would start with a strum, light
as a breeze trembling across our bare
stomachs, arousing our spirit minds.
No verse, just soft petals of music
whirling through space & time
in the glittery purple universe you´d conjure
through a twirl of strings. We´d sway
on the tips of our feet, & as the rhythm
fired up, break into a dance craze
that would stir even the deepest sleepers.
Then, a declaration in the form of a riff,
an impossible combination of chords,
your gaze a field in the burning colors
of dawn, your fingers flaming across the strings,
saying to the perpetrators of hate:
wake the funk up, change is going to blaze
in your face. “Minneapolis!” you´d shout,
your voice wailing under history´s brutal
knee, your ancestors clambering up
the molten rock of your song, gathering
behind you like warriors, their murderers
lurching onto the battlefield, rapacious,
& you poised to match them voice
for rope, dance for gasoline. Love for pain.
You´d strike piano keys as though marching
up & down the streets of your youth,
your fist a ball of fire igniting society.
“No more bloodshed!” you´d sing amidst
a flurry of footwork, notes of unity quavering
like dove wings. We´d follow you
anywhere, into the tear gas, the pepper spray,
through a rage of bullets flashing names
that shouldn´t have been laid to rest.
We´d get down as you shook
racism out of the century
like ashes out of an old, burnt rug,
as you drummed a new world beat
on officers´ riot shields until they dropped
into a split, rolled their hips,
everyone across the globe chanting:
Why knock me down & choke the life out of me?
Come 2 my party & then you´ll C.
Better 2 make love, peace, & harmony.
Nobody is free until we all can breathe.
Julie Weiss (she/her) is the author of The Places We Empty, her debut chapbook published by Kelsay Books. She was a finalist in Alexandria Quarterly´s First Line Poetry Series, a finalist for The Magnolia Review´s Ink Award, and she was shortlisted for Kissing Dynamite´s 2021 Microchap Series. A Pushcart Prize and two-time Best of the Net nominee, her work appears in Perhappened, The Lumiere Review, Sky Island Journal, and others, and she has poems in many anthologies, as well. Originally from California, she lives in Spain with her wife and two young children.