by Iris De Anda

even silence can mean death
even smiles across the wrong skin
can mean other things to other people
even now after all this politically correct
the sound of your voice
can release the bullets of a firing squad
the echo of your words
heard in the smallest of towns
can ignite unearthed rebellion
the deep inhale and exhale of your breath
the moment between us and them
even shouts can mean so little
when the disappearances say so much
so we must not let them bring your chants
to a stand still
even whispers can mean war
even secrets can mean friends
even sign language can resurrect the fallen
give them wings with whistled prayers
give them life in the dreamseeds of a poet
even too much talk and not enough action
can mean that the person talking has nowhere to go
will not let you advance too
hold you still with slithering tongue
until quicksand commands your next step to nowhere
even wind can mean rebellion
listen to the chant carried by the robins
even hope can mean resistance
even closed eyes see the truth behind lies
even songs can mean morning
our mourning dispersed across the sky
as we hear
turn volume up
rise up
stand up
don’t ever give up
even whispers can mean more than this
frequency of the dispossessed
marginal offerings from those who said
too much
too fast
too soon
ignite reason with raw rage
underneath the ribcage
an acapella grace
hums notes from past composers
each one reciting symphony of creation
spinning life and death on record vinyl
smooth jazz for the soul
after decades of loud noise
which leads to nothingness
even whispers can mean war
even war can mean open hearts
ready to love again
listen again
begin again

Iris De Anda is a writer, activist, and practitioner of the healing arts. A womyn of color of Mexican and Salvadorean descent. A native of Los Angeles she believes in the power of spoken word, poetry, storytelling, and dreams. She has been published in Mujeres de Maiz Zine, Loudmouth Zine: Cal State LA, OCCUPY SF poems from the movement, Seeds of Resistance, In the Words of Women, Twenty: In Memoriam, Revolutionary Poets Brigade Los Angeles Anthology, Frontera Esquina, Brooklyn & Boyle, and online at La Bloga. She is a moderator for Poets Responding to SB 1070. She performs at community venues and events throughout the Los Angeles area & Southern California. She hosted The Writers Underground Open Mic 2012 at Mazatlan Theatre and 100,000 Poets for Change 2012, 2013, and 2014 at the Eastside Cafe. She currently hosts The Writers Underground Open Mic every Third Thursday of the month at the Eastside Cafe. Author of CODESWITCH: Fires From Mi Corazon.

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