In the Streets
2020, High School, Poetry
In the streets,
I join the gentle stomp of centuries
Recalling the spirit of the tides,
rioting gracefully upon the shore.
The determination of
strong against the bulldozing of bruised nature.
I think of human greed,
shattering the earth like a fist to a mirror.
I remember grass upon graves;
I remember those who marched before us.
I walk with the crowd,
sweat to mud to water, then
I follow no one, no one follows me,
I am transformed; there is no I.
We are lighter, larger
translucent blue with saltwater veins.
Walking with the force of tides,
soothing the flaming burns of greed.
We rise above silence’s smoke,
Speaking the thunder of a whale returning to water.
We are the resilient kelp who heals the pain of acid waters.
We are the triumphant fern who emerges from smothering ash.
We are the fish who fights the current and rises beyond the waves.
We are the child whose future you cannot cast away.
Do not harm these waters that birthed you,
or take from anywhere more than you need.
Preserve these oceans, forests, animals;
In the streets,
Flannery, Tim. “Seaweed Could Save the World’s Oceans from Becoming Too Acidic.” Quartz , Quartz, 4 Nov. 2015, qz.com/534553/seaweed-could-save-the-worlds-oceans-from-becoming-too-acidic/.
This poem reflects on the need for each of us to help build a better future. I started with the idea of environmental protection in the abstract, later incorporating a transformation to the physical representation of the struggle itself. Above all, I focused on the idea of individuals working together and building collective power in order to protect our earth. When researching, I was interested to learn about the way in which kelp and other marine plants help to de-acidify the oceans. Creating this poem brought back for me a love for nature and the determination to protect it; the willingness to continue to be a force for good. In the beginning of last year, I first realized that responsibility, and so my brother and I co-founded a club focused on environmental issues. With friends we advocated for an equitable future. We continue to work towards those goals today under the name Mutual Aid PHS, and we are currently working on an initiative to serve working families in our community with vegan food. I tell you my story because I was always the kind of kid who thought they weren't capable enough to make positive change. I always thought someone else was better suited for it, but I've learned that couldn't be further from the truth. Everyone has power within them, they need only realize it. Recognize that you are capable, so capable, of being a force for good. So get out there—I'll see you in the streets.