It rumbled in the distance.
It wasn’t a threatening storm at first.
too far beyond the horizon to do any damage.
it would lose power,
long before it could reach the safe place I call home.
Passing summer storms.
The sound tumbled into fall, and moved into winter,
a stealth force, ferocious in nature,
picking up speed and velocity
as it headed into the dark.
This angry wind bullied its way through,
whipping America the beautiful,
land that I love.
The forecast said not to worry, it would clear…
But the damage was already done.
News flashes flooded the air with poisoned water.
It felt like I was drowning
in an epic,
a thick and gooey mental mind-fuck that messed with everything
I thought I knew.
The KKK was back–
No, it’s not a cattle ranch–
and Swastikas became the new graffiti.
Keith Haring would be rolling in his grave.
A nation of women in pants rallied,
forces of nature standing together,
a new kind of feminine rising.
I was hopeful.
And then BOOM!
like a bomb
loud and hard and twisted.
We were at war.
Planned Parenthood….fighting for its life
Women’s rights… burning at the stake.
Would Orlando become the new normal?
Are we really building a wall of shame?
My friend from Guatemala doesn’t sleep at night.
It doesn’t matter that he works his hands to the bone,
pays taxes, and shops at Walmart.
A quiet, loving man, he longs to go home to visit his dying mother….
but he’d get detained at Customs on the way back.
This. American. Life.
The bomb reverberated.
I stood, knees shaking, heart pounding…
My country’s underbelly turned over like a raw steak,
marinating in a toxic sauce.
I didn’t understand.
Until I did.
When I saw a photo essay of a small lifeless town in Ohio,
rural poverty in layered tones of gray,
a dry goods store, a laundry mat, a business run by a neighbor…
hanging on by a thread.
the heartbeat of America…
And now, here we are.
Lin Manuel Miranda saw it coming.
He turned Hamilton’s personal revolution into a platform.
He wasn’t the only one who had an inkling.
This time in history has been predicted by the prophets,
and a man named Crazy Horse.
But for me, Proust nailed it.
“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone.
The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes.
To someone who doesn’t understand growth,
it would look like complete destruction.”
Somehow, this comforted me.
It reminded me of Kali,
the bad-ass Goddess.
Her outrage erupting like fire,
she’s known for destroying ignorance.
While her name means “The Black One,”
Kali’s purpose is to create connection
The city of Calcutta is named in her honor,
but I want her on the next bus to Washington.
Imagine The Black One face to face with the Orange One,
her eyes wild as she wields her bloody sword.
Would he grab her pussy?
I want to be a Warrior for love.
And in the deepest part of my belly,
where my fire lies…
let me be a flame for transformation and change.
Outrage is love rising.
So l dare it to bubble up like a volcano,
and instead of spewing a hot mess
let it shower humanity with kindness.
It was no accident that Leonard Cohen checked out when he did.
Was that not a brilliant exit strategy?
It made us pay attention to the crack in everything.
We are being asked
to let in the light.
That’s how the healing begins.
We can resist normalizing hate
by being love.
We can resist negativity
by believing in the abundant possible.
He will never be my President.
But he can be my opportunity to stand for freedom,
for speaking out
for hearing the other side.
is love in action.
is the call.
is my America.
Barbara Newman, a writer and creative brand strategist, wrote and performed this poem at the Colonial Theater as part of the Women’s March rally in Pittsfield MA, January 20, 2017.