The Invasion


On the day Jair Bolsonaro was elected President of Brazil, I had a bit of a breakdown in the subway, where the passenger travelling next to me kept having VOX adverts while he scrolled down his Facebook feed (VOX is a fascist Spanish party). When I got home, in desperate search for hope and meaning, I wrote this piece.

I first performed this poem at the European Championship in Budapest (Hungary), where I came 2nd and won the Jury Award.

On Saturday, July 15th, 1944
Anne wrote:
“In spite of everything
I still believe
people are good at heart.”


She died seven months later.


I once wrote Anne Frank a very excited letter
(back when I was her age)
telling her what word processors were.


And I miss her today.


Today, October 29th 2018,
I am afraid of what she’s thinking,
wherever she is,
she who wrote: “Look at how a single candle
can both defy
and define
darkness.”


What have we learned?
Where have we gone?


Anne, did you know
darkness had no walls.
I assumed it would have walls,
limits, that it would be conquerable,
that Unamuno did say:
“Venceréis, pero no convenceréis.”

Miguel,
¡están convenciendo…!

They’re not just winning, they’re convincing
because truth
is the first casualty in war,
isn’t it, George?
and our hands holding the light
against this growing dark
feel more and more like we are
drawing a sword
that’s a splinter,
the dark’s getting thicker,
the dark started the war and blamed the light
for being violent,
our words were ripped off our bodies.

Difference is not a threat.


Insecure men
successfully climbing on top of high fears
advertise a puppet theatre called Certainty.
Louder: Certainty!
Louder: Certainty!
Louder: Certainty!
Outside it, Otherness becomes
such a convenient dumpsite.
The invaded get called invasion.
The clouds blame the rain
and forget that they too are made of water.

I try to remember the hope,
that stone of hope you dreamt you hewed
out of the mountain of despair, Martin.
I try to remember that vulnerability
and strength come from the same source, Judith.
I try to focus my eyes and read your words
but the masses are tilting the boat,
like they’ve forgotten we can’t swim.

How did you cope?

Can our bodies together mend the bruised?
Are we seeing darker clouds because our eyes
were ready for brighter lights?
Is this the aftermath
of the secrets that held together
the rules of a few
over the power of all?
Is hope
optional?


Is there an arrow across History?
Does it point
somewhere
livable?

Moving hurts, Rosa,
but move we will.


It’s not an invasion.
Our movement
is not just expanding.
It’s that we’re starting
to occupy
our space
as the light
both defies
and defines
the darkness.


We cannot invade
what should have been shared in the first place.

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