where the writers are
Bastille Day


Resist writing beautiful words if none

are called for. Admit that your knitting needles

click at the bottom of the guillotine.  Freedom

is formed from nightmares, made from the messy

soup of the chopping block, in breech births,

and in the haunted souls of the stillborn.

Liberty is written as the mad harlot's song,

rising with the smells of the boudoir

as she gives birth to the blind child

who will one day cast silhouettes of hope.

Lies must be digested and shat in the gardens

of darkness, decomposition igniting light.  Resist

all beautiful words if none are called for.

Do not trust overlays of light not yet explored.

Go free. Ring ounces of pretension

from your nakedness. Kill the aristocrats,

and then have your enemies as dinner guests

in rooms purged, made spacious enough for light

to filter through high arched windows. Resist

beauty if you can not find it in despair,

in the clenched fists clung to barbed wire, on walls

upon which the graffiti of limits are written.  

Resist beauty if it is false.  If it remains in palaces

instead of on the streets.  If it exchanges terror

for cosmetics laced with lead.  Your sole may leave a

bloody footprint as the baskets filled high with heads. 

Offer yours. 


2 Comment count
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Integirty is the most powerful form of resistance - sometimes

Dear Althea,

Your poem reminds me of how ordinary corruption and evil are. Not everything comes with a guillotine attached. Maintaining one's integrity is the most powerful form of resistance sometimes.

I'd love to read your tween books after reading this poem. The tween age is such an important one where young people establish what is right and wrong.

Best wishes,
Ruth Paget

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Thanks for posting this poem, Alethea.

The most salutary experiences of joy and revelation seem to come back to back with intense suffering and despair, as though there's always a 'resurrection' side of the coin. And I entirely agree with Ruth's comments above. Best, Rosy