Only Solution, a Love Poem for the Trump Age
by Aleah Black
This messy poem was written in response to a conversation I stumbled through in Spanish at the school where I work.
This messy video was filmed in my apartment in Zamora, Spain.
Blessings and thanks and power to anyone who is fighting for the oppressed and against the oppressors.
I go to work.
Our secretary and I start to talk about Donald Trump.
She tells me, “La sola solución es el amor. Tenemos que amar con nuestro ser entero.”
The only solution is love. We need to love with our whole selves.
We smile the sad smile of those who “know.”
She squeezes my arm as if my body still exists.
Like I’ve ever been solid or legitimate in my life.
I’d like to say I’m empty. This feeling of hollow.
This feeling of deep exhaustion.
Suicidal is when you want to die.
What is the word for hoping to just no longer exist.
I want to be a beam of light.
I’d like to say I’m empty.
But how can I be empty when I am this heavy.
How can I be empty when this is no shock.
It is no shock that so many of the people from my homeland voted for their economic security over the right of my black and brown siblings to live.
And yet it’s not shock that so many don’t see it that way,
that many are willing to vote for economic security if it means their family can eat.
It’s not a shock that the Democrats nominated an insider moderate when we were screaming for change.
It’s not a shock that so much of this is because liberals condescend instead of conversing.
It’s not a shock that white men from radical programs keep saying that those conversations are easy and that we’re lazy; as if for so many oppressed people a “conversation” isn’t always being spoken over or disregarded.
It’s not a shock that many men don’t understand the bizarre contradiction of wishing she had been elected and wishing she was never nominated in the first place.
It’s not a shock that I just want some women in power.
It’s not a shock that no one is willing to accept blame.
It’s not a shock that some people are trying to humanize a violent fascist.
It is not shock that both sides have poisoned the well so thoroughly that half of our country can not bring themselves to drink. To vote for anyone.
I am full.
I am full of fear, and sadness, and the deep anger from being told I am illegitimate.
I am full of fear, and sadness, and the deep anger from being told to compromise.
There is no room for compromise in whether black folks deserve to live,
If muslims deserve a home,
If the poor deserve food,
If immigrants deserve a life,
If queers deserve a body,
If natives deserve a homeland,
If foreign peoples deserve safety from drones,
If the disabled deserve protection,
If the sick deserve treatment,
If veterans deserve dignity,
If I deserve to not be raped,
If we all deserve water.
If we are to keep Earth,
The only home we’ve ever known,
We must become deserving of it.
We are not the keepers of this planet: we are inhabitants.
We are not the keepers of each other: we are family.
La sola solución es el amor.
The only solution is love.
Love is all you need.
It’s easy to embroider.
To clack into a keyboard.
To read from your bible.
Like pollution hanging over a city.
Love is not love which alters when its alteration finds
Or silences those who are in pain
Love is not placidity or easy.
Love is not convenient or quiet.
Love is not what happens when you wish someone well.
Love is urgent.
Love is loving.
Loving your son who is gay, though you do not understand.
Loving your country, even when the idea of new cultures and communities scares you.
Loving humanity, even when generations of genocide have told some they are
less human than others.
Love is stopping him on the bus when he rips of her hijab.
Love is voting for black women.
Love is asking if you can kiss her.
Love is using the right pronouns.
Love is health care for veterans.
Love is books full of other people’s suffering.
Love is believing the experiences of the oppressed.
Love is on the streets, protesting big business.
Love is in the community center passing out brown paper bags of lentils and gas vouchers.
Love is in your mouth when you tell your son he can cry.
Love is in your hand while you hold that credit card
and choose how much you can afford to give.
Love is in your eyes as you pull over and watch the police officer who has stopped
a young black woman with a broken tail light.
Love is in your ears as you learn to be silent. To listen.
Love is in your heart as you sit on that jury and decide you believe her.
He raped her. She is telling the truth.
Some politicians will tell you the answer is love.
That love looks like accepting the hand you are dealt.
Love is waiting, having faith that everything will work out ok.
That love is a relinquishing of agency, a simple changing of hands.
Have you ever been afraid to die in America?
Have you ever been told to wait your turn for your ration of human rights?
They will light a thousand thousand gaslights.
Flames of hate. Violence.
And then claim you are seeing things when you begin to carry around pails of water.
Hope is not passive belief in progress.
Hope is wanting something to happen.
An an action.
They will tell you the gaslights are your fault. That if you had been more Christian, more American, more trusting, they would not have lit them. That it is your fault if the house catches fire.
But do not let them bring the holy into this.
Love is the exhausting journey to find something within you that is interconnected and holy.
Love is risking your life for the pursuit of science, humanity, and knowledge.
Love is abandoning your your family, your princehood, and riches
For a quest to find the heart of the human condition.
Love is the plague of locusts until the slaves are free,
A god so big and incomprehensible that we are all a part of each other.
It is sleeping in the cave and listening until you can recite what is good and kind word for word from the mouth of the angel.
Love is opening your barn to the poor, pregnant immigrant and giving her space and warmth and clean hay, when that is all you have to give. Not when it is convenient. But when there is no room left in the inn.
Love is action.
Love is loving.
So when Donald Trump tells you, you are not worthy: you are.
And if someone tells you Hillary Clinton would have been oppressive too: try to listen.
And if someone explains how the Obama administration hurt them: believe them.
If someone says you’re being partisan: try to fight harder for personhood.
If you are afraid: I am with you, but we’re going to keep fighting.
And if anyone tries to silence you by saying we all just have to unite and love each other:
You ask them
What they did today to love somebody.