
scattering boulders as though they were seeds,
turning out graves and composting kings,
pausing to watch the freckled wings of
starlings as they feed their young.
It’s only beginning, it’s only beginning.
They sing from the silence a beautiful song
about little things and small, unknown places,
the surprise that tomorrow came one day ahead.
We hear them sing as they go on their way,
and we are afraid.
We are afraid.