Asking something from our words by Sandra Renew

When struggling to express dissent, it’s the words that are important. Some words close in like a bullet, a steel trap, a plunging knife. And some words allow a space to breathe, to lean in or out, to express doubt or hesitancy, to circle round, come from another direction, allow an exploratory point of view.

Of course, there are times when the underline, underscore, black and white, no holds barred, are necessary to make a point, chant a slogan, paint a placard, enough is enough, and no ambiguity allowed.

But, the game changer, the mind-changer, will be the word that allows a face-saver, open-handed space for mind-meeting.

The words that delight, slide in between, hover around the edges of certainty and dogma…

nevertheless, even so, as well as, nonetheless, still and all, anyway, perhaps, maybe, notwithstanding, however, mystery, what if. These are words of second chances, prodigal sons and daughters, making allowances. They are the grey, or perhaps the rainbow of the black and white.

Somehow, today, wearing matching socks seems less important. Having a to-die-for haircut not so imperative.  Today, in times of uprisings in the street, civil unrest, and home as both a sanctuary from the lethal breath of others, and a murder-ground of tension and violence, we are less sure of what we ask of our words.

edge of cold front
covers the sun   
behind, complicated clouds
apocalypse beaming in
on podcasts from America
white-out happened
erasure drugged history
personal guilt too close?
national shame should be
all over us

antidotes are searched for
we can’t refuse to know

Sandra Renew

Sandra Renew’s recent collections are Acting Like a Girl, Recent Work Press, 2019 and The Orlando Files, Ginninderra Press, 2018. She is experimenting with short form prose and using traditional forms to write about LGBTIQ presence in the world.

About the contributor

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